I’d like to clarify a few things before diving into a look at the 10.5″ pistol kit from Pickett’s Mill Armory. First, there is a significant difference between “as good as” and “good enough.” As good as is commonly used by people to justify spending less and telling themselves the quality of their purchase is equal to something with a much higher price tag. There is obvious fallacy to this, quality components constructed by companies with more stringent quality control measures and skilled armorers are guaranteed to produce a higher quality product, while also fetching a higher price. I’m not about to argue that the Pickett’s Mill Armory is as good as my Knight’s rifle, and I don’t think Pickett’s Mill expects their product to compete at that level.
The other far more important phrase that so many seem to ignore is the phrase “good enough.” It seems all too common that every firearm purchase needs to exceed an exceptionally high level of standards, regardless of the purpose and level of use the firearm will see. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with buying a firearm that exceeds all standards and is of great quality, and if you have the budget and desire then by all means buy the quality gun you want. What I am saying is it is far more beneficial to be truly honest with your needs and the amount and type of shooting you will actually do. There isn’t really a need to have a weapon built to survive the most austere environments when it’s going to live in your safe and only make trips to the range. Again, not saying you can’t choose something with that level of quality in mind if you have the budget for it, but if you’re on a tighter budget it’s more beneficial to put your money into a rifle that is good enough for your needs so that you have a budget for optics, training, ammo, etc.
The complete kit comes with everything pictured here minus the armorer’s wrench, magazine, optic, and stripped lower. With the gun market being what it is in 2020 having this entire kit mailed to your door for $660 is quite ideal. Finding parts in stock is a rarity these days, as of this writing the kits are still in stock for both the pistol and rifle set ups. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the AR builder game or simply need to find something in stock they’re worth a look. https://www.pmarmory.com/pma-10-5-carbine-length-5-56-nato-1-8-nitride-12-l-p/pma105n55610tfkit.htm
The PMA comes with a 10.5″ 1:7 twist barrel, chambered for 5.56 NATO. I won’t go into all the specifics of the barrel as they can be read at the link above, I will add that it is not chrome-lined. While this may limit the life of the barrel in comparison to one that it is chrome lined, it will still have life for thousands of rounds and non-lined barrels do have the potential for greater levels of accuracy. While I haven’t had the chance to determine just how accurate this barrel can be, that will be tested in the near future.
The barrel comes with the PMA Flash Can muzzle device attached. As stated in the video, this does serve to avoid violating certain states’ restrictions and does direct flash and noise forward, away from the shooter, I’m interested in trying other muzzle devices to see what difference they might make, possibly even see how it handles running a suppressor
Detailed specs on the bolt carrier can be found online. It has worked well for the 250 rounds it’s been through so far. The staking appears solid and the gas rings support the weight of the BCG when tested. While working the bolt is not the smoothest feeling in the world, it is far too soon to be considered broken in. The only other AR to compare it with is from Knights Armament, but to complain that this doesn’t compare to the buttery smooth Knight’s would be entirely unfair.
There aren’t many details provided for the lower parts kit, so I cannot comment on the durability or quality of them in detail. The trigger is surprisingly nicer than I expected, with a much cleaner break than many of the M4’s I dealt with in the Corps. There is a bit of wiggle to the safety lever but nothing to make it unsafe or unserviceable. The front pivot pin is extremely stiff, as noted in the video, but that does not make it a real issue. The threaded bolt catch design from Aero did make assembly much easier. Will continue testing with live and dry fire to see if any issues arise.
To close this is not a complete review, there have been far too few rounds fired through this to give a complete look at what we can do with this AR. Ammo is currently being sourced so a more focused look on accuracy, as well as reliability and durability will be conducted. While ideally several thousand rounds would be fired before a full review could be called, the budget that currently exists makes that goal something that cannot be achieved in the near future. For now I’ll keep dry firing and testing with limited live fire and post up any results in the future. If you’re interested in building your own AR from Pickett’s Mill Armory simply visit their website and place your order.
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I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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