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Military & Law Enforcement Rifles Tactical

LaRue Tactical Costa Edition Hybrid Review

by Tom Beckstrand   |  March 19th, 2013 2

Texas has some mighty fine BBQ. In the not-too-distant past I was enjoying some of said BBQ with my fellow gun enthusiast and friend, Patrick. Pat is a Green Beret, a competitive shooter with a dose of combat experience and all-around good dude. We had just finished terrorizing a platter of brisket and ribs and were chasing it with some cobbler when I asked him, “What rifle would you choose for an end-of-the-world scenario if you could only have one?”

Pat got glassy-eyed, licked his fingers and began rattling off the specifications for his one-and-only rifle. We both agreed that choosing one rifle for a variety of missions involved determining what compromises we were willing to make.

We agreed that while they’re great to carry for extended periods of time, rifles with light, contoured barrels experience degradation in accuracy over prolonged firing strings. Lightweight rifles also have greater recoil and take more time to get back on target between shots.

Heavy barrels and heavy rifles can be exceptionally accurate and hold up well under sustained fire, but they are hell to carry around and make offhand, CQB and positional shooting (what we do the most of in combat) more difficult.

So the trick lies in finding a balance between weight and portability. Anyone who says they have the secret sauce and can build a super-light rifle that remains super-accurate under sustained fire isn’t telling the whole truth. Light weight and accuracy under sustained fire are mutually exclusive, so you must determine how much you want to compromise and for what.

Pat finally said that his end-of-the-world rifle would be a LaRue PredatAR, but that he’d replace the PredatAR barrel with the LaRue OBR barrel. So in his case, he’s willing to pay the weight penalty. Pat’s rationale was that the heavier contour of the OBR barrel would maintain its accuracy longer in a protracted gunfight—a real possibility should the world come to a screeching halt. The lighter weight of the PredatAR handguard and its extended length, however, were must-keep features.

The next morning I hustled off to the LaRue Tactical Range Day where I met up with Chris Costa to discuss his recent partnership with LaRue Tactical. There I had the opportunity to first examine the Costa Edition of the LaRue rifle. I wasn’t surprised to find that the Costa Edition LaRue OBR Hybrid takes the PredatAR as a base model but uses the OBR’s barrel and port selector technology. It seems that Chris and my buddy Pat think a lot alike.

The Partnership
One of the first questions I asked Chris was how he came to partner with LaRue Tactical. To understand Chris’s response, we must first examine his perspective and experience.

Chris is perhaps best known for his time as an instructor with Magpul Dynamics. Chris and Travis Haley worked closely together for a few years teaching carbine, pistol and shotgun courses to both civilian and military personnel. Travis and Chris have each moved on to other endeavors, but the experience they gained over those few years proved invaluable.

Chris saw and fired a lot of rifles during his time with Magpul Dynamics. He even had some exceptional rifles from other manufacturers loaned to him to shoot and demo for his students. Over time Chris began to notice differences in performance between the rifle he was shooting and the ones brought to his classes—even though both he and his students frequently fired the same model of rifle from the same manufacturer.

Where Chris’s rifles were accurate and dependable, the ones his students brought to class from the same manufacturer often failed in training. He began to suspect that he was being offered ringers to demo and that the quality wasn’t being extended to normal rank-and-file commercial types.

Then Chris attended a long-range precision course taught by Todd Hodnett in preparation for a video shoot. This was his first opportunity to evaluate several LaRue Tactical rifles in the course of a few days. He immediately noticed a consistency in quality of manufacturing and performance across all rifles. This impressed him.

So when I asked Chris why he partnered with LaRue Tactical, he said, “If you want a Costa gun, you’re getting a Costa gun. They’re all built to the same standard. There is no special sauce on my gun that won’t be on anybody else’s.”

I understand Chris’s point of view, and I respect him for that. I wouldn’t want to endorse a product that failed to perform as advertised, either.

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