By: Tin Man
This is a review of a Palmetto State Armory PA-15 rifle with accessories. The accessories which have been placed on the rifle include a Midwest Industries Gen 2 SS-Series Free Float Handguard, an Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, a B5 Systems SOPMOD Stock, a Surefire X300 weapon light, a Black Weapons Armory X-Comp comepnsator, and various Magpul pieces.
The weapon itself contains a chrome moly vanadium/chrome-lined barrel. Translated, it’s a solid barrel. Free floating, it maintains a sub-moa accuracy. Having sighted the weapon in, the differentiation in windage and elevation adjustments were easily discernable on paper. Over the course of two days, 400 rounds yielded no malfunctions and constant accuracy.
The Midwest Industries Handguard is indeed the lightest handguard I’ve used on a rifle. It’s durable, and has no connectivity issues to the frame of the weapon. A picattiny rail runs down the length of the handguard on its top. Accessory placement on anywhere except for the top of the rail, however, requires installment of a proprietary picattiny attachment on the otherwise skeleton frame. Once done, any accessory which attaches to a picattiny rail can be attached. A good note to this, however, prevents one from turning the rifle into a franken-canon. One, maybe two accessories prevents turning the front end of the weapon into a work-out mechanism.
The Surefire X300 light which has been placed on top of the weapon is outstanding and durable. It emits 500 lumens, and is exceptionally light. The focused beam reaches well out beyond 100 yards. Combined with a Magpul Angled Foregrip, an over-hand forward grip of the weapon places a support thumb directly on top of the light’s activation switch. This is both optimal placement and outstanding practice.
The weapon’s optic, an Aimpoint PRO, is an oldie, but goodie, as they call it. It’s durable, and provides around a minute-and-a-half of accuracy on most weapons. On the PA-15’s free-floating barrel, it’s good for MOA accuracy. This optic provides thousands of hours of run time on the proper settings, and even in a bright, desert environment, the highest brightness setting is still substantially more that bright enough. Comfortable operation with the optic occurred two levels beneath the brightest, i.e. I didn’t feel as though my retina was burning off.
To co-witness the PRO, I’ve used basic Magpul flip-up sights. These work exceptionally well, and are great to train and operate with in the event of optic failure. As seen in the photograph, placing the Surefire X300 on top of the handguard rail doesn’t significantly interfere with the acuity of either the optic or the back-up sights; the piece of equipment in the lower fifth of the optic screen is the Surefire X300. If, however, this is still an infringement on visual clarity, placement of the light elsewhere is always an option.
As far as the grip of the weapon, the Magpul pistol grip is great. Its texture prevents any sliding or movement of the firing-hand from the grip. I’ve also store a front sight tool (for the back up front sight) and several batteries for the optic/flashlight. In the interest of continuity, I try to use an optic and flashlight which use the same batteries.
The Milspec B5 SOPMOD stock sits tightly in place; there is no “wiggle-room,” as seen on many other stocks. The surface area of the cheek-weld provides ample room to rest one’s face on. Unlike other stocks of similar dimension, there is no separation line which runs down the axis of the stock. A common cliché suggested that “operator’s” beards were getting stuck in the separation line. Although this may have seemed exaggerated, running a stock with such line through it while having grown a beard was not comfortable. At all. Although beard-tugging is typically the least of the worries while shooting the weapon, long term comfort isn’t par with a manufactured serration running down the stock. The lack of such a line on this stock provides greater comfort to some of its competitors.
Also found on this stock are two tubes in which either Lithium 123 or AA batteries can be held. Given the geometry of the tubes, they can be accessed only if the stock is taken entirely off of the weapon. This prevents accidental opening of the tubes, thereby watching the batteries fall out while shooting the weapon.
The Black Weapons Armory X-Comp is quite standard. It provides significant compensation for the weapon, however does not seem to reduce muzzle-flip any more so than other compensators. It does, however, produce a big boom. It is exceptionally loud, and if suppressive fire doesn’t work from this weapon, the suppressive sound will certainly disorient anyone in front of the weapon. Overall, this compensator does compensate, however for the price and noise, its average.
In review, the PA-15 is an outstanding weapon. It provides absolute accuracy and reliability. By itself, it is a phenomenal rifle. With proper accessories, it is an outstanding and well-tuned piece of equipment. This particular rifle has been cerakoted, which provides a well-integrated layer of protection to an otherwise high-functioning rifle.
Where you can get it:
Palmetto State Armory:
B5 Systems SOPMAD Stock: