Mil Spec Type

2 Aug, 2014DSCN1359

At a class this past weekend, we had an incident that puts a glaring spotlight on the whole “Mil Spec” vs. “mil spec type” issue. While demonstrating a “bolt override” clearance drill with a student’s rifle,, the butt stock was slammed into the ground, and this happened


Although we were still able to clear the malfunction (still has a buffer tube to smack the ground with) the ability to be able to use the rifle effectively as a rifle was degraded without a buttstock. When I asked the owner what brand the stock was, he said he didn’t know but he had gotten a good deal on it. I started inspecting the stock, and you know what I found….NOTHING! No brand name, NSN, nothing.

This brings to light a problem I’ve seen in the “Tacticool” crowd. You want cool lookin’ stuff, but don’t want to pay for quality gear and equipment. If you’re just playin’ at the whole tactical training thing, or you’re an airsofter, fine, no problem. If your gear and equipment is for a life or death scenario, and you’re training with it for that, NOT FINE! I’m not alluding to a need for you to buy all the gear used by tier 1 “operators”, that costs you a hundred bucks more than a mil spec part or accessory, but you really need to ask yourself what your life is worth.

For the most part, quality gear manufacturers will put their name on it. Is all quality gear mil spec? No, but if your gear manufacturer says it’s “mil spec”, there is a minimum standard of durability that the piece in question will have been tested on. Airsoft gear need not apply, that stuff is usually crap, whether it’s a vest, that comes apart on your second “field problem” using it, or, in the case of the buttstock, comes apart with one slam on the ground completing a life or death clearance drill.

Two of the cheaper routes I’ve seen when it comes to gear, is Condor, and Tapco. Condor and Tapco have gotten a lot better over the years, and even though some of the more expensive gear out there is built sturdier, Condor and Tapco will suffice if your budget is extremely tight, and you’re just starting out. Get the best you can afford, you’re foolish if you don’t, simply because it’s a life and death event you’re preparing for, not a game, played by “wanna be” MW3 enthusiasts.

Be very wary of anything that says “mil spec type”. It’s usually crap, and/or won’t integrate with other mil spec accessories. Regardless of what brand you buy, TEST IT! Well known manufacturers have bad days, or bad runs too. The student whose stock was broken (fortunately he still had the original “Mill Spec” stock)  came to me and asked if I was gonna write about this incident. I told him I was, so he handed me the stock, and said to put the word out. He was very thankful that he didn’t find out it was crap while he was in Nevada at the Bundy ranch.

If you’re gonna cut corners, Fine, get your damn latte from WAWA instead of Starbucks. You owe it to yourself, and those who you’re gonna protect to get the best you can afford.


American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

16 thoughts on “Mil Spec Type

  1. The funny thing? A B5 stock, which is a mil spec version of that stock, is only about $35 at dealers cost. Even “full pop” at Bravo Company it’s under $60.

  2. Thanks for the info. I’m new to this and these kind of examples really help. I had no idea there was a difference between “mil-spec” and “mil-spec type”. I haven’t wasted any money yet and now I sure won’t! Keep up the good work!

    • Bruce, a really good example of that is the charlatans that sell “mil spec” AR15 stock extensions that are only “mil spec” diameter……

      Most guys want the milspec stock extension- it’s smaller than the commercial stock extension and the threads are rolled into the material instead of being cut- they are stronger- AND a real milspec stock extension is made of 7075 aluminum.

      Now a bunch of companies are making and advertising “milspec” stock extensions that are the correct smaller diameter but the threads are not cold rolled- they’re cut and they are making them out of cheaper 6061 aluminum….. They are not nearly as strong as a real milspec extension….maybe it matters to you, maybe it doesn’t but it’s a crummy thing to do in my opinion- to trick people that way. It’s pretty tough for most people to know the difference by sight alone.

      • Will,if I am reading this right you are saying only a portion of said product is mill spec stock,any sites that list materials/manufacture process of products so one doesn’t just go with the “mill spec” phrase.I was also wondering on the AR platform are there things that make sense purchasing that are beyond say a true mill spec part for longevity and strength,thanks.

