I work for a small department in Indiana without a budget for police equipment. My department currently issues a Glock 22 and Remington 870 shotgun to each officer and allows rifles to be carried if purchased by the officer and the officer attends an approved rifle class. On the plus side, my department does supply duty ammunition for our handguns, shotguns and 100 rounds of rifle ammo. For 10 years I have carried two different personal rifles while working for the department and supplied all the equipment out of pocket, this included optics, magazines and accessories. While visiting a forum I saw a post by Greg “Sully” Sullivan of Defensive Edge/SLR15 Rifles advising they were taking applications for grants to supply rifles and training to departments that may be in need. The rifles that are granted are rifles that have slight blemishes in the finish from being handled during photo shoots or are former demo rifles. One example of a photo shoot would be the rifles used by ATK in their LE ammo advertisements, the rifles used are SLR15 Rifles. I had received my armorer certification through Defensive Edge the year prior and had the chance to handle a couple of the SLR15 Rifles including the Grail and was impressed with the rifles due to the quality of parts and attention to detail during assembly. I had requested the department purchase rifles in the past to assure rifles were of good quality, contained quality parts and to make sure an officer would not suffer financial hardship or be without a rifle if involved in an officer involved shooting with his rifle. I was advised that as long as they are free, the department would allow department issued rifles, so the search began.
Prior to applying for the SLR15 rifle grant I had only applied for one other grant. The application process was far easier than the previous grant application as all that was required was filling out a form and emailing it to Sully. Some time passed and I believed that I had not qualified as I had not been contacted. Out of the blue I was contacted by Sully and asked if I wished to host an armorer’s course or a carbine instructor course which would include an armorer’s course. I was advised of a class minimum and time frame for both classes and advised to work out the date and locations for the course. My department does not have a range of our own and we must qualify with the local Sheriff Department on their range. Due to this I knew an instructor’s course would be hard to schedule and to be approved, so we opted to host the armorer’s school.
After posting the school on several forums and notifying several surrounding agencies I was only able to muster seven people interested in attending the class, this was half of the required class minimums. This concerned me as I felt that we had lost a once in a lifetime opportunity. I contacted Sully and was advised that they would work with whatever class size we could muster. When I contacted them with the class totals I also ask if we would still be able to receive a rifle due to the low turnout and was advised that they would work something out. The day of the class we found that we had a very diverse group. In attendance was a house wife, medical helicopter dispatcher, gun store employee, and three Police Officers. Defensive Edge allows two officers to attend the class as part of the grant, so I attended the class. Being that I had attended the armorer’s course a year prior, I was able to reinforce what I had learned previously and feel more confident in what I was doing.
The Armorers Course
Defensive Edge’s armorer’s course is taught not only with lecture and power point, but with plenty of hands –on exercises. You can tell Sully is a cop and teaches in a way that cops and lay people can understand. When he shows a picture of a bad part or part failure he also hands an example around the class allowing the info to sink in. Sully recommends that you bring your personal rifle or a department rifle so that you can get familiar with a rifle you will use, and they can provide rifles for people to use as well. You break down and reassemble the rifle several times during the class and any parts found warn, damaged or lost during the class are replaced by Sully on the spot. All tools are supplied and students are taught first to use the bare minimum tools in both disassembly and reassembly. After you learn the hard way Sully will hand out specialty tools that allow you to learn the easier way of doing things. The first day concentrates on proper maintenance, the bolt carrier assembly, cycles of fire and timing issues , and finishes with a “graded” breakdown and reassembly of the lower.
The second day of class consist of more practice on the lower and moves into disassembly of the upper, talk about accessories and trouble shooting. Sully only requires students to assembly and reassemble the rear sight once, stating that this is a part of the rifle that should only be disassembled if the rifle is submerged, has been in a fine dust environment or a part fails. As stated before, Sully supplies all the tools necessary including three heavy vices mounted on stands which came in handy when removing barrels. As a final the entire gun is reassembled and Sully inspects your work. Sully gives everyone who attends an armorer’s manual along with a tool list. The manual is a plus and I have found that not all classes and companies supply a manual.
On the second day of class Sully advised me that I would build our new department rifle for a better understanding of the rifle I was receiving. I had contacted Sully prior to the class and ask if a SBR would be an issue when it came to the rifle the department would receive. The reason for my question was that my patrol car is equipment with a Pro-gard half cage requiring any long gun to be mounted vertically between the seats. Due to the limited space an SBR is required to fit in the rack. After lunch on the second day of class Sully started to hand me parts that would be used to build my department’s rifle. All parts, the lower and the upper had no visible flaws.
