Gun Review: KAVOD Custom KVD-15

IMG_4772

The great Phil White let me know a couple of weeks back that a fantastic custom AR15 maker was eager to send me a test rifle so that I could experience first hand what their company is all about. Since I started writing for TFB, I have reviewed four AR style firearms and none of them have impressed me as much as the KVD-15 by KAVOD Custom, a boutique AR-15 manufacturer located in Vidalia, Georgia. Kavod in Hebrew is a greeting in the IDF that roughly translates to “with honor”, which to me is pretty neat. When I got in touch with them, they asked what I wanted on the rifle. Not just what kind of stock or other easily changed part, but internals, bolt, trigger, barrel, and anything else I could dream up. This resulted in me receiving the following on my KVD-15 (which they built for me in a day or two):

  • A terrific two-stage trigger that has one of the cleanest breaks I have ever experienced with an AR-15 style rifle
  • An M16 nickel-boron bolt carrier group
  • Stainless 5.56 national match barrel with a 1:8 twist
  • Odin Works aluminum rail system
  • Bravo Company charging handle
  • Magpul grip and magazines

So great, I received a rifle with all the makings of a fantastic lead slinger. The prominently displayed Hebrew characters on the receiver also look neat, and the testing conditions were coincidentally like a day in the Negev: windy, sandy, and hot. I threw on an Eotech and a 3x magnifier to test the gun:

IMG_4775

A group of friends and I took the rifle with us to celebrate the safe return of one of our buddies from Afghanistan, and we all got to beat on it pretty hard:

IMG_4712

I worked that two stage trigger as fast as I could, and the rifle chugged along perfectly. I also set out to make some noise by hitting the steel ringers at the 100 yard mark:

IMG_4729

My friends also very much liked the rifle, and all gave it a go:

IMG_4761

My friend CJ even brought out his M16 lower and we have the upper a try on full auto. Needless to say, the gun performed flawlessly when turning money into noise at 700 rounds per minute.

After a good day of shooting, it was time to give the gun a rest. All in all, the gun was shot about 200 times:

IMG_4770

With all the chaos of us blasting away, I did not have time for a great accuracy test that day, so I had to go back and shoot again for distance.

All shots were taken with PPU 55 grain at 100 yards with an Eotech + 3x magnifier:

target

Photo taken from a previous article to show distance from the bench.

I always have a hard time sighting in just right for some reason, but as usual I shot five groups of 5 shots each. Also, unfortunately I did not have a cameraman for this one.

Keep in mind that I am not a benchrest of long distance shooter, but with this gun it made me look like one. While my calipers have decided to crap out on me, I used a quarter to show relative group size. I was able to pull off this:

 

use

I shot a genuine one inch group with this gun, with only 3x of magnification! My worst was about 2.5 inches or so, but three of the groups were under 2″ at 100 yards. With a more experienced distance shooter behind this thing, I bet it could perform like the above target consistently!

I was so surprised by the way this rifle performed in fact, that I got in touch with the people at KAVOD Custom and asked to buy the rifle from them, and to be honest I couldn’t be happier. This AR will do exactly what I want it to, when I want it to.

Anyways, on to my bullet points:

The Good:

  • Light
  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Affordable
  • Nice forend for putting picatinny rails where you want them
  • Excellent trigger
  • Very good looking lower
  • Quality upgrades people usually add themselves
  • Excellent company to work with, and they were always available to answer any questions I had for them (you would think all companies are this way, but unfortunately that isn’t always true)
  • I own it!

The Bad:

  • Some people might prefer keymod or a full picatinny rail
  • The castle nut was not staked (an easy fix, and this may have been intentional to allow the customer to easily change stocks)
  • The stock is an MOE rather than a CTR

The Ugly:

  • ?

All in all, I am thrilled with the performance of this rifle and am very happy to own this gun. The good people at KAVOD are really putting out a quality product, and I would encourage people to give their website a look if you are in the market for a well priced and great performing AR!


Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys. Alex also owns a firearm manufacturing business licensed to produce title I and II weapons.
You can reach Alex at alex.capps@thefirearmblog.c[email protected].


Advertisement

  • Philip Drye

    200 rounds is hardly enough to test out a rifle.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      It is when you’re paying for ammunition.

    • Jeremiah

      All anyone does in the TFB comments is piss and moan.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Sometimes more than others. Hell Alex is right though. As I’ve preached about many times we buy our own ammo so if we did a 500 rounds test it would be pretty costly.
        I always felt 200 is plenty to find out if it’s accurate and reliable.

        • 11b

          Yeah, If its a standard AR then we can assume some base level of reliability. 200 is fine.

          • RickH

            I do agree with you, but if you posted this on M4carbine.net, you’d get run through the ringer.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Then I’m glad it’s not on M4 because Alex is already getting run through the ringer.
            Not knowing Alex you don’t know how he evaluates a gun and he is a hard one to please to the point he’ll purchase a test gun.

          • RickH

            Actually I meant I agree that 200 rds is okay for a quick review. I was referring to all the grief one gets over at that site.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Ahh I understand now and I agree. Seen that many times.
            Thanks

    • 1911a145acp

      Agreed, that’s barely 6 mags. Perhaps the article should be titled-” A brief overview: KAVOD Custom KVD-15″ I appreciate the testers honesty on his round count- Although, I don’t think I have ever fired an even number on the range.

      • iksnilol

        Why not? Wouldn’t it simply drive you mad if you shot only 15,7 or 57 rounds? Or am I unique because of my intolerance for odd numbers?

        Makes mag shopping for pustols hard I will admit.

        • Dan

          I have the same sickness

    • Karina

      Surely you are ready to donate your money to pay for ammunition used in TFB gun tests?…

  • Lon

    I’m leery of a review with so many accolades and no price quoted.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      I linked twice to their website. Prices are right there.

      • lon

        Given that this write-up is labeled as a review, would it not seem like price might be something that would deserve a mention?
        BTW for anyone thinking similar it looks like your paying at least $1200 bucks for a base KVOD out the door. I would expect the rifle reviewed costs significantly more than that.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Some of us provide links giving the readers credit for looking at the website with the gun and adding in what mods they want.
          When I read an article I go to the link look things over then call the company to get the exact price.
          Say somebody reads this 6 months from now and a price is posted. Prices have gone up in the meantime on say barrels so the price is no longer valid then people get mad at us because the price is no longer correct.

          • Sulaco

            It does not take much to add the “current” out the door cost of the product being reviewed to any story.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            You didn’t read the entire comment. Prices now won’t be prices in a few months.

          • Sulaco

            Did so Phil. The negative comments are about the reviewer for what ever reason refusing to list the current price (yes we know it may well change) at the time of the review. Saying well we told you peasants where to go to find out is a cop out and smells like a sales tactic to many of us right or wrong.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            I never considered posting links a sales tactic. It’s just information for the readers. There are a good number of variations so one price doesn’t tell you much about what the final price will be once you’ve chosen the additional parts you want included.

          • Dan

            Perhaps instead of everything being force fed to you, go look up the price yourself. Maybe the writers should just write prices may very depending on location then you all can shut up because the review was not 100 percent perfect. I will tell you this his review was 100 times better than the review you did. Oh wait you don’t do reviews you just come to read read free reviews and piss and moan about them.

  • Jeremiah

    Looks heavy

  • iksnilol

    It took 200 rounds without a scratch? They should make armor out of those.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      I will gladly shoot it a few thousand times if you supply ammunition.

      • iksnilol

        It was a joke, I was kinda implying that you shot the rifle itself. Used it as a target, mainly because I misread one sentence.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

          Ah, my mistake. Thank you for reading the review!

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Yep I missed that one—LOL!

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Not staking the castle nut to me is a classic indication that this is just an assembler of parts, and an amateur one at that. No offense, but if you don’t know to do this you are wrong, if you know to do it and forgot you are wrong, if you think you have a better system like loctite you are wrong. There is no winning here.

