Is the Polymer Lower a Good Idea?

ATI Omni

In this industry, everyone wants to buy the highest quality products.

However, in reality, most people simply buy what they can afford. Our biggest sellers are not $1,200 ARs decked out with the latest gadgets.

By a huge margin, our top sellers are the least expensive guns we can ship out. This is a simple fact of capitalism.

Why Polymer?

Most major gun manufacturers tweak their assembly processes to reduce cost, thereby increasing profits.

More plastic means less money required for investing in materials.

You might notice that it is becoming more difficult to find a modern duty pistol that isn’t made of 50 percent polymer.

The AR platform is no exception. Traditionally, much of the AR is already plastic.

However, recent developments are pushing the limits of AR design, and the polymer AR-15 lower receiver is now commonplace.

Many shooters will scoff at a polymer lower, but I think it shows some degree of promise.

New Frontier Armory produced some torture test videos to show its plastic product, the LW-15, isn’t a junky ill-fitting gun part.

Additionally, American Tactical Imports produces its Omni lower, which has realized a good deal of success on the market, despite a few wavering reviews on its ability to pair with Mil-Spec uppers.

Since only a handful of owners reported problems, you can probably assume there was an out-of-spec run that made it past quality control.

ATI AR-15 with Polymer AR lower reciever

The Durability Issue

The biggest question people have with polymer AR lowers isn’t usually the fit of the product, it’s the durability.

In the 1980s, GLOCK faced significant market resistance due to the perception that plastic guns could never work.

Today, GLOCK is the most popular choice by police departments around the world.

The early versions of M16s had plenty of detractors both inside and outside of the Army’s weapons program.

Much of this stemmed from the partial plastic construction.

High-ranking brass were accustomed to large, heavy, .30-caliber wood and steel rifles that felt more substantial.

When you study the AR lower closely, you’ll notice the only part of the component that could face any real stress is where the buffer tube screws into the receiver.

If a polymer lower was going to fail, it would be there.

While the recoil of a .223 Rem/5.56 NATO is minimal, that part of the lower still bears a significant physical load.

Part of the reason polymer pistols work so well is the lack of a buttstock component.

Imagine a GLOCK pistol with a metal tube screwed into the back of the grip, which feeds into a buttstock.

Much of the recoil force would cause stress on the point where the two components meet.

That part of the AR lower has a similar role, and there have already been a few broken polymer lowers floating around the internet.

Since we weren’t there to witness how they actually failed, we won’t know if this was caused by normal use, or by someone mounting a .50 BMG upper on a polymer lower and whining about it breaking.

M16 barrel, handguard and front sight post

Conclusion: Polymer Lowers

My polymer lower comes in soon. If it breaks, then I’m out a little over $35. However, I really don’t think that is going to happen.

We aren’t going to throw it around and run over it with a truck.

The job of this rifle will simply be to shoot .223 Remington downrange, and that’s all I expect out of it.

While I wouldn’t consider using a polymer lower AR as my SHTF gun, I think the low cost and reduced weight make it a viable option for training or for a first-time owner.

We’re going to see a lot more polymer lowers in the future, hopefully, they’re up to the task — time will tell.

What do you think of a polymer lower receiver? Let us know in the comments below!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November of 2012. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and clarity.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (134)

  1. I’ve built a few AR15/AR15 rifles, both with aluminum and polymer. Not a pro, just enjoy doing it. I’ve built multiple Aero Precision/Faxon projects that shoot sub MOA. I also have a polymer lower mated to Palmetto 18” SS 223 Wylde upper w/ Daniel Defense furniture I’ve put 800 plus rounds through w/o a single issue so far. But if it’s a SHTF situation, I’m grabbing my SCAR 17S. I don’t care that the lower is polymer, I know it’s designed well and if it comes down to my life or my family, you can bet I want reliability and the lower material isn’t the priority. I’m not going to bet my life on any kit or cheap crap don’t matter what the material is. As already said, there are poorly manufactured lowers and it’s not indicative of polymers as a whole. I spent some time with a small tech startup and learned a bunch of fun stuff about plastic and molded injection. It all depends on the materials used. I like all my AR polymer rifles/pistols and try to give them the same amount of attention as their aluminum lower equipped siblings.

  2. I can’t recall what specific “forum” it was/is… maybe… I never had interactions or known any of those folks.
    But I read their 6 page interaction with this poor guy.
    They beat him to pieces over his question of would a mil-spec lower kit would fit in a poly lower. This was over a decade ago.
    The only thing these giant colective of asshats did was ignore the question and kept on him about the choice of using a polymer lower. The only thing these guys could parrot was… JUNK.
    Show us pics of your exploded lower. Hope you don’t plan on shooting that POS. Sell it to some schuck and buy a real lower.

    Yes, those are real comments from real members to a new guy.
    I don’t know who the FNG was but it was in poor taste, regardless.

    I have a poly lower, I milled out the fire control pocket, ect… except I’ve bought one of the best in the poly market.
    JMT. Mine has over a decade of service, thousands of rounds, chambered in 5.56mm. And lo and behold it has be coupled with DPMS parts, Oracle upper, Daniel Defense upper, even a PSA upper. Somehow, for some odd reason my poly is junk.

    I have absolutly NO affiliation or compensation or association , or sponsership with JMT other than I happen to know of the brothers that own the place.
    If they can build polymer parts for NASA and polymer airplane wings and fusuelages for personal aircraft… I think maybe they might know how to build a reliable 80% lower that works.

  3. If we are going to be innovative, what a prime OPPORTUNITY to FINALLY update the tired old AR Lower design to be 100% AMBIDEXTROUS! Yes, I have heard all the arguments that no manufacture cares about the 10-13% (profit) for those of use who are Left-eye dominant, but for those who have taken any defensive training since the Viet Nam days, it DOES consist of MANDATORY AMBIDEXTROUS EXERCISES, and so now designing/building AMBIDEXTROUS AR lowers, would be beneficial for ALL 113% of us. If you don’t believe it, just look at manufactures like CZ Scorpion, Beretta ARX 100, FN PS90, Sig MPX. The AR is becoming VERY dated, and needs to get into todays world of AMBIDEXTROUS versatility.

  4. Parts can fail. I had an M-60 come apart on me and all of the parts fly out the back. Pretty sure most would think for putting rounds down range it has better ability than an AR-15. But parts fail. I have a polymer lower on a 458 SOCOM I have been testing and after 100 rounds no noticeable defects. I will probably move it over to a 5.56 upper that had already sent about 1,000 rounds down range on the lower. Because I am aware that parts can fail.

  5. I built up an AR-15 on a Hess, carbon fiber lower around 12 years ago – and after more than 10,000 rounds through it, the lower receiver has held up without any cracks or visible defects. I would not hesitate to build another utilizing a carbon fiber lower in the future. If as has been said, the polymer lowers are even stronger, I would not hesitate building on that base either.

  6. What I worry about Polymer guns is legacy. Can I hand these guns down to my family 40 years from now. Or will they break before that or sometime after they get them…

  7. I just did two of the JMT polymer lowers. I paid an extra 20 bucks or something and upgraded to their carbon 50 which is supposed to have included 50 percent more carbon fiber in the polymer. Not fired either one yet. Put one on a 16 inch mid length upper and the other I used one of the AR stoner 10.5 pistol upper. Both in 556. I don’t see where anything is going to be a problem unless your cracking zombies over the head with the buttstock. LMAO! But my question for everyone is, if polymer lowers present such issues then why are we seeing more and more pros with them?

    And I’ll add, my biggest beef with polymer lowers and starting to be with many of the aluminum lowers too, is the lack of a interchangeable trigger guard. I see that wide arse trigger guard and immediately I think polymer. Just sayin’.

