by EC in CA
Greetings from everyone’s favorite state in the Union! Just kidding. But seriously, half as a political statement and half as an expression of state pride, I decided to build an AR-15 that’s 100% “Made in California” (a.k.a. People’s Republic of Kalifornia, Commiefornia, Kaliforniastan, et al.). Why in the name of organic granola would anyone want to build a rifle from parts made in, of all places, California? Many Americans care about where their firearm was manufactured. Some people simply want it to be “Made in the USA,” but others make more specific choices as a matter of regional, state, or civic pride. We California gun owners (all 9 million of us) are no different.
Eureka! As it turns out, there are way more AR component manufacturers based in California than one would expect—many of them produce high-quality, distinctive, and (in some cases) class-leading products. It’s important to support these gun companies fighting the good fight in hostile territory. While this may not win me any popularity contests, here’s your guide to the great AR parts manufactured on the Left Coast:
Lower Receiver Highlights: JD Machine Tech and Houlding Precision Firearms. Both of these shops are well known for their high quality in-house manufacturing and distinctive designs. As a reflection of its San Diego “military town” heritage, JD has lowers with roll marks for each military branch. Houlding’s billet lowers even feature a flared magwell (with checkered front) and the Stars and Stripes on the bottom of the integral trigger guards.
High-Capacity Assault Clips: Surefire
Upper Receiver Highlight: Houlding Precision Firearms. Apparently oats aren’t the only hearty product that comes out of the City of Madera. Houlding’s billet upper receivers are octagonally shaped for extra strength and finished with hard-as-nails Cerakote. They are sold as matched sets with lower receivers.
Weapon lights: Surefire
Muzzle Device Highlight: BattleComp. Word on the street is that the best compensators in the USA are made in South San Francisco. BattleComp users swear by its ability to almost completely negate muzzle rise. The concussion/blast experienced by the shooter is better than most other compensators at the expense of the people standing off to the sides. No wonder we feel like Bay Area politicians just aren’t listening: they’re just deafened by the awesomeness of the BattleComp!
Buttstock Highlight: Ironwood Designs. While San Jose is the “capital” of Silicon Valley, local company Ironwood Designs kicks it old school. They meld the tradition of wood rifle furniture with the high-tech AR-15 platform. You definitely won’t find another AR looking like this on the range.
Other Buttstocks: Hogue
Handguard Highlight: Strike Industries. Since Strike Industries operates in sunny Orange County, they know how to deal with heat. Their Keymod Mega Fins free-floated handguard has eight interior fins along its length to act as a heatsink for the barrel and add rigidity, too.
Now that you’ve built your own California Modern Sporting Rifle, you can look the part with some tacticool gear from Golden State-based 5.11 Tactical, Hazard4, or Safariland. After all, image is important out here.
While this whole endeavor turned out to be fairly impractical, I couldn’t think of a better way to stick it to California’s “esteemed legislators” than to build an Evil Black Rifle conceived completely under their governance. The irony wouldn’t be lost on them, and I know it isn’t lost on the POTG (no matter what state you hail from). Just remember your Bullet Button — you know, for everyone’s safety.