AR-15s

Review: American Tactical MilSport AR-15 — Tactical/Hunting

American Tactical MilSport AR-15 rifle

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.

ATI MilSPort AR-15 in 6mm ARC with a ACOG and cowitness MRO red dot
The MilSport is a platform that was built for lightweight performance. Top it with an ACOG and you are ready to defend the farm or bring dinner.

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.

Optics

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.

American Tactical MilSport AR-15 rifle with ATN THOR Smrt technology scope
The ATN ThOR turned out to be the perfect hunting companion. The infrared scope has up to 16 hours of battery life. A smart range finder allows users to easily gauge distances to their target. The ThOR 4 thermal imaging scope for hunting also comes with video recording, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities to make sharing captures of your perfect hunt a breeze.

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.

6mm ARC

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.

6mm ARC 3-shot group
The author does not want to oversell the accuracy, because this is only one group. However, at 200 yards, it is a really good group!

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.

Specifications

Model: MilSport Carbine
Action: Semi-auto
Caliber: 6mm ARC
Available calibers: .223/5.56, 9mm, .450, .300 AAC, and .410
Finish: Black phosphate
Sights: None
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.

Do you have a MilSport? Which caliber? What’s your favorite long-range cartridge? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. I have one in 762×39 and it compliments my AK just fine. Had to look for it though. I love ATI too. Lots of good stuff.

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