Friday, January 14, 2022

MRAD or MOA Reticle Explained Simply and the MILDOT Confusion

Which Reticle Should I Choose?
MRAD or MOA Reticle Explained Simply and the MILDOT Confusion

A good friend of mine is shopping for a high tier optic for his SKAR asked the simple question of which reticle subtense MRAD or MOA? It is a simple question with often a more complex answer and really depends on the person and how they set up across their kit, who they shoot with, how they range, and shoot.

Generally, it is good to pick one and stick with it without going back and forth, however there are times it makes sense to have both. Not many people can mentally swap back and forth well between MRAD or MOA as they are very different angular measurements. 

Notably they are angular measurements, not dimensional measurements. Even when we say 1 MOA at 100-yards conveniently equals about 1", at 200-yards 1MOA equals 2", so MOA and MRAD are not measurements, but an angle that increases at a consistent rate from the shooter to infinity. If we shot a laser and we were off 1 MRAD left at 100-meters, we would be 8 MRAD left (80 cm) at 800 Meters. Everything scales.

MRAD also known as MIL short for the metric Mill Radian in cm/meters is usually 10 clicks/units per 1 MRAD on the turret

MOA is MIl Minute of Angle in inches/yards and usually 4 Clicks per 1 MOA on the turret

When we are buying an optic, we have to be careful just looking at the reticle. MILDOTs and "MILDOT style" reticles are available in both/either MRAD reticle and turrets, MOA reticle and turrets and several years ago (confusingly) a combo of MRAD reticles with MOA turrets. Check the specs on the manufacture site as it can be confusing just note that MIL style reticles do not necessarily equal MRAD or MRAD turret adjustments. There are plenty of MOA based optics with MOA style reticles and turrents. Generally you can buy what you want.


Both are easy to think about if you know your measurements but MIL/MRAD is metric and MOA is imperial inches/yards. 

1 MRAD is one 10cm (3.8-inches) unit at 100 Meters. with 10 click units per MRAD - 1/10th MRAD adjustments.

1 MOA is 1" at 100-Yards - 4 clicks per MOA, but some have 1/8 clicks or 8 per MOA - 1/4 or 1/8 MOA Adjustments

So thinking that 1CM equals about 1/2" you can see that MOA are usually considered more precise since they can typically go down to 1/4" or even 1/8" adjustments where MRAD can just adjust down to about 1/2" (1cm). Most consider MOA a bit faster and simpler to adjust on the fly with only 4-clicks per MIL. Notably a lot of super precision bench-rest shooters will opt for MOA optics to dial in point of impact more precisely.

If the rest of your optics are  MRAD adjustment, I like to keep things simple so you do not get confused and start thinking you're adjusting for MRAD when you are actually adjusting for MOA. If you are mostly a MOA shooter, I would stick with that.

I lot of US shooters prefer MOA since they know what 100-yards and 1" is, however many ranges and target competitions are set in Meters. Some top competitors will actually swap optics from MOA to MRAD based on the known distance shots they would take. Some shooters will opt for whatever their buddies are shooting so if someone is spotting for them and says 1 MOA over, everyone is on the same page.

My Simplified Perspective on Using Either
Here is my take and this and how I have seen pro shooters use either scale. They will either have a DOPE range card (Data on Previous Engagement) with all their drops listed per hash or have some type of APP or ballistic calculator (I like Strelok).  They range and then look at their range card or plug the value in to their Bal Calc that has the round data and drops and take the shot and then adjust as needed. Where either MRAD or MOA MIL systems are handy is that when you miss and know you were one MIL high and one MIL left, you can just make that hold adjustment using the reticle dots and take the shot - what range it is and all the other calc data is irrelevant, because you know where your hits are landing and you can either just dial the adjustment or make the adjustment hold in the reticle.

