Palmetto State Armory PSA AR-15 Review [Freedom + Free Float Models]


– The perfect entry level AR-15, well that and more coming up. (gentle music) Hey guys, I’m Johnny
with pewpewtactical.com, your definitive source for
gun reviews, gear guides, and all things that go bang. Today, we’re taking a
look at a pair of AR-15s from Palmetto State Armory. These two are really similar, but I’m gonna help you
understand the difference between these two entry level rifles, and help you discover which one may be the right rifle for you. If you’re new to Pew Pew Tactical, we have a ton of resources to help you in the bang department. If you’re seeing this on YouTube, take a look down below,
lots of stuff to check out, and if you’re already on the
Pew Pew Tactical website, I’d like to tell you
to take a look up above and down below, but I
think you already know how websites work. We get asked all the time
about what AR-15 rifle is best as a first AR. We have an article that’s
gonna pop up right up here in the corner, or a link
down below where we compare three Palmetto State ARs, including the 223 Wylde. Now, a lot of guys and gals
are new to the platform, and they simply want an
affordable entry level rifle, so when Pew Pew
headquarters asked me to try out a pair of PSAs, I gave a resounding “Yes!” because I like affordable,
American-made firearms. Up first is the M4 EPT Freedom Rifle, and it’s one of PSA’s best sellers. My guess is because of the price currently coming in at $499. The M4 EPT Freedom Rifle
is chambered in 556, and is nine navel oranges long. The front side is a standard
A2 style front post, and the rear side is a Magpul MBUS, which you can adjust. The rifle is six and a half pounds, and the stock is also adjustable. The EPT stands for
Enhanced Polished Trigger, so the trigger is a bit of an upgrade from the Mil-Spec triggers. The Magpul hand guard has M-LOK, so you can add a flashlight or other peripherals if you want, and I think it feels fantastic. What it comes in is a cardboard box with lots of foam and ships
with one steel magazine. I really want to challenge
you guys on this next part. Stop and think about
what I’m about to say. It’s an AR-15 rifle, ready to go out of the box
with a magazine, all for $499. A few years ago, during a
different political climate, entry level meant at least $1000, if not much more. I think we all should stop, collaborate, and listen and recognize that
these are the good old days of gun prices. It’s an AR-15 under $500, not bad at all. Up next is the Palmetto
State Armory 16 inch mid length rifle also in 556. The rifle is also nine oranges long. It features the same EPT trigger and the same adjustable
Magpul stock and grip. Nearly everything is the
same as the first rifle, but the one difference
you can immediately see is the lightweight M-LOK hand guard. This one is 15 inches, but
they come in different sizes. This rifle does not have
the A2 style front post, but instead has a Magpul
MBUS sides on both the front and rear. This is usually sold as a complete upper and a complete lower and
shipped in separate boxes. The boxes are cardboard,
they come with stickers, but no magazines. Price right now for the upper
and lower units together come in at $659. The hand guard or rail is
the biggest difference. It feels better and the
free float design gives a wiggle more accuracy at the range. It also allows for a
different grip on the rifle. With my long orangutan arms, I like locking out my
support arm all the way, I just think it feels better. All of the M-LOK on the guard allows you to add more stuff to your rifle, and the extended flat top
has a ton more rail space. I just think the rifle looks better, and it’s my favorite of the two rifles. For this test, I unboxed brand new rifles. I oiled the bolts and the barrels, and I fired from each 300 rounds of federal American Eagle
ammo all in one session. For distance, I did not go out past 100 yards because I rarely go out
past 100 without an optic, #oldeyesight. At the range, both rifles performed flawlessly. Lots of noise, consistent direction of ejection, which lets me know that the
gas systems are all right. No misfires, no misfeeds, no problems with different brand magazines, and both bolts locked back on empty. Absolutely the easiest
range test of all time. All of my groups were nice and tight, and both rifles put
rounds where I wanted ’em. Not surprisingly, the free float system on
the second rifle performed a little better in the
