Gear Review: Kali Key Gen2A-1 Drop In Compliance Bundle

Kali Key (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Kali Key (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The ingenuity of free Americans will always triumph over small-minded fearmongers seeking to stifle liberty. There’s no greater example of this in the gun industry than the myriad solutions companies have developed in order to allow shooters to comply with California’s ludicrous, inhumane, and unconstitutional assault on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.

For those who want all of the ergonomics, magazine capacity, ease of use, and affordability of shooting the AR-15 pattern rifle — and still remain compliant with California’s laws — the Kali Key is a solid alternative.

In essence, the Kali Key turns the semi-automatic AR-15 into a bolt action rifle. After installing the Kali Key, the rifle will only fire a single round with each trigger pull, and then requires the shooter manually operate the charging handle in order to eject and chamber the next round.

The Kali Key is only for traditional direct impingement Mil-Spec AR-15 rifles. Installation is pretty simple, requiring only a single Allen wrench.

If you’re installing the Kali Key on an existing complete bolt carrier group, you’re going to have remove the traditional gas key on the carrier. Assuming that your gas key screws have been properly staked, this may take considerable force.

For those of us in the free states, this is likely a no-go. It certainly is for me. I’m not going to swap back and forth from a traditional gas key to the Kali Key’s gas diversion block if I have to remove and then re-stake the screws each time.

Kali Key Bundle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The alternative is obvious; use a separate, dedicated bolt carrier for the Kali Key set-up. That’s why the Kali Key is sold as a stand alone item or with a BCG as a bundle.

Gas diversion block (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

With a bolt carrier that doesn’t have a gas key installed, all you have to do is line the gas diversion block up and screw the two screws into the carrier.  I didn’t stake the gas diversion block down, and I doubt it would be an issue with what is essentially now a bolt action rifle.

Kali Key recommends 45-50 inch pounds of force. I just turned it hard with a simple single Allen wrench, and that measured to 40 inch pounds. They also recommend thread locker. I didn’t use a thread locker, and had no issues, but if this was the kind of thing I would be using for a while, I’d Lock-Tite it down.

After installing the gas diversion block onto the carrier, simply slide the charging handle into the block and insert the entire charging handle and carrier right into the upper receiver.

Gas diversion block and charging handle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Note that you don’t need the gas rings on the bolt anymore, and it may be a little easier to manually charge the action without them.

That’s it, you’re done. If it took you even five full minutes to do that, you did it wrong.

There’s no need to reduce your magazine size (local laws allowing). No use for a “bullet button,” no reason to change to a fixed stock, or whatever other ridiculous statues the Golden Statists have come up with.

I tried the Kali Key with two different rifles, one from Colt Competition and one from Underground Tactical.  I had no issues at all installing the Kali Key on either rifle, and had absolutely no problems with function in either gun.

Manual charging handle manipulation (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

There’s really nothing to go wrong here. Now, when you pull the trigger on a chambered receiver with a full magazine, one round fires. The bolt will then remain in the forward position until you pull the charging handle back.

The whole point of the Kali Key is to turn your AR into a bolt action rifle, and you’ve done just that.
The Kali Key’s bolt handle is ambidextrous, and quite large on both sides. I found it no trouble at all to simple reach back and pull the handle, extracting the round. Simply release the handle to allow the buffer spring to do its job and chamber the next round.

There are other uses to the Kali Key, beyond compliance with the Nationalsozialistiche California Arbeiterpartei.

The AR-15 platform is great for new shooters. Its ease of adjustment and wide range of furniture make it fit many shooters well, and growing shooters especially well. Some of those features, like an adjustable stock, go out the window if you have to meet the dictates of the overlords by using a fixed stock.

The Kali Key allows you to keep all of those features that work so well for new shooters. It also allows a new shooter, or the instructor of a new shooter, to help focus shooting on one single round at a time.

Kali Key installed (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

For load development, the Kali Key also allows the shooter to slowly open the bolt and gently deposit spent brass right next to the rifle. There’s no need for a brass catcher…it’s just going to be lying there within grasp.

