Back in April 2012 I was involved in a Zombie shoot in Dallas, TX the grand prize sponsor was American Weapon Systems.
After seeing the grand prize I contacted them and had a chance to talk with them about doing a test and evaluation of the ZA-15.
American Weapon Systems Forged Zombie Annihilator® Lower and Upper, Machined from Forged 7075-T6 Aluminum
AWS 16″ Mid-Length LW-50 Stainless Steel Barrel 1:8 Twist Polygonal Rifling, With .223 Wylde Chamber.
AWS Nickel Boron Coated M16 Bolt Carrier
Two Stage Trigger: Geissele
Magpul UBR (utility / battle rifle)
Magpul MIAD (Mission Adaptable) Grip
Magpul MOE Trigger Guard
Surefire 60 round high Cap Mag
Forward Grip: TROY Industries, Modular Combat Grip
Samson Low Profile Gas Block
MechArmor TacOps-1 Charging Handle
A2 Flash Suppressor
Samson FFS & FRS Quick Flip Sights
Samson manufacturing, Evolution series 12.37” Forend
Old Man Lefty and I had a few chances to take it out to the range and put it through its paces.
Safe-Zombie-SHTF (S**T HITS THE FAN)
I buy guns based on need such as a new hunting rifle for larger or smaller game, or based on performance like handling, ease of use, and how it feels to me.
As seen in past posts I do own a few different types of .223/5.56×45 rifles
Sig 556 DMR
Sig 556 SWAT
Smith & Wesson M&P-15
I have fired many different AR-15 Platforms from Colt, Daniel Defense, DPMS, STAG, AAC, and BCM.
The Smith & Wesson M&P-15 I own is stock. I have not made any modifications to it, outside of adding a scope.
The S&W M&P15 is a nice rifle that is well built. It has more felt recoil than the ZA-15.
The stock model M&P15 is boring and if you want a M&P15 you may end up changing quite a few parts just to get it to the point you like it.
The ZA-15 can be customized before it is even shipped to you so you know the rifle you are buying is going to be the rifle you want.
I have met a a few people who believe an AR is an AR is an AR but that simply is not the case. Not all AR-15s are made equally and this becomes very apparent when firing the ZA-15 next to the M&P 15. You can feel the time spent hand assembling the ZA-15 and it is obvious that this is not another factory line gun using the the same stock rifle with the same parts time and time again.
American Weapon Systems has built a very high quality AR-15 rifle and and you are going to pay for it. Depending on the build you are looking at $2000.
AWS builds the rifle to your spec to insure you get the rifle of your dreams.
The GEARS crew and friends shot about 1000 rounds of .223 and 5.56×45 though this rifle and it preformed exceptionally well under all the conditions we put it through .
The barrel of this rifle is chambered in .223 Wylde which lets you shoot .223 Remington and 5.56×45 rounds through with no problems.
The bolt carrier group is a full auto bolt carrier group which I am a big fan of because it reduces (by the bolt being heavier) the the speed the bolt carrier goes into full battery (the status of a firearm when the action has returned to the normal firing position. Bolt carrier group locked in the lugs of the barrel). The reason I like that is it slows the action down making the extractor have enough time to eject the spent brass reducing the chance of stove piping(the rifle is NOT full auto). A heavier bolt increases your control over your firearm.
I made this stove piping for the image by putting spent brass in the rifle like that.
AWS shipped us the rifle with a Surefire 60 round magazine which is fun to fire and just looks cool.
They have dressed up the rifle with the Zombie killer dust cover and all of the Engraved Biohazard Logo and Zombie Annihilator® painted in neon green so it shows up really well. While this doesn’t make the rifle anymore accurate or function any better it does make the rifle a nice conversation piece out at the range.
I personally do not buy firearms because of aesthetics. I don’t buy a gun just because it was branded with the latest trend, but that being said I am always excited by anything that helps the firearm industry. This is a well built gun and it has a fun factor thrown in that makes taking it to the gun range a exciting way to meet other shooters. Everyone wants to come see the Zombie gun and talk to you.
In part 2 of my review I will break the gun down into each component category to expand upon what I like about this rifle as well as the pros and cons I found.