Published on January 24th, 2013 | by Destinee (FateofDestinee)

Windham Weaponry New Release: Carbon Fiber AR-15

Windham Weaponry unveiled a new prototype carbon fiber AR-15 at SHOT Show 2013.  It caught my eye because I recently assembled my first AR, and one of my primary design goals was to keep it lightweight.

As an average sized female, I am not particularly graced with upper body strength. Any extended shooting with a long gun (rifle or shotgun) in excess of 8lbs results in my arms tiring, and ultimately less range time (compared to shooting pistols), so, for my arm strength, a lighter rifle equates to more trigger time.

At the time of my AR build, I was hard-pressed to find many solid weight-saving upper and lower receiver options, and I ended up with a (more or less) standard aluminum billet upper (Daniel Defense DDM4V7) and lower (LMT Defender). While I could have gone with polymer components, I’m just not fond of them. It’s subjective, I know, but they don’t appeal to me.

Windham’s Carbon Fiber AR-15 uses a carbon fiber and polymer composite material to form a  sturdy, but lightweight upper and lower receiver. As an AR, it accepts standard AR parts (barrel, grip, trigger, etc.), providing that high degree of customization for which modern sporting rifles are known. However, the new material allows Windham to lower the price from their standard rifles (although, a set MSRP is yet to be determined for this prototype), and shave several ounces off of receiver weight.

As an average-sized female, I appreciate a rifle that is less physically taxing to wield that I can easily modify as my shooting needs and preferences evolve. I look forward to the opportunity to evaluate this prototype carbon fiber AR-15 and examine the results of comprehensive reliability testing.

How do you think this material will hold up to real-world abuse?

About the Author

In addition to writing for The Arms Guide and her personal blog, Destinee is also a vlogger. She publishes videos on weapons, gear, and fitness on her YouTube channel every Tuesday and Thursday.


Going off what PH2 mentioned, if that carbon fiber material can hold up to a >10k round stress test, I see lots of potential for homemade 3D-printed carbon fiber lowers.

Old PH2
Old PH2

I began noticing the use of "plastics" in the automotive industry, noted GM intake manifolds around 1995-97.  Being used in those higher temperature areas is one thing, it's the pressure generated by a SAAMI spec NATO 5.56mm round that has my attention.  How man rounds can the upper take?  On top of that how many rounds can the lower take with all that slamming from the bolt?  Will the holes for the pins go egg shaped after 10,000 rounds?  Or maybe as low as 5,000 rounds?  Maybe the pins won't be an issue, maybe the barrel will float and cause the bolt to gap?  


I would like to see some video of a good old fashioned destructive testing program.  Run one or ten until they fail, then document the failure.         

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