Battle Rifle Company BR4 Spartan Gains NTOA Recommendation

BR4 Spartan

The BR4 Spartan rifle from Battle Rifle Company (BRC) obtained the recommendation of the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA).  The BR4 Spartan is an AR-15 style rifle chambered in either 5.56 NATO, 6.8 SPC or 7.62×39.

For those not familiar, the NTOA is a professional organization that provides model standards, training and incident reviews for law enforcement tactical teams.  The organization has a member testing program in which multiple members will test a company’s product and rate it in 13 different categories.  The BRC rifle received an overall score of 4.3 out of a maximum possible 5 rating.

In 2013, TFB writer Andrew Tuohy had harsh words for the rifles being made at Battle Rifle Company.  While some companies might throw a tantrum about such a negative view on their products, BRC instead took the criticisms and reworked the guns.  Earlier this year, TFB writer Alex C. visited BRC and found the rifles much improved.

EDIT: As many people have pointed out, TFB does not usually post product endorsements. I (Steve) asked Richard to write this up … because I mis-read NTOA as NATO …. which would have made it the first time a law enforcement consumer-available rifle has been somehow recommended by NATO (I can’t blame it on dyslexia). TFB does not have any financial relationship with  BRC. On the other other hand, it is not a big deal that we wrote up something we would not usually have covered. I don’t usually post produce endorsements because I get press releases about endorsements daily.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • JumpIf NotZero

    Its funny to see how some manufactures (assemblers) are taking responsibility and are credited for their products performance; when really most of the time what you are seeing are the natural positive aspects of Stoner’s AR15 design.

    Can anyone explain in what way are these better than Colt, FN, LMT, BCM, KAC, or Noveske?

    • They aren’t saying they are better but can be relied on in a pinch. NTOA doesn’t make comparisons of products. NTOA just test them and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down based on performance.
      I know a good number of products they have turned down. Of course no company in their right mind will say hey we blew it 🙂

    • Dan

      I don’t think that NTOA is saying they are better. All they are doing is saying hey we reviewed this product here is how it scored in case you want to pursue purchasing said rifle.

  • The Hun

    NTOA- militarized cops pretending to be badasses with taxpayer $.

    • NTOA is not funded by taxpayer dollars. It’s an independent organization of Tactical officers around the country.

    • Really!

      And what do you know of the NTOA? Probably nothing, but then again it is so much easier to regurgitate anonymous statements on the internet. Are there some officers and SWAT officers who are badge heavy and power mongers? You bet there are and they are disgraceful. However, the majority are simply citizens who decided to devote their lives to service, and wanted to take that service to the highest levels.

      There are bad doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians, union leaders, etc. etc. but the majority are fine dedicated people.

      Remember, these are the guys and gals who go after drug dealers, gang members, and the worst of society – who are quite often heavily armed and prey on the weak.

      The next time you go to the range and stare impressively at your paper target, remember that these cops face targets that shoot, stab, beat, kick, punch, and bite back. And most of them could out shoot you off handed.

  • Cmon… Really?

    Do men of action actually equip themselves with? this rifle?

    Considering how unethical the overall police mindset has become in this country over the last 15 years, who wants to bet that this organization gets some kind of kickback for endorsing this rifle? Looks like a pretty basic DI stoner design.

    JumpIf NotZero is correct. The only differentiation that I can see is perhaps quality control. Then again, all the brands JumpIf NotZero listed are very very good quality and anything with quality beyond that has really diminished benefit.

    Marketing mumbo jumbo is what this is. Kinda gross.

    • Unethical in what way?

      • Cmon… Really?

        Do I really need to link all of the articles/videos/reports where police officers have committed a crime, and their department has either been totally silent or actually defended them? Where are the good cops publicly calling for these people’s removal from law enforcement? The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. The whole bad apple defense just can’t work anymore… hence the blanket statement. I know there are many instances where police have done good, and they far outnumber the times where police harm their community, what bothers me is the lack of integrity displayed over and over because of the mindset that they are somehow separate from non law enforcement. Where are these good cops calling for the removal of a fuck-up? I’d like to see a few of those.

