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The name of the company whose rifle I am reviewing today is Double D Armory. And their logo kinda looks like, well, boobs. Which is grand for the inner kindergartner. But while their SST 5.56 rifle might appear to be a rather common AR-15 configuration with little else to offer than a name that makes grown men giggle, there’s something really really cool going on that might makes it worth a second look. But before we get to that, we need to check all the other boxes on the review template . . .

What we have here today is a 16″ AR-15 rifle chambered in the ever-popular 5.56 NATO cartridge. It’s about as standard as you can get with a gun these days. The accessories, on the other hand, aren’t as standard.

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Covering the 16″ Lothar Walther LW50 Stainless barrel there’s a handguard of DD Armory’s own design. The handguard is nice, and the fact that it’s free-floated is definitely appreciated for the accuracy and heat dissipation boost, but the attachment points for extra rail sections are screws instead of something more modern. There’s a full length rail along the top of the handguard which is a great addition, but I’d love to see some keymod out there instead. There are also a couple QD stud attachment points for those who like to sling up.

The end of the barrel sports a standard flash hider, which makes a bit of sense. Everyone wants their gun to have a different muzzle device, and so shipping with the standard birdcage instead of something expensive and fancy allows the end user to swap it for whatever they want. Still, since we review guns “as is” and not as they can be, it’s all just a little vanilla for me.

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The receiver is where we start to see some interesting developments. The rifle is made using Double D’s own receiver set, which has some differences from the typical A4 style receiver. The top rail is matched and mated to the rail on the upper receiver, giving a nice flat surface upon which to place your gubbins. The cutout for the ping pong paddle has been changed as well to allow for things like a Magpul BAD or an extended bolt release, things which add some bulk and aren’t always compatible with the custom jobs.

They also changed the look and feel of the top of the lower receiver, specifically where the roll pin for the bolt release is inserted. However, instead of just having that be a blind hole they’ve gone ahead and milled out the opposite side so you can get at it if you want to change things. That’s some good thinking on their part.

Oh, and the triggerguard is integrated into the receiver. I like that.

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While there are some great features, there are also some mediocre ones. The trigger, for example, is terrible — a heavy, stacky, creepy thing that any competent shooter will probably chuck in the bin within five minutes. That’s par for the course with AR-15 rifles these days unfortunately, but maybe if I complain enough that will change. The safety selector switch is also right-hand only, so southpaws will need to swap that out.

The bolt carrier is a custom job with a nickel boron coating, which does a much better job of keeping itself clean than the standard phosphate or parkerized options on the market. It actually looks pretty slick in there, and even sports the company logo. I mean breasts.

The stock is a B5 systems SOPMOD Bravo stock in black, attached to a fairly standard carbine buffer tube, and held in place with a similarly standard castle nut and endplate. But what isn’t standard is the paint job — or, rather, the lack thereof.

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This is not painted. This is not a Cerakote job. This isn’t even plasti-dipped. Ladies and gentlemen, what you are looking at is an anodized aluminum receiver, anodized in what the company calls its “Actium” digicam pattern. I’m not a particular fan of this specific color scheme, but they offer the gun in multiple patterns to suit your needs and one exists that I quite like (“Scirroco”).

Why anodized? Because it’s better. My Wilson Combat handgun is coated in something called “Armor-Tuff” that’s supposed to be tougher than Cerakote. The finish is wearing off the edges of the gun at the moment due to regular use as my carry gun. Paint is nice, but it bakes off when hot and has a tendency to scratch.

As for plasti-dipping things, that’s the worst of all. It looks great for all of five minutes, but it will eventually start to peel off and look terrible. And even the smallest scratch is readily apparent with that stuff.

Anodizing is a surface treatment process that uses chemicals and science to physically bond the surface coating to the material. Instead of a coating placed on top, this is an actual physical change to the material that isn’t removed easily at all. What’s absolutely bonkers to me is that not only have they anodized it in a funky color, but they’ve managed to get a very precise design imprinted onto the gun using this method of treatment. That can’t have been easy, and yet here it is.

But enough pontificating about how it looks, out to the range.

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In general, the rifle feels pretty good. Recoil is right where it should be, and the gun is light enough to handle well out on the range moving around. However, that terrible trigger is a definite detractor in the shootability of the rifle, and it shows in the accuracy.

As always, we tested the rifle using 69gr .223 Remington ammunition provided by Eagle Eye Precision Ammunition (our official ammo sponsor here at TTAG), which is the most consistent ammo we have ever tested. Since the ammo is a known quantity, all that’s left to see is how well the rifle itself performs.

