Guns & Ammo Network

Collapse bottom bar
AR-15 Rifles

Special Ops Tactical Hanson 14.5 Review

by Sean Utley   |  October 3rd, 2013 0

Photos by Sean Utley

It’s been a long time.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve shot a rifle with a barrel length beyond the 12-inch marker. I know there are some ballistic disadvantages that come with shorter barrel lengths, but I don’t care. I mean, I do care. It’s just that I’m convinced, should I have to use a rifle for protection purposes, it will more than likely be within effective ranges for short barrels.

Having been confused by a swarm of new products from many new manufacturers over the past couple of years, I sort of lost track of what was really going on in the AR market. I’m going to assume that your time is just as hard to come by as mine, so as you know, it gets tough to keep up with certain developments unless you are truly devoted. Sort of like your Facebook page.

A buddy of mine brought Special Ops Tactical to my attention. He had shot one of their rifles and was impressed. In his usual barrage of highly technical firearm verbiage, he conveyed to me some of the features that were unique to this rifle, ones that set apart this AR. So I decided to give Special Ops a call to see if I could give one a shakedown.

The Company
Based out of Apopka, Florida, Special Ops Tactical was started by Garrett Potter and Clint Hanson. The company has been around a very short time, about two and a half years. I’d say they classify as new, but that’s not to say they aren’t experienced. Both Garrett and Clint have many years working with the AR platform. Both were previously with Spike’s Tactical, where Garrett was involved with LE sales and Clint built and tested rifles. Clint now works with Special Ops Tactical and Ballistic Advantage LLC as a master armorer. Ballistic Advantage specializes in high-quality precision barrels and components for the discriminating shooter. The base product from Special Ops is nothing new, a direct-impingement AR. No pistons here.

I asked Garrett why he would want to start another gun company, especially when the AR market is already so competitive. According to Garrett, money is not the reason. Rather, he has a love for the AR and a desire to continue to enhance and improve upon it.

The Gun
I opted for the Special Ops Tactical (SOT) 141⁄2-inch Hanson Shoulderless Profile. That’s a mouthful. It has a 141⁄2-inch stainless steel barrel with a permanently attached YHM Phantom flash hider, bringing total length to 16 inches. Man, that’s long. More on the barrel later. Support hand and accessories reside on a 12.6-inch free-floated rail, of SOT’s design. The flattop upper receiver sits on a Mil-Spec lower and is machined from 7075-T6 aluminum.

The gun is handsome. I’ve often wondered how some ARs look so much better than others. Obviously, the rail style, length of forend, stock and grip make a difference. But I’m convinced there are elements that play into my senses when it comes to this aesthetic impression. Whatever it is, some of these rifles have “the look” and others don’t. This one does. The initial unpacking of the SOT Hanson reveals a very attractive finish on the gun. The receivers have an even, matte finish, one that exudes a quality appearance.

Upper and lower receivers are Mil-Spec, as are countless other parts on the SOT Hanson such as the trigger group, buffer tube and bolt-carrier group. The gas tube and gas block are coated in Melonite to minimize damaging effects of wear and corrosion. It’s worth mentioning that the Melonite coating on these parts is standard across the whole line of products from Special Ops. You don’t have to buy one of the high-end rifles to get these enhancements. That’s definitely something worth noting. With all of the AR choices in the marketplace, it’s imperative to be aware of the seemingly little nuances with each make and model. Having these features standard, especially at competitive prices, is an obvious advantage.

My sample rifle came optioned out with Magpul furniture: CTR stock, MBUS, MOE grip and triggerguard. Standard setup would include an A2 pistol grip, M4 stock and no sights.

Load Comments ( )
back to top