Quantico Tactical

Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

I’ve had some people ask me about dust covers or lack of them on assault rifles – with the AR15/M16/M4 family being the most notable example of a rifle that has a dust cover as standard issue. Recently there have been lower cost M4-style rifles hitting the market that have deleted the dust cover altogether. In my opinion this is done entirely as a cost cutting measure and not to enhance performance in any way.

My opinion is that on an AR, the dust cover is a plus with no real negatives – rarely does the dust cover spring break and cause malfunctions by bouncing back up to induce ejection stoppages during firing. It can certainly happen, but the likelihood of a stoppage due to debris entering the action from a lack of dust cover being in place is far higher.

The AR15 family of rifles was designed to have a Sturmgewehr inspired dust cover and all variants should in fact have one – if they don’t they fall into the category of guns for games and not guns for fighting.

-Larry Vickers
Vickers Tactical Inc.
Host of TacTV


Larry Vickers of Vickers Tactical in a retired US Army 1st SFOD-Delta combat veteran with years of experience in the firearms industry as a combat marksmanship instructor and industry consultant. In recent years he has hosted tactical firearms related TV shows on the Sportsman Channel with the latest being TacTV of which Bravo Company is a presenting sponsor.Larry Vickers special operations background is one of the most unique in the industry today; he has been directly or indirectly involved in the some of the most significant special operations missions of the last quarter century. During Operation Just Cause he participated in Operation Acid Gambit – the rescue of Kurt Muse from Modelo Prison in Panama City, Panama. As a tactics and marksmanship instructor on active duty he helped train special operations personnel that later captured Saddam Hussein and eliminated his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein. In addition he was directly involved in the design and development of the HK416 for Tier One SOF use which was used by Naval Special Warfare personnel to kill Osama Bin Laden. Larry Vickers has developed various small arms accessories with the most notable being his signature sling manufactured by Blue Force Gear and Glock accessories made by Tangodown. In addition he has maintained strong relationships with premium companies within the tactical firearms industry such as BCM, Aimpoint, Black Hills Ammunition, Wilson Combat and Schmidt & Bender.

Larry Vickers travels the country conducting combat marksmanship classes for law abiding civilians, law enforcement and military and has partnered with Alias Training to coordinate classes to best meet the needs of the students attending the class.


Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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10 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Larry Vickers

  1. Owen says:

    Excellent facts. I love the clean look without the dust cover, but it is definitely there for a reason.

    Do you get extra points when your bio is longer than the article?

  2. Trajan says:

    Relating to these rifles: a few years back you also stated that the lack of the forward assist was a bad thing and that you should always have the ability to manually close the bolt. Do you still hold this opinion?


    • sean s says:

      I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic are not with that question, but I will answer it seriously. If the gun doesn’t have a forward assist it is worthless as a tactical rifle. And honestly worthless as a range gun if you shoot more than two hundred rounds at a time.

      • SSD says:

        I am of the opinion that if you have to force a gun into battery that does want to go, there’s something going on. And, tap rack bang is probably a better course of action.

        Friends who are snipers will find value in the forward assist but I am not sold on its value.

      • Trajan says:

        No sarcasm at all; it was a serious question. Opinions on this type of thing change all the time and I was curious if he still held that opinion as these sporter rifles often lack a forward assist.

        As SSD pointed out below, there is a split in opinion of whether the forward assist is even necessary at all.

        • sean s says:

          I shoot around 50,000 thousand rounds a year if I am not deployed. Been in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, guns get dirty, you get a mag dirty, they can start running dry after a you shoot 3 to 4 mags in a extremely dusty environment in under a couple minutes. You don’t always got time to go into your bag and put some more CLP on them. There are times when the bolt just doesn’t won’t to lock forward even with a tap rack bang, but it will cycle perfectly when firing, but not for mag changes. The forward assist is absolutely critical for these. This is something that was proven in Vietnam when the original M-16s lacked them. It got people killed.

        • SSD says:

          I think it’s a legitimate question. Oddly enough, I don’t think I’d buy an AR without one. It’s there ‘just in case’ but I don’t see myself using it.

  3. roy says:

    I hung that pic of Larry in my garage. It’s been mouse free ever since. Coincidence; I think not. 🙂

  4. Yes i feel a forward assist is a must have in a combat carbine – one of those ‘in case all else fails’ devices that is a nice to have item on your weapon

    I rarely ever use mine but i still want it on the carbine