Radian Model 1 Review: The Perfect Rifle?

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11 months ago
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In a world saturated with AR-15-pattern rifles, the first question every manufacturer who wants to introduce its own rifle to the market asks itself is this: How do we make our gun stand out? What will be the defining feature of our product? How can we improve on the high standards that already exist?

The answers to these questions for Radian Weapons comes in the form of the Radian Model 1. This firearm is an innovative and customizable take on the AR-15 rifle pattern, intended to be of the highest possible quality.

Each Model 1 is individually assembled and fitted by hand, checked, test-fired, inspected, and cleaned by a trained gunsmith to guarantee the best accuracy and meet Radian Weapons’ strict standards.

The Radian Model 1 is available in various configurations, ranging in weight from 6 to 8 lbs. For those interested in a short-barreled rifle or the less-regulated pistol alternative, there are 9” and 10.5” variants that fulfill both requirements.

While the waiting time can be long, every gun is individually made by a highly skilled gunsmith, and the rifle is fully Cerakoted as one piece. This means there aren’t any inconsistencies in the color gradient between the upper and lower receivers. This is especially important, as Radian offers a range of customization options, one of them being the color of the Cerakote.

radian model 1 closeup brown color

Color Options

To maximize your customization options, Radian Weapons offers eight colors to choose from, and all are achieved using Cerakoting:

  • Clandestine Desert
  • Clandestine DMC
  • Clandestine Urban
  • Flat Dark Earth
  • Radian Black
  • Radian Brown
  • Radian Grey
  • Radian OD

What is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a thin-film ceramic coating, which is a popular choice among AR-15 enthusiasts. Besides providing a range of options for customizing the gun’s look, it also has the added benefit of protecting against rust and corrosion.

Ambidextrous Functionality

However, here the Radian Model 1 truly stands out is its ambidextrous controls. Whether for left-handed shooters or switching shoulders to adapt to tactical or competitive circumstances, operating the controls from either side is vital to success. The ambidextrous controls available in the Radian Model 1 include:

  • Talon Ambi 45/90 Safety Selector: One of the most difficult right-handed controls to manipulate for a left-handed shooter is the safety selector or fire selector lever. This lever is rotated to two positions in a semi-automatic rifle: Fire/semi-automatic and safe. In the Radian Model 1, the rotary lever safety selector can be set to 1 of 2 throws: The standard 90° throw, familiar to anyone who’s become accustomed to the AR-15 rifle pattern, and 45° for rapid engagement.
  • Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle: The standard AR-15 T-shaped charging handle is technically ambidextrous, but it can only be unlocked and retracted by depressing a spring-loaded latch in a slot in the left arm, which corresponds to the right index finger’s position. A common practice is to grip the left arm of the handle with the left hand. Because both arms of the Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle are complete latches, Radian enables you to charge or clear the rifle by gripping either arm of the T handle with either hand, offering a competitive and tactical advantage.
  • Ambidextrous Dual-Action Catch: Abbreviated A-DAC and patented by the manufacturer, the bolt catch/release is accessible via either side of the lower receiver. One of the most innovative features of this system is how the bolt is locked to the rear. As with the standard AR-15 design, the Radian Model 1 contains a bolt catch/release on the left side. However, the right side features Radian’s A-DAC system, which allows you to simply depress the magazine release and retract the charging handle with the support hand. Guide the handle, and thus the bolt carrier group forward, and it will stop on the catch.
  • Magazine Release: Consisting of either a right-sided button or left-handed paddle, quick magazine changes are within everyone’s reach. This is particularly good in high-stress situations, but it also provides significant advantages in a competitive setting.

In addition to its ambidextrous functionality, the magazine well is flared. This helps guide the insertion of freshly loaded magazines, decreasing the reload time. If you prefer to grip the rifle by the front of the magazine well/lower receiver, you’ll find that the face is serrated for increased traction.

The handguard is M-LOK compatible for direct attachment of essential accessories, such as flashlights. It is secured with a stainless-steel anti-rotation pin.

ATC AR Gold Match Grade Trigger

One of the standouts of the Radian Model 1 feature list is its trigger. Inspiring the confidence of world-renowned competition shooter Jerry Miculek, the ATC AR Gold Match Grade Trigger affords a light, crisp single-stage trigger break that’s designed to be discreet.

