As the AR-15 platform has evolved from its origins as a plastic-furnished sporting rifle, to the nearly indistinguishable PDW’s and long range precision rifles of the modern era, the number, and type of accessories and options has increased exponentially. With variances in barrels and calibers, came adjustable gas blocks to mitigate excess blowback. Longer rails covered the gas blocks, so adjustable gas keys and bolt-carrier groups were developed. Although it’s been out for a few years now, I just recently found out about Innovative Arms and their W.A.R (warfighter adjustable receiver).
The W.A.R is a standard AR-15 upper receiver in all aspects except one. Where the (proprietary) gas tube enters the front of the receiver, there is a small steel ball in the path of the gas flow. The ball is rotated via a lever (named the Killswitch®) on the left side of the receiver. It has two different holes drilled into it, allowing for three options: full gas (for unsuppressed fire), reduced gas (for suppressed fire) or by placing the Killswitch in between the two positions, no gas. It is worth noting that the W.A.R works with nearly every caliber and gas system length currently available. The notable exception is with .300 BLK subsonic ammo, which already produces such low pressure as to prevent cycling in the reduced gas setting. In the full gas setting, with the rifle suppressed or not, supers or subs will work.
I assembled the W.A.R with an Odin Works barrel using a carbine length gas system into a non-adjustable gas block. While running a suppressor, the carbine length gas system can produce significant gas blowback, so this was a good test setup. I brought out some Russian ammo, known for producing more voluminous and acrid gas than cleaner burning ammo from the good ‘ol USA.
I ran through a couple of mags with the suppressor on, but the W.A.R in the “unsuppressed” setting. As is the standard, I breathed in more than a lungful of gas and my eyes were stinging after a few double taps. Pretty standard as far as .223/5.56 AR’s go, when suppressed. I flipped the Killswitch to the “suppressed” setting and immediately noticed a significant difference. Not only was the amount of gas blowback cut significantly, the corresponding decrease in bolt speed led to a major recoil reduction. Major win!
None of this is to say that the W.A.R is, or should be, the only game in town. Adjustable gas blocks certainly have their place and work very well for fine adjustments, but aren’t always compatible with every forend/rail setup. Regulated bolt carriers and gas keys have their place as well, but usually, require tools to adjust. For the shooter who wants to adjust gas in the dark and/or with gloves on, the W.A.R is it. Innovative Arms is asking $265 for the receiver (with dust cover and forward assist installed) and a proprietary gas tube of your specified system’s length. If you’re in the market and not sure if an adjustable gas block or BCG is going to meet your needs, definitely check out the W.A.R.