GWACS Armory to produce CAV-15 MKII

GWACS Armory, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the company that purchased the tools, dies and rights to manufacturer of the CAV-15 MKII polymer AR-15 lowers. They are also honoring the warranty of the CAV-15 MKII produced by Cavalry Arms

The specifications will be identical to the version made by Cavalry Arms. The CAV-15 MKII stripped Lower with take down pins will sell for $199. The lower with pins, MIL-SPEC trigger group, 5.56mm carbine buffer and spring will sell for $299.

[ Many thanks to Dude for emailing us the tip. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


Advertisement

  • Reverend Clint

    and yet you can still get either a plum crazy or new frontier for half the price. Plus with those you have more options.

    • Bryan S.

      But with these you get the stock, and less chances of cracking than with the Plum Crazy. There are a lot of pictures about those lowers breaking because of lack of reinforcement where the grip mount meets the buffer tube threads.

    • Yes it is cheaper, but, slow videography on youtube shows that the Plum Crazy Lower FLEXES and goes out of line when fired on the receiver extension/Rear Receiver Bridge Area. to my eye this looks to be at least 5-7mm out of alinement . for a power level cartridge like the 223/5.56 this isnt a good thing, and I wouldnt trust this lower for use with larger bore rounds such as 6.5 grendel/7.62×39/300AAC/300BLACKOUT as an upper trade. the receiver was notably reinforced in the interior of the trigger pocket to address this, but it still is a point of potential failure. compared to this, the added parts needed can make the plum crazy complete, the cost involved would be very close when compared to the CAV-15 MKII.

      the CAV-15 MKII / GWACS doesn’t use an additional Alloy Receiver Extension, or a separate Pistol Grip, as they are a part of the receiver clamshells, sonic welded to a complete unit. it’s also got the advantage for using readily available AR-15 parts with one minor exception, to retain the buffer retainer pin and spring, it uses a small steel roll pin driven in from an outside hole. retainer parts are not needed to function, the assembly/disassembly is a little more difficult, however reliable functioning is completely unaffected.

      otherwise, full parts compatibility exists between the CAV-15 MKII, and standard Alloy AR-15 LOWER RECEIVERS.

      the CAV-15 MKII/GWAC accepts all AR-15 Fire Control Parts, and
      TIMNEY/WILSON/GOLD TRIGGER and other Companies trigger packs.

      Plum Crazy states to use **only** ‘their installed PLASTIC FIRE CONTROL PARTS exclusively’. they also do not give a reason why you cannot use MIL SPEC Hammers, or the Excellent Tuned Aftermarket Trigger/Hammer Sets Geissele SSA units, but the CAV-15 MKII will let you.
      also, CAV-15 MKII units have been torture tested in excess of 50K and that particular gun is still shooting and has not failed using all metal parts.

      more information will become available soon.. stay tuned

      • Reverend Clint

        you can use different fire group but only if you swap out everything

  • Brad

    I hope they come in a little under that price… Seems kinda high when compared to the 80 dollar lowers and 45 dollar buffertube/stock/recoil assembly deal you can grab off of aimsurplus.

  • Reverend Clint that sure wasnt waht I have heard in all my sourcing of information, they state, do not use the metal parts.
    no explanation…just dont, or I think they said void a warrentee.
    I dont remember the whole quote.

    • Reverend Clint

      i swear i ready as long as you dont mix and match the polymer parts with non stock metal parts you can do it

  • NickB

    It looks pretty cool, but I hope ugly colors don’t catch on(think racegun)

  • GreenPlease

    I’d also like to see these lowers at a lower price point. I can build a complete lower from a parts kit and a stripped aluminum lower for ~$225. The production cost of the CAV-15 is pretty damn low (compared to machining an aluminum lower, injection molding a stock, injection molding a grip, extruding a buffer tube, etc.). There’s absolutely no reason the CAV-15 MKII couldn’t be sold for $199 complete. GWACS would still make a killing at that price IMO and they’d sell a lot more of them.

    I was just about to buy three NFA polymer lowers. A buddy of mine has one and I was pretty impressed by it. It’s not the same thing as a PC polymer lower (which I’ve also handled). With that said, I’m still weary about the interface between the buffer tube and the lower. They need to beef that area up. In all honesty, I’d rather buy a CAV-15 MKII for $200 than an NFA lower for $100. At the $300 price point I’d stick to conventional aluminum lowers.

    • Other Steve

      NFA = lifetime purchase
      Polymer AR lower = disposable

      Error…. Does Not Compute

      • GreenPlease

        NFA= New Frontier Armory in my post. Sorry for the confusion.