accuracy department. Some of y’all like talking about MOA, or minutes of angle. Here’s a brief overview. A 3 MOA rifle will make a 3
inch group or less at 100 yards. A 2 MOA rifle is gonna
group at 2 inches and so on. Our PSA AR-15 article down
in the description has more on accuracy testing, check it out and see what you think. Now, M4 rifles are expected
to group under 4 MOA, and the PSA Freedom Rifle
came in at 3 MOA for me. I think that’s good news. The free float rifle
did a little bit better, came in at a solid 2, no big surprise. I shot both rifles and I’m happy to say that they absolutely are on target, they’re accurate, and no big surprises there. I trust Palmetto State Armory rifles, especially at this distance, 100 yards, and for me as an average shooter, as the tactical soccer dad, I’m happy with the free
float system coming in at a solid 2 MOA, good news. So, if you’re gonna be
shooting at distance, I think the free float system
is gonna be the right one for you, but if you just gonna be
planking on a Saturday afternoon, or maybe home defense, you can certainly go with
the M4 Freedom Rifle. Now, here’s some positives
about these two rifles. I really liked the Magpul MOE line. Now, the stocks are good, but the grips are maybe my
favorite in the entire industry. I’ve upgraded a lot of
budget rifles over the years, up to the MOE line, but PSA offers these right out of the box and boy do I like that. I like the Magpul MBUS science as well. I think the overall, out of the box quality that PSA offers, especially at these price points, are fantastic. Now, if you’re new to ARs, the bestest thing that you can do with these rifles is to customize them. They call them legos for adults. You can get these rifles
exactly the way you want them. There’s a group of you who
want an AR just to shoot a pizza box on a Sunday afternoon, but some of y’all wanna change and tweak and customize, so if you wanna upgrade the trigger or try a different muzzle device, or add a flashlight or a bipod, you absolutely can. Now, besides adding an optic, which I think most
folks are gonna wanna do right out of the box, I think you may wanna consider
two upgrades pretty quickly. Your first priority is
gonna be the trigger, especially if you’re gonna
be shooting regularly. The EPT triggers are fine, they work no problem, but I do think moving up to a new trigger is worth the effort. We have an article to help
you choose a trigger upgrade, a link’s gonna pop up right here, and if you’re on mobile, there’s a link down below, or you can just jump over to the website. Now second, I think you’re gonna wanna
upgrade the charging handle. I really don’t like
Mil-Spec charging handles partly because I usually
shoot rifles left-handed, but mainly because I simply don’t like Mil-Spec charging handles. What I’m about to say might shock you. Yup, we have a guide for that. There’s gonna be a link down below, jump over to the website. We can help you pick
out a charging handle. Now, here’s what I have
to sat about the drawbacks on these rifles. A few things to consider. For the 10th time, these are entry level rifles. They are not mega-precision
tools that you’re gonna be taking on a special
forces mission overseas. The barrels are chrome moly, they’re not chrome lined, and the finish is typical
black rifle stuff. Absolutely nothing to get excited about. Also, PSA is one of the big boys, so for customer service, you’re gonna be dealing
with a corporation, not a Mom and Pop boutique shop like some of the AR companies. I can’t believe I just said “boutique”. Finally, there’s some chatter online about quality control issues with PSA, some customer service problems, and some shipping problems as well, but I have heard recently
that the shipping situations have gotten much, much better. Now, to be honest, I’ve owned a lot of PSA gear
and rifles over the years. I have never had a problem
with any of the rifles, and my experiences have been
overwhelmingly positive, so you can take that for what it’s worth. Overall, I had a blast with these rifles. If you’re looking for
an affordable 556 rifle, the Palmetto State Armory line has my enthusiastic recommendation. American-made, easy on your purse, and they make really loud noises every time you pull the trigger. I really do like ’em. Now, what do you think? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment down below, maybe jump over to social media, we’d love to hear from you. On behalf of the entire
Pew Pew Tactical team, thanks for stopping by. I’m Johnny, and we’ll see you soon. (gentle music)

