American Tactical – Omni Hybrid Polymer AR-15 – New Gun Review – SHOT Show 2014 Preview

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The Omni Hybrid Multi-Cal from American Tactical is a polymer AR receiver that they are selling as bare receivers with an MSRP of $49, and that will also be available as built lowers and full rifles.

The Omni Hybrid Multi-Cal from American Tactical is a polymer AR receiver that ATI is selling as a bare receiver with an MSRP of $49, and that will also be available as built lowers and full rifles.

By Paul Helinski

American Tactical
www.AmericanTactical.us

One of the niftiest AR-15 products to come out this year is a hybrid metal/polymer receiver from American Tactical Imports called the Omni Hybrid. Like all of the best polymer firearm technology, the Omni relies on a metal-to-metal fit at the major stress points. The ATI approach is a full zinc alloy core to the mostly polymer receiver that includes the buttstock threads and rear takedown pin. The metal part has a dual purpose. It adds rigidity and strength to the overall rifle, unlike the not-ready-for-primetime full polymer receivers, and it also provides three separate places where the serial number is embedded into metal. One of the three places can only be seen on an x-ray, making the serial numbers harder to remove than on a fully metal gun. We were able to get an Omni in for some early testing and it worked fairly well, with a few little quirks. Stripped lowers are priced at $49 right now, so there is a substantial savings for those who want to build their own AR build on the cheap. Made In USA, the ATI “Omni Hybrid Multi-Cal” (all ARs are multi-cal), is pretty affordable and pretty cool. We didn’t get to x-ray it like we hoped, but after several hundred rounds, our complete test gun (not a stripped lower), is still functioning well. ATI could be bringing a whole new technology to the forefront of cutting edge weapons, on the cheap.

The Omni receivers are Made in USA. American Tactical has recently moved from New York to South Carolina.

The Omni receivers are Made in USA. American Tactical has recently moved from New York to South Carolina.

You may have heard that American Tactical Imports is leaving their home in Rochester, NY, and moving to Summerville, SC. This is due to the instability of the New York political system. It is tough to build guns with an axe hanging over your neck, I guess. For ATI, it was a practical move, but for the gun industry perspective on ATI, it told everyone, “We’re here to stay!” Until now, ATI was mostly known for imports, hence the last word of their name, but it seems that with the move, and now the manufacture of a patented new AR-15 technology, the company that now refers to itself as American Tactical is moving to make a mark for themselves in the American firearms market as a serious manufacturer, as they also build their import business.

The lower has an embedded zinc alloy insert that holds the buttstock threads and the rear takedown pin, as well as three serial numbers, one of which that can only be seen on an x-ray.

The lower has an embedded zinc alloy insert that holds the buttstock threads and the rear takedown pin, as well as three serial numbers, one of which that can only be seen on an x-ray.

My understanding is that the actual patented parts of the Omni Hybrid are both the zinc insert and the method they engineered keep the trigger assembly and takedown pins in the gun under repeated recoil. It may not seem like a big deal to you if you shoot ARs a lot that the pins actually stay in, but that has been a challenge for some of the “plastic gun” and “3D gun” experiments out there. We didn’t have any issues with the pins in the gun moving, or any deformations whatsoever.

The only issue that was very clear on the gun is that the magazine well is oversized. If you just allow the magazine to hang, the Omni Hybrid works perfectly, but if you push down or sideways on the magazine, the gun can sometimes hang up. There is about 1/4” of play rocking the magazine front and back. They probably did this to accommodate MagPul P-Mags, because they tend to bow when you load them full. I think there was a little bit of overcompensation. This is not due to the bell on the magwell. It is clearly an extremely large tolerance that was created for reliability but somewhat backfired. It isn’t a deal killer on the gun, and we actually have already bought the full gun and extra receiver sent to us by ATI. I like it.

The weakest link on the gun is the magazine well. It is a little too slightly oversized so metal mags wiggle and can bind the gun up at certain angles.

The weakest link on the gun is the magazine well. It is a slightly oversized, so metal mags wiggle and can bind the gun up at certain angles.

