Cobalt Kinetics | SHOT 2017

Oh, Cobalt Kinetics… Always pushing the envelope; sometimes just wadding up the envelope and inventing email. The past three years I have been following them, Cobalt Kinetics has come out with pretty clever engineering tricks to manage common functions that we take for granted when running a normal AR patterned rifle.

Update for the CARS system is the ability to turn the auto magazine drop feature off.

Update for the CARS system is the ability to turn the auto magazine drop feature off.

This year they made an improvement to the CARS system (the CARS is the automatic magazine release and bolt lock back feature) based on feedback from users. The update, while not ground-breaking in concept (though engineering is another story), allows the operator to turn the CARS functionality on and off.

The new flared magazine well contains the wiring for the magazine round counter.

The new flared magazine well contains the wiring for the magazine round counter–yes, I said Magazine Round Counter.

The new thing they are bringing this year is a tad sexier. They have built a round counter. Disclaimer: we had exclusive access to Range Day on Sunday, and Cobalt Kinetics did not have the system physically at the range–it was in route. I will update with pictures of the round counter system once it gets there on actual Range Day.

The round counter works as a two part system. Basically the magazine is retrofitted with a thin metal strip, a special follower, and a new baseplate with some electronics. This determines exactly where in the magazine the follower currently is, and from this the round count is developed. It then transmits the information (via either wired or wireless) to a small unit that is mounted somewhere on the rifle in view. This unit indicates the current status of the magazine via colored LEDs. Since the status is tied to the magazine itself, when another magazine is swapped, the counter automatically updates with the new information.

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


  • Keiichi

    Cool idea, that round counter… it’ll be interesting to see how durable and reliable it is. I presume it’s targeted toward the competition market. It’d be nice to get pricing info if you can, and whether they’ll be releasing kits to upgrade other magazines to be compatible with the system.

    • Doc Rader

      Yes, initially competition market. No price yet. The magazines have to have enough room to accommodate the changes–so not sure that list is yet.

    • RSG

      Cobalt = extraordinarily expensive.

  • pithy


    • Halo 1 did this also, and it makes me excited.


  • BrandonAKsALot

    Their designs really give me inappropriate feelings toward a firearm.

  • Colonel K

    Looks like a Klingon assault rifle.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    To quote everyone’s favorite pineapple-dwelling deep-sea sponge, “I don’t need it”.