For those of us who shoot suppressed at night, note that as the gun won’t cycle at all, now there’s no sound of the action, making for an even quieter hunt.

The Kali Key is well made, with the charging handle rod made of 7075 anodized aluminum and the gas key block being black nitride coated. I shot 100 rounds between two different rifles with the Kali Key, and had no issues at all. All photos in this review taken were after shooting, and the finishes held up well.

The Kali Key is a great, well made and well thought out product for beleaguered shooters fighting the good fight in the shadow of the Sacramento slavers. It does the job, and may also find some use for those shooters who want all of the ergonomic features of the AR platform, but also want to slow down a bit.

Kali Key installed in Colt Competition AR15 (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Features: Kali Key Gen2-A1

Black Nitride Bolt Carrier Group with MPI BoltMPI Bolt (Magnetic Particle Inspected)
9310 Heat Treated and Shot Peened Bolt (H&M Blacknitride+™ Coating)
8620 Heat Treated Carrier (H&M Blacknitride+™ Coating)
4140 Heat Treated and Shot Peened Extractor (H&M Blacknitride+™ Coating)
4340 Heat Treated Cam Pin (H&M Blacknitride+™ Coating)
Shot Peened and Heat Treated Firing Pin
Also available for AR-10
Price: Kali Key alone = $97.95, Kali Key BCG Bundle = $182.95

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
A well made product that has uses beyond simple left coast compliance. The ease of use and the fact that it allows all other features of the AR-15 pattern gun to stay in place puts the Kali Key at the top of the list for compliance products.

comments

  1. avatar MontanaActual says:

    Fuck that. Don’t buy this crap. This is compliance.

    DO. NOT. COMPLY.

    1. avatar Baldwin says:

      Ordinarily I would agree. But…hiding your otherwise (bureaucratically) illegal AR in plain sight? Priceless!

    2. avatar Squiggy81 says:

      I admire the ingenuity of their workaround. When needed (or as soon as you cross the border), it can easily be swapped out with a standard BCG and charging handle.
      As mentioned in the review, it does have other uses. If it was less expensive, I’d get one just to have a super quiet 300 BO when I wanted one and not have the expense of an additional bolt action rifle. At this price, I’ll probably pass for now.

      1. avatar StLPro2A says:

        Just change out your gas block to an adjustable design with an “OFF” position. Twist…bolt action; Twist….Semi-auto. Actually has the potential to improve accuracy as there is no action motion to move the firearm. Then, switch to semi-auto when the prairie dogs threaten to over run your position.

        I did this when first adding a AR upper in 6.5 Grendel, and now use this approach on a ,224 Valkyrie upper.

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      lol you say that as if people only own one AR

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        There are AR variants, and bolt action variants. Compliance is failure in this category. No other way to put it.

    4. avatar Arc says:

      I’ve actually considered a bolt action AR for suppressed shooting but figured an adjustable gas piston was better and a side charger with adjustable piston was best. :/ This may be a poor mans option.

      Adjustable piston to turn the gas completely off.

    5. avatar Staying home and shooting guns... says:

      Easy words to spout if you indeed live in Montana… If you actually live in Cali that’s your fault.
      Do you have any idea how easy it is to hack TTAG and find out who you are? Asking for a Fed…

  2. avatar Joseph Malone says:

    At this point you should probably break all guns laws as a fuck you to government. Jumping through ever higher hoops isnt innovation its slavery. Innovation is a euphemism these days for selling out and being pussy whipped.

    1. avatar Broke_It says:

      Well, for the manufacturers innovation is making a product to sell to the whipped.

    2. avatar John Galt says:

      DO. NOT. COMPLY. PERIOD.

      STOP BEING PU$$IES!!!!!!!!

      First they came for the fourth amendment. Then they came for the second. Now they come for the first and the fifth.

      Are you going to just sit there till they want to F**k your wife? Your daughter? Your grandsons??????

      Are we free people or boiled frogs?

      1. avatar StLPro2A says:

        Speaking for the masses…….CROAK…..CROAK…..