One nice surprise on the Omni Hybrid was the accuracy. Mostly the accuracy on an AR depends on the upper, and

The Omni shot pretty well with our samples from Gorilla Ammo. At 100 yards with a 4x scope this is a good dispersal.

The Omni shot pretty well with our samples from Gorilla Ammo. At 100 yards with a 4x scope this is a good dispersal.

from what we can tell the uppers on these guns are for now franken-uppers made from mil-spec parts. There weren’t a lot of expectations going in with regards to accuracy. At 100 yards, using a 4x Hi-Lux scope, the Omni shot into about a 1.5” dispersal, well within generic AR accuracy standards. Our tests with Gorilla Ammo have been stellar so far, and this gun shot them well.

Right now the Omni receivers are not easy to get. American Tactical is showing them as out of stock, but the distributors are getting them, and that means that your dealer can get them too, either now or soon. If you have thought about buying a half-a-dozen AR receivers, these are a pretty good option at a very discounted price. We’ll be back with more on the Omni after SHOT Show. One bummer about them is that gloved hand trigger guard. You can’t use them with a SlideFire, and we were really looking forward to melting one down.

Made of mil-spec frankenparts, our test gun had a decent trigger and felt overall like a standard low cost parts AR.

Made of mil-spec frankenparts, our test gun had a decent trigger and felt overall like a standard low cost parts AR.

We were able to shoot the gun at length. Our test gun is a franken-AR built on the American Tactical lower.

We were able to shoot the gun at length. Our test gun is a franken-AR built on the American Tactical lower.

 

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • TITO ALCANTARA November 22, 2016, 5:57 pm

    WHERE CAN I GET A USER MANUAL FOR MY OMNI AR 15 ?

  • S Freeman September 5, 2016, 12:28 pm

    Excuse me, but when I read Zinc Alloy in an article about guns, I see the more common name for Zinc Alloy. That would be Pot Metal. Great for toys, not so much for guns.

  • steve March 22, 2016, 2:16 pm

    why would magazines drop before they are empty, on an Omni max hybrid ar 15

    • Anthony December 12, 2016, 10:38 pm

      I had the same problem with all mags except the one that came with it . Found a video on YouTube a guy had the same problem and he fixed it with a dpms mag catch.so i ordered one and tried it and it fixed it cheep fix to

  • steve March 22, 2016, 2:14 pm

    bought an Omni max ar 15 and first time shooting it the magazine dropped while shooting, 2 different magazines both dropped while shooting. any clue to fix this problem?

    • lance September 15, 2016, 2:03 pm

      I had the same problem. Both with pmags and surplus metal mags. Called ATI and was told the problem was due to a defective mag release button after they checked my serial number. Was offered shipping both ways to have replaced or they would send a new mag release. I chose to have the mag release sent to me. It fixed the problem. I have even tried really hard to pull the mags out and they don’t budge. Haven’t had a problem since.

  • Robert January 4, 2016, 10:02 pm

    I bought the omni hybrid pistol about 3 months ago and 2 days ago I tried to shoot it for the first time I was very excited until I cocked it and pulled the trigger and nothing I bought it brand new out the box not 1 round fire what should I do

    • franklin February 6, 2016, 11:20 pm

      i would send it back to get fixed then sell it as fast as you can… unfortunately people can sell you broken guns and not have to give you money back and next time do your research there is plenty out there about these and others on the market i have a bushmaster that has a polymer lower that broke after about 50 rounds i sent back and now sits in the safe ready to hand to the man when they come to take our guns… lol 😉

    • Basz June 2, 2016, 1:30 am

      U have to rack it hard

  • Richard January 3, 2016, 10:49 pm

    I just got my Omni hybrid,it broke after 22 shots!! My brother is a certified armorer for M4 and AR’s We went out after he inspected and cleaned it. First round didn’t fire! next round fired and jammed bolt ! had to disassemble to get it out! Sprayed a bunch of Rem oil in it cycled bolt a few times fired it another 20 shots last one jammed We took it back to his office and he used a Go gauge, No go Gauge,Go gauge the bolt wouldn’t seat! Which it is supposed to seat ! I will be sending it back to have them figure out what’s wrong ! The problem is in the bore from what he said ! Very disappointed !!! I hope they have a Quick turn around on warranty work!!

