Economy 9mm AR build

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glenik
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Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:24 pm

Hey all, long time lurker.

Thanks to everybody who has posted reviews of different companies and parts that really helped me out with my own build.

Let me start by saying I had every intention of building my own 9mm carbine on the AR platform. I planned to use name brand components of good quality without going for any really premium components or flashy hardware. I wanted an economical, smooth operating, consistent rifle. I target shoot regularly and have several family members that hunt and target shoot with me.

As I started pricing out all the components I needed to build my own lower, it quickly became apparent that building my own would actually be more expensive than buying a 100% lower from one of the larger online retailers. I read a bunch of reviews and looked at PSA, JoeBobs, New Frontier, QCC and a handful of others before settling on one of PSA's "weekend deals"

I purchased the 9mm Glock lower with PSA's EPT trigger and the Magpul STR stock. The price was $277 shipped and I have a buddy that's an FFL dealer that didn't charge me a transfer.
http://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-9mm- ... r-blk.html

Comparatively, the parts to build this myself from PSA would have been more than $300 plus shipping. So this turned into a no-brainer for me. The EPT trigger wound up being the only upgrade I bought and I'm very happy I did. It's no high end adjustable trigger, but this isn't a competition weapon either. The release is super crisp with a tactile and audible reset, well worth the $30.

The upper:
Here's where I started having trouble. Again, I considered building my own upper, I'm handy, I have tools and I know a gunsmith in case I screw up. But, again, I found that buying components piece by piece was going to be more expensive than buying something already assembled, head-spaced and test fired by a professional The real problem was finding a 16" upper in stock! Most of the major players have a 16" upper with varying length handguard, choice of M-Lok or Keymod, Hybrid BCG and charge handle in a package for around $400 - $500. Finding one in stock was the real trick. I searched around for a month plus waiting for somebody to have one in stock that wasn't $700 which led to me search the interntz a little harder than normal and I'm really, really glad I did.

I found a newly opened website at http://www.brdc.us (now http://battlerifledevelopment.com). BRDC has apparently been in the OEM manufacturing business for many years but has decided to open a website and start developing a brand name. I wasn't able to find any reviews of their products online or any forum posts at all. Period. This made me extremely wary of buying from them. So I reached out to their support email on a Saturday just to see if anybody was home. I received an email back about 4 minutes later from the founder and CEO. We emailed back and forth a little bit about warranty, company history, etc.. and I decided to give them a shot. Now, I was ready to be dissapointed, the complete upper was priced at $395 and sounded too good to be true. "100% American made components, full nitride barrel, 15" keymod rail, dust cover, forward assist, full aluminum upper, hybrid BCG, etc...

They built it and shipped it 3 days later. I had it in my hands in 10 days and was shocked at how nice it was. The BCG has a super slick black nitride coating and is built like a tank with only the slightest of tooling marks, the upper has a rich black anodized coating and didn't have a single scrape, scratch or scuff on it, the handguard is lightweight but nice, heavy duty material, the chamber face on the barrel was obviously polished prior to getting it's own nitride bath. I can't say enough about the upper. It's fantastic! Honestly, my only complaint is that the bolt on the website pictures has their brand on it [BRDC] and mine was plain black. That's all I can find to complain about.

If you're thinking about BRDC stuff and on the fence, buy it. I don't think you can go wrong! I think they're going to build a quality name and their prices will go up accordingly.

A couple other bits and pieces and I was ready to assemble. I intend to put an optic on it but wanted some flip up sights until I've made up my mind on a red dot. I searched around on Amazon and settled on some $30 flip up rail mount sights from Ozark Mountain https://smile.amazon.com/Ozark-Armament-Picatinny-Flat-top-Co-Witness/dp/B01AISP1KW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488233523&sr=8-1&keywords=ozark+mountain+sights .