I generally like to have a picture card of my reticle with the range verified drops for each mark with my selected ammo - every ammo will deliver different drops. Example Center dot is 200-yard zero, HASH1 - 310yards, HASH2 - 430yards...etc with a particular ammo and rifle. I may have different ammo I might be using.

I am typically an MRAD guy since I have all my longer range rifles set up that way and if I use my DOPE card data and a rangefinder, I will be one shot one and if not can adjust for a 2nd shot hit. However, a lot of my .22LR rights are MOA based to give me more adjustment precision at 75, 100 out to 300 yards.

If you are looking for great optics Check out Brownells and help out this site in the process.
BROWNELLS

Monday, January 10, 2022

Brownells Reintroduced the Legendary BRN-180 - Long-Term Test

Brownells Reintroduced the Legendary BRN-180 - Long-Term Test


When Dean, the President at PWS, was explaining to me the concept of his short stroke piston AR-180 redesign, in cooperation with Brownells back in 2018 dubbed the BRN-180, I frankly really didn’t get it, but shared his enthusiasm. I was vaguely remembering the AR-180/AR-18 as a rather rough looking piston driven stamped steel version of the AR and was not sure it was going to be the splash that Dean was expecting. Then I tested the BRN-180 and wondered why this did not become the standard instead of the AR15 direct impingement format.

Check out there BRN180 Here on Brownells


It is hard to believe the AR-18/AR-180 has become a somewhat forgotten firearm considering its design, amazing reliability, flexibility and accuracy. Brownells has brought the AR-180 back to market in a completely redesigned BRN-180 upper format compatible with any AR-15 spec lower. The BRN-180 was a collaborative design effort between Brownells, PWS, and FM - Foxtrot Mike to bring back a modernized version of the often forgotten short-stroke piston driven AR-180.  As a writer for Primary Weapons Systems and Brownells, I was privileged to have very early knowledge in 2018 of the new BRN-180 development and then proceeded to bounce off the walls muzzled by an NDA for another 6-8 months. I was excited but skeptical then, however in both my initial and long-term reviews, I have been thrilled with the flawlessly operating BRN-180 pistol and rifle uppers. Now that I have put both a rifle and pistol uppers through the paces long-term with a fairly high round count over the last four’ish years they deserve another look.


BRN180 Models

Currently Brownells offers .223 Wylde and 300 Blackout models in pistol uppers and .223 Wylde in 16 and 18-inch rifle upper variants. What makes these unique guns so cool and why is the AR-180 platform getting hot again? The short answer is the insane short-stroke piston driven reliability of the platform plus the negated need for any buffer tube, spring and buffer assembly. With the trend in the market for more compact and stowable firearms, the idea of not having to contend with an operable buffer tube delivers a potentially lighter and shorter folded firearm. 



WHY THE AR18/AR180?

From a reliability perspective, if you consider the AR-15 platform prefers to be cleaned every 1500 rounds or so before starting to have reliability issues, consider the pistol based BRN-180 can shoot for about 6000+ rounds before a cleaning is required… at least according to my total neglect and testing of the BRN-180 pistol upper. This puts the BRN-180 into interesting company with uber-reliable AKs and all the advantages of a non-operable buffer tubed receiver that can host a lighter and more compact non-operable fixed or folding buttstock or brace similar to Sig MPX and MCX designs.


The original AR-180 is sort of like an AK and an AR hooked up and had some type of weird love child that fused all the ultra-reliable awesomeness of AK DNA with the trim ergonomics of the AR. On the outside, from a distance the original AR-180 looked a lot like an AR with similar ergonomics down to a very similar handguard front sight...etc. Up close, it was apparent that nearly every part of the original design was based on stamped steel construction similar to the AK but to a level far more detailed and complex than the simplicity of an AK.


