The Blackthorne AR15 rifle has a rather poor reputation in the online community. Forums across the net are littered with posts asking “Should I buy a Blackthore AR15?” with a mountain of responses explaining how the Blackthorne AR15 is all but a pile of scrap metal not worth the cost to ship it.
Most of these post come from people that have a friend who used to own one, or saw one jam up at a range, or heard some expert at the gunshop talk bout them, but these responses rarely ever come from someone who has actually owned one. So let’s take an unbiased look at this company with the less than stellar reputation.
First off we need to understand one very important thing ……. Blackthorne is not an AR manufacturer, they are an AR assembler, they buy parts in bulk from other companies and assemble the upper receiver assemblies, then ship the to the customers, thats it, thats all they do.
Second, we need to understand where they buy their parts from, and I think some of the answers may suprise you. Lets take a look at a standard M4 style Blackthorne kit, just a basic model and see what parts are used.
Upper receiver – LMT blemished or LAR Grizzly
Barrel – ER Shaw, Mossberg or Wilson
Lower parts kit – DPMS, CMMG or D.D.
Bolt Carrier Assembly – DPMS or Wilson
Handguards – Tapco or similar
Now it took alot of research to find out what parts Blackthorne uses, since most companies don’t want people knowing that you can get their parts cheaper through another company, also you have to understand that whatever parts you get will be dependent on what they have in stock at the time your kit is being put together.
So as we can see while not extremely high end parts are used, they are parts from reputable companies that I think most of us trust.
So where does Blackthorne’s bad reputation come from? Well first off the fact that they’ve been known by a couple of other names and their reputation was just as bad then as it is now doesn’t help, but the real problem behind their reputation comes because of their quality control.
Remember Blackthorne is just an assembler and shipper of parts, and because of that you’d think they’d be able to do that one thing well, but unfortunately it can be hit or miss. I’ve seen everything from a improperly staked gas key to an improperly tightened barrel, and with things like that happening it’s easy to see why they have the reputation they do.
But let’s look at the upside.
The standard Blackthorne parts kit cost $420 without the stripped lower receiver and includes everything you’ll need to build a rifle and it ships free. So depending on what lower you buy you can walk away having only spent $520 bucks on a complete AR15 built using quality parts. To put that into context, buying the same parts Blackthorne uses yourself would cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 to $550 bucks depending on where you buy, so by ordering from them you can save $100 or more and have some of the parts assembled.
If you don’t mind tweaking a rifle a bit if some of the assembly wasn’t up to par and you want to save money on quality parts to get a good rifle for a budget price, then Blackthorne is for you. Otherwise spend the extra $200 to $400 on a DMPS or BCM and call it a day.