If you are long time reader of MajorPandemic.com then you know that I consistantly and heavily advocate for the Barnes Precision Machine AR15s. A reader might ask why amidst an avalanche of reviewed, customized and one-off custom AR15s, why I keep going back to Barnes? There are certainly fancier or cooler looking ARs and parts, however BPM continues to deliver the best value for a buyer of anything I have found on the market all paired with sub-MOA match grade precision. My BPM-15s outshoot the vast majority of my upgraded guns. In fact my BPM rifles have even outshot some of my own full on insanely custom rifles. Just one reason why I voted the BPM rifle as top rifle in my Best Budget AR15 Shootout. The BPM rifles are far from standard and are exceptional shooting guns for the price.
Last year Barnes Precision added AR15 pistols to the model line up as exceptional sport and defense tools - I had to have one. Beyond a review of the BPM-15 Pistol, this article is also the first to showcase the $225 NP3 Parts Upgrade package available from Barnes Precision Machine for any AR15 rifle or pistol.
WHO IS BPM - WHY BARNES PRECISION MACHINE?
Generally as a reviewer of a continuous stream of AR15 rifles, I have to strain a bit to understand the benefits X brand delivers vs Y brand... because in most cases 99% of AR15 manufacturers all use the same parts from the same OEM manufacturers. Barnes is one of those OEM manufacturers in the list who makes parts for the biggest names in the industry.
With nearly every part being made in house Barnes has the ability to assure every part they use comes together in the highest quality optimal fashion. The result is a tighter fitting and feeling rifle with a higher potential for better accuracy.
Barnes has both the build and part quality perfect, however what sets them apart is the 100% in house production (excluding springs, trigger, and furniture). There are only about four manufacturers in the US which are actually making 95% of the AR15 parts in house - LMT, Daniel Defense, Colt, and Barnes Precision however there are a few others starting to pop up here and there. There even smaller handful of manufacturers like Barnes who are actually making detents, take-down pins, forward assists, bolts, and carriers - yes insanely Barnes turns their own freaking tiny little spring detents.
BPM DOES NOT DO IT BECAUSE IT’S COOL
Many manufacturers are creating ARs and AR accessories because they look cooler than the original. Do they work better? No, generally it is about blinging out your AR versus adding any real level of performance. Barnes Precision takes a different route with the belief that the overall AR15 platform and design is excellent as it, but some smart tweaks can make it exponentially better without huge cost increases which still maintain the integrity of a Mil-Spec rifle.
They add in real honest and true AR15 functional innovation improvements which do make their BPM-15 better vs prettier. Little things on Barnes make a difference like a captured take-down detent spring that does not go flying out when you remove the buffer tube, a tight receiver to receiver fit that can even be tightened with an internal receiver tension screw, a sub-MOA match grade barrel included even in their least expensive rifles, and softer shooting mid-length gas systems.
BPM includes their own Barnes NiBo - Nickel-Boron coated Bolt Carrier Group and very nice lockable hard sided Patriot Case with die cut foam inserts for no additional charge. Currently BPM offers factory direct rifle/pistol buyers the opportunity to purchase a Leupold optics at distributor price. Depending on the optic, that along could be incentive enough to purchase a BPM rifle even if you do not use the optic on a BPM rifle.
There are other innovative design concepts which BPM pioneered to improve reliability and durability of the AR15 platform. The in-house made bolt’s cam pin hole is reamed versus being peened which increases the strength of the bolt. BPM designed the first long extended barrel nut design for free-float handguards which does not require indexing, allows perfect torquing of the barrel, and delivers a significantly stronger rigid handguard (in my opinion it is the most solid in the industry). The design is so rigid that certain Military units are using the handguard to mount precision sighting systems. BPM was also the first in the industry to offer NP3 coating on AR15s not because it was cool looking, but because it protected all those typical phosphate coated parts from rust and corrosion in a marine environment. Of course all these great features are included in the BPM-15 Pistol as well.
Almost all of BPM’s product development is in joint collaboration with military and law enforcement. During the period when BPM was just making AR15 parts, that collaboration led to the push for the development of the BPM rifle, the unique and rigid handguard system as well as the NP3 coating. BPM also went back to those military and law enforcement teams during the development of the BPM AR15 pistol. There are reasons for each feature on every rifle and their AR15 pistol design which amount to a firearm far higher quality than the price would indicate.
NOT JUST ANOTHER AR15 PISTOL
Back in 2014, I had several discussions with Andrew Barnes (President BPM) around his newly released AR15 pistols. His perspective was that he did not want to offer an AR15 pistol because everyone else had one, he wanted to assure it could be a tool for military, law enforcement and civilians from a practical perspective. With the rise of the Sig Brace and civilian comfort with Trusts to register SBR - Short Barreled Rifles he believed there was a niche. Input from his military and LEO contacts really wanted a fast AR15 pistol or SBR which could get in and out of vehicles fast with all the same features as the BPM-15 rifle including very good accuracy. College campus security wanted something light and fast which could address terroristic threat on campus, but be light and small enough to carry every day on the golf carts and Segways used on campuses.
The base of the pistol is exactly the same as their rifles, but with a shorter 7.5” match grade barrel, shorter handguard, and Sig Brace with extended buffer tube. The result is a civilian legal short, fast and powerful defensive and sport pistol that is a tool versus an AR15 pistol toy.
The handguard for instance is not the cool looking extended over muzzle length style because the handguard length is sized to assure clearance of any muzzle device or suppressor without worrying about handguard interference. Barnes also used a heavier barrel to assure it could the demands of sustained continuous fire versus a faster heating thin skinny barrel. Instead of just slipping a Sig Brace on the back of a standard pistol buffer tube, BPM used a KAK buffer tube to provide a more comfortable shooter platform with the Sig Brace. The end result is a tight, well thought out AR15 pistol which is useable out of the box as a defense and shorting tool, but can be easily converted to a shoulder stocked SBR with the properly acquired tax stamp.
