Gun Review: MILTAC Alpha

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There are a ton of AR-15 “manufacturers” these days. In general, when you’ve seen one AR-15, you’ve seen ’em all. And most shops simply assemble OEM parts and call the rifle their own. In that sense the MILTAC Alpha isn’t all that different, since it’s still predominantly a parts build. But there are one or two features that might warrant it a second look . . .

P1000588r

The first real improvement is that the upper and lower receivers are matching billet pieces, meaning that they were machined from a block of raw material instead of being forged and then touched up at the factory. Most AR-15 rifles have uppers and lowers that match up fairly closely, meaning the lines and ridges on the top mostly pair with continuations on the bottom. But there are a ton of examples where this doesn’t happen, even among higher end brands. With the MILTAC Alpha, those features flow from one side to the other.

Another benefit of this lower receiver is the flared magazine well. Instead of the standard small-ish target, MILTAC added a bit of material on either side to give the shooter a bigger target when doing a speed reload. It’s definitely appreciated in a stressful situation when that magazine needs to slide in ASAP. There’s also a built-in trigger guard instead of the hinged version found on most guns, which I like.

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The biggest draw for this gun might be the paint job. The gun comes in your choice of Cerakote, this version being the Coyote Tan. The Cerakote gives the gun a delightful satin feeling, and definitely makes it stand out on the range. Or not, if your range happens to be coyote tan as well. The paint job is excellent.

Let’s take a moment to discuss the parts. This rifle came with a Troy handguard that MILTAC re-branded and claims as their own. There’s a Vortex flash hider on the end, which makes an annoying “PING” sound like a tuning fork every time the gun fires. The bolt is an EXO treated Fail Zero bolt, which is an appreciated addition. The stock is Magpul, and so is the grip. Inside the lower sits a Geissele 2-stage trigger, world renown for its excellent characteristics. Quality parts, but the real question is how well they do on the range.

The answer: terrible.

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What you see is the best group I could possibly shoot with the gun at 100 yards using Federal Gold Medal Match 77gr ammo (this review pre-dates our Eagle Eye Ammunition involvement). On average, the gun shot worse than this. I have a rule of thumb: a gun needs to shoot 1 MoA or better if it costs over $1,000. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation, but the MILTAC Alpha couldn’t even shoot this 2.5 MoA group consistently.

After I shot this group, I sent an email to the MILTAC guys to see if there might be something wrong with the gun. We try to give every company a chance to fix mistakes that may have been made in the manufacturing process before publishing the final review, and this case was no different. He asked that I send the rifle back to get it checked out, and like I’ve done with dozens of guns before I did so and patiently waited for the results. What made this case different was that they promised me a replacement rifle immediately.

That was well over a year ago, and I haven’t heard a peep since.

Since there has been no response from the company, I’ve decided to go ahead and publish the results based on the only rifle they’ve ever sent me.

P1000590

The MILTAC Alpha is a slick looking gun built from quality stuff, but this is a case where the whole is actually less than the sum of its parts. The individual pieces work well, feel great, and look amazing, but the overall package delivers a firearm with laughable accuracy. Words of advice: substance over flash. Results first. That’s the way to win my heart.

Specifications: MILTAC Alpha

Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Action: Semi-auto
Barrel: 16″
Magazine: One 30-Round Magazine included (takes standard AR-15 mags)
Street Price: $2,700

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: 
Nope.

Ergonomics: * * * *
The handguards are great, the trigger is fantastic, and the action is butter-smooth. I’m not really a big fan of the Troy handguards, though. Give me MLOK or keymod any day.

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

Customization: * * * *
It’s an AR-15. One star off for not having quick mount system compatible handguards, but that’s it.

Overall: *
Avoid. There’s nothing here that your local gunsmith couldn’t build and paint better for damn near half the price.

comments

  1. avatar Defens says:

    Nick, I see your point. A run-of-the-mill parts gun with a fancy paint job doesn’t merit a price tag approaching $3K anyway. One that can’t shoot is a non-starter.

  2. avatar Chris says:

    OMG, $2700 for that rifle? They must be completely nuts.

    1. avatar Pieslapper says:

      My Hi-Point carbine in 9mm is more accurate than that with steel case ammo and iron sights. Of course it doesn’t have the fancy paint job, but I could fix that with a can of krylon and still be $2400+ ahead.

  3. avatar Scott says:

    An AR that costs more than my SCAR 16S? GTFO.

    1. avatar Don from CT says:

      That’s what I was thinking. You could get a Scar 16 and a Geissele trigger for that money. Or a LWRC.

