Lone Star Armory: An Inside Look At Premium Firearms Manufacturing

    An action shot of two Lone Star Armory billet lower receivers being born.

    If you head southeast toward Arlington from the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, you will soon come to a small industrial park just off of Highway 287. Nestled in with several other businesses including a manufacturing company and machine shop, a laser etching/engraving operation, and a metal and Cerakote finishing service, you will find a premium firearms manufacturer: Lone Star Armory. Founded in 2006, LSA’s Texas-proud DNA is comprised of critical lessons learned from warfighting and law enforcement, a heritage of competition shooting and auto racing, and an obsessive passion for the pursuit of absolute excellence in every aspect of the mission, right down to the minutiae of every individual component or process.

    A piece of Lone Star Armory’s external signage.

     

    Lone Star Armory’s President and founder, Andrew Brady, has spent a lifetime breaking down both machines and ideas in order to critically examine not just the “how” aspect of what they do, but more importantly, the “why” – and what he can do to make everything better. During my recent tour of his facilities, Brady gave credit to his youthful days in auto racing for contributing to his natural predilection to tinker and tune to perfection. In his early years of firearms modification and building, he would do the same thing with his personal guns that he used to do with race cars: meticulously examine each component to discern what it did, how it did it, how important it was, and what a single change might do to improve performance and reliability. Listening to him talk about his experience and process, it is clear that this entrepreneur’s brain works much like an engineering computer. That mentality carries through the subsequent comprehensive trial process. Even tiny changes like minor angle/placement updates, screw turns, and weight/mass adjustments get rigorously tested in every imaginable way. The driving force remains constant: maximize every capability and achieve the utmost possible perfection.

    Reinforcing this relentless commitment to quality, every Lone Star Armory-manufactured product comes with a “Forever Warranty”, and all top-tier LSA firearms that are built with in-house contoured Bartlein barrel blanks also feature a sub-MOA guarantee. These assurances are not given boastfully, but instead simply communicated with a quiet, matter-of-fact confidence that emanates easily from a team of subject matter experts. This Fort Worth crew’s deep knowledge of their products’ capabilities is organically derived from their deep body of experience and personal investment in what they do and the products they produce. They also maintain close ties with the law enforcement community and one of the preeminent mil/LEO training centers in the game, Direct Action Resource Center. In conjunction with their work alongside other industry leaders like Spiritus Systems and Lighthorse Tactical, this allows LSA to stay abreast of the needs of their most hard-running professional end users. For Brady and his staff, business is personal. They treat every firearm, part, and accessory as if it was their own. They care immensely about each item bearing their name, as well as the clients who purchase them – they want Lone Star Armory to be second to none and it shows.

    One of LSA’s “TX15” rifles, featuring top-quality in-house manufacturing and Cerakoting.

     

    A special-edition LSA TX15 featuring the wolf logo of premium soft goods maker Spiritus Systems.

     

    A Lone Star Armory rifle takes a break during a recent co-photoshoot for LSA and Spiritus Systems.

     

    “I’m ready for my closeup.” -This LSA MPC, probably

     

    Part of the driving force is the knowledge that any one of LSA’s clients could have to rely on his or her weapon with their life on the line – a feeling with which Andrew is only too familiar. Serving as an infantryman in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne and 25th Infantry Divisions, then-Sergeant Brady became a decorated combat veteran during deployments to Iraq in ’04 and ‘08. In addition to his honorable service and battle-proven valor, these warfighting experiences gave Brady a firsthand perspective as to the importance of a quality rifle. Between the two deployments, he’d already begun sharpening his 3-gun skills and the gunsmithing competencies that came with competition. It was during this interim period, while he was assigned to Army recruiting, that Lone Star Armory was founded in ’06 as a home-based operation. After a war wound led to his medical retirement from the Army in 2009, Andrew and his wife, Amy, decided to jump straight into full-time business ownership rather than taking a day job and continuing to run LSA on the side. Initially, parts were sourced from outside OEM manufacturers – Sun Devil receivers, Brux barrels, JP triggers, and the like. Brady made sure to use good components, but he wasn’t satisfied.

    The quest for quality pushed LSA growth from spare room assembly to garage gunsmithing, to a full home shop with ever more serious machinery. Then in 2016, the company entered a new era with a move to the Fort Worth business park, and partnerships with the shops and finishers in the neighboring facilities. Now several years later, LSA and their co-located sister companies are a veritable powerhouse of OEM firearms and parts manufacturing. Receivers are machined, barrels are turned, and many other components are made in-house by masters of metalcraft, adhering to strict tolerances and standards, using state-of-the-art technologies. The rifles are also painstakingly tuned to ensure they will operate properly in virtually any conceivable situation. I watched as Brady took a freshly-calibrated model and tested it in his bullet trap – suppressed vs unsuppressed, shouldered or extended and floating, level or angled, and more – he personally saw to it that the gun would run like a sewing machine no matter what.

    A newborn LSA lower sits atop a solid block of aluminum, like the one from whence it came.

     

    Partially-finished receivers sit alongside aluminum bricks awaiting their turn to begin the manufacturing process.

     

    At Lone Star Armory, choice Bartlein blanks are turned in-house to become highly precise custom-contoured barrels.

