V Seven Sovereign
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If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you’ve heard people argue about “Tier 1” rifles.  The category is totally subjective of course, but some manufacturers have a stronger claim to the ranking than others. Let’s talk about what I consider Tier 1, and why V Seven’s Sovereign deserves to be there.


Whether I approach this article as an Airborne Ranger, or as a professional writer or as an experienced shooter with 30 years of trigger time under my belt, the same scenario plays out.  I remember all the times I’ve sat with the most experienced and knowledgeable peers I have, talking about which one dream rifle we’d take into combat, competition or on a hunt. Which rifle alone stands at the top of the Tier 1 pyramid?

There’s certain manufacturers who have a bit of a cult of personality.  JM Browning, Samuel Colt and Eugene Stoner are a few. John Noveske is a more recent example, but I’d split a hair here.  John was the name on Noveske’s billboard when they made their name, but Joel Allen was the lead shop tech, knocking out the parts that were of such renowned quality.

Joel Allen left Noveske after John’s untimely passing and founded V Seven Weapon Systems (as well as Dark Hour Defense, and the feminine oriented LV Seven).

Pedigree established, even if Mr. Allen isn’t one for publicity.


When it comes to a good battle rifle/carbine/defensive rifle, we expect the top tier to have precision level accuracy. V Seven has always produced impressive barrels, even when they’re only 5 inches long. The Sovereign I was sent is running a stainless steel, lightweight profile (.625 inch at the gas block journal), fluted barrel. This is nearly as svelte as the lightest pencil barrel on the market, but produces groups that far outpace “good” barrels and keep par with most any other match barrel out there.

V Seven Sovereign
V Seven has always produced impressive barrels.

The first rounds fired in this barrel came out at MOA (Hornady 75-grain BTHP).  Not bad for a break-in!  Even the budget-minded American Eagle 55-grain rounds were coming in just over 1.5 inches at 100 yards. By the end of my few months with this rifle, I found a Hornady match 55-grain round that worked even better, dropping sub 1-inch groups at 100 yards routinely.

V Seven Sovereign
I found a Hornady match 55-grain round that dropped sub 1-inch groups at 100 yards routinely.

Of course, the barrel isn’t alone in working out great groups, the trigger is an essential component as well. V Seven choosing Geissele’s G2S trigger shows a commitment to maximizing the Sovereign’s capabilities. With a clean pull and a crisp break past the wall, this trigger quickly impressed me.

Accuracy established.

Toughness and Reliability

When we talk about Tier-1 rifles, we also have to talk about durability.  Many manufacturers cut corners with cheaper materials, producing a rifle that looks tough, but comes in at a bargain price.  There’s also plenty of tough alloys that are heavy as rocks too.  V Seven is the only manufacturer I’ve seen that uses the toughest, lightest, most advanced materials, no matter the cost.

V Seven Sovereign
The Sovereign is built using the most advanced, high-performing metals including titanium, magnesium and lithium-aluminum alloy.

The Sovereign is absolutely run through with titanium (BCG, muzzle brake, buffer retainer, trigger group pins, gas block), magnesium (hyper-light forend) and lithium-aluminum alloy (11-position buffer tube). Strength is never compromised at V Seven, yet still they manage to produce the Sovereign in the 4-pound range. Shockingly light, yet highly resistant to physical abuse, corrosion, rust and whatever else a Ranger can throw at it.

V Seven Sovereign
QD sling socket

Nearly a year after I was sent this rifle, I’ve kinetically unloaded about 2,000 rounds worth of mags. I haven’t cleaned this rifle in any deep sense, nothing beyond some shots of WD-40, a wipe down and an aggressive fingering with a cloth rag. Still no failures to feed, extract or eject. Four seasons of weather from a 115-degree day I really didn’t want to be shooting on to a few fun range days in the snow and rain, and the Sovereign still looks nearly new.

Toughness established.


When we sit down and debate the best rifles out there, one of the first questions I ask is, “What capability separates this one from the standard?” The Sovereign is running a built-in ambi bolt release, ambi safety, and the best charging handle I’ve ever used (ambi, both handles pivot, cylinder knobs, ported for excess gas).