Though the AR-180 starts with AR the original design was not cross compatible with the AR15 platform. Some parts were carried over into a cost effective likeness based on steel stamping dies however the use of stamped construction was extensive including nearly every firing and operational control of the AR-180 gun. The AR-180 also had proprietary magazines and receiver designs. According to many historical experts, the non-adoption of the AR-180 was in part due to it being yet another new form factor to support vs carrying over direct AR-15 magazine and lower compatibility. You start to see where the Brownells, PWS, and FM collaborative team saw some potential even just making the AR-180 design cross compatible and upscale the production to modern CNC machining based design.


GET SHORT & COMPACT

The AR-180 platform also had the ability to get really short with a folding stock like an AK thanks to the dual captured internal springs and rod set nestled inside the upper receiver and the obvious omission of a buffer spring. Internally, there was also a very short and light bolt carrier with a recricating right handed charging handle, again, like an AK. One of the extolling features was an exceptional buttery smooth operation of the mini-carrier sliding on the dual spring and rod configuration. The AR-180 bolt is an AR15 style bolt and barrel lockup design, but the overall AR-180 or BRN-180 design does not permit barrel swaps. The AR-180 was also incredibly simple to operate with a large easy to find right handed reciprocating bolt handle similar to an AK.


INTUITIVE FUNCTION

One of the less discussed advantages of the AK format is it’s intuitive function where nearly anyone could pick up an AK and figure out quickly how it works all thanks to the single reciprocating charging handle. Unlike the AR, there is no charging handle thingy and bolt release thingy to contend with, just one handle to focus on. This is the same with the AR180 and BRN180 design which makes it really super simple and easy to use. What I really love about the BRN-180 is that I can hand it to anyone and within a few seconds, it is obvious how to charge and operate the gun. I also like that the BRN-180 is absolutely an AK-gunners paradise in an AR platform with over or under bolt operation that mimics the AK function.



SHORT STROKE RELIABILITY

The AR-180 was also one of the first short stroke piston driven AR-style platforms and it was famous for literally running forever without maintenance. With zero debris blowing back into the action, the gun stayed clean and could run perfectly between very long extended cleaning intervals. Allegedly, there are still some original AR-180s that have never been cleaned and run perfectly. In essence, the AR-180 was the Americans stamped steel receiver set equivalent to the AK but with a short stroke piston system vs the AK’s long-stroke piston system. Today the AR-180 are prized collector items with only around 22K actually manufactured and many future guns based their design on the short stroke piston system including HK G36, ACR, and HK416 rifles and continues to influence many modern rifle designs including some aspects of very futuristic guns like the Tavor.


Have your BRN and take it with you
A Hazard 4 PlanB Makes a
Great pack for the very compact
BRN180P 5.56
With MI Folding Brace


AN UPDATED LEGEND

The original AR-180 gun was budget focused, not super sexy and had the stamped, folded and welded quality of an intricate, but very average AK. At that time, the vast majority of manufacturing was based on old stamping and folding machines that offered cheap production. At the same point in time, the milling required for the AR-15 format was quite expensive. Today that cost equation has flipped due to the old stamping tooling technology becoming discontinued and the greatly reduced cost efficiencies of current production CNC milling. The reality of the original budget friendly AR-180 was it was a bit crude with proprietary firearm parts and magazines, but it worked flawlessly. 



Brownells, PWS and FM delivered an updated AR15 compatible upper which carries through the functionality and DNA of the AR-180 in a complete and premium quality BRN-180 upper. The BRN-180 features modern billet machining, design, finish, quality, and accuracy all in a AR15 lower compatible format which represents a giant leap in quality and compatibility over the old AR-180 design. The AR-180 was circa 1960s industrial looking where the BRN-180 is definitively one of the most modern looking AR-15 uppers on the market. This is a premium-tier upper that is extremely reliable, long-running and cross compatible with any AR15 lower you have in your safe. Even your standard AR-15 firing pins can be used if something does break. The BRN-180 design is something that the market has been asking for… a 5.56 AK upper for your AR.


