The American Tactical MilSport comes out of the box ready for action — well almost ready. Mount your favorite optic or irons and grab some ammo. Out of the box you’ll note the 5-position adjustable buttstock and M-Lok compatible free-float handguard. The MilSport features an 18-inch barrel, and the rails tape out at 15 inches. The thread pattern on the barrel is 5/8×24.
Who wouldn’t want to shave a little weight off their AR-15? There’s a fine line between hunting and hiking while lugging a gun. The lighter the weight, the easier the hump over hill and dale. Also, what if you want to top your AR with a night vision scope? The scope will add weight, but a lighter platform balances out the package.
I’ve been a fan of American Tactical Imports (ATI) products for years. I have fawned over them at range events and finagled them from marketing directors’ hands when possible. While I do not have unlimited credit, the odd shotgun, 1911, and GSG have crossed my review desk. Today, I finally have the chance to give the MilSport a once-over.
Many of us are blessed with more than a couple of 5.56s in the gun safe. When I ordered my MilSport, I decided to spice it up a bit with a version chambered in 6mm ARC. 6mm ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge) was developed from the 6.5 Grendel round. Obviously though, it is necked down for 6mm bullets.
A 6mm ARC bullet travels at supersonic speeds past 1,000 yards. This makes it an ideal choice for long-range shooting. Due to the cartridge length, the 6mm ARC works with most any AR-15-pattern lower. So, if you grab a dedicated upper, you can shoot the caliber with any standard lower. With an upper or a dedicated rifle in 6mm ARC, you are the only limiting factor to making hits on target at 600, 700, or 1,000 yards.
Because I choose a MilSport in 6mm ARC, I wanted to look at different configurations than what was in the safe. Caliber aside though, ARs are Legos for adults. The build options are only limited by your imagination. I decided to forgo iron sights. I had no plans to play long-range darts without glass.
The AR-15 screams two things to me — tactical and hunting. Looking through toy room (closet) for something tactical, I came across a Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 topped with a co-witnessed RMR. In truth, the ACOG would serve well for hunting too. A steady rest and the ACOG should serve well out to at least 400 yards. But was it sexy enough?
FedEx answered that question with the arrival of an ATN X-Sight 4K Pro and Thor-4 SMART HD Thermal. As a backup, I brought out a tried and true 3×9 Leupold and a Leupold Mark 5 3.6-18×44 for maximum accuracy past 500 yards.
Everything felt right. I had a new gun, plenty of optics, the chrono, shooting rest, eyes and ears, and a bunch of steel to set out at different distances. I’ll tell you I had everything but ammo. Sadly, that was the story everywhere. Even Hornady, had trouble sparing a few boxes. I scoured every website and even tried to call in a favor or two from some custom handloaders I know. The result was a flat zero.
The 6mm ARC was released by Hornady in 2020. That meant COVID lockdowns and supply/labor shortages. The machines most manufacturers kept running were all dedicated to the most common calibers. The 6mm ARC sports the advantages of high accuracy and low recoil — if you can get your hands on it.
Since this article is about the MilSport and not necessarily the 6mm ARC, finding a buddy with a .223/5.56 version was not hard. Fortunately, I scored about a box and half of 6mm ARC from some shady character in a back alley wearing a trench coat. With the ACOG mounted, the 6mm ARC chambered MilSport was everything I desired.
Range Testing the MilSport
Not wishing to face a buddy with the return of empty boxes, I bore sighted the rifle before heading to the range to conserve ammo. I used two rounds to get centered and three to confirm it was grouping. The next three shots were at 200, and the paper showed I was still under an inch. I eyed the gong at 500.
With the 100-yard zero, I had about a 60-inch drop. I was also pushing past my personal limits with the ACOG, but I did not have the ammo for a scope change, so I went with it. I was pleased with the ping! I received after the first few shots and totally tanked my last one with a flinch. However, my spotter called center-left hits. Had I mounted the Mark 5 with a little more ammo, I’m confident I could have easily rung the steel at multiple distances out to 1,000 yards.
Model: MilSport Carbine
Caliber: 6mm ARC
Available calibers: .223/5.56, 9mm, .450, .300 AAC, and .410
Finish: Black phosphate
Barrel length: 18 inches
Overall length: 33 inches
Twist rate: 1:7.5 inches RH
Capacity: 10+1 rounds
Trigger pull: 4 pounds
Although I received one of the 6mm ARC versions, you’d be well armed with any MilSport. ATI re-barreled its remaining 6mm ARC inventory due to the lack of availability of ammunition and offered to do the same for mine. I gave them a hard pass. The 6mm ARC has a lot of potential, and I am willing to hold out until the presses start turning some out. Until then, a .300 AAC looks mighty tempting, and the .410 shotgun is more fun than I can relate in a few sentences.