Fab Defense Rifle Upgrades
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- Last updated: 26/09/2021
If you shoot an AR, AK, VZ58, 10/22 or anything with a detachable grip or accessory rail and want to enhance its handling or customise its looks, then FAB Defense offer a comprehensive range of practical, stylish and sometimes surprising solutions. Think of them as the Israeli version of Magpul: less famous, perhaps, but right up there in terms of quality and innovation.
Previously, supply has been patchy, but that has changed for the better now FAB has an official UK distributor in Shooting Supplies of Bromsgrove. So, I was delighted when MD Antony Bill called me to say his latest shipment had arrived and would I like to take a look, especially after a visit to his spacious and wellstocked shop saw me coming away with the bumper crop of polymer goodness that is the subject of this review.
Between us, we kitted out two ARstyle rifles: a .22LR M4-22 Elite from Tippmann - another great brand for which Shooting supplies are the official distributor - and my own .22 WMR rifle from RayVin/North West Custom.
The Tippman got a complete toggingout in desert tan that included a GL Core telescopic butt-stock, a rubber overmoulded AGR-43 pistol grip, a mag-well grip, a PTK angled foregrip and a VTS (Versatile Tactical Support) thumblock.
All this added a few ounces, but the upside in terms of increased grip consistency and weapon control was simply stunning. Also apparent was how well the position, angle and texture of the contact surfaces worked together to reduce grip effort and overall strain, which means less fatigue and the ability to maintain optimal performance for longer.
We considered adding the optional GCCP cheek-piece to the Core GL as I had previously used one on a Brocock Commander to good effect. It’s a rugged, 3-position design that clamps securely to the top of the stock, however, the existing optic mount already gave a perfect cheek-weld, so in this case, it wasn’t required. Nevertheless, because the GL stock is easy to switch between rifles, a GCCP is a handy thing to have.
By contrast to the competition-oriented Tippman, my .22WMR is used for a bit of foxing and a good deal of 200m plinking. With this semi-precision work in mind, I fitted a RAPS (Rapid Adjustment Precision Stock), which fits rigidly over the buffer tube and provides cam-locked adjustable length of pull (LOP) and comb-height at the rear, as well as a Picatinny monopod mount tucked away under a smooth cover. This replaced the telescopic GLR16 stock and cheek riser previously fitted. The GLR16 is a very versatile design, but the RAPS is better matched to precision purposes.
I also wanted a bipod. FAB do three. Most appealing is their SPTB (Spike Precision Picatinny Bipod), which features lockable cant-correction, sprung panning and a genuinely improved Atlas-style adjustment system. More radical is their TBG (Tactical Bipod Grip), a chunky vertical foregrip that opens into a sturdy adjustable bipod at the push of a button and is almost as easy to close again. Attachment is to a Picatinny rail via a pair of thumbscrews, there’s an adjustable pressure-switch mount built-in, and both rigid and panning versions are available. It’s the best grip bipod I’ve seen and perfectly at home on my Steyr AUG Z SP.
All good, but the item I really wanted to try was FAB’s unique Podium bipod, which comes complete with their excellent AGR-43 pistol grip to ensure compatibility. Mounted amidships via a clamshell frame linking the base of the pistol grip to the magazine well, it gives you an AUG-style knuckle-guard as well as a magazine guide. Folded, the legs fit flush inside the frame, and again deployment is as easy as pushing a button. There’s no adjustment this time, but the height is just right for a solid but comfortable position, whether prone or off a bench, and leaves plenty of clearance for 30-round magazines.
My final addition was an SGFG (Short Gradus Forward Grip). Mounting directly to the M-LOK slots under the hand-guard gives it a low profile that complements its reduced dimensions, angled contours and rubberised finish, to provide excellent purchase up front, whilst keeping things sleek and light. You can use it like a regular foregrip, or – as FAB suggestfor a ‘hybrid ‘C’ grip’, but I like the way it lets me ‘lock into’ my safari sticks.
Having sorted out the two ARs, it was time to check out the other items. First up was a Gradus pistol grip. Over-moulded again, it sports the straight, upright profile favoured for PRS and CQB scenarios. Both AR-style beaver-tail and flat-top versions are available. I had the latter, but no suitable rifle, so I tried it on my FX Impact Mk2. Regular grips jam the top of my hand against the big plenum chamber, but the Gradus was super-comfortable. It located my hand away from the plenum and gave an optimal web-to-trigger distance. The beaver-tail version would be ideal for this rifle.
Another item I didn’t have an immediate host for is FAB’s Ultimag 30-round polymer magazine. Besides the 5.56 AR sample supplied, 7.62x39 AK and VZ58 versions are available. The body is crisply moulded, reassuringly rigid and agreeably tactile. It also sports translucent windows on both sides, flanked by a bold round-count scale. Counter-intuitively, this indexes to the base of the grey follower, not to the rounds themselves, so an accent line on the follower would be welcome. Thanks to a non-tipping follower and spring, filling and emptying were problem-free, and feed through a friend’s straightpull LMT223 was flawless. For longevity, the spring is coated against corrosion and tempered to resist taking a set if left loaded for extended periods.
Most of the above products are available in a choice of black, tan or green, and all set an impressively high bar for design, materials and manufacture. Prices sometimes surprise in both directions, but all are competitive. For these items and a lot more, check out FAB Defense UK’s online shop.