JP Rifles have been on my radar for quite some time. I would say that until now, I hadn’t had the opportunity to shoot one, but that is not true. At a range event about a year ago I was handed an AR type SBR in 9mm and told to give it a go. I do not recall the specifics of the instance but I had to hand off another gun in order to do so and then passed the 9mm SBR off to another shooter almost as fast as it was handed to me. Later in the day, the owner of the 9mm SBR asked me if I had shot his “JP SBR”. Suddenly, I wished that I had been paying more attention. It was a well outfitted rifle but I recall that my focal point of briefly handling the gun was… perhaps the configuration of his optics… I decided that I would revisit the platform but the day got long and before the opportunity presented itself again, many of the guys had already packed it in and headed home.
In the course of a year I have the opportunity to handle and shoot a substantial number of rifles, but through some random sequence of bad luck it would be many months before another JP rifle came my direction. And when the opportunity did arise it was in a manner that I did not anticipate.
For the last year and a half I have been working part time as a firearms instructor at the Gander Mountain Academy. There I am part of a team that teaches everything from Handgun fundamentals to Concealed Carry and Dynamic Defensive Handgun. Working at the Gander Mountain Academy keeps me sharp and it has broadened my horizons in regards to knowing the minds of the general population that makes up the majority of the nations gun owners.
Including working with a highly professional staff, there are a variety of perks and benefits associated with working for the Gander Mountain Academy. One of them being, that the Gander Mountain Academy has an indirect relationship with the Gander Mountain Law Enforcement Sales Division.
Gander LE Sales is not outwardly marketed by Gander Mountain. Gander LE Sales exists to serve Law Enforcement by working directly with agencies across the country. There is no catalog associated and there is no website. In order to better serve the Law Enforcement community Gander LE Sales utilizes it tremendous resources and a professional staff in order to assist Law Enforcement agencies in the acquisition of gear such as firearms, optics, armor and ammunition, just to name a few.
Over time and through an ongoing relationship with the Gander LE Sales Division the opportunity arose for me to get my hands on two JP rifles for the purpose of testing and evaluation.
JP LE15 and the JP Gladiator
I arranged the evaluation of the rifles through the primary representative of Gander Mountain Law Enforcement Sales, Jon Nysse.
I was aware that Gander LE Sales sold the JP brand, in addition to others, but I was interested to know what particular models. It turned out Nysse was able to offer me far more options than I had anticipated. Half expecting to be offered “option A” and “option B” I had not come to the table with a wish list. It seemed natural to ask for the JP LE15 model on the account that it was built for Law Enforcement. Rifle request number one, was granted. I then racked my brain for a moment and asked Jon if he had access to a JP Gladiator. An associate of mine had spoken quite highly of this model and I was curious to see what all it entailed. Half surprised, I was informed that Gander LE Sales had a JP Gladiator as well.
The extent of my experience with JP rifles prior to receiving the shipment of the JP LE15 and the JP Gladiator was limited to JP spring kits that had been outfitted to sniper rifles, my own custom DPMS build included. I know that I had seen rifles built with JP uppers or lowers in the past as well but somehow, I had never handled a whole JP built rifle. This simple fact alone seems to surprise me, even as I write it now… It was only a matter of time now and I would have two complete JP rifles in hand. It might sound silly, but I tried to not allow me expectations get to high.
Early in the week a rolling Pelican case had showed up at my work, with my name on it. Knowing my enthusiasm for the shipments arrival, I was phoned by three separate co-workers. As it turned out, the rifles were shipped to me equipped with a variety of tactical add ons that are also sold by Gander LE Sales. These included two Trijicon optics an EOTech, two Surefire tactical light systems and a Surefire 100 round, High-Capacity magazine. For as much as these accessories set off a sparkle in the eye of many of my coworkers, I was ready to get down to business with the rifles themselves.
For me, the evaluation of a rifle is not entirely my perception alone; instead I try to draw upon the conclusions of a variety of people. Even if the conclusion of others could be summarized as little more than how they felt about the rifle I try to take this into consideration.
Through a bit of free flow evaluation of the JP rifles I discovered that the accessories seemed to be inhibiting the conclusions of the shooters. Being the owner of a Rock River Elite Comp both of the rifles seemed rather light weight to me, but given the various accessories my shooters were consistently concluding that one of the rifles was substantially heavier than the other. This was in fact true, but being it that this was not the kind of feedback that I was looking for, it became necessary to strip the accessories to a bare minimum.
