Have been wanting to share my experience with the Bear Flag Defense BF-10 for a while now. https://www.bearflag...com/pages/bf-10 I’ve been using these the last several months and this is definetly a solid option for all you with fixed mag AR’s.
I was debating for a long time on whether to go with the fixed mag or featureless approach. I read every forum thread and carefully studied the legalities, costs, benefits, what I would use the AR for, etc. I preferred a fixed magazine AR since ultimately I just wanted a range toy that would be ergonomically close as possible to a normal AR. However, I was not happy with the fact that I would have to top load it each time my 10 round mag ran empty. This was a major drawback to me since I am the kind of guy that cringes at having to push in a takedown pin more than necessary. Luckily by the time I decided what parts I would use for my AR, thanks to the good people on this forum and others, I discovered Mean Arms and Bear Flag Defense, which pretty much sealed the deal as far as going fixed-mag. I appreciate these companies figuring out a way to load rounds into an AR without having to remove the magazine. I ended up going with the Bear Flag Defense loaders (I am using the Mean Arms M.A. mag lock however, and it has been holding up well), just because early reviews of the MA loader indicated that there could be some durability issues long term.
Looking back, if the AR was to be my only firearm then I would have gone featureless for sure. Happy so far with my choice although I have never held a Thordsen stock or Spur grip, so perhaps I could be accustomed to featureless…would love to hear people’s thoughts on them regarding ease of use.
The BF-10 feels very rugged, gets easier to load as the mechanism becomes smooth after just a few runs with it, and with practice it can be done fairly quickly. There are a bunch of videos out there showing exactly how it works.
I’ll just run through the pros/cons, share final thoughts, and post some pics:
-Feels solid in the hand. Flimsy products and firearms do not mix well; happy to say that the loaders perform well even after being dropped, handled roughly, etc. In the beginning some tiny bits of plastic rubbed off but that is normal as it conforms to the shape of the ejection port, and once its been run through a couple of times, the fit of the loaders will not change.
-Obviously much better than top loading. This is not legal advice, but in my opinion, loading through the ejection port is a compliant way to load a magazine. The loaders themselves are not magazines, they are essentially dignified stripper clips that get pushed down into the magazine itself.
-Easy operation. Simply rack and return the charging handle, switch your safety on, bolt will have automatically locked back on your empty mag, rock in the loader, press down, and rock it back out. Release the bolt and disengage the safety at your discretion…and have fun!!!
-The bolt will remain back until you decide to engage the bolt release. The competition I’m told will release the bolt as soon as the loader is removed.
-Whether you load 1 or 10 rounds, they will remain securely inside the loader and won’t flop around. So you have the ability to have several loaders on hand at the range or at home, and rest assured that they won’t dislodge and get caught inside the gaps between the front and back sides of the loader.
-There is a tactile feel when operating the loader. When you grasp the tabs and pull down, you and sense that the rounds are getting seated in the magazine.
-Easy to disassemble if needed.
-If you try to load only 1 round it may be difficult to seat it, as opposed to loading several rounds at a time. Just my experience, maybe I need to use the loaders a bit more and get them broken in (have only shot about 200 rounds).
-This is a major drawback to the fixed mag style: there is no good way to perform a “tactical reload” since you need that bolt locked back in order to load, if you choose to reload, you will need to lock the bolt back – thus ejecting a perfectly good round, and then you must also ensure that the rounds you are loading do not exceed the capacity of the magazine (as opposed to pulling out a half empty mag and popping in a new one). No knock on Bear Flag Defense (or Mean arms for that matter) though.
-Another drawback on the fixed mag style is no ability to have 10 + 1 in the chamber.
-The loader needs to be aligned perfectly with the loader lip positioned just over the magazine feed lip tabs. Meaning the loader almost needs to sit perpendicular to the receiver. If you train yourself to rock it in AK style, then you should have no problem.
-Sometimes it does take a bit of authority to bring those tabs down. Might be a problem for young teens and people of weaker arm strength. Again, I may need to break it in more and theoretically it should get smoother the more times I use it.
- Right now the only caliber they support is 5.56. If you want to have a fixed mag AR-10 you'll have to use Mean Arms.
My overall thoughts:
I really like the BFD loaders and would recommend them to anyone who is thinking about a fixed-mag build. It's held up nicely so far for my trips to the range over the last few months. Having a fixed mag AR is fun when you’re holding it and shooting it the way its supposed to be held and shot…but loading could be a pain if you don’t have a way to quickly pop rounds back in. I’ve had range buddies use the loader with no problem, and it keeps AR time fun at the range. Obviously I would not use this for home defense unless it was last resort.
I think they go for around $35 a loader (disclosure – I did get 2 loaders sent to me for review – but this did not influencing my opinion). Their customer service was very responsive and answered all my questions. They do have a millennial vibe on social media, but don’t let that stop you from taking the product seriously. Plus it’s always good to support a pro2A veteran-run company especially in California.
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Bear Flag Defense runs deals every so often and I know DSI sells them, as well as a bunch of other shops on the web. Happy to answer any specific q's and post additional pictures... Would like to also take the opportunity to thank the LIF community for being a great source of NY/LI specific info & keep up the great work that goes on here.
In anticipation of the q's, here are the specifics on the AR build:
Mega Arms lower receiver, Windham Weaponry upper receiver assembly with fixed front sight post, Tom’s Tactical buffer tube kit, charging handle, and lower parts kit (Highly recommend their nickel Teflon trigger – only a $10 upgrade. I would love to elaborate. In short, there is no reason to spend your hard earned money on a Geissele or ALG), Toolcraft bcg, UTG rear sight, Magpul stock and grip, PMAG 10 round, Mean Arms MA lock. It’s a smorgasbord of parts but like a true gun geek I over-researched to find the best bang for my buck