Windham Weaponry unveiled a new prototype carbon fiber AR-15 at SHOT Show 2013. It caught my eye because I recently assembled my first AR, and one of my primary design goals was to keep it lightweight.
As an average sized female, I am not particularly graced with upper body strength. Any extended shooting with a long gun (rifle or shotgun) in excess of 8lbs results in my arms tiring, and ultimately less range time (compared to shooting pistols), so, for my arm strength, a lighter rifle equates to more trigger time.
At the time of my AR build, I was hard-pressed to find many solid weight-saving upper and lower receiver options, and I ended up with a (more or less) standard aluminum billet upper (Daniel Defense DDM4V7) and lower (LMT Defender). While I could have gone with polymer components, I’m just not fond of them. It’s subjective, I know, but they don’t appeal to me.
Windham’s Carbon Fiber AR-15 uses a carbon fiber and polymer composite material to form a sturdy, but lightweight upper and lower receiver. As an AR, it accepts standard AR parts (barrel, grip, trigger, etc.), providing that high degree of customization for which modern sporting rifles are known. However, the new material allows Windham to lower the price from their standard rifles (although, a set MSRP is yet to be determined for this prototype), and shave several ounces off of receiver weight.
As an average-sized female, I appreciate a rifle that is less physically taxing to wield that I can easily modify as my shooting needs and preferences evolve. I look forward to the opportunity to evaluate this prototype carbon fiber AR-15 and examine the results of comprehensive reliability testing.
How do you think this material will hold up to real-world abuse?