ZRO Delta: A Great Entry-Level AR-15 for the Money
I’ve commented on the ZRO Delta before, and I still find it to be a very handsome rifle even months into this testing period. I got to run through a few mags before my first review. After shooting it a lot more, it’s certainly grown on me. The balance is nice, and it has proven to be an accurate shooter.
I’m not going to pretend like I’m the finest marksman out there. Far from it, but I do have some experience with AR-15 rifles. The ZRO Delta rings steel reliably and transitions well between targets.
The balance was the first thing that struck me when I picked up this gun. That balance translates well on the range, and it actually improves when you throw the weight of an optic on it. My U.S. Optics TS 1-6x draws the center of gravity well behind my support hand and in front of my pistol grip even without a magazine.
Range Time & Specs
For a budget-friendly rifle, there is ample space for accessories on the generous 12 inches of M-LOK on the handguard. There’s also Picatinny rail on the front end of the top rail for backup iron sights or a light, and the gun comes optics ready with a Pic rail on the receiver. But the narrow profile – just 1.5 inches wide at the handguard – cuts down on the weight quite a bit.
Most of the guts inside this gun, from the charging handle to the bolt carrier group and trigger, are familiar affairs for modern ARs. Even the flash hider is a standard A2-style bird cage. Still, it neither looks nor feels like a stock AR-15 when you get it into your hands. I’ve listed some more specs below, but it’s hard to really appreciate how slender and mobile this rifle feels until you hold and fire it.
Weight: 6.5 pounds unloaded and without an optic
Barrel Length: 16 inches
Caliber: 5.56 NATO / .223 REM
Length Options: 32.75 to 36 inches
Trigger Pull: 5.6-pound average
The ZRO Delta rocks nicely into the shoulder with the Mission First Minimalist stock. I prefer a canted angle to my stocks for exactly that reason, and I can quickly shoulder the rifle even with the straps of a pack on my shoulders. You can also adjust the length of pull between six settings on the stock itself.
The trigger is a standard AR affair, but the stock does offer a wider space for you to gain a proper cheek weld than the rounded CAR-15 stock that is common on many ARs. It’s also much more forgiving on your beard, if you choose to run a beard with your rifles. The gun is on the lighter side, and the recoil impulse reflects that. But it almost feels weird to talk about recoil impulse with an AR-15. It is hardly on my list of concerns, and I had no issues quickly acquiring targets on the range.
Accuracy was also pleasantly suppressing. The ZRO Delta held sub-MOA groups at 100 yards with fairly minimal effort. It’s worth remembering that my U.S. Optics TS 1-6x is more of a tactical sight. It was never meant to pull you into the target with a 20-power zoom. Your chances of shooting a zit off the rear end of a fly will demand a fair bit of luck or better eyesight than I have. But it offers plenty of accuracy, and the light transmission was great even when shooting under low-light conditions.
The gun has a healthy appetite, even if we didn’t feed it the best ammo. For testing, most of the ammo we shot was 62-grain Aguila, 55-grain PMC, steel-cased Wolf, and 55-grain Fiocchi. That’s hardly a selection of match-grade ammo, but it sufficed for testing. The group with the Fiocchi was comfortably inside an inch. I didn’t use a nice shooting rest. In fact, cards on the table, I just used a bag of rice in an old MOLLE sustainment pouch for accuracy testing. Feel free to judge, but the gun shot better than I can regardless.
We tested a mix of steel GI mags, polymer 30-round Magpuls, 20-round Thermolds, 40-round ProMags, and even a few clear ETS mags. Everything fed fine even with rapid-fire testing. For fun, I swapped out the bolt for a .22 LR conversion kit from CMMG. The point of impact dropped, which should be expected without divine intervention, but the ZRO Delta functioned without any issues.
While .22 LR can be quite dirty, it had no impact on the rifle after 300+ rounds. I simply ran another mag of .223 through it at the end of my range visit to make sure the gas system was clear. I’ll probably kick out a separate review for that CMMG bolt. If you are an AR lover, it is a great way to save money and spare your steel targets.
It pains me to say it, but this ZRO Delta is past due for returning to the Guns.com vault. I tested it alongside a very nice Noveske, Del-Ton, and a used LAR-15 that is a tank of a rifle. Those were all great shooters, and the ZRO Delta kept its pace with all of them. It does not, however, carry the same price tag as a Noveske or the same wear and tear as my LAR-15.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. There are two things that I didn’t like about the gun. The sleek handguard definitely warms up if you burn through two or three mags very quickly. That’s easily solvable with a grip addition or gloves, and the much more expensive Noveske got hot quick as well.
My biggest grip is just the lack of Picatinny rail in favor of M-LOK. Guns like my LEO trade-in LAR-15 come with a full Picatinny quad rail. However, it is heavy. It’s also a bit like a cheese grater on your hands until you build up some calluses.
I would put the ZRO Delta in a camp closer to the Noveske for pure balance and comfort while shooting. If you like sleek and fast, but at a fraction of the price, the ZRO Delta is a solid option. You won’t get all the glamour of some custom guns, but you also won’t pay for it. Either way, the gun will perform.