Who doesn’t love America’s favorite rifle — the AR-15. For the last few years, the AR-15 has rapidly become the 1911 of rifles. There are options for customization so thorough that companies like Brownells now ship a special catalog just for the options available. And every time I think everything possible has been done, a company proves me wrong. This week, Cobalt Kinetics shipped two models of rifle for testing, and I was not disappointed.
When I first heard about Cobalt Kinetics and the technology they are bringing to the platform, my first thought was gimmick. And a gimmick that was at a price point well beyond what I want to pay. If I cough up almost $4,000 for a rifle, it better shoot something besides 5.56, and it better wash the dishes as well. As we all know first impressions are not always lasting impressions, and getting a Cobalt Kinetic rifle in my hands has changed my attitude.
Cobalt Kinetics is based in Utah and began as a response to the status quo of black rifles. The folks at Cobalt were tired of the run of the mill AR-15s and decided to jump headfirst into the AR market. They designed and incorporated updates like their Dual Drop reloading process and made changes to the buffer system to help mitigate muzzle rise. Cobalt Kinetics’ mission was to create a rifle that is precise, durable and aesthetically pleasing. The two models we received for testing were the Team and the Eclipse, both lower stamped B.A.M.F (billet aluminum modern firearm). The heart of both rifles is the patented Dual Drop system that was engineered by Cobalt Kinetics. In an age when other companies, foolishly, in my opinion, are dropping the forward assist feature on their AR-15s, the Cobalt features one on each side. Not only do they act as a regular forward assist in the event you need one, either will also release the bolt with the slightest of pressure. It seems like a solution looking for a problem until you run it a few times. With a little bit of practice, it undoubtedly makes reloading faster. I also like that it makes my rifle act much like my pistol. The left-hand seats the magazine while the right thumb chambers a fresh round. With practice on the range, I have no doubt this system would get fast indeed. The Team version is a race rifle pure and simple, the Eclipse is more of a tactical style of rifle.
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- Type: semiauto
- Cartridge: 5.56
- Trigger: 5 lbs. — 4.5 lbs.
- Stock: Aluminum
- Barrel Length: 16 in.
- Sights: none
- MSRP: $3,895
- Manufacturer: Cobalt Kinetics
The Team gun looks like a Storm Trooper from Star Wars should be carrying it, and I am not sure that isn’t on purpose. It has been designed as a competitor from the ground up. The buttstock is an in house design made of billet aluminum that is adjustable for length of pull, comb height, and butt pad height. It melds to the lower receiver like they were machined from one piece. The pistol grip is removable and replaceable but is also machined out of aluminum. The trigger guard is Cobalt unique, in both shape and size. The hole for the trigger is massive, you could probably still use it wearing a boxing glove. The magazine well has been extremely flared, which also increases reload speed. It makes it feel like tossing a marble into a garbage can. You can’t miss. All the controls are ambidextrous, which is pretty awesome and over due in 2017. My favorite part is that it ships with an AR Gold trigger. The unmatched champion of semiautomatic triggers, these boys are after my own heart. The barrel is a carbon fiber job, which makes the rifle incredibly light weight. To cap it off, there is about 1 mile of muzzlebrake, another in house invention called the PRO. It does its job — this rifle barely moves when you fire it.
- Type: semiautomatic
- Cartridge: 5.56
- Trigger: AR gold; single-stage, 4 lbs.
- Stock: Polymer
- Barrel Length: 16 in., 14.5 in.
- Sights: none
- MSRP: $2,395
- Manufacturer: Cobalt Kinetics
This rifle isn’t quite the science fiction piece as the Cobalt Kinetics Team rifle, but then it is only half the price. Still, they share many features, including the Dual Drop and ambi controls. The Eclipse is dressed in a more conventional AR stock, the Minimalist buttstock from Mission First Tactical. The pistol grip is a Hogue rubber grip, which is one of my all-time favorites. Also gone is the AR Gold trigger, which is a bummer. If you’re wanting this model with the AR Gold trigger, it’s an easy purchase and swap. The trigger guard is detachable. The trigger included is better than Mil Spec, but it is certainly no gold. The handguard is M-LOK and free floated, which always aids in accuracy. The magazine well is still flared, just not quite as wide as the Team. The barrel is a 16-inch 4150 CMV steel with a 1:8-inch twist that is lithium ion treated with a normal A2 flash hider at the end. It also comes in a 14.5-inch version with a pinned and welded Linear Comp muzzle brake. After admiring all of their features and differences, it was time to head to sling some lead downrange.
I am going to get the bad out of the way first. Neither of these guns delivered accuracy like I expect for the price tag. With a 25X Steiner scope, Accu-tac bipods , and 77 grain Black Hills ammo, I expected a lot. Now we all have bad days, so the weak link here could very well be the shooter. I am not so cocky as to say it may not have been me. And I was on a limited timeline for these guns, Cobalt needed them back stat. The Team gun with the carbon fiber barrel delivered right at 1 inch at 100 meters, the Eclipse 7/8 inches. That isn’t bad, but it is not spectacular either. But no punches pulled, that is not how we roll here.
Other than that, the rifles ran flawlessly. The Team rifle is unbelievably fast at maneuvering between targets, and barely moves when you shoot it. The muzzle brake is the best I have ever used, it keeps the gun incredibly flat. The Eclipse, while noticeably different than the race gun, was well balanced and ran smooth. And oh man that double drop. When you are on point with it, the system is lightning fast.
It is a lot of money for the gun, but you get what you pay for. I haven’t even considered a new AR in many moons, but this has me reaching for my piggy bank.
For more information about the AR Gold triggers, click https://www.americantrigger.com.
For more information about Cobalt Kinetics, click https://cobaltkinetics.com.
To purchase a Cobalt Kinetics rifle on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Cobalt%20Kinetics.