Houlding Precision Firearms: High Performance Beauty

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Self described boutique AR manufacturer Houlding Precision Firearms showed up at the Blue August Gun and Outdoor conference with plenty of nice toys for us media folks to play with. While I have grown bored of the AR platform (and it seems most of our readers have too due to “oh look, another AR” in the comments) it is refreshing to see one that has been done just right or is fascinatingly unique. Houlding started in 2011 by Todd Houlding whose family has been involved in agriculture in California since the 1880’s. In fact, over 90% of almonds consumed in the US come from his area!Todd broke into the business because of his passion for firearms, and this passion shows in all aspects of the assembly and manufacturing processes:

  • Billet everything
  • 7075-T6
  • Hard coat anodizing
  • Dealers, distributers (not fly by night)
  • Light barrel nut that acts as a heat sink
  • Lothar Walther barrels
  • Certified cerakoters
  • Work with carbon fiber to make things as light as possible.
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Todd flanked by his wife while telling us about his rifles.

By far his most interesting product is the ultra light “Wraith” that comes in at 6.1 pounds:

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Some other interesting things about Houlding is that they are friends with TFB writer and all around good guy, Chris Cheng who they hold in high regard. They also have a stellar warranty and customer service record. In fact, they once addressed an accuracy issue by getting in a car and driving to the customer! Luckily it turned out that bad ammo was the culprit.

Now the coolest factoid I heard was how they got their logo. Todd’s father was a member of theĀ US Army Air Corps 21st Bomb Squadron, 30th Bomb Group during WWII, and as an homage to the man, Todd used a modified version of their logo as his company logo. In my opinion, that is a good way to pay homage to those who have served.

We did eventually get to touch and shoot the guns, and I was very impressed with them all. The Wraith however was absolutely awesome. It is very surreal holding such a light AR15 rifle:

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Of course all of their products look very nice as well:

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On the range the star of the show was the Wraith. It comes with a low mass bolt carrier and a very nice Geissele trigger:

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I was not the only one who enjoyed the experience!

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It would be hard to follow the Wraith, but Houlding’s offerings were all quite nice to shoot and you couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces!

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All in all I cannot wait to see a full review by a TFB staff member on one of Houlding’s offerings, but as of now FPSRussa has one up if you want to see one of them in action:

I expect great things to come from this young company, and it was a real pleasure to use their products.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Phil Hsueh

    Nice to see that there is actually a gun manufacturer in CA.

    • They told us the bureaucratic process involved in becoming a manufacturer in California and it is absolutely unreal what it involves. The fact that these people have the fortitude to navigate through all the legal nonsense means that they are pretty damn serious!

      • Phil Hsueh

        I can only imagine, it’s hard to have a non-firearms related business in CA I can’t begin to imagine the hurdles you’d have to go through to start an actual firearms manufacturing business in this state.

        I’ve always thought that it would be nice to start my own gun related business but combined with a general lack of business knowledge, the generally business unfriendly environment, and the constant threat of guns being outlawed has kept from pursuing that idea. I did toy with the idea of getting an FFL and assemble ARs for people but since I’ve only built all one AR that hardly qualifies me to put together ARs for money.

        • SS Waffen.

          you should start a body armor biz in CA/sarc.

  • Anderson, T.

    Keymod, Keymod everywhere.

  • CA

    It has like… no recoil. Wow. Are low mass bolt carriers a good idea though?

    • iksnilol

      I imagine there is no difference if you use an adjustable gas block. Nice way to save weight, wish there were low mass bolt carriers for the AK. Considering how heavy the bolt carrier assembly is in an AK.

  • CA

    What’s the price on these?

    • $2300 I believe for the Wraith, cheaper for the other models (the Wraith is the spared-no-expense baller model).

      • HKGuns

        ….and people complain about the cost of an HK MR?

        • Nicks87

          How much does the MR556 weigh? 9lbs unloaded? The wraith weighs like 6lbs. You can take that over-priced kraut kettle bell and throw it in the river. I will take the Wraith over an HK anyday.

  • SS Waffen.

    oh look- another AR.

    • Nicks87

      Oh but it’s a super light, super slick AR with carbon fiber goodies.

  • Andrew

    Now Christensen Arms has some competition for who can sell the least ARs.

  • Cornelius Carroll

    I like the premise behind the Wraith though, IMO, they should offer another version with a 14.7″ light barrel with a pinned/welded a2, slightly steeper grip, and slightly shorter stock. Also, I could see something like an ultra-minimalist stock design working well on a GWACS CAV-15 mkII. They could wrap the buffer tube in CF after welding the lower to reinforce the buffer tube.

  • GUNxSPECTRE

    I am down with the trend of the “less-rails” thing.
    It’s more weight and I don’t think anybody uses ALL of their rails.
    Just stick a rail segment where you need it. It always made more sense to me.

    • Nicks87

      Agreed, That’s why I went with the Nordic Comp NC-1 handguard for my newest AR project. It lets you put a rail section wherever you want/need it. It’s not as light as some of the new keymod handguards but the price was right and I like how it looks.

  • Cymond

    “Houlding stared in 2011 by Todd Houlding […]”
    He stared in 2011? Wow, that’s a lot of staring! The eye strain must be terrible.

  • claymore

    If they are try for low weight using CF and all why the super long hand guard?

    • Nicks87

      Ergonomics?

      • iksnilol

        What’s so ergonomic about a super long handguard? I don’t see the usefulness of the C-clamp grip. Sure, you get less muzzle flip but you tire faster due to extending your arm so far.

        • Nicks87

          Many people seem to like it. I like the longer handguards because I dont like to rest my barrel directly on the surface of whatever I’m using for support. I like to keep my barrel free floated if you catch my drift.

          • iksnilol

            Sounds cowardly. ADVANCE COMRADE! If you rest barrel rest it right in front of the magwell, to get closer to the target.

            Seriously though, doesn’t seem like a bad idea but it can be worked around no probs if you have a short handguard.

          • Nicks87

            True but I think with the longer handguard the more options you have. Just personal preference I guess.

  • Dave The Great

    Oh look – still another AR.

  • Anonymous

    Alex C. constantly debunks the notion that TFB doesn’t have sponsors/get kickbacks for “unbiased” articles.

    • Are you implying I can be/have been bought?

    • Y-man

      Alex C. Has carried out the most unbiased and focused reviews ever, and there is no need to argue futilely with you: all you have to do is click on his name on this blog: to see all his articles!

      His articles are comprehensive, he takes very minute attention to detail and lays the cards on the table as they really are: you just pick yourself…

      Why am I even explaining all this to some “ghost”?

  • Mehul Kamdar

    What bolt and carrier group do they use for their Wraith? Is it one of the new Titanium alloy ones? And, their website lists 5.56 as the only chambering. Would you know if they plan on offering bigger calibers (300 BLK in particular) in the future? Thanks for the information in advance!