V Seven Sovereign
This charging handle is THE BEST.

The Sovereign is also showing off V Seven’s 11-(!) position buffer tube, which is teflon-coated for extremely smooth operation. No spring rattle here!

The Sovereign lower receiver has a nicely flared magwell, making hasty reloads even hastier and more consistent when under pressure.

V Seven Sovereign
The flared magwell makes hasty reloads even hastier.

Speaking of pressure, despite the excellent accuracy potential of this rifle, speed shooting is where I like it the best. The magnesium handguard, fluted barrel and overall light weight make the Sovereign handle like a dream. The titanium muzzle brake eliminates what little recoil 5.56mm brings, and the 11-positions of stock length adjustment means you’ll find your “Goldilocks” spot for length-of-pull and eye relief. Running multi-target drills with the Sovereign is like jumping into a Ferrari and hitting a race track. My only range-day regret was not packing another case of ammo.

Carrying the Sovereign makes me wonder why I even bother owning heavy-assed ARs. Those pounds are better spent elsewhere.

X-factors covered.

Are you not entertained?

At this point, what more do you want? The Sovereign is one of the lightest full-size AR-15 pattern rifles available, shoots groups as well as my best bolt-action rifle and is built from materials that will still be in great shape long after my bones are dust.

If I had to drag my old ass back into combat, this is the rifle I’d take, hands down.

V Seven Sovereign
The author’s only range-day regret was not packing another case of ammo.

My only two complaints?

First, I want to swap the brake for a suppressor. This isn’t an issue for anyone considering buying one, just get the barrel length you want.

Second, is the price. I get it, exotic materials aren’t cheap. Machining those materials comes at a higher cost, too. Fancy coatings aren’t free either. I’m not even saying the V Seven Sovereign isn’t worth it, it is! I’m just poor.

I review guns for a living. Lots of guns. I like many of them, I’m highly attached to a handful of ’em. But V Seven’s Sovereign… this one I feel so strongly about. It’s a highly functional machine. It’s beautiful in a way that impresses non-AR fans. This gun sets itself apart from the Radian, Noveske and Colt AR’s I’ve owned. You might argue that a couple other manufacturers are making guns this nice, but I’ve yet to see any that function or even look better than the V Seven Sovereign.

V Seven Sovereign
V Seven’s Sovereign is beautiful in a way that impresses even non-AR fans.

Remember that when your life is on the line, it doesn’t matter how many cool guns you have in the safe. What matters is the quality of the one gun you’re going to depend on for your life, and those of your family. Choose wisely.

The V Seven Sovereign runs $3,724. I’m not gonna pretend spending the price of a small, used car on a gun is an enticing prospect (or possibility even) for most of us, but for those looking for the best (and with the money to spend), in my experienced opinion this is IT.


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Read more articles and reviews by Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer or follow him on Instagram @Rexnanorum.

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  1. Wowie 4lbs.
    My car cost $300, and my AK $250.
    If my car runs over my AK I can still shoot the car.
    Seriously that’s a hell of a nice firearmn. I’d never thought I’d see the day when a semiautomatic could shoot groups like a bolt action.
    Times change.

    • The alloys (lithium aluminum 2055) and technologies (sintered titanium 3d printed suppressors) that exist now would have blown Eugene Stoner’s mind. Can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings us.

    • Savage makes a great “Recon” style AR for a little over a grand that routinely shoots dime sized groups with the right ammo. Of course it’s much heavier than this nearly $4,000 rifle, but the savings buys a lot of ammo. You won’t find it on the Savage Arms website, but it’s available from resellers. I’ve had one for a few years and it’s great fun.

  2. Assuming a 16 inch barrel at the 4 pound range (also assuming slightly over) that isn’t a bad price for what it seems capable of. Curious what they could do with the AR 10 setup.

    • V7 has a really nice AR10 setup, the Harbinger. If you like whats in the article above, good.. because it’s more of the same. Premium parts, premium machining, premium performance… premium price.

