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					                                              (Above left) Best accuracy was
                                           achieved with Black Hills 77gr .223
                                          ammo. Groups were fired at distance
                                            of 100 yards. (Left) DS Arms’ Gas
                                            Trap Carbine features all new gas
                                          operating system. MIL-STD-1913 rail
                                           accepts optics such as EOTech HWS
                                           and Optical System technology AN/
                                              PVS-22 Universal Night Sight.

     Gas Trap Carbine is a
   giant step forward in AR design!

DS                     ARMS ’
GTC 223    By Charlie Cutshaw Photos by Chris Rohling

     seems as if every time we turn around, there is another AR-
IT   15 rifle entering the market. At last count, there were some
25 manufacturers of these classic rifles and carbines, most very
similar in that they use the Ljungmann direct gas impingement
system of the original rifle developed in the late 1950s, and upper
and lower receivers that have been standard since the 1960s.
Virtually every rifle nowadays is available with some sort of MIL-
STD-1913 rail adapter system for mounting lights, sights and
other accessories. With the demise of the ineffective “Crime Bill
of 1994,” flash suppressors and muzzle devices have also re-
turned, but other than exterior cosmetics, virtually every AR rifle
is internally identical. In fact, there are so many AR rifle manu-
facturers that we cannot but wonder when the market for these
rifles will become saturated. Thus, if manufacturers are to remain
viable and competitive, they must offer products that are unavail-
able elsewhere or are different from the competition.
  With its recently announced Gas Trap Carbine (GTC), DS
Arms, long noted for its high quality FAL battle rifles, has entered
the AR rifle market with an AR rifle unlike any other. Externally,
the most obvious difference between the GTC and others is the

                                           GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT 19
 DS ARMS’ GTC .223
patented Predator upper receiver that not

only features an uninterrupted full-length
MIL-STD-1913 top rail and rails at the
handguard sides and bottom, but also free               S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
floats the barrel. This enables mounting ac-
cessories without affecting the rifle’s zero.                              DS ARMS GAS TRAP CARBINE
Our GTC came with a 16-inch barrel but is
also available as a rifle with a 20-inch bar-                       Caliber: .223 • Barrel: 16 inches, fluted, 1:9 twist chrome lined heavy
rel. The GTC’s barrel is fluted along its en-              OA Length: 35.75 inches • Weight: 9.5 pounds (as tested) • Stocks: M4 collapsible or fixed
tire length for rigidity and heat dissipation.                           Sights: Fixed front, flip up rear battle sights, Picatinny rail
The flutes offer a greater surface area, so                              Operations: Semi-automatic gas operated • Finish: DuraCoat
heat is more rapidly dispersed than with
standard heavy barrels. Flutes also stiffen
the barrel and improve accuracy by reduc-          ing barrel vibration as the rifle is fired. Our        matter back into the receiver, but also
          DPMS                                     test rifle also came equipped with a Vortec           causes excessive heat to be transferred
      Mangonel                                     flash suppressor, one of the most effective           to the receiver area in rapid semi or full
   backup iron                                     such devices available. Because our test             automatic fire. In extreme cases, the heat
     sights fold                                   GTC is a “post-post ban” rifle, the muzzle            actually causes the headspace to expand.
 flat when not                                     device is removable, enabling a sound                There have been solutions to the AR’s in-
   needed and
                                                   suppressor to be fitted or the factory brake          herent gas system problems in the past,
lock firmly into
    place when                                     exchanged for another.                               but DSA’s is one of the most innovative.
  raised. Front                                        One of the major differences between             The Predator system, manufactured by
 sight has two                                     the GTC’s Predator system and any other,             Patriot Ordnance Factory in Glendale, Ari-
 settings – one                                    is the patented gas system designed by               zona, consists of a FAL-type gas cylinder
  for gas block                                    Frank Desomma that eliminates the in-                plug, a 6-inch chrome lined gas cylinder
   and another
                                                   herent problems associated with Stoner’s             with a chrome plated piston and operating
     for use on
     full-length                                   original design. The original AR direct              rod that impinges against a reinforced bolt
      MIL-STD-                                     impingement gas system not only blows                carrier key. Unlike some other “op rod” sys-
    1913 rails.                                    a large amount of fouling and particulate            tems, there are no springs on the Predator

     Firefights in close quarter environments
     are won by fast accurate target acquisi-
     tion. Locking onto the target fast means
     you win. The alternative is not an option.
     The HOLOgraphic Weapon sight
     (HWS) delivers unmatched speed
     gains... and is the solution.