        Do you think public opinion of police is higher or lower than it was? Why are women advised to pull over in public places if at all possible if the likelihood of sexual assault was miniscule? The population on the whole hasn’t reacted well to the way law enforcement behaves anymore, to make matters worse, the police respond by militarizing.

        This isn’t even touching on the conflict of interest that arises when municipal budget is affected by the enforcement of law.

        I personally have never been wronged by a police officer. I know those who have to more or less degree. This conversation won’t go anywhere because opinions are opinions, but you asked why.

        • So much for talking about guns on this site…

          Your suggestions that the NTOA “gets some kind of kickback for endorsing this rifle” are false. The program is designed to help members identify quality products. It is not a system designed to recommend the best product in any particular category. As Phil mentioned, there are a lot of products that are tested, but do not make the grade.

          Also, it is fairly clear that you aren’t familiar with the NTOA and haven’t read any of the incident reviews conducted by them. They are not an organization that white-washes mistakes made by officers or departments.

          Take a read of the Cobb County GA incident review and you will see very clearly where the SWAT commander was harshly taken to task for actions that resulted in the deaths of two officers and a suspect.

          • Cmon…Really?

            Two officers deaths explains a lot of that last paragraph. I stand by what I said about people not trusting police.

            Why the focus on the NTOA? I’m not. Just police in general, their current ethos generated by a lack of integrity/ethics towards those other than current or former LEO. Combine that with the oddity that it’s newsworthy that the NTOA gave the rifle a passing score, when it’s the first time that organization or it’s review of a weapon has been posted on thefirearmblog, and one has no choice but to put two and two together and think that there is some kind of affiliation and this is some kind of plug.

            It just makes people cock their eyebrows, and I don’t think unreasonably.

          • Dan

            My eyebrows at no time cocked. I took it as sort of a follow up piece related to the last two stories on the company, kind of like a where are they now. I am also waiting for neighbor hoods to stand up and call out the criminals among them instead of not cooperating with police or or the always popular “they seemed like nice people” that live in a shack and drive a Mercedes

          • You really don’t have a clue do you—-

          • Really!

            If you read the debrief it called out the Commander for rushing in, with inadequate resources, and an ill-fated plan.

            The person “not trusting police” was an adult son who assaulted a neighbor unprovoked, and then shot a patrol officer who responded to investigate. The patrol officer was shot in both arms, both legs and the back by a .40 cal. pistol and shotgun after he walked up and asked the murderer what was going on. The murderer then barricaded himself inside his house, holding his elderly mother as a hostage for leverage. The 2 SWAT officers killed were shot to death with the shotgun, when negotiations failed and it was believed the mother was in imminent danger.

            But, hey … since this lunatic didn’t “trust” the police his murder of 2 cops, attempted murder of two more, and physical assault of an innocent neighbor can easily be justified.

            This is why your comments are so offensive and so ignorant. Nobody suggests that there are no bad cops out there, but are you willing to conceded all of the good that cops do? You don’t hear as much about those, because they aren’t “sensational” which basically means that they don’t reach the media very often. The blanket generalization is ignorant.


          • JumpIf NotZero

            “Your suggestions that the NTOA “gets some kind of kickback for endorsing this rifle” are false”

            Do we have a source either way on this? Because frankly, it certainly does make a lot more sense that they would HAVE to be taking some form of compensation to “approve” some random AR assembler that has a known sorted past.

            If Battlerifles is “approved” certainly DPMS, Bushmaster, that Hebrew named AR assembler that was written up here, Rock River, CMMG, YHM, Double Star,……. Does Taurus make an AR? …. Would all logically also be approved.

            Warning, this post was mostly satire… mostly.

          • They don’t get the endorsement if they don’t ask for the product to be tested so no some of the other brands probably aren’t approved.

        • Lets just say you are sorely misinformed and leave it that.

    • Really!

