THE ULTIMATE OFF-ROAD VEHICLE
THE FRANKLIN ARMORY’S BFS-3 TAKES A UTV TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL
Our editor got behind the wheel of Franklin Armory’s BFS-3. Find out how both performed. By Mike Searson
In Northern Nevada, UTVS and ATVS are a way of life. Chances are, if you are a serious hunter or shooter, you have at least one of these vehicles and a trailer, to enable you to access some of the backcountry shooting and hunting spots. And let’s face it, when you’re shooting something like the Cobalt Kinetics Overwatch, it is more pleasant to drive 1,200 yards downrange to check your target, than it is to walk it, especially in the 100-degree heat.
Most people run their ATVS or UTVS stock with a few upgrades, but some go all out and turn their vehicle into something truly tactical. Franklin Armory dialed it up to 11 when they kitted up their Can-am.
Franklin Armory is a firearms manufacturer based in Minden, Nevada that produces some of the most innovative rifles and parts that we have seen in a long time.
Known mostly for their Binary Triggers, the firm has produced some outstanding weapon systems, including a piston-driven AR-15 in .22 WSM. It may be the only piston-driven rimfire rifle in the world!
When I saw their Tactical UTV on display outside their booth at the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in January 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada, I pulled Franklin’s marketing director, Sun Naegle, aside and said, “When we get back home, you have to let me take this for a spin.”
It started out life as a Can-am X3 Maverick, which, for most enthusiasts, is a top of the line side-by-side UTV. However, Franklin Armory did this up right and went to RP Advanced Mobile Systems to have it “tacticaled out.” The package they started this build on is known as the Strike-x. This is what they use when kitting up vehicles for military use, police use and use by emergency services.
Work on the triple-turbo supercharged engine means that this baby runs 172 horses under the hood. That may not sound like much when you are talking about vehicles intended for the road, but off-road on the trails in the mountains of Northern Nevada means 85 miles per hour, and it is a teeth-rattler, to say the least.
The tires are Spartan runflats and the vehicle handles extremely well with the Elka Suspension Stage 5 high-performance race level shocks.
Franklin Armory would be remiss in not outfitting this vehicle with gun mounts. An AR-15 with their California Compliant CSW is mounted on the passenger side of the vehicle.
This unique trigger system attaches to any existing MIL-SPEC AR-15 platform. It replaces both the pistol grip and the stock, with no permanent alteration to the firearm. The advantage to this setup is that the weapon is no longer classified as a rifle, which means that it cannot be considered an assault weapon by any existing assault weapon bans. It is simply an “Other” firearm and doesn’t carry the restrictions that other traditional firearms may. In California, that means that an AR-15 pattern firearm with the CSW can use a standard magazine release instead of a bullet button, as well as any legally possessed magazines that can hold more than 10-rounds.
The CSW is a Spade Grip design that boasts two independent triggers on each grip. The original fire control group is retained, and the linkage attaches directly to the trigger, so the rate of fire is not artificially increased. This design aspect is intentional to prevent being classified as a “multi-burst trigger activator.”
It is particularly fun to shoot and departs the feel of firing a vintage machine gun in semi-automatic mode.
The rear of the vehicle stores additional weapons and gear, and an option can be ordered to include a stretcher for Medevac purposes. The tie-downs that secured the rifles to the vehicle’s rails were particularly impressive and held up well, considering the speeds we were travelling and the terrain we were crossing.
Tearing up the backcountry trails of Northern Nevada at speeds in excess of 60 mph was fun and I almost rolled it (only once), but on our ride back from the shooting spot, Sun had me put it in two-wheel drive and I was
impressed with how much smoother the ride was. It handled more like a light pickup truck than a UTV.
Some of the additional features include a complete custom Multicam paint job and MOLLE panels on the doors for additional gear storage. You can never have too much MOLLE!
Advanced Mobile Systems offers the exact same package they built for Franklin Armory, as the BFS-3. It is named for Franklin Armory’s award winning binary trigger.
Total cost of this performance package is around $80,000. It’s not for everyone, but makes a great vehicle for EMS, Police, military scouts or for the extreme shooter/off-road enthusiast. TW For additional coverage, go to: Facebook.com/tacticalworldmagazine
The author fell for this one at the SHOT Show, and then had a chance to take it for a spin.