      2. avatar TweetyRex says:

        Nobody hates government overreach more than I do. But unless you’re going to bury your guns, you really need to think this all though. Every interaction with law enforcement is now a danger. No more trips to the range, no using it for home defense. Shot 3 home invaders with your ILLEGAL gun, and that’s 3 counts of Felony Murder.
        If, on the other hand, the manual bolt carrier and charging handle was in the gun when the police arrived………

        1. avatar Bob White says:

          I got news for ya, Mac. Any interaction with law enforcement is already a danger.

  3. avatar enuf says:

    I suppose I can see the usefulness if you are unable to evacuate California (or other State of Dumbassedness) and still want to own that gun.

    And I suppose it could be useful on a supressed rifle for varmint shooting.

    But then wouldn’t it be better to just use an actual bolt action rifle?

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I live in CA, and have a KaliKey bundled BCG. I keep my “Free America” configured ARs in the safe and take them out to the desert (or NV, or AZ, when I go there on occasion). My go-to AR, however, is equipped this the KaliKey. I have a half dozen items that Sacramento would not like, so they get their exercise in the open desert. For when I go to the range, however, the Key-equipped AR is the only one that’s definitely, no-argument 100% legal here. And I keep the original semi-auto BCG in a Ziploc in the same gun case, and can swap it into my AR within 60 seconds. It’s much better than any of the other “CA compliance” options we’ve been told we can (or later can’t, in some cases) use by CADOJ, such as absurd bullet buttons, shark fin grips, fixed mags, featureless, etc.

      Believe me, this item is a Godsend for the average CA AR-15 owner. And with the general public opinion now turning on Newsom, Garcetti, Pelosi, and Dems in general due to their clown car management of COVID-19, we just might see some gun rights advances. Judge Benitez isn’t the only one fighting to swim upstream to victory.

  4. avatar Hasaf says:

    Having used a non-semi ar that operated this way, the charging handle is too far back to serve as a bolt. Yes, it works, ut the part that is to be grasped, no matter what it is called, needs to be further forward.

    I would like to see some “conventional” bolt action uppers for the AR series.

    I realize that there have been some pump-action ARs’. There was also a bolt action maker that stopped. A bolt action upper inn 223 Wilde for 400-600 would have me as a customer. The problem is that I don’t know if there would be anywhere near enough customers to make it worthwhile.

    1. avatar No one of Consequence says:

      Have you looked at the drop-in side charger by Dead Foot Arms? Basically it replaces the stock charging handle, and has a frame that bolts onto the upper’s rail. A lever located forward pushes the charging handle back via a rod.

      With just that, a semi-auto is still a semi-auto. You’d need to use a bolt/carrier with a blocked gas key, plug the gas block, etc. But it does put the charging handle in an arguably better position, without needing a custom upper.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        Bear Creak (up the road from me) has complete side charging uppers and parts. I’ve bought several barrels from them, no worries. Side charging is something I’ve always considered doing.
        If gas is reduced and using a side charger the difference would be you don’t have to move rifle off shoulder to manipulate bolt. I don’t know that much about CA law , maybe illegal, I don’t know if I would want an AR living in CA. Shark fin grip is ridiculous.

        1. avatar Bob in Calif says:

          When the Bullet Button came out I refitted my AR with a new gas block mounted backwards without a gas tube. Instant bolt action. Still have the old block/tube for a quick 5 minute swap. Wife has the same setup only with a side charging upper. I saw this bullshit coming a long time ago. The way I read the law, as long as you don’t have the upper attached to the lower, it is not considered an “assault” rifle. Just parts. But I smell that being the next chip out of our 2A . 2 years to retirement and we’re blowing this pop stand. And I guarantee we will not bring ANY Calif bullshit with us. As far as I know the best thing coming out of Calif is I-80 east. With the best sight being the “Welcome to California” sign in the rear view mirror. Be safe ya’ll.

  5. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    “For those of us who shoot suppressed at night, note that as the gun won’t cycle at all, now there’s no sound of the action, making for an even quieter hunt.”

    Does this actually block the portion of gas coming through the tube? I think I read that the original version deflects it out the ejection port, which would reduce the suppression.

  6. avatar Texican says:

    It turns an AR into a straight pull bolt action. That does have its uses even in free states.