If you were going to redesign a piston powered rifle such as the AR-180, the market leading Primary Weapons System would be the clear choice. Dean Sylvester is widely regarded as the industry expert in AR format piston systems including developing their own PWS long stroke piston rifles famed for incredible reliability and elite tier quality. From my perspective, Brownells make the best choice of who to partner with wide distribution and retail sales footprint. Foxtrot Mike is well regarded as designing the most reliable 9mm AR15 PCC format on the market - mine will deliver 1” 100-yard groups so he obviously understands a thing or two about design.



The biggest departures from the original design is that the BRN-180 is only a complete upper and not a complete gun and a design based on modernized AR15 compatibility.  That modernization includes a free-float handguard, 5.56/.223 compatible match grade .223 Wylde chambered barrel, adjustable gas block, and of course the precision fit of modern machining.


Having the BRN-180 mate to a standard AR15 also allows customers to do all the customization they want on a standard AR15 without having to worry about compatibility of yet another firearm platform. According to Brownells, the AR15 compatibility greatly reduced the cost and instead of a full $2700 gun, they are able to retail a complete upper with match grade .223 Wylde chamber for around $800. This is not bad considering many piston ARs are easily retailing over $1800. Brownells has now introduced a BRN-180S, for “short”. The 180S will feature a 10.5-inch barrel and a slightly modified gas block to accomodate for increased dwell time and more adjustment for suppressor use. Of note Brownells now offers a AR-180 style AR15 compatible billet lower receiver that features a shortened magwell, integrated rear stock/brace picatinny mount rail and other characteristic AR-180 style points.


DISASSEMBLY

The take-down is similar to the original, but has a buffer block that is friction fit to the rear of the upper receiver. Remove the upper and the buffer block is easily popped out during the bolt removal process. Remove the rods and springs, pull back the bolt, remove the reciprocating bolt handle, and remove the bolt carrier group. According to Brownells, that is really all the typical maintenance requires. Advanced maintenance is also simple - remove the handguard u-latch, slide off the handguard, remove the linkage rod, the piston cup, and then the piston rod assembly for deep cleaning. Notably after 6000+ rounds on my pistol upper, I still see no need for any bolt cleaning and certainly nothing that needs cleaning on the piston side… this is one extremely clean running gun. The barrel is permanently mounted using a trunnion system to 180 ft/lb.


MAJORPANDEMIC.COM BRN-180 BUILD

My initial build was based on BRN-M16A1 prototype build a few years back, but more recently I have built a more purpose focused lower.  My new lower uses a standard Mil-Spec PWS lower, Hiperfire EDT Marksman, KNS Picatinny Rail Adapter Kit, and either Midwest Industries Side Folding Billet Brace or Side Folding Extruded Rifle Stock depending on the upper configuration.


Since I have both pistol and rifle uppers and the ATF says its legal to convert a pistol to a rifle and back again without paperwork, I built a PWS AR15 pistol lower first that I can swap to the rifle upper and then swap to the MI Extruded rifle stock. Anytime I want to go back to a pistol the process is reversed and I just swap the stock for the brace and then swap the uppers to the pistol lower. I stay all legal complying with idiotic ATF laws. Note - going from a receiver built first as a rifle and using that to convert to a pistol requires ATF form and tax stamps to be issued.


Notably the Midwest Industries Extruded Rifle Stock and Side Fold Brace Compatible extension are of supremely high quality. MI has assured that the folding stock mechanism is solid and also can be reversed for use with various types of weapons including the AR platform. The Rifle Stock is really light and well designed and like the Brace Extension is begging to have a custom paracord wrap. What I did like about the Pistol Brace Extension is that is has a bit of weight which helps to balance out a bit more of the pistol front heavy weight vs something like a lightweight SB Tactical brace.


With the Brownells AR180 style lower receivers, they include an integrated rear picatinny stock/brace mount. Since I was using a milspec PWS lower intended for a buffer tube mount, I leveraged the very handy KNS Picatinny Rail Adapter Kit. The KNS Pic Rail Adapter kit secures via the buffer tube threading and delivers a Sig MPX/MCX style rear picatinny mount for stocks or braces. In my case, I used the MWI’s folding pistol brace and extruded folding stock.


