Geissele Automatics URG-I

Look no further for the Real Deal!

Every “carbine problem” has been solved in the URG-I

Folks, I’ve known William H. Geissele for a good many years. Way back, I was one of the first kids on the block with his then-new two-stage match trigger, their first product. When Bill asked me if I wanted to see an “Urgie” I said “yes” before I knew even what it was!

An “Urgie” is an AR15 complete upper assembly available through Geissele Automatics and it’s also the latest evolution of the M4. The URG-I (Upper Receiver Group, Improved) resulted from a USASOC contract project (United States Army Special Operations Command; no more “SOCOM”) to develop an upgraded M4 for issue.

SureFire SOCOM flash hider “permanently” attached giving 16" OAL for maneuverability.

What’s There?

Specs? You want specs? How about a 14.5″ Daniel Defense hammer-forged barrel (1:7) and Colt’s M4 upper receiver and M4 mil-spec bolt carrier group. Then there’s a Geissele Airborne charging handle, Geissele Super Modular Rail, MK16, 13.5″ SureFire SF4P flash hider, Geissele gas block (pinned) and a mid-length gas port location.

Mine has the flash hider permanently attached — all NFA-legal. This means it’s the minimum 16″ barrel when measured to the end of the muzzle device. I really like that. It’s very noticeable when you’re negotiating “here to there.”

It’s easy enough to look at the build sheet and calculate right quick it’s feasible (easily, for the most part) to mimic those specs. However, there’s a step between mimic and mirror. There is, or can be, a difference between mil-spec, mil-standard and mil-issue.

Which is why it’s a very big deal to me to get one. The only difference in mine and “theirs” (meaning the military) is they don’t have to get the flash hider pinned. So mine technically is called a “near-clone.”

The URG-1 below Glen’s BOB (“Best of the Best”). Both have mid-length systems but the
URG-I shoots softer than the BOB’s 16.5" Krieger barrel.

Features and Function

The standout departure in this gun compared to previous M4 configurations is the mid-length gas system. It is the hands-down best thing ever for a carbine. The mid-length was incorporated in part as a hedge against the “full rigors” — as says the literature — of the M855A1 (AB57) ammo. The stuff is hot! NATO, overall, is hot and getting hotter.

I’ve written many words identifying and solving carbine-length AR15 issues. They all stem from an overage of gas pressure at the gas port in the barrel (i.e. “port pressure”). Gas port location on an original-style carbine is 7″ forward. The mid-length system is 9″, which is a world of difference! AR15s in all configurations operate in a little universe where fractional milliseconds define “too much” and “not enough.” Additionally, the barrel length ahead of the port (toward the muzzle) influences how long the entire system is under pressure.

Standard carbine post-port length is 9″; the URG-I is 5.5″. Another world of difference: Increasing distance to the port gives a relatively huge reduction in port pressure. Alleviating the pressure sooner after the bullet leaves the muzzle lets the URG-I accept a whopping lot more ammo pressure without ill effects. It’s as soft shooting as any carbine I’ve had.

I assembled a lower set for it which closely mimics the issue USASOC gun as I could. As I built it, total gun weight (no sight) is 6 lbs., 9.5 oz. Nice! How does it shoot? How about one MOA at 100 yards with 62-gr. Hornady Black 5.56 NATO?

All genuinely genuine parts: Colt, Daniel Defense, Geissele, SureFire.

Civilian/Military Joint Effort

There’s been a different development path leading the AR15 to become all the things it’s become. Much of it has come from civilians, starting back in the early ’90s with the rise to dominance of the AR15 in NRA High Power Rifle Service Rifle division. Much input for military team competition guns came from “private sector” performance pioneers.

This is where much of what defines the URG-I came from also. I know many parts are built to military specs, derived from military requests, which are in turn derived from feedback from field experience.
But every “carbine problem” we’ve been seeking different ways to find solutions for has been solved in the URG-I. Bill Geissele has always looked at improved parts with consideration for combat use (i.e. his Airborne charging handle and handguard rails).

What I see in the URG-I is a few ideas “we” developed and a specific collection of parts “they” know they can count on. We did the “trick,” they did the “tough.”

The URG-I is a good example of the design refinement keeping the AR15 platform in service this long. Cost: About $1,500. Worth it? If you want The Real Deal, yes.

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