  8. What if one day you go to your favorite firearms site & they had polymer receivers for your Remington 700 or Winchester 70 bolt action rifle???? Would you jump at the chance to buy it & have your “Can’t-work-for-laughing-my-fool-head-off Gunsmith” install the part??? Me neither.

  9. I’m pretty sure there is a way to build an AR-15 lower receiver out of wood that would last ok,, through careful wood selection, treatment & tempering, extreme high pressure impregating of the wood with special space age polymers & metal reinforcement——> But why? I feel the same way about polymer AR-15’s.

  10. Worked in aerospace on making injection molded parts. Found that ZYTEL Glass Filled Nylon (i. e. GLOCK frames) when properly molded would be almost equal to 7076 T-6 Aluminum. 30% Carbon Fiber filled Nylon (by RTP) properly molded would be almost equal to 1018 CR steel. Easiest way to know if reinforced NYLON was molded properly is that the surface is “Resin Rich”, and is slick. If the surface is “blouchy”, i. e. the reinforcement fiber shows on the surface, then that is a poorly molded part. Bonus is that injection molded NYLON parts typically are about 2/3 the weight of Aluminum.

  11. I’ve had zero problems with 3 ATI Omnis, 1 in .300 & 2 in .556 but then most problems with mechanical devices are created by poor maintenance and service. Take care of your equipment and it will work when you need it to.

  12. I purchased an polymer lower, put it together after maybe 100 rounds it cracked. Not near the buffer tube but on the right side. I do not believe this is a indication that poly lowers are bad I think I just happen to get a bad one. Waiting on the manufacture to see if they will replace it

  13. #48… I must wholeheartedly agree! At least in my particular application. I tried a Vulcan lower with a pistol caliber upper in .45 ACP and a collapsible carbine stock.
    I did not know to change the buffer to a heavier weight. Their unit broke at the given spot. Not only did they not respond when I sent my part back, they ripped open the package, sent it back without even taping it back up… surprised that anything stayed in the package. I now have a DPMS lower and have yet to try to shoot it as I am afraid that I will break another lower. At least I did find a heavier buffer to install. Makes a great wallhanger! Looks awesome with the Rogers SuperStoc.

  14. Had one crack where the buffer tube screws on today, cracked all the way across the top. See how warranty goes and go from there. Not pleased. Maybe just mfg defect maybe poor design I don’t know.

    1. Bought a New Frontier LW-15 lower and after 1,800 rds, no problem with the lower , except for the FACT that the castle nut is not staked and will the buffer tube will wiggle loose- a little red loc tite and home staking with a $8.00 spring punch tool foxed the issue! Mated my polymer upper to a PSA mid length freedom upper- overall cost for my ” cheap build” was $520.00-

      $309.00 for PSA upper with M-16 BCG

      $160.00 for the complete LW-15 lower with 6 position stock, buffer tube and carbine buffer( includes tax and DROS)

      $49.00 for Magpul flip up buis.

      War winner??? Hell no! But satisfactory firearm that can withstand the occasional travel to range bumps and punch 2.5″ groups on paper at 100 yds?- yes.

      For people who scoff at polymer lowers, remember the the Bushmaster ACR and the combat PROVEN FN Scar 16/17 are both polymer lowers and predominantly polymer- the HK G36 is as well.

      You can destroy any weapon with poor maintenance, handling and improper ammo selection- if some of the backyard beer belly bubba commandos want to ” torture test” a gun to failure just to ” prove it will fail” , its their money.

      Me? I treat my guns like all equipment I own- cars, tools, appliances; keep them cleaned, inspected and properly used, and they’ll last. I have also owned three Glocks since 1997 and all are still in good operating condition( no broken or cracked frames, no internal wear, barrels in good shape) – so much for the failure of plastic guns….

  15. Ok if were talking a major SHTF weapon an M16 is not the choice your gonna want. Those Saiga Aks that are converted are unbelievable. They are also considered realAks because they are from Russia. I personally wouldn’t mind getting one of these carbon lowers. With the price of ALL firearms so high I would definately try it. Some people swear by the FAL (you can actually regulate from 1-10 how much gas you need) so think hard if your looking for a TRUE SHTF weapon. Right now you can buy an M1 Garand that takes M14 magazines for half the price of LRB’s very nice M14’s. One more thing always if you can get your firearm NP3 coated. Sorry didn’t mean to be so long. Take care everyone, we need to stick together

  16. I have heard repeatedly using the polymer lower would not be their SHTF gun. My question is, why not? A glock is, why would an AR with a polymer lower that operates the same and is ever bit as durable also not be a great gun for when SHTF?

    And I only wish they were $35 still! I’d buy 50!

  17. It appears that the makers of polymer parts need to start making a few small changes. Lots of people have said that the parts failed at the lock pins. Thats easily fixed by using a cheap sterl insert to take the direct stress away from the polymer. Or they could reenforce it with carbon fibers. Cracking at the barrel nut shows a stress point that could probably be fixed with a small metal plate to spread the stress on the disimilar materials. When the army was developing the lieghtweight M-240 they used titanium on many places including the tripod mount point. It cracked after a few thousand rounds so they had to put back the original part. Titanium is stronger and lighter than steel but not as hard so the stress the steel mounts were putting on the part made it fail.

  18. I will follow chris’s lead and give an update on my ATI lower…. sent it back to them, they turned around and sent it right back to me with out even looking at it. It seem so many people have been returning their lowers, that they wont even look at one unless you call them first and get a return authorization #, which I did, but some how they over looked!! I called them and voiced how UN-happy I was with this and they paid the shipping to send it BACK to them again….. still waiting for a replacement. Still very unhappy with ATI!!!

  19. Quick update on my FMK poly lower. It was cracked at the barrel nut on both sides. FMK immediatly replaced it free of charge with same serial number. Now that I have the replacement I have put about 700 rounds down range with zero FTF or FTE. It is holding up nicely. The only thing I keep in mind is if a round gets stuck in the chamber, id be hesitant to slam the butt down. Other than that I treat it like i stole it. I can’t say don’t buy one, I can just say I have had an issue and it was resolved quickly.

  20. I am a rifle armor and custom builder. I too was skeptic when these came out but figured I’d try them out to see. First off, there is a HUGE difference between companies. Some make them cheap and sell cheap, while other’s make them the way they should be made and in my opinion are just as good or better than aluminum, like FMK for example. They make these lowers for several companies and make them for that companies personal specs. But I got several straight from FMK (which they make them to last since their name is on it) and they are amazing. Superb customer service and a lifetime warranty. I am also a full time police officer and firearms instructor and my personal duty rifle is built on the FMK platform and it has held up to everything I could have put it through! AND, it is definitely lighter which is huge during a standoff or building search of a 50,000 square foot plant! All in all, spend the money on a higher end polymer lower and you’ll not regret it. By the way, put one on a .50 Beowulf build and still no problems!

  21. Glenn, I suspect what you said was true but had no personal knowledge of it. However saying the I have to tell you for some people thata all they may intend for it to last. During the vietnam war the viet cong got very good at making guns out of fire hardened bamboo. They were good for exactly one shot and sometimes thats all you need. The idiots in congress wail over 30 round mags when the worst crimes in our history were commited by single shot muzzleloaders (lincoln) and bolt action rifles (Kennedy, MLK) etc.

  22. I have to comment on this comment by Glen:

    “I’m surprised to see that no one has mentioned the DIY AR15 lower project….all you need is the software and a 3D printer”

    Wrong!!!!! This is a dangerous misinformation. All plastics/polymers are not the same! The plastics used in a home 3D printer are nothing like the polymers used on AR-15 lowers. As of right now the only home 3D printed AR-15 receiver I’ve ever seen created lasted exactly 6 shots (the receiver split in half after the sixth). Commercial 3D printers worth many tens of thousands of dollars can print using materials that can hold up as a lower receiver, home 3D printers cannot…not even close, so I don’t recommend trying.

