A REVIEW OF THE SPIKES TACTICAL CRUSADER RIFLE by Russ Adler
I met Ben Thomas, known to many as “Mookie”, back in 2004 via the world-wide web while he was working for the infamous Blackwater as a security contractor.  While he was in the fray, he penned an email entitled “Run & Gun in Iraq” that went viral.  I requested his permission to use the information in some pre-deployment courses that I was presenting at the time for some folks that were getting ready to go downrange.  We stayed in contact off and on over the next several years until we met up in person at a media event for a weapons presentation.  We discussed the state of the overseas contracting world and how angry we both were that more often then what should be, US brokered weapons were being delivered to or stolen by people that would end up using them against our troops. That’s when he told me about a project that he was working on for Spike’s Tactical (ST).  Enter the Crusader!
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The concept of this rifle was presented by Ben, the Brand Ambassador for ST, a weapons manufacturer out of Apopka, Florida, and accepted by management to begin production.  Among the features, that I will get into shortly, is a crusader shield with a cross in the center on the bolt release side of the magazine well, and a scripture on the magazine release side of it.    The fact that a scripture is inscribed on the lower receiver has generated much controversy in the unveiling of this rifle from people of all walks of life both in the United States and abroad with claims of bigotry and blasphemy among others.  It has even brought the ire of a UK based comedian referring to the manufacturer and my friend Ben as incestuous rednecks.  Gotta love our brothers and sisters across the pond for their views on good ol’ US gun culture at its finest.  


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The scripture in question is from the Old Testament in the Bible, Psalm 144:1 – Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. The reason behind the scripture inscribed on the weapon, says Ben is so that it can’t be shipped overseas to be used by an enemy combatant against US service personnel.  He relates a story from 2010 that was covered by ABC and the BBC regarding weapon sight manufacturer Trijicon’s practice of hiding scriptural references and connotations within the serial numbers of their optics.  The U.S. Government made an inquiry as regulations dictate that they are not permitted to procure, use or export items with religious content on them. When the story broke, Trijicon revealed that it was a practice that a previous owner, who had since passed away, started as a homage to his faith, but the practice has since ceased.  Undeterred by the controversy, Spikes faces it head on and is in constant production on the Crusader Rifle and at the time of this writing, they are running approximately 4 to 6 weeks behind on orders and that timeline is growing due to the current political landscape.

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FEATURES

All that aside, my interest in any kind of firearm is reliability and its ability to perform as advertised.  With that in mind I spoke to Customer Service and Technical Support representative, John Dowhy along with Sales Manager, Cole Leleux at the Spike’s Tactical factory and showroom in Apopka, Florida as they gave me a tour of the facility.  The weapon starts with a standard ST forged M4 upper receiver with a chrome-lined, lightweight 14.5 inch 5.56mm Nato barrel (made by FN) with a 1:7 twist attached to it. The barrel is fitted with a .625 diameter low profile gas block and is sleeved with a 12 inch MLOK rail system.  It is then capped with a pinned and welded Dynacomp 2 muzzlebrake that is proprietary to Spike’s (More on the D2 later).  The inside of the upper sports a lightweight Nickel Boron M16 bolt carrier group. It is finished with a set of Magpul Back-Up Sights (MBUS).

The bottom half starts with a forged M4 lower receiver with an integral trigger guard and includes the ST enhanced lower parts kit with their proprietary new Pro Grip.  Also included is a ST Battle Trigger, Billet Latch Plate, KNS Anti-Rotational Hammer and Trigger Pins, Ambidextrous Safety Selector, and a Billet Mag Release Button. The lower is finished with a Magpul CTR stock with an enhanced butt pad that houses a T-2 Tungsten Buffer.  The complete weapon system comes with one magazine, a hard plastic carry case and a Spike’s Tactical Lifetime Warranty.

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FORM, FIT and FUNCTION

Unloaded, the weight of the Crusader Rifle is 6.65 lbs.  This makes the weapon very maneuverable and user friendly for the owner who will utilize this weapon for fighting.  The mid-length gas system was selected for smooth shooting and the re-engineered Dynacomp 2 ensures little to no muzzle rise during rapid fire scenarios that makes it a versatile selection for competition use as well.

This weapon balances the fine line between tactical and competition, Light weight and Dependability! The firing sequence features a crisp trigger with a short reset and with the previously mentioned attributes, it makes for a very smooth shooting rifle with extremely fast follow up shots due to reduced recoil and the overall balance of the rifle is close to perfect. 
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PERFORMANCE

After a sight-in period at the local public gun range, several close range and intermediate drills were conducted from the venerable “El Presidente” and “One to Five” for close range handling and evaluation to some fire and maneuver drills from 50 to 150 yards.  Sighting took a little bit longer than usual considering the brisk Florida weather at the time of writing (32° and windy … yes it gets cold in Florida). 

