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2A Armament Releases More Accessible “Builder Series” Carbine And Parts

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For years, 2A Armament has been making crazy expensive, lightweight, high-tech firearms and components that teeter somewhere between artistic handcraft and robotic-manufactured production. And when you already make really highbrow gear, one of the boldest things you can do next is try to make it less expensive.

At SHOT Show, 2A will be releasing their “Builder” series of modern sporting carbines (as well as the 29 different components that may be purchased à la carte) allowing some of 2A’s high precision features and advancements to find their way into more mainstream, mid-price point builds.

Ben Chuckovich, 2A Armament’s business manager, took us around the factory, showing what goes into manufacturing their brand’s components, and to give a peek at the new SHOT Show products.

Let’s pause for a sec and clarify what “manufacturing” means. Unlike a slew of quickly-disappearing “manufacturers” that just subcontract their lowers to the same blueprint everyone else does and slap their name on the side, 2A began its corporate life as an ignore-the-costs-buy-the-best-machines shop.

Their corporate brochure pitter-patter says they are an “ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certified advance manufacturing machining shop for the aerospace, medical, prosthetic, motorsports, semiconductor and outdoor recreation markets. To ensure the highest possible quality in high-volume, technically demanding components, we take full advantage of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment on the market.” Which is a Linkedin-buzzword sort of way to say “someone there is a techie-machine-junkie, thus they have some killer manufacturing capabilities.”

A robotic turning center with a price tag just south of four million dollars pulls in pallets of raw stock on one side and trolleys out intricately-cut lowers on the other. Another machining center has a robot arm grabbing raw rail extrusions and finishing them up, dozens at a time, without human assistance.


If your “manufacturer” starts their manufacturing process by taking rails out of boxes and bolting them to an upper, then they missed this little step that involves forklifts, long metal extrusions, and a lot of noise:


Surgical room clean floors and gleaming white equipment like this Zeiss CMM arm hint at their drive for precision.


However, this obsession with high speed/low drag manufacturing also renders high speed/high dollar products. “But we felt like we could take some new approaches to product design and manufacturing that allows many of the value features to be built reasonably and doesn’t compromise on quality,” says the 2A crew. An example might be the Builder Series M-LOK handguard. It has fewer machining operations than their high-line rail but is still finely finished and lightweight. Builder Series lowers start life as forgings rather than their normal billet. This allows them lower prices on raw material and transferring the value into all that milling and pocketing which carves the weight down.


Similarly, Builder Series pins are aluminum rather than titanium – but they are through-drilled making them as light as their high dollar titanium stablemates.


We can’t discuss line-by-line all 29 parts in the series, but some of the highlights worth taking a peek at for a lightweight build might be:

  • 2A’s skeletonized trigger guard that uses a unique two-screw (vs. split pin) attachment method.
  • The new ambidextrous safety has a unique feature. Its cross-member is reversible – install it one way, and it’s a 45° angle throw, reverse it and it’s a 90° safety.
  • Their steel-but-svelte low-profile gas block.
  • A fluted aluminum barrel nut that dissipates heat while it trims fat from the front end.
  • 2A's Regulated Bolt Carrier (RBC), an ultra-lightweight carrier with a user-tunable gas regulating gate. The novel multi-part design minimizes recoil and dials down silencer gas-in-face – and the adjustments can be made through the port door without removing the bolt from the gun.


The entire Builder Series carbine still winds up at 5.08lbs, which is on the skinny side of the scale in anyone’s book. The MSRP on a pre-assembled, ready-to-shoot carbine is $1699 ($1571 street price) compared to $2100 for 2A’s Balios-Lite high-line series.

Wanna shoulder it, squint one eye, and make pew-pew noises? If you’re at SHOT Show, go do that at Booth 3234. Or, if you’re not in Vegas this week, just Google on over to


Kel Whelan is an independent consultant to industry and government on silencer business and technology with more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing, design, sales, distribution, branding, and politics throughout the firearms industry. By way of disclosure, he was one of the three founding directors of the ASA, and he owned, managed, and sold a silencer company.


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