     Standardized by USSOCOM, the
     HWS is deployed with elite special
     forces and SWAT teams the world
     over. It features passive operation
     with no muzzle side signature and
     compatibility with all night
     vision systems. Battle proven in
     Iraq and Afghanistan the HWS
     is waterproof, shockproof,
     fogproof and adapts easily to
     virtually any tactical weapon

      3600 GREEN COURT SUITE 400
      Ann Arbor, MI 48105
      Tel (734)741-8868
      Fax(734)741-8221               IN USA

                                                                                   Vltor stock has water-
                                                                                   proof compartments
                                                                                   for batteries and
                                                                                   small items, plus
                                                                                   has much more
                                                                                   comfortable cheek
                                                                                   rest than any conven-
                                                                                   tional stock, either
                                                                                   collapsible or fixed.

rod. Heat from sustained firing will damage
springs that surround op rods that are in
close proximity to the barrel. This is espe-
cially true in select fire rifles. The GTC gas
system is self-regulating. The GTC system                not be incorrectly reassembled. All that’s
can be easily and quickly disassembled for               necessary is to push the plug into place,
maintenance by simply pressing in on the                 press the locking button and rotate the
gas cylinder plug button while rotating the              plug counterclockwise.
plug clockwise. Once the plug is removed,                    After years of exposure to the AR’s
the piston and operating rod simply fall out             direct gas impingement system, cleaning
when the muzzle is pointed down. Reas-                   the GTC is a true revelation. Whereas
sembly is accomplished simply by drop-                   conventional AR receivers are filled with
ping the rod back into the gas cylinder with             fouling and particulate matter after a few
the muzzle pointed up. If it doesn’t fall into           rounds, the GTC is clean even after exten-
place, all that’s necessary is to shake the              sive firing. There is no carbon fouling, no
upper receiver – the loose rod will fall. The            caked carbon on the bolt or in the bolt car-
piston is replaced with the gas rings for-               rier recesses. The special tools necessary
ward. The plug fits only one way and can-                 to clean a conventional AR are no longer
                                                                  needed. The chamber brush with
                                                                  expanded stainless steel bristles
                                                                  is no longer needed to remove
                                                                  fouling from the locking lug area.
                                                                  In short, the GTC is much easier,
                                                                  simpler and quicker to clean and
                                                                  maintain than any AR rifle with
                                                                   GTC operating components consist
                                                                   of gas piston, operating rod and gas
                                                                   cylinder plug. All working components
                                                                   are hard chrome plated for durability,
                                                                   reliability and easy maintenance.

      P E R F O R M A N C E
                     DS ARMS GAS TRAP CARBINE .223
                                   High       Low      Average               ES        SD       Accuracy

  Black Hills 77 BTHP             2741       2683        2711                58        18          1.75*
  Extreme Shock 55 JHP            2526       2470        2503                56        18          2.00
  Hornady 55 TAP                  2936       2878        2915                58        18          2.75
  Wolf 55 FMJ                     2762       2661        2751               101        38          3.00

          Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity, ES (extreme spread) and SD (standard deviation)
         in feet per second (fps) by Oehler 35 Chronograph, accuracy in inches for two 5-shot groups
                       from 100 yards. Temperature: 86 degrees. (*) Excludes called flyer.

                                                                                                            GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT 21
                                           DS ARMS’ GTC .223


                                            (Top) GTC gas system is accessed by remov-
                                           ing FAL-type plug. Piston and op rod can then
                                             be removed. (Above) GTC bolt is also hard
                                           chrome plated. Note that conventional gas key
                                           has been replaced by reinforced tappet block.

                                          the usual direct impingement system. Ev-
                                          ery time we undertake the onerous task
                                          of cleaning an AR rifle, we wonder what
                                          Stoner was thinking about when he incor-
                                          porated the system into his design. The
                                          Predator system used by DSA is a really
                                          significant step forward in AR design.
                                               But the improved gas system isn’t the
                                          end of the story with the GTC. Other inter-
                                          nal changes include a chrome plated bolt
                                          carrier and bolt. The bolt carrier has been
                                          modified for increased reliability and ac-
                                          curacy. The bolt carrier surfaces that ride
                                          on the upper receiver are somewhat larger
                                          than conventional ones, while maintaining
                                          recesses to accommodate any fouling that
                                          might accumulate. Although the carrier is
                                          an AR-type that cannot trip an M16 auto
                                          sear, the bolt carrier rather than the firing
                                          pin cocks the hammer as it moves to the
                                          rear, another improvement over most com-
                                          mercial AR rifles. The chamber, locking
                                          lugs and barrel interior are also chrome
                                          plated, which enhances reliability and
                                          eases cleaning. As a top-end AR rifle, the
                                          GTC has virtually all the options to make
                                          the rifle as close to perfection as pos-
                                          sible. Our rifle came with an Ambi-Catch
                                          installed as standard. This clever device
                                          can be installed in seconds and enables
                                          the magazine to be released with either
                                          hand, a boon for either right or left-handed
                                          shooters. In addition, our test rifle had a
                                          two-stage match trigger. Our test rifle’s
                                          trigger broke like a glass rod at precisely
                                          4 pounds. For those who do not wish
                                          to purchase an (Please turn to page 90)

                                                 DS ARMS’ GTC .223
                                                   Continued from page 22

                                          entire rifle, the GTC upper receiver is avail-
                                          able as a drop-in conversion that will fit any
                                          MIL-SPEC lower receiver.