I'm completely happy with them as backups and my only complaint is that they do not fold down all the way flush, they stay partially sprung up (maybe 2 or 3 degrees) when you lock them down. Still a solid deal for $30

And lastly, magazines. I learned a lesson here that I'd like to share. I ordered 2 promag glock 17 9mm mags from Cabela's. When I put my rifle together, it wouldn't feed more than 2 rounds consecutively without slamming one into the chamber face, ejection was weird and occasionally brass would get hung between the bolt and the upper. My first thought was "I really screwed up with all this budget gear" but fortunately that wasn't the case.
I noticed that the bolt was chewing big chunks off the follower and that mags rocked back and forth really bad. Before getting crazy and tearing the thing apart I decided to try a Glock branded magazine and every single problem I had went away, no more misfeeds, no more cases getting stuck in the rifle, no more weak ejections. It ran like a top. Promags went back and I replaced them with Magpul Pmags. I've put at least 250 rounds through it since and haven't had a problem with 115, 124 or 147 grain bullets, weak loads, hot loads, reloads. You name it, this baby gobbles them up and rings the plate at 100 yds. When I compared the Glock magazine to the promag it was obvious that the design tolerances were just garbage and that the angle the bullets sat at were way off.

So, long story short:

PSA EPT STR Lower $277 shipped
BRDC Upper $412 shipped (SCORE!)
Ozark Mountain sights $30 shipped
Magpul PMAGS x 2 $30

Total of $749 for a 9mm AR carbine that runs like a top and looks great!.

Image
Image
Last edited by glenik on Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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randy
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby randy » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:05 am

Welcome aboard. Thanks for the write up!

As soon as I read "promag" I knew what was coming. Promag has been manufacturing crappy magazines since at least the 80's. I was fortunate enough to learn from someone elses experience to avoid them.

Glad quality magazines were all that it took to get everything working.

I especially liked the write up as I've been hankering after a 9mm AR for awhile. If they ever drop the SBR restrictions I won't be able to resist.
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glenik
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:14 am

Thanks!

I've used some Promags before without issue but these things were just awful. I can't imagine them working in anything.

I'm with you on the SBR restrictions, this thing is begging for a 10" barrel instead of 16". I'm just not willing to cough up $200 and wait 10 months. If I'm going that route I'll get a suppressed .300 BLK rig from D3LLC.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby scipioafricanus » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:16 am

Great job. I am have become a fan of a carbine in a pistol caliber. The only problem is good ones from a good source cost a pretty penny. It is hard to convince some people how good it can be when a 5.56 AR cost $800 and a 9mm is $1600.

But you solved the problem for some!
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glenik
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:57 am

Thanks Scipio,

The thing is super fun to shoot and feels almost exactly like a .223. It's a great way to get used to the way a .223 handles while burning .20 a round. I really feel like I scored with the BRDC upper too. If they keep up the quality, their stuff will be selling for a lot more down the road. It's also insanely easy to customize them with standard AR parts. No shortage of goodies there.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby g-man » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:22 am

I'd say you scored with their upper... because pretty much all of their complete bits are out of stock. Why not just build an AR pistol since 10" made more sense?
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glenik
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:39 am

I'm a big guy with long arms.

I've had my hands on one of the "pistol" builds with a stabilizer and it was very uncomfortable to shoot.

Just personal preference.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Darrell » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:01 am

Congrats, and welcome. I went with a JR 9mm carbine, been GTG for me--runs like a clock, and is hella accurate. Takes Glock mags as well, so 33 rds of goodness. Tons of fun, and I certainly wouldn't want to get in front of one. The JR came with barrel threads on the front, I'd love to put a suppressor on it and make it an HD gun.
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glenik
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:25 am

I actually didn't know about the JR Carbines until I had already picked up my lower and I really did want to build my own.

