Battle Arms Development is a rifle company steeped in competition and overflowing with high-performance parts. When they came out with the Workhorse series, the thought was to offer an “entry-level” rifle to their customer base. Of course, BAD doesn’t make anything quite entry level per se, and their version of mil-spec holds higher tolerances than what you might find elsewhere. 

As a result, the name Workhorse resonates with their goal to create a rugged, reliable rifle for those on duty or simply looking for a battle-worthy AR-15 chambered in .223/5.56. 

What Makes the Workhorse Different


Battle Arms Development Workhorse rifle
Battle Arms Development has earned a reputation among competitors as one of the best in the biz. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Out of the box, the standard Workhorse comes with a lot of features that seem small but add up to make this rifle next level. Many of the parts are threaded, versus utilizing standard pins, and that includes the bolt catch, takedown detent, and upper/lower detent. This lessens the likelihood of the pins backing out and provide an optimal fit. As always, one can expect Battle Arms to engineer parts that are lightweight, which is why you’ll notice the Picatinny rails have notch cuts. 

Here are some other noteworthy features:

  • Forged receiver
  • 16-inch Rosco barrel with 1:7 twist rate 
  • 15-inch M-LOK free-float rail 
  • Mid-length gas system 
  • 6.3-pound weight 
  • Enhanced nickel-Teflon trigger 
  • Enhanced takedown pins
  • Two-position grip
  • B5 Systems Bravo six-position stock 

Stepping it up with the Workhorse Patrol

The Patrol is the next level of the Workhorse series. Comparing the Patrol to the standard Workhorse, one might need a magnifying glass to see the differences, but they do exist. For $300 extra, the following features get added: 


  • Ambidextrous charging handle 
  • BAD-ASS-PRO 45-degree throw safety lever 
  • Enhanced trigger guard 
  • Shooting performance 

Out of the box, the Workhorse is ready to, well, work. Throwing on an optic and heading to the range, it was time to launch some bullets downrange. We put these rifles through their paces with both slow-fire accuracy shooting and rapid-fire testing, and they never once skipped a beat. At the lightweight of 6.3 pounds, you can be assured fatigue is not going to be an issue. 

Related: 4 Years and 40,000 Rounds Later – Battle Arms Still Rocks


Two things to think about with lightweight rifles is how they are balanced when mounted and swing through transitions. Battle Arms is no stranger to building lightweight rifles, and they have perhaps perfected designing their rifles for proper balance. They simply feel good when shooting. Whether you want to use this rifle for quick bay work or long-range shooting, the Workhorse will keep up with whatever you throw at it. 

I say this from experience. I built a Battle Arms rifle about four years ago and have tens of thousands of rounds through it now. It has been nothing but reliable and has withstood abuse without batting an eye (or seeing a malfunction). With the Workhorse, no corners were cut and one would expect the same long-term durability. In fact, the Workhorse series was the first Battle Arms rifle I shot aside from my own, which was pretty exciting.

Review the Workhorse Patrol Rifle

Workhorse Rifle vs Workhorse Patrol


A shooter with a Battle Arms Development Workhorse rifle
No matter which model you choose, the rifles exude quality and are built to last. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

As one would expect, both Workhorse carbine rifles functionally shoot the same. The enhanced features seen in the Patrol version will be well used. However, you can save some money by getting the standard Workhorse and installing the enhanced parts yourself. I did some math, and you'd save about $75. 

If you don’t want to mess with installing the enhanced parts, then the Patrol is worth it. Personally, I’d rather take that money and invest it in additional upgrades. BAD offers some of the industry’s best enhanced parts, and the Workhorse could easily be further upgraded. For instance, take a look at their enhanced magazine releases, buffer tubes, stocks, and more. If you’re curious about how this would look on one of their rifles, take a peek at the video on my personal competition gun.

Related: AR-15 Workhorse - Battle Arms Development Patrol Carbine

Overall, this is an incredibly solid AR-15 rifle series. So if you’re in the market for a rifle that can really perform, this baby better be in the lineup for consideration.

revolver barrel loading graphic