The Issue Of Scale

We get a little bit jaded to the power we wield when we head out for some Saturday afternoon recreational blasting. The sheer volume of energy involved is breathtaking. Pressures in a high-pressure scuba tank run around 3,500 psi. By contrast, the pressure in the chamber of a 5.56mm rifle can reach 62,000 psi. In the case of my Pocket AR, all the redirected muzzle blast quite efficiently deconstructed my handguard while literally scorching the hair off my support hand.

The Hiperfire 556C sports a series of gills directing the muzzle blast as effectively as might a rocket nozzle. When the resulting plasma jets are focused on the 6061-T6 aluminum of a typical modern black rifle handguard, the immense forces involved can and will eventually rip the material to pieces. In this particular case it also left the backside of my left hand smoother than might a proper bikini wax.

Nobody got hurt and it did spawn some fairly entertaining prose (after all, I just got to use the words “bikini wax” in a gun magazine!). However, had I wrapped my support mitt around the far end of the handguard the result could have been much more colorful. My soft pink anatomy likely would not have fared well enfolded around the equivalent of a 62,000-psi blowtorch.