At this years Shot Show, there was a lot of hype surrounding new products within the NEXT pavilion. One such item is a light integrated hand guard from Hardened Arms called “LumaShark”. Hardened Arms, located in the picturesque San Juan Islands of Washington State, is best known for producing a variety of high quality AR-15 uppers and parts. But this 10.5″ upper includes a few innovative features that I haven’t seen before. Typically, attaching lights to an AR/M4 platform can be somewhat cumbersome. To reduce the bulk and potential for snagging, Hardened Arms has introduced a 12″ hand guard with a pair of integrated light housings.
Machined from one piece of aluminum, the pair of bottom mounted light bodies seamlessly blend into a 12″ M-LOK hand guard. Each light housing requires a bulb module and two 123A batteries to operate it. Interchangeable bulb modules are available along with an infrared bulb option to suit the illumination needs of the user. Also, future plans to integrate a laser module will further expand the flexibility of this platform. For now, each light housing is operated independently by a push button tail cap. Not my favorite way of turning on a light as I have to change my grip on the rifle to activate them one at a time. But from what I’ve been told by the manufacturer, a pressure switch is in the final stages of testing and will be available soon. And I will be the first to jump on that band wagon.
On the business end of the LumaShark upper is the Citadel LMC (Linear Muzzle Compensator). Utilizing a blast chamber and shroud, the LMC contains and direct the muzzle blast down range. Which is kinder to the firing line or fellow teammates when shooting in close proximity. While serving in 2nd Ranger Battalion, our M4’s were equipped with the standard birdcage flash hider. Making CQB somewhat insane as muzzles are exploding and flashing right in front of your face. Although the LMC does not reduce noise, it does mitigate side flash. Combining the sculpted LumaShark hand guard with a short 10.5″ barrel and the matching Citadel LMC makes for a good looking compact SBR upper.
The 10.5″ chrome moly 4150- 5.56 barrel features a black Melonite finish for durability. Chambered in 5.56mm with an M4 feed ramp, I had no issue shooting a variety of both .223 Caliber and 5.56mm rounds. The low profile gas block and carbine length gas system stays out of sight and neatly tucked within the M-LOK hand guard. Note: Hardened Arms offers uppers in shorter lengths that require the owner to possess a Short Barreled Rifle Tax Stamp from the NFA. You are responsible for knowing your state laws regarding barrel lengths, pistol and short barreled rifle restrictions.
Hardened Arms is clearly on to something here. Although I like the low profile and interchangeability of the lights. Along with the fire breathing Citadel LMC. It does add a bit of heft to the front end of the rifle. Additional aluminum for the housings, four batteries, bulbs and tail caps all add up. An unavoidable consequence of producing this kind of light on a short barreled rifle. But the integral design creates a smoother, less bulky finished product. I feel this would be a great option for law enforcement as well as a homeowner that uses an AR for home defense.
10.5″ LumaShark Upper Specs courtesy of Hardened Arms
- Hardened Arms M4 Feed Ramp Flat Top Receiver
- Black anodized mil-spec finished upper receiver
- Feed ramps for increased feeding reliability on barrel and upper
- Laser etched T-Marked upper receiver
- Chrome Moly 4150- 5.56 High End Barrel
- 1/9 Barrel Twist
- Black Melonited Finish
- Chambered in 5.56 NATO (will also fire .223 ammo)
- 10.5 556 barrel with M4 Extension
- .750″ diameter at gas block
- 1/2×28 threaded muzzle/barrel
- Low profile gas block
- Barrel dimpled to secure gas block
- Carbine length gas system
- MSRP $829.99
The 12″ LumaShark hand guard is available alone for installation on an existing rifle. Or it can be purchased as a complete upper with a variety of barrel lengths and calibers to choose from. Finally, you have the option to go “all-in” incorperating both LumaShark and Citadel LMC technology into a complete rifle. LED bulbs for the LumaShark are available in 200, 500, 1150 lumen and infrared. The bottom line is Hardened Arms has gone to great lengths to satisfy everyones taste in AR modularity. So swing by their website and take a look for yourself.