        • James, Mil Spec can have problems too, but from a durability standpoint, true Mil Spec equipment is usually more durable. There are products out there that are not Mil Spec, and they’re fine to use (just because it’s not Mil Spec doesn’t mean it’s crap). Personally, in the 5.56/.223 caliber, I don’t like a chromed bore or a 1-7 twist rifling (both Mil Spec) in a rifle barrel because, all things being equal, chrome bores tend to be a little less accurate, and the 1-7 twist is less versatile twist for given bullet weights (readily available off the shelf). Will the average shooter be able to tell the accuracy is less? Probably not, but I want to squeeze the most accuracy and versatility out of a rifle as I can, so I don’t buy it with a Mil Spec chrome bore, and I get a 1-9, or a 1-8 twist. The point of the article is to watch out for those selling equipment with the label “Mil Spec Type”, because they’re trying to make a quick buck at the buyers expense. As I said in the article, the bottom line is test ALL your gear, expensive or not, Mil Spec or not. It’s the only way you will truly know if you can count on it.

      • Yea James, I look at true milspec items as a minimum guarantee of quality.

        I’m with James on the twist rate issue. I like 1/9 better than the milspec 1/7. Why? The most commonly available ammo in the US is 55 grain fmj. Yea, if you are in the military and your ammo is issued to you, then you know you are going to get 62 grain or heavier. For the Patriot though the 1/9 makes more sense- go into any Walmart and see what .223 bullet weight is the most common. Look at all the big wholesalers too, there are usually 2-3 55 grain offerings for every one heavier.

        I do prefer chrome lined bores. I see the 5.56 as a 400 yard cartridge. If your gun shoots 2 MOA- and it should with any quality ammo, that’s 8″ at 400 yards or less than half the size of the kill zone at that range. I honestly can’t shoot much better than that with a carbine, any extra accuracy would be wasted and I’d rather have the longevity and resistance to corrosion offered by chrome lining.

        Everything is a trade off, we have to train and learn with others and then make our own decisions. The guy that tells you one thing or another on the internet- where is HE going to be when you have YOUR gunfight? It’s all on you…..

  3. new poster: reminds me of when i first started riding motorcycles years ago and went helmet shopping. heard one of the clerks in the gear store say to potential customer ” well, got a $10 head? get a $10 helmet! ” …nuff said

  4. I noticed that most bolt carrier group that seller claims it’s “Daniel Defense” are not marked not even a logo. Are these for real or fake? I don’t know why DD doesn’t marked all their bolt carriers if it’s true.

  5. Ray, all the DD bolts I’ve ever seen were marked. They may not all have been or always been but the ones I have seen/ bought from reputable sellers, were marked.

  6. I had to bite the big one here. Well, even the forewarned can be dense. I “went cheap” on my backup flashlight. Yes, you guessed it. Was out in the rain with the rifle searching out that “bump in the night” (Deer had gotten trapped in the fenced back yard). Main light was on when the battery failed. At once punched the backup light…nothing. Suddenly Movement! Do you know how stupid you look telling a Deer not to move? Found out later that rust (yes rust) had rendered the contacts AWOL.

    Replaced the CR123’s in the Surefire and threw the “backup” light away. Surefire got an order from me the next day. I was so confident of the Surefire (Mil-Spec, LED, Aluminum body, good seals) I had talked myself into the trap of never thinking I would ever need the backup at the moment of truth..

    Rifle now wears two Surefire E2’s on Vltor mounts.

  7. Learned my lesson at an NRA school with a cheap holster that came off of my belt in a live-fire training scenario. IMMEDIATELY trashed it and bought a well-made holster that I still have and use over ten years later! Great article.

  8. Thanks for article,it not only made me think about quality but introduced me to new ways of clearing a firearm that of course led to even others,thanks for having a article that sent me on another path of learning.

    • Just wanted to again say thanks to MD and Will for giving thoughts on mill spec and such,more to look into and research,like when hear differing opinions and why for example here the chrome lined barrel,these opinions/thoughts get me researching and learning a bit more and things to practice,this clear drill was new to me and while researching learned some other things,to think about /practice, thanks guys and happy shooting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s