    Assembler is not manufacturer. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s hardly note worthy. I can, and have, “built” higher quality ARs in my shop, and I can assure they are assembled correctly, including staking on the gas key and castle nut, proper torque all around, correct gassing, etc.

    Too many people confuse the great characteristics of the AR platform with the skill of the assembler.

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get to select some pre-made parts and get a cookie, there just aren’t enough cookies for that. BCM, Colt, Noveske, LMT, KAC, and a handful of others get cookies, these guys don’t seem to IMO.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      They know how to do it. They explained why they didn’t and it made sense. It’s up to Alex though if he wants to share a private email conversation.

      • Anonymous

        The problem is that anyone who legitimately wants to change the stock can still easily do so even if it’s been staked. It’s not difficult to break loose a properly staked castle nut, but you can be certain that it’s not going to back out on you.

        On the other hand, a completely unstaked nut is pretty much just a matter of time until it loosens up and causes problems. You’re letting a rifle go out the door that’s going to fail, and doing so knowingly. Some might try to justify it, but NotZero is correct – there is no good reason not to do so other than laziness.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          Entirely this.

          Staking is not a once and done thing. Yea, you’ll need a new castle nut… Big Deal!

          Also cringe worthy is they chose a Magpul MOE stock… I’d almost not be surprised to learn they also chose a 6061 and not 7075 aluminum receiver extension. Or maybe it’s not mil-spec but rather commercial.

          • iksnilol

            Mil-spec vs commercial is not a big deal. It simply means “eh, good enough” for the millitary.

            Regarding types of alu, I don’t know. I am not a metallurgist or machinist (though my friend is).

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Not really. Commercial was a joke of an idea to appease potential ban concerns, to create intentional incompatibility. IIRC it’s common to cut the threads in a commercial tube (as well as use 6061 aluminum) vs the stronger rolled threads in a mil-spec tube (as well as the defined TPD of using 7075 aluminum).

            Mil-spec does not mean “good enough for military” it means that all parts, processes, and assembly/torques follow the Technical Data Package that Colt came up with for the military. Thus MILITARY SPECIFICATION.

          • iksnilol

            Just what I said. It follows millitary specification also known as “eh, good enough” as in it will work like it is supposed to since it is made according to plans and data that make sure of this. Both will hold the stock on and shouldn’t break (except if you buttstroke with the stock extended, then you might have problems).

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

            No civilian AR-15 is mil spec.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Oh thanks for that only-technically correct elucidation!

            Aside from a hole in the lower, a pin, spring, and autosear and an additional 1.5″ of barrel length… Which we all know the AR-15 doesn’t have for legal reasons. And none of which make a functional or even noticeably relevant difference between a military carbine in semi-auto and the civilian equivalent.

            SOME AR-15s are built with TDP specification so closely – that to point out that they aren’t 100% complaint because of the above mentioned parts is without a doubt just nitpicking.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      They said: You are correct about the castle nut, and I’ll tell you the
      long version of that story. Most of our rifles are built with the
      ambidextrous sling plate adapter which is present on your rifle. Because
      the contour of that plate isn’t as round as the castle nut, we generally omit
      the staking, as it doesn’t flow as well into the recess as a rifle built with
      the standard carbine lock plate. The second part is as much as we love
      that plate, and the multiple sling mounting options, it’s not for everyone; a
      number of people find the sides flare out too far, and bang their knuckles when
      charging the rifle. When that happens, those owners usually replace that
      sling plate with something like a Magpul ASAP. I think the ASAP makes too
      much noise, and drives the cost up higher, so we just put out all carbines with
      the lock plate. Of course, anyone who wants a Magpul ASAP installed
      before it leaves the shop can have that done.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        Whoa. Ok…. There is a WHOLE LOT wrong with that and I’m going to go through it on behalf of the users that might want to know.