100 thoughts on “Palmetto State Armory PSA AR-15 Review [Freedom + Free Float Models]

  • I bought one of their premium AR15's and have had zero issues with it. With good ammo it prints 1 MOA. I definitely recommend them too. So far great company with a great product.

  • I have 3 PSA builds.  I have no qualms with their performance and durability.  As for entry level, perhaps.  Is it inferior to Colt or FN?  The DoD has recalled thousands of M4A1 for having FCG and safety defects within the past year from Colt and FN.  I have seen brand new Colt M4 have failures and loose barrels.  Every company has lemons.  Are the barrels are strong and durable as a CHF?  Probably not.  Are they reliable and accurate to Military MOA requirements of 3-5 MOA? yes.

  • I think it was about two years ago I bought two entry-level rifles. One being the Smith & Wesson sport 2 the other being the Springfield Armory saint. Over the last two years I kept the same pretty much stock except for adding an Ambi charging handle and a muzzle brake. The trigger was actually nice and I shoot Geissele 3 gun triggers all the time. As far as the sport to I had to change the furniture to Magpul it first and then later on knocked off the front sight and through on a rail. Also had to update the trigger at a muzzle brake so for so forth and in the end after spending about $1,200 I have what looks like the PSA done that is $600. I must say PSA has really got their s*** together! Just three short years ago I wouldn't even think about buying one of their guns now I'd buy multiple uppers from them as well as a few lowers.. I must say I'm very happy with all my PSA purchases. I think I have three PSA AR-15s.. 1 super nice ar9, and one AR-10 that's pretty badass as well. All I got to say is PSA keep up the good work!

  • keep your eyes out for daily sales… got the upper and lower free float for $449… love the rifle… well above "entry level" quality at entry level price

  • Man. Lose the "as seen on TV" gimmicky narrating. So hard to listen to. Cringe-worthy. Couldn't even finish the video.

  • Affordable,fun to shoot,fun to assemble.I bought the kit and lower on sale for $300.Liked it so much I bought another.All the money saved can be spent on ammo!

  • My wife ordered a complete AR-15 from PSA for my Christmas gift for $498 (including tax). I went into the PSA store to pick up some ammo, and ended up getting a complete upper and a complete lower for only $380 (including tax) for both. I've already put 200 rounds through each of them and they are performing very well so far. I guess time will tell whether they have any major issues, but for now, I'm very happy with their products, service and functionality. I happen to live in South Carolina, so I do like the fact that I can walk into a PSA store and speak to their reps directly, plus I love the fact that all of their firearms are backed by a 100% full lifetime warranty and are proudly made in the USA.

  • I have seen a lot of Palmetto State Armory stuff, and they are pretty affordable, I like that, but I worry about the quality and realiabilty of this rifles from Palmetto State Armory. Anybody here that can tell if I can actually trust this Palmetto State Armory as I would with a brand name rifle???

  • Yeah I'm not sure why "cheap" is synonymous with "entry level". Why not have your first AR be $4,000? Or whatever you can afford.

  • My mlock rail from a complete upper from them rotates after shooting. It can't be tightened any further not sure how to fix

  • PSA has been selling complete PA-15 rifles for $469 for the past couple of months (similar to the second rifle in the video). No sights, but they also have their MBUS pop up sights on sale for $49. This is my first AR style rifle and it seems to be adequate. I don't like the trigger and will probably upgrade that at a later date. The overall purchase experience with PSA was great. I went online and purchased the rifle, my FFL dealer was already in their system so checkout was very simple. Took about a week for the rifle to be delivered to my dealer. I would definitely buy from PSA again.

    The FFL dealer network and having to go through a separate FFL dealer for the transfer is the biggest drawback to this process. My dealer is very good about firearms transfers. Some dealers are not. I get it. They prefer to sell you the weapon themselves instead of you buying it online.

  • You can get budget stuff with PSA, or you can get a nice mid level PSA build for a bit more. People always focus on the cheapest option.

  • PSA is really killing it, I got a freedom complete upper with bcg and lower kit for $249 shipped here in Kommiefornia in 5 days from time of order. Coupled with a cheap stripped anderson from my local ffl I have a good solid rifle for a little over $300. I have a over 500 rounds and it is rock solid with no issues. Tight groupings and perfect reliability, what more can you ask for.

  • I am about to own my 1st PSA Freedom kit. Its brand new and already put together. I am trading for my FNS-9. Anyone have any input on whether this is a food trade or not? Thank you.

  • I love my 2018 20" 556 PSA A2 Freedom and I've been using the AR platform since 1987. Its a great all purpose rifle, and very easily customized.

  • I got a freedom keymod a couple of years ago, the best I've been able to do with it was 2moa with 30rds at 100yds? That was because one hit wasn't touching the big hole in the middle! So, just saying

  • Sweet, Thanks for the video!!! Watching this and reading some of the comments here made me make the decision to order one of PSA's rifle kits. Anybody here who built one of their rifle kits have suggestions on what brand of stripped lower to put on? I didn't add the PSA's lower to my order because I wasn't sure. I know the PSA lowers are probably just fine; I just wondering if there's other brand options out there that's not expensive and has a solid reputation, just for some other option choices? Someone told me just go with an Anderson lower, they're cheap and has good reputation of being solid.

