Palmetto State Armory 16″ Mid-Length NATO 5.56 AR-15 Rifle – Karen Hunter Review

When it comes to home defense, rifles are an extremely popular choice among both seasoned and newer gun owners. From high-end guns that are too expensive for most, to bargain basement guns that lack reliability, choosing the perfect rifle can be stressful. This is where Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has changed the market. PSA has built their company with the consumer in mind. Whether you are looking for a rifle ready to go out of the box, or you desire to complete a rifle build on your own, PSA has everything you need. PSA build kits allow you to build your AR-15 from the ground up or upgrade an existing gun. PSA states, “Palmetto State Armory wants to bring out the armorer in you by offering the best kits available at the best prices.

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PSA also carries custom firearms. The PSA Custom Series line of firearms was developed solely with their customers in mind as they realized their customers were looking for standards that went above mil-spec in the areas of weight, durability, aesthetics, and ergonomics. These were the main areas that PSA’s team of engineers spent countless hours researching and developing. The results were two custom platforms, the AR-15, and the competition friendly pistol caliber carbine (PCC).

For my review, I wanted to test and evaluate a PSA gun from the AR-15 platform as it has become one of the most popular among gun owners for home defense. PSA is considered to have affordable products, which to some connotates a less than decent firearm. Affordability does not always mean cheaply made. I wanted to see for myself where PSA would fall on that spectrum.

I received the PSA 16″ MID-LENGTH 5.56 NATO 1/7 NITRIDE 13.5″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK MOE EPT RIFLE W/MBUS SIGHT SET. This rifle has a 16” chrome moly vanadium steel barrel and is chambered in 5.56 NATO with a 1:7 twist rate. It has an M4 barrel extension with a mid-length gas system. The A2 profile barrel is finished with a 13.5” PSA M-Lok free-float handguard, low-profile gas block, and an A2 flash hider. The upper is a forged 70752 T6 A3 AR upper machined to MIL-SPECS and hard coat anodized. The lower is a forged 7075 T6 aluminum lower and marked multi for the caliber with a hard coat anodized finish. The MIL-SPEC diameter 7075 T6 buffer tube is hard coat anodized with 6 adjustment positions and is fitted with an MOE Carbine Stock, Magpul grip, and Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT). This rifle has an 8620 steel M-16 full-auto profile bolt carrier group that is shot-peened, key hardened to USGI specifications, fastened with grade 8 screws, and staked per MIL-SPEC. This rifle came complete with a SIG Sauer Romeo 5 red dot optic and backup Magpul MBUS front and rear sights.

During my T&E, I put over 1000 rounds downrange. I shot a mixture of ammunition ranging from high-end to lesser expensive, remanufactured ammo. My range time incorporated drills utilizing paper, steel, and rubber targets. With all drills I was able to maintain consistent groupings of one inch or less, even venturing out to 30 yards.

This Palmetto State Armory rifle weighs in at approximately 6.5 lbs., which makes it lightweight and easy to maneuver. I found the controls easy to manipulate and the rifle itself to be comfortable to shoot. I can honestly say after shooting over 1000 rounds through this brand-new rifle, I had zero issues with functionality. The only changes I would consider making would be the stock and trigger. This is just for personal preference, not a functionality issue. I just enjoy a more expensive stock and lighter trigger. However, for those who do not shoot often, a heavier trigger is always a better option.

In conclusion, I found this to be a very solid, well-built rifle. One that is affordable, but not cheaply made by any means. I believe PSA is a great option for anyone looking for an AR-15 for home defense purposes. This is a reliable gun at an affordable price and made in the USA.

PSA also prides itself in great customer service. If by chance there is something about your purchase that you are not completely satisfied with, PSA will work with you to fix whatever issue you may be having. If you are looking into an AR-15 for self or home defense, I would encourage you to check out Palmetto State Defense.

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  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Barrel Material: 4150V Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Nitride
  • Barrel Profile: A2 Style
  • Chamber: 5.56 NATO
  • Twist Rate: 1 in 7”
  • Extension: M4
  • Gas System: Mid-Length
  • Gas Block Type: Low Profile .750” Diameter
  • Upper Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Receiver Style: M4 Flat top with feed ramps
  • Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
  • Forward Assist: Yes
  • Dust Cover: Yes
  • Handguard Style: PSA 13.5″ Lightweight M-Lok Free Float Rail
  • Bolt Steel: Carpenter 158
  • Bolt Carrier Steel: 8620
  • Staked Gas Key: Yes
  • Lower Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
  • Fire Control Group: PSA AR-15 Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
  • Buffer Tube: 7075 T6 Aluminum Mil-Spec Tube
  • Adjustment: 6-position collapsible
  • Stock: Magpul MOE Carbine Stock, Black
  • Magazine: (1) 30-Round Magazine (where available by law)
  • Backup Sights: Magpul MBUS Sight Set, Black
  • Length: 32″

For custom build options, visit:

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