The Baltimore police department is evaluating the Adcor BEAR (Brown Enhanced Automatic Rifle) for issue. This is one of the four rifles that has been promoted to the second phase of the Army’s Individual Carbine competition. The police are largely armed with Glock pistols chambered in .40 S&W, and that’s not going to change. The BEAR is for special units, like SWAT teams.
Adcor’s graduation to phase two of the competition surprised many. But they have spent as much time lobbying as they have improving on the AR-15 design. Adcor hired congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley to speak for them in addition to joining with other manufacturers, including FN USA and Remington in getting the Army to reevaluate the M4 and consider a more modern replacement.
You don’t have to spend too much time in the shooting world to hear that a number of people, particularly soldiers, have negative opinions on the M4 carbines in service largely made by Colt, and soon Remington. These complaints point at failure points in the design, things like direct-impingement operation, and not manufacturing flaws.
It should be no surprise that four of the five rifles still competing in the Individual Carbine competition are piston-driven. They are the Adcor BEAR, the FN FNAC, HK HK416 and Remington ACR. The fifth competitor is the direct-impingement Colt ACC-M.
What’s interesting about the Adcor BEAR, and what separates it from the FNAC and HK416, is that it is part of the AR family. But it has a little AK in its blood, too.
The Adcor BEAR is a short-stroke piston-operated AR-15 with a free-floated barrel. It achieves this by running a gas tube from the barrel into the front handguard which contains the piston and end of the operating rod. Because the piston system is built into the handguard and doesn’t rest on the barrel, its reciprocation cannot directly affect the barrel. And because it uses a long-stroke op rod carrier tilt is impossible.
It is in every other way an AR and it should be extremely easy for military armories to adapt to it, which makes it for a rather interesting competitor in the Individual Carbine competition.
Still, while no one is particularly shocked when companies like Heckler & Koch and FN USA make the first cut in a military arms program, before the Individual Carbine competition many people had never heard of Adcor.
And clearly that fame is getting around. The only thing that would surprise us is if the Baltimore police was alone in evaluating the clever BEAR rifle for their department. These rifles are going to get around. But it doesn’t hurt that they’re a Baltimore company, either.