American Tactical Imports (ATI) is probably best known for its GSG line of affordable, quality firearms chambered for .22 LR. Featuring German engineering, these are high-quality firearms, not knockoffs, that handle reliably and offer an excellent training platform. That’s a real value with today’s cost of ammunition.
I’ve fired a few .22s from ATI and found them to be a ton of fun. So it surprised me when an assignment came through to test its newest line of 5.56mm AR-type rifles. A quick trip to ATI’s website revealed that the company was offering a few full-bore versions of its .22 LR rifles. They, as well as ATI’s milled-receiver AK-47, were all well priced. (ATI’s HD and HDH16 ARs all cost under $750—pretty stellar.) Also, ATI teamed up with Head Down Products to offer higher-end models priced at just a bit under $1,000, which is within reach for most professionals in need of an AR.
Thanks to huge demand (and less-than-predictable politics) ARs have reached new heights in price. While there have been many improvements in the last few years, the system itself was originally designed to be simple and reliable. Many of the improvements are nice, but they are costly. It can be far more effective to start simple and build up.
All you really need is a good rifle with a solid forend. Having a free-floating forend that accommodates a minimum of accessories is a great start. Most professional do not need the extra rail space, weight or cost of lasers, IR technology and optics. In most cases a tactical light, a sling, and maybe a red-dot or low-power scope will suffice. If you are handy, you can swap parts but that requires an investment in tools and time, things that are often in short supply. Thankfully, ATI along with Head Down has already done all this for you, offering a simple rifle with a solid forend: the HDVX carbine.
ATI’s HDVX starts with a lower receiver forged from 7075-T6 aluminum. Internals are mil-spec with a standard trigger, safety and bolt release. An A2 pistol grip is added as well as a six-position buffer tube with a standard M4 carbine stock. Any AR-compatible pistol grip, stock or buffer tube can be added if desired.
The steel, 16-inch barrel has a 1-in-7-inch twist and is coated with Melonite inside and out. This rifle comes with a standard A2 flash suppressor (other attachments meeting various state requirements are available) and a low-profile gas block attached to a carbine-length gas impingement system. The standard 5.56mm chamber can accept various ammunition, and the mil-spec, Carpenter 158 steel bolt and 8920 steel carrier provide reliability and strength.