  • Robert July 30, 2015, 11:13 pm

    I have a Colt AR-15 A1, Colt AR-15 A2 and this American Tactical Omni AR15 / M4.The American Tactical Omni Hybrid M-4 has a great fit. It is very tight and feels very well made. It has fired everything I put into it without a single issue, including 30 year old Lake City 5.56 and cheap soft points as well. I have had my original Colt AR 15 since 1980, have fired many makes and variants of AR 15s and I have a good idea of what I want in this type of rifle. I have found American Tactical’s customer support to be awesome. In addition, they have a lifetime warranty. I have a Nikon 223 scope. This is hard for me to understand given the price of the rifles, but the American Tactical AR15 Omni M4 is the most accurate AR 15 rifle I have. Very tight groups at 100 and 200 yards with Nikon 223 scope mounted. It is the most accurate AR 15 I have. Lifetime warranty and this price make this rifle a great deal.

    • Nick January 27, 2017, 12:14 pm

      Nice try ATI sales HR guy!

      • Charlie May 8, 2017, 7:03 pm

        I think there are fake reviews here sooo

  • Chandler March 3, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Picked up my omni about 2 weeks ago. Came with the pmag, which has above average play empty, loaded fits with no more play than in an aluminum receiver. Disassembled prior to firing 30 rounds of 55 gr jacketed with no feed, ejection or mag catch issues whatsoever. 1x red dot at 25 yds made a nice group at under 1.5 inches from standing unsupported. Only problem so far was trying to manually cycle rounds once, and bolt didn’t close all the way. Cartridge didn’t eject and caused a jam. That aside its never failed to cycle. Look forward to putting 1000’s of rounds through it.

  • Tony January 3, 2015, 11:26 pm

    Has anyone tried to switch uppers on omni hybrid?I’ve heard of problems with the fit???

    • ANTHONY MEOLA September 21, 2016, 12:11 pm

      I have the model that comes with the nato 5.56 and 22 cal uppers. The take down and pivot pins are tight but the fit is fine. I had a problem with the 22 having FTE every couple of rounds. Customer service paid freight both ways and bored the chamber and replaced the bolt and claimed 20 practice shots worked fine. I have not had a chance to take it back to the range. I have the 5.56 upper on it now but have not fired it yet (I don’t get out much lol). I just purchased an Anderson forged aluminum lower and am going to use the polymer lower on the 22 only, not that I don’t trust it but I prefer to have 2 complete rifles and at $169 for forged aluminum I saw no advantage staying with plastic and zinc. Interested to see how the new lower fits tonight

  • Tony January 3, 2015, 9:43 pm

    What uppers did you use? Any problems with the fit?
    I like the lower but the uppers do seam low quality

  • JR Guns December 29, 2014, 8:43 pm

    I built an AR from a New Frontier poly lower and it was junk. I tried the original ATI poly lowers and they worked great. I now started using the ATI hybrid poly lowers and they are even better. I have completed 15 builds for myself and others in various calibers such as 223, 762×39 and 300 AAC and would highly recommend the ATI Omni lowers. Polymers have been around for decades and they have a proven track record in handguns and rifle stocks so why not an AR lower.

  • john milligan December 29, 2014, 3:58 pm

    i have bought 3 new frontier complete lowers. without alteration i have had no problems. i have used different uppers, and have changed out all the plastic stuff, fire control group, hammer safety switch, pins etc… all to metal. the only problem i have had is that the areas armor upper used with this lower will not allow the charge handle any clearance over the butt stock. i have milled the stock a bit and can now use the handle, but onot with ease. the upper is areas armor and has a wilde barrel. i think this is the future. new developments are bound to occure. i have not fired the areas armor assembly extensively, but the moa is way above what you would expect off the shelf. 3 rounds with connected round circles is not too shabby at 100yrds

  • Robert B. December 7, 2014, 10:28 am

    I bought two of these ATI omni’s back in june and have not had a problem at all….yes the mag is a litte loose but has not cause any trouble at all for me, at 449.oo you can’t beat it to go out and shoot and have fun with the grand kids…. I have nine other ar’s (2 being colts at 1400.oo a piece) that don’t shoot any better!