    1. avatar Broke_It says:

      Really? I’d figure a bolt action would have it’s uses as a bolt action even in free states. Why would you willingly muck up something designed to function as a semi auto if there’s legit alternatives? Cheeping out? If it’s not illegal why would you pay to destroy the entire function the rifle you’re using is built around? There’s a reason golfers have more than one club in the bag.

      1. avatar Texican says:

        Since I am a golfer as well, all golfers should learn to hit different types of shots with each club. Hooks, slices, high, low, more spin, less spin, etc. Maybe one of these days the CA overlords in office will find out what an AR equipped with a Kali Key can do? And people will put up with ridiculous laws and regulations until it becomes too onerous. Apparently, Californians aren’t there yet. But there are rumblings!

        There’s this old document on parchment paper that says something about a situation like this. Here’s a pertinent sample:

        Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

        1. avatar Broke_It says:

          I’m gonna level with you. I disc golf cause I spent all my money on guns.

  7. avatar Steve H. says:

    When will the anti-gunners realize that no one other than a law abiding person would give a damn about such “innovations” in the first place?

    The criminals, terrorists, and looney tunes could care less.

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I kinda, sorta get it. But, if you’re going to have a bolt action; why wouldn’t just own an ’03A3, Mauser, even a Scout Rifle of some configuration. After all, hits harder, shoots farther, generally more accurate at range, well…just better.

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Heavier, longer, non adjustable, harder to attach accessories, shooting more expensive and harder recoiling cartridges, obsolete…
      Most importantly, they can’t turn into semi auto AR15 by dropping a regular BCG and charging handle into them.

      1. avatar Broke_It says:

        Yeah, but better as the animal it is. Like a heavy, longer bolt action is more difficult to wield than a neutered “bolt action” AR? You gonna be doing some CQC with a straight pull AR? The lack of weight and length don’t mean a thing when you still can’t pop rounds off without pulling on something other than the trigger. Otherwise we’d be seeing trends in SBR’d Mauser’s and Enfield’s.

      2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Someone, “more recoil?!” That’s it? Because scout rifles, by definition, are short, light and handy. I was sitting in a stand one morning when a nice 8 pt came strolling by at 50 yards. I hit him behind his right shoulder without effect. “?” He turned and began running for a swamp head behind me passing to my left. Of course, I was throwing the bolt. I hit him again. Saw blood spray but he’s still headed for the swamp. Third shot I broke his hips as he was headed away. First two I could cover with my palm. Took out both lungs. He was dead, just didn’t know it. Scout rifle built for me by Jim Brockman. About 3 seconds. Did something similar on two coyotes with my 7 mag moving at about 150 yards. Two shots. If you can’t shoot a bolt gun fast. Practice some more. If you think they kick too hard take up knitting.

  9. avatar SoCalJack says:

    My fixed mag setup has an AR Maglock which adds between 1 to 2 seconds to a normal mag change and its easy to clear double feeds: https://armaglock.com/product/ar-maglock-ar-15-223-5-56-gen-2-2/
    Unfortunately a grip fin is the only solution for my Tavor.
    For many CA folks, if you want to take your rifle to a public range, and enjoy shooting it, make it compliant. If you want to keep it non-compliant, for a SHTF situatuion, just keep the upper and lower in the safe. I personally know there’s a lot on non compliant AR/AKs in CA, folks just aren’t advertising it.

  10. avatar Broke_It says:

    So many better true bolt action platforms. Why buy this unless it was to give legitimacy to an already non-compliant setup? I get the idea behind this, and I hate the concept of engineering new ways to neuter an otherwise better functioning rifle.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Broke, “Why buy this?” Indeed.

      1. avatar Broke_It says:

        I’m really not one to question buying dumb shit. Hell, I just picked up the Ruger 57 and spent 3x more than the gun on ammo. I spose the heart wants what the heart wants but something tells me this piece of gear is nothing more than “cover your ass” in less than free states. The very name of it could be that something.

      2. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

        Presumably, a large proportion of buyers want the ability to quickly switch to an [illegal] semi-auto should the need arise. If there’s a riot, earthquake, economic collapse, or whatever that disables law enforcement, effectiveness in deterring looters may be a higher priority than complying with the law, and being able to switch back gives that option.

