Wilson Combat and Paul Howe Build a Rifle

    Wilson Combat has been doing custom builds and firearms mods since 1977, and those 37 years of experience were put to good use with their creation of the Paul Howe Tactical Carbine (PHTC). The PHTC is chambered in 5.56 NATO and has Wilson Combat’s eye-catching Camouflage Armor-Tuff finish, which was created by the company with this gun in mind. It isn’t just about looking good, though; the hand-applied finish was designed to help it blend into both urban and rural environments. And in fact the finish helps keep the PHTC cool even in higher temperatures and, in turn, reduces the gun’s IR signature.


    The components were selected by retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Paul Howe, who served 20 years, 10 of which were as a Delta Force operator. Howe was present at the Battle of Mogadishu as well as a few other combat actions. When he retired from the army he founded Combat Shooting and Tactics (CSAT) which focuses on law enforcement and military, although civilians are also welcome. He put his considerable experience as a team leader and firearms instructor to use creating what he describes as his “ultimate all-around tactical rifle” ; if you’re looking for a match-grade tactical rifle made to the specifications of a tier-one operator, this is it.


    The PHTC has a 14.7” stainless steel barrel with a permanently affixed flash hider, which brings the barrel length into legal compliance by nudging it over the 16” minimum length requirement. The barrel is Wilson Combat’s own Recon SR fluted lightweight barrel and has a 1-8 twist. The PHTC also features a Wilson Combat T.R.I.M. rail, detachable Daniel Defense fixed front sight and a rear flip-up BUS with a CSAT aperture that was designed by Howe himself. The CSAT aperture is designed for fast combat sighting up to 300 yards.


    And to make the PHTC even more tactically friendly, the standard trigger was selected with glove use in mind. It has Wilson Combat’s two stage TTU – Tactical Trigger Unit – with heavy mil-spec springs and what the company describes as an “ultra crisp” 4.5-lb trigger. The TTU’s components are precision CNC machined from solid bar stock and the hammer, trigger, and disconnector are made of H13 steel; basically it’s one tough trigger. It also has a positive trigger reset and, according to Wilson Combat, it “meet(s) or exceed(s) the military specifications for drop safety.”

    Overall length of the PHTC is 34.25” and empty weight is 7.54 lbs. MSRP is currently $2600.00.

    This certainly sounds like a nice tactical gun, and the fact that the various parts were selected by Howe is absolutely a big selling point for a large number of people. Most SOF know their rifles well, and getting a chance to own a gun an operator deems tactically capable does make it worth a second look.

    So, what do you all think of the PHTC from a tactical standpoint?

    Test sheet with 5.56 NATO, 55 grain, at 100 yards

    Test sheet with 5.56 NATO, 55 grain, at 100 yards

    TFB Staffer

    TFB Staff, bringing you the latest gun news from around the world for a decade.