        1. They didn’t stake the castle nut (leaving it absolutely free to back off at any time, seen it happen) because they or you chose a crappy end plate. Was it them or you that chose that?

        2. Becuase if they chose that end plate – you’d think a company that knew what they were doing would not ever choose an endplate that did not allow the castle nut to be staked…. (A dubious claim I’ve never seen repeated when discussing that specific end plate design) Likewise, if a customer ever asked me for a similar product, a resounding NO would be the answer as wrong is wrong no matter what I’m told otherwise. I can see no situation where compromising the design is a benefit just because myself or someone else chose an inferior product.

        3. I saw that end plate in the pictures and thought “Ugh, those things SUCK”. They seem to know this as well, although again, not enough to care to change it. Those endplates might be OK if you are military or for some policy reason cannot run a QD or HK hook sling system, and must have a webbed section of sling attached.

        4. Again, to how much that end plate sucks (which again again, comprises their assembly of a good design)… I’ve never met anyone who actually wanted to run a webbed sling right at the end plate. Most people think single point is great, usually end up with 2 point mounted at the stock and front or rear of handguard… The first time you need to run and/or actually do something with a slung gun, that end point attachment usually gets old quickly. But some people have that preference I guess.

        5. Their alternate “Less Suck” solution…. The Magpul ASAP… STILL SUCKS! Although it is vastly superior for assembly apparently. I had one of those, they’re terrible. They are noisy and hard to clip into (moves around) for no reason. Even if you must for some reason have HK hooks, there are FAR better options…

        The whole idea that they know their assembly is not correct on this gun, chose to ship it with a defect, all for reasons that practically have no great functional use compared to alternatives, have an alternative sling plate that no one uses because everyone knows it sort of sucks compared to newer options…

        This all tells me assembler that is… less than top tier…. to put it nicely. No offense to you Alex, but what does KAVOD do that I could not do in my shop? Let alone what are they doing that the mfgs I listed previous aren’t doing? Aside from comprising the entire rifle’s immediate or long term function from a silly part choice?

        The only thing they seem to be “making” (ordering) is a custom engraved lower forging. I guess I’m curious with some many “companies” (guys in their shops) doing exactly this work, and for the most part doing it better, what is so special about these guys as to get an article and honorable mentions?

  • Sulaco

    Please define affordable Alex…

    • Casey

      their prices for a loaded DI ar-15 are arround $1300-1700 or $1000-1200 stock so that aint bad at all

      • JumpIf NotZero

        All the Colts, BCMs, etc in that range though….

        • 1911a145acp

          Colt quality- mmmmm, not what it used to be. No complete BCM Rifles for some time now. They will go for 15 % + premium if you can find someone willing to part with theirs. I have seen poorly/incorrectly/not at all, castle nuts from many Mfgs. It happens, not a deal breaker. I appreciate it when done properly.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            No irons, but still a full length rail that at it’s length most likely prevents most suppressors mounts. Pointlessly long on a 16″ gun as only a 7′ monster would be able to get their hand out that far…

            MOE Cabine stock… Enough said.

            No staked castle nut: “may have been intentional to allow the customer to easily change stocks” … Although collapsible stocks do not require a castle nut swap

            Colts are just fine. BCM rifles are available. I’d take a well used Noveske FAR before the topic of the post.

          • 1911a145acp

            Full length rails seem all the rage right now- I don’t care for them myself but customers do.
            If Colts are fine, then so are MOE stocks and they have other “stock” options listed.
            In fact several of the rifles and lowers on the Mfgs site are shown with fixed stocks that would require a castle nut change to swap if staked. I agree that- “the customer may want to change it” is no reason NOT to properly stake it.
            You seem to have formed an unfavorable opinion on a item I assume you have no experience with.

  • seans

    I understand that the testers are limited by ammo constraints, but calling a gun reliable with less than a 1000 rounds( of only one type too) just does not lend credibility to the test. I also have issues with in general endorsing something after only testing one product. I have seen Barret 50s that were 2 minute guns, but those were the 1 of a 1000, most are closer to 4 or 5. Overall I feel this gives uniformed readers the impression that something is far better than it might be(but maybe it’s not).

