Catering specifically to people looking for a duty-quality and affordable AR, the Workhorse Patrol Carbine from Battle Arms Development was built with the purpose of hard use at the core of its design. Yet, even though it’s a practical working gun, there are quite a few nice extras that set it apart from other AR-style service rifles. 

Starting at the front, the Workhorse boasts a generous amount of M-LOK along both sides and the bottom of the extended handguard. This offers plenty of mounting options for accessories while still cutting down the total weight of the gun. The top, however, boasts a full-length Picatinny rail that extends to the end of the handguard. That’s a nice touch to make mounting optics and backup sights easier. The addition of extra milling along the handguard also helps cut the total weight, bringing this rifle to just over 6 pounds.

Overall, the Workhorse hosts several additional nice features that go beyond the standard Mil-Spec AR-style rifles. The magazine release has some additional ribbing to help make it easier for your finger to find the control, and the bolt hold-open breaks with the traditional AR button-lever design. Instead, you have a more raised control that makes it easier to find and activate. For the left-handed folks – or those who want to quickly transition their shooting sides – the gun also has an ambidextrous safety lever and charging handle. Speaking as one of those lefties, that is a very nice touch.

Another feature I like is the pistol grip with subtle but tactile grooves to give you a firmer grip. The adjustable stock is a fairly traditional style, but with a wider cheek-weld surface than the common M4-style collapsing stock. A common complaint about collapsible stocks is they tend to have a wiggle to them, which is not a problem on the Workhorse. The padding on the rear of the buttstock is another good addition. Even though there isn’t much recoil to 5.56 NATO in these guns, the padding is still appreciated and helps secure the rifle to your shoulder.

Battle Arms Development Workhorse Patrol Carbine on a table
The bolt release is a raised design. (Photo: Samantha Mursan/
Battle Arms Development Workhorse Patrol Carbine on a table
The safety lever is also ambi. (Photo: Samantha Mursan/

Something you might not expect to see on a gun that bears the name Workhorse is the quality of the trigger. It’s a Teflon-nickel-coated trigger that feels like a polished Mil-Sec trigger. It’s quite nice and a noticeable improvement if you want something better than the standard AR trigger but also want to keep the gun as more of a duty or self-defense firearm and not a competition shooter. 

Those are just some of the highlights that we really appreciated about the Workhorse, but there are plenty of other specs to love about this rifle. Battle Arms Development also makes a series of other AR-style guns that offer great quality and value if you’re in the market for something a little different.

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