                                                 ADD-ON ACCESSORIES
                                              As good as it is, there are some re-
                                          cently developed accessories that trans-
                                          form any AR rifle. One such item is the
                                          Vltor modular stock, available in fixed and
                                          collapsible carbine lengths. Since our rifle
                                          came with a fixed stock, we chose a fixed
                                          version of the Vltor stock, in this instance
                                          the company’s “Clubfoot” version that al-
                                          lows one to pull the stock into his shoulder
                                          for greater stability when firing from a rest
                                          position. The Vltor stock comes with left
                                          and right hand compartment cheekrests
                                          or non-compartmented variants. We prefer
                                          the compartmented versions, not only be-
                                          cause they provide waterproof storage for
                                          batteries and other small items, but also
                                          because they are the most comfortable
                                          AR stocks the author has ever used. The
                                          compartment is angled with a flat surface
                                          that provides a nearly perfect cheek weld.
                                          Moreover, the compartments are accessi-

                                          For more information:
                                                            DS Arms Inc.
                                                      PO Box 370, Dept GW/LE
                                                Barrington, IL 60011; 847-277-7258
                                                            DPMS Inc.
                                                 3312 12th Street SE, Dept GW/LE
                                                St. Cloud, MN 56304; 800-578-3767
                                                           EOTech Inc.
                                                3600 Green CT, Ste 400, Dept GW/LE
                                                Ann Arbor, MI 48105; 734-741-8868
                                                    Optical Systems Technology
                                                   110 Kountz Lane, Dept GW/LE
                                                 Freeport, PA 16229; 724-295-2880
                                                         Patriot Ordnance
                                                    23623 N 67 Ave, Dept GW/LE
                                                 Glendale, AZ 85310; 623-321-9572
                                                      Sound Technologies
                                                    PO Box 738, Dept GW/LE
                                                 Logan, NM 88426; 205-999-0416
                                                        Tactical Advantage
                                                     PO Box 584, Dept GW/LE
                                                Bellevue, WA 98009; 866-822-5465
                                                      Vltor Weapon Systems
                                                 3735 N Romero Rd, Dept GW/LE
                                                 Tucson, AZ 85705; 520-408-1944