    • iksnilol

      You are saying I shouldn’t use an anti-materiel rifle as a sniper rifle? That is not what CoD or Shooter taught me.

  • An Interested Person

    So…. what makes this superior to other “botique” ARs on the market? Your review only mentions that it works, and is accurate.

    Many other ARs have those same qualities at a similar price.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      It is cheaper than most boutique ARs. That said, there are so many damn AR15 makers out there that any one off the rack will work just fine for most people. I just liked the way this one shot, handled, and looked so I purchased it.

      • An Interested Person

        I agree, too many AR makers! Haha

        Do you know what parts are made in house other than the lower? It looks like more assembly than original design(though not many ARs have unique design these days).

  • 1911a145acp

    Interesting… Vidalia Georgia, the home of Jewish sounding AR platforms and the best sweet onions in the world- an odd mix….

  • Brianfromtexasetc

    Nice article. I’m getting the idea that as weapons increase in popularity – those that do the work to bring them into the public eye are taking too much fire.

    Some of you people need to torque your own castle nuts elsewhere.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Thank you and I agree there is more negative comments than I’ve seen in some time. I don’t really understand why.

      • Brianfromtexasetc

        - perceived expertice equates fiscal entitlement

        • JumpIf NotZero

          OR….. The type of article that educate an audience should probably be more prevalent than fluff-advertising articles.

          We should ask more for the former, and lament the latter.

          For instance, instead of an article about a no-name AR being hastily built so as to comprise aspects of the design…

          Perhaps an article on how it is that the AR platform is designed so well that the assembler often gets credit for properties of the platform? That’s an article that would put a lot of the big names and one man garage shops in perspective, imo.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            I’m not sure I appreciate the insinuation of that last paragraph— He doesn’t buy AR’s much and this one impressed him. There’s no arguing the accuracy of the rifle and the build was good.
            Believe me nobody gets any special treatment for a positive review.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            There’s no arguing the accuracy of the rifle and the build was good.

            Iirc there is evidence to the contrary.

            No offense of course, it’s just very hard to see why this gets an article over say a boutique mfg like RainierArms who actually do have parts produced for their rifles would be passed over. I get the Alex wanted a rifle, bought a rifle, wrote it up, and that’s all fine.

            But… That they get a pass on remedial assembly, the review implies things that have no evidence like durability/reliability, and subjective terms “accuracy” using a red dot which to me only talks about his skill as a shooter (good) and not about the mechanical potential of the rifle…. I think TFB can do better. I want to see TFB do better.

  • FishOnIce

    Your reviews are always the worst. Phil please just do them yourself or send the guns to someone competent enough to do a complete review.

    • FishOnIce

      This would be a great post on r/guns for the Cod players and 15 year olds

      • Karina

        I’d evaluate your comment as appropriate on Youtube right next to the 15 year olds and the self-entitled CoD players you describe so gratuitously. You fit nicely with all the moaners and the talkers who complain without constructiveness and the similar self-entitled morons. That instant gratification generation is getting on my nerves.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      I am sorry that you are displeased with my review. Let me know how I can make future articles better and I will try my best.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Well nobody else has ever said that about a review Alex has done until now. As Alex said if you have some constructive information for him then no problem.
      I have to say we tend to see more negative comments made when the writer doesn’t find something wrong with the gun tested. I’ve never understood that and probably never will. Then again I know our writers and how honest they are. I would never want them to be negative about a product in order to avoid criticism.

  • ColaBox

    Alex it seems to me you had the opportunity to have your perfect AR built and handed to you, even if it was for demo purposes. Not many people can say they got that chance. I mean, a stainless match barrel and nickel boron? That’s some great expensive stuff most can never get. They really wanted to impress you so they went all out. Bravo on the opportunity man.

  • Derek

    I have one of their Bet’s and love it….it’s great to see a review of one their rifles, too.