Posted on: 2010-01-23 20:20:00 -0500

Gas-piston systems for AR-15s have garnered a lot of attention due to their keeping the bolt carrier assembly and upper receiver clean and cool. One downside of them that isn’t often discussed is that every manufacturer has their own proprietary system, and none of the parts interchange between designs. Direct-impingement (DI) parts are all the same between every manufacturer since it’s a standardized design. Should the company making a DI system go out of business, there’s no problem getting replacement parts from dozens of other manufacturers since. But the owner is up the creek if this happens with a gas-piston rifle.

Perhaps the US Army will adopt a gas-piston AR-15 at some point. Then, manufacturers and consumers will have a standard to rally behind and can choose DI or gas-piston designs based on their technical merits. The systems other than the adopted one will fade into obscurity, with their owners being left holding the bag.