BARNES PRECISION MACHINE - BPM ROBAR NP3 & MELONITED MARINE AR15
Almost every other manufacturer who offers some fancy diamond hard finish are only at best delivering a upper and lower receiver with a really hard finish. The problem is that they are coating the hard anodized items which are already the most impervious to corrosion. Hard anodizing is extremely impervious the corrosion. When only focusing on the receivers, all the other phosphate parts are left exposed which can rust of corrode quickly in a marine or wet environment. Barnes was the first to offer 100% NP3 coated firearms with the receivers plus every other part housed in the receiver plus the flash hider being NP3 coated. Now they are offering another upgrade option for any BPM or other AR15 owner which addresses all the venerable phosphated parts - Enter the BPM NP3 Parts Upgrade Package.
The package includes NP3 coated trigger assembly pins, a trigger set, ejection door components, forward assist components, charging handle, the selector, the take-down and pivot-pins, the springs, castle nut, egg plate, even the detents, the handguard bolts, barrel nut, crush washer, and flash hider are are treated. Yep every phosphated part on the receivers. On my model, the stainless match barrel, gas block and gas tube are Nitrocarburization treated (AKA Melonited) inside and out which better than chrome because it delivers superior corrosion resistance and does not degrade accuracy like chrome can.
In the end, the coatings deliver a totally corrosion resistant AR. All this was done not to deliver the stunning custom looking AR15 it has become, but the reason was simply to increase corrosion performance around salt water environments - Andrew Barnes was quick to point out "the cool factor is only a side benefit…. it's all about performance."
My testing did not center around testing accuracy perse, but testing the pistol for what it was designed for - fast shooting on man sized targets from 0-300 yards. For this task, I attached an Israeli Mepro 21 sight which has proven itself easy in combat environments as one of the best combat reflex sights on the market. My Mepro 21 features the triangle dual (fiber optic and tritium) illuminated reticle. Frankly I love this optic and proved perfect for this BPM15 Pistol.
The extremely stiff BPM hand guard directly accepts standard Magpul MOE bolt on rails. I added one short rail on the left side to clip on my favorite Rogers Rail Light and I had a really nice setup for home defense use.
Once I established a 25-yard zero and confirmed no additional tweaks were needed at 300 yards, I started having A LOT of fun. Unfortunately I will note, 300 rounds goes by really really.... really fast. You have been warned that if you buy one of these little AR pistols, they are a blast to shoot.
With my steel Action Targets set up at 25, 100, 200 and 300 yards, I was extremely impressed how easy the Barnes pistol was to shoot. They had done their homework with all the design points I previously incorporated into my custom AR15 pistol build. Head shots at 200-yards anyone? Yep I was able to keep my hostage 6” swinger swaying on the 200-yard line. Of course I missed a few shots here and there, however for an AR15 Pistol, this and a serious pistol for serious work whether that be defense or sport.
AR15 pistols are of course just as legal and easy to acquire as any other handgun through your local FFL. An AR15 pistol is a great path to acquiring a Short Barrel Rifle complete with any rifle shoulder stock you might want. A buyer can purchase and enjoy the AR15 pistol while waiting for ATF SBR tax stamp to come through and then swap out the Sig Brace for a rifle stock. I cannot wait to push my SBR stamp through on this build to convert from pistol to Short Barrel Rifle.
I do have a couple gripes which includes the need for a QD-sling egg plate or some other manner of attachment on the Sig Brace to attach a sling to the rear of the gun. Barnes certainly offers QD Egg Plates, and I think in this case they need to be included. Since there is so much sensitivity around the Sig Brace, I personally am not sure it is legal to even drill a hole in the side for a sling. The other issue is the massive blast any AR15 pistol delivers including this one. The only two things I have found to decrease this deafening boom are suppressors or sound redirection brakes such as the PWS CQB or a Krinkov style brake. I would love to see a Barnes twist on one of these devices added to the pistol in the future.
About a year ago, back in 2014, I was very skeptical of the usefulness of an AR15 pistol in the home and urban environment. Today I stand converted. Once I shoot a well designed AR15 pistol and realize how quick the gun is for urban home interiors, I began to believe that the AR15 pistol is actually the best home defense option that combines the accuracy, power and capacity of the AR15 with the maneuverability of a pistol. This BPM-15 pistol embodies that concept perfectly.
Sig SB15 Stabilizing Brace and Magpul MOE grip.
Magpul MBUS sights with front sight adjustment tool.
7.5" SS 300 Blackout
BPM A2 Style Flash Hider / Breaching Tip.
Exceptional Quality -Commercial grade /semi auto AR15 Fire Control group.
BPM Bolt Carrier Group w/Nickel Boron coating.
Mil Spec 7075 forged upper/lower.
Upper receiver and lower receiver hard anodized to Mil Spec Type III specifications.
All BPM Inc. lowers feature adjustable tension screw and detent retention set screw for rear take down pin detent.
Pistol length gas system.
7.5" 416 stainless steel barrel blanks. CNC machined in house with 300 Blackout chambers.
BPM Inc. PSFFRS Ultra-lite Extreme 7" Handguard complete with quick detach sling swivel inserts. (FDE Cerakote)
Every BPM rifle ships with Patriot AR Case with custom high density foam inserts, Users Manual with Warranty and one Magpul PMAG
Barnes Precisioin Machine - http://www.usamade-ar15parts.com
The Mako Group - Mepro - http://www.themakogroup.com