    2. avatar Chad C. Mulligan says:

      Double dittos. A well designed traditional bolt action is far, far better ergonomically. This thing is what we used to call a “kludge”. Why even bother.

      Jeff Cooper would be laughing his ass off.

  11. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

    “For those of us who shoot suppressed at night, note that as the gun won’t cycle at all, now there’s no sound of the action, making for an even quieter hunt.”

    Does this keep the shooter from getting gunpowder exhaust crap spat in their face with every shot?

    And when changing out the BCG, do you have to manipulate the port for the gas tube?

    1. avatar Broke_It says:

      Pretty sure this means that crap all stays in the action. My guess is since the gun is now being utilized in a manner divergent from it’s original design there will be unintended consequences. Best case, it’s gonna be a bitch to clean.

  12. avatar Someone says:

    How does California law view the work-around where the bolt of (no longer) semi auto rifle is caught open after each shot and needs to be manually released each time?

    1. avatar DrewN says:

      I’ll give you three guesses, but the first two don’t count. I’m not even sure the Kali-key is strictly legal. Something like “a broken semi is still a semi”. So no gas system at all is ok, but just interrupting the function of a working system isn’t. As I understand it.

      1. avatar Broke_It says:

        Look, this shit is easy. It can’t look “scary.” I’m thinking of starting a wood furniture business for AR’s. I know others have done it, but dammit this is America and we look at an already saturated market while screaming “me too!” At least it’ll make them appear more like grandads old hunting rifle.

    2. avatar binder says:

      Do your own research, don’t ask here. The problem is you will get comments from people who don’t know the answers and are just guessing

  13. avatar SpeedBump says:

    Castration kit for an AR-15 lol?

    ,,,but it’s still a black rifle!

    Evil, mean, and without compassion for others.

    I would think a typical AR owner would also have a safe full of other rifles, shotguns, and handguns to answer any role this thing might be trying to cover.

    Next up – a Glock single action single shot pistol castration kit for citizen subjects of communist freedom fighter states?

    Gawd I need some glue and a rag!

  14. avatar 2aguy says:

    Just a question as a non-rifle owner…….I have seen the bolt action on regular rifles and how you have to lift, then pull back to eject and load a round. It seems like simply pulling back to extract and load, without the extra movement is a good idea….why isn’t this more common….the shooters I have watched have to reach over their rifle stock with their left hand to cycle the bolt, but this seems much quicker and you don’t have to reach over the rifle to operate it……..

    1. avatar 2aguy says:

      It also seems more efficient than a lever action rifle…..

      1. avatar Someone says:

        Efficient? In what way? Lever action makes it harder to shoot prone. As for speed, there is no contest.
        https://youtu.be/89n-51foFqI

    2. avatar Someone says:

      There were some straight pull repeater rifles like Manlicher and Schmidt Rubin systems. The problem with them is that they still require the rotating movement of the bolt to lock it. Only now you do it by some kind of cam mechanism, which means more complex and therefore more expensive gun. Also longer and usually heavier action pull and higher sensitivity to dirt and mud.
      All that for what advantage? Speed? Not really faster than regular bolt action like Lee Enfield. Convenience of sinister oriented? Maybe, but that’s a training issue. I know of one modern iteration of straight pull system in a very high price hunting rifle.
      If straight pull repeaters were good, they would be still widely used and sold today.

    3. avatar Chad C. Mulligan says:

      The Swiss K-31 is a “straight-pull” design which is fairly common, but not unique. The operation of the bolt is quick, but not significantly quicker than a Mauser style.
      The drawbacks are that the design cannot apply as much extraction force as the camming action of a turnbolt does, and occasionally doesn’t go all they way into battery if the bolt is not slammed forward smartly. I have two, so I’m not talking thru my hat. I would not be at all surprised to find that users of this AR conversion have the same problems.

  15. avatar Michael Bane says:

    Wonder if you could use this to take, say,ma .458 SOCOM AR into South Africa, where semiautos are banned?

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