The BRN-180 are more like very well built AR uppers with most of my groups solidly in the 1-1.5-inch 100-yard group range and several groups nudged into the .75” range with the rifle upper. Functionally, my pistol upper is a tank that has yet to see even a patch pulled through the bore after my initial cleaning - wonderfully reliable. The rifle upper I have on a cleaning interval just to see if there is any accuracy impact which there is not.


WHY BUY A BRN-180?

The question I would ask buyers is why they think they need an AK, Galil, Tavor, SKAR or any other pistol operated firearm. Generally, buyers usually say reliability is their rational for purchasing onr of the proven piston driven firearms. I have owned all of the above and the reality is that the BRN-180 is compatible with that super awesome AR lower you already own, vs supporting yet another platform. With the BRN-180, you likely already own all the potentially consumable AR parts like magazines, triggers, and firing pins. The reason you should own a BRN-180 upper is that it is the most reliable AR-15 upper you can put on your gun outside of an obvious PWS MK107 upper, but at about ½ the price. If “it” does ever hit the fan, the BRN-180 uppers would be the AR uppers I would be rocking.


Check out there BRN180 Here on Brownells

and the MI Folding Stocks Here


BRN-180 SPECS

BRN-180™ has 16" barrel with matte black Nitride finish

BRN-180S™ has 10.5" barrel with matte black Nitride finish

Ultra-reliable AR-180 piston operating system

Compatible with current mil-spec AR-15 lowers

Machined 7075 T6 aluminum receiver & handguard - hardcoat anodized finish

.223 Wylde chamber

Button rifled bore; 1-8" twist

1/2"-28 threaded muzzle

Replica 3-prong AR-180 flash suppressor

Molded polymer ejection port cover

The BRN-180™ and 180S™ upper receivers are fully compatible with any standard, mil-spec AR-15 lower receiver


Common Features:

Action Type:Gas Piston

Gasblock:Adjustable

Twist Rate:1:8

Finish:Anodized Black

Muzzle:3 Prong Flash Hider


BRN-180S™ 300 BLK Specifics:

Chambered:.300 Blackout

Barrel Length:10 inch

Length:18.57 inches

Weight:4 lbs 10 oz


BRN-180S™  Specifics:

Chambered:.223 Wylde

Barrel Length:10.5 inch

Length:18.7 inches

Weight:3 lbs 15 oz


BRN-180™ 16" Specifics:

Chambered:.223 Wylde

Barrel Length:16 inch

Length:24.57 inches

Weight:4 lbs 10 oz


BRN-180™ 18.5" Specifics:

Chambered:.223 Wylde

Barrel Length:18.5 inches

Length:24.57 inches

Weight:4 lbs 13 oz


Friday, December 31, 2021

Andro Corp - Another Solid AR Brand to Look for

Andro Corp - Another Solid AR Brand to Look for

Before you start yelling at your screen “Are you freaking kidding me - another AR brand?”, believe me I am with you, but Andro Corp is becoming another go-to brand for solidly built ARs. Andro Corp delivers some very impressive specs and components and has already become a trusted quality AR brand in their Florida geography over the last five years.


After a consistent track record of delivering quality and value statewide, they are now cautiously expanding into the US national markets. From their entry to their premium models, online Andro Corp customers are raving about their quality and value and I can see why.