    I think too many people that think things like home 3D printed receivers will be fine, or on the opposite end that think that a ‘plastic’ (polymer) receiver can’t work think of plastics/polymers as all the same. I don’t even just mean polymer is different from plastic (some polymers are types of plastic). Plastics can range from extremely weak to extremely strong (very strong, celazole was roughly $1200 per foot of 1 inch rod last I knew, maintains it’s properties up to 400 degrees, survives exposure to 1,400 degrees, has a tensile strength higher than aircraft grade aluminum with 23,000 psi vs 18,000 psi, and is hard enough to need machining with diamond tipped cutters), and a given manufacturer may be using any plastic/polymer, from weak to strong to somewhere in between. Just as a given manufacturer could be using any type of aluminum (there are aluminum casts which could be crumbled by hand). For aluminum, polymer/plastic or any material, you need to judge by actual tests on that product, not on prejudices you have about it. The range is enormous, making it into a simple absolute is completely wrong; whether that absolute is that aluminum is good, plastic not…or a simple absolute where you think plastic is good…so that means I can 3D print it at home with any plastic. Either line of thinking is seriously flawed.

  23. It is funny, if you go back to the story that started this discussion, the ATI Omni is one of the poly. lowers mentioned. Well I have owned between five and ten polymer lowers from both New Frontier and Plumcrazy and have had almost no problems with any of them. However, I have never tried one of the ATI stripped lowers, so I bought one, at a greatly inflated price due to the current run on anything AR!! 🙂 Wow, was I disappointed!!! At first glance it looked good, but then I started putting it together. Ill fitting parts was my first problem, that lead to the bolt release not working correctly. After fixing those issues, I finally pinned an upper on it and went to the range. 30 rounds later I’m looking at two cracks running down both sides of the lower starting at the take-down pin going toward the back of the grip!!! What a piece of junk!! Talked to ATI today, they want photos, as if they don’t believe it happened?? Now it looks like I’m going to have to swallow shipping costs and additional FFL fees IF they replace it. I like poly’s, but never again with ATI’s product.

  24. Does anybody have any good input on free floating rail system.. I don’t want the ones that snap in or don’t require taking anything apart if anybody can help that would be awesome.. As long with a good website seems most of the website I go to are sold out

  25. Brian Keating, to suggest that an AR is technologically superior to an AK is tripe. AK is simpler in design and malfunctions less in heat and cold. Less accurate over 300 but just as deadly. Older doesn’t mean technologically inferior. Now as far as polymer lowers go they are great and can be made at home on a 3d printer. Just look at the Steyr AUG used by the Austrian military, tested in heat and battle. The entire receiver is polymer and not one reported issue. Think the problem is with individual manufacturers rather than with the polymers.

  26. I bought a FMK polymer lower with DD upper. After going to the range for the first time I found the lower cracked on both sides of the buffer tube when I got home, it was barely still connected. LGS is sending it back and FMK promises a fast turn around. If there were any aluminum lowers available id buy one. But since these are all that are available, ill stay with it. I am torn. I’m gratefull the lifetime warranty is bullet proof and they are going to replace quickly. (I just hope they are around a good number of years) on the other hand first day failure sucks… BAD. Luckily I bought an AK as well. If SHTF ill be grabbing that.

  27. Josh,
    Just one more thought. Maybe its the balance of your AR and not the weight. With a lighter lower the weapon is now barrel heavy. Changes in centers of gravity and be perceived as a weight issue because of the way you have to support the weight. Just pick up a 10lb dumbbell then a 10lb bag of potato’s by the top of the bag only.

  28. Thanks everybody for your input, just seems heavy I think a lot has to do with barrel… Maybe I was use to shooting the M-16 A2 A4 the M4 while I was in the service I don’t know… If it has to do with me not picking one up in a while or what.. Put thanks again for your input

  29. Josh,
    Don’t forget even lightening your rifle has trade offs. In traditional rifles, the lighter the rifle the more vicious the recoil. You can lower the recoil by going to a lighter bullet (another trade off).

    With the AR platform, recoil isnt a problem so you have to ask yourself am I going to be using this for close up or longer range shooting. The lighter the rifle the more your body movements will affect your accuracy at longer ranges. Personally (not knowing you of course), I’d say you might be wiser to start going to the gym and building some arm strength. Not trying to be a smart alleck but even your average tricked out AR rifle just isnt that heavy. My opinion of course.

  30. Josh, in response to your question, I guess it could be a number of things, but if your AR has a fairly common forged flat-top upper receiver, then I would look first at the type of barrel you have. If it is a heavy contour barrel, then that will add some weight. Next consider the type of forearm you have, alum. quadrail types can be a little heavier than poly types like glacier guards or Magpul MOE types.

    About the gas tube. If you have an A2 style front sight, then, yes it probably acts as your gas block as well. You will need to change the gas block to a low profile type or a gas block with a rail on the top to use a flip-up type sight.

  31. Not being an expert on the AR but have several of my own I can say the front sight post that comes on many ARs has the gas block incorporated in it. You can remove the front sight block and slide it off the barrel then simply replace it with a railed gas block of the same diameter to which you can attach a front sight of your choosing. There are many available, some with no rail up to those with quad picatinny rails for attaching all kinds of peripherals i.e. lights, laser sights, bayonet, etc. As far as making the upper lighter it is not so easy. Until carbon fiber gets to be more commonly used in the barrel and receiver there is not much you can do. You can lighten the fore end by the one you may choose and the butt stocks come in many different styles that give you choices in terms of weight. The polymer lower; however, is a great improvement in terms of weight and durability. There are probably other readers who have much more experience with your issue who can be more helpful.

  32. Sure, Josh.
    1) Everything is a tradeoff. Most handguards are heavier than needed for normal use. If you want to spend the extra $, and don’t want to hang a bunch of ninja crap off it, look into a carbon fiber handguard.
    2) Barrels and flash hiders can also contribute. If you want light, get an M4 carbine profile or “pencil” profile barrel (most AR-15s these days have m4 profile barrels, so there’s probably not much weight savings you can make).
    3) There are companies, like Yankee Hill, that make gas blocks that incorporate a flip up front sight. They’re handy and not heavy at all.

    If you do these things, combined with a lightweight polymer lower, you can easily have yourself a 6lb rifle!

  33. I have a question maybe someone could help me.. Today I bought AR 15 it has a lower polymer receiver. I don’t know who makes the upper but its heavy to me I was wondering why is that.. The AR I looked at that cost 2,000 dollars that would have cost like 900 dollars before all this about banning them was lighter as hole… Is there anything I can do to the upper to make it lighter? Then my final question can does the gas tube connect to the front sight post? I would like to take that off put folding sights on.. If anybody could help me I would appreciate it..

  34. Aluminum or Polymer, if the component parts are put together correctly, it will work. The contrary is true. The strip lower does not move, it is box to put in the components. Northern Frontier’s pin at the buffer tube is poorly build, the aluminum’s design is the same but may be better build. I had the NF’s pin at the buffer tube came out, but this can be fix. The pin at the buffer tube can be design with screw thread type and you will never have the pin problem. Manufactures need to look at this and this is the free idea design I just give.

  35. ALL: A few things to keep in mind…

    Those that worry that the rifle will break if you buttstroke someone with it: Aluminum bends and breaks too. In my 25 years in combat arms I butt stroked exactly 1 person, didn’t break the rifle.

    Rifles are for shooting, not clubbing. If you are using it for clubbing, you didn’t bring enough bullets.

    If you connect this polymer lower to a COBB .50 upper to make your hybrid super rifle complete and expect it to work, you might not be smart enough to own a gun.

    If you have to “mortar” a rifle to unjam it, you are doing it wrong and if you do it hard enough, the buffer tube could be made of concrete and still break, rendering your rifle useless.

