Ares Armor and EP Armory are each announcing new 80 percent kits for the home gunsmith. Ares has their new BA “Bad Ass” kit and EP is launching one of the first of its kind, an 80 percent Colt-pattern 9mm AR lower receiver.
Starting with Ares, the BA kit includes everything needed to assemble a complete rifle, minus the tools to finish the lower receiver. It’s a high-end kit including Ares’ Harpe upper receiver and an Ace ARFX Skeleton Stock. The included military-style lower parts kit uses a stainless steel hammer and trigger.
The Harpe upper is a fine piece of hardware on its own. A free-floating upper, it gets its name from the modular Harpe handguard by Ares. The Harpe is a 12-inch rail with what Ares calls their “T-Mod” slot system which allows users to install Picatinny rail sections at any point along the length of the handguard. The Harpe includes three rail sections, two long and one short.
The upper has a 16-inch 4150 steel 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington barrel with a black nitride finish and a 1-in-7 twist. Nitrided barrels are increasingly popular and developing a reputation for superiority over traditional chrome-lined barrel in terms of accuracy and wear resistance.
Completing the upper is a full-auto-rated nickel-boron finished bolt carrier group, an extended charging handle and Ares’ own EFFIN-A Mk.II tunable compensating muzzle brake.
The 80 percent lower is delivered in the white and is machined from billet 7075-T6 alloy aluminum. Along with the Ace stock it is sold with a rifle-length buffer and buffer spring for added recoil reduction. The kit is shipped with a standard A2-style pistol grip.
With these premium components the list price for the kit at $999 isn’t bad at all. For those interested in the upper or other components by themselves Ares Armor sells them separately as well. And at just $599 the Harpe is a steal.
EP Armory’s been thinking outside of the 5.56 box with their latest 80 percent lower. This slick hunk of metal can’t wait to be manufactured into a 9mm AR pistol or carbine. It’s a Colt-pattern receiver with some parts pre-installed, including the feed ramp, bolt catch and ejector.
This takes care of finding some of the less common parts needed to complete these lowers.
The receiver is forged using 7075-T6 alloy aluminum as well, meaning that once they are complete they’ll be tough as nails. Each lower has been tumbled and de-burred by hand with the flashing taken care of at the factory. The magwell has also been flared for fast reloads once the project is complete.
The one caveat is that EP Armory doesn’t currently sell 9mm pistol or carbine uppers or magazines. Those builders will have to find on their own, although with the growing popularity of pistol-caliber carbines it shouldn’t be too hard, especially standard Colt-pattern uppers.
Like most 80 percent receivers they command a slightly above-average price but at $149 few will complain here. If you’re looking to get into the 80 percent game but want to do things a bit differently, head over to EP Armory to find out more.