I put in a call to Radian Weapons (formerly AXTS) looking to gather test and eval units of some smaller parts and as luck would have it, ended up getting them all in the form of a hand-built rifle. My first range day ended up having significant rain and wind blow in, preventing me from shooting for groups as my targets were flapping and flying around. I was able to put a couple hundred rounds downrange and get a good feel for this rifle. While I’m going to hold off on a full review until I get another 500 rounds or so through the Model 1, I’d like to go over the features list and tell you what I think so far.
All specs as per Radian Weapons website.
- Billet machined lower made from 7075-T6 aluminum
- Ambidextrous bolt hold open and magazine release buttons
- Radian Talon modular ambidextrous 45/90 degree safety selector
- ATC AR gold match trigger
- Magpul grip
- 6-position mil-spec receiver extension and Magpul buttstock
- Sub-MOA guarantee with Black Hills match ammunition
- Billet Machined 7075-T6 Upper Receiver w/ M4 Feed Ramps
- Proprietary Extended Aluminum Hand Guard w/ Magpul M-LOK® Modular Mounting System and Integrated Upper/Hand Guard Stainless Steel Anti-Rotation Pin
- Match Grade 416R Stainless Steel Barrel w/ Polished Crown and Feed Ramps, Chambered in .223 Wylde/5.56 NATO or 300 BLK, Threaded ½ x 28 (.223) or 5/8 x 24 (300 BLK)
- Enhanced Black Nitride M16 Bolt Carrier Group
- DLC Coated Lightweight Titanium Forward Assist
- Radian Raptor-SD™ Suppressor-Optimized Ambidextrous Charging Handle
- SilencerCo® ASR™ Flash Hider/Suppressor Mount
My T&E rifle shipped with a 16″ barrel in .223 Wylde. It arrived in a hard case with custom cut foam wrapped around it. I had just received Atibal’s fixed 3x MROC, so I affixed that before heading out to the range.
I have a small supply of match grade ammo on hand, as well as plenty of cheaper rounds. The weather being what it was, I saved the match rounds for next time and focused on shooting drills. I had about 125 yards worth of rock pit in front of me and I made the most of it. After a quick 25 yard zero with the MROC, I got to work.
I started out with standing offhand shots on 1-2″ targets around the 100 yard line. Easy hits on near every shot. Working some CQB drills at 25-50 yards, I really started to notice how solid the rifle feels. We’ve all picked up someone’s budget built garage AR before, and it’s not hard to find one that feels like it came from a bunch of different manufacturers. The Model 1 feels like it was cut entirely from the same chunk of metal.
Moving on to double taps at close range before aiming for the smallest broken shards of clay pigeons I could find at the far end of the pit, I made a mental note on the recoil impulse. Not that .223/5.56 are bruisers of any sort, but this was by far the lightest recoil impulse I’ve felt on a centerfire rifle. The balance and heft of this shooter lends itself to fast follow-ups and quick transitions. The trigger is light, consistent and has an incredible break on it. Leaning up against a wooden spool, I didn’t have any trouble keeping rounds touching at 25 yards or in a tight cluster at 50 yards despite the wind and a shooting platform that was 3 wobbles short of stable.
Moving on to the subject of ambidextrous controls, I took some time to run the rifle with both hands, back and forth every couple of rounds. The A-DAC ™ (Ambi Dual Action Control) bolt hold open button on the right side of the rifle is the natural evolution of the Magpul B.A.D lever (and other products like it) that gives the shooter the ability to not only drop mags, but to hold or release the bolt using the trigger finger while keeping it near the fire controls. Rather than a bolt-on accessory, the A-DAC is built-in and performs as well as you would expect it to, having been designed and built into the lower from the ground up.
So, the Radian Model 1 has so far proved itself accurate, sturdy and dependable as well. Not one stoppage, malfunction or jam despite running the rifle without lube, using cheap russian ammo. The Model 1 feels like an awesome genetic hybrid of 3-gun competition shooter, hunting rifle and patrol rifle. I still want to put a significant number of rounds through this thing before my final review, but the main question of the review has changed. Instead of “just how good is this thing?”, my question has become “is this the best AR I’ve ever shot?”.