  3. Yeah, sometimes more money does buy you more quality. V seven is proof of that.
    Only slight downside is that it’s not a full mass BCG, but they’ve tuned everything around that, so not even that is a real dealbreaker here.

    • I had a really interesting interview with Joel Allen maybe… 8 years ago? A large portion focused on that, as they were building a titanium carrier. Stoner didn’t pick the only BCG weight that functioned, he picked a good one and as you said, balanced the system around it. Nothing wrong with changing the weight, as long as the rest of the related pieces are all tuned to match.

      • It is technically true that more mass is more better against recoil, especially as it relates to bolt carrier bounce and full auto operation. With a civilian legal (abolish the NFA, no gun is illegal) AR-15 that’s not an issue to begin with. But a good explanation on why super heavy or weird designs with sprung mass such as the Surefire OBC exist.

  4. It looks like an AR. That 4 lb weight is impressive though. Wish I had been humping that in Delonaga. It may have eased the pain of that spool of commo wire lashed to the top of my ruck. Anyway, loose the muzzle brake. Too loud for the shooter. Besides, it’s only a 5.56 even if it only weighs four pounds. Before someone hangs ten pounds of shit on it. You know they will. Flash suppressor is good. A can is ok if you like fooling with sort of thing. Me? Eh. As an aside, I did get a bit of good fortune dropped on my doorstep today. A little while back I bought a perfect 4 3/4″ Colt SAA in .44 Spl. I ordered an El Paso Saddelery Tom Threepersons for it on April 3rd. It arrived today. That’s fast for custom leather.

  5. With most expensive ARs these days, I end up failing to see what justifies their steep pricetag. With this V Seven, I can see what they’re charging for. Next Powerball for sure.

  6. Hey Gadsden, yeah a quarter mile of commwire to lug around back in the day wasn’t fun, but I’ll guarandamtee that packing the Prick 9 sack wasn’t any better.

    • Modern commo was actually very light and easy to deal with. The body armor, signal jammers (interrupts cell phone and garage door opener type signals) and other oddball bits of gear made up for the lack of weight and bulk…..may have exceeded it actually.

  7. Some moons ago my first AR build/assembly began with a Colt stripped receiver and since then all my AR-15, AR-308 and M1A builds started with stripped receivers. I select the ingredients and a golden bcg is not one or are collapsible stocks, mile long handguards, hidden gasblocks, pencil barrels, etc. The v7 machining is very nice as seen on the upper’s Picatinny, if saving weight was the goal they slam dunked it.
    I’m sure the v7 is good for some people with deep pockets like moneybags gadsten who usually bad mouths the AR platform while boasting about his beloved Galil.

  8. It’s impressive, particularly at 4.7lbs but you can get 98% of that for an extra 2.5-2.6lbs and -$2500. That cloverleaf is what you’ll get from a 16″ 2016 National Match CMP upper at 100 yards too.

    Given how far this is into Pareto territory, I kinda question the value for the vast, vast, vast majority who would be better served by putting that money into ammo, accessories, spare parts or whole other guns or at this point, maybe entirely different stuff.

    • Well yes it would be utterly impractical for most shooters (myself included as I am not that good a rifle shot) but I am glad it is being produced as showing what is possible sometimes forces improvements throughout the industry without quite as much cost

      • Supercar racing being the appropriate analogy, I’d say.

        That said, it would be an interesting analysis to do a deep dive on 2A-adjacent spending under a Pareto curve just to see what resources gun buyers *misallocate* due to their independent streak.

        Imagine, if you will, an analysis based on the concept of a militia-style formation as the end-goal. All other resources pooled for the funding of BoR backing NGOs to go forth and battle the antis and the Left more generally.

        The dynamics of crowd-funding being what they are and the gun industry being what it is, I’d hazard the guess that if you could convince 2A folks to put aside their personal preferences for just two years you could amass a war chest that would bury the Lefty NGOs in money, a 10 or 20 to one level for a decade. If they attempted to close that gap to even five-to-one they’d probably bankrupt most of their donor class because that is where they get the vast majority of their funding.

