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
- 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.
By far his most interesting product is the ultra light “Wraith” that comes in at 6.1 pounds:
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 the 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:
Of course all of their products look very nice as well:
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:
I was not the only one who enjoyed the experience!
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!
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.