      • Other Steve

        Ah, yes that is confusing. Makes more sense now.

  • Jeff Smith

    Has anyone here had much experience with Calvary Arms lowers? I know a lot of people swear by them, but do they have any advantages over a regular, Mil-Spec AR lower? The price ($299) seems a little steep. I’ve seen new, complete lowers going for that price or less.

    Anyways, It’s always nice to see a good product back on the market!

    • I got one of the last CavArms lowers off the prize table at the Superstition Mountain 3 Gun two years ago, and while I don’t have a high round count thru it yet, I like it a lot.

      It’s *light*: The whole rig including 3 point sling and 16″ barrel is a smidge over 6 pounds. The trend in AR’s seems to swinging from 12 pound zombie ubër-killers loaded up with railed accessories to lighter carbines that are easier to carry, and a polymer lower sure helps save weight.

  • GreenPlease

    Also, how would run a single-point sling on this lower?

    • there is a slot in the lower edge of the butt stock for just that purpose. but this is a young company and I’d think them doing a revision in that vein will not be a problem.

  • dave

    I would like a buck forty nine for a price point with a option for an adjustable stock- at $299 this competes with alum. lowers that everyone makes. Its plastic, finished cost- so say cost w. marketing is 10-13 – then to wholesale at 75 retail to $149, with margins on guns at the retail level, this is killer margin for stores.
    Even at the 299, it could be accretive for magpul, the plastic king to pick them up early. At the higher price they could show demand and have their backers take some money of the table while they wait to sell the company, or throw the money into marketing hype to build the market. surprised they don’t have a patio furniture green.

    • the point of this unit is weight.. you arent bolting ten additional parts on.
      you’ve also lost the purchase price for such items and I personally dont use a “mil spec” receiver extension, I like and have started to use exclusively, the excellent PWS PRIMARY WEAPONS SYSTEMS Receiver Extention on my M4 style rifles. so my costs have accordingly run up a lot when I built my franken stoner project, link here;
      http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9AE031A91B383726&feature=plcp
      that rifle has a dpms alloy lower which is probably the LEAST expensive component. but then again in my particular state of residence, you cannot touch an alloy lower for less then sub two hundred dollars, that doesnt include the FCG, or buffer tube.
      and I know a lot of gun store owners, who wouldnt give me one for much cheaper, even with the friend/good customer discount.
      for a two hundred base price, a parts kit and buffer and spring for the CAV-15 MKII as a fully ready to fire weapon is way more gun, then the more then three hundred dollars spent built on a conventional alloy receiver build.
      I may be a bit biased, as I already own two CAV-ARMS CAV-15 MKII’s.. and I cannot wait to see how they compare to GWACS version..
      so if I am guilty of being a fan boy who thinks built in colors is cool.. oh well, I hope I’m not alone.

  • Darrel

    Pretty in pink, hehe. Too expensive for a Polymer though.

    • people said that about “the plastic Glock pistol” , and they still sell like mad.

  • Lance

    Nice to see them back a A1 style polymer lower just no cammo colors yet?? Looks good though.

  • Esh325

    I really do like the idea of a polymer lower AR15. It is not in anyway bullshit claim that polymer can be stronger then aluminum or steel in some applications, research it. That is assuming this lower is properly designed. People shouldn’t let the failures of other polymer lowers affect their view on this one. The price point is very steep though. There isn’t really any good reason as to why this costs so much.

    • An Engineer

      I did research just that for a few years (engineering degree) and you are about 5% right. One of the strongest engineered plastics is glass-filled-nylon (such as Zytel), in which 30% filled (which is only 70% plastic at this point) has a tensile strength of 20,300 psi. The standard grade of aluminum (6061) has a tensile strength of 42,000 psi and the cheapest standard grade of steel (mild steel or 1018) has a tensile strength of 63,800 psi. As a side note: these lowers are made from Nylon 6 (no note of any filler used) which has a widely varying tensile strength depending on factors, but cannot exceed about 12,000 psi without glass filler!

      Glass filler rips up your tooling at a very highly accelerated rate…

      Extremely expensive plastics that are usually only made into films and cost thousands of dollars per pound (Cirlex, Kapton, etc.) just barely make it into the low 30 ksi levels, or about 2/3 the strength of 6061 aluminum.

      On top of all that, all plastics fatigue eventually due to repeated applications of force, no matter what magnitude of force is applied. All steels (and most titanium alloys) can be designed with infinite life so they can take repeated stress forever. All plastics will eventually fail.