        Having done that would also force them to try to maintain a level of parity which they could not do privately. By the nature of the changed terrain, that would expose their .gov funding streams, which could then be targeted as misuse of “taxpayer funds”.

        • While a mix of “I got mine” and impulse control would likely prevent the full potential of such an action this is part of why I shifted to direct donation to active lawsuits in NY and 2AF. The amount of money spent fighting stuff post Bruen by the state starts around 4 to 1 from several years ago and no idea what it is up to now so yeah I think you may be on to an idea that could be fleshed out with some effort.

        • …”I think you may be on to an idea that could be fleshed out with some effort.”

          An effort hardly worth the time at this point as the people who would need to act not only won’t, they’ll spit in your face for suggesting it.

          Things will have to get much worse before they change, if they are capable of change at all. We’re going to go right up to the edge on several fronts.

          All you can really do is hope that we don’t go over one of them.

          But with the level of attention the 2A community pays to the 2A specifically at the expense of the rest of the BoR I think we’re going to find out what the abyss looks like from the inside.

          Which presents its own set of opportunities.

    • I agree that the value isn’t there for the vast majority of shooters. Most would be better served with a rifle cheaper than what they’re using, and more ammo. Or only ONE rifle, and lots more ammo. I shoot regularly for a living, and would be better served with more time spent training, since my glory days are long behind me.

      I like the racecar analogy as well. V7 isn’t trying to produce a rifle for the masses, that’s what PSA’s bossman told me their objective is. V7 is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

      20 years from now the cutting edge will be further down the road and far more impressive, not because companies sold lots of cheap AR’s, but because a couple companies dared to achieve what was previously unthinkable.

      I’m really glad to have become a gun writer, because I’ve been able to experience guns like the Sovereign that I never would have been able to justify affording.

      • “20 years from now the cutting edge will be further down the road and far more impressive, not because companies sold lots of cheap AR’s, but because a couple companies dared to achieve what was previously unthinkable.”

        Glancing at V7’s inventory, they’d seem to make a lot of nice stuff but it’s all very high end.

        While I’m not trying to tell them how to do business, I’d say that I’d like to see a company that does both, which is why I used the supercar analogy. Otherwise, IMHO, the cutting edge R&D is too far lodged in the ultra premium market for long term durability.

        Ford, just as an example, did a lot of work in their GT series in the 1960’s and more recently. That kind of engineering is extremely pricey and it’s paid for by selling far more basic cars at far lower prices.

        No reason you can’t buy a Lola Mk6 GT and start converting it over to a GT/101 by hiring some series high end people at the same time you sell a lot of Falcons and Fairlanes to fund the project. That’s how you eventually get a GT40 and then start using what you’re learning from cars like that to improve what you’re selling to the public.

        I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like to see a firearms company with a Fenix Ammo attitude.

        • I agree with the Ford analogy. V7 could scale up operations to add more budget oriented products, instead they’ve dabbled in selling (slightly) less expensive parts through Dark Hour Defense.

          Talking with V7’s owner however, it sounds like they’re running the machines and crew about as hard as they can to keep supply meeting demand.

    • I’ve got all the gunms I need , thank you Bill Cliton.
      Emu, lots and lots of emu, always buying more.
      I like the feathers and emu oil is good for gunms.

  9. Can’t complain about the price for this rifle when the basic SVI 1922-based handgun costs over $7,000.00 before options and tax.

  10. Love, love, LOVE that our “cutting edge” gun builders are jumping on new techniques/materials, and love what they can allow them to accomplish (albeit at nosebleed prices). The reality is that almost any gun will “outshoot” most owners – I own guns that are capable of FAR greater accuracy than am I. But I still love those super-guns, and I’m glad people make them.

    For actual “home defense” use, I’d love to see the argument that a PSA AR15 (as just one example) isn’t MORE than sufficient.

    Still, one HELL of a pretty firearm, and impressive accuracy for that class of weapon. If I won the Powerball, I’d give it a go. Nice job, LV7!!

