Over the last several years, there has been no bigger influence on the firearms market than the emerging sport of 3-gun shooting. As the number of participants has skyrocketed, so too has the number of rifle manufacturers producing firearms to feed that intense market. Everyone and their brother has a rifle optimized for 3-gun shooting these days, and figuring out which rifle manufacturers have got their heads screwed on straight and actually understand the challenges of the sport can be a challenge. Adams Arms recently introduced a line of uppers specifically designed for 3-gun shooting. It is the Adams Arms COR Ultra Lite Upper.
Competition Optic Ready
The name for their line of high-speed low-drag upper is “Competition Optic Ready” or “COR.” The way they market these uppers is that the uppers are designed and built by pro 3-gun shooters, and therefore the only thing you need to do after it shows up on your FFL’s doorstep is to add the optic of your choice. When it comes to optics, some people like red dots. Others like massive 3-9x power scopes. It’s all a matter of preference, but what generally isn’t contested is the overall design of a great 3-gun rifle. The details are up for debate, but if the overall package is solid then you should be good to go. In general, it looks like the COR line has lived up to those specs.
The real nifty stuff, though, is out front. The upper sports a 16.5 inch barrel, and a Samson free float handguard surrounding it. Samson makes some good stuff. The muzzle brake is a competition legal VDI Jet comp, which does a super fine job of mitigating the recoil of the 5.56 NATO based platform.
The real difference between any old rifle and an Adams Arms rifle is the gas system. Adams Arms uses a short stroke piston system instead of a direct impingement / gas expansion system like the normal AR-15 rifles, which seems to keep the gun cleaner and operating longer than with conventional systems. Of all the short stroke piston systems on the market I like the Adams Arms adaptation best, simply because it is a dead simple design executed very well that is incredibly easy to disassemble and clean.
For their COR rifle, Adams Arms has designed a low-mass bolt carrier. Having a lighter bolt carrier does slightly reduce the overall weight of the upper, but the real benefit is that a light bolt carrier requires less force to move around than a standard BCG, which means reduced felt recoil due to the operating parts moving around.
It seems like the Adams Arms C.O.R. Ultra Lite Upper was designed for the 3-Gun Nation series courses of fire, where the furthest targets are 6 inch steel plates at 50 yards and the whole point is to go really really fast. In that situation, this gun would be excellent. It cycles quickly, recoil isn’t bad, and the light weight means you have less mass to lug around with you through corners and around tight bends. It should do just fine in that environment.
This is an upper that would be absolutely perfect for the 3-Gun style matches or most east coast based 3-gun clubs. In fact, there are many 3 Gun Professionals that use this upper as their go to competition set up. If you want to have what the best 3 Gun operators use, then this Adams Arms C.O.R. upper is for you.
If you’re looking for a featherweight AR-15 rifle with a great piston system that’s ready to go for short range 3-gun matches, the Adams Arms COR Ultra Lite Upper is a great choice. Watch a video of a quick review of this gun by T.K. Martindill of the Adams Arms shooting team
Specifications: Adams Arms COR Ultra Lite Upper
- Upper Receiver Type: A3 flat top
- Barrel 16.5″ Ultra Lite 4150 CMV
- Muzzle Thread Pattern: 1/2-28
- Chrome Lined: No
- Barrel Finish: VDI LifeCoat
- Twist Rate: 1:7
- Chamber: 5.56x45mm NATO
- M4 Feed Ramps: Yes
- Muzzle Device: VDI Jet Compensator
- Gas System Length: Rifle
- Gas Block Diameter: .750
- Handguard: Evolution
- Sights: No
- Bolt Carrier Assembly Included: Yes
- Bolt Carrier Type: 1-Piece w/Integral Piston Strike Face
- Includes 2 – 2″ rails, handstop, QD Mount
- Weight: 4.789 lbs
- Extras: Low Mass One Piece Bolt Carrier: 7.5 oz (21% lighter)