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The first three rounds were within 0.7 MoA extreme spread, but things opened up a bit from there. The final five round group was 1.51 MoA extreme spread center to center. It’s not terrible — not even the worst gun I tested that day — but disappointing. I have no doubt that a better trigger would tighten that group right up, though.

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The gun shows some promise. I like the surface treatment and the overall layout, but the details need work. Details like a better trigger, and perhaps a better safety as well. The gun doesn’t ship with iron sights, which I like because I think iron sights on a 16″ AR-15 is dumb when you’re just going to put a red dot on it anyway. Then again, you’re talking to someone who has iron sights on his 9″ 300 BLK SBR so take that for what it’s worth.

The real question is whether the thing is worth its asking price of $1,949, and as-is probably not. Armalite’s new 3-gun rifle costs $400 less and is better in every way for competitive shooting. Their new sporting rifle is $700 less and better in every way for varmint shooting. Even a SIG SAUER MPX costs less. But none of those guns come with the same surface treatment as this one. In fact, I can’t think of a single gun that does. And when you gotta have it, you gotta have it.

Specifications: Double D Armory SST Rifle

Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Action: Semi-auto
Barrel: 16″
Magazine: Two 30-round magazines included
MSRP: $1,949

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * *
My benchmark is 1 MoA for rifles $1,000 and above. Anything less and I’m not impressed.

Ergonomics: * * * *
It all feels right, but a point off for the rightie-only safety.

Reliability: * * * * *
No issues. We fired hundreds of rounds without a hiccup.

Customization: * * * *
There’s a lot that can be changed, and quite a few things that should be. Like the muzzle device and the trigger. I don’t know what rail sections it takes though, so one point off for that.

Overall: * * *
The gun loses points in accuracy, but picks them back up for style. The problem is the price — at damn near $2k the gun places itself in competition with a lot of very heavy hitters, and truthfully it can’t hold its own. Knock that price down about $500 and it would be just about right. If the gun didn’t have the surface treatment it would drop to the two-star range, but as is the gun is okay for the money.

33 Responses to Gun Review: Double D Armory SST Rifle

  1. Since there are so many AR pattern rifles to review, have you considered having a ‘control’ trigger, which could be whatever your own favorite trigger is for accuracy? I mean that you could test the rifle as it came from the factory, and then, since a terrible trigger is one of the most common causes of poor groups, swap it out and find out what each rifle can do without the handicap?

    • +1
      Totally agree with this. Im all for the legitimacy of testing the rifle as it comes, but if the rifle is really capable of astounding accuracy with a simple ALG trigger swap for under 50$, we aren’t getting the full story by getting a test with a crappy trigger. Always still can do an “out-of-the-box” review, but couple the accuracy with another group with a cheap trigger job like an ALG.

      • Agreed. 1.5 MOA is about the best anyone can get from a crappy trigger. A trigger improvement is needed to “accurately” test the rest of the system.

        • Well if it’s on a solid enough rest, it shouldn’t much matter. I’d also like to know what the barrel twist rate is and if ammo other than the 69 grain HPBT pictured was tried. As for swapping triggers, yeah, I mean firearms are supposed to be tested as they come out of the box (other than slapping an optic on), but doing that then swapping a trigger could add some color to a review, sure. It’s a bit of a PITA on an AR, of course (remove grip, remove safety, punch out pins, remove trigger parts, reverse order for install of new stuff, test for accuracy again, then reverse order all over again to reinstall the factory stuff before returning the T&E gun to the manufacturer or FFL/distributor/private party who loaned it).

        • Nonsense. Triggers are rarely so bad that a good shooter can’t do well. It might take more practice, but someone complaining about the trigger indicates to me that they aren’t very good and they need a crutch. Good triggers help you do better without so much concentration, but they are not necessary.

  2. So high/over priced, doesn’t work, and is “pretty”. Sounds like the Obama Sorority White House.

  3. If you want a custom anodized upper and lower, the paintball market is full of people who do this exceedingly well.
    There are all kinds of patterns and fades that can be done. You can even ship a plain 80% lower and not have to worry about firearm shipping.

  4. It seems like every review you guys do is always in the 1500+ category. While some firearms justify that cost a lot of them do not. Like this one. Do some budget reviews please.

  5. Sounds as though they missed their marketing window by around a year.

    Unfortunate. But if the most advanced aspect of something is its paint scheme (sorry, anodizing), I’m probably going to look elsewhere for the same functionality at a lower price.

    • I’m always a little uneasy when I see an inappropriate mix of low- and high-end components.

      The safety selector I get – as a rightie I find the off-side safety lever can be a minor irritant by getting in the way. It’s clearly a personal choice. But that barrel and a higher-end bolt carrier with a lousy trigger? That I just don’t get.