    • I agree with everything you’ve said.

      Let’s talk about your quote “For actual “home defense” use, I’d love to see the argument that a PSA AR15 (as just one example) isn’t MORE than sufficient”

      It probably will be. If you’ve ran a thousand rounds through your PSA rifle and it’s running great, then it should be a great choice. One of the big differences between PSA/Del-ton/budget brands is quality control.

      I do love my PSA rifles. I can’t pretend that I haven’t run into some basic QC issues from budget brands that should have been caught on assembly (loose gas block, castle nut, no firing pin retaining pin). Once corrected, my PSA rifles have run really well. Those are just the minor issues that I haven’t run into with my V7/Noveske/Daniel Defense rifles.

      There have been points in my life where the only rifle I had to rely on for HD was cheaper than any PSA… but it ran and ran well.

      I know I’m only a sample size of one consumer, but I have run through more new guns (thanks to this job) than most 2A advocates. I support PSA, and V7, and anyone else making a decent firearm for the American people.

      • Rex,

        Yeah, particularly “budget guns” need some “running in” before they can be considered reliable. Because I thought it was a cool design, I bought a KelTech Sub2000, and . . . it sucked. Design was great, QC was horrifically bad. I bought and installed the full “MCARBO” upgrade kit, and now it shoots like a dream.

        But cheap guns can bite you in the arse, but . . . you should be practicing ANYWAY, so use that practice time to dial in your gunm. I built a couple of ARs, and my first build took me a month (at least) of practice and adjustment before it ran right. I needed the practice.

        Still, a PSA, or a homebuilt, works fine, so long as you run it in, stay in practice (and maybe be sensitive to what your particular gun “eats” comfortably – I have an AR, otherwise totally satisfactory, that simply WILL NOT run with cheap ammo. Runs like a Swiss watch with the good stuff, but jams every half-dozen rounds with the cheap stuff). But that’s just being a responsible gun owner.

        Still, tell me you can “outshoot” a lower-end gun, and I’ll laugh quietly down my sleeve. My gun is not the “limiting factor” in my shooting ability. I dream of the day I ever get to the point where I can actually use all the accuracy in my long-range precision rifle, but . . . I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

    • HA! No, they offer it standard on the pin-and-weld 14.5″ barrel, likely since competition shooters are among the most likely buyers. I’m sure Joel would P&W a flash suppressor if asked

  11. One thing that I found as a glaring error!
    What might that be?
    WD-40 stands as the 40th developmental mixture of the fluid.
    WD stands as Water Displacement.
    WD-40 is Not a Lubricant. It is not a penetrating oil. It has limited rust protection.
    What does WD-40 do?
    Continued usage will gum up any mechanism it is used on, it dries to a gummy wax like residue that requires aggressive solvents to remove.
    I write from over 50 years experience in the maintenance of machinery.
    I love WD-40. It has created many dollars in earnings, cleaning up and repairing damage it has created.
    What is it really good for?
    The only use for it that I have found is cleaning road tar off of car paint.
    Please do not use WD-40 on anything that you need to use, especially a firearm.

    • Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 Multi-Use Product to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. Fortunately never tested in combat conditions.

    • It’s decent for removing carbon shit, then gets wiped off. It’s primary ability is having found its way into every shop and garage in America.

  12. My AK cost $250.
    I traded an SKS for a Mini14.
    Everyone knows AR stands for get Another Rifle.
    What is good about an AR?
    Weight for it.
    Not much.

  13. This rifle looks super cool. I’m very keen on the AR15, especially the one with the picatinny rail. In recent months I have been hunting with an AR15, especially the recent elk hunts and turkey hunts. I really like using the AR15 with my LPVO scope. The two of them can always produce good results when used together. I feel that my deer hunting and turkey hunting are inseparable from the LPVO scope. If you are also a turkey hunting enthusiast, I highly recommend you to use this LPVO scope. It will bring you unexpected surprises when used together with AR15. https://www.cvlife.com/products/cvlife-1-6×24-lpvo-scope-with-cantilever-mount

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