First things first: I am a Palmetto State Armory affiliate as discussed on my Partners & Affiliates page. I was not directly paid to create this article but I do receive a small advertising commission for purchases made on the website by readers who follow my links. I received one of their regular update e-mails today and really wanted to share the deals that I saw.
Palmetto State Armory has always had some crazy good deals on common-issue 2nd amendment gear. I remember them making a really big name for themselves around the 2012-2013 panic buying. In 2015 I went to school in South Carolina and I was lucky enough to check out two of their in-store locations too when prices were still crazy.
For a long time, people had been warning about a crash in the shooting industry as manufacturers continued to tool up to meet mass demand. Very few manufacturers have hit the ground running as hard as Palmetto State, and they’ve made great strides democratizing the 2nd amendment by creating solid equipment at prices most people can afford.
Recently with several notable politicians stoking anti-gun hysteria, the market has shown some fluctuation again. It’s almost as if they didn’t learn from Obama’s sparking some of the largest gun sales in history (or maybe they want a shot at the title).
If you haven’t already bought the equipment you need, now’s the time to do so. Not panic or hoard, but make sensible decisions and investments. Prices are lower now than I have seen the entire time I have been shooting. Don’t wish you had bought what you needed in “the good old days”. The Assault Weapons Ban of the 90’s has already showed us how cheap plastic magazines can skyrocket to triple digit prices.
With that said, I wanted to orient this article towards shooters who are maybe looking at getting their first rifle or fleshing out the stable a little bit. First I’ll share some good item deals that any AR owner can use. But keep reading, and I’ll put together some awesome combinations of my own and give you the run down on how to keep costs down and get great quality.
Everybody needs a .22 rifle or 10. The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most well-known and widely used, and it’s hard to beat it for a great rimfire experience. The collector’s edition currently on sale features several great factory upgrades including a one-piece scope rail, extended magazine release, and adjustable ghost ring sight.
Looking for something a little different that uses all those AR magazines you should be stocking up on? The RDB is a unique and well-regarded bullpup system (meaning the magazine is behind the trigger group). As with other Kel-tec products, this one can be hard to find, and the current price makes it a good time to pick one up.
If you’re looking for something a little more AR-15 like in your rimfire training, this S&W MP15-22 combo is a great price and is a nearly identical trainer to the AR-15 (unlike some other “tactical” .22 rifles that only look like an AR and share no functionality)
Good lord do magazines skyrocket in price at even the suggestion of gun restrictions. It was not too long ago that decent AR magazines had tripled or quadrupled from their retail price. If you’re not buying mags you should be - even without legislative over reach, magazines are a wear part and you will go through them during training.
Palmetto State Armory always has some awesome ammo deals but in particular they’ve got a lot of Federal products with significant rebates right now
Hypothetical Gun Builds
I spent some time looking at PSA’s website, both their Checks & Balances sale and other promotion, to see what kind of possibilities were out there. Based on what I saw, here are some builds I’ve come up with. I added them to my shopping cart to let you know the total.
No-Nonsense Essentials -
$698.80 (plus over $50 back in rebates) at time of writing
My first build was going to be something simple, generic, rugged, a dependable and serviceable rifle that would be operate to use and maintain. I also included basics in this build to get a complete beginner shooting - if you are looking at one of other builds, feel free to follow the additional accessories listed here to get what you need.
The lower was the PSA15 Stealth Lower complete at an unbelievable cost of just $120
The upper receiver is a basic Freedom upper to keep costs down. Fixed front sight base means your prominent front sight will always be there.
Of course optics are on everything nowadays and the Freedom upper has enough railspace for a few option choices, but the goal was to put together a bare-bones rifle with everything you need. That calls for a good rear iron sight. I’ve put the Midwest Industries backup sight with this one because other folding back-up sights can be somewhat small and difficult to use as a primary system. This sight saves space for a red-dot or holographic sight later down the road but gives a robust and system.
In addition to the basic gun, I added a combo 36” rifle case and 7 P Mags to cover storage and get the mag supply started.
