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First Look – the KP15 Polymer AR Lower Receiver

Making handgun frames out of plastic is nothing new, and just about every manufacturer in the market today has mastered the craft of producing a functional polymer frame that's lightweight, robust and long-lasting. Up until this point, adapting polymer to America's favorite rifle however has been a different story. For many, a polymer ar lower seemed outside the realm of reasonable possibility. 
Taking the familiar shape of the AR15 lower receiver and rendering it in plastic usually results in a catastrophic failure at either the buffer tube threads, or through the rear takedown pin hole. The different mechanical properties of aluminum and glass-filled nylon virtually guarantee it, and reinforcing these areas usually only delays the inevitable.

Polymer AR Lower History

Colt first recognized this in the 1960s, and produced a polymer version of the M16 which integrated the buffer tube and stock, along with the receiver in an attempt to address this shortcoming, but it never went in to full production as they already had the tooling set up to make Stoner's design in alloy. Cav Arms and later, GWACS Armory riffed on this idea, and for a short while this century made polymer AR receivers which at the time were well-received by the shooting community. Cav Arms landed in hot water with the ATF and GWACS disappeared from the face of the earth after letting their FFL lapse, which left a hole in the market. Enter KE Arms.

 

By teaming up with Ian McCollum and Karl Kasarda from InRange TV, the group set out to address some of the shortcomings of a polymer AR lower and improve on what came before. We got a first look at serial number 00003, which is a pre production specimen and very much a work in progress.

First Impressions

KE Arms KP15 Polymer receiver

Unfortunately, we couldn't get our hands on serial 01, but this will do

We were prepared to be underwhelmed and expecting something flimsy and delicate. And we were wrong. This is a seriously chunky and robust lower – it feels like you could run it over with a garbage truck and the truck would come off worst for the experience. Because it's a pre production unit, the surfaces are shiny and show some of the internal structure, which hints at reinforcing webs throughout the buttstock area. “We're still refining the mold at this time, and most of the surfaces of the production guns will have a rougher, sandblasted texture,” said KE Arms' Russell Phagan, who is leading the project. (Full disclosure; Phagan has written for RECOIL in the past).

There have been a few small modifications to the AR's architecture in order to accommodate the change in materials, but the layout is basically the same one we're all familiar with. For example, the safety selector's in the same location and operates identically to that in an aluminum lower, but its detent is now inserted from the top, rather than being held in place by the pistol grip. “By molding the entire lower as a unit, we've eliminated seven components and made it much stronger,” claimed Phagan.


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KP15 weight

At only 25.5 ounces for a complete lower, the KP15 is likely to find favor with anyone building an ultralight AR

AR15 lower weight

This is pretty typical for a carbine lower – almost 10 ounces heavier than the KP15

One of the benefits of a polymer lower can be seen when you put it on the scales. In comparison to a standard carbine lower, this one comes in around 10 ounces lighter, though it does sacrifice the ability to adjust length of pull. “We found that in the majority of cases, this wasn't such a big deal,” says Phagan. “Most people end up setting their collapsible stocks at the A1 length and leave it there. Maybe Stoner was on to something.” For those who want a longer LOP, KE Arms plans to offer spacer kits to bump out the butt pad.

We plan on shooting the hell out of the KP15 polymer AR lower in the upcoming weeks, and will report on the final design when it goes into production in early September. Brownells is currently accepting pre orders for anyone who wants to get in on the action, and at an MSRP of 90 bucks, it may be worth a shot for those looking for something different for their next build.


More on the KP-15

  • Find more details from KE Arms' first announcement here.
  • We took it full auto, here's the RECOILtv experience.


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20 responses to “First Look – the KP15 Polymer AR Lower Receiver”

  1. R Shackleford says:

    It looks interesting. Too bad Karl Kasarda of InRange is such an unhinged nutcase that I can’t support it. He openly hates the gun community and yesterday started shit talking Palmetto State Armory (along with throwing in a dig at Republicans).

    I’ll never support anything with him behind it.

  2. Mike says:

    Karl Kasarda hates the Gun Community.Thats news to me.Explain please.

    • N. Dave says:

      He thinks racism is bad, and wearing face masks during a global pandemic is good. Some people take those opinions as personal attacks.

      • ShootingtheBull says:

        Karl has posted videos hosting Deviant Ollam, who is clearly an Antifa sympathizer.

        Karl has participated with The Satanic Temple, Silenced InRangeTV to join the #Muted Movement to promote BLM. Openly mocks the free market, considers the Aunt Jemima / Uncle Ben’s logos racist and oppressive, berates and belittles anyone opposing mandatory masks and now has his polyamorous girlfriend contributing to InRangeTV Videos when she isn’t with her other boyfriend. Karl is part of the “woke” SJW crowd.

        • John says:

          In what world is any of what you just wrote related to the gun community? Nothing you just said has ANYTHING to do with guns.

        • Dan says:

          Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

        • Joe says:

          You lost me at The Satanic Temple lol

          So this is a AR crafted by the devil himself? I’ll have to get one, if just for the historic and novelty value of having a true “evil black rifle”!

    • R Shackleford says:

      There are the numerous negative statements he’s made on InRange’s Facebook page specifically naming “the gun community.” He’s also included conservatives in many of those as well. You can go look those up for yourself, they really aren’t hard to find.

      For Dave down there tossing in the ‘only racists and idiots don’t like him’ argument: Karl is an extremist. Want an example? On Youtube he told an InRange fan that he hopes they die for saying crowd immunity was the best solution to the pandemic.