The Rifle as Receiver
The features of the lower included the CY6 emblem used by SLR15 on the left side of the magwell. Additionally Sully uses a set screw to allow adjustment of trigger creep on the trigger, this little addition along with quality springs and parts creates a clean, crisp single stage trigger pull that equals the national match two stage my RRA came with. Additionally the lower has the safe and fire markings stamped on both sides of the receiver and an area on the front of the magwell that is checkered to assist with magwell holds. Sully included a Sully stock and Daniel Defense slot sling mount. I had read some articles on the Sully Stock and I was interested to try one and finally had the perfect opportunity. The Sully stock is the same length as my personal rifles that are set two notches. The Sully stock has a butt pad made out the same material as the stock and does include checkering.
The upper is a flat top with T markings and M4 feed ramps properly cut into the extension. As stated previously I contacted Sully about a short barrel and he delivered. Sully advised me that he had a new barrel finish he was working on and asks if I would be interested in testing the barrel for him on the rifle. I jumped at the chance and was handed a matte black 12” barrel. Sully advised me that the barrel has a Melonite-QPQ finish causing the finish to be extremely hard and as far I can tell scratch proof. Sully explained that the new finish is so hard that the barrel must be fully machined and ready for mounting prior to applying the finish. Once the finish is applied, the barrel has to be trashed if any further machining is needed. To demonstrate the toughness of the finish Sully removed his pocket knife and ran the blade back and forth on the barrel. A silver streak was left behind and appeared to be bare metal, Sully handed the barrel to me and asks me to simply rub my hand across the “scratch” and see what happens. When I wiped my hand down the “scratch” the “scratch” disappeared and the barrel was unharmed. The metal on the barrel was from the knife blade and had not penetrated the finish. I have repeated this demonstration several times without any damage to the barrel.
A PRI low profile gas block was installed along with a carbine gas tube and an A2 flash hider. Sully supplied me with a PRI Gen III Free Float forearm in black with quad rails mounted on the front half of the forearm only. For sights Sully gave me options, and I chose a PRI rail mounted flip up front sight and for a rear sight I chose a Daniel Defense A1.5 Fixed Rear sight. I like the Daniel Defense rear sight as it has the A1 style windage knob that stops the sight from being accidentally moved.
The bolt carrier gas key was staked with a MOACK tool and the bolt contains a 5 coil spring, black insert and Crane O-ring.
All my personal rifles have optics in the form of Aimpoints and I did not want this rifle to be any different. I obtained a few Aimpoint M2s through the LESO program and mounted the sight in a LaRue LT-150 purchased by the department.
Department Supplied Equipment
To keep the cost to the department down I choose a Surefire G3 and mounted it to the rifle in a Viking Tactical mount. My area of patrol includes both urban and rural so I prefer a 9 volt light. The G3 seems to be a good compromise in cost and weight when compared to other 9 volt options. The A2 grip was replaced with a MagPul MIAD as an experiment. Until now I had not used the MIAD and so far, I like it. Total cost to the department, $250.
Personally Supplied Equipment
I am a fan of the VTac Padded Sling and had an extra lying around so it was added to the rifle. I add a quick release buckle to the sling to allow me to remove the sling easily and if the sling is damage I can attach the buckle to my URBAN ERT vest mount single mount. Being a fan of short vertical foregrips I attached a MOE Vertical Grip as another experiment. So far for the cost and weight, this foregrip shines and stands on its own with more expensive vertical grips.
Cons if you can call them that
One issue I have discovered with the Sully Stock is when placed on a uniform shirt the stock tends to slide around. After a post on a well known forum I received a tip to use the spray on rubber coating made by Plasti Dip on the buttpad. Sully recommended sanding the butt pad to remove any releasing agent left behind when the stocks are made prior to applying any coating. The spray rubber coating does work, however it has started to flake after some training sessions and on the job deployments. I may try the Plastic Dip liquid that comes in a can after the current coating rubs off.
The only issue I have had with the PRI forearm was that the left rail was too short to install both a sling mount and a Viking Tactical flash light mount. I contacted PRI and they advised for a small fee they would modify and install a longer rail if I sent them the forearm. I removed the forearm and sent it to PRI. One plus with being in Indiana is PRI is based in Ohio. The repair and return was under a week and the cost of the new rail, modification and install was around $50. I am thinking about sending the forearm back to have a longer top rail added if I am able to obtain an IR illuminator.
I had some issues zeroing the front sight as the full ring on the front sight prohibits most sight tools from fitting properly. I’m not use to a full ring on a front sight and find myself focusing on the ring when sighting in instead of the post. While sighting in the front sight I thought the post was loose and moved way too much in the base. I returned the sight to PRI when I returned the forearm and they assured me it was installed correctly.
Performance of the Rifle
In just over a year I have around 700 rounds through the rifle. Ammo cost and availability has put a pinch on my shooting and training this past year. I have used the rifle at a Louis Awerbuck class, during patrol rifle qualification and various range trips with no issues to report. I am hoping to attend some additional classes this year to increase the round count on the rifle.
Thank You Defensive Edge & SLR15 Rifles