Slide Fire Solutions
I’d like to start by saying that this product is going to shock you like nothing you have ever seen. I don’t know what the future of it will be, and I don’t think that anyone does at this point. At present it comes with an ATF letter saying that it is a legal AR-15 accessory, and several thousand have been sold. The use of “simulated automatic fire” here are my words, not those of the manufacturer. There isn’t going to be any way to get around what this thing does and I think it is best to call it what it is.
The Slide Fire is a $369 replacement stock for your AR-15 that when used properly, simulates automatic fire. Since the invention of the semi-automatic rifle people have been learning to do what is called “bump firing” the gun. You hold the gun in a loose way and allow it to rock back and forth against the trigger finger, which simulates automatic fire. It is fun, but it burns a lot of ammo without any real ability to aim at anything.
The inventor of the Slide Fire, Jeremiah Cottle, a US Air Force veteran of three conflicts, took the bump fire concept and eliminated all of the variables that makes bump firing impractical. The result is a product that bump fires perfectly, is completely controllable, every time, with no special training. There are no permanent modifications to the gun and installation of the Slide Fire does not impair function of the rifle at all.
“The Slide Fire simply allows you to shoot as fast as you want to,” explains Mr. Cottle. “ You can shoot one round, 2 rounds, 3 rounds, 15 rounds or a full magazine. It isn’t governed by a mechanical auto-sear. There are no moving parts in the Slide Fire and no springs. You hold your finger on the trigger rest and push forward to fire the gun. It is not automatic. Nothing is automatic. You actively fire every round, and if you stop pushing forward or you take your finger off the trigger the gun stops firing. It just helps you fire the gun in semi-automatic very fast. You don’t need an auto-sear. You can fire the gun yourself as fast as you want. ”
If you have been around these parts a while you may remember another bump fire device that came onto the market in 2005, and that it too had at ATF letter when it first shipped. Several months down the road the ATF rescinded their letter and banned the device, which was called the Akins Accelerator. The customer list of the company was taken by ATF and every purchaser had to send back the springs from the device along with an affidavit that it was no longer working or something. I never got one and I don’t know about the operation of it and how it worked. But I do know that it was for the Ruger 10/22, not for an AR-15. I asked Mr. Cottle about his device and if he thought the same thing was going to happen to the Slide Fire that happened to the Akins Accelerator.
“I don’t think so,” he said, “but you never know. “ The major difference in the actual time-line of the invention is that Akins never sent the ATF the actual product that was sold to the public. The one he submitted was on a different gun at the time and it didn’t work very well. When the ATF later tested the consumer device it wasn’t the same thing that they had issued their letter on, and it worked really well, so they felt they had a perfect right to ban it outright, despite the letter. With the Slide Fire I sent them an early prototype, got the go-ahead from them, then sent the completed product when it was ready for the consumer market. They tested the actual stock that you buy and that is what they issued the letter on. There are no loopholes here. We followed the rules. If the ATF wants to now come and ban the Slide Fire, they basically have to modify the definition of a machinegun. The Slide Fire is simply a high quality 33% glass nylon AR stock with no moving parts, period. The only thing firing the gun is you. Nobody can predict what the ATF is going to do about anything, but from our side we have done everything by the book. ”
All we can do from here out is wish Mr. Cottle the best with his invention, and hope that the ATF lets us keep our cool toy. The invention came in the aftermath of three life saving brain surgeries after Mr. Cottle was injured in action during Operation Enduring Freedom. Forced to take some time off from life to recover he found himself back where his grandparents grew up, and with time to go shooting. The idea came from Divine Inspiration says Mr. Cottle, and he had a working prototype within two hours. Two years and 8 revisions made with rapid prototyping and the commercial version of the Slide Fire became a reality. It was officially released earlier this year.
Just How Good Is It?
This is the million dollar question of course, and the answer is more detailed that you might imagine. That is our resident US Army Sniper Ben Becker in the video, and it took him about 2 magazines to get the gun to run as quickly as you see there. The secret is that you have keep your finger on that rest that is on the other side of the trigger guard. Then you simply push the forend forward. The push motion becomes your trigger and as above, that push can be one shot to a whole magazine with complete control. It’s like push, puuush, puuuuuush, puush puush, puuuuuush and the rounds grind out. When you first try it, concentrate on the finger and keeping it down on the rest, as you see in the pictures.
Muzzle climb and accuracy are surprisingly manageable. Mr. Cottle claims that it is because of the ½ inch of travel in the stock. It does absorb some recoil, but the thinking is that the body naturally adjusts to the muzzle climb because of the time involved in the travel as well. It sounds like marketing bunk, but Ben and I recently shot a good deal of full auto weapons at range day before SHOT show and we both found that the Slide Fire on an AR was at least twice as manageable as a full-auto SCAR, and even the KRISS.
Function and Durability
As you can see from the pictures, the Slide Fire slides onto your standard M4 sliding butt-stock, over the tube that is already on the gun. The company suggests that Mil-Spec tubes are best because the stock will click into the 5th detent, whereas on many consumer ARs it will go into the 6th, which makes it feel not as tight. I forgot to check which detent it fell into on our STAG Arms AR-15 on which we tested. Also, some consumer ARs, most notably Bushmasters, do not have standard thickness tubes and they can fit tight, impairing function. Slide Fire Solutions sells replacement Mil-Spec tubes on their website that will fit any AR for only an extra $24.95. And it comes with the special wrench you need.
If you have an AR with an A2 type stock, the ones that look like regular rifle stocks and are not adjustable, Slide Fire will soon be selling a kit to convert your AR to the collapsible tube type with everything you need, including wrenches. The kit will I believe sell for only about $45.
My first question when I first saw the videos on the Slide Fire website was how durable is this thing? It is plastic after all, and there is a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on. Mr. Cottle assured me that they had fired 25,000 rounds with the current version with no degradation at all. They have also run them over with trucks, pried them with bars, and they just don’t break. At the time of my interview Slide Fire had sold about 3,000 units, and to date none had come back. The small amount of customer service that the devices have required were generally about people who shot them too much without cleaning the guns, and the guns jammed. That didn’t happen in our STAG. It acted like it was built for the speed.
Lefties, you will be happy to note that there is left handed version of the Slide Fire, and you will need it to fire the device correctly. The finger rest has to be on the other side of the rifle for it to work. STAG is the only maker of lefty ARs and we had hoped to have some lefty video for the article, but the lefty gun didn’t get here in time. You’ll have to use your imagination.
You will not need a gunsmith to install the SSAR-15 from Slide Fire. It comes with a long Allen wrench to remove the grip screw (our STAG was a flathead) and the grip slides right off. The only thing you have to be careful with is the spring from the safety, which is held in by the grip on an AR. When you remove the grip the spring comes out. The Slide Fire comes with a block that goes over this grip holding rib, and the block holds down the safety spring. Then you just lift the nib that holds your stock in the detent on your AR, slide your stock off the back and slide the SSAR-15 on. It has it’s own lever on the bottom that holds the stock in the detent and when turned will also lock the stock stiff.
We only tested the right handed version, and only on a .223/556 AR. It does work on pistol calibers, but it does not work with .22LR conversions or uppers. There just isn’t enough recoil in the .22LR to make the gun work properly.
So dust off the reloading press guys and girls. As it says on the Slide Fire Solutions website, this product is known to cause uncontrollable smiles.
Slide Fire Solutions