Parallax Tactical is gaining momentum with the black rifle crowd. I found them the old fashioned way, by discovering I needed something, and then searching out the solution. Regular readers may have heard me bitch about my simian build. I’m tall. Not freakishly so, but 6’4″. Those of you who can sympathize will know what a pain in the ass it can be. I don’t fit in foreign cars. Flying is a grotesque comedy, and carbine length AR-15s too often feel like toys. I have long monkey arms, and need a long length of pull. While Parallax hasn’t solved the LOP issue, they do make a great forend that is changing the way I think about the AR.
- 6061-T6 Aluminum Extrusion
- Four limited rotation QD Mounts front and rear. (2) Rear single picatinny rail mounts for sling hook type mounts (MagPul RSA)
- Sleeve-style barrel nut with 1-1/8″ flats
- Mounts using 4 standard, 2 low-head hex screws Mounting holes every 22.5°
- Includes shims for proper alignment
- Cutout sections compatible with all MagPul accessories, including rail sections
- Patent Pending
- Weight: 17.8oz
- MSRP $199.95
What the spec sheet doesn’t say is this. The FFSSR is longer than most rails. For folks like me, that is all I need to hear. I’ll take it. But there’s more. This much aluminum can get heavy. The FFSSR is just over a pound, and that’s due to the milling inside, and the slim profile. By cutting out all (or most) of the redundant rail sections, the forend is able to shed weight and mass. It is thin, light enough to stay balanced, and an adept and efficient use of space.
Those with normal arm lengths can still use it. In fact, the FFSSR comes in three shorter lengths. And the swell on the back of the forend makes a great handhold. I find myself carrying the rifle with my hand here, but others may prefer a compact stance–and this will keep your hand off of the mag well.
If there is any place where space is wasted, I’d point at the long section of top rail. There’s room for iron sights, back-up irons, a scout scope, a scope, and night vision–all in a line. You’ll find endless possibilities up top.
The installation was easy–once I got the old nut off. I had all of the appropriate tools, too. My wrench worked incredibly well, only the nut was on so tightly that I was chewing through the aluminum instead of turning the nut. In the end, getting the old hardware off required a drill, a chisel, vise-grips and a lot of expletives.
Getting the new nut onto the barrel, and installing the low-profile gas block was incredibly easy. The forend comes with detailed instruction about how to shim the nut to ensure proper alignment, and the torque needed for the mounting screws. It took very little effort, and I’d characterize it as “easy” on the skills-spectrum of DIY projects.
All told, it took me about half an hour to prepare the barrel, and about 5 minutes to get the forend back on.
Then it was off to the proving grounds. As you can see in the photos, I’ve not yet tricked this gun out to its full potential. When I review something like a forend, I’m not concerned with what all I can add to it. I want to know how it works, on its own. I take for granted that the picatinny rail sections will hold as they are designed to hold. If they don’t, I’ll let you know.
So there are very few geegaws on the Parallax as pictured. I haven’t even set up irons, yet. As the rail is only 15″ long, I still get perilously close to the end. Too close to put on a pop-up iron sight. I’ve got some angled irons on the way, and I should still be able to get my thumb on top of that sight’s base. And the swell created by the rail sections on the bottom for a positive hand-stop, too.
I have installed a Kineti-Tech’s brake and sleeve. It is the other piece of this puzzle for me. I wouldn’t want to hold so far out without it. It redirects sound, too, but I use it to keep the heat off of un-gloved hands.
In this set up, my carbine length AR performs much more like some 20″ AR’s I’ve shot. Even though it looks long, I’m still able to maneuver it through tight spaces. And the balance isn’t as barrel heavy as most longer guns. In short, the Parallax FFSSR is perfect. In my never ending quest to put together my AR, this is my choice. I don’t say that lightly. I’m constantly saying something like “if you’re looking for X, then Y is perfect for you.” But most of them are never just right for me. This one is. And I bet the thin profile of the shorter forends would feel just as good to those who aren’t so apelike.