One of the great things about Shot Show (besides seeing all the latest and greatest weapons for that year and maybe even getting to shoot them) is the people you meet. A little over three years ago I started hearing buzz about a company called Faxon Firearms out of Cincinnati, OH. At that time they were introducing a new rifle called the “ARAK” (named after the marrying of the best parts of the AR with the functionality of the AK). Since they are located just 3 hours south of me, I thought it the neighborly thing to do to reach out to them. Over the years, Bob Faxon, Nathan Schueth, and the team at Faxon have become good friends and I greatly admire what they are doing.
At Shot Show 2017 I was fortunate enough to be invited by Faxon to their range day that they held in conjunction with DesertTech, Freedom Munitions, Cobalt, and other mfgs. Many of the firearms that were there had suppressors on them, including a few of the Faxon’s. [Quick ADHD detour, I have never seen more Suppressors in my life than at Shot 2017. Many mfgs. are awaiting (with fingers crossed) for the passage of the HPA (Hearing Protection Act) that will make it so a Federal tax stamp (and 6-8 month application approval) is no longer required to obtain a suppressor. I’ll write more on this is in a later article.] If you’ve never shot a weapon suppressed (especially in the AR platform), take note. Most ARs operate on a gas cycling system known as “Direct Impingement” (DI). What this basically means is that as the bullet travels down the barrel, there is a small hole in the 12 o’clock position of the barrel that allows a set amount of gas to travel up through it and into a gas tube (about the dimension of a pipe cleaner). The gas travels rearward inside the gas tube towards the chamber and empties into the gas key that sits on top of the bolt carrier group (BCG) in the upper receiver. The buildup of gas inside the gas key forces the BCG back into the stock and ejects/loads the next round. An AK-47 operates somewhat similar, but instead of the gas coming down all the way to the shooters face, it only travels a few inches and pushes against a piston that is connected to the BCG. This causes the weapon to eject/load the next round. It’s very important to remember DI vs. Piston when shooting suppressed. Why you ask?
When you fire suppressed, as the bullet leaves the rifle a large amount of gas is trapped in the suppressor (this is what aids in reducing the noise of a gunshot). The result with DI is this trapped gas travels down the gas tube and into the BCG/upper receiver. Much of the gas escapes out the gap between the upper receiver and the charging handle (right in front of your face that is resting against the stock). I experienced this with all the DI guns I shot suppressed that night. Bottom line, I’d never want a DI suppressed in a mission critical situation, as repetitive shots can be difficult to make when your eyes are watering. Special ops teams wear goggles to reduce gas in the face (and more importantly shrapnel to their peepers).
Faxon’s ARAK does not have the DI gas issues a DI AR does. Per the above DI vs Piston, although the Faxon looks/feels like an AR, its’ gas system operates like an AK, but on a mil-spec AR lower. The vast majority of gas goes out the end of the suppressor, or above the shooters offhand (hand not pulling the trigger). The result is a gun I could shoot all day suppressed. I highly encourage you to give Faxon’s ARAK a closer look, especially if you are wanting to get your suppressor one day. They make an amazingly well-built weapon.