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Bravo Company M4A1 EAG Tactical Review

by James Tarr   |  March 19th, 2013 0

Bravo-Company-M4A1-EAG-Tactical_001

I first came across Bravo Company USA several years ago when I was upgrading one of my M4s, and it quickly became my go-to source for all things AR-15. Its selection of quality products was as good as anybody’s in the business, and its prices were better. Soon the company was offering barrels and upper receiver assemblies built by its own in-house division, Bravo Company Manufacturing. It wasn’t until later that I became aware of the impetus that resulted in the formation of BCM.

Bravo Company Manufacturing was founded in 2005 to meet the demands of the private security market. While private security contractors have been around for centuries under various names, the modern business seemed to operate quiet and unnoticed until 2003. While contractors were performing missions similar to or in support of the military, they were not in the military’s supply chain. Early on, security contractors needed a commercial alternative to the M4 that they could depend on, and they turned to BCM. Bravo’s product line was built with this end-user’s needs in mind, following the philosophy of “no shortcuts.”

Since its introduction, the BCM line has proven highly popular among knowledgeable shooters. Bravo Company is best known for offering quality components that meet or exceed MIL-SPEC. While BCM has been selling upper and lower receivers for a while, it didn’t offer a complete gun. That has now changed, and with its EAG Tactical Carbine, BCM has stepped up its game to an entirely different level.

E.A.G. Tactical was incorporated in 1992 by Pat Rogers, a retired chief warrant officer of Marines and retired NYPD sergeant with a wide and varied background in the counterterrorism community. For almost 20 years, E.A.G. Tactical has been teaching military, police and civilians how to win the fight. Pat and his instructors are no strangers to BCM rifles, and a few years ago Paul Buffoni, owner of Bravo Company, sent Pat some carbines with mid-length gas systems to test.

Pat admitted that he didn’t have much experience with mid-length gas systems, and while he’d heard that they were softer-shooting and more reliable, he said, “I’m very skeptical of what I read and hear.”

The proof is in the doing, and one of those 16-inch-barreled guns is still in the rack at E.A.G. Tactical, about to cross the 40,000-round mark with only minimal cleaning. The bolt has been replaced once, and the extractor and extractor spring have been replaced three times, but the rifle has never seen a bore brush.

“While the mid-length gas system certainly shoots softer, it appears that wear on parts may be reduced as well,” Pat observed. This, in fact, is the reason mid-length gas systems were introduced, as they reduce the gas impulse and the pressure on the bolt before it unlocks. The unintended result is a softer-shooting gun.

When it came time to collaborate on an “everything you need and nothing you don’t” rifle, Pat went with equipment that he knew worked.

“While there’s not much of an actual difference between a 16-inch barrel and a 14½-inch barrel with a permanently attached flash hider, there is a big perceived difference in how it feels in the hands, which is why we went with the shorter barrel in the EAG Tactical Carbine,” Pat remarked. “The loss of velocity isn’t really a factor.”

The EAG carbine models get special serial numbers and logo etchings on the front of the magwell and upper receiver, but otherwise they are identical to the quality receivers BCM mounts on all its guns. The barrel is BCM’s government-profile, 1:7-inch twist, 14½-inch, cold-hammer-forged barrel with a permanently attached extended A2-style flash hider for a total length of 16.1 inches. The barrel is chrome lined, and it and the receiver sport M4 cuts for increased reliability.

The carbine comes with nine-inch tactical free-float handguards from LaRue Tactical. “Most people don’t need rails,” Rogers admitted, “but we’re not selling this gun to ‘most people,’ but to the people who will use them.” A lot of the students as E.A.G. Tactical are police and military who have to mount not just flashlights on their rifles but IR modules, NV optics, etc. “It also provides enhanced cooling over a standard handguard,” Rogers stated.

To complement the rails, the EAG package comes complete with three TangoDown SCAR rail covers and TangoDown’s short, quick-release vertical grip (the QD-K). “Ten years ago everybody was using the vertical grip as a vertical grip, but not anymore,” Rogers said when asked why he chose TangoDown’s short version. “I just use it as a hand stop.”

For the rear sling mount, the carbine has a TangoDown PR #4 sling mount. This installs on any carbine’s receiver extension with no tools other than an Allen wrench. While over-torquing mounts such as this can crimp the buffer tube and possibly affect reliability, they are the only type of mounts allowed by a number of alphabet-soup agencies whose employees are prohibited from any permanent firearm modifications.

The BCM carrier group is MPI (Magnetic Particle Inspected) and HPT (High Pressure Tested). The carrier’s key is chrome lined, heat treated and properly staked per MIL-SPEC. The bolt assembly is machined from MIL-SPEC Carpenter No. 158 steel and shot peened for increased strength. The EAG is also supplied with the proper heavy carbine buffer.

The EAG comes with one of BCM’s Gunfighter charging handles made by Vltor, in this case its Mod 3 (large latch). This superbly redesigned handle is not only much tougher than the original, whose roll pin tended to fail, it also enables the user to operate the handle while keeping the firing hand on his pistol grip.

The carbine features upgraded accessories when compared with a MIL-SPEC rifle, including a Magpul MOE stock and TangoDown Battle Grip. “The M4 stock is serviceable,” Rogers admitted, “but the Magpul MOE is an improved, economical, minimalist design. It’s not a Mercedes-Benz. We put the best possible stuff we could get on the gun while keeping it functional, useful and affordable.”

EAG carbines can be had with either black or flat dark earth furniture. A BCM/Troy Industries Rear Battle Sight comes standard on the carbine, although Rogers stated that almost everybody he trains uses a red dot sight on his rifle. “Ninety-five percent of the red dots we see are EOTechs or Aimpoints,” he said. He prefers the Aimpoint because of its battery life.

To round out the package, the EAG carbine comes with a padded Viking Tactics (VTAC) sling and light mount for the provided SureFire G2 LED flashlight. This is a polymer mount designed for rails, which means the user can position it anywhere on the fore-end.

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