Gun Review: American Spirit Arms (The Side-Charge AR)

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American Spirit Arms (Scottsdale, AZ) is a firearms company many shooters are not familiar with, but they should be.  ASA has been a premier manufacturer for over 20 years.  Those 20 years have seen changes in the economy and a changing of ownership 3 times.  However, today new ownership has a unified focus to continue to have ASA remain highly revered in the shooting industry for their skill and innovation.  Not only are they a world class firearms company, they also specializes in manufacturing precision components for the medical and aerospace industry as well.  Given all of this, I was very honored to be one of the 125 people (it seemed like 200+ showed up) invited to participate in their range event one evening while I was at Shot Show in Las Vegas to try out their 223 rifle and their new 308 and 9mm rifles.

You may be thinking that all ARs are created equally, but you’d be wrong.  An experienced shooter can detect quality (or the lack thereof) as soon as you pick up a firearm.  Once you shoot it, then you really know.  Part of what makes ASA firearms unique is what they don’t have (the charging handle).  For years AR shooters have struggled with manipulating the charging handle once an AR has had a scope mounted to it.  In 2007, ASA perfected its side-charge technology.  The traditional charging handle on ASA’s upper receivers has been removed and replaced with a side-charge lever on the left side of the upper receiver.  This side-charging mechanism is non-reciprocating, which simply means that once shooting commences, the side-charge lever will remain stationary vs recoiling with every shot.

Testing these three rifles was an amazing experience.  The 9mm, 223, and 308 all feature the patented side-charge technology that make ASA firearms unique.  The 9mm uses Glock 17 magazines, which is a big plus in the AR platform.  Most 9mm ARs use a Colt-style magazine, or some specialty magazine you can never find in stock.  Muzzle flip was non-existent on the 9mm and greatly reduced on the 223 and 308 due to the proper use of muzzle brakes.  All three shot very smooth and every shot was dead on where I was aiming.  This should come as no surprise, since ASA’s black barrels have a lifetime guarantee of 1 MOA and their Stainless Steel barrels are guaranteed to 1/2 MOA (did I mention “for life!”).  If that’s not enough, ASA offers a lifetime warranty that follows the gun as well.  These are great guns and I highly recommend you buying one, or two, or three.

Mr. Ags writes for Joe for America and welcomes your feedback: [email protected] and on Twitter: @blackswampradio

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