    I am certain that the polymer upper I have just purchased, when connected to a decent upper receiver will work just fine to ward off home invaders, coyotes, and the occasional zombie.

    I will post more after torturing it with some range time and let everyone know what I found out.

  36. I have owned a GIN_U_WINE Colt AR-15, which i put thousands of rounds thru before I traded it off. I then bought a cheap copy from a company that now sells thousands of them…it was crap, jammed every 2-3 rounds, and i traded it off.
    I have owned a few Glock sidearms, which have always served without fail.
    I recently purchased a New Frontier Arms complete lower, made in polymer. I took it down to test fire, expecting about the same results as the other cheap nock-off…
    boy was I surprised. It fired without fail, recoil was almost non-existant, and was just a pleasant little firearm to shoot.
    Admittedly, I’m still in the testing phase for this weapon. It will have to prove itself, but I am very happy so far. I am a little apprehensive about the internals being poly. I was expecting metal. Seems to me like the hammer would wear out faster, i’ll have to see over time. I really like the feel of it tho.
    I don’t really like the stock that’s on it. It locks, but rattles around. If you twist it a quarter turn it doesnt rattle, but it’s still annoying.
    I like this little weapon, and as a truck-gun, closet gun, it should be great.
    As a tactical weapon, i’ll let you know after i get thru running these 1500 rounds thru it.

  37. What is the aversion to better technology? If you are using an AR-15 instead of a M-1 or M-14 or AK-47, that more or less places you in the “technology is better” camp. If you don’t like polymer or aluminum, just stick with the old wood and steel weapons. I like technology and apparently Eugene Stoner did, too. If polymer lower receivers are equivalent in durability to forged aluminum lower receivers then the concept and execution is precisely in line with Stoner’s ideas about how to equip our military with the best small arms available in terms of cost, weight, and durability. My only suggestion is hardened steel or aluminum inserts for the pins and buffer tube. Glock does it and NFA can, too. Polymer magazines are already clearly superior to aluminum magazines and this is just the next logical step.

  38. I stand corrected!! You are right David. You will notice that I said “owned”, I sold the NF lower about 3 months ago and now I only have the Plumcrazy. Before tonight I would have sworn that the NF was marked 5.56, but I just visited their website and their lowers ARE marked multi. So, I was wrong. 🙂

  39. Jay said, “all have clearly stated “for use with the 5.56/223 caliber only!! They are not multi-caliber lowers.”

    Really, Jay? Because New Frontier Armory lowers don’t say that. They’ve been used extensively in multiple calibers. I use one for my 6.5 Grendel, no problems. They are designed for multi caliber use.

  40. Jaybird, I am not sure what brand polymer lower you bought, but I have owned both the Plumcrazy and the New Frontier brands, and all have clearly stated “for use with the 5.56/223 caliber only!! They are not multi-caliber lowers.

  41. I bought one of these polymer lower, put my AAC 300blackout on it. Reciever extension stripped just like the above comments. Held up for about 100rds. Sent it back. Supposed to get my new one Tuesday. Hope it works better.

  42. “Carbon fiber and aluminum are BOTH stronger than steel by wieght and not by volume” Maybe – but we are used to comparing things like firearms parts automobile frames and stuff we are all familiar with. The bottom line is: Two parts of identical shape and size, one of which is steel and the other is aluminum – the steel part will be stronger given the strongest alloys were used in both. Carbon fiber parts will be stronger than steel but are a little different. This is a quote from a website that makes carbon fiber parts for building construction: (begin quote)

    Carbon Fiber vs. Metals
    When designing composite parts, one cannot simply compare properties of carbon fiber versus steel, aluminum, or plastic, since these materials are in general homogeneous (properties are the same at all points in the part), and have isotropic properties throughout (properties are the same along all axes). By comparison, in a carbon fiber part the strength resides along the axis of the fibers, and thus fiber properties and orientation greatly impact mechanical properties. Carbon fiber parts are in general neither homogeneous nor isotropic.
    The properties of a carbon fiber part are close to that of steel and the weight is close to that of plastic. Thus the strength to weight ratio (as well as stiffness to weight ratio) of a carbon fiber part is much higher than either steel or plastic. The specific details depend on the matter of construction of the part and the application. For instance, a foam-core sandwich has extremely high strength to weight ratio in bending, but not necessarily in compression or crush. In addition, the loading and boundary conditions for any components are unique to the structure within which they reside. (end of quote)

    So – its not just the material but how it is molded and the direction of the fibers. We could also add Kevlar to the list of things we call “polymers”. I think the M16 /AR15 have become heavy to the point that the original intent of the weapon has been all but lost. That was a light, balanced, easy to shoot and carry light infantry weapon. Making the uppers and lowers out of some “polymer” will not increase the effectivness of the rifle. In fact, taking weight off the lower and upper makes it way less accurate. Added weight absorbs some of the recoil and that improves accuracy. The rifle will also be front heavy and not balanced any longer (not that the A2’s 3s and 4s are balanced any more anyway) The only M16s that were balanced were the A1s with the pencil barrel. Give us a stainless rifle with a pencil barrel and we will love it! I guarantee!

  43. #76 Metal dashboards when Bye Bye because they caused major injuries even in minor accidents.

    #78 Carbon fiber and aluminum are both stronger than steel by weight but not by volume so thats a truly bad comparison.

    How about doing some real life tests like drop testing in hot and cold weather. Beat both up like they owe you money and see if they are still safe to shoot.

    Sooner or later someone is going to come up with a polymer that will make metal in weapons obsolete. I’ll wait until until that day comes along. Armys working on ceramic barrels so one day even rust will be obsolete.

  44. The video of aluminum vs. polymer lowers when subjected to deflection testing is an obvious attempt to confuse people. What should have been tested is the LOAD that the lowers can withstand before failure. A polymer will deflect much more than a metal because in an engineering sense, it will deflect much more than a metal will at an identical load. So what if the polymer deflects at 25 pounds while the metal fails at 100 pounds … it’s apples and oranges.

    They may be good products – I am not saying they are or aren’t. Just that the testing is less than honest.

  45. If you had a problem with a “polymer” lower or upper please tell us what it was so that we are informed. What I have noticed here is that polymer is talked about as if it is all the same stuff. Nothing could be further from the truth. Carbon fiber is way stronger than steel and much lighter. On the lower end of “plastics” there are some cheap materials that are not worthy of being used for anything worthwhile. There is a lot of apple and orange comparison going on here and that is not helpful.

  46. Mosin guy, I completely agree. Things change, products evolve, new technology is created. Closed mindedness is fine, but you will be stuck in the past while the world moves forward. I am sure when people started making these metal objects that fire projectiles, there were people who frowned on that and decided to keep using their spears and arrows. They died.

  47. #74 Reply to “Brown”. I have three of the New Frontier polymers. The first one I bought has had more than 500 round through it. With a 42 round mag as fast as I can pull the trigger it works as well as my M&P. I guess there are some polymers that fall apart like any others but then again, you get what you pay for. I paid $109 shipped and no tax. With a lifetime warranty you can’t go wrong. I like quality and name brands as well; however, the polymer is here to stay and whatever might be wrong with them now will be made right as time goes on. Being an older fellow, I remember cars with metal dashboards and was so disappointed when they started making them with synthetics (plastics). Where are the metal ones today?

  48. Hey Brown, how about being specific about what brand you had (each company makes theirs differently) and what they did when you complained about it. It’s quite unbelievable that you shot 50 rounds, had it break, then just, I dunno, threw it away.

    P.S. – Plastic isn’t Polymer. That’s like saying pressboard is oak.

  49. The threads that hold the buffer tube in stripped out after about 50rds. Stock fell off and parts went everywhere. I was very dissatisfied. Don’t waste the money on a plastic lower.

