“When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.” Sun Tzu
In November I received my Hybrid-80 polymer 80% lower. This was admittedly my first in two areas, 80% lowers and polymer lowers. I was hesitant as many test results have come back from polymer lowers and shown them to have weaknesses in specific areas as compared to aluminum lowers. What sold me on this lower was the inclusion of brass inserts for the buffer tube and grip screw. Seeing as how these were the two most likely areas to break with hard use.
This being my first 80% lower, I decided to try my hand with my trusty drill press. Now I am no machinist, my dad struggled to teach me welding and I can use a cutting torch as well as braze when needed, but, I wouldn’t rely on my welds personally. Simply put my forte is not in the mechanical, though I can and do follow instructions quite well when necessary. So the drill press I purchased over a year ago but had not really used until now is the HICO-DP4113 8-Inch Bench Top Drill Press 5 Speed Rotary Tool Work Station. I found it on Amazon for a decent price and seeing as how walking about Costco is not something I can physically do at this time, Amazon is my Costco. Regardless the drill press it self works quite well!
After putting the pieces together for the 80% lower (which is sent with a jig/ guide and attachment screws) I placed it on the drill press and cinched it in tight, the drill bits needed were simple and something I already had, however, you can get them on Amazon as well. You will need the following, and make sure they are SHARP! First a 5/16th end mill, 5/16th drill bit, 3/8th drill bit and lastly a 5/32nd drill bit. Several conversations later with others who have experience putting together 80% lowers, and milling them out, I began on mine. I will be completely honest, it is very easy to want to rush it.
It is in your best interests to take your time, do one step at a time, slowly, as my father used to say, measure twice CUT once! This part of the process took several days as I would work on it for 30-45 minutes and walk away to “whoosahh” occasionally. It is not that it is hard, simply put I am not a MECHANIC, I am not mechanically inclined and prefer cutting precision holes with high powered firearms at distance too sitting in a dusty work space, hovering over a drill press and worried that I am about to screw everything up!
I ordered the CMMG innards from one of the dealers for hybrid-80.com, and had a bit of an interesting back and forth with their customer service, which sadly is not great. “Tennessee Arms company, if someone purchases from you, its not beneficial to treat them as if they are burdening you when they call in regarding orders.” Of course, sadly I have noticed a decline in customer service with American companies in the past decades. I wish I could say this experience is a rare one, it is not, hence it is not something I allow to taint my view of a PRODUCT!
Assembled this really is a beautiful piece, while I generally do not see AR or Aks in the same light as say a Mossberg model 41 or a Remington model 44 with their walnut and hardwood hand polished stocks. I can honestly say that after the work put in, I wanted to cuddle it and wipe it with gun oils, I guess its a similar response to when my kids were born, except this child is a bit less likely to talk back.
Several uppers later and over 1000 rounds of ONLY steel cased ammunition I realized I wasnt going to be able to break this lower shooting it. So I stuck it on one of my lower quality uppers and ran it through a series of drop tests, even using my Toyota 4Runner SR5 (V8) model to run over it on several different surfaces. I than stuck it on a standard milspec AR15 1/7 twist upper and ran another 532 rounds through it. I did not have a single failure as a result of the lower itself. I used hexmags, magpul mags and standard GI spec aluminum mags, most of which I have received from prior service/duty vets. Ever single magazine type worked, and the lower functioned amazingly with an additional 200 rounds of 300aac blackout as well. A total of 5 different uppers were used on this lower, from Colt through Delton and not a single failure to feed, function or work in any way and many of the rounds were after the abuse testing!
As a side note, I do not suggest you purposefully attempt to break all of your uppers. However, if you have the money to purchase two, do it, unless you use a torch or grinder good luck! I quite literally could not break it and honestly as a result sent off for another lower (pre-built this time) from one of their retailers. I am going to be building a pistol AR with it, and it will be my new bug out gun! Yes, that is how much faith I have in this lower!
I included lots of pictures and video this time out, as I find it to be essential when judging for oneself the value inherent. https://youtu.be/r7iafS6BSV0
Lets go ahead and list the pros and the cons and why I suggest this as your next AR build!
Lightweight, it weighs on average about half what an aluminum standard lower will weigh. Remember, ounces are pounds and so on. I like having an AR that is capable of 200- 300 yard shooting that weighs 5-6lbs loaded. Its NICE!
Strong, I was unable to break it with standard drop testing and even some minor use of it as a hammer with the butt stock as the handle.
It is easy to mill, TAKE YOUR TIME!
Relatively inexpensive, I have seen them for between $50 and $90 and paid $135 for a pre-built version to put in my AR bug out pistol.
Fits all lower kits fine, dropped in two different trigger assemblies and they functioned flawlessly.
Fits TIGHT, this is NOT bad, its a simple fact.
Its polymer and as we know only steel is worthy of being a firearm. Oh wait, you mean Glocks are polymer as well? What, you mean Glocks have the hardiest reputation of all current use firearms in the world? (Yes I am being sarcastic)
Seriously though, my largest con is that the pricing for these has risen exponentially in the last 2 months alone. There is no reason for this, except that they are not selling as well as they though and so they are making it up by selling less for more? Personally, from a business angle I would suggest selling more for less. Go back too the $45-$65 dollar 80% lowers.
I only have two of these lowers currently, this for myself is a huge con, I prefer the approach of, 2 is 1 and 3 is 2…otherwise known as, one can never have enough ammunition or firearms!
Folks, honestly, I would suggest making these your next AR builds, they are amazing and worth every penny. Again as I always do, if you are in Arizona, drop me an email, I will let you use any of the products I have reviewed and recommended. Why not, I like meeting new people!
Free the mind and the body will follow!