So after having owned several AR-15’s over the years I have had a wonderful experience recently.
I wound up recalling the confusion of being a ‘first time AR buyer’ and not having a clue which of the myriad makes, models, manufacturers, prices, quality builds vs. junky rattletraps, etc.
In the processes of starting to offer AR-15 classes here are Apex Arms for exactly that “first time” client, I began thinking about purchasing an AR-15 for my students as a “class gun.”
I bounced the idea of building or buying an entry-level (up to $700 or so) gun thinking that I could also bring to the students my mid and upper level gun(s) as well so they could understand what I did not have when I purchased my first AR-15, which was a CLUE about the levels of quality – perhaps before they bought their own first AR.
So a long-time student, client, gunsmith/builder, fellow gun-nut, and friend of mine, Robert Hunter of RTT Firearms and I got to chatting about it, he convinced me to buy one of his newest offerings – the Patrol Model. At the “limited time only” sale price of $699 instead of the $899 retail.
(On background – I have been drooling over his finely made upper end rifles for a couple years, jealous in fact, that my upper level guns aren’t quite as nice and wishing I had lots of cash to have him make me one. I have said many times, in public, that I feel that his pricing is too low for the gun he sells. His strategy is to become famous as an AR builder in this enormous sea of builders (mostly made up of Youtube experts) and then re-establish his gun prices. More on this later.)
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999“] “”First, the gun ran rock solid. Period. And it felt great doing so. The trigger job RTT puts into these guns is downright magical for the investment – I have a $300 ‘name brand’ trigger in another gun at home that is jealous.” [/quote]
So while we were negotiating he kept whining about the fact that he was building nearly a dozen in front of me and “if parts come in” I can “maybe” get your gun “built in the next couple of weeks.”
In order to bypass this logjam, I suggested that maybe I should step up one level and buy the $999 Patriot model instead? Viola! He had the parts for that build and all I had to do was pick a color for the Cerakote.
So I went with Tungsten. It is like a dark charcoal grey metallic. Kind of reminds me of the Porsche 928 color that I never could afford on that dream car of my college days.
I also ordered it with the standard red dot and flip up sights, so my students would get to use both in a basic intro to AR-15 class. He promptly upsold me into the standard hard case that comes with it – “so your customers will see exactly what they would get if they did the same thing.” (Not a bad salesman.)
So within minutes of picking it up I was setting up the target and prepping to sight it in – I did not give him time to do this, he only had time to test fire it before I relieved him of it.
The Range – So here’s the deal.
It was 109 degrees, about 35% humidity and I did three things with it over about 30 minutes time. First, I wanted to see how well it functioned so I benched it and checked out the fitting of parts, general tightness, and apparent toughness of this baby.
While sending lead downrange I also dialed in the red dot sight.
Then I shot, as best I could over my range bag as a benchrest at a target 50 yards away with this 1x red dot scope to check out its consistency and accuracy.
Lastly, and I after checking the target and wiping the silly grin of happiness off my face decided I wanted to feel how it handled in more of an offhand, freestyle manner, for which is the gun was designed. So I stood at 20 yards and in a standing position just shot out the magazine at a cadence of about one shot per second, which meant I was carefully sighting the shot, but was not dillydallying.
First, the gun ran rock solid. Period. And it felt great doing so. The trigger job RTT puts into these guns is downright magical – I have a $300 (name brand) trigger in another gun at home and that gun is jealous. Funny observation – at the end of the session while picking up brass from the bench I noticed that all 41 pieces of brass ejected to an area of about 2’x2.’ I only noticed this because I only bent down one time to pick ALL of it up with no reaching! The gun is NOT a rattletrap in any way and no hang-ups. The mags drop freely as well as snick into place confidently. The mag release and similar controls were positive and clean – no snags. It just runs well. Like my much more expensive one at home in the safe.
Second, the gun shot accurately. The first magazine of fire put all 20 rounds inside of a 1” area. After dialing in the red dot and again at 50 yards, all 7 went into ¾” – more on this later.
Lastly, in fun and freestyle mode, 15 rounds in an area 2” across at 20 yards made me happy.
Over the last week or so I have shown this gun to about a dozen people and asked them to find a flaw in the finish. Challenged this way, they could not find flaw. The Cerakote is, dare I say, perfect. I have seen $2500 guns with flaws, not this one. When the same people press the tuned 3.75# trigger, they have to do it twice, because, “Wow, there was no creep and I didn’t know it was going off.” After the second dry press most said, “Oh my, I wish my trigger was that nice.” FYI – RTT will polish your trigger for a very reasonably low priced fee. My suggestion would be to ask Robert what other tuning things could he please do while at it – you can thank me later for that advice.
I have never had the opportunity to pick my own color for a build and had no idea how fun that really is. On this gun, the erector set and aftermarket king of guns, I have always labored over the choices of parts and neglected the color. My advice – pick a color and have fun with it. Since you will (I think) love this gun it will most likely be with you a very long time so go for the Cerakote as an option or buy the Patriot model (included with it). Same with the trigger. The Patriot plus a trigger job will make you very happy in the value-for-the-money department or buy yourself the Patriot as it is included.
The grip and extendable buttstock is a bit low end and about the only complaint I can offer, but here’s why I like RTT’s philosophy. They would rather give you a higher quality gun that allows you to go straight to the range and have fun. The easiest and most popular modification anyone can make later is upgrading furniture like buttstocks as paychecks allow for these type of items. With these guns you will most likely NOT have to worry about internals.
The same with the flip up sights and red dot – they function and they are $50 or so retail items, but again, you can go shoot now and upgrade later.
The Plano 42” fitted hard case with 5 lockable latches was a surprise and a great value – I suggest it will last a long time and keep your new AR-15 safe.
If you are looking into getting an AR-15, take our class and you can come shoot this as well as other guns in our stable of guns. If you already own an AR and are looking to upgrade, take a good look at RTT’s work. You might think about getting one before he begins pricing these accordingly back to retail – for a “limited time only” at $699 this deal is SMOKIN HOT!!!
This gun, which retails at under a grand performs significantly better than a $1,500 gun that I own. And about as well as my favorite one worth about $2,000. I suppose that I will be selling that gun away (maybe both) and then I think I will get in line for the entry level $699 gun for class, because this one … is MINE!
ApexArmsAz.com Real Classroom + Real Curriculum + Real Rangetime = Real Confidence.