ble without removing the stock. Vltor fixed
stocks also come with two quick detach                  HECKLER & KOCH MAGAZINES
(QD) attachment points for Uncle Mike’s                                                              a recent magazine
                                                    Although not directly related to the GTC,
sling swivels, one just behind the pistol                                                       al AR magazines were
                                                    development deserves comment. Origin
grip and another at the butt. Swivel attach-                                                       are thin aluminum
                                                    intended to be expendable. As such, they
ment is reversible to accommodate right or          with plastic follow   ers and springs that tend to weaken with
                                                                                                   s into 20-round
left-handed shooters. We chose to attach            age. In Vietnam, we loaded only 18 round
                                                                                                  magazines. The
a Tactical Advantage single point sling be-          magazines and 28 rounds into 30-round
                                                                                                  improved the design
cause the sling does not interfere with the          green followers for 30-round magazines
                                                     somewhat, but alumi     num magazines still dent easily and even
rifle when it is being carried in a ready po-                                                      the front of the fol-
                                                     the green followers can “nosedive” with
sition and if it becomes necessary to drop                                                                feeding prob-
                                                     lower   tilting down and the rear rising, causing               dust
the rifle to transition to the pistol, the sling      lems. Further,    the magazine has several holes that allow
automatically positions the rifle in a central        and grit inside, although    the biggest hole is the open top of
                                                                                                      enhanced maga-
vertical position that does not interfere with        the magazine itself. Heckler & Koch’s (HK)                . First, the
drawing or shooting a handgun.                        zine solve   s these problems with several innovations               d
                                                      HK magazine is steel     and therefore much stronger. The close
    For an optical sight, we selected an                                                ger than GI versions and the
                                                      magazine latch recess is stron                                            HK’s all steel M16 mags are
EOTech 550 AA HOLOGraphic Weapon                                                                    s. More important,
                                                       floorplate is sealed to prevent dust acces              g and            completely redesigned and far
Sight (HWS). The EOTech HWS is the                                                                   ce feedin
                                                       the feed lips have been modified to enhan                                superior to conventional AR mags.
                                                                                                   that absolutely will
current choice of the US Special Forces,               the follower is a completely new design
                                                                                                        modified and
Drug Enforcement Administration, and                   not “nosedive.” Finally, the spring has been                                                     Government tests
                                                                                                             etry changed to enhance reliability. US
is being ordered in thousands by the US                 the magazine slightly lengthened, and the geom              Carbine, just by using the HK magazine.
                                                                                                                                                                If there
                                                                                                        of the M4
Army and Marine Corps. With its 65-MOA                  revealed a 30 to 50% increase in reliability                             than standard GI magazines (9 versus
                                                                                                        weigh 5 ounces more
                                                        is a downside to HK steel magazines, they                                                     art magazines. HK
ring and 1-MOA central dot, the HWS is                                                                 for the improvements in these state of the
                                                        4 ounces), but this is a small price to pay                                                            e.
arguably the fastest optical sight in exis-                                                          per cent  reliability is required, there is no other choic
                                                         magazines are not cheap, but when 100                             0 Pacific Blvd, Dept GW/LE, Sterling, VA
                                                                                                           Koch at 2148
tence. All that’s required to use the HWS                    For more information contact Heckler &
is keep both eyes open, shoulder the rifle,               20166; 703-450-1900;
and the sight is instinctively aligned with
the target. As we have mentioned in the
past, some Special Forces operators do             GTC’s gas block, but it could just as well                    yard test distance. With a precision scope,
not even use the reticle for close quarters        have been mounted on the full-length rail.                    we believe that GTC would deliver close to
combat, but center the target in the hard-         The gas block mount gives a slightly great-                   MOA accuracy, but we evaluated the GTC
ened glass window and shoot. Regardless            er sight radius for enhanced accuracy.                        as a carbine for close to medium range
of quality, optical sights can fail and for this       We fitted a Sound Technologies .223                        work from 25 to 100 yards distance. As
reason backup iron sights are essential for        suppressor, one of the best performing                        such, the carbine easily can achieve “head
any tactical rifle equipped with optics. We         suppressors in the industry, according to                     shots” at 100 yards using the EOTech.
opted for a set of DPMS Mangonel backup            independent testing by Robert Silvers Pre-                    Functioning was generally flawless. We
iron sights. These sights fold flat when            cision, which performs independent and                        had one failure to feed when the bolt did
not required and lock into place when in           unbiased scientific testing of suppressors.                    not travel far enough to the rear to strip a
use. There are no spring-loaded detents            Suppressors are useful for tactical opera-                    cartridge from the magazine, but that was
involved in Mangonel sights, these sights          tions where teams must maintain the ability                   the only malfunction in over 100 rounds.
absolutely will not move unless the shoot-         to communicate while firing their weapons.                     The two-stage match trigger broke like
er wants them to do so. The patented post              Shooting the GTC was a revealing ex-                      snapping a glass rod at exactly 3 pounds.
and notch system locks both front and rear         perience, one that showed just how differ-                    This carbine’s operation was also much
sights in the “up” position. The front sight       ent this new carbine is from conventional                     smoother than we usually expect from AR
has two notches for use with either a gas          AR rifles. Not only was the carbine notably                    rifles, attributable to the gas trap operat-
block or full-length MIL-STD-1913 rail. We         accurate using the “red dot” EOTech that                      ing system. Felt recoil was also minimized,
mounted our Mangonel front sight on the            basically covered the bullseye at our 100-                    along with muzzle rise, enabling quick re-
                                                                                                                 covery and follow-up shots.
            Brass flies as author sends rounds on target. DS Arms GTC proved reliable,
             accurate and much smoother in operation than conventional AR carbines.
                                                                                                                                   FINAL NOTES
                                                                                                                     Overall, DSArms’ new Gas Trap Carbine
                                                                                                                 breaks new ground in the world of AR rifles
                                                                                                                 that are otherwise so similar that even ex-
                                                                                                                 perts cannot tell the difference between one
                                                                                                                 and another without close inspection. Its
                                                                                                                 innovative “gas piston/op rod” significantly
                                                                                                                 advances the “state of the art” in AR-type
                                                                                                                 firearms and not only adds flexibility to the
                                                                                                                 overall system, but improves both reliability
                                                                                                                 and maintainability over any of its conven-
                                                                                                                 tional competitors. The GTC not only looks
                                                                                                                 different, it is different, and is arguably the
                                                                                                                 single most significant development in AR
                                                                                                                 rifles and carbines since they were origi-
                                                                                                                 nally designed nearly 50 years ago. Kudos
                                                                                                                 to Patriot Ordnance and DS Arms for this
                                                                                                                 new direction in ARs!
                                                                                                                          GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT 91