Glad to hear yours runs well, they are definitely in a sweet spot price-wise.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby HTRN » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:53 pm

Its a shame Spikes doesnt make their upper anymore, it was really the best on the market, and still gets stupid money on the second hand market.
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glenik
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:52 pm

Their heavy pistol buffer for these things is still a premium component. But, it seems everybody else also figured out the extra length and weight needed for these carbines. I learned a lot about buffers while I was planning this thing. It's a component I had never given a second of thought to.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Netpackrat » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:48 am

randy wrote:As soon as I read "promag" I knew what was coming. Promag has been manufacturing crappy magazines since at least the 80's. I was fortunate enough to learn from someone elses experience to avoid them.


Please
Remember
Our
Magazines
Are
Garbage
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby glenik » Sat May 06, 2017 8:04 pm

**UPDATE**

The guys at BRDC read my review and said I could send my bolt back to put the logo on it. I did, and they did! They even customized it with my last name.

Super cool and great customer service!

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Candyman » Mon May 08, 2017 6:50 am

Nice review and nice looking carbine.
I built three AR9. The first I use the Joe Bob Outfitters lower, which is made by New Frontier.
I can't say that I had trouble other than a bad buffer tube, but I did try a few different buffers. I found that it ran the best with the Rock River 9mm buffer. The upper I started with was a PSA with a front sight tower mounted at carbine length. It came with a slick side upper, which I replaced with a Aero upper without a forward assist.
IMG_5693.JPG


My second build I used a complete PSA upper and lower. The upper had a front sight tower mounted at mid-length. It had a slick side upper that I replaced with an Aero upper with no forwards assist.
IMG_5977.JPG


The third build I just finished. Just a complete PSA lower with Magpul furniture and complete upper with rail. The upper came with a standard upper. This one complete with sight and mag only cost $715.
IMG_0020.JPG


I've been using the Korean extended mags and have been very happy.
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby HTRN » Thu May 11, 2017 12:32 am

The quarter circle 10 receivers are real nice, and are also available as sets(glock small mag, glock large and colt).

And oh, CMMG is coming out with a 45acp carbine, neither straight blowback nor DI rotary lockup, but some kind of recoil unlocking mechanism. Makes me wonder if they'll offer a SBR 460 Rowland. :ugeek:
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Darrell » Thu May 11, 2017 2:21 am

HTRN wrote:The quarter circle 10 receivers are real nice, and are also available as sets(glock small mag, glock large and colt).

And oh, CMMG is coming out with a 45acp carbine, neither straight blowback nor DI rotary lockup, but some kind of recoil unlocking mechanism. Makes me wonder if they'll offer a SBR 460 Rowland. :ugeek:

The CMMG Guard .45s are coming in crazy high, MSRPs from $1,300-1,600:

https://www.cmmginc.com/product-category/rifles/45-acp/
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby HTRN » Thu May 11, 2017 6:06 pm

1300 is crazy high?!

Quarter circle ten is getting 450 for matched receiver sets, and Ron Williams was getting 1200 for one of his 45acp rifles that take grease gun mags
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Candyman » Fri May 12, 2017 4:25 am

Tennessee Arms has just announced the per sale on their TAC-9 polymer lower for $89.95. It takes Glock mags and has a lifetime warranty.
I may have to build another gun.
Do not relish to feel what the men that used these weapons felt when they saw the elephant. For the elephant has tusk and to see him is to have his tusk dig deep into your soul. You will always have a part of you that will be cold and empty.

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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Netpackrat » Fri May 12, 2017 8:23 am

HTRN wrote:1300 is crazy high?!

Quarter circle ten is getting 450 for matched receiver sets, and Ron Williams was getting 1200 for one of his 45acp rifles that take grease gun mags


People are spoiled by cheap guns/parts made possible by economies of scale... Something that's non-standard and/or much lower volume is usually going to cost more.
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Darrell
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Re: Economy 9mm AR build

Postby Darrell » Wed May 24, 2017 5:45 pm

PSA's Memorial Day Sale email is out--they show a 9mm AR for $599.99:

http://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-16-9 ... nt=11%3a00
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