Hornady Rapid Rack & Ballistic Band

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The ammunition company Hornady has come out with two very simple products. The first one is called the “Rapid Rack”. It is basically a chamber flag, made out entirely out of aluminum. Ideally, a shooter can have this in their weapon system, thus keeping it a condition three weapon with only a magazine of live rounds inserted, but nothing in the chamber. If the weapon needs to be deployed, one simply “racks” the chamber flag to the rear, thus removing the empty chamber indicator, and pushing the bolt on an AR15 or shotgun to the rear, thus loading and chambering the formally empty firearm. Retailing for $12.45 per one flag.

The Hornady® Rapid Rack™ is an empty chamber indicator that also operates as a load assist device for law enforcement officers or those who prefer to keep their long gun ready with a fully charged magazine and an empty chamber.

To use the Rapid Rack™ simply insert the cartridge-shaped portion of the Rapid Rack™ into the (unloaded and safe*) firearm’s chamber leaving the colored lever sticking out of the ejection port. Close the bolt allowing the extractor to grasp the extractor groove on the head of the Rapid Rack™, then insert a loaded magazine (AR-15/10) or load the tubular magazine (select 12 gauge shotguns**). The visible colored lever visually displays that the chamber is empty. To “make ready”, simply shoulder the firearm, grab the lever and pull straight back and allow the Rapid Rack™ to fall to the ground as the now fully charged bolt springs forward to feed a round into the chamber.

Users that prefer to charge their firearm normally are free to do so as the Rapid Rack™ will not interfere with standard operation.

On the range, on patrol, or at home, you can go from condition 3 to locked and loaded in less than a second. Just grip it and rip it with the Hornady® Rapid Rack™.

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I think it’s forward thinking in the idea of it, but too many shooters have their own preferences, and too many police departments have their own SOPs when it comes to what they want their officers weapons to be in what conditions when not used. What do you think?

The other product is called the “Ballistic Band”, and consists of an elastic piece, that has blank data printed on it where a shooter can input long distance dope at different ranges, and then wrap the band around the rifle or their hand, for easy viewing while shooting. Retailing for $5.16.

Avoid confusion and tag your guns with these handy Ballistic Bands. Sold as a 2-pack, the bands allow shooters to record the ammunition, bullet weight and ballistic information for quick reference in the field or in storage. Place it on your gun stock or wear on your wrist.

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Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • itsmefool

    Aww, man, ya mean no more taping the dope card on the stock? That band ain’t nearly as cool!

    • Bill

      And you have to make sure that the right band is with the right rifle, and right load.

      • itsmefool

        Indeed! Plus, I don’t wear anything on my wrist but a watch, so I’d probably forget it when heading out to the range…I’ve got lots of other stuff to worry about!

  • Andrew

    I know my AR15 has an empty chamber because the hammer isn’t cocked and the selector can’t be moved to the safe position. Even if a round is chambered, I’m a big boy and know not to pull the trigger as a means of finding out. No thanks, rapid rack. I don’t need any additional pieces of metal jammed inside my rifle.

    • Mcameron

      the purpose of a chamber flag isnt necessarily so YOU know your rifle is clear….its so OTHER people know your rifle is clear.

      pulling a gun in and out of a cruiser, going to and from the range….

      it makes more sense for an officer in a patrol car……where he may or may not be the one who ends up grabbing the rifle…..that way whoever grabs it instantly knows the status of the weapon.

      • B Hawk

        What? Anyone, and anytime someone “grabs” a rifle, they should treat it as a hot weapon. Big boys don’t need training wheels, and the inexperienced should keep their hands off my weapon!

        • Mcameron

          alright dude…..its only a chamber flag…..no need for macho chest thumping and getting your knickers in a twist……

          • B Hawk

            Says the guy who probably carry’s without one in the chamber AND the safety engaged!

          • Mcameron

            ummm…no….i carry a G17 with one in the chamber…..no safety to disengage.

            but im not really sure what point you were trying to make there……

        • Nick

          Imagine you’re a cop in an active shooter situation. You run to the nearest cruiser to grab a rifle. Is it loaded? If this chamber flag is sticking out you know immediately you need to load it before heading back to the fire fight. In the heat of the moment, an officer could easily overlook that the bolt was closed, but the chamber empty.

          It’s also good on the range to signal to anyone near that the gun is indeed safe. Obviously it can’t fire with a big chunk of metal inserted like that and sticking out the ejector port.

      • itsmefool

        My thought for this device was at the range, too, but mine requires the bolt open anyway when going downrange…a flag would be removed by the RSO and a stern warning to obey range rules would follow!

        • Mcameron

          an open bolt is alright, but a chamber flag (which is arguably safer) is verboten?

          that sounds like the dumbest range rule ive ever heard.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Agreed. I have to wonder if they’ve ever heard of weapons firing from the open bolt position.