That said, for the main purpose of this carbine being a fighting rifle, it is every bit capable of shooting MOA or better with the right shooter behind it (I was close to shooting those kinds of groups during the sighting in period … did I mention windy and 32° … in Florida?).  I digress.  With the initial rounds down range, the factory tour came next with several more trips to the range under a variety of weather conditions and temperature spans (it rose to the high 80s at one session).

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During the course of testing and evaluating this weapon, NO malfunctions occurred.  An impressive point as I was advised by the owner (Mr. Mookie himself) that prior to my taking possession of the rifle, it had recently been used at back to back tactical rifle courses with upwards of 3000 rounds run through it without having been cleaned. 

The engineering in some of the less discussed parts of AR platforms such as the proprietary D2 comp and the weight reducing cut outs in the bolt carrier group make this production gun a cut above for the price that it lists for.  MSRP for the ST Crusader is a very reasonable $1,395 and can be found at a firearms retailer near you or on the Spike’s Tacical website … www.spikestactical.com.

For what started out being a concept gun that would not be eligible to be shipped overseas where it could fall into the wrong hands and used against America’s fighting forces, the Spike’s Tactical Crusader Rifle became so much more!

 
 
Following is an article by Russ Adler that appeared in the March 2016 issue of Currents magazine.  The whole issue can be found online HERE.
 
 
The two titles revolve around being displaced from your home during a catastrophic event and constructing a reunification plan for being separated from your loved ones during an emergency.

Get your copy HERE




 
 
Adler & Associates International (AAI) is pleased to announce participation in the 2016 ATAC Range Day.  A live-fire lane has been secured to demonstrate the capabilities of the weapon systems and equipment with which their industry affiliates and partners have entrusted them.  Anyone wishing to attend this event as an interested party or a manufacturer that would fit well with our alliance should not hesitate to contact us.  For more information on this event go to the ATAC Range DAY page by clicking HERE
Following, are the companies and equipment that will be demonstrated at this event.  Anyone wishing to be part of this event or would like to set up an appointment during the week of 18-22 January at our private accommodations in the Las Vegas area should contact AAI by clicking HERE.
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Blackwing Holdings is a private investment firm with controlling interest in the following defense related technology and manufacturing companies: IEC Infrared Systems LLC (IEC) IEC Infrared Systems (IEC) is a multi-disciplinary engineering, design, and manufacturing company that specializes in infrared cameras, thermal imaging systems, non-imaging sensors and supporting subsystems.Precision Remotes LLC (PRL) designs and manufactures a full suite of remotely operated weapon systems (ROWS) and surveillance platforms.

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The T360 M240 is fully stabilized and uses the latest PRL Target Tracking technology.

The TRAP® T360 M240 is the new standard for ultra lightweight, precision aim, remotely operated weapon systems for manned or unmanned ground, marine, or aerial vehicle.


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National Police Ammunition (NPA) is a  ATF licensed manufacturer specializing in frangible and lead-free (green) ammunition. NPA ammunition is locally manufactured with domestic "Made in the USA" components which are customized to address the unique requirements of law enforcement agencies, government entities and commercial (indoor and outdoor) .

Z-CLEAN The world’s first 100% Zinc Projectile. This leadfree projectile safeguards both the health of shooters and the environment by reducing exposure to harmful substances found in traditional FMJ and lead projectiles without sacrificing the ballistics or accuracy of traditional FMJ ammunition.

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S.D.R (Simulated Duty Round) 100% copper frangible cartridge that blurs the boundaries of training and duty-carry ammunition. All of its components have been specially manufactured to address unique training needs to Law Enforcement Agencies and has been rigorously tested to ensure there is no decrease in accuracy while training.



 
 
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GENERAL EQUIPMENT LIST
~Head Gear
~Inclement Weather Gear
(Poncho, Rain Suit, Shemagh, etc.)
~Gear / Equipment Container
(Backpack, Range Bag, Ammo Can(s), etc.)
~Compass / GPS (both)
~Cooking / eating apparatus / utensils
~Fire-starter
~Shelter (Improvised or other)
~Notepad (weather proof preferred)

* Any other duty related or relevant equipment to the scheduled course


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WEAPON SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT
~Eye Protection
~Ear Protection
~Primary Side Hip holster for Pistols and Revolvers
(No cross draw or shoulder holsters)
~Sling For Long guns
(Carbine / Rifle and Shotguns)
~Minimum of 2 extra magazines
(for magazine fed 
pistols and carbines ... 4 to 6 is better)
~Minimum of 4 speeloaders for revolvers
(6 to 10 is better)
~Durable pouches / carriers for accessories
(Belt mounted, chest rig, etc.)