      Last, but not least, plastics break down due to UV light. Some are worse than others, but the sun tends to significantly break down and weaken plastics. UV blockers can be added, but these add cost and eventually break down themselves.

      To the main topic: I think this is an awesome application for engineered plastics, I am thinking about getting one myself. Please don’t confuse a great application for plastic (when designed correctly) with plastic being stronger than aluminum or steel. I’m not trying to slam you, I’m just trying to correct one of those many false statements on the internet.

      • Esh325

        Where are your sources to back up your claim?

        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2307&page=109

        “One such fiber, poly(paraphenylene terephthalamide), was found to have a tensile strength higher than that of a steel fiber of the same dimensions, yet it weighs one-fifth as much. The commercial development of this product was a long and very expensive process. More than 12 capital-intensive steps are required to convert the basic aromatic feedstocks into a strong polymer.”

        “Fibers like KevlarTM , carbon fiber and nylon tend to have stress-strain curves like the aqua-colored plot in the graph above. Like the rigid plastics, they are more strong than tough, and don’t deform very much under tensile stress. But when strength is what you need, fibers have plenty of it. They are much stronger than plastics, even the rigid ones, and some polymeric fibers, like KevlarTM, carbon fiber and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene have better tensile strength than steel.”

        http://pslc.ws/macrog/mech.htm

      • Another Engineer

        I think his sources are his degree. Explaining the workings of fibre composites to non-engineers would be quite difficult.

        Polyparaphenylene terephthalamide is just another name for Kevlar or Aramid. When you manage to form kevlar in a mold into the shape of a lower, let me know, because I think you’d find it would be like a glass lower. It might be stronger than steel an aluminium, but in reality, that’s only it’s tensile strength. In order to make the most of this high tensile strength, you need to place the fibers in a matrix. This is where you need a polymer such as nylon to support the fibers. As An Engineer has already stated, maximum fibre volume fraction for randomly oriented short strand fibre composites is about 30%. Which is really not alot.

        “Fibers like KevlarTM , carbon fiber and nylon tend to have stress-strain curves like the aqua-colored plot in the graph above. Like the rigid plastics, they are more strong than tough, and don’t deform very much under tensile stress. But when strength is what you need, fibers have plenty of it. They are much stronger than plastics, even the rigid ones, and some polymeric fibers, like KevlarTM, carbon fiber and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene have better tensile strength than steel.”

        Once again, the key word there is “Fibers”. It’s very difficult to form solid components using kevlar and carbon. These fibres need to be set into a matrix in order to make the most of their high tensile strengths.

        By the way, where I come from, fiber is spelt fibre. Before you comment on my spelling.

      • An Engineer

        As the other engineer stated, you are discussing extremely expensive engineered fibers. The quote you posted actually states “They are much stronger than plastics” which is why they are added to plastics to increase tensile strength.

        The quote you posted states “ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene have better tensile strength than steel.” which is a complete fabrication no where near the truth. I use UHMW all the time for wear applications. It’s an awesome engineered plastic, but at the end of the day, it’s just candle wax with much larger molecular chains. UHMW will creep under any load, meaning a press fit pin one day is a slip fit pin the next day. After machining, it is common practice to use a steel knife blade to deburr the UHMW parts. UHMW has an incredible wear resistance, but I have never seen the best stuff exceed 7,000 psi in it’s tensile strength (common tool steels are over 100,000 psi in tensile).

        Once again, I’m not trying to be Mr. Know-It-All, I just hate to see statements like “plastic is stronger than steel” not refuted on the internet.

      • Bryan S.

        What about forged carbon composites such as those being used in the auto industry? Ive read about them being used bu McLearan and Lamborghini.. and the idea interests me a lot.

  • Brandon

    Nice. Glad it’s up and running again. I wish they’d make one with a receiver extension so you could use a collapsible stock.

  • I have three Cav Arms lowers made into rifles. My original one split at the seams and was replaced with the MkII version. Never had any problem with the MkII ones. They were much cheaper when Cav Arms was making them. You could find them from $100-150 pretty regularly. They do make into really comfortable to shoot, light weight carbines.

    • Brad

      Exactly. I understand they are a new company and need to recoup costs but you can’t recoup costs if you aren’t selling product. When you can build your own Al lower for substantially less, whats the point? I get it lighter and everything, but is it worth 75-100 bucks less because its slightly lighter?

  • John Doe

    Do they make purple uppers? I need my purple AR-15 fix.

  • I talk about some of the advantages of the CAV-15 here: http://sinistralrifleman.com/2012/04/06/cav-15-polymer-lower-receivers/

  • Netforce

    I’m surprised they don’t have the Olive Green color.