     

    Lone Star Armory’s stated hallmarks are reliability, accuracy, ergonomics, and versatility. To this last point, the product lineup is widely varied to satisfy a plethora of needs, from numerous flavors of fighting rifles and carbines, subgun-style personal defense weapons and pistol caliber carbines, precision long guns including bolt-actions and designated marksman semi-autos, custom Glock work, and NFA/suppressor sales. With many additional options, variants, and customizability available, the LSA product lineup is organized into the TX15 (small frame) and TX10 (large frame) lines analogous to AR-15 and AR-10 offerings, the TX9 pistol caliber series, TX7 bolt guns, and their custom Glock work lives under the TX17 heading (contact them for more info). Caliber choices run the gamut from 5.56/.223, 300 BLK, .308, 6.8, 6.5, and more. The product lines are further divided into categories that differentiate, price-reflective, between the level or amount of bells and whistles included. For example, if you want an AR-15 that is dressed to the nines, you would likely be glad to pony up for the “Enhanced” version of the “Multi-Purpose Carbine”. No stone is left unturned on these top-tier guns, which are fitted with match-grade triggers, specialty controls, and Superlative Arms adjustable gas blocks on LSA-turned Bartlein barrel blanks. If that’s more gun than you need, you could go with a “Standard” level “Truck Gun Light”. These eschew some of the fanciness by using forged uppers, fixed gas blocks on Ballistic Arms barrels, and mil-spec triggers and charging handles. Shorter pistol or SBR options are also available, in addition to the rifle lengths you’d expect. See below for a brand-new flyer featuring a sample of core products.

    TFB got an exclusive first look at LSA’s newest product flyer, ready in advance of SHOT Show 2020.

     

    Make no mistake, however – even the most budget-friendly LSA gun is still an LSA, and does not sacrifice the commitment to quality, accuracy, and reliability achieved by the pricier products. One of the few groups these firearms are not for is the “jUsT aS gOoD” crowd (you know who I mean, *COUGHCOUGHpovertyponyCOUGH*). Lone Star Armory lives in the premium space – these are the YETI or RTIC coolers of the gun game, not gas-station Styrofoam throwaways. Now, if you still want true quality but LSA’s lowest-priced offerings are out of reach, I have good news! There is a new line in the works: the TX4. Born of a desire to bring Lone Star Armory’s principles and professional-grade performance into the sub-$1000 space, the TX4 will be based on the idea of a typical M4 concept with some improvements. Expect a forged receiver set, mil-spec trigger and lower parts kit, a free-float handguard, and likely some entry-level Magpul furniture. If the MPC and TGL are more gun than you need, you’re on a strict budget but still want a great firearm, or maybe you’re an LEO in a department with strict restrictions and requirements, the TX4 could well provide just the solution for you. Follow LSA for more info to come sometime in 2020.

    A section of one of the LSA vault’s walls neatly displays some of Brady’s and crew’s fine finished products, ready for new owners.

     

    High-end modern sporting rifles capable of precision accuracy, like LSA guns, can perfectly fill hunting needs in addition to tactical roles.

     

    LSA’s weapons are designed to perform flawlessly even in the most demanding roles and austere environments.

     

    In addition to their own manufacturing, LSA is able to provide OEM production services to other companies. They offer full-scope custom capabilities from individual parts to complete firearms. And as if all the production work wasn’t enough, somehow the Lone Star Armory team also finds time to be directly involved in the training game at their own Lone Star Training Center in Kopperl, Texas. There they provide long-range classes and other private shooting instruction. Rounding out the involvement is a maintenance of LSA’s competition roots, including 3-gun, PRS matches, and more.

    In order to ensure combat readiness for professional clientele, Lone Star Armory components are manufactured in-house with strict tolerances and specifications.

     

    Lone Star Armory rifles are excellently suited for competition use, remaining true to a major foundational impetus in the company’s genesis.

     

    I showed up intending only to spend an hour or two taking a quick walkthrough tour and getting a basic explanation of the place. More than six hours after I arrived, I drove away from Fort Worth having received a phenomenal education about the firearms manufacturing process, gained a deep appreciation for the professionalism and passion of the LSA team, and most of all having enjoyed a great day with some decidedly high-caliber people. Nearly a year prior to my visit, extensive research and several expert referrals had led me to purchase an LSA Enhanced MPC which I had hoped would become my all-time battle rifle, and a firearm that was so high-quality I would never consider selling or trading it as I had done with so many before. I hoped it would provide me with a lifetime of flawless service with which I could entrust my own life, if need be, and someday it could become an heirloom piece to be bequeathed to my young son. After running the rifle through its paces and then spending a day with the extraordinary people at the heart and soul of the brand, I am confident my Lone Star Armory rifle is every bit of that and more, and I can confidently recommend their gear to anyone with the same passion for firearms and shooting shared by Andrew Brady and his team as well as myself. If you opt to follow their social media, purchase any of their products, or shake their hands at the SHOT show, tell them TFB sent you. God bless Texas, and see you at the range!

    The author’s personal Lone Star Armory Multi-Purpose Carbine “Enhanced” model.

     

    Opinions expressed are the author’s own, no compensation or incentive was provided by Lone Star Armory or any other third-party entity. All photos taken courtesy of Lone Star Armory or taken by the author.
    Will P

    Former US Army infantryman, lifelong hunter and hobby/sport shooter. Perpetual firearms student, always seeking to become better and learn more. Interested in all shooting disciplines and passionate about all kinds of guns. Contact on Instagram: @WillTFB


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