    1. Okay “Brown” – which company and which year of production? I made the ” mistake” of lubing and test firing my New Frontier complete lower mached at first to a BCM upper from one of my other AR carbines( it now has a low budget but satisfactory PSA mid length mated)

      What happened was to be expected- the buffer tube came loose, causing the buffer tube detent to fly into the fire control group and ” stop” the gun from firing( the looseness also caused the BCG to nick the detent and shear a 1mm piece off the pin); this was AFTER firing 150 rds of federal xm193 and wolf ammo, of which 50 rds was fired in rapid succession!

      But what it didn’t do was strip the area where the buffer tube was affixed.

      I replaced the buffer detent pin, applied loctite and then STAKED the plate into the castle nut- no more backing out, nothing “stripped”.

      Unless you have the skill of a Century Arms International factory worker, you cannot “simply” break these polymer uppers with normal handling and maintenance- before ” permenantly” locking up my buffer tube to my polymer lower, I unscrewed and re-attached the buffer tube( a commercial spec one) and even tried affixing several extra mil spec buffers and a troy and magpul ctr stock- no stripping for polymer chipping.

      A friend who is a police officer and former marine armorer showed my how rushed and haphazard assembly can strip even aluminum upper( he fixed a friends DPMS lower by dremeling it out and inserting a threaded washer- you’d never know from the work he did, even though he advised our other friend to just go buy another stripped lower and cannibalize the trigger group from the damaged dpms lower)

      I have discovered in the last 25 yrs of professional and civilian firearms use, that impatients, and inexperience create most of the problems.

      Not saying a polymer lower will not fail before an aluminum one will( according to some industry insiders, a forved aluminum lower will fail before a billet lower will..) but I believe that mishandling causes more of the problems than product defect.

      If its a New Frontier lower I up you sent it back for replacement. ATI Omni polymer lowers supposedly had serious flaws and failures- send those back as well

  50. I have many of the same reservations for rifle polymer lowers, even though I own a glock. I purchased the glock mainly because of its ease of use (no external safeties to master).

    They do have their advantages.

    The polymer lowers are lighter, and if proven to be not quite as reliable as the aluminum lower then they would be a good weapon at home, and maybe back at camp and chow hall where they wouldn’t get fired as much. Usually at camp, at least at mine, the weapons are not put through the same rigors as they might be in the field, such as in the middle of the forest or desert, but where you still might need a rifle along with a sidearm.

    Even if I had an ar with a polymer lower and an ar with a standard aluminum lower, I would train with the heavier weapon to start with and incorporate the lighter weapon as time progressed. This way I could use either one and it wouldn’t be inconvenient to carry the heavier weapon. Plus, there isn’t a great difference between the two rifles, at least when I have carried them. After several hours in the field, both can seem to get heavier.

    Brown, could you please expand on what happened to your ATI omni lower?

  51. I would certainly be open to the idea by taking in reviews like this, commentary from a website or community’s users and weighing the idea of taking a loss like this writer did for my own research.

    I don’t care of it’s plastic, polymer, steel or whatever – if it fires on the first shot and on the second, if needed, it has done it’s job. I’m not looking for a TEOTWAWKI / SHTF situation with something like this, it’s clearly intended to eliminate weight

  52. This debate is good for the industry as well as the Second Amendment. Too much evidence exists for the use of polymer. It has been torture tested, kicked, dropped, made fun of and bullied. Bottom line is that polymer is an outstanding material for use in a firearm and when the moment of truth comes and you need to draw down on someone– it will work. Polymer has proven itself up to the challenge. Gun guys and gun girls all vary in their level of cheerleading for one maker or material and that is noble and loyal but the evidence is highley sensitive and specific in polymers’ favor.

  53. I’ve used the mortar technique with my Carbon 15 and I’ve even done some butt-stroke training with it. I’m more than happy with it’s performance.

  54. First, a disclaimer: I don’t have a black rifle, although one is in my near future. When I do get one, it’s almost certainly going to have an aluminum lower. (I’m a traditionalist in that respect)

    Now, there are those who seem to discount the toughness of the polymer lowers, like they’re some sort of new fangled plastics. Not so. When was the last time anybody here saw a metal bodied portable power tool? Whether the cheapest Chinese crappola tool from the Bargain Tool Barn, or a FesTool (top notch German toolmaker), every portable electric drill, saw, sander or router you’ll find out there is built with a polymer case. These are tools that are designed to be used all day, outdoors and in, whether conditions are subzero or blazing summer sun. They have been building these tools, tweaking the polymers, for more than three decades now. They are tough, they work. Whether or not the conditions and usage is close enough in your mind is up to you. Whether an electric tool with a motor that will wear out with moderate use long before the case gives up the ghost is a good analogue to a firearm that can last decades with moderate use is up to you.

    The simple fact is, it’s not hard to build a long gun that can take virtually any abuse that can be heaped on it. Building one that’s man portable, much less all day long carry, that’s another story. Just decide for yourself what tradeoffs you’re willing to make.

  55. I have an AR with a Vulcan polymer lower. It is one step below top notch. It is stronger and lighter than a standard AR lower, and second only to my high-end tight tolerance unit. Unless you’re going to spend the extra money on a titanium lower, or if you’re looking for a custom competition space gun, I would recommend using one.

  56. jii: Cheap and for profit? It’s a new world. Personally, I think the poly will hold up well. The verdict is not in on equality with metal. In any event NFA is in business to make a profit (good) and their product is cheap (as in affordably inexpensive). It’s all good. What it means is that more people can have what the Second amendment guarantees. It may be this turns out to be a disposable weapon Sea change. What is all the crying about a cheap complete fully functional AR lower? Have metal if you want metal, or with a lifetime guarantee for $109.00, one shot one kill for either.

  57. Put this toy near some heat and see how it holds up to forged aluminum or steel. Making critical firearm parts out of plastic is only for people that want to maximize profits or make cheap guns (or both).

  58. S&w mp15 22 has a poly lower fire- control trigger assembly pins move and wear the holes in lower if you don’t buy the locking ones so they won’t rotate had to do this with timney drop in trigger locking screw will push through bottom of poly lower not sure how these new poly lower are made if you can change trigger assembly are not

  59. I have owned two of the LW-15 poly. lowers from New Frontier and I currently own the Plumcrazy poly. lower. All came complete ready to pin on an upper and fire, with the ploy. part kits installed. They have all worked great!! The “Fire-Control” trigger systems are cleaner and smoother than any mil-spec triggers I have shot. The only problem I have had, was with the Plumcrazy lower, the take-down pin broke in half, I replaced both pins with mil-spec alum. ones and not had another problem yet. I also know four other people who have poly. lowers and no problems that i have heard about!!

  60. The metal rails on the lower of a Glock are there to elliminate wear based on material mismatch. The steel of the slide would quickly wear out and break the polymer lower.
    This is also a problem with the Armys new M-240L as in many critical area’s they used titanium to lighten the weapon. The problem is titanium is stronger than steel but its not as hard so steel pins would wear throuh the titanium and break it. The sollution was to oversize the hole and use permanently bonded steel inserts for the pins to be inserted through.

  61. My final opinion of 2cent value is the lowering of cost os great for all of us gunowners as it puts the weapons. Into avery lage group that even the 500 diff of off the shelf of alum turns them away.
    Locally some gunsmiths and dealers are seeing uptick in sales due to this lowering of cpst
    The building of own weapon a plus as well.
    AGAIN see nothing but good by thosadvancement in firearms.
    Also for some who do not know but theses polymers presently in use are less strong as newer ones. A bit more costly but would only be 4 or5#.

  62. Those metal tabs in the glock receiver for it’s metal slide bear alot of stress: a guy who tried making one from an airsoft had his version fail at that point (of course). A selling point for LWD’s “Timberwolf” metal frame: more area, more strength and more accuracy with a fuller, more complete mating surface.

