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.
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 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.