A recent count of U.S. companies offering AR-15 type rifles was 430. Since the AR train has long left the station, I suspect that many of these “makers” have closed their doors, and that more are trying to sell their rifles at near cost prices. Still, there are many such companies that remain in business leaving lots of American firearms enthusiasts at a loss when it comes to choosing one maker over another.
People looking to buy an AR-15 clone include those looking for the least expensive brand they can find, as well as many who believe that the most expensive AR’s are by far the best. While there may be some truth in the latter, “pin striping” may be what’s driving the price up. Not that fancy exteriors and colors are not to be appreciated, but their utility might be questionable. Their high prices might also limit the amount of money left for the right accessories, ammunition and proper training one will be able to afford.
A too often overlooked place to start in selecting an AR is reputation. Dozens of firearms companies making AR-15 type rifles have excellent and well-deserved reputations in offering a lot of rifle for the money while not breaking your bank account. One of them is the subject of this article. It is BRAVO Company Mfg, or BCM.
Being well acquainted with BCM for some years I have been duly impressed in testing the AR type rifles and the wide range of components they produce and offer. This reputation left me excited to see and test one of BRAVO’s latest models, a BCM4 Short Barreled Rifle in 5.56x45mm.
Built on BRAVO’s BCM4 lower receiver, the SBR I received first required a special license from the BATF&E including a one-time $200 tax to own in states allowing such arms. Almost identical, however, is BRAVO’s 16” barrel BCM4, which may be purchased over the counter in most states. For short to medium range, however, the BCM4 SBR would be a real crowd pleaser. Let’s have a close look.
From the start, I must point out that this compact rifle was designed to be lightweight and it truly fills this bill. This “feather light” feature is accomplished by using a new “pencil” barrel, which is further tapered from the gas block to its ½”X28 threaded muzzle. Screwed there using a crush washer is the new BCM GUNFIGHTER Compensator MOD 1-556. Where most muzzle devices either compensate for recoil, or mitigate muzzle flash, this one does both very well.
Equally impressive is BCM’s slim-line KMR KeyMod handguard. Made of a blend of aircraft alloy and magnesium, this handguard is lighter than standard 7075-T6 alloy while also being stronger. On top of the handguard is a Mil-Spec-M1913 type rail with the entire remainder of the hand guard equipped with BRAVO’s popular KeyMod mounting holes introduced by the company. These “keyholes” allow mounting a variety of accessories directly, or by attaching recoil proof rail sections first. This new handguard is cleverly and rigidly mounted to the special dual cross-bolt barrel nut system and is perfectly aligned with the receiver’s top rail for a continuous platform.
At the front of the handguard rail our sample came with a rugged flip-up front sight with protected post adjustable for elevation. On the barrel beneath the rail is a low profile gas block, the tube of which leads to the bolt carrier for direct gas transfer operation. The cocking handle is BRAVO’s GUNFIGHTER Ambidextrous handle with a gas diversion for use with a sound suppressor. At the back is BRAVO’s robust flip-up protected dual aperture rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation.
The stock that came on the BCM4 is BCM’s GUNFIGHTERSTOCK MOD 0. Designed to be no-snag, this stock is great for quickly exiting a patrol car or other vehicle. It is retractable with a comfortable, non-slip butt and accepts QD sling mounts. The lower receiver is likewise equipped with BCM’s GUNFIGHTERGRIP, which has the angle of a 1911 pistol. The rifle also comes with BCM’s ALG ACT fire control group, which has a trigger let-off measurably better than issue triggers. A QD mount is furnished at the back of the lower receiver for use with a single point sling.