    “is where the buffer tube screws in to the receiver.”

    Yep, that’s where one of the polymer’s failed (by the defunct Hesse) and right through the rear takedown pin hole (Of Course)-apparently, modification of the expensive custom injection mold wasn’t possible or affordable, so they put it up for sale. Receiver owner claimed 5.56/.223 factory ammo. The better makers reinforced that point (i.e. plum crazy). If you have a crappy polymer one, you’d better break out the JB Weld and fashion some metal or plastic tabs for the rear takedown pin hole.

  63. A polymer lower AR would actually work best with the piston and recoil assembly are in the upper. I would certainly like to try that out.

    My main concern would be for the pins – I hope such a lower has pins that don’t rotate, or perhaps metal inserts for the pins to ride in so the holes don’t run out.

  64. Until both polymer lowers and uppers have steel or sometime of other high tensil strength reinforcing, they should be avoided for any serious AR use.

  65. Hello fellow gun nutzzz. I am still in the not 100% sure about plastic lowers. However I have bought 2 NFA lowers stripped. Putting the lower parts in is more challinging than I expected, the parts fit to tight and need to be dremmeled out a little, not a big deal if you like working on guns, which I do. I am keeping an open mind and will be putting a lot of rounds on them to give them a very good test.

  66. Stoner built the AR platform on a forged lower for a reason. You can not compare the stress of a rifle round to that of a pistol. If you want a polymer rifle buy a SCAR. Poly will break. Allvyou have to do is Google it. Hundreds of poly lower owners have spent and wasted money on junk. If you want it for a .22 great but I promise the poly will break well before the forged lower will. If you drop a gun and have to worry about it breaking, then obviously It’s an issue. I think its pretty crappy to push a product on New AR owners because It’s cheaper. You get what you pay for. If you think poly ARs are okay, I can send you pictures of the broken I have in a box that was used specifically to compare to two. The forged still works fine.

  67. I was in on a buy of 10 frontier lowers and the only problem to date has been the take down pins. Put metal ones in and done deal. I really don’t see where a polymer would fail except for on the pins. Of the 10, I’ve built 6 into rifles for friends and no problems so far. the other 4 they’ve slapped name brand uppers on and have been good to go. 2 have had pin problems but where opererator error with forcing. I’ve heard of the buttstock breaking where the buffer tube goes in but have never seen it in a picture yet… Must of been chopping wood or multiple zombie skulls to do that. I personally bought for plinking and r and D and am waiting to see the results.

  68. I’ll wait to see what happens more long term. It would be fun to give them to a bunch of privates for a week and see the result. If it can survive that test I would be sold.
    Saying that the up side to plastic rifles is long term storage would would be great.

    I’d like to see long term testing like long term exposer to UV radiation and heat as well as what happens when exposed or stored with petroleum distilates. I’d like to see honest testing of them at Ft Wainright AK in Feb. -50 degrees is a baer on everything.

    The army is investing heavily in ceramic barrel research for their machine guns so I can see a day when most guns will be close to 100% polymor and ceramic. Rust and corrosion will be a thing of the past.

  69. I purchased the ATI Omni lower for it’s light weight and have been very pleased with it. It is my plinker and house security gun. It suits my needs very well. I am not scared of good quality polymer!

  70. OK FOLKS HERE’S THE STRAIGHT OUT FACTS!!! POLYMER LOWERS ON AN AR15 FROM AT LEAST ONE COMPANY AND I WILL NAME THEM ARE JUNK!!! I purchased a Vulcan Arms so called carbon aramite “polymer” lower from Vulcan Arms themselves, told by Vulcan these pieces of junk were stronger than milspec aluminum!?!?! WELL THATS AN OUTRIGHT, ABSOLUTE LIE!!! This lower BROKE RIGHT IN HALF AFTER MINIMAL USE!!! LESS THAN 500 ROUNDS! THEY ARE JUNK!!! Best Yet! Vulcan Arms refused to do anything about it AT ALL! THEY REFUSED TO STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT PERIOD!!! Want pictures email me at these pics will also be up on Gunbroker as soon as possible!

    I am not affraid to say, VULCAN ARMS SUCKS AND WILL NOT EVER STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCT!!! I will never nor would I recommend anyone to purchase anything from them!!!

  71. I’ll wait to see what happens more long term. It would be fun to give them to a bunch of privates for a week and see the result. If it can survive that test I would be sold. Saying that the up side is long term storage would would be great. I’d like to see long term testing like long term exposer to sunlight and heat as well as what happens when exposed or stored with petroleum distilates. The army is investing heavily in ceramic barrel research for their machine guns so I can see a day when most guns will be close to 100% polymor and ceramic.

  72. I think polymer is a great idea. If you like the polymer lowers, get one. If you don’t, don’t get one. They are so cheap you really can’t go wrong. I have two AR uppers, a M1S 7.62×39 and a DPMS 5.56 Nato both with 16″ barrel. Both rifles have their own S&W M&P 15 lowers including Magpul colapsables which I like very much; however, I have used a NF lower with both of them and they both work just as well after a couple hundred rounds through each one. The only thing is the idea of a plastic rifle just feels funny. Other than that I think we will get used to the polymers and will accept them completely. I have ordered two more lowers because they are cheap (that probably won’t last). The downside of having two more complete lowers I now have the bug to buy two more uppers, maybe in a 6.5 and a .22. Oh well… I just had to chime in.

  73. It was Dupont who changed the powder in the rounds to get rid of some excess. The result was higher gas pressure which pushed the dirty gas past the gas rings and fouled up the reciever so bad the bolt carrier group froze. I have a AR and am going to by at least one more. Not many weapons can allow you to accurately put large number of rounds down range quickly. Saying that its still a .22 or more accurately a .222

  74. There are some comparisons out there between the Ati Omni and the NEF LW-15. The LW-15 is a better built lower.

    Everything Matthew said just above is 100% spot on.

  75. I have an ATI Omni polymer lower. It has a Palmetto State Armory lower parts kit. I am using a DPMS upper with light contour 16 inch barrel. As of right now I only have 60 rounds through it just testing it for safety. I don’t see any issues with it. I think about 210 rounds will be a pretty good test. that should get it good and hot and any stress points should fail at that point. I am slightly concerned with the fitment of the buffer tube. The threads didn’t seem to be as tight as I think they should be. we will see what happens. Also on a good note. The front lugs appear to be a little thicker, and the area around the buffer tube neck where this lower might fail appear to be a little thicker.

  76. I fully understand the reluctance to build any rifle on a poly lower. I felt the same way. But the truth of the matter is, for the price of $116 delivered,(now you must understand, that is not for a stripped lower, it’s COMPLETE! It’s ready to pin an upper too right out of the box and start firing!) you really can’t go wrong. It made for a super light rifle. I have a laser, red dot sight, tactical four rail fore end, grip pod and heavy duty rail covers and it still comes in at around 7lbs.
    Some of the benefits not mentioned, the firing mechanism is almost completely polymer too. The hammer and trigger group, all of the pins are all polymer, only the springs are metal. This means that nothing on the rifle suffers from the expansion and contraction due to heat and cold. The cold turning it brittle is just patently false, it’s not made of vinyl but a very stable polymer compound. If it’s cold enough to make this thing brittle, it will have long ago turned your aluminum or steel lower into a cracker! Being that all of the moving parts are also poly means that you never need to lube them!!! The fit between the upper and lower are the tightest I’ve ever seen! The trigger is super crisp with a very short stroke, and fast reset. All of the functions are smooth and clean, there is no trigger creep at all. NFA refers to this as “zero slop” and that’s exactly what it is. You will never need to shim ANYTHING in this lower EVER.
    Now for the bad news, the included stock and grip are Tapco and it’s a commercial not a mil-spec stock attachment. Yep, that’s the only downside! Tapco might not be my first choice for a stock, but it works sufficiently enough that I haven’t felt the need to swap it yet. I’ll probably put a MagPul on it later though. I was trying to build a decent AR on a budget and I managed to do it for under $540!(not including add-ons)
    My advice for the doubters, if you are going to be building an AR, just give the New Frontier Armory Polymer lower a try. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!

