For the past several months, parts for AR-15s have been very hard to come by, particularly complete upper receivers. If you’re on the hunt for a quality, budget friendly AR-15 complete upper, look no further than the complete uppers from Always Armed. Never heard of Always Armed? Me neither…that is until a few months ago when I stumbled upon alwaysarmed.com, and to my surprise, I actually found what I was looking for “in stock”.
Who is Always Armed?
According to their website, Always Armed is a Florida based machine shop that began making AR-15 parts for local customers and national brands. In 2014, they launched Always Armed because they saw the need for a direct to consumer brand at competitive prices. Always Armed offers a wide range of AR-15 kits and parts. Due to the crazy demand in the firearms industry this year, some popular items may be sold out, but check back frequently, as I noticed that they are able to restock their product offerings with better success than other more popular brands. It also appears that Always Armed is run by the same people who operate Grid Defense (Ghost Firearms).
Features of the Always Armed 10.5″ Upper in 5.56 NATO (in Black)
- Made in the USA
- Mil-Spec 7075 T6 Upper Receiver with Dust Cover and Forward Assist
- 10.5″ 1:7 Twist 4150 Barrel with Black Nitride Finish
- Chambered in 5.56 NATO
- Carbine Length Gas System
- .750 Low Profile Gas Block
- A2 Flash Hider
- 10″ Free Float M-LOK Hand Guard
- Black Anodized Finish
As of the writing of this review, pricing directly from Always Armed for this black 10.5″ Upper in 5.56 NATO was just $249 (back in May, it was about $189). For current pricing, go to their website here.
You also have the option to select a BCG and charging handle at an additional charge.
The overall machining seems to be pretty decent with no obvious sharp edges or burrs. The anodized black finish is not the best (somewhat chalky feel), but it is acceptable for my needs as a budget build. In fact, the genesis of this budget build was that I wanted a reliable, accurate AR-15 pistol that could used for home defense and if it was taken by the police as evidence in a home defense use scenario, I would not exactly be heartbroken if it took months to get it back.
At the Range
I attached to my Always Armed complete upper, a Ruger AR-556 pistol lower, a YHM Phantom Muzzle Brake, a YHM Turbo Suppressor, H3 buffer, BCM Mod3B charging handle, BCM Mod 1 Gunfighter pistol grip and a Vortex Crossfire red dot. After shooting about 180 rounds of M193 and M855 suppressed, I can tell you that the Always Armed upper proved to be reliable and accurate. I experienced no failures whatsoever. However, the suppressed upper was a bit over-gassed with the M193 ejecting at about 1-2 o-clock despite using a 5.2 oz H3 carbine buffer from Expo Arms.
I also had a significant amount of gas in my eyes. One easy way to reduce amount of burning gas to the eyes would be to switch to a gas buster charging handle, such as the Griffin Armament SN-ACH or the SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle (GDCH). If the gas to the eyes is still a problem, you can also get an adjustable gas block, or an adjustable bolt carrier, like the Bootleg 4 position adjustable carrier.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, reliable and accurate complete upper, check out Always Armed.
Please Note: There is a gun shop in Florida at https://alwaysarmed.net but this is NOT the same company as https://alwaysarmed.com