When I received the 6.8 Recon, I was taken with the hand-built precision that goes into any Wilson Combat firearm and decided to set it up as a precision gun by mounting a bipod from Shooter’s Ridge and a 2.5x 10 Nightforce Variable Scope with an illuminated reticle. After a bit, I thought I might be ignoring some of the great multi-mission capabilities of the Recon. I was not thinking outside the box with it. This became especially apparent as I did the questioning of what comprised a good police sniper rifle. The 6.8 Recon is perfect in this role, but it is capable of much more than just that.
Reconnaissance implies that those conducting it are going to be getting in close. It also implies that the folks conducting said reconnaissance may have to fight their way out of their observation position. For this purpose, the 6.8 Recon is also a fine choice. It is lightweight, with a barrel that is 2 inches shorter than the M16A1 or A2 main battle rifle. The overall length is even shorter if the Magpul stock is collapsed.
In order to make it more mission capable for in-close work, I dumped the Nightforce scope, and went with a Trijicon 4×32 ACOG battle sight with dual illuminated reticle, coupled with a Trijicon RMR with Amber Dot dot as a CQB backup. This fantastic combination seemed purpose built for the Wilson Combat Recon mission.
The ACOG is mounted on a Bobro quick-release mount and its 4-power magnification is plenty for the 64-yard law enforcement sniper/recon/observation mission. If things turn ugly, and the fight is on top of you, all you have to do is to raise your head and use the RMR sight for that really intimate moment.
Just to make sure all bases are covered, I mounted a set of Diamond Heads backup iron sights. Before I had actually gotten my hands on them, I considered the Diamondhead diamond shaped front and rear apertures to be a gimmick. I mean, how much could you improve on the concept of the basic iron sight these days beyond throwing some tritium on them? Well, like the old saying goes, there is always room for improvement, and the Diamondhead sights do just that!
These sights are the fastest to pick up on that I have ever tried. The diamond-shaped rear aperture just seems to lock onto the diamond-shaped front sight housing and bingo! There is the front post right where it is supposed to be. Don’t just think of them as backups, they would make a great primary setup if you want to keep your M4 as lightweight as possible. They flip up easily and lock right into place.
Note that with the ACOG setup, in order to take full advantage of the optical field of view, I had to mount the ACOG back to the point on the rail where you can’t flip up the rear Diamondhead. No biggie as you can’t co-witness them through the ACOG anyway. If things get bad and the mission changes or the ACOG setup goes down, just remove it, ditch it and then flip up the irons. That should take about all of two seconds or so. This is why any optic on a CQB rifle needs to be attached with a QD mount, and not screws.
I can tell you that the ACOG package with the Diamondhead sight is one of the best optics/CQB sighting combos available.
For Recon carry, I mounted a Tactical Link quick detachable/adjustable single point sling. I only had the black version on hand. If I was going to deploy this rifle in the field, I would use the OD green version. I moved the right side rail segment to the left side of the forend, directly aft of the rail segment that was holding the sling swivel and mounted a BLACKHAWK! Xiphos™ 90 Lumen strobing LED weapons light.
Here it can be operated in a hasty situation by the thumb of the left hand. Yes, you can actually operate an M4 type weapon and a combat light WITHOUT a vertical foregrip! I wanted to leave the foregrip off so as not to interfere with a “down in the dirt” operational position. With these additions, I now felt that I had completed the recon picture, and the Wilson Combat 6.8 was multi-mission capable and ready to rock.
Firing yielded no surprises, there really is no noticeable difference in recoil between a heavyweight 5.56 launching 75 grains and a 6.8 SPC launching 110. With the Hornady 110-grain BTHP version, the 6.8 has a 100-yard velocity of 2332 fps with a muzzle energy of 1328 ft./lbs. If you want to compare apples to apples, contrast the 110-grain 6.8 with the 110-grain .308 TAP URBAN round. Here you have a 100-yard velocity and muzzle energy of 2380 fps and 1956 fps respectively, with a penetration of only 9.25 inches (not enough in my book), and a maximum cavity of only 5.5 inches. Looks to me like the 6.8, thanks to the longer projectile and the better ballistic co-efficient, outperforms the 110 gr. .308 TAP URBAN round.
With the recon configuration, the Wilson SPC swings easily, and the 18-inch barrel length is really not a hindrance over a 16-inch barrel. I love the small diameter Wilson forend rail system. It is a huge improvement over the massive rails available on most M4 weapons systems.
The trigger is excellent, but not so light as to be dangerous for use in dynamic entry situations. The RMR sight on the Trijicon ACOG is easily accessed with just a slight raise of the head, and allows you to keep a good peripheral watch on the rest of the threat area, while maintaining a good sight picture. If you wanted to use this weapon as a strict entry weapon, I would recommend the substitution of the Crimson Trace MVF (Modular Vertical Foregrip) system for the BLACKHAWK! Xiphos light The MVF gives you not only a bright LED light, but also the addition of a laser sight.
The Wilson Combat 6.8 SPC Recon-the multi-mission capable AR at its finest. Use it with the utmost confidence.
This article appeared in the December 5, 2011 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. To learn more about this issue or load up on a subscription, click here.
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About the Author: Scott Wagner is a 32-year law enforcement veteran. Currently a police sergeant in Baltimore, Ohio, he spent 20 years with the Union County Ohio Sheriff's Office as a Reserve Deputy where he worked patrol, training and SWAT, and was the assistant SWAT team leader and a team sniper. Wagner has been a state-certified police firearms, fitness and defensive tactics instructor for 26 years, and has been a criminal justice professor and police academy commander for 20 years at a community college in the Midwest.He is the author of the Gun Digest books, "Tactical Shotguns,", "Own the Night—A Guide to Tactical Lights and Laser Sights," and Survival Guns.
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