  77. I would have to say, “it depends”. It depends on what you are going to use the rifle for. In some cases polymer may actually be stronger than aluminum. At the risk of invoking some kind of “jealously response” from farmers out there that were never in the military (but secretly wished they had been – just for the bragging rights) I want to share my experience with you all. When I was in Vietnam with my infantry unit, we were climbing a hill and one of the guys in the point dislodged a boulder about the size of a fast pitch softball. The boulder rolled down the hill and hit the guy in front of me’s M16 (he was using it as a walking stick as we did a regularly) and broke it in half! He was now walking around in a hostile fire zone completely unarmed. The M16 was great unless you had to buttstroke someone or in the situation just mentioned, a big rock shared the same time-space continuum. My personal opinion is that rifles issued to military troops (and anyone serious about defending themselves) should have stainless steel uppers and lowers. This would completely eliminate the need for wet lubricants making the M16 as reliable as the AK. The increase in weight would be minimal and be offset by the many advantages. The M16A4s with the heavy barrels and all the other crap like flashlights are nearly as heavy as an M14 now, anyway. I want one. Anyone out there willing to make it?

  78. P.S. the reason I suggest the steel ring is that it would be easier to stake a steel ring, than to accommodate people over-torquing the buffer and stripping the threads.

  79. I am excited to see how this new development pans out. Like all new technology, there will always be a certain amount if resistance. Some rationale (how will it hold up for me as a SHTF gun?), some irrational (it’s NEW and I am afraid of NEW). The rough early life of the M-16 is a case in point.

    The early failures of the M-16 were often attributed to the design, however few knew of the other factors affecting its reliability such as some Pentagon Weinie deciding to chainge from stick to ball powder, or was it ball to stick?

    Seems to me that if they simply embed a threaded steel ring to accommodate the buffer tube, I’d have one on order!

  80. The bottom line is this… “use”.
    Everyone wants to buy something “affordable”, but when you have to use the rifle to rapidly get to prone, or buttstroke someone at close quarters the cost of your plastic lower will immedieately be replaced with the thought “am I going to break my gun?”.
    The rifle must work every time you need it, and under all circumstances. I personally don’t ever want to be in a situation and think to myself “will I break my rifle doing that?”. And like another poster said, why have a plastic rifle for practice and a metal rifle for “use”? Have one good rifle and practice with IT.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have several Glocks and love them… but a plastic rifle lower receiver that is leveraged hard at the buttstock mounting point… I don’t think it’s a good idea. Time and “use” will tell.

  81. I know I’m gonna catch hell but after being a unit armorer and seeing M16 buttstocks (with buffer, spring and tube) snap off like a dry twig, I would never have an AR as a SHTF weapon. My 10″ barreled M92 Krink hits anything I point it at out to 300m with a reddot. I haven’t tested it yet at longer ranges.

  82. You also have to remember, the way the upper fits into the lower will serve to reinforce the lower. Use KNS non rotating pins will also probably help.

    Even if polymer will not last as long as aluminum, it’s still a functional gun–better than none. Reminds me of accounts of craftsmen in Southwest Asia making functioning pot metal copies of the AK. Tore apart after about 20 rounds, but 20 rounds might make all the difference.

  83. I would consider using a polymer lower on my next AR build. I’ve carried my Glock for 7 years now with no issues. Worth giving a shot, especially with a lifetime warranty!!

  84. “You would be better off carving a lower out of balsa wood.”

    Really? Why don’t you do that and tell us how it worked out?

    Why does your anecdotal opinion conflict with my empirical evidence? One of us is wrong (hint: Not me).

  85. These things are a step above utter crap. New frontier sells a house brand metal lower machined by areo precision that is a much better deal. It isn’t a question of if it will break it is a question of when. Murphy dictates it will be at the most inopportune time. You would be better off carving a lower out of balsa wood.

  86. I have several polymer lower receivers. I currently have 4 Cavalry Arms lowers, which are like a tank, and use standard lower parts kit. Also I have 4 Plumbcrazy lowers one of which I SBRed. I have put aprox. 1500 throgh the SBR and no malfunctions do to lower receiver. I love the concept and think they are a great new product for entry level AR-15 users. I also have many aliminium AR-15 lowers as completed rifles. Currently my issue with the polymer lowers is not the lower at all, it is the polymer hammer and fire control components. I don’t feel comfortable with a plastic, hammer, and disconect. I have not had problems with ether currently but i do not have the confidence with the internals.

  87. When these first came out (I think it was the Plum Crazy lowers I saw first) I told my friend who has his FFL and ordered a few up that I think they’d make great .22lr plinkers. It’s the only way I’d use one.

  88. Polymer Fail, your story seems odd. Since it failed on you, and the lower comes with a lifetime warranty, why didn’t you send it back? I know the folks at NFA are hardcore shooters themselves, and will immediately take care of the issue. More importantly, if this is genuinely a design defect, they will address it. I don’t think it is, because this is the first I’ve heard somebody have this problem. I communicate with a LOT of other dealers that sell NFA lowers and I haven’t heard of this problem before. However, I have heard of issues where shooters replace the stock with a mil-spec (LW-15 lower is commercial spec) and then they have problems with the receiver extension improperly separating.

    I’m not accusing you of lying or overblowing facts here, but I am saying you seem to be tossing sour grapes without allowing the manufacturer the opportunity to honor the warranty they offered you. That doesn’t really help your credibility.

  89. Honestly I have never done either of those two things. I just find it frustrating when people get stuck in the past and fear the changing world. If this type of narrow-minded thinking was the norm, we would still be living in caves.

  90. “I bought a New Frontier polymer lower and it failed exactly where you described, where the buffer tube threads into the lower, AND the takedown pin broke! Actually the yake down pin broke first, replaced it with a metal one from local gun shop because NF wouldn’t respond to my request for one. They did mail new polymer one without responding. Just sent an envelope with part. No “thank you” note or “sorry about that” note, just the part. Anyway, after fixing that, went back to the range and the buffer tube stripped out the threads in the lower and got out of alignment and the BCG got jammed in the tube. Luckily no damage to the BCG. I WILL NEVER BUY A POLYMER LOWER AGAIN AND ADVISE EVERYONE ELSE TO STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!”

    I guess the polymer lower’s aren’t idiot proof after all.

  91. The New Frontier Armory Poly lower gen II has been refined and My 6th one just came in. Light weight, reliable, the trigger is better than a mil spec one and so no need to buy a better trigger, lifetime warranty, what is not to like, I do replace the standard buttstock(commercial size magpul CTR) and put an Ergo grip on it. Thousands of rounds, no failures, no wear issues. 5.56 & 6.8

  92. I bought a New Frontier polymer lower and it failed exactly where you described, where the buffer tube threads into the lower, AND the takedown pin broke! Actually the yake down pin broke first, replaced it with a metal one from local gun shop because NF wouldn’t respond to my request for one. They did mail new polymer one without responding. Just sent an envelope with part. No “thank you” note or “sorry about that” note, just the part. Anyway, after fixing that, went back to the range and the buffer tube stripped out the threads in the lower and got out of alignment and the BCG got jammed in the tube. Luckily no damage to the BCG. I WILL NEVER BUY A POLYMER LOWER AGAIN AND ADVISE EVERYONE ELSE TO STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!

