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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Magazine: Two 30-round magazines included
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.