    • Dude…give them time.
      it’s going to be epic, the colors available.

      • tommy2rs

        The colors will be all fun and games until they make the now seemingly obligatory “zombie” version….lol.

  • fred

    mm.. how much lighter are they?
    The strength issues mentioned are a concern.
    The price does not seem too appealing..
    I would not be surprised if this co can’t make it work either..

    • the assembled lower is VERY light, quick guess.. barely half the weight.
      I was assembling them, and went to a hardware store with one lower in a very light back pack looking for a particular sized tension pin. it felt like almost nothing was in the back pack. in fact, the straps kept slipping off my shoulder since the payload was almost like carrying an EMPTY back pack.
      they are very strong, Russell Phagan above had one, encounter an accident and the two gun bag had his CAV ARMS lower equipped rifle, and his still shot when they go to the destination and tested them.
      the ALLOY Equipped rifle had broken in two, and was unusable..

      • Other Steve

        That’s the thing though, why you would want a super-light assembled lower when all the remaining weight is going to be unbalanced in the upper makes no sense to me.

        I’d rather a 7lb gun that’s perfectly balanced than a 5.5lb gun that’s completely front end heavy.

      • d.a.

        This is actually directed at Other Steve: balancing a cav arms lower is totally doable, but you have to be intentional about it.
        I found that with a cleaning kit in the butt-stock compartment and a DD 16″ lightweight upper (no flashlights or other extra forward weight) my carbine was actually a bit rear-heavy if anything.

        Now I’m running the weight equivalent of gov’t profile 20″ barrel upper (again no flashlights or anything) and the rifle is almost perfectly balanced, only slightly front-heavy. I’m planning on switching to a 20″ lightweight (A1 style) upper setup with a small flashlight and I imagine this should balance pretty well.

        As for the strength question: we can see from actual experience that cav arms lowers as a general rule stand up to regular shooting conditions and even occasionally survive situations that might have broken aluminum units. Most cav arms owners really appreciate their lowers.

        At the same time a very, very small number of owners have reported catastrophic failures (breaking into many pieces) for no obvious reason as well as splitting of the sonic welded joints, which is not something you see happening with a standard aluminum receiver.

        Seems to me that overall they are a durable product, but if your main concern is absolute reliability no matter what, then go with the industry/military standard.

        • W7LPN- do you need a special butt plate to use the stock as storage? It would be nice if it could be easily opened in the field.

  • Esh325

    Everything I’ve read so far indicts that advanced polymers can be just as strong or stronger than steel. I don’t claim to be an expert either, but I haven’t read a single piece of information that supports your statements.

    • fred

      mmm engineer says aluminum is about twice as strong..
      I don’t think arguing that plastic is “as strong or stronger” will get the fans any support..
      There are advantages but strength can not really be claimed to be one of them..
      How much lighter are they? Assuming a similar stock etc?
      I seem to recall that it was only a matter of a few ounces..
      Not too compelling…
      But if you like them buy them..

  • kzrkp

    plans for a version without the integrated stock?

    • Nick Pacific

      A few hit the market without the stock from other companies. They have a tendency to crack at the buffer tube. There’s a lot of stress at that point. The Cav Arms design is the safe bet for polymer lowers.

    • Short answer…YES!!!
      Shel was very insistent about that, it was in the works.
      stand by..

  • Zach

    I’m very glad to see these back in production. However I agree that $199 is a bit steep for the stripped lower, especially compared to what MKIIs were going for a year or two ago.

    I’ve had a MKII for a couple years and am happy with it, but the A1 stock length is still longer than ideal. If GWACS is reading this, what I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT is some form of the MKIII that Cav Arms had previewed. Something with a stock length 1-2″ shorter than an A1, for the modern shooting stance. My $0.02.

    • Shel, is taking all suggestions, and I’ll pass this along.
      thanks for the interest.

  • Mike Knox

    It looks like an adult toy molded into an AR-15 lower..

  • Beaumont

    If they can lower the price, I’d like one in UT Orange to put a .22 upper on.

  • Grey

    I have a CAV-15MKII lower with a DPMS upper. It’s bright blue. Works fine. Light and comfortable to shoot. Accuracy is decent.

    No one wanted it, so I happened to pick it up cheap. No complaints. I will probably pick up another from GWACS.

  • Matt G.

    Figures. We finally get a gun company in Tulsa and they’re making these things.

  • Windy Wilson

    And Sugarman and others begin screaming about how this is a rifle undetectable in airport x-ray machines in –3 –2 –1 –?

    It might be out of balance compared to a regular AR, but I definitely want to take one to the range.