January 10, 2024
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There are some questions which are difficult to answer. How many magazines should I have for my rifle? What’s the best scope? How much ammo should I store? Which handguard should I use? There’s no black and white answer to these due to the number of variables involved. What’s right for you may not fit the particular needs or budget of someone else. Some questions, though, are easier to answer. For example, if you need a firearm for personal protection with improved range, terminal performance and penetration over a typical handgun but still want to be able to transport it on your concealed weapons license and store it discretely, I’d recommend an AR-15 pistol. The Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) 5.56x45mm Recce 11 MCMR seen on these pages is an example of the breed particularly well suited for being “the next step up” in personal protection.
Based out of Hartland, Wisconsin, the company was founded by Paul Buffoni in 2005 to meet the needs of the private Protective Security Detail (PSD) market. These organizations and individuals were performing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan similar to the military, but they were not in the military supply chain. Due to this, they needed a commercial alternative they could depend on. The BCM product line was subsequently built with professional needs in mind following the philosophy of “no shortcuts.” They quickly became known and respected for offering quality components which met or exceeded Mil-Spec. In a relatively short amount of time, the BCM logo became synonymous with quality. Simply put, the company provided peace of mind for those doing a difficult and dangerous job in a far-off land.
I was an early customer of BCM’s many years ago and was interested to see how one of their current production pistols would perform. After a quick perusal of their offerings, I selected their Recce 11 MCMR, which features an 11.5-inch barrel and M-LOK handguard. I went with this barrel length as it provides a noticeable reduction in size over a conventional 16-inch carbine while still providing respectable velocity. It’s very easy to maneuver indoors or to get in or out of a vehicle while still being effective at 300+ yards. Examining the BCM Recce 11 MCMR, you’ll note its flattop upper receiver, which facilitates easy mounting of day/night optics and iron sights. This is machined from a 7075-T6 forging and hardcoat anodized per MIL-A-8625F, Type III Class 2, features M4 feed ramps and laser T-markings. The bolt is machined from Mil-Spec Carpenter 158 steel and high pressure tested (HPT), magnetic particle inspected (MPI) and shot peened. It features a tool steel extractor with a black extractor insert and a BCM extractor spring. The bolt rides in a chrome-lined, full-auto profile carrier. A chrome-lined gas key is properly staked with Grade 8 fasteners. You’ll find a BCMGunfighter charging handle at the rear of the receiver. This is a very nice upgrade over a standard charging handle being both more robust and easier to manipulate.
Fit to the front of the receiver is an 11.5-inch Government-profile barrel machined from independently certified Mil-Spec 11595E barrel steel. Why is this of interest? Simple, because this grade (CMV) of Mil-Spec steel is stronger and will last longer than a commercial-grade barrel. How will it last longer? Through an increase in carbon and/or vanadium in the alloy. The barrels are HP tested and MP inspected as well. To resist fouling, corrosion and to extend its service life, the bore and chamber are chrome-lined. The barrel is cut with a 5.56x45mm NATO chamber and features a versatile 1:7-inch twist. This twist rate provides excellent accuracy with a wide range of bullet weights, including common 55 and 62 grain, as well as heavy 77-grain projectiles. Externally, the barrels are parkerized with a manganese-phosphate finish per military specifications (Mil-Spec A-A-59267).
The barrel features a carbine-length gas system and is fitted with a low-profile gas block. At the muzzle, BCM fits their distinctive-looking BCMGunfighter Mod 0 compensator. I have a love/hate relationship with muzzlebrakes. I love the way they reduce felt recoil and help to control muzzle rise, but I absolutely hate the increase in noise, blast, flash and the way they blow dust and dirt around. This compensator was designed to address some of these issues. It incorporates an internal cone in the design similar to a suppressor. The bottom and top of the device are closed while three oval ports are cut on either side. Size of their Mod 0 is identical to a standard A2 flash hider, and it accepts a standard blank firing attachment and sound suppressors.
Surrounding the barrel is BCM’s fairly light, aluminum free-floating Gunfighter MCMR handguard. At approximately 10.4 inches in length, it extends well past the gas block and provides plenty of room for mounting accessories. Two bolts lock the handguard securely into place while two extensions interface with the upper receiver preventing rotation. The top of the handguard features MIL STD 1913 rails while M-LOK slots are cut into it at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. It is heavily slotted to both reduce weight and aid barrel cooling. The upper receiver pins onto a standard-looking lower receiver. Dropped into this is a BCM PNT trigger. This features hand-polished sear engagement surfaces and an electroless nickel finish. To the rear of this is a BCMGunfighter Mod 3 pistolgrip with internal storage. Another nice touch is BCM’s oversized Gunfighter triggerguard for use with gloves. The endplate features a quick-detach (QD) sling socket, and peering inside the receiver extension, I found a USGI H buffer. Riding on the receiver extension is a SB Tactical SBA3 five-position adjustable stabilizing brace.
What about performance? A big question I had was how it would perform on the range. To find out, I mounted a Carl Zeiss scope and got to work firing groups from a rest at 100 yards. Accuracy of the Recce 11 MCMR was respectable, with my tightest group of the day measuring just .7 inch. This was fired with Black Hills .223 Rem. 55-grain TSX, which averaged 1.2 inches at 2,702 feet per second (fps). Hornady’s .223 Rem. 55-grain SP averaged 1.7 inches at 2,507 fps while their .223 Rem 55-grain GMX Superformance averaged 1.9 inches at 2,659 fps. I also tested one 5.56mm NATO pressure load from Black Hills, their 50-grain TSX Optimized. This copper monolithic expanding load averaged 1.7 inches at an impressive 2,873 fps.
Practical accuracy is excellent. Snap shooting man-sized targets at 50, 75 and 100 yards is easy. Shooting prone, I posted a 4-inch, five-shot group at 280 yards and made hits at 400 yards if I stayed on top of the wind. This pistol will easily bring the heat at 300+ yards. It handles very well, balances nicely, carries easily, swings quickly from target to target and stops on a dime. Recoil is easy to control, the muzzle stays flat and the trigger is quite good for what it is. While it’s not a match trigger, it is both eminently usable and bombproof. No complaints here. The controls all function easily. Feeding, extraction and ejection were flawless during testing with zero issues of any kind. Better still, it is a very fun pistol to shoot. Whether training or shooting recreationally, I enjoyed my time behind the Recce 11 MCMR. Is the BCM Recce 11 MCMR perfect? No, but it’s close! It’s nicely made from high-quality components and materials. The only part I would change on it is the compensator, simply because I prefer a flash suppressor. Really, though, I have no gripes. Overall, it is a very practical piece well suited for personal protection. The Recce 11 line starts at $1,400 and the model tested retails for $1,500. While not inexpensive, it is very well built and highly recommended.
BCM RECCE 11 MCMR PIstol
- Action: Rotating bolt via direct impingement
- Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
- Rifling: 1:7-in. twist
- Overall Length: 27 in. (collapsed), 29.9 in. (extended)
- Trigger: PNT single-stage with 5.5-lbs. pull
- Feed: Detachable box magazine
- Sights: None, 1913 optics rail
- Brace: SB Tactical SBA3
- Weight: 5.6 lbs.
- Finish: Hardcoat anodized per MIL-A-8625F, Type III Class 2
- MSRP: $1,500
- Manufacturer: Bravo Company Manufacturing
This article was originally published in Be Ready! magazine. You can find an original copy at OSGnewsstand.com. If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.