  4. avatar TT says:

    Who runs that company? PT Barnum?

  5. avatar Red in Texas says:

    Battlefield accuracy, for big bucks. Hmmm.

    What was the twist rate of the bbl? I notice match ammo being used a lot by TTAG, but it may not always be appropriate for all accuracy tests.

    1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

      1:7.

      This should be great with that load.

      1. avatar Red in Texas says:

        Agree.

  6. avatar Newshawk says:

    Just a thought… could that “Ping” have been caused by the projectile impacting the flash hider? That could be one explanation for the horrible accuracy–but, then, I’ve never shot an AR-15 before and don’t know if that could even be an issue. Like I said–just a thought.

    1. avatar Dracon1201 says:

      No, I get the same thing with the Damage Industries FH on my AK. It is literally a tuning fork.

    2. avatar Jeremy in Ohio says:

      Slotted flash hiders like that one have a reputation for becoming tuning forks when you fire the rifle. While possible it’s unlikely that would cause the accuracy issues.

    3. avatar Defens says:

      Actually, the “ping” is caused by vibration of the prongs, which is supposed to help break up the flash. The ping is a feature, not a bug.

      1. avatar Removed_californian says:

        Yes but if I wanted a *ting* every time I pulled the trigger I would have taped a bicycle chime to my rifle. Got an L-Dub with one of those 4 prong hiders pinwelded and it still bothers me. A little bit of a nit-pick but still a slight nuisance.

      2. avatar CA.Ben says:

        I have a seekins precision flash hider that is specifically made asymmetrical to eliminate the ping. I love it.

  7. avatar Vitsaus says:

    This is a sad but very clear example of what is wrong with the AR15 market right now. Fly by night snake oil salesmen all getting parts from who knows where, dressing up the outside with good stuff and adding some trendy feature to it (cerakote is the hip thing lately) and then charging premium for it because plenty of consumers will simply assume that they are getting a high quality rifle because they are spending good money on it. Its a genius scam because the AR is so prolific in the hands of civilians now that ranges are full of dozens of guys with more or less the same gun. The natural inclination is to have something different or cooler than everyone else so its easier to peddle rip offs to those people as their gun collecting is driven by a baseball card collector mentality rather than by the mindset that these arms are tools of defense and liberty.

    1. avatar DoomGuy says:

      +infinity

      I’d reply further but I direct you to my comment below.

    2. avatar clickboom says:

      The Avg gun owner is not so much of a moron as to buy this 900$ rifle for $3000… but companies like this keep trying. I don’t know why blogs like this hive them the time of day. I would be surprised if this company has actually sold any guns.

      1. avatar John L. says:

        Why give them the time of day?

        This review isn’t doing the company any favors in terms of generating sales. Apart from the out of the box accuracy, the customer service can’t be bad, or good, because it doesn’t seem to exist at all.

        This is really good to know as a consumer looking for a first or second AR. From the fit, finish, features and specs alone this might be perceived as a good rifle. It’s not, apparently. But you have no way of knowing that ahead of time without an honest review.

        Which do you suppose the LGS guy would rather sell you, this or a sub-$1000 AR that functions as well if not better? And if you go in looking for a high-end AR…? This review, friend, is body armor for your bank account.

        1. avatar click boom says:

          Well listening to anything your LGS employee says is always a bad idea.

          I doubt that almost anyone who wants to spend this kind of dough on a rifle is such a noob as to be fooled by these companies.

  8. avatar Jack says:

    What kind of barrel was on the gun?

    1. avatar Chris says:

      Website only says “chrome-lined”.

  9. avatar Taylor TX says:

    Completely agree with your 1K MOA rule, somehow I knew from the first 3 lines this wasnt going to end well ha. I am really curious to what the hell kind of barrel they started their build with, if youre going to cheap out on something, that is a bad place to do it.

  10. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    How to make a high quality reliable rifle for minimal green….. #1 Buy complete upper from quality manufacturer like BCM ext.. #2 buy cheap milspec lower either stripped or complete depending on mechanical skill level.#3 Install ALG Defense trigger. #4 put upper and lower together. #5 commence with lead slinging in great volume and costomize as necessary.

    1. avatar Removed_californian says:

      +1

      I agree entirely (mainly because I like building up lowers).

      The key is to buy from a reputable mfg throughout the process. As many have already said, there’s lots if little AR builders popping up everywhere. Just sent back a lower because the takedown pins weren’t drilled right. Lesson learned.

