Without having an extra barrel to mount up this first review will be a little brief and will focus on the kit and my initial impressions. The kit comes rolled up in a canvas pouch with everything needed to customize the kit into a number of various configurations. Rolling open the kit reminded me of the many action movie scenes I’ve seen when someone rolls out their super compact tool roll-up to reveal the knives, lock picks, etc. that were needed. I realize it’s just a canvas roll-up, and maybe I’m easily impressed sometimes, but I like it. The upper is very solidly built and exudes quality.
In order to get a somewhat measureable idea of the machined tolerances I took apart my home defense AR and snapped the COP upper on. It was a very tight fit, perhaps the tightest fitting upper I’ve ever snapped onto a lower. After a few light taps into place the upper snapped in just fine and because of the tight tolerances showed absolutely no perceivable wiggle or slop with the lower receiver I had mated it with. I take this as a very good sign of things to come and while it was a little tight on assembly, the tightness of fit should lead to more reliable feeding and even increased accuracy when I add a barrel and optic to this upper.
In the kit come the Torx wrench needed for final assembly as well as a special barrel wrench that is needed because of the monolithic upper/forend configuration. The barrel wrench looks to be of high quality, more like something that you’d find in a gunsmith’s tool box and much less like the one time use tools that come in some kits I’ve seen. I mentioned the COP kit offered customization and that primarily comes from the ability to add any of three different rails to each side of the kit. The rails included are each 8.25” (or about 21 cm) in length. The full length Picatinny rail inserts have laser engraved T-markings starting at 18 and going to 36. Two of the Picatinny rail inserts have sling a sling socket at each end. There are three combination Picatinny/smooth rail inserts. A little over half of these inserts is smooth for better gripping the rifle and the last portion is Picatinny rails; one of these combination inserts has a sling socket built in. The last three inserts are smooth for the whole length and in my estimation would decrease the overall thickness of the forend section by 0.5” or more. The smooth sided inserts would make sense for someone who will only mount optics on the top rail and needs as much of the forend for grip as possible. One of the smooth inserts has a sling socket built in.
I look forward to building this AR-15 COP Upper Kit into a complete upper and taking it to the range. Thus far I can definitively say that the COP Kit is unique in its design with the interchangeable forend inserts and I think that the added rigidity of the monolithic upper/forend system is an exciting addition to the AR-15 platform.
Thank you to Aero Precision for providing the COP Kit for review. For more info on Aero Precision products check out their site: AeroPrecisionUSA.com. I will likely be carrying much of the Aero Precision line of products in the near future. Please stay tuned!