          • itsmefool

            I’m sure they have, but usually, those require somebody pulling the trigger! The rules are bolts open after cease fire and shooters move off the concrete pads. Guns are then checked, then we’re allowed downrange.

          • itsmefool

            Never said it was verboten…just guessing what the RSO would say…perhaps it would indeed be fine, but I just leave my bolt open or BCG back.

        • Phillip Cooper

          So what does Rambo RSO do with weapons that don’t HAVE bolt hold-open ability?

          • JSmath

            Destroys them on the spot; Obviously.

            🙂

  • Edeco

    The racker seems silly. Superfluous since I like the charging handle, and I could be wrong, but looks like it could slip out before fully cycling.

    I want those bracelets though. Not that color. Black, grey, yellow, or blue-grey. With less space used for logos.

    • Mcameron

      it looks like the rapid rack is cut to the dims of a .223 round, so it looks as though the extractor should hold it in place and prevent it from slipping.

      • Phillip Cooper

        Pretty much exactly what it says in the article.

  • Sianmink

    The racker isn’t bad. If you run ‘cruiser safe’ it’s not in the way at all, and gives immediate visual confirmation of status, a whole lot quicker than poking the safety lever or doing a chamber check. And as stated, it uses the bolt’s existing extractor, so you don’t have to change your manual of arms if you don’t want to.
    The price is actually reasonable too, which for a firearms accessory is astounding.

    • Twilight sparkle

      I know of at least one police officer that shot her cruiser last year because she had little expierence, this would help prevent things like that.

      • USMC03Vet

        Was she promoted?

        • Twilight sparkle

          Of course… That’s how the government works

  • Bill

    I wonder how many AR locks and mounts that checked that against. All I need in my car is one more thing sticking out to catch on stuff, or have someone screw with when I’m not around.

  • Phil Hsueh

    I’m kind of curious as to what benefits are there in making the racker out of aluminum, couldn’t they have made it from a polymer and be able to sell it for less? I’d think that it would be easier to make it out polymer since you could simply cast it instead of having to machine it, which is how I’m guessing these are made.

    • Mcameron

      if they made it out of polymer, the “flag/ arm” would shear off or bend within a hand full of uses.

      making it out of aluminum means you can actually train with it

      • ostiariusalpha

        And the rim section of this flag would not last long with the extractor wearing on just polymer. I suppose they might have made the main chambering body from a quality polymer with aluminum only for the flag arm and a small, rimmed base body that the chamber body and flag arm attach to, but who knows how much less expensive that would really be?

        • Mcameron

          honestly, making it out of polymer AND aluminum would probably add to the cost.

          aluminum is cheap, machining aluminum is cheap, no need to make things any more complicated than they need to be

      • Phillip Cooper

        Do your Glock triggers sheer off within a handful of uses? No.
        How about your tires. Do they regularly spit chunks of tread off?
        How about F1 racers- do they regularly fly into millions of pieces from non-abusive (crash) use? Even in the case of a crash- it’s flat out amazing what “a little plastic” can take.

        “Polymer”=weak.
        It’s called “materials science” for a reason.

        • Mcameron

          and F1 Chassis is not even comparable to a plastic chamber flag…..
          and triggers on firearms are under almost zero stress…

          the type of plastic used in a cheap consumer grade product is not going to be anything special….its most likely going to be some type of nylon or acrylic…both of which to not have a particularly high tensile and yield strength…..

          that flag creates a large moment about the base, putting a lot of stress on the joint between the arm and the flag…

          trust me, i know “material science”

        • Nick

          Closing the bolt against it adds shear tension to the flag and the main body of the product. Close the bolt too quickly on it, and you’ll quickly have two pieces instead of one.

          As the other guy said, comparing the plastics of an F1 car to a basic plastic for a consumer product is like comparing a Ferrari to a pinto. Most consumer products are made of ABS or polystyrene or polyethylene. None of which do particularly well against shear forces.

    • raz-0

      You’d find out the problems 3-gunners are painfully aware of with chamber flags where you insert polymer into the chamber. Namely after a course of fire, you can wind up melting it, or at least getting it a bit mushy. The net result being you sheer a piece of it off and wind up with a barrel obstruction.

      I personally use on that goes in the magwell and has a big flag coming out the ejection port to avoid that. Aluminum is another way to deal with it.

    • JSmath

      People are talking about wear, which is one of the primary reasons why aluminum should be used in place of polymer, but it really needs to be said: Because aluminum is significantly stronger, too.

      Not talking about scratch resistance, but judging from how they presented the thing, they very likely trialed it in polymer and found out it snaps after a few uses due to the forces involved in snapping the bolt back in that “low drag” manner.

  • Duray

    We carried with a chamber flag at my old job. It engaged the extractor, but couldn’t be racked like this one; you had to use the charging handle. I like this better, since ergonomically it’s like a side charging handle. Good product.

  • Treyh007

    I wish I had enough guns to forget the ammo loads I use in them. Cool idea but I’m not there quite yet!