Of course, you’ll need some ammo to fill those mags. Two 120 round boxes of American Eagle green tip ammo at $36.99 each ($30.99 after ammo) fills the range use. If you shoot at an indoor range and or otherwise can’t shoot steel core ammo, consider replacing with similarly priced 55 grain FMJ instead.
For defense or hunting ammo, my cart includes 200 rounds of Federal Power-Shok 64 grain soft point ammo. Slightly heavier ammo has great stopping reputation in the .223 caliber and the rebates available make the price nearly unbeatable. 200 rounds is more than enough to test it in your rifle, shoot some groups, and still fill some mags for emergency use.
Multi-Use Rifle - $879.97 (with optics)
The AR-15 is one of the most versatile firearms on the market today, and decades of refinement have closed the gap on making the rifle more effective at covering close to long distance equally well. This entry is your modern “general use” rifle - whether it’s your truck gun, sporting rifle, patrol carbine.
It starts with Palmetto State’s Classic Rifle Kit.
This kit features a 16” free-floated barrel with a mid-length gas system. The skeletonized handguard accepts M-Lok attachments at nearly every mounting point to add lights, lasers, foregrips, bipods, or any other standard piece of equipment. It includes a set of Magpul MBUS sights which allow the user to quickly tansition to backup iron sights in the event of a failure of the primary optics.
The nitrided barrel is another huge selling point. Without getting too much into the metallurgy (a great topic for another article), nitride treatment provides several distinct advantages: superior corrosion resistance, increased lubricity, and increased surface hardness that extends the wear life of the barrel.
This kit is everything you need except a lower. In the spirit of this article, I added the “No Beto” lower to the cart. It’s a pre-order item with 8 to 9 week lead time, but any standard AR lower will work instead.
Wrapping this one up is the optic, which actually makes up more than half of the price since the base rifle is so affordable. I’ve opted for the Vortex Strike Eagle package. There’s a reason everybody from hunters to sport shooters to law enforcement and military are moving towards low-powered variable optics (LPVOs). Having a 1X magnification on the low end allows for quick target acquisition and close range shooting, but an 8X high end means you have enough magnification for just about anything you would do with this kind of rifle.
.300 Blackout Marauder Pistol - $811.66
Ok, I admit, not all of these parts were on sale when I came across them. But they seemed like they were meant to go together into a really awesome little “go anywhere” gun.
It starts with a pistol lower equipped with an SBA3 PDW brace (one of the shortest out there for AR-style pistols) and EPT trigger pack at a really unbelievable price.
Then add the 7” “Marauder” .300 Blackout upper
If your mind went the same way mine did, you can already see how this is going to be a really cool gun. Now, this particular upper doesn’t come with a bolt carrier group or charging handle. I added a pretty non-descript black nitride BCG. I then added a Fortis extended charging handle - I really feel a compact AR like this needs a charging handle that’s easy to grab and manipulate, and the Fortis also has a certain mean aesthetic that fits really well with the gun.
The pistol has just enough space for a good red dot optic. I added a Vortex SPARC to my cart but you can pretty much take your pick.
Finally, I added 5 20-round magazines. Something about a .300 Blackout PDW just screams 20 round magazine to me. They certainly do maintain a more flat profile for the gun, making it easier to stow or transport.
As somebody who’s already got a number of rifles, this set up here is certainly different enough that it sounds like a lot of fun. Anybody have one? Feel free to send it to the site for T&E.
The reason this works is the natural ballistic advantage of .300 blackout in short barrels, using its powder burn much more efficiently than the bottlenecked 5.56mm cartridge. 7” is a little less than optimal ballistically, but that’s not necessarily the point of such a short and handy PDW.
For my regular readers, thanks for allowing me to occasionally post articles like this. Partnership opportunities help keep the website alive and provide opportunities for review and education. But it also lets me window shop for some cool new gear and pretend I’m doing something productive with it.
Thanks as always to Palmetto State Armory for supporting the second amendment and making firearms available at competitive price points for the average American worker.