THE CONSUMER’S CONUNDRUM OF YET ANOTHER AR BRAND

I get the consumer hesitation of yet another AR brand and eye-roll. Just a decade ago, I was rolling my eyes every time someone introduced yet another AR15 manufacturer with nothing more original than a different name on the side of a finish-milled forging that was usually produced and branded for them and then assembled based on “sourced” parts. It was that awkward and confusing moment in the firearms industry where everyone and their brother with access to machining capabilities or OEM parts suppliers was racing to start churning out AR parts and sometimes complete guns. We had every industry jumping into firearms manufacturing from aerospace, medical, automotive, general machine shops, and even folks sliding Haas CNC cubes into empty home garage stalls. Most “me-too manufacturers” actually had no manufacturing capabilities in-house and were just buying boxes of AR parts from every edge of the earth and bolting together their version many times with fairly loose QC and poor build quality. Obviously every manufacturer bolts together firearms to some degree, however there were both potentially good and bad strategies which companies could follow.  It was nutty and confusing time for consumers and even dealer during the firearms industry’s version of the “Me Too” movement and the results reflected the quality and experience of those companies - either good or bad. 


Over time, some of those companies either went under or matured and have delivered fantastic quality products while still others delivered eye-rolling crap based on very dubious parts of even more dubious origin. The industry successes include Faxon who was an automotive general machine shop. Aero Precision was in the Aerospace industry and Ballistic Advantage was started as a garage hobby. Early on, others like Spikes Tactical was a bolt-together manufacturer with a brilliant laser engraving branded parts strategy who did exceedingly well with sourcing high tier parts and assembling basic high quality AR builds. On the other side of that quality range, not many people know that China was actually illegally importing massive amounts of AR parts and in 2019 the ATF reportedly confiscated 53,000 gun parts of which most suspect were just the tip of a very huge Chinese AR import parts market. The shocking part was that less scrupulous manufacturers and unknowing consumers purchased these parts. 

SB Tactical Brace on the Andr ACI-15
SB Tactical Brace on the Andro ACI-15


My favorite story was a friend who walks into my house with a non-working “I made it for $342” AR with a WTF is this made off set of parts, a non-Permatex unstaked loose gas key, crooked barrel rifling that literally almost touched the outside edge of the muzzle, a warped upper and loose handguard, and an overall build quality that screamed you are going to shoot your eye out… or blow your face off. As a writer I saw a lot of that type of build quality from “new manufacturers” with zero firearms experience even on tables at Shot Show. Horror stories also circulated that some new manufacturers were selling from high tier spec builds but delivering, allegedly, Chinese knockoff parts based builds. It was a crazy time and sadly this craziness still continues to a lesser degree.


CONCENTRATING ON DELIVERING QUALITY

The problem is that most companies really did not concentrate on the simple concept of executing flawlessly on the fundamentals of acquiring consistently high quality parts, QC’ing the living hell out of every part, preparing and assembling those parts meticulously, and assuring the function and esthetic quality was maintained throughout the process. Becoming a “Good Brand” in the eyes of customers becomes a trusted reputation thing that only happens over a course of years of doing it right with unwavering consistency.


I note all this industry history, because attention to sourcing quality parts and executing on the basics of QC, assembly and customer service flawlessly since their inception is why Andro Corp has made a local name for itself in Florida and earned the trust of its customers. Based on a fair amount of research including many off-the-record discussions with industry contacts and what I personally see in the Andro Corp HALO Pistol model I tested, they are doing it right and will do well as they expand nationally. 

Andro is building a
great DUTY quality firearm


ACI - Andro Corp was one of those companies that bootstrapped their way into a solid business model concentrating on smart vs fast growth. They did start in a garage by sourcing quality parts, sold through gun shows and eventually matured the business through an earned quality reputation to the point of opening their shop in Florida. ACI started by only using quality QC’ed parts assembled correctly with attention to the details. They also offered a real warranty if customers ever had a problem which was unusual for gun show parts sales. That business philosophy allowed them to establish themselves as a local Florida manufacturer with high integrity and impeccable customer service. 


ANDRO CORP - LEVERAGING TOP TIER COMPONENTS

Now about five years after they started, it is apparent that Andro Corp - ACI is using some of the best components on the market from some of the most well respected and high-tier core component manufacturers. Based on the forging marks, Andro Corp is sourcing its Mil-Spec forged receivers from Archer forgings and note they are machined by AO Precision who is well regarded for their receiver quality and fit.


