The SWD Lightning Link (SWD Auto Disconnector or Auto Connector) is one of those unique solutions where someone happened to look at the operation of the AR-15 and how the various parts of the operating systems work together to find an easy way to convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic weapon. Please understand that it is illegal for a US Citizen to build one of these units without special licenses and the purpose of this page is to discuss how the Lightning Link works and not to provide guidance on how to build one.
Lightning Link Template
In normal semi-auto operation the hammer is cocked by a rearward movement of the bolt carrier, as the carrier moves forward, the hammer is caught and held in the cocked position by the sear located on the forward part of the trigger catching in the sear notch, on the hammer. If you hold the trigger after a shot's fired the sear will not catch in the hammer's sear notch when the hammer cocks because the sear is depressed below the arc of the hammer notch.
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This happens because the trigger is being held back by the hook on the disconnector which is tipped forward and in position to catch the hammer, stopping it from following the bolt carrier forward. When the trigger is released, it allows the hammer to slip from under the disconnector hook and to be caught by the trigger sear in the hammer sear notch. Making it necessary to pull the trigger for each shot. As long as the trigger is held back, the sear is held below the arc of the hammer notch. The only thing holding the hammer in the cocked position is the disconnector. The Lightning Link accomplishes full-auto fire by pulling the disconnector to the rear forcing it to release the hammer.
The lightning link is installed by removing the rear take down pin and pivoting the upper by the front pivot pin. The lightning link is then dropped inside the lower with the paddle pointing up, making sure the LL loop goes in front of the disconnector hook as shown in the image above. I have read that the gun might be tricky to close as the paddle has to fit inside the gap between the upper and the bolt carrier. One trick that might help is to point the muzzle of the rifle down as you close the upper receiver. I also understand that sometimes it may be necessary to shave some steel from the carrier to make room for the link. Care must be taken not to remove too much material as obviously this would affect the operation of the link.
Instructions for the Installation, Operation, and Removal of the
S.W.D. AR-15 AUTOMATIC-CONNECTOR
In operation the take-down pin post acts as a fulcrum point. When the bolt carrier strikes the top of the links paddle and the lower end is rocked to the rear, moving the body of the link backward about 1/16 inch, releasing the hammer from under the disconnector hook.
As long as the trigger is held back the rearward movement of the bolt carrier will cock the hammer under the disconnector hook. The forward movement of the carrier will strike the upright paddle of the link just as the bolt locks in battery, releasing the hammer, and firing the weapon. When the trigger is released, the sear will stop the hammer in the cocked position negating the operation of the disconnector and the Lightning Link.
223 Bolt Carrier Groups and the SWD Auto Connector
Click for larger image!
This thing's as slick as owl do! do! No worries about M-16 parts. No machining or drilling on a six hundred dollar gun.
The parts can be made from tool steel, machined with great precision, hardened and tempered with loving care, then polished to a high gloss that your mother would be proud of.
On the other hand, using only a couple pieces of power hacksaw blade to make the parts from, a dremeJtm tool, hand drill, and one or two files to do the work, you can cut out the 'Lightning Link' in about an hour.
The first description will make a link that you could most likely pass on to your great grandkids. The second may not last that long, but I know of one made from mild steel, that has never been hardened or tempered. It's been used tD fire over 5,000 rounds, and's still going strong. All that ever goes wrong with it is the part the bolt carrier hits gets peened over after about five or six hundred rounds. WhBn that happens, the gal that owns it drops it out of the gun, puts it on the rear bumper of hBr Jeep and beats it back in shape with a rock. She's then back in business for a few hundred more rounds.
The only complaint I've ever heard about the Lightning Link is it converts the firearm to full-auto only. I can't see that's a prcblem. No one says you have to hold the trigger down until the magazine's empty. I've found with a little practice it's easy to fire two shot bursts using the link.
Also keep in mind, that it takes onlv/about ten seconds to install the Lightning Link in a standard unaltered AR-15. and only about six'seconds to remove it. Going from semi-auto to full and back
Lightning Link Plans
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