  • Great video, always enjoyable.

    Have you ever considered a second YouTube channel reading children’s books? I think that would be a huge hit.

  • Hey I’m sorry. But I advise anyone thinking about buying from them to save your time and buy elsewhere. Sure they are cheap, and that’s it. They are cheap. They have rules that they do not disclose until you make a purchase and then they wait a week before getting to you that they won’t ship. I’m a resident of one state, but travel a lot. So if I have to buy a rifle out of state, I have to have it shipped to a local FFL and when the gun arrives, I go in, fill out the form, they make the call and it’s approved and I take possession of my rifle. PPA won’t ship anything but a full rifle to and FFL for you. Won’t ship a lower. They suck. Ruined a trip I had planned for the end of the month. So I have an upper arriving today, but my lower will not be shipped. Cancelled the lower, probably be a week before I get a refund. And I’ll be returning the upper to and start all over, anywhere else. Not to mention the money I spent on the trip is non-refundable. So yeah, they suck and I’m gonna post this everywhere. If I can cost them $1,000 in sales loss, I’m happy, because that’s what I’m out. Plus have you read the hundreds of thousands of reviews of flawed guns they sell? Poor customer service and replacements galore??? I was willing to take a chance. Never again. It was most likely a flawed lower anyway, like the masses report.

  • I own 3 psa AR's….18" stainless steel .223 wylde rifle length mlok FF, 16" 5.56 midlength nitride mlok FF, and a 10.5" 5.56 mlok pistol build…..all are awesome. I'm planning on picking up an Ar10 and one of their new AK's……

  • Ok, my mad rant is over now. But dang, having stupid issues like that I wrote on earlier is ridiculous and when the upper came in this morning, the dust cover (ejection port cover) was half hanging off. The hinge rod/pin for the cover is 3/8" too short and it backed out and the cover was hanging off. And no, there is no E clip or even a grove in the rod. Sure I can fix it by buying the proper size rod, but I have to take off the free floated fore arm and barrel to do that. I was going to do that anyway to check the tightness of the gas block and alignment of the holes as I've heard people say the screws were not tight and the block canted on them. Plus I've heard a bunch of buyers say they had to put in an adjustable gas block to get it to run right. And some have had to dremel out the bottom of the lower to get the bolt lock to work on the last round. I'm looking the upper over really good and so far, all I've found wrong was the mentioned port cover and the charge handle is very hard to close. I see I'll also have to file it a tad, like others have commented on their uppers. I don't know if .308 charge handles are larger than the 5.55, but this one seems wimpy compared to the size of the upper. This is my first AR 10, or PA 10. The screws on the free float seem tight but I've not put a wrench on them yet, same with the flash hider up front. It's just that I've never had to do this on any other gun I've ever owned and I've owned many, many guns, dating back to 1971. My age, not the gun age. But all in all, the upper seems nice enough for the price. My lower will be in next week, all legal and shit.

  • With the M&P Sport II and the Ruger AR556 both at $499 right now, would you still go PSA over either of those two?

  • Im starting to get pretty good with the fruit measurements, I can give most things an accurate ballpark with persimmons

  • @Pew Pew Tactical- PSA offers 1/7 twist CMV ( per mil spec) and CHF chrome lined and melonite/ nitride barrel uppers and full rifles!

    PSA so walked away from civilian 1/9 twist UNLINED barrels that companies like Wyndham Weaponry, Rock River and Stag and Bushmaster still sell. THERES a REASON the US military expects chrome lining and western European Militaries expect at least Melonited barrels, but too many people claim its " not necessary"( even in CA the weather and ambient conditions can cause a improperly oiled weapon to RUST in what you think is dry storage- learned that the HARD way when I bought a remington 870 express shot gun!!)

    The 4140 CM barrels are rare from PSA and even those get nitride treatment so they tend to be better corrosion, heat heat wear and rifling resistant compared to other " entry" level manufacturers ( Del Ton, DS Arms, DPMS, even higher priced Stag and Rock River will make you pay EXTRA for chrome lined 1/7 barrels)

    Its no frills rifle good for HD, plinking and even small and medium game hunting(if your state allows) I have shot my midlength PSA freedom AR-15 along side my Colt 6920 and get consistent 2.5 to 2.75 "groups with xm855- go to 69 gr sierra and the colt punches 1.5" and the PSA 1.75 groups in paper..only difference in performance between the Pony roll mark vs the crossed cannons!

