Hands-on with the Black Rain Norguard .308

Black Rain's Norguard, chambered in .308

Black Rain's Norguard, chambered in .308

Before I talk about my favorite gun from SHOT Show’s Media Day, I need to make a confession in order to set some context: I’m completely new to the AR platform. I grew up hunting, and until very recently, all of the guns that I own and shoot are classic hunting guns with wooden stocks.

So to set the scene, my entire body was frozen (it was 23F on the thermometer, and probably below zero with the wind chill at the range), and the all-stainless, .308-chambered Black Rain Norguard that company president Justin Harvel handed me was to be the second AR-style rifle I’d ever shot. I then proceeded to put 8 out of 10 shots onto the small steel at 100 yards, and that was with me flinching a bit on the first two because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the gun. Yeah, the Trijicon scope helped (I’ll find out tomorrow exactly which model this gun had on it), and the AR-15 itself is legendary for being newb-friendly, but a lot of the credit has to go to Black Rain for making a .308 that’s this insanely shootable. The Norguard is a very accurate, fun-to-shoot, finely finished firearm, and the moment I got up from the bench I asked how soon I could get hold of one of these.

Right now, Black Rain’s order queue is backed up until November, so it’ll be a while before I see one. However, another Black Rain rep that I talked to said that the company hand’t quite finalized its release schedule and plans for tackling the order backlog, so I may be able to get more color on availability later in the week. If I do, I’ll be sure to post an update.

I was also gratified to hear Harvel say that Black Rain isn’t jacking up prices to the moon in order to cash in on the current panic, and that any sky-high prices that people are seeing for his guns in the channel are the dealers’ fault. I think this is noble, and as someone who picked an epically bad time to get into black rifles, I certainly appreciate any efforts to keep costs down. But I’m also a capitalist who finds it hard to fault a manufacturer for charging what the market will bear, so if Harvel does decide to goose his prices up, I won’t hate him for it.

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Bill J has done many things, but his latest project is his favorite: IronSights.com, a search engine for guns, ammo, optics, and shooting accessories. He also writes for AllOutdoor.com.


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  • Esh325

    You can always look at other .308 AR’s if you don’t want to wait for this one, there are many other good .308 AR’s to choose from.