The barrel and gas blocks used on my Andro Halo pistol are marked Ballistic Advantage and in my mind that BA reputation jumps the quality up considerably. Andro has left itself open to use other OEM receivers and components include OEM branded New Frontier billet lowers in the PCC line, and another Florida based manufacturer, SLR Rifleworks for Andro branded versions of SLR’s billet receivers and hand-guards. If you are familiar with SLR rifleworks designs and premier-tier quality, you can see those underlying handguard designs on even the more entry level models and the very unique billet receiver design on the ACI premium firearm models. Since SLR is showing a branded Andro Corp receiver on their site, it is pretty obvious they are milling these for Andro.  Andro is also using MFT - Mission First Tactical magazines and furniture components on the more upgraded models. All of these companies are great first quality brands to base builds from.

My Andro HALO AR pistol included
an MFT magazine. Testing included
the new windowed MFT magazines
compliments of MFT.


The receivers, barrels, and BCGs all appear to be top quality components and it is good to see considering an Andro Corp base model rifle/pistol is selling for just a bit more than more well known brands are selling only a complete upper receiver. A very good value indeed for potentially the same or better components. This strategy should add immediate national credibility to anyone considering ACI - Andro Corp firearms and products. Based on what ACI is MSRP listing their ARs, customers should feel very comfortable with the parts, value and quality they are getting with ACI firearms.


EDITOR’S EASY WAY TO TEST QC

As an editor that has been in the business for nearly two decades, my review philosophy is to procure an entry level model versus a model with loaded down awesomeness. Generally, the entry level models tend to make it hard to hide QC, build and component quality - it is either a solid well made build or it isn't. Quality is almost impossible to fake when I request blemished stock. 


Blemished models really allow me to see the cutoff of what drops into the Blem category. If what arrives is scraped and beat up or even an uncleaned test gun, this is a big indicator on the lack of care they take with their builds and business strategy. If a blem model arrives with an almost unnoticeable blem, then the company generally has a very well refined QC process - this was the case with the FDE Andro AR15 Halo pistol I received. In my case, a detailed strip only highlighted an almost imperceivable imperfection in the cerakote finish with all the other components in perfect condition and working order. In a lot of companies this would have been sold as first quality and this gun speaks highly of their quality.

The primary optic for testing
was a Sig Sauer ROMEO 4


The specific model I purchased was a blemished AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) with an $849 MSRP (normal sale price of $799) selling for $649.00. This was a great deal considering the component and build quality and included a hard lockable case, FDE cerakote and new Mission First Tactical magazine. Oftentimes, Blems do not get the same “packaging” as first quality models. The net is that Andro appears to be intensely focused on delivering high quality and high value in even the cast off blemished models.


AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) SPECS

No extra sugar sprinkles needed to glorify a solidly built Duty/MilSpec class 10 .3” AR pistol, because this is exactly what the Adro Corp HALO model is… a well built basic style AR. Aside from the well applied FDE cerakote, solid high-quality free-floated handguard and SB Tactical brace, the Halo includes 7075 forged upper and lower receivers, high quality Mil-Spec components including grip, trigger guard, charging handle, castle nut and egg-plate, carbine buffer tube, and remaining build kit components. The castle nut was properly staked very neatly which shows the attention to detail vs getting whacked with a chisel like I see from other manufacturers. Aside from maybe an upgraded trigger to squeeze a bit more accuracy from the Ballistic Advantage barrel and perhaps a more comfortable Mission First Tactical grip, this pistol needs nothing to be everything you need and nothing you don’t. Bolt on a Sig red dot and get to shooting.