  • john d December 5, 2014, 9:07 pm

    Just bought this AR 15 great gun shot over 100 rounds works great no problems…. And yes I am an 8 year air force vet

  • Rlee September 17, 2014, 10:33 pm

    I purchased a ATI Omni Hybrid this summer and feel that I have fired it enough now to actually feel confident with it. Except for the loose magwell which I corrected with some minor mag modification, I have yet to experience any of the failures mentioned by the various reviewers after 1500 rds using assorted ammo including some reloads. And accuracy has been more than acceptable. If ATI will correct the magwell issue I see no reason why the Omni can’t be a excellent budget shooter.

    • Tony January 3, 2015, 5:47 pm

      What was the magazine well mod?

      • Tony January 3, 2015, 9:35 pm

        A friend had problems chambering after 3 mags of 5.56 seams to think it’s due to loose mag. Would like to try to modify mag or well

    • Tony January 4, 2015, 12:12 am

      What did you do to the mag?

  • elroy brown July 27, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Just got omni hybrid out box and plastic. A little sceptical cause of alot of bad reveiws on magwell and jamming claims. Loaded my new rifle went to country and sent whole box through barrel without any problems at all. Don’t listen to those bad reviews on these rifles. One of the best firing guns I have shot. Everybody should own at least one at the price they are now they are bound to go up so get it while its good. Don’t normally leave reviews but must let everyone know about this good buy. No excessive oil no clip fail no jams no cracks also shot cheap bullets. Good job ati

  • james miller July 14, 2014, 8:42 pm

    I have bought 2 ati omni hybrids. And i ati 22. I have had problems with all three. To start. The first one i took to the range the forward assist blew out on the first shot. Tried replacing it a found it was out of spec. On the second one i got the upper reciever rear takedown hole was not milled properly it was gouged and tore all up. The 3 was the 22 ar from ati i went to pick it up at the dealler and when i opened the box the whole area around the hand guard ring was cracked all the way back past and under the dust cover. So i couldnt except the gun. That means the gun could not have been test fired or examined. The box was not damaged in shipment. Ati is very sloppy with how they handle weapons and the safety of the weapons. Yea everybody wants cheaper ar guns but not at this cost or trouble. All im saying is be prepared you get what you pay for. I personally would avoid ati just because im just one person who had trouble with three guns from ati. I was in the army active duty SGT. I was also an armor in korea for army. Not once have i ever had or seen a forward assist blow out or cracks that go the whole way around a rifle or out of spec parts. Metal on metal will always be the right thinking thats why its not cheap thinking. Safety first and then quality. You would think they go hand in hand but not with ati. They believe if its cheap they will buy and thats just crossing your fingers. So when you decide to purchase an ati weapon or product dont forget to cross your fingers.

    • william head February 7, 2015, 7:20 pm

      i have never responded to what i read on line, but im thinking of buying an ati ar15 and now im worried it may not work.

    • mike t. October 18, 2015, 12:55 pm

      i just picked up one of these about 2 weeks ago.free floating rail 16in. barrel, flattop. i’ve fired about 300 rounds with no malfunctions at all. i rest it on the mag and shoot it. 1 and 1/2 inch group at 100yds. guess i got a good one.

      • Administrator October 18, 2015, 11:02 pm

        This is a really old review they have probably fixed the mag wells.

    • mike t. October 18, 2015, 12:58 pm

      i just picked up one of these about 2 weeks ago.free floating rail 16in. barrel, flattop. i’ve fired about 300 rounds with no malfunctions at all. i rest it on the mag and shoot it. 1 and 1/2 inch group at 100yds. guess i got a good one.