      You should probably look up the NTOA before you throw out ignorant remarks. The testing officers are vetted tactical team members from across the country to allow for a diverse set of opinions. Testing officers are randomly picked to review a product and do not know what products until they are selected. The questions require comprehensive review and analysis, and not all products receive an endorsement. Since this rifle received an overall 4.3 (average), you can bet that some of the testing officers rated parts of the rifle into the 3’s or lower. Seems like a pretty objective and reasonable test measure from persons who have real life experience with these types of weapons.

      The NTOA does not receive any direct benefit from the manufacturer’s, though many manufacturer’s seek their endorsement because of the respect and numbers of officers involved in the organization.

      Your blanket characterization of cops in America is “kinda gross”, and it blinds your ability to see a potentially good product. I agree with Jumplf NotZero however, as there are many high quality AR rifles on the market and they all are pretty much the Stoner model, but I’m always interested in seeing what another manufacturer can come up with – especially one that can take criticism and put those reviews into action to make a better product.

    • n0truscotsman

      Why would they need to buy these rifles anyways when they receive such from military surplus? (and there’s a shite tone of them)

      • Actually most departments no longer get surplus rifles. There are some small departments that lack the funds to purchase the commercial rifles and obtain surplus guns but very few of them do.

        • n0truscotsman

          I hear two different things and Im not convinced of either one

          1.) Much surplus
          2.) Not much surplus since much of it has supposedly dried up or already been sent to other nations transitioning to M4s and 16s.

          But on a brighter note, the American consumer will get quality rifles rather than something questionable. It almost like a vocal minority among us want something to bash.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    What is interesting here — everything else being equal, including taking other high-end manufacturers such as LMT, Noveske, Colt, BCM, FN and KAC into account — is the fact that an apparently upstart vendor such as the Battle Rifle Company, that only one short year ago was almost universally lambasted on this website for gross errors in it’s offerings ( and often rightly so, with yours truly being no exception to the horde of critics ), has apparently made good to the point where they are able to receive NTOA approval. Frankly, while I can understand the accusations levied at the NTOA on grounds of curried favoritism, there is no real evidence that this actually is so. On that basis, I doubt that the NTOA is somehow being skewed towards certain products via the means of backdoor bribery, in whatever shape or form, as some might imply. Based on that quite reasonable assumption, it would be fair to conclude that BRC have really gotten their act together after all, and come up with competitive high-quality products that fit the bill. There is nothing wrong with giving credit where real credit is due, in spite of past mishaps or transgressions.

    • That pretty much covers it and covers it well!

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thanks very much, Phil — so good to hear from you, as always, and equally good to see that vendors such as BRC are really trying very hard to address the needs of their clientele. If they keep on listening and can keep this trend consistent and on track, I wish them nothing less than the best of luck in their endeavours. Take care, and looking forward to more articles from you and everyone else on TFB :).

        • You are very welcome sir. I have to say I always enjoy reading your comments. Well thought out and articulate.
          I’m really wishing BRC the best. They really have listened and overcome some pretty challenging adversity.

    • n0truscotsman

      Well said.
      I say good on them. The more “good” products there are out there, the more people will benefit.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thank you, n0truscotsman — and well said too! While I will add that I have not always agreed with every one of your viewpoints on TFB, I will also say that I have always thought that they still made a lot of sense and that I have had great respect for your perspectives. Viva la similarite, and viva la difference!

        • n0truscotsman

          Nous Defions!!! 😉

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            And very much so too — here’s to independent ways of thinking, and to sensible ways of looking at reality for what it is, for the sake of us all, and for the sake of truth!

    • JumpIf NotZero

      You know, I’d argue that “approvals” like this imply to put these companies I listed on the same level.

      I’d very much argue they are not.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Fuck cops. We’d be much better off without ’em, right?

  • TyroneAlfonso

    Yeah right…. and how’s that review coming along?

  • guest

    Also, in other news, all M4 pattern rifles gained the official “seal of approval” with a 9.9 out of 10 point rating form the AISICCCCR* range masters association.

    *Always Indoors Shooting Indoors Computer Chip Cleanrooom-like Conditions Ranges