      • Farah says:

        I’ve watched inrange for a few years so I was skeptical and looked for myself. I had to go back a little ways to find what you were talking about….. and then I found it. I really wish I hadn’t.

  3. Mike says:

    Well thanks guys.I had no idea he supported all those causes.I also cannot support someone who supports BLM or Antfa.That would mean he hates Police Officers ,I will never listen to anymore In Ranges where he is a part.Blue lives matter much more.What about Ian Mccollum.

    • John says:

      He’s never supported Antifa. Some trolls are saying that because he once spoke with someone who may be an Antifa supporter. That’s like saying I’m a Mormon because my neighbor is.

      And I’ve never heard him say anything anti police. You can be for both the police and arming the public.

  4. Derrell says:

    Karl’s not an Antifa supporter and doesn’t support people who threaten others or burn down buildings. I’ve never seen him say anything anti-police. He’s called out parts of “the gun community” but sometimes small segments need to get called out. And hey, if you disagree, that’s your prerogative. I do know he has been a major promoter of shooting sports and ran matches where he lives and beyond for many years and done so on his own dime. That said, and as far as I can tell, KE Arms took inspiration from what InRange TV created in the “What Would Stoner Do” project a few years ago and the void pointed out in quality AR polymer lowers. I’ve been shocked no one did it sooner. And it is my “understanding” that the KP-15 would have come about with or without InRange’s promoting it recently. Maybe I’m wrong. But I’m not going cancel my order because I might disagree with what one of two people who inspired a product “might” have said.

  5. Pat Jr says:

    Good. I sure hope they are antifasicts. Both my grandpa’s killed facists in ww2. Honorable to say the least. Y’all idiots thing BLM and antifasicts are bad? Wow. Dont let the greatest generation hear ya. I’ll buy a few of these kp15 lowers, sure seems like free market to me.. Cancel culture and crying about other people’s words not actions sure seems hypocritical. If all ya got is what aboutism and deflection then you really have nothing, no thoughts of your own….sad

    • Lukas says:

      Antifa = Antifaschistische Aktion – Originated in Germany, started by members of the Communist Party. The current iteration of Antifa (state-side) identify with anarchism and communism.

      Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has described herself and organization as “trained Marxists”.

      These are the organizations and individuals instigating and causing violence/rioting in the streets.

      It is quite humorous to see individuals regurgitating Antifa’s propaganda that “my grandpappy was an antifascist and ran up the beach to kill him fascists” ignoring the clear connection between Antifa and Communism. Or perhaps your grandpappy was a Communist? Either way, I wouldn’t generalize the greatest generation of Americans as all being Communist sympathizers.

      Nothing wrong with individuals voicing their opinion over the direction Karl has taken InRangeTV and opt out of supporting InRangeTV or any products they are associated with. Many individuals still refuse to purchase Springfield Armory products do to their political fiasco in the state of Illinois and the perception that Springfield Armory didn’t stand for the 2nd Amendment.

      Looking back at InRangeTV’s history it is peculiar that InRangeTV took a stance and participated in the #Muted (BLM) Movement yet has never taken a stance in defiance or in defense of the 2nd Amendment that I have seen. Among the numerous gun control attempts over the years, has InRangeTV ever openly taken a stance? When gun control bills loomed in the state of Virginia, the vast majority of firearm related channels covered the topic / at least mentioned it and took a stance/raised awareness. Nothing from InRangeTV at all.

      Checking who InRangeTV openly follows on twitter, reading InRangeTV’s YouTube replies to individuals that oppose mask mandates and calling them “trash” seeing FaceBook topics made by InRangeTV calling out Palmetto State Armory over e-mail errors and making sure to mention MAGA lowers sheds more light InRangeTV’s true political leanings.

      So, buy away Comrade Pat Jr.

    • Joe says:

      Antifa ≠ Anti fascist
      Antifa actually uses force to silence any voices they don’t agree with, including voices of Jewish speakers, black speakers, etc. That forced silence, well that’s a major pillar of fascism for those who took a few hours worth of history

  6. Combat Medic says:

    Hilarious to see all these people in the comments. Imagine opposing wearing a mask during a pandemic and opposing the modern day civil rights movement and thinking you’re on the right side of history. Move along boomer, your ‘golden age of ignorance is bliss’ is over and the harsh realities of a public health crisis and class disparity is what your seeing on the news, I’m sorry it makes you uncomfortable. I fully support Karl and InRangeTV for standing up for what’s right, it’s a shame our ‘Gun Community’ has a record of hateful racist bigots

  7. Joe says:

    I’m not hip to all the gossip, about In reach, and no one posted a link, so meh, per antifa..calling yourself anti fascist makes you a anti fascist as much as calling myself a NBA player makes me LeBron James lol. The forcefully silence opposition that right there is a major pillar of fascism, and not conducive to American values.
    BLM, well it appears most of the violent members are white people, like the child rape guy, the guy who beat his girlfriend and the burgers who attacked Kyle for trying to put out arsonists fires…

    Per the gun, looks cool, not sure 10oz would get me to sacrifice my stock and grip options though. Ether way very cool idea and I’d love to see how it performs on a concept built rifle in some matches.

  8. Deviant Ollam says:

    Boy it doesn’t take much for some of you muffins to start bawlin’ and fill your diapers, does it?

    Makes for some hilarious reading, but it doesn’t really advance 2nd Amendment rights, though.

    Have fun yelling about things many of you clearly don’t understand. I’ll be over here with a glass of whiskey building another rifle.

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