The term “mil-spec” is bandied about in the AR world like it is the balm for all that ails you. All it means is that a piece of equipment meets the minimum acceptable standard for military use. When it comes to small arms like the M16 rifle or the M9 pistol, that standard can be fairly stringent, and for serious use you would not want anything less. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t get something better.
“Better” is certainly the thinking behind the new 5.56mm P5T15 rifle from Phase 5 Weapons Systems. The company began by making high-end components for the AR that were designed to strengthen and improve the operation and handling characteristics of the platform. Thanks in large part to the modular nature of the AR platform, going from parts to complete rifles is a feasible enterprise, which the company adopted with its first complete carbine.
The P5T15 is a semi-automatic, direct-impingement, 5.56mm NATO carbine with several top-notch enhancements. The 16-inch, standard-profile barrel is made from mil-spec 4150 steel with a chrome-lined bore and button rifling in a 1-in-8-inch twist rate. A faster twist rate does a better job of stabilizing heavier bullets, but custom rifles like the P5T15 are increasingly splitting the difference between the commonly seen 1-in-9-inch and 1-in-7-inch rates of twist for optimal use with a wider range of bullet weights.
This carbine also uses a mid-length gas system. A mid-length gas tube is 2 inches longer than that found on a standard carbine and moves the gas hole farther away from the chamber and closer to the muzzle. This helps reduce the amount of super-heated gas and fouling that goes back into the chamber to operate the bolt, helping to reduce wear and tear on internal parts as well as perceived recoil.