Tiger McKee, director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, began with a mission statement: Create a fighting carbine that is lightweight, simple to operate and based on Stoner’s original concepts for the AR type rifle. The maxim guiding Tiger: Maximize the effectiveness and potential of the fighting carbine through simplification. The result: The Shootrite Katana.
The Shootrite Katana is a fighting rifle based on Eugene Stoner’s original concept for the AR type rifle, - reliable, simple to operate, and efficient – but updated with contemporary components. Instead of the common trends associated with most AR’s - heavy thick barrels surrounded by railed handguards, vertical fore-grips, tactical slings, and folding sights - the Katana is a sleek, practical and efficient carbine designed for fighting. It has everything you need for general application of a carbine without any artificial accoutrements for appearances sake. Like the samurai sword it’s named after, the Katana’s beauty lies in its simplicity.
The Katana’s Upper Assembly
The key to reliability, simplicity and lightweight begins with the Katana’s upper. The thin 16-inch E.R. Shaw barrel – 1/8.5 twist and 5.56 chamber with an A2 flash hider – reduces the overall weight of the rifle. When you’re breathing hard, moving and negotiating inside tight environments, using cover, and shooting, the Katana feels like an extension of your body, not a heavy bulky weapon you’re struggling to operate.
The Katana’s handguard, a one-piece carbon-fiber unit with the barrel nut permanently attached to the tube, is lightweight and virtually indestructible. A rail for attaching a flashlight, mounted in the 11 o’clock position - for a right-handed shooter – for attaching a light. This is the ideal position for the light for maximum penetration of the beam into the environment, and reducing the amount of reflection bouncing back onto you when rolling out from behind cover, shooting over an object, or clearing both right and left hand corners.
The flattop upper receiver of the Katana allows you to mount any type optics, and doesn’t have an external forward assist. The original forward assist for the AR is the concave cutout in the exposed section of the bolt carrier. To seat the bolt you simply place a finger in the cutout and press forward. “When you get a cartridge that won’t seat in a rifle,” according to Stoner, “and you deliberately drive it in, usually you are buying yourself more trouble.” (The Black Rifle, Vol. 3, pg. 129.) This is as true now as it was then.
The Katana comes with fixed front and rear iron sights. The rear sight is removable, with an A1 type drum for windage adjustments; an elevation drum is unnecessary on a fighting rifle. These sights can be your primary system, or serve as a backup system when using an electronic optic. With a red-dot sight mounted at the proper height you are looking over the top of the iron sights. During a fight when your red-dot optic fails there’s no time to flip up front and rear sights. The fixed sights are there when you need them. Simply lower your cheekweld to acquire alignment with the iron sights and fight on.
The MPI bolt has the original style solid one-piece firing pin retaining pin, as opposed to split cotter pin used in most rifles, and chrome silicon extractor and ejector springs for longer life and reliable extraction and ejections. Other modifications on the bolt insure proper, reliable feeding and extraction.
To cycle the assembly the Katana comes with Bravo Company’s new Gunfighter charging handle. A quality charging handle is a necessity for a fighting rifle. Inexpensive charging handles twist and bend, locking up the bolt carrier and taking your rifle out of the fight. Bravo Company’s Gunfighter is a completely new design in charging handles, and provides an efficient way to operate the carbine with consistent reliability.
The Katana's Lower
The lower receiver, Sabre Defence, uses tried and true mil-spec components, including the trigger group. Aftermarket trigger assemblies listed as “match,” “competition” or “adjustable” have no place in a fighting rifle. Under the stress of combat a 3-pound trigger will feel like one ounce. You don’t want that in a fighting carbine, or anything that can come out of adjustment or lock up. Standard triggers work well for fighting, are reliable, and have a positive trigger reset, another essential in a fighting rifle.
The Katana is equipped with a DuckBill Tactical Grip – originally designed by Tiger - which has a “beak” that smoothes out the sharp corner between the grip and trigger guard. This grip allows you to handle the rifle one-handed during manipulations without wearing a hole in your middle finger. To fight effectively requires training, to acquire new skills, and practice to learn those skills. So although the Katana is designed for fighting, it's also ideal for the range. You can train for extended periods of time without the fatigue that goes along with a heavy rifle, and the Katana is durable enough to withstand the rigors of training/practice sessions. Simplicity is a key to success when it comes to learning and applying your combative skills.
The Katana comes with an A1 fixed stock, which is 5/8 inch shorter than the A2 and the proper length for most people, with the rear sling located on the left side of the stock, for a right handed shooter. This side sling mount lets the rifle hang flat against your body when slung. You can also choose Magpul’s CTR adjustable stock, with a 6-position buffer tube. Your individual application determines which stock is best.
Red Jacket Firearms, operated by Will Hayden, was chosen to build the Katana. Will is somewhat of a mad scientist when it comes to weapons construction, and while Red Jacket is primarily known for their high-end AK’s, one of a kind custom work and suppressors, they are also experts when it comes to AR’s. Katana owners are getting a custom built rifle, built one at a time - not an assembly line product - by a company known for the quality of their quality work and customer satisfaction.