I tested several models of Franklin Armory's new semi automatic carbines. It was exciting to get a chance to shoot tactical products made only a couple of hours from my own home. I found that Franklin Armory produces reliable cost-effective tools for individual officer purchase and department issue.
The showcase carbine in the company's inventory is the HSC-15 (Homeland Security Carbine-15). It comes standard with a 16-inch chrome-lined barrel and a forged 7075-T6 receiver and upper. All models are available with a six-position stock. The Franklin Armory upper has a unique feature, but more about this later.
Franklin Armory is part of a California corporation that has been around for 20 years. The firearms side of the business is relatively new. It is also an anomaly, simply because restrictive California laws have chased many businesses away, especially businesses related to the firearms industry. Jay Jacobson, the business-savvy president of Franklin Armory, recognized the opening and capitalized on it.
The opening? Few were making carbines for the California market. Franklin Armory can provide California products and also meet the needs of law enforcement agencies.
Just for clarification: Several items on a standard AR-15 make them illegal in California. As I understand it, some believe that making gun laws more restrictive will reduce crimes with firearms. I am unsure what created this logic, but citizens who wish to own firearms must comply by not having certain characteristics on their guns. Franklin Armory products exported out of state or sold to law enforcement professionals will not have these characteristics.
When I interviewed Jacobson, he candidly pointed out that reliability is on the forefront of the company's philosophy. Franklin doesn't make boutique carbines and call them tactical. (Note: They do make a .25 WSSM and I shot one, but this article is tactically driven, not about driving tacks).
The HSC-15 looks and feels like a typical AR-15 carbine. It comes standard in 5.56, and is designed to be safe to shoot .223 or 5.56. As most people know, 5.56 and .223 are similar, but not necessarily interchangeable. Carbines designed for 5.56, according to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) need a little beefier chamber to handle the additional 10,000 cup. The HSC-15 can also be configured for other cartridges like the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 Remington by changing out the upper.
The HSC-15 receiver is cleanly machined and the matte finish is evenly applied. It looks like a common MIL-SPEC part until one looks down from the top at the small protrusion in front of the rear disassembly pin. This is the specialized tension screw, a very unique feature. This is the reason why the Franklin Armory lower is really law enforcement friendly.
Law enforcement carbine users know that there are some products that will work in a wide array of situations, but no single solution works for all of them. They accommodate special applications by either owning a lot of different types of long guns, or modifying their carbine to work a range of tactical problems.
Officers and agencies are getting smarter. If they own one good lower, they can mate it with their repertoire of uppers. The problem is, not every upper cleanly mates with every lower. There is some play deliberately engineered into them. This creates a little slop or "battle rattle" in some carbines.
The Franklin Armory has an adjustable tension screw with a nylon tensioner that cinches everything up. A simple twist of a 3/32 Allen wrench, and the upper swap is complete.
An officer can own one lower and several uppers. The 6.8 Remington is for the call out, the .223 is for the sling ride into the remote marijuana field, the "shorty" is for warrant service.