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AMMUNITION REQUIREMENTS
~Pistol and Carbine = 500 rds per day
~Shotgun = 300 rounds
(250rds Birdshot, 15 rds buckshot
15 slugs, 20 specialty)
~Scoped / Precision Rifle = 300 rds per day
(match grade)

* For custom courses that include multiple weapon systems / platforms, Ammunition should be distributed in a 60 / 40 % ratio between what you would consider a primary vs. a secondary weapon and add another 150 rounds to the above suggestions
(it's better to have and not need
than to need and not have!)


 
 
 
 
Survivor’s Edge Winter 2016 Issue

Following are the titles by Russ and you can See more at: http://www.realworldsurvivor.com/2015/09/10/survivors-edge-winter-2016-issue/#sthash.Bt3BIr6e.dpuf

Displaced by Disaster By Russ Adler Prep your family for a safe escape from any emergency!

Emergency Power By Russ Adler Bridging the gap from catastrophe to recovery with alternative energy!

Get Out Alive By Russ Adler Escape sinkholes, rollovers and other off-road emergencies!

Check this one out online HERE!



 
 
 
 
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Story and photos by Senior Airman Thomas Kielbasa

Florida National Guard Public Affairs

GRAHAM, Fla. – A Hollywood stuntman doesn’t have anything on Sgt. Adam Anderson.

The Florida National Guard sergeant was among six Soldiers who took part in a week of specialized anti-terrorism training in late April, which included learning high-speed driving tactics similar to those seen in action movies.  At a secluded shooting club in west Florida on April 29, Anderson plowed a beat-up 1979 Chevy Suburban into a parked car at a makeshift roadblock, fired a 9-mm pistol at targets from a moving truck, and practiced 180-degree turns that would have made James Bond proud.


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“I loved crashing the vehicle,” Anderson said after the ramming exercise where he successfully broke through the roadblock by smashing into the rear end of a diminutive Ford Escort LX.

The rear quarter panel of the car had crumpled and sent a hubcap spinning off into the grass; Anderson and the hurtling Suburban skidded to a stop a less than a hundred feet away.

“That is the first serious car wreck I’ve ever been in,” Anderson, a member the Florida National Guard’s Force Protection assigned to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, explained later. “It really takes the fear out of getting in a collision like that.”

The Soldiers involved in the week-long class – held at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center and the Bradford Sportsmen’s Club in Graham – were all force protection personnel assigned with providing security for National Guard facilities and personnel in Florida. Since 2001, the Force Protection Soldiers have become familiar sights at armories and National Guard events across the state.  

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This training – although non-traditional – was aimed at improving their skills in the event of a terrorist attack against Florida’s citizen-Soldiers and Airmen.

In another exercise, the Soldiers sat in the front seat of a car and fired pistols through the windshield at targets beyond the hood. After a few quick shots and a spray of glass, they exited the car and quickly ran behind the car – firing all the while.  “Every day we’re driving out on the road,” Anderson said, “…and you never know when something may happen.”

Course instructor Russ Adler explained the training was a necessary part of being a Soldier in the post-Sept. 11, 2001 environment.  “It increases their confidence, their skills and their personal abilities to deter any kind of potential terrorist threats,” Adler, whose Lake City, Fla.-based Adler and Associates provided the training.  He noted that some of the advanced driving skills his firm teaches “are pretty much only found in racecar drivers. We take a combination of law enforcement pursuit driving skills and road course race driving and put it into a concise package to teach them the most advanced tactics and techniques.”

In a shiny 2005 Pontiac Grand Am, Adler ran the National Guard contingent through a number of driving maneuvers like “bootleg turns,” “J-turns,” and high-speed reverse driving.  “We teach them to think outside the box,” he said. “Just because they are on a road doesn’t mean they have to stay on the road. They can take walkways or any means to escape a potential terrorist threat, attack or kidnapping.”  He demonstrated a scenario where a Soldier driving a general officer pulls up to a terrorist roadblock and needs to make a fast getaway: shift to reverse, speed backwards, spin the steering wheel to the left, and halfway through the turn shift quickly into drive, spin back the wheel and accelerate. It’s a flawless 180-degree turn that could save lives in the right situation.  “They are taught to use their vehicle not only as a weapon, but as a means to escape (a threat) as well,” he added.