By: Greg Chabot
I like to review products working people can afford. There seems to be a trend in publications to review overpriced firearms that work no better than more affordable options except for cosmetic features and bragging rights at the range. I personally have no time for that way of thinking and my writing reflects that. Recently, I was given the opportunity to test an AR pistol manufactured by Radical Firearms. I have never reviewed an AR style weapon as there are plenty of articles out there and I like to think outside the box. However, I have written an article about disabled shooting in the past and I felt an AR pistol with a brace would be a fitting piece as they were designed originally for the disabled.
Radical Firearms LLC was founded in Stafford Texas in 2013 as a hobby rather than a full fledge manufacturer. As their reputation and business grew, they went to full time production, expanding their product line to offer a variety of products for the shooting community.
The weapon arrived in a plain, carboard box with one thirty-round magazine. Fit and finish were outstanding with no blemishes. The gas block and fore-end screws were properly torqued. Upper and lower receiver fit was very tight with no movement. The SB tactical brace was adjustable; the tube and castle nut were properly attached. The castle nut was not staked; end users easily could stake if that concerns them.
Weight Unloaded is 5.6 Pounds with an OAL of 26 Inches.
The Mil spec patterns – upper and lower – are made from 7075 T6 aluminum with type 3 anodizing. The barrel is Melonite coated, 4140 chrome, moly vanadium steel. Twist rate is 1:7 with a true 5.56 chamber. Feed ramps are M4 type, gas system is carbine with .750 low profile gas block. The flash suppressor is A2 style. Radical uses their own free-float handguard called the RPR (Radical Parallelogram Rail) that is Mlok compatible with a length of 10”. Internally, the auto BCG is black, nitride coated, and made by Azimuth technology. The gas key is properly staked and torqued. The bolt assembly is shot peened and HPT/MPI tested. Charging handle is standard GI type. The safety is ambidextrous, so does not get in the way of one’s dominant hand. The pistol grip is Engage V2 by Mission First Tactical. Overall, I was impressed by the quality of this weapon out of the box. The big question was, how would the pistol perform on the range?
Testing was done in mostly sub-zero weather conditions over 30 days. The weapon was tested as-is, out of the box. It was cleaned and lubed prior to testing with SEAL-1 CLP. It was not cleaned again until testing was completed. For sights, I used some plastic Magpul flip up irons that I had laying around. Magazines used during testing varied; GI, Hex mag, Pmag, Lancer, and a Strike industry 32 round magazine were put into rotation. Due to Brandon regime tyranny and the China virus, I was only able to source 700 rounds of mixed 5.56 and .223 ammo.
For the first test, I left the weapon outside in -12 F weather overnight with a full mag and chambered round. I disengaged the safety and fired the entire magazine without issue. Note: When breaking in AR type rifle, I go heavy on lube. It’s a wet system; if it doesn’t need lube, the lube will leak out, without harm.
I continued shooting, doing everything from slow fire to hammer pairs and mag dumps. Not once did the weapon malfunction. The trigger is a standard GI type that got the job done; pull weight was 5lbs. As the weapon was shot, the trigger smoothed out. I’m not a trigger snob and find a GI trigger adequate for my needs. The brace fit my forearm with minor adjustments. I was able to fire the weapon one-handed without any control issues. Recoil was completely manageable, and while doing Mozambique drills, I experienced no issues with accuracy during rapid fire. The weapon was zeroed at 25 yards with test ranges from 5 to 100 yards, using steel targets. Accuracy was good from both offhand and a supported positions. All flyers were due to shooter error, not the weapon. Zero complaints about reliability. It functioned flawlessly with all ammo in sub-zero conditions. It was buried in snow and that didn’t slow it down one bit. It was also dropped into slush and allowed to freeze to try to cause a malfunction, to no avail.
My only gripe was with the pistol grip. Ergonomically it was fine, but I found it a little smooth for my taste with gloves and bare hands. Fortunately, the grip is easy enough for end users to change if they desire. For those who feel the need, the RPR has plenty of room to attach accessories. It provides plenty of airflow to keep the barrel cool during sustained fire. During testing, I didn’t experience any issues with the fore-end getting too hot to grasp. Upon completion of testing, the weapon was field stripped and cleaned. No unusual wear was found, and all screws were as tight as when it came out of the box.
I enjoyed the short time I spent with the Radical Arms 10.5 pistol. It was well built and gave me zero issues during 700 rounds fired in harsh conditions. I would have liked to run it hard over the course of the year to see how it held up over time. Unfortunately, that was not possible with time constraints. I did my darndest to push it to fail, but no luck. The weapon performed to my standards, and yes, I would trust my life to it. The MSRP on Radical’s page is $799. On the street in my area, it can be found for $650 if you are a savvy shopper – which is a great bargain for a weapon of this quality. This weapon performed just as a well, or better than, more expensive brands on the market. I used to own a SOLGW pistol that was complete junk; it didn’t have half the quality of this “Entry” level weapon. It looked cool but failed miserably on the range. More expensive doesn’t always mean more performance.
Stabilizing braces are under assault by an out-of-control agency exceeding their authority. This is an attack on the second amendment rights of disabled shooters. Please contact members of congress and express your concerns. Join a gun rights group that best represents your interests.