      • I’ve been using the BAD-ADD ambi lever on mine, I’ve got the short lever on the right side and the crank on the left (Cause I always liked the RRA star selectors) The short lever doesn’t get in the way and has just enough meat there that I can easily flick the gun to safe with my trigger finger just like I love to do with the G36C at work.

  6. People are willing to throw out cash like that for something sexy looking AND accurate. Sounds like Double D needs to Double Down on their rifle and put in a better trigger…

  7. Yikes for 2k I can order a LaRue PredatAR 556 and a 500brick of ammo, or instead I can buy some Johnny come lately to the AR party yet to be proven rifle with an imitation SOPMOD stock and a duracoat paint job… 3 stars seems generous.

  8. And their logo kinda looks like, well, boobs.

    O_o

    Mr. Farago,

    It is imperative that you take Nick to a titty bar ASAP. The man has deeply strange ideas about the female anatomy that will not serve him well in life. In the interests of helping a valuable contributor to the website, these misconceptions must be dispelled as soon as possible.

    No, looking at pictures on the internet will not be sufficient.

    best regards,
    The Commentariat

  9. Well, this review has me wondering a couple things. Does the reviewer know that there is already an ALG ACT trigger in there? The spec’s say so and looking at it; sure looks like one. How do you find a rifle with a better stock trigger than one from the Geissele family? From doing a little research looks like they had a “Marine Scout Sniper” shooting under 1/2″ MOA. Me thinks someone needs to go practice their shooting!

    https://youtu.be/j0k3qz-S2Ac

    • ALG is not a Geissele. I think more than complaining that the shooter needs to “just be better” the point is more that for 2k you would expect not to have to upgrade key components. Like if you buy a brand new Porsche and then need to upgrade the clutch.

    • FWIW, general consensus on the ALG ACT is that it feels just like a mil-spec, generic “parts kit” trigger that is already broken in. On the low end of pull weight for mil-spec, and less gritty. Basically, a mil-spec trigger after a few hundred rounds.

      Different rifles like different ammo. Not only different rifle brands and models, but even rifle-to-rifle of the same model from most manufacturers. If I were a rifle manufacturer and wanted to show what my rifle was capable of in a video like that, I’d test it with 20 different brands of ammo ranging the entire weight spectrum and then go ahead and group it on video with whatever one did the best. It could easily be the difference between 1/2 MOA and 1.5 MOA. Additionally, depending on assembly procedure one rifle off the line could shoot 1/2 MOA, most shoot 1 MOA, and some shoot 1.5 MOA. There are going to be gems and turds in assembled guns that don’t receive hand tuning.

      The exception would be, for instance, a company that does everything by hand like Shaolin Rifleworks, where each and every single rifle’s parts are precision fit to all of its other parts, and every single one is tested with a standard ammo — Federal Gold Medal Match — and must shoot five groups at or under 1/2 MOA before it ships to a customer.

  10. I am very skeptical of retail $2K+ custom assembled ARs these days. If I am spending $2K it will be a “factory” AR with Noveske, Larue, Colt, the other “DD” or equivalent marks on it. In this case, the anodization coloring is unique and cool but not desirable to me. I don’t know this company, and with all due respect to the Marine that owns it, I don’t think I could justify spending $2K for this rifle even if received a good review. FWIW, I own an old unmodified beater Olympic carbine that will shoot groups like Nick’s in the review all day long.

    I agree with the posters who suggested trying to take the uncertainty out of accuracy testing during reviews. For every rifle, lock it down in a decent rifle rest, add the same reasonable quality optic/mount, say a Leupold VXR, test it stock at 100 yards with match grade ammo. For 556 lets say Black Hills loaded 52g, 62g and 77g match ammo. Then install a Geisselle SSA, lock it down and run the same course. Its hard to account for wind and conditions but at 100 yards it doesn’t matter that much. That should give a much better test for comparison.

  11. I’ve read interesting things about cryogenic treatment of rifle barrels to improve consistency, hot barrel vs cold barrel. Does anyone have any data on this?

  12. Do you think the accuracy issue is you or the rifle? The reason I ask is I am reviewing the same rifle and with quality ammunition and optics I shot some damn nice groups.
    I noticed you left out what ammo or optics you were using.
    Me thinks it was the Indian and not the arrow.

  13. the DD armory guns are a waste of money. the owner runs around his town yelling at people if they don’t think his gun is the best rifle on the market. a monkey with a wrench can build a better gun for under 1000.00 now a days. The LWRC DI rifle is 1400.00…there is no way The DD rifle is worth 2000.00 its half the rifle as the lwrc.

    The DD gun is garbage.. you can get a cerakoted colt for 1100.00

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