Late last year I bought an AR-15 from F-1 Firearms. Now that I have had my F-1 Firearms BDR-15-3G for several months and have put over a thousand rounds through it, I figured it was time to do a full review.
Who is F-1 Firearms?
F-1 Firearms is a small-ish shop in the Houston area that machines raw materials into finely crafted weapons that feel like an extension of you. The firearms they make are a real pleasure to own, and to shoot. Here is an excerpt from the F-1 Firearms web site where they describe themselves in their own words:
F-1 Firearms is a Texas-based manufacturer of the finest semi-automatic weapon systems on the planet. Unlike most of the competition, F-1 Firearms manufactures more than 90% of each firearm using brand new, state of the art machines. Having this machining capability in-house allows us to control critical tolerances for each component across all of our platforms. This results in the ultimate in function, accuracy, and dependability. The use of premium materials, such as 7075-T6 domestic aluminum for our handguards and receivers, allows us to build our weapons lighter and stronger than the competition. Of course, low weight and high strength are just two attributes of a solid rifle platform but would mean little if the rifle isn’t accurate. For this reason, we produce our 416SS barrels on our state-of-the-art barrel cell, which holds tolerances up to 0.0001″. The result is an extremely accurate rifle you can trust to hit the mark. The combination of premium materials, state-of-the-art equipment, in-house machining, assembly, quality assurance/control and testing ensures that your F-1 Firearms rifle is as accurate and dependable as it is great to look at and fun to shoot. It’s what makes F-1 Firearms stand out from the crowd.
My F-1 Firearms BDR-15-3G Specifications
The F-1 Firearms BDR-15 3G Rifle is the flagship of the F-1 Firearms brand. Designed to be lightweight, accurate, and rigid. The rifle carries sub MOA accuracy. It is a full billet build from 7075-T6 aircraft quality aluminum in the receiver set and handguard. Then hand finished before going for anodizing.
- Durabolt Nickel Boron Matte (NiB) Bolt Carrier Group
- Match grade stainless 16″ barrel
- F-1 Firearms Flat Faced Compensating Muzzle Brake (CMB)
- C7K Contoured rail (KeyMod) at 12.75″ over low-pro gas block
- Radian Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
- Oversized trigger guard
- Hiperfire EDT2 trigger
- Magpul MOE adjustable buttstock
- Magpul MOE grip
- Black – Type III Class 2 hard anodizing
- 60° beveled magwell
- Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot
- Tactical case with F-1 Logo
Where is the damn review?!
Sorry I had to get some background information out of the way first.
First off I have to say that I have never been so happy with a firearm purchase as I am with my BDR-15 3G. I’ve shot a lot of high dollar AR-15s including LaRue (another Texas company), JP Enterprises and Wilson Combat. To me they are all very comparable. Solid, accurate and dependable. The BDR-15-3G was the first skeletonized AR-15 that I had ever shot. Where every non essential part of the upper has been removed. There is no forward assist, no dust cover and as much metal as possible has been removed.
When you first see the skeletonized AR-15 upper you think: “there is no way that dust will not screw up the shooting of the rifle”. But it is not affected by it at all. I’ve had this rifle at the range, up in the mountains in the Ozarks and down in the bayous hog hunting in Louisiana. I have yet to have any issues with the BDR-15 3G at all. If nothing else, the skeletonized aspect of the rifle makes for a lighter no fuss shooting experience.
But F-1 Firearms doesn’t just manufacture a cool upper. They manufacturer the 416RSS barrel, a nickel boron bolt carrier, the front hand guards, and even the compensator on the end of the barrel. All of the important machine work on this rifle is done in-house, and the work is spectacular. The attention to detail on every single part is noticeable. There is no compromising, no short cuts taken anywhere.
Because everything is made in-house, and quality is so important, the resulting accuracy is outstanding.
If you’re looking to personalize your rifle, the F-1 Firearms BDR-15-3G is available in ten different colors (Titanium, Naked (which is white), Maroon, Purple, Blue, Green, Orange, Red, Pink and Ano Earth) that are Type II Class 2 hard anodizing and will certainly turn heads at the shooting range. Additionally, F-1 Firearms has a few limited runs where they have an American flag, FDE Camo and Urban Camo patterns. I decided to keep it old school and stick to a black finish.
Now Come the Third Party Components
Instead of improving on the mil spec standards like LaRue and JP Enterprises do for their triggers, F-1 Firearms uses tried and true third party triggers. The base trigger available on the BDR-15 3G, is the Hyperfire EDT2. This is what came on my rifle. I’ve shot the CMC triggers and the Geissele SSA-E triggers before. I know some shooters prefer the higher end triggers. But I am not a competition shooter and don’t plan to change that anytime soon. For the type of shooting that I do, the Hyperfire EDT2 is perfect. Please don’t think that I am knocking the trigger. The EDT2 is so far superior to the standard mil spec trigger that after shooting with it, you will just be disappointed anytime that you shoot another AR-15 that doesn’t have an upgraded trigger.
Next is the Radian Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle. I have to admit that I have never upgraded the charging handle above the mil spec standard. I never saw the need. But I really like the Raptor. I’m sure F-1 Firearms designers added a standard charging handle to their new rifle in the beginning and just shook their heads, unhappy with the mil spec. The Raptor is a definite upgrade and well made.
The Magpul MOE buttstock and grip are kind of the standard upgrades that people first do to a new AR-15. I’ve used the upgraded Magpul CTR, Magpul UBR and for an SBR AR-15 I’ve used the MFT Minimalist buttstock. The other buttstocks that F-1 Firearms have available are the LUTH-AR MBA-1 and the ERGO F93. But since I had no experience with them, I choose to stick to my comfort zone and stay with the Magpul MOE.
The only upgrade I did was to add the Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot to my BDR-15 3G. Since this is a rifle review, I won’t spend more than a few sentences on the optics. I’ve never been disappointed by any of the Vortex optics that I have used. The Strikefire II is no different. Quick, clear and adjustable. I like that it has both red and green dot. A good choice at a good price.
F-1 Firearms Review Wrap Up
If you are looking for an inexpensive AR-15 to add to your arsenal that just gets the job done, this rifle is not it! The F-1 Firearms BDR-15-3G is just under the $2000 price point. It is not cheap. But if you are looking for a really high quality or competition AR-15, than you should look at this rifle. The BDR-15-3G competes as equals or exceeds AR-15s at twice the price. It has a unique look and stands out among the hundreds of other AR-15s available. Well worth the money.