    2. avatar Timmy! says:

      “costomize”

      Perhaps the best typo ever! I have costomized so many my guns that I take a huge bath almost every time I try to sell. Bravo sir on giving me an new word.

  11. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    Wow even my mutt of an AR, cobbled together from all sorts of various different manufacturers and vendors, gets better MOA at 100 yards. And I wouldn’t even claim it gets under 1″. Nor did it cost anywhere near 2-3K.

  12. avatar Swarf says:

    You guys are trying so hard to make those boring-ass, cookie cutter black rifles appear unique and different! Bless your little hearts.

  13. avatar DoomGuy says:

    Anyone else here besides me fatigued and alienated when another AR15 manufacurer comes out with a new rifle that:

    A) looks nothing like a traditional A2 style AR (furniture wise)

    B) is strictly a flattop

    C) they don’t offer BUIS or a regular A2-style setup (A2-style furniture, carry handle detachable or fixed) and you’ll need to go to trijicon, aimpoint, or EOTech to spend another $1400 on a quality optic

    D) the price for this “new” AR keeps creeping upwards to ridiculous levels (ie the $2700 msrp for this rifle)

    Maybe I’m not in the target demographic anymore because I don’t like Magpul stuff being slapped into everything that moves, or being forced to spend more money just because they’re too lazy or money grubbing to add iron sights. Maybe I’m just one of those (26-year old) old codgers who are stuck in the 1990’s and believe you don’t need fancy optics furniture and tacticool crap to be able to use your firearm.

    And maybe I’m just one of those fools who just needs to shut up and get along with the program or get out of the way…

    1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      Well there are still plenty of other freedom rifles out there beyond the AR/AK paradigm . Me being one of those shooters I have many and plan on getting more. Shooting just an AR or AK as your freedom rifle would get mighty boring. Other rifles to consider:

      SIG-550 series
      Galil
      Vz-58
      Tavor
      AUG
      FAL
      G3
      M14
      ARX-100
      SCAR
      HK-93
      BM-59
      AR-18
      AR-70
      FS2000
      FNC

      And a whole slew of others.

      1. avatar James Henry says:

        Steyr Aug. Bullet proof reliability and a 16 inch CHF barrel in a small package.

  14. avatar jackalope says:

    I confess to having spent that much on an AR but, it was immediately post-Newtown and I was convinced the Big Ban was coming. However, I bought a Knight’s Armament SR-15. Did I pay too much? Sure. But at least it’s a Knight’s. I knew what I was getting. MILTAC? Never heard of ’em. I did put a Vortex on my rifle. I like the ping. It’s a nice counterpoint to the twang of the buffer spring.

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Now you need a mounted whistle.

      1. avatar Chris says:

        Oooooh……LIGHTBULB!!! Someone needs to make a muzzle device that makes the sound of the Bazen Bull, or maybe a Banshee.

  15. avatar NDS says:

    You named all of the parts except the barrel. Who is the manufacturer?

    1. avatar clickboom says:

      Who cares, nobody is buying this crapwagon.

  16. avatar MatKep says:

    Barel: 16″…. Ok. Made by whom? CHF’d? Chrome lined? Twist rate? Without these facts I’m not surprised that an AR manufacturer that I’ve never heard of makes a 3 MOA gun. Next time do some better research on parts. Stock, handguard and trigger don’t make an accurate AR.

    1. avatar Tom W. says:

      What was the go-no go test via feeler gauge; head spacing and bolt faced tolerances as well. We’re the feed ramps poorly cut?.

      Could just be a crappy barrel. Throw a Wilson Match 18″ 1:7 on there and try again.

      Good questions, lots of variables, need more answers. Did other ammo work better, or was it crap all the way through?

      For the price those gremlins better be dead.

      1. avatar John L. says:

        “Could just be a crappy barrel. Throw a Wilson Match 18″ 1:7 on there and try again.”

        Or just buy a Wilson Combat AR, base models start around $2200-$2300 (I just checked) and spend the remainder on ammo. Or optics. Or maybe PEZ dispensing magazines. Whatever.

  17. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Gun is a parts build that costs almost a grand more than a LaRue PredatAR which is a 100% made from scratch custom gun that ships a with a target guaranteeing <1MOA accuracy fired by a real human being from sandbags.

    Yeah ok…

  18. avatar paulWTAMU says:

    My parts AR–Bushmaster Upper, New Frontier lower–does better. Damn.

    1. avatar click boom says:

      Nothing surprising about that.