  • sam May 7, 2014, 8:21 pm

    wish I had read these comments before, I just picked up my Omni Hybrid yesterday and while examining the weapon I noticed the mag that came with the gun feels really loose in the mag well. I called my son who recently purchased an Omni Hybrid and has test fired it, he said he has to pull back and up on the mag to catch a round and forward and up to load the round into the chamber. Asked if he has tried something besides the steel mag that came with the weapon he responded that after the incident he purchased a p mag and the same thing is happening. how is the turn around at ATI for fixes?

    • Administrator May 7, 2014, 11:01 pm

      You can’t fix something that is out of spec. Duct tape!

  • Don February 1, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Is it only a certain mag, I was really considering buying one, but here mixed reviews.

  • Don February 1, 2014, 4:13 pm

    I keep hearing about the mags dropping out but can someone state which mags, what brand?

  • Kyle January 31, 2014, 7:47 am

    Polymer lowers do in fact work, just have to buy the right one. My new frontier armory lower has been fantastic and is the tightest fitting lower I’ve tried and I’m using an LMT upper. Yes you read correctly, I’m using a $100 polymer lower on a $750 upper. If you’re looking for a polymer lower that’s the route I’d choose.

  • Kyle January 31, 2014, 7:47 am

    Polymer lowers do in fact work, just have to buy the right one. My new frontier armory lower has been fantastic and is the tightest fitting lower I’ve tried and I’m using an LMT upper. Yes you read correctly, I’m using a $100 polymer lower on a $750 upper. If you’re looking for a polymer lower that’s the route I’d choose.

  • Brian Ahearn January 14, 2014, 8:04 am

    In November 2013 I bought three of these receivers to experiment with for three builds that our company was planning to do. I liked the design of their second generation poly receivers and I am not afraid to try new products. I have one of their gen one poly receivers on a complete ATI rifle which has not cracked to date or had any other issues. Each year we build new shop and gun show examples to show off our companies cerakote refinishing. I had to send all three back to ATI . The magwells are grossly out of spec. -fact not fiction. On a finished lower receiver using Mil spec parts the mag will wobble excessively and it can walk off the bolt catch and it is barely held in by the mag release. You are sure to having some feed and extraction issues. I then took all their parts from my Gen 1 ATI rifle lower and installed them on all three of my ATI Omni Hybrid lowers and tried to fit them to the Gen 1 ATI rifle using their factory supplied mag and produced the same lousy results. I sent them back to ATI the week before Christmas 2013 and one of their gunsmiths did respond back and ask what the problem was. Since then I have not heard another word from ATI concerning my three lowers. I still like the design of this new lower and the large trigger guard ,but unless they can return to me three lowers that will actually will work on a rifle they are of zero use to me. I have not heard another word from them since the week after Christmas.
    My back round in case you want to question it USMC 2111 Armorer retired.

  • Mark N. January 8, 2014, 3:58 pm

    I did some minimal research on the interwebs of these receivers, and there were NUMEROUS complaints of defective receivers when received and even failures in the metal parts. Great idea that should surpass the durability of polymer lowers, but I’ll wait to see if these hold up to the hype.

    • Administrator January 8, 2014, 4:03 pm

      You have to be very careful with what you believe online. There are shills who will tell you everything and anything. We got two of these guns actually and they are identical. Could the frankenparts vary? Yes, but that isn’t the product. The Omni itself is really just a piece of injected molded glass plastic with a metal insert. Either it fits and holds the rifle or it doesn’t.

