Fantastic Plastic – TNArmsCo Lower Initial Impressions
With the polymer revolution forever changing the handgun world, it’s not surprising that polymer would begin to appear in the rifle world as well. Much of the furniture for AR pattern rifles is already made of polymer, so a polymer AR lower seems like the obvious progression. A number of companies have begun manufacturing polymer lowers to varying degrees of success. TNArms Co has set out to be the best.
Right out of the box I noticed a few things. The lower is very light. 5.6oz, according to the TNArms website. I haven’t had an opportunity to weigh it myself yet, but it is significantly lighter than your typical forged lower. The lower has brass fittings for the buffer tube and grip screw. The lower is ugly. It’s got swirls in the finish, like you’d see on a heavy duty plastic pallet. It’s got flashing everywhere. The area that the rear lug of the upper receiver fits into looks like someone removed some of the flashing with a die grinder or some similarly rough tool. The flashing isn’t difficult to remove, which makes it difficult for me to understand why they wouldn’t clean it before shipping. The FCG pocket has a fair amount of flex. The mag catch pocket has been cut too deeply, resulting in a hole between the mag catch pocket and the FCG pocket. I highly doubt it will cause any real issues, but, like the flashing, it’s a QC issue that should have been caught.
In the end, what really matters is that the lower functions, and holds up to the stress of firing. Polymer lowers have a tendency to break in the arms where the buffer tube screws in. Most companies have combated this by reinforcing or enlarging this area. The TNArms lower doesn’t seem to be reinforced or overbuilt. I’m anxious to see how this lower functions and how it holds up.