The concept of the adjustable gas block isn’t anything really new or novel in the world of firearms. In fact, adjustable gas blocks have been used in firearms since as early as the 1930s with the Legendary M1 Garand rifle being one of the first military issue rifles to feature an adjustable gas system. Today, adjustable gas blocks are looked at as somewhat of a niche item, but one with a lot of purposes and a lot of capability when it comes to ammunition and accessory selection. Adjustable gas blocks can be beneficial in a number of ways but they usually necessitate the need for your handguard or forend to be short enough to give you access to the adjustment knob. The Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System essentially fixes that issue and the folks who run the company were kind enough to send me over one of their Gas Control Systems for testing and evaluation. Today we’ll go over my experiences with the product and where I think an item like this comes into play within the modern firearms world.
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TFB Review: Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System
- Tool-free adjustment
- Distinct numbered settings for easy status identification and repeatability
- Multiple lengths available for use even while tucked under extended handguards
- Modular design allows user-level configuration and maintenance
- Rotation limited to avoid possibility of unintentional disassembly
- Works with .223 Remington/5.56x45mm plus 300 AAC Blackout, .308
- Winchester/7.62 NATO, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and all other cartridges
- Currently available for barrels with a 0.750″ gas-block journal diameter. Additional sizes to follow
Installation – Easy As Pie
The Riflespeed system is installed just like any other gas block but uses a straight gas tube instead of the traditionally curved gas tube. This is necessary due to the overall height of the gas block which measures 1.53-inches tall meaning it can fit underneath most handguards on the market. When I put together an upper for this test I made use of an ALG Defense Ergonomic Modular Rail (EMR) V0X 10-Inch handguard. The handguard proved to be just barely tall enough to fit the Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System underneath and with a 10-inch rail the second-longest adjustment knob (due to production shortages I was unable to get the longest version which would have allowed me to use a much longer rail) I was able to have a good bit of the knob left over at the end to make adjustments with.
The gas block itself is installed with two set screws but accommodation for a roll pin to go underneath the barrel is also available if you have a compatible barrel. The two set screws did not come with any sort of thread locker and I would highly recommend that you use some when installing this if you’re going to forego the roll pin. As stated above, the Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System is currently only compatible with barrels that feature a 0.750″ gas-block journal diameter, however, more sizes will be coming and I am particularly interested in one compatible with a 0.875 gas-block journal so that I can dial in my suppressed .458 SOCOM.
Overall, there is nothing complex about the installation of the Riflespeed system. It is straightforward and if you’ve ever assembled an AR before, then you’ll be familiar with how to do this. Swapping out the gas adjustment knobs is also easy and still doesn’t require tools even though it also features a hard stop at both ends of its adjustment range (12 in total). Simply depress the detent with your finger and unscrew the knob and swap it out for the length you want.
After heading to the range with my newly assembled rifle I got to work testing out the different ranges of the gas block to see where it needed to be for my particular selection of ammunition, bolt carrier group, buffer, and ambient temperature. Starting at setting “1” I got predictable results (the rifle didn’t cycle and the bolt traveled nowhere). I ran an additional 4 rounds at this setting to test whether or not the setting would change on its own and just like rifle speed claims, it does not walk out of place. I continued to test this function throughout my range session and never found that the gas adjustment knob would jump out of place even when rapid firing the weapon. As an added note here – as you can see in the video below, the system really is “finger adjustable” but isn’t so easy as to walk itself out of its current selected position.
After messing around with the gas system a bit, I finally settled on setting “6” for my rifle. This allowed the rifle to cycle just enough to reliably eject rounds, and lock the bolt back. On setting “5”, the rounds cycled but the ejection was quite weak and the bolt didn’t lock to the rear. Higher gas settings beyond “6” demonstrated that the system is capable of providing an insane amount of gas to the rifle to compensate for lower power ammunition (my test ammo was 55-grain Frontier), and environmental conditions. Likewise, if you mount a suppressor and you find that you are getting too much blowback or back pressure, you can close the gas system some and prevent that from becoming an issue – all at the range and all without using any tools – frankly I find the system quite handy. I ran into no issues with fouling during my testing and I did not apply any CLP to the spring plunger before my range session but Riflespeed has stated that their recommended maintenance interval is before every range session (in previous comments they’ve mentioned that they’ve shot thousands of rounds through the system and only needed to lube and clean the system after several thousand rounds were fired).
Overall I like the Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System. Having participated in a couple of competitions, I know firsthand how environmental factors can wreak havoc on match days. Kyle Lynch who helped facilitate this review told me that the impetus for the Riflespeed system was hatched during a multi-day match where the temperature dropped significantly leading to his rifle not running in the much colder temperatures. With this gas system, it would have been no problem and there would have been no need to switch ammunition or rifles. Very useful for adapting to environmental or ammunition factors since I know these days we all probably have a mixed box of brass .223, 5.56, and probably even some steel-cased stuff in there too.
The gas block’s use for a rifle with a suppressor is also unquestionable. Since a lot of people like to run one can for several rifles, this would allow you to use the rifle more effectively without needing to swap ammo – simply adjust the gas for use with or without the suppressor. Backblast from suppressors can be quite nasty and can even injure you if you’re not wearing proper eyewear so in a way the gas block provides an additional layer of safety when properly adjusted in addition to making the rifle more comfortable to shoot with the suppressor mounted.
Finally, I think that this would really come in handy for those of us that like to roll our own ammunition or who are working on weird wildcat cartridges. If you’re working on some homemade subsonic loads or find that your latest loading of ammunition is too spicy for your rifle, you could easily just dial back the gas and have a softer shooting rifle. Likewise, if your ammo isn’t giving the rifle enough oomph to cycle, just dial it back up – it’s that easy!
I tried really hard to find any flaws with the rifle speed system (truth be told I can’t), however, if I was forced to pick two things out it would be that it adds weight, and it costs $200 which is a steep price to pay when other adjustable gas systems cost less than half of that. However, the Riflespeed Adjustable Gas Control System not only gives you control over your gas system but also allows you to have a longer handguard and requires no tools to adjust it. In the end, you’ll have to really decide whether or not this is good for you but my personal opinion is that this would come in handy on almost any AR pattern rifle and adds a lot of variability in the ammunition and environments you can shoot in.
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