    Right now you can buy the midlength melonited CMV barreled upper for 219.00 and the ept complete lower for 179.00- slap on a mbus for 45.00, you have a > $450 ready to shoot rifle vs a $1100 Colt, 1300 BCM or LMT or DD…

  • I built a black rain with y-hill parts up word 1500 plus 1 moa at 100. next two will be psa under 500 if can get a 2moa I'm cool. IN THE 80 A DELTA COLT WAS UNDER 500 BUCKS don't fall into the entry-level labels

  • I've built 5 off of PSA uppers. 2 were with PSA stripped lowers.
    I've never had a problem of any sort. Never a jam. Never a fail to feed. Nothing.
    The polished trigger with a JG spring set is bliss. Usually has my pull at 4.5lbs.
    I like the SPR with the rifle length gas and the 16" with mid length.
    Nitride is VERY nice as far as cleaning and accuracy.
    My 16 wears an A2 carry handle from UTG. PSA was out.
    No matter. Both have the same forging mark.
    The float guard is made by midwest. Very solid.
    You say these are "budget". Thats because of price not quality. Were these built as completed rifles, prices would be
    MUCH higher. Milspec is Milspec. I've no need of a 1K rifle that doesnt give that much more in accuracy.
    Rather take the extra money and buy ammo for training.

  • Why do people think that if a AR does not have a chrome lined barrel then it is not battle capable? These guns are milspec and above. They use receiver and lower castings that all more expensive manufacturers use. The internals , such as pins ,springs , and trigger/sear combos are all know to be outsourced from smaller companies. PSA has had some problems in the past, but what firearms maker hasn't.

  • What would be the one upgrade you would do on the free-floater to improve accuracy? Drop-in trigger? I have a rifle length 18" PSA with a stainless barrel.

  • Love the review man! So I just ordered one. It's my first personally owned AR since getting out of the army. But I'm hoping someone can ease my worry a little… I ordered the complete freedom FDE carbine. But I'm seeing a lot of people saying they prefer the Mid length… now im worried I should have gotten a mid but I didnt see a complete for sale in mid length. Is the carbine still a good reliable AR?

  • Fabulous video on the 411 on these PSA rifles! I do wonder in comparison how long they are in apples vs oranges 😉😊

  • I built mine with a 1/7 ss 223 wylde 18 inch with bcg, mbus, and charging handle included for 319, lower was equipped with magpul moe grip and str stock for 159. Whole thing came in under 500

  • "Entry level" has an implication of cheapness for somebody that doesn't need something serious. Definitely a good first AR, but also good for your 10th, 11th, 12th…. I have AR's that were 4 times the price of the PSA's and though they may look a little nicer, they don't run any better than the couple PSA rifles that I have put together.

  • Have bought three AR-15's in the last two months and all of them have worked flawlessly. I have put around 500 rounds through each not a single Jam or miss fire. I have got all three of mine for under 500.00.

  • I just recently got a PSA lower with magpul furniture and ept for 159. The free flat upper is 329 right now. Can't beat the price!

  • Few years ago I purchased an ‘entry level ar’ for a much higher price than this, & it is much worse. Glad the ar market has mellowed out & you can purchase anything based on your needs & wants

  • Purchased from PSA , both times issues with FFL shipping,  simple solutions except PSA customer Service rarely responds to emails or phone calls ! Save yourself some grief buy somewhere else!

  • Am I the only one who's brain started screaming "Gomer Pyle!" when watching this?
    Very good review though. TYVM PewPew!

  • People who say ‘AR entry level’ are basically the equivalent of Glock fanboys. They need fancy sh** to feel tacticool.

  • Have you guys done any videos on the PSA conversion kits? Like the 300 blackout kit or 5.56 conversions from .223.

  • "Nine navel oranges long" .
    I have been an engineer for almost 3 decades and that is a unit of measure that I am not familiar with.
    I always use "bout dat much" hand gestures for a more precise measurement.

  • Palmetto needs to offer more and better quality Barrels,I would be willing to pay extra,also triggers.

  • I have some lemon BCGs from PSA but they have good customer service and I got replacements right away and I never had to call them twice if I run into a problem

  • Looks like you like to waste ammo no way you hit your target with the muzzle bouncing all over looking tacticool.

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