With the JP LE15 outfitted with only the Trijicon and the JP Gladiator outfitted with only the EOTech, I managed to level the playing field. In a second bout of evaluation the kind of comments that I was looking for began to surface more readily.
The trigger was now the primary source of the comments and both models were considered to be notably light in weight. Also, my shooters were thoroughly impressed by the recoil management facilitated by the JP full mass bold carrier group and the Yankee Hill Machine Phantom compensator/flash suppressor. A group of us were so impressed with the flash suppressor that we killed the lights to get a better view of just how well it worked.
I was very satisfied with the feedback I was able to gather on the JP rifles thus far. The stock configuration of both the JP15LE and the JP Gladiator seemed to lend themselves well to fast action scenarios. Somehow, something didn’t seem quite right in regards to the Gladiator. I had done my research in advance of receiving the rifles, I couldn’t put a finger on it just yet, so I consulted the website. Sure enough, it had the “wrong” furniture and in addition it had a longer rail system and did not have a top rail running it’s full length. I put in a call to Jon Nysse and he explained to me that every JP model has almost unlimited options. He confirmed that he had ordered different furniture for the Gladiator and the extended rail system. All other features were to spec. In short, the Gladiator model that I was in the process of reviewing could actually be considered a custom JP15 or it could be considered a… Black Gladiator. Either way I had satisfied my curiosity.
THE RANGE 2
I managed to split out to one of my favorite shooting spots where I could operate the rifles uninhibited and free of distraction. Before leaving the house I had to decide what accessories to outfit each rifle with. As I was heading to the range to do a bit of precision shooting, the tactical light systems were of little use to me. I decided to outfit the JP LE15 with the Acog and a grip-pod and the JP Gladiator with my ultra trusty Vortex Razor 1-4X24 and a versa-pod.
I might have said that at the 100 yard mark is where each of the rifles really began to shine. However, as I began to print a few very impressive tight little groups, what I had intended to be my long range shooting excursion was cut short by the activities of a tractor in a neighboring field. My activities from there on out were limited to less than half the distance.
I plunked a few more shots at limited distance in a different direction. The results were of course phenomenal. As I was marveling briefly on the impressive trigger of each system and likening them to the smooth break of my Remington 700 another thought crossed my mind. As opposed to wasting the day on what I had allotted toward long range, a task that I fully expected the JP rifles to handle quite well, I decided that I had enough ammunition at my disposal to run each platform through a few modified combat drills. All that was required was brisk walk in the cold in the direction of the woods.
As an always ready target system I keep a small pile of paper grocery bags in the back of my truck along with a pack of Birchwood Casey Fluorescent Target Spots. This might sound like a funny configuration to most. All I can say is that the target you have is better than the target you don’t. So, I walked to the woods and began deploying my grocery bags. Using the limbs of trees I was able to hang the bags at center of mass height and I outfitted each bag with Fluorescent Target Spot. After I had set out a half dozen targets I got down to running the JP LE15 first, followed by the JP Gladiator. I had so much fun that I ran out of ammunition faster than anticipated. It was truly amazing to run combat drills with such a well balanced light weight system, outfitted with a trigger as crisp and clean as my afore mentioned sniper rifle.If I take into consideration all the time I have spent running systems with seemingly “good” triggers and systems with “ugly” triggers, not to mention systems that are overweight, off balance or that have seemed to leave me wanting, I will be sending these rifles back to Gander Mountain Law Enforcement Sales with a heavy heart.
I could probably draw my conclusion into one simple sentence – Save your pennies and get a JP rifle!
Simply put, JP Rifles have a reputation that precedes them and it is my opinion that they live up to that reputation on every count. High quality rifles of this nature come with a price tag and in some cases only firsthand experience is going to tip the scales for many perspective buyers. And if you happen to be reading this as a Law Enforcement Officer or administrator and if you are interested in outfitting your personal with some of the best rifles, best gear and some of the most highly competitive priced ammo on the market, I would highly recommend that you get in contact with the people at Gander Mountain Law Enforcement Sales.
To contact Gander Law Enforcement Sales, please email Jon.Nysse@gandermountain.com