      • Mark N. January 9, 2014, 1:56 am

        The source, when I went back to look, was a reviewer for The Firearm Blog, an experienced shooter who deemed it “unsafe,” and what he was looking at specifically was the lower. He found, as did the reviewer here, that the mag was loose, causing the mag release to not properly engage, and defects in the polymer pour. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/12/19/gun-review-ati-omni-gen2-hybrid-polymer-ar15/

        • Administrator January 9, 2014, 9:54 am

          You have to be careful with people who overstep their credentials. Reporting that the mag well is oversized is fine, but unless you are a structural engineer with experience in glass filled polymers,and you know the interworkings of the product, saying something is “unsafe” is really just labeling yourself as a self important fool. He assumes that the ring is only mounted in the ring, and that the other metal embeds are independent. It is all one triple serialized part, as we explained. He had mags fall out, fair enough. If you read between the lines of the response from American Tactical, they suspect that he took the gun apart before shooting it. That is one of the problems with internet reviewers. Unless the parent organization takes responsibility for the qualifications of their writers and actually edits the material, what you are reading and making your purchasing decisions against is just “content” for someone to sell ads against. That particular blog is owned and run by a guy who lives in New Zealand and doesn’t even use his real name. Because he has *your* eyeballs, the industry takes it seriously, to its detriment. The story of the Omni is very simple. They made the magwell a little too big because they were overcompensating for P-Mags. -ph

          • Mark N. January 9, 2014, 2:12 pm

            You just beg the question, don’t you? Your qualifications are unstated and presumably no different than that particular reviewers, as I think it is safe to assume you are not structural engineers either. And he stated that he did not disassemble the firearm, but even had he done so it would be irrelevant, because everyone disassembles their firearms for cleanings and inspections. If the product cannot stand disassembly by a common purchaser and only by a “qualified gunsmith”, one has to wonder about the quality, durability, and reliability of the product. And the mag well is still oversized, something that does not appear to be a common issue with any other name brand AR. That implicates the quality of their engineering, doesn’t it, if they can’t get the dimensions right? By being pedantic, you have now convinced me to avoid this product at all costs.
            The fact that the owner lives in New Zealand is also irrelevant, as it has nothing to do with his qualifications as a gun writer.

  • Ed January 7, 2014, 11:09 am

    Are we running out of metal in the USA? Seriously – what’s up here?? Personally I like metal to metal contact, like the rails on my 1911. I will go even further, I love milled steel receivers on guns, with milled steel small parts, like an S Series (not an “M”) AK. But now let’s think about this, would I buy, heck yes, as a collector I might buy several, …why you ask, because the chances of this endeavor going beyond a first edition is pretty slim – beyond 5 years – almost a certainty you will have a very rare rifle…leave it ( at least one ) untouched in the box and buy one to “play” with. I base my comments on historical data – not my distaste for plastic receiver long guns, and before you go barking at me about my “vision” realize I lived when the Nylon 66 came out (had two) and I lived in a DuPont NYLON FACTORY town where my family worked!!!

    • LHTwist January 7, 2014, 2:42 pm

      @Ed – I’d speculate that the point of the polymer receiver is not to ease any metal shortage but rather the $49 price tag.

      Go buy a couple as you say, one to play with and one to put back on the shelf. No matter which way the trend goes, you just might have a worthy investment. It could be either “a first run version” of the most popular receiver ever manufactured, or a pristine copy of the Edsel of the AR world.

      • Joel January 31, 2014, 7:23 am

        Let see…I bought my Beretta Storm CX4 9mm carbine when they first came out 10 years ago. I clean the bolt every 300 rounds or so and wipe the PLASTIC bolt carrier rails on the inside upper receiver. So far it still runs flawless (over 5000 rounds fired). Another fading fad with use of plastic? I have a New Frontier polymer lower on a new AR build. It was only $110 for a complete lower with a decent trigger. My only complaint is the the fit is so tight that the take down pins are nearly impossible to move. It took a little work to fit up but there’s no play or wiggle between the upper and lower you’d expect from an aluminum lower.

    • Peter Osborne January 31, 2014, 1:48 pm

      Cannot help but agree, but then , my favorite rifles are single shot Ballard’s pat. All steel and walnut. Shotguns, superposed Brownings.

  • John Jewett January 7, 2014, 9:21 am

    I just reviewed the violent crime video (again) and I still find it the most insightful production extant. I certainly hope that you leave it it up, since I frequently show it, or send people to your website to see it, in conjunction with my own feeble efforts to make converts to our common cause. It works!!! Keep up the good work.
    JRJ, Harlingen, TX

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