Rather than eliminating the take-up, it is instead kept to an absolute minimum. Thanks to the design, it uses engagement that is set internally so that differing receiver hole tolerances won’t affect either the performance or reliability of the trigger. Furthermore, it also has been extensively tested in different weather conditions. The company prides itself on the immense reliability of this product.

Proper safety engagement is not dependent on an adjustable safety selector; the mil-spec standard is adequate. In the event of a pierced primer, the AR Gold has exit paths to allow the escape of hot gas.

The AR Gold Trigger is made from S7 — shock-resisting tool steel — which is hard, strong, and tough. Typically used as a material for chisels, dies, and mandrills, S7 is highly durable and provides a long service life.

Machined using wire EDM (electrical discharge machining), the engagement surfaces are cut to precise tolerances. The resulting accuracy works to provide an exceptionally consistent trigger pull.

Pistol Grip

To accompany the superb trigger, the Radian Model 1 uses the ergonomic Magpul MOE pistol grip. This is a popular model selected by many individuals and companies. It is a natural upgrade from the mil-spec A2 pistol grip because it features the same grip angle with an overall more ergonomic design. The MOE grip also has a compartment for storing spare ammunition, batteries, or other small supplies you may need.

Stock

Shooters of all sizes appreciate the benefits of a comfortable adjustable stock. The Radian Model 1 achieves this goal with another popular Magpul product: The Magpul CTR Mil-Spec Carbine stock. This stock is adjustable with six different positions, is fully ambidextrous, and offers extra comfort through the use of a detachable 0.3” rubber pad. It also helps maintain practical accuracy, eliminating wobble through the use of a shielded release latch.

Barrel

Made from corrosion-resistant 416R stainless steel, the barrel has polished feed ramps to promote reliable cycling. When selected with the .223 Wylde chamber, the Radian Model 1 can safely fire both .223 Remington commercial ammunition and 5.56×45mm NATO military ball. However, the Radian Model 1 is also available in .300 Blackout if you’d prefer the increased caliber and suppressor optimization afforded by that cartridge.

A high-quality barrel deserves a high-quality muzzle device. While the barrel has a polished crown that helps distribute gas evenly around the bullet, the threaded muzzle has an attached combination flash suppressor and silencer mount. Manufactured by SilencerCo, the ARS (Active Retention System) resembles, at a glance, the 3-prong Vietnam-era flash suppressor used on the original M16 but is more functional.

With quality ammunition, the Radian Model 1 is perhaps the most accurate AR-15 right out of the box, with sub-1 MOA groups easily within reach.

Accuracy testing with the 16” .223 Wylde barrel revealed that when paired with match-grade ammunition such as Cor-Bon MPR 77-grain, Federal Gold Medal Match 69-grain, or Black Hills Mk262 OTM 77-grain, you can expect exceptional average accuracy, ranging between 0.5 and 1 MOA.

Bolt Carrier Group

As required per military specification, the gas key is staked. However, what’s not mil-spec is the black nitride coating, which protects the bolt carrier group from rust and increases lubricity. The resulting hard-wearing surface is more difficult for fouling to adhere to, simplifying cleaning and routine maintenance.

radian model 1

Should You Buy The Radian Model 1?

Serving well in either a competitive shooting or self-defense role, all these features come together to form a highly reliable, rugged weapon system that can be used by either left- or right-handed shooters. Radian Weapons prides itself on its ambidextrous functionality, and you’re able to alternate between left and right shoulders to shoot over and around cover, regardless of the position. This functionality is beneficial in a military/law enforcement setting just as much as for civilian self-defense.

Where the Radian Model 1 found its place on the AR-15 platform market is with competition shooters. This rifle is for shooters who want fast reloads, multiple options for manipulating the rifle while alternating hands, and the reliability to use it despite the weather conditions.

The Radian Model 1 is an AR-15 you want to get if you need a high-performance rifle suitable for winning matches or for home defense. It is available in various barrel lengths, Cerakote colors, and calibers, allowing you a range of customization options from the very start.

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