I’m a lifelong peace officer, and not a firearm critic, so this review is for those out there who are looking for a simple review from that perspective.
The Palmetto State Armory 16″ AR-15 Carbine is what we are looking at here, and I must give a spoiler alert upfront, this is a great entry level gun
This weapon came highly recommended by a fellow officer, and I find it is all it was hyped to be, plus inexpensive, but not cheap.
The rifle is built to military specifications, so you know the baseline of what you’re getting up front; it’s not a precision rifle, but one that has good fit and quality.
My rifle is chambered for 5.56 NATO, it came with standard AR plastic hand guards, standard front sight/gas block base, and no rear sight. I put a Burris MTAC 1-4 riflescope on her, and we were set.
The barrel is Chrome Moly Vanadium steel with a 1:7-inch twist rate, with a black-nitride finish. The finish on the barrel was good, and should hold up to the average shooter.
The loaded 16”Carbine weights a bit over 7 pounds, and it was easy to maneuver, and shoot. The rifle turns fast, shoots fast, and is easy to get back on the target for follow up shots. Doing drills on multiple targets was fast, and the gun shot true, as fast as you can pull the trigger.
Reloads were done without issues, and about as fast as you can get from a mil-spec magazine well. The safety and mag release aren’t ambidextrous, but they worked well, and were put together well.
The hand guard was wide and it was comfortable to hold, and didn’t have any excessive play in it.
The mil-spec trigger was typical; having slight slack, and a fairly heavy pull, but it had no functionality issues. All in all, it was a decent trigger for a bare bones setup.
This little rifle, paired with the Burris scope, was able to consistently shoot 5 round groups of an average of 1.9 inches, at 100 yards. This was using Hornady TAP 70-grain rifle ammo; amazing when you consider my 55 year old eyes don’t work as well as they used to, and the trigger pull is at least 6 pounds. This was done at the 4X setting, on a bench with sand bags front and rear, no wind.
Accuracy was better than expected, and reliability was just what I was told it would be, great. After about 500 rounds, I had zero malfunctions. That was done without cleaning her (after an initial cleaning to get rid of the shipping grease).
All in all, this is a great entry level gun, it’s reliable, simple, well built, easy to use, and very reasonably priced. I’m leaving the price off intentionally because the factory shows “back ordered”, and as such, they didn’t show a price, but it should be well under $600.00, if the pre COVID19 price holds up. (Closer to $460.00 if you opt for a kit)
PSA PA-15 16” NITRIDE M4 CARBINE 5.56 NATO CLASSIC AR-15 RIFLE, BLACK
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Barrel Profile: M4
Barrel Steel: Chrome Moly Vanadium
Barrel Finish: Nitride
Chrome Lining: No
Muzzle Thread Pattern: 1/2″ x 28
Twist Rate: 1 in 7″
Barrel Extension: M4
Gas System Length: Carbine
Diameter at Gas Block: .750″
Gas Block Type: F-marked Front Sight Base
Muzzle Device: A2 -style
Receiver Material: Forged 7075-T6
Receiver Type: M4
Handguard Type: M4 with heat shields
Bolt Material: Carpenter 158 Steel
Bolt Carrier Profile: Full Auto
Fire Control Group: Standard Mil-Spec Trigger Group
Buffer Tube Length: Carbine
Buffer Tube Diameter: Mil-spec
Overall Length: 32 inches
Weight (as configured): 6.8 lbs