While spending some time at Gunsite earlier this month, Phil and I were able to spend some time on the range with the Remington R4-Entry, also known as the R4-Enhanced. We fired from fairly close range at just 25 yards away from paper targets – even moving closer at one point for some video time – and I have to say, as always, there’s not much in gun life more fun than select fire.
The R4-Entry is a member of what Remington refers to as their “M16-type family” and is backed by more than four decades of field work. It’s a mil-spec carbine with an 11.5” barrel which is serialized and proof-tested and, most importantly, it’s made in the USA. That last detail is a requirement of the military contracts behind rifles and carbines such as these, and if you ask me – you didn’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway – that’s exactly how it should be.
As for how the R4-Entry handles, one of the first things I noticed about it was its size. With my long arms and fingers and its shortened length, it was definitely tucked in close to my body. The stock was a bit short for me, but this model does have multiple styles and extensions available, they just weren’t available at the range that day. My reach to grip the fore-end wasn’t far and my fingers wrapped around it a bit farther than I’d originally expected. I fired it both bare-handed and wearing a pair of Under Armour gloves, and with the gloves I was able to obtain a more positive grip.
The R4-Entry mounted firmly against my shoulder with the stock tucked under my collarbone securely. Unlike the Honey Badger, which I reviewed a few days ago, the R4-Entry has a decently hefty stock, giving the shooter a feeling of solid, direct connection with the gun. The sights were A3 Removable Carry Handle Sights; there are many pros to iron sights including their durability – because heaven knows the beating this carbine takes in the field – lighter weight, and faster target acquisition. If you’re going to be humping a carbine over long distances the last thing you want are heavy optics, just like you don’t want to risk destroying said optics clawing your way up a mountainside in the Hindu Kush. Yes, there are benefits to optics, such as the way they gather light, magnify, and allow for shots at longer ranges and during low light, but there’s a reason so many shooters are diehard iron sights fans. There’s also more than one soldier out there putting these sights on their personal rifles when they get stateside because they remind them of their M4’s setup during deployment. But I digress.
The family of R4s is, indeed, from the Remington Defense line, and that means they’re for the military and law enforcement. Because of that they have semi and full-auto capabilities, as you would expect. However, there is going to be a semi-auto R4-Enhanced coming onto the commercial market in the first half of 2015. The commercially-available carbine does not yet have a set MSRP, but I can tell you it will most likely be above $1850.00.
Back to the R4-Entry. The R4-Entry is chambered in 5.56 NATO which is a popular round both in and out of the military. Recently a remark was made regarding the felt recoil of the 5.56 NATO – specifically regarding its nonexistence – and this seems as good a time as any to address it. Because while it is certainly true the 5.56 NATO does not have the felt recoil of other calibers, you do feel it. Yes, it depends on many factors, from personal preference to the stock to the gun itself, but the 5.56 NATO does not produce the popcorn-light ping of a .22LR. Neither does it produce the 43-pound-plus whip produced by a .338 Lapua Magnum; for the record, there are many who can attest to my undying love (and mild obsession) with the .338 Lapua Magnum: I adore it, I love it, I would marry it if it was human. But the fact remains the 5.56 NATO does have felt recoil, and when you’re firing a carbine like the R4-Entry on full-auto, or even in bursts, the sharpness of that recoil can rear its head more than you might expect. It may sound ridiculous, but I tend to prefer the booming recoil of a .338 Lapua to the bee-sting quickness of the 5.56 NATO. Remember, we all have different preferences.
On the range at Gunsite I fired the R4-Entry in short bursts. With bare hands the trigger was fairly crisp and light. Accuracy was easy to maintain and that aforementioned felt recoil was negligible – but it was there. When you’re firing bursts of 5.56 NATO from a carbine you’re going to feel some vibrations in your shoulder. After finding myself adjusting my grip on the carbine a few times I decided to put gloves on and went with my Under Armour Tactical Knuckle Gloves. The reinforced palm and silicone grips on the gloves did give me a more positive grip on the carbine, and I am not one who constantly shoots while wearing gloves. However, in this case I did prefer the feel of the carbine with gloves rather than without. The gloves in no way deadened my trigger finger; bursts remained steady and light.
I enjoyed the R4-Entry enough to go back more than once for fresh mags, dropping extras in my jacket pockets and also utilizing Phil’s pockets at one point. Single shots were easy to place and short bursts were, as always, just plain fun. Towards the end of my time with the carbine I was waved in closer to the target for videotaping and found that although being closer is always easier it wasn’t that noticeable of a difference. Whether standing a bit farther away or up close and personal the R4-Entry performed nicely, slinging lead down-range with nice accuracy. Shot placement was a simple matter.
It’s easy to see why the Philippine Army recently ordered 63,000 R4s to replace their older M14s and M16A2s and an Australian law enforcement agency also purchased a number of R4s at the end of 2012. The R4-Entry, specifically, is an efficient, capable weapon. And since the R4-Enhanced in semi-auto will be coming your way in 2015, you might want to consider adding it to your collection if you’re a fan of the 5.56 NATO.
Caliber: 5.56 NATO BarrelLength:11.5″/6Groove/1:7″Twist Fire Control: Semi-Auto, Full Auto Upper Receiver: A3 Type Sights: A3 Removable Carry Handle Optics: Optional Stock: Several Available; MIL-SPEC Receiver Extension Handguard: Standard, Railed, or RAHG Magazine: GI-Type or Magpul P-MAG Flash Suppressor: A2-Type or AAC Blackout Suppressor: AAC M4-2000 Optional Finish: Anodized/Parkerized