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Advancing the AR-15 with Cox Arms

We should take some time to remember just how far the AR-15 has come in these last two decades. At least in America, the overall experiences of both civilians and military personal range from the catastrophic to the boutique. Iconic but controversial pieces like the WarSport LVOA gained attention for both aesthetics and performance, while military staple brands shifted from Colt to Daniel Defense and touched a myriad of other manufacturers. When at one point a 3-MOA barrel was considered acceptable, the cost of a sub-MOA carbine today isn't restricted to top-tier firearms. The sheer variety, of both complete firearms and available parts, is a statement of the success of the platform, and Cox Arms stands as a testament to that advancement.

The Devil is in the Details

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56
Featured: Cox Arms Wulf 5.56, Phantom Hill CTF-1 light/laser combo, Burn Proof Gear Rail Wrap, Vortex Razor MRDS, Vortex Spitfire HD Gen II 3x, Arbor Arms Dual Adjust Weapon Sling.

The Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 pistol is an expression of attention to detail. Out of the box, each component has been selected, trimmed, and/or tuned into a complete system: from the spring and buffer weight, to the trigger finger index point on the billet lower receiver. What isn't made in-house is selected for its contribution to the system as a whole. The result is a one-stop purchase that draws from the collective improvement of the AR-15.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56
The Burn Proof Gear Rail Wrap is not necessary for comfortable operation of the firearm but provides benefits in both cold weather and during high-round-count days at the range.

A 10.5-inch CrMoV Barrel, with a carbine length gas system rides inside a slim aluminum rail: Picatinny on top with M-Lok the remainder of the circumference. A VG6 Gamma muzzle brake has replaced the classic birdcage flash hider, and in concert with the upgraded H2 Buffer and Spring co buffer spring, produces a flat shooting firearm.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56
The VG6 Gamma Muzzle Brake includes both side and top ports.

Cox Arms upper and lower receivers fit together with absolutely no rattle. The magwell is beveled, the trigger guard includes more space for gloved hands and lightening cuts. An ambidextrous charging handle and safety give some measure of both-handedness to the Cox Arms Wulf 5.56, covering the most important bases.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56
The Cox Arms magwell is double beveled, for an easier, faster reload.

Instead of an A2 Grip, a 15-degree MFT pistol grip gives the user a more natural wrist angle. The brace by Gear Head Works defines it as an AR Pistol by contemporary standards. From front to back, each piece is an improvement on earlier models.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 charging handle
The Ambidextrous Charging Handle balances well between large enough to use under pressure, and small enough not to snag on other gear.

One esoteric subject that comes forward from time to time, is bolt carrier design, specifically when considering carrier tilt. While moreso a concern for gas-piston operated AR-15's, the shape of the bolt can contribute to accelerated wear on the firearm's internals, as the directional pressure placed on the carrier forces it downward. In addition to a premium both, the carrier features an adjusted surface area, most notably with less mass on the forward section sidewalls, paired with a fuller rear ring. Instead of arguing for more or less surface area, Cox Arms responded with better surface area, resulting in smoother operation and improved internal lifetime.

At The Range

Like a well-played symphony, each element that constitutes the Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 pistol sings together, exemplifying just how far the AR-15 has come. In a 2-2-4-2-2 drill, both the front end and back end recoil feel comfortably reduced and controllable, testifying to the sincronism of components. While the muzzle device and gas system regulate the front end, the spring and buffer tuning handle the back.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 phantom hill CTR-1
The Phantom Hill CTR-1 includes both a light and an IR laser/illuminator combo.

The positive controls of the Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 look down on the milspec standard of the past, and for good measure. Harsh and sharp where needed, and beveled and soft where appropriate, the attention to detail comes out. While the ergonomics of the AR-15 are not drastically changed, the small adjustments add up for a more assertive experience.

Summary // Evaluation

In a time of both DIY and boutique AR-15's, the Cox Arms plays neither game but focuses on performance. While that claim can be made by many, when it is pulled off, we can appreciate the time spent behind the scenes. In an example of the whole being greater than a sum of the parts, the Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 shows that the AR-15 has come a long way, and with this pistol, a very long way, specifically in the component selection. Not all parts are created equal, and not all combinations turn out well.

With each component made in the USA, we can recognize that value, but it is fulfilled in the choice of each piece. In a market flooded with both budget and exceptional AR-15's the Cox Arms Wulf 5.56 is best looked at as a one-stop shop for both a home defense firearm and competition piece. The tuning and timing act like the latter, and suggest that what comes from Cox Arms will be all you need. The combination of barrel length and rail do not always facilitate a suppressor, but that's not what this firearm has aimed at. Instead, it stands as an optimized AR-15 as-is.

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56

Chambered In: 5.56 NATO
Weight Unloaded: 5.8 lbs
Colors Available: Black, OD Green, FDE, Grey, SOCOM Blue, Ral-8000, Midnight Bronze, 3-Color Camo.
MSRP: $1,900 for Solid Colors, $2,200 for 3-Color Camo.

Above Build:

Cox Arms Wulf 5.56: $1,900 //
Phantom Hill Designs CTR-1: $800 //
Burn Proof Gear Rail Wrap: $80 //
Vortex Razor MRDS: $500 //
Vortex Spitfire HD Gen II 3x Prism Scope: $550 //
Armor Arms Dual Adjust Sling: $60-65 //

Total: $3,890

More on AR-15s, Buildsheets, and Suppressors

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