      THere is a myth that spending big money on boutique ar’s will get you enhanced performance or accuracy. It won’t. The one place you can spend money and get better accuracy is the barrel, perhaps the trigger as well. At that point, you might as well build your own as amazing barrels can be had for 300ish.

      One of my rifles is a PSA AR with an upper receiver that cost 320$. It shoots sub moa and has never malfunctioned. It came with a nicer handguard than the one on the rifle in this article (midwest industries). added a very nice PSA NiB BCG, ALG trigger, JP springs, surefire brake, magpul furniture, etc… and it has all the same features you get on a fancy boutique rifle and it cost well under a grand altogether. Around 800 IIRC, actually. There is no reason to spend more than this unless you want a really fancy barrel, in which case it might just make the most sense to take the barrel off the PSA and screw in a new one… You would then have a high end “match” type AR for around 1200. You could throw on a SHILEN or BARTLEIN or White OAK barrel and be messing around with sub .5 moa and still be less than half the cost of this rifle.

      But that’s not even necessary for most people. 99% of shooters can’t outshoot PSA rifles. and they are good quality.

      Im just hear to dispense some of the FUD.

  19. avatar Biff Baxter says:

    Smith & Wesson – M&P Sport AR15 can be had for less than $600.

    Now don’t you feel stupid for not considering?

    1. avatar Siris says:

      S&W M&P 15 and 15/22 both out perform that rifle and both are $500-600 rifles.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if “miltc” doesn’t also have a warrantee that lasts until the first shot Is fired.

    2. avatar Removed_californian says:

      Love my sport. I think dad got it right after the awb. (Don’t quote me on production dates etc., I just know that he got it as it was available)

  20. avatar Billy.Hill says:

    Sweet baby Jesus $2700??? Everytime I open up youtube I’m slapped in the face with another youtube video on ar assembly…. for that money it should come with a krieger barrel and blessed by black rifle forest elves over a campfire singing merry songs of joy chugging brews made by the fermented tears of MDA….

  21. avatar Bdk NH says:

    Ugh. Not another one. Who actually buys these “custom” ARs?

    As I have posted before and will again I suppose…I have an old beater milspec (chrome lined barrel intended for 4MOA accuracy spec) $500ish Olympic that will shoot 2 MOA groups with decent ammo ALL DAY LONG. It is also reliable shooting russian steel, PMC pew pew, or whatever as an over gassed carbine while being spartan light. There is nothing sexy about it but the damn thing works. If the SHTF and I get one rifle, I will have a hard time choosing between it and my factory Noveske truth be told.

  22. avatar jsallison says:

    Might be an illusion but I could swear the upper right prong on the flash hider is bent downward.

    1. avatar jsallison says:

      The more I look at it, (third photo from the top) I don’t think it’s an illusion. Might be scraping the bullet as it goes by or is setting up an asymmetric vibration that would cause the shot group to open up.

      1. avatar jsallison says:

        Signor Leghorn if you still have that thing, might try shooting a group after removing the flash hider. I’d check for other points where stuff might be binding against the barrel, too.

      2. avatar Timmy! says:

        You might be right. When I first saw it I thought, “That must be one of them there ‘spiral cut’ flash thingies,” but the more I grok it, the more bent that one prong looks. Of course, I would assume Messr Leghorn would have noticed something THAT out of whack.

  23. avatar Rog Uinta says:

    > The first real improvement is that the upper and lower receivers are matching billet pieces,
    > meaning that they were machined from a block of raw material instead of being forged and then touched up
    > at the factory.

    There is so much misinformation in this single sentence that I don’t know where to begin.

    Please stop printing garbage like this.

    1. avatar click boom says:

      this

  24. avatar Tommy says:

    I bought one of these a couple months ago, wasn’t impressed at all…. I didn’t pay full retail, but damn close. Sold it the first chance I could and got a DD AR-15. The DD functioned flawlessly right out of the box, cannot say the same for the Miltac Alpha series model that I purchased…..

  25. avatar Louis says:

    i gotta say guys these rifles are juuuunk. took mine to 2 smiths and both said i spent to much………. no matter what grain bullet or brand it couldnt shoot worth a damn! i guess my loss is your gain

  26. avatar Robert says:

    I cannot attest to their customer service but the test rifle had to be a fluke as I own a miltac AR in 6.5 grendel that is a lazer and shoots 1moa at 200 yards. They MAY have paid special attention to the rifle in their youtube commercial but i’m pretty sure Dave knows a thing or two about AR rifles

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