AR-15 556 HALO 10.3 MFDE (ACI-15) with an $849 MSRP

Finish
– Cerakote Magpul FDE

Barrel

– 4150 CMV Melonite

– 1/7 Twist

– M4 Feed Ramps

– Carbine Gas System with Low Pro Gas Block

– QPQ Corrosion Resistant Finish

– A2 Flash Hider

– 1/2-28 Threaded Muzzle

Upper Receiver

– M16 BCG

– 9″ MLOK Handguard

– 7075 – T6 Forged Upper

– Charging Handle

– Forward Assist & Ejection Port Assembly

Lower Receiver

– 7075 Forged Lower

– Mil-Spec LPK

– SB Tactical SBA3 Adjustable Stabilizing Pistol Brace

– 30 Round MFT Magazine


After building and testing 100s of various AR builds, I believe a 10”-ish barrel is a really sweet spot for an AR pistol with a size that is still very maneuverable but with a muzzle blast that is not deafening. The size is also about the maximum barrel length that allows for standard backpack stowing when unpinned and can still deliver pretty amazing accuracy without a huge velocity compromise. In this case, the Andro Halo delivered everything I have expected from an BA barreled AR pistol. With a 4-16 PA scope swapped for the Sig Romeo 4, I was able to hold 1-1.25” 100-yard groups with Hornady Frontier 55gr ammo (ammo which is insanely accurate for the price) and about the same with Fiocci 40gr Hornady ballistic tip bullets. This accuracy is good enough for me.


With the Sig Romeo 4 remounted, it was back to the 50 and 25-yard lines for steel banging. Admittedly, I could not run 1000+ rounds through this pistol still due to ammo availability and cost, but I was able to push 300+ rounds through it without any reliability or feeding issues. Again, there were no surprises considering the components used in the build. 


Comparing the Andro Corp HALO AR pistol ACI-15 to competitors, Andro may have an opportunity to grab some market share. One of the standards I would benchmark a model like the Andro HALO against is the Ruger AR-556 models. Generally the $1099 MSRP Ruger AR-556 sells on the street for around $799 in basic black. With the BA barrel, my recommendation would be to recommend the Andro Corp Halo with a similar price point in black since it features a higher quality BA barrel with a reputation for better accuracy. If you can find a less expensive Blem model that fits your needs from Andro, this is even better. I am anxious to potentially test some of their higher and models.



FINAL THOUGHTS

It is often hard for consumers to consider another AR brand especially if they have been burnt  before. From what I see through my testing, we have another very solid well-made brand we can trust and I think deliver more value for the dollar than even the big manufacturers are offering.


My main observation with Andro Corp is that from a marketing perspective the website is a bit hard to find and understand what you are looking at especially when shopping through the AR models. If I put on my marketing hat from my day job, overall the site needs some organization into shoppable model categories/tiers vs three pages of guns that can only be sorted by price. Breaking out pistols and rifles separately would help a lot as would some delineation between the duty lines and billet upgraded lines.


I think Andro is also losing a lot of selling and marketing points by not meticulously listing the full specs of each component used. If you are using a Ballistic Advantage barrel, gas block and BCG, Anchor Forgings, and SLR components, then you should list that - it is a huge set of selling and credibility points. Consumers these days are pretty nerdy buyers around even whether the Bolt has been HPT/MPI inspected, M16 Carrier Machined from 8620, 5.56 Bolt Machined from 9310, Forged Gas Key Properly Staked, Tool Steel Extractor, Mil-Spec Extractor Spring with black insert and Viton O-Ring, Grade 8 hardware, Shot Peened Bolt, Carrier, Gas Key, Cam Pin, Bolt, & Extractor coated inside and out with Black Nitride QPQ… it should be listed instead of just M16 BCG. Based on what I am seeing the BCG in my model has every indication including HPT/MPI stamping identical to Aero or BA BCG, and if so I would list those attributes of awesomeness and quality. One lesson everyone should have learned from Spikes Tactical was that listing the marketing details sell guns. As Andro Corp moves into a larger US national market, they are competing against players that have the marketing nailed down, but right now at least they are delivering a great quality firearm at a great value.


Andro Corp - androcorpind.com