Review: Black Rain Ordnance – BRO Urban 16″
You know what’s really good for gun sales? Banning them. California has seen an unprecedented rise in gun sales due to the “assault weapon” registration and ban of any guns with “scary features”. Shops can’t keep items in stock and some gun stores have seen 600% sales increases. I know folks who would have never owned an AR, but when the ban was passed they bought one or two rifles just to sit on.
Will these new laws cause those hell-bent on chaos to curb their plans? I doubt it. Will all criminals register their weapons? I doubt it. I’m not a victim of fear mongering and I realize I have more of a chance in getting into a car wreck than having to blast my way out of a home invasion; but, like insurance, it’s nice to have the option.
Not to get off topic, but today we’re going to look at the Black Rain Ordnance BRO Urban 16″ AR. I only bring up this political crap because Black Rain Ordnance (BRO for the remainder of this article) makes rifles compliant in states with strict laws. So if you live in NY (and now CA) they have a rifle that will meet those insane guidelines. Lets send a few down range now.
(Photo by: Eric Hsueh)
The URBAN BRO is part of the RECON Series. The RECON series features their 7075-T6 aluminum receivers. 7075-T6 is a super strong, high quality aluminum. The rifles in this series also feature nickel boron bolt carriers and 416R stainless barrels, as well as their drop-in triggers. They also come with adjustable gas blocks, Magpul furniture, and unique-looking hand guards. I asked Dusty Altman from BRO, what separated them from all the other AR manufacturers, and he said it was their all US-made materials and commitment to making high quality, precision rifles. All their parts are made in house. Besides that, I think they stand out aesthetically from the herd.
“What the fuck is that?”
When I pulled the BRO Urban from its case it definitely got a few looks, from curiosity to disgust. I attribute the harsh looks to the fact it doesn’t fit the trend of operator-as-fuck tactical rifles. This particular one is done up in Norguard. Norguard is a electroless nickel plating that is corrosion resistant and highly durable. It’s definitely a flashy-looking color, but the coating seems top notch. The other visual standouts were the stainless barrel with fluting, the uniquely shaped hand guard and the flash suppressor that looks like something Sauron would wield while battling enemies from Middle Earth.
There’s no mistaking this is a Black Rain rifle due to the branding, and there’s a lot of it. Based purely on looks, you either like it or don’t. Seeing that we are victims of fashion to some point, this rifle might not fit your current steez. I really liked how it made some people uncomfortable and question my ‘tacticool’ fashion sense. At the end of the day I’m a square range “ranger” with most of my enemies being made of paper and steel. I could give a fuck that this thing is flashy, and I respect that it is. Looking at precision shooting or 3-gun, I could see this rifle being right at home at those events. Hell, look at those crazy 3-gunner outfits with logos that make a NASCAR driver jealous. Ok, enough of my rant, let’s shoot some shit.
Oh, that’s nice.
I mounted a Leupold VX-6 to the BRO Urban, and bro, let me tell you, this piece of tubed glass is my favorite. Nothing can make your shooting experience better than having high quality optics. Sure there’s a list of other things like private ranges, learning from the best, etc., but dude, mounting a Leupold scope on this thing was a game changer. Sorry for the distraction, let’s get back to the rifle. After zeroing the rifle I set up various targets ranging from speed racks at 30 yards, VTAC paper at 20 and 30 yards, bowling pins at 50 yards and 5 inch steel plates at 100 yards plus. For ammo I used 55 gr PMC X-TAC as well as some random mix of other 5.56. Shooter ready?
(Photo by: Eric Hsueh)
BRO recommends seasoning the barrel by shooting a bunch of rounds and then cleaning. I’m lazy and didn’t do this, but was impressed still with the overall performance of the rifle. The single stage 3.5 lb trigger was really positive. The recoil on the rifle was pretty good and didn’t have me spazzing out. The groupings were pretty tight and the steel gongs in the distance were being rung consistently. After 500 rounds I walked away thinking this gun would be a good competition rifle. The ergonomics, the precision and the flashiness really add up to a nice boom stick. I have to say, even after my testing period was over (600 rounds) it’s been my go-to rifle for range days. It’s really fun to shoot and I like the conversation it generates from the looks. Black Rain Ordnance has a bunch of rifles and parts, and if you are in the market to build or buy some thing complete it’s worth checking out.
One last thing.
BRO had also sent me their BRO-Lock, which is an amazing safety feature. The BRO Lock fits in the chamber, pushing the bolt carrier back just enough to prevent disassembling the rifle and loading a round. Such a cool idea, and it only costs $34.95.
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