Hodge Defense has been kind enough to pass along some details on the upcoming AU Mod 2. It’s a great machine that got a lot of behind-closed-doors exposure last week at AUSA.
The material story is quite interesting. Although we can’t say too much right now, the idea came to Jim Hodge a little more than a year ago, from a trusted agent in the small arms that alerted him to the info that ALCOA Defense was working on a new material. Jim ran with the information and it turns out that this new material, that’s never been used in small arms production until now, is Aluminum Lithium (AlLi). It’s lighter than 7000 series aluminum, exhibiting just 7% less strength than the characteristics we associate with Ti. Naturally, this means it’s expensive.
Hodge is working with ALCOA Defense to finish the details on the custom enhanced forgings that will get these guns rolling out. The forged upper receiver features a newer geometry, slightly thicker walls, and some proprietary tweaks. The forged lower has an integrated trigger guard and ambi controls. Both are reverse compatible with all mil-spec receivers. All aluminum will be type 3 hard coat anodized in black initially, and later DE, although truth be told, the AlLi is so corrosion resistant you don’t need it except to reduce shine. Additionally, Hodge Defense will offer 7075 receiver sets as an aftermarket product for those who are looking for the upgrades in design but at the lower price of the 7075.
The AU Mod 2 also features a proprietary handguard, with a patent pending lock-up for the Ti barrel nut. I’ve seen it and it is very slick and very strong. Although you can see KeyMod in the photo, the carbine will initially come with MLok and the KeyMod variant will follow shortly after. Additionally, a version of the handguard in 7075 will be available for sale separately and they are considering offering the AlLi model that comes with the rifle as well for aftermarket sale. If you’re wondering why Hodge is going with 7075 Al for the aftermarket handguard, it offers 40% more strength than the 6061 used in many handguards.
The barrel is cold hammer forged, 1/7 twist, mid gas, and Chrome Lined.
Finally, the AU Mod 2 will incorporate an ambi-charging handle, bar stock controls, tuned GI trigger, Magpul SL stock and MOE+ grip, impact extruded buffer tube, H buffer, and enhanced BCG.
These will continue to be hand built guns in San Antonio, Texas at the Hodge Defense shop and I expect to see them available before the end of the year. Hodge is also in negotiation with an industry partner to offer production versions of the AU Mod 2.