Robar Lightweight PolymAR-15 Interview at SHOT Show 2015

| February 13, 2015 | 3 Comments

Renowned firearms instructor Vicki Farnam told us to drop by Robar and look at their polymer-based AR15. 24-year Marine and Robar General Manager Freddie Blish was gracious enough to spend some time with us.


The PolymAR-15 is super lightweight and Robar spent over a year testing its durability. Several of their prototypes have over 50,000 test rounds fired through them. In addition to testing the durability of the polymer lower, they also tested if the polymer top rails would securely hold optics over tens of thousands of rounds. According to Mr. Blish, everything has held up.

Robar is also coming out with a polymer free float fore end that weighs about 6 ounces. That’s a weight reduction of 11 ounces from their current aluminum fore end offering. The combined weight of their 16″ barreled carbine will be 5.75 pounds.

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Their PolymAR-15L (lightweight) model comes with a Faxon Firearms pencil barrel, Bravo Company furniture and Bravo Company KMR-13 rail and weighs just five pounds. In comparison, my AR15 300 Blackout pistol weighs about 6 and a half pounds.

Robar also offers a pistol configuration with a 10.5″ Faxon Firearms barrel.

The PolymAR-15 comes in various finishes, and they have a ton of customization options. Robar offers the firearms in 5.56 and .300 Blackout. The PolymAR-15 are available for purchase right now, and are made to order. MSRP starts at about $1595 for the rifle and carbine. The Light and Pistol options start at $1695.

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I have read horror stories about polymer lowers, and until now I have not considered the weight savings of the lower alone to justify the risk of failure. Robar’s lower is reinforced with metal (some other polymer lower manufacturers do this, too), and their special blend of polymer appears to be more durable than the competition. I always found it interesting that other polymer lowers were marketed as inexpensive alternatives to aluminum lowers. Perhaps one of the reasons the PolymAR lineup is more durable is because the focus is on durability instead of low cost.

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I like the brass reinforcements where the buffer tube and barrel attach, as well as the pins. I’ve seen photos of where pure polymer lowers cracked at the buffer tube.

I would like to see a shorter barrel offered, especially for .300 Blackout. Freddie was very proud of the accuracy they were getting out of the longer Faxon Firearms barrels, but for my purposes I’d rather give up some velocity for compactness. I’d really like a PolymAR with a 6.75″ or shorter barrel.

We also asked Freddie about the popular Law Tactical folding adapter. He stated that it was too heavy for their weight requirements. I wonder if a shorter barrel and a Law adapter would equal the same weight as a longer barreled PolymAR without the adapter.

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The She Shepherd has been doing fight focused carbine training for a few years now. She started out with a full-sized AK47 rifle, and has also used a Tavor and her SBR AR15 with an 11.5″ barrel. The loaded weight of these weapons becomes an issue as the day wears on, and some of these courses run 8 hours or longer. The double header carbine class + low light carbine class was an extra challenge.

The Robar PolymAR-15 may be an excellent option for people with lesser upper body strength or body geometry that makes training with a full-length rifle more difficult. The She Shepherd’s shorter arms means she has to extend her reach more than someone with longer arms, and this puts a lot of stress on her shoulders. Having a strong core and doing pushups and pullups has made training easier for her, but so would dropping the loaded weight of her weapon by two to four pounds.

For my purposes, weight is the main enemy of someone with an EDC rifle / rifle-caliber PDW. The main reason I migrated away from the AK47 platform was weight. I would love to trim another pound or more from my EDC firearm, and the PolymAR seems like a good way to go.

I know the Robar is on the higher end of the price scale for what we write about here, but is definitely worth a look if you’re investigating ultra light weight AR builds.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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3 Comments on "Robar Lightweight PolymAR-15 Interview at SHOT Show 2015"

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  1. Ben(pi) says:

    Do you happen to have an unloaded weight on the pistol? MA has a 50oz pistol limit and something like this, with a shorter barrel may make the cut. Will they be offering just the receiver set at some point?

  2. Van der Lin says:

    ummmm
    a colt 6920 weigs less than 6 lbs. Whey are these things so heavy??? 5 3/4 lbs is NOT impressive for a LW AR build. Various forums show people w/ builds at or below 5 lbs, even some below 4 lbs.

    I am not impressed with the metal reinforcements. I suppose they are an improvement, but typicaly when lowers, of any material, fail it is not the femail threads on the back, it is the whole part of the back that comes up to enclose the “receiver extension” that beaks off, not just the part top of it. Even milspec lowers can break like this if you fall on them. Short of perhaps a forged steel lower, the strongest lowers are the current Cav Arms type lowers in terms of being resistant to breaking off the back, and they are pretty light too.

  3. Freddie says:

    Colt lists the weight of the 6920 at 6.29lbs. It does not weigh less than 6 lbs and is not Sub-MOA guaranteed. Colt ARs are great carbines and considered the baseline quality standard. You are not paying for the Colt name when purchasing one. You are paying for the 50+ years of experience and quality control that they must adhere to due US military contracts that they continue to fill.

    However, there are several companies, ROBAR being one, that build carbines to a standard above MilSpec. Would you rather use MilSpec toilet paper or Charmin? Both will accomplish the mission to standard, but Charmin doesn’t feel like sand paper. Same between a Colt 6920 and a ROBAR PolymAR-15 carbine. Both will accomplish the mission, but one does it at less weight. For those of us who have been there and done that, we know that ounces are pounds and pounds are pain. Saving between 1/2 & 1 1/2 lbs on a carbine, yet shooting sub-MOA, is significant. Additionally, between the BCG being plated with ROBAR NP3 and the polymer upper receiver, it is essentially self lubricating and can run with little to no lubrication.

    The ROBAR PolymAR-15C weighs 5.75lbs and shoots Sub-MOA. The ROBAR PolymAR-15SC weights 5.5lbs and shoots Sub-MOA. The ROBAR PolymAR-15 weighs 5.25lbs and shoots Sub-MOA. The ROBAR PolymAR-15Ti weighs 4.75lbs and shoots Sub-MOA.

    The PolymAR-15P weighs 4.85lbs or 77.6 ounces, even with Ti parts it would be 4.35lbs or 69.6 ounces.

    https://robarguns.com/polymar-15/

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