  93. I have a SCAR 17s which comes from the factory with a polymer lower and I’m buying an aluminum replacement lower for it. For the sake of intellectual honesty its partly so I can use other cheaper mags than the hard to get expensive FN made mags but also I have found polymers to be to flexible in extreme heat and to brittle in the cold to be relied on. Even polymer mags have problems with same. And the .5 lb wieght savings is insignificant. If it means that much to you even after carrying the rifle all day then you need to get to the gym.

    BTW I have seen tons of AR buffer tubes bent or broken in the miliary and only a few wooden stocks.

  94. If HK, the pioneer of all polymer guns had problems, then there may be problems. That’s all I’m saying. I never question someone else’s choices when only their life is on the line because frankly I don’t care about them- or TROLLS

  95. “I don’t own a polymer lower ( 4 aluminum AR’s) but I wouldn’t rule one out for certain purposes. Just wouldn’t stake my life on one”

    There were guys like you saying the same thing when polymer pistols came out, when composite snowmobile skis came out, and when people starting using those funky metal things with wheels instead of horses.

  96. I would wonder about using the “mortar” technique to clear a stuck case and how the buffer tube to receiver connection would hold up to that. H&K make polymer rifles and I know some of early versions of their rifles suffered from cracking due to stress. I think these would be suitable for a ranch truck gun or for teaching kids or another low volume use. Stick with 5.45-5.56 -22lr and you’ll probably be ok. I don’t own a polymer lower ( 4 aluminum AR’s) but I wouldn’t rule one out for certain purposes. Just wouldn’t stake my life on one

  97. I have sold HUNDREDS of the New Frontier Armory lowers, with zero customer dissatisfaction. In fact, many customers buy one, then come in a week or two later and buy a few more because they love them so much.

    A few things to consider that the author missed:
    1) The place where the receiver extension (“buffer tube”) connects to the stock is 100% reliable. In fact, you could say it’s _more_ reliable than an aluminum lower because the assembly has a sufficient amount of “microscopic flexion” that would cause metal fatigue in an aluminum lower.
    2) The New Frontier Lower has a no-BS lifetime guarantee (always good)
    3) The polymer trigger group can easily support 40,000+ cycles. That means you’ll replace your barrel two or three times, easily, before you ever have to worry about the hammer.
    4) The polymer trigger is a very smooth, single-stage, 6lb trigger. No “crunchy” feeling you get from those standard trigger setups you get with complete aluminum lowers.

    There are three _key_ difference between aluminum and New Frontier lowers
    1) You can’t replace the trigger guard in New Frontier Lowers (it’s integral to the cast)
    2) The polymer lower is more durable than an aluminum one.
    3) The polymer lower is anywhere from .5 to 1.0lb lower in weight.

  98. I bought a new fronteer poly lower for an AR build for my wife because my rock river arms AR was too heavy for her … With the polymer lower her AR weighs in at 5.5lbs … Works great …holds zero perfect and she can carry it and shoot it all day no problem … I gotta say the lighter weight makes it feel really fast to target..slightly more recoil but who cares its only a .556 right?

  99. I have a DPMS pencil profile 5.56 upper pinned on an NEF polymer lower. No problems yet, and I don’t expect any. This combo has made me a very light, handy rifle. Upper fits tightly to lower with no wiggle at all. Love this gun and the NEF lower. The trigger is very nice and crisp also. Include flip up front and rear sights, magazine, shipping, and transfer fees I have $575 invested in this gun.

  100. Anational match M/14 far better with plastic polymer or glass plastic and doN’t forget wodden military stock had bad habit breaking, sometimes on just a skull.

  101. Am an old heavy clunker battle rifle afficianado but lets get real. As to craftsmanship most Garands wrre thrown together and otherthan bolts on 14’s they too were the sameYup the 03’s no different and further back oh well. Mausers older the better but military issues were mass production.
    Getting to accuracy there is not a one of them oldies at 300 were designed to group as tight as run of mill ars today.
    Yes they hit kill area but it was double the sizeof what called for todaY.
    Converted to hunting rifles even semi good enough for large game except for 03(some).

  102. I have a LW-15 lower on my AR, and have had 0 issues with it after 4000+ rounds. I see no signs of wear from all the mags or in and out of my cases. Unless I was shooting competition I see not reason to go back to a non polymer lower. This thing just works.

  103. It is a lower receiver….the upper is where all the pressure is at..that is where the chamber is. You could put an AR15/M16 upper on a Nerf Gun lower if it will fit!!!
    Being an ass here, but an aluminum lower was frowned upon which is standard now..the lower is only fire control…and the registered part.

  104. I have 2 new frontier lowers. Right now they are easier to come by then a lower parts kit, the triggers have no grind in them like most cheap parts kits, and being light and cheap made them perfect choices for my uppers. I have an AR57 upper on one and a 5.45 upper on the other one. Both work great.

  105. I also have a Bushmaster Carbon 15 and have sent many rounds down range. I have had this weapon since 2006 and have not had any issues with it. It is a great hunting rifle also. By the way the Bushmaster carbon 15 is also a carbon (plastic) upper AR that functions just as well as an all metal one.

  106. @Randy
    You wrote: “I can get aluminum cheaper!!!!! NO THANKS”
    You dont seem to understand it is the whole lower receiver, complete, including butt stock, ready to pin in and fire with an upper.

  107. I two A3 flat tops, 7.62×39 and 5.56 NATO and one lower S&W M&P 15. I got tired of changeing out the receiver so I bought a complete New Frontier (includint butt stock) for $99.00. I only use the LW-15 with the 5.56 but after over 500 rds have had not a bit of a problem. I does feel a little strange and it is noticably lighter but I cannot find anything wrong with it for target practice of home defense. I think it will be more common in ARs like plastic dash boards in cars.

  108. I have a BUSHMASTER carbon 15 with about . 2000 rounds thru it mainly using a slidefire stock it still runs perfect

  109. I think polymer lowers are here to stay and I think it is a good thing, lowering the barrier to obtaining an AR. That stress test video was pretty convincing. By the way, where does one get a polymer lower for $35?

  110. turn a few over to a Ranger Bn for 6mo; also, eventually somebody should try a longer recoiling bolt-carrier, i mean by INCHES; that would greatly reduce recoil (esp in AR10/762 versions), & wear on parts; obviously great for ARs w/ the straight, fixed stock config

  111. I’ve got a Keltek SU-16C in .233/5.56 with a polymer receiver… it uses the AR-15 magazines, sites, muzzle brakes, and many other accessories in common with the AR-15. The SU-16C seems to fill the role of a low-budget, light-weight trunk gun done quite effectively, and I see no reason why an AR-15 in those calibers or in pistol calibers wouldn’t work out just as well with a polymer receiver (I can imagine a polymer AR receiver would be a great match for a 9mm AR, for example).

    That would seem to be the sort of niche market that a polymer AR-15 would fill and compete in. I suppose I can see advantages to an actual AR-15 over the SU-16C.

    As for me, I’m probably not likely to be one of the polymer AR’s customers… I’m quite happy with the SU-16C for that purpose, and I own two forged aluminum AR-15’s as well that I’m also quite happy with, and see no reason to buy or convert to a polymer AR.

    And, I still have a soft spot for those old forged steel and hardwood battle rifles. In a world full of inexpensive, mass-produced black plastic and aluminum, there’s always something nice about handling those massive battle rifles built in a time when rifles were made by craftsmen more or less by hand from traditional materials. An AR-15 is a fine tool, but, for example, an old Mauser is like an old friend, or a favorite uncle or grandfather.

    In any case, I see no reason why a polymer AR wouldn’t contribute to a perfectly fine weapon.

  112. Most of us can’t or won’t spend the money to have both a plinker AR and a SHTF AR, and I’m one of those. Why have two when one good one will do both jobs? I’ll stick with forged aluminum, thank you.

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