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0308-22 Product Spot Light - FCD Billet Upper Receiver_Thumb

Product Spotlight: FCD Billet AR-15 Upper Receiver

Author Caleb Savant
one year ago
Brownells Gun Tech™ Caleb Savant shows us what he describes as the AR-15 upper receiver that sets the standard all other AR-15 uppers must be measured against. It's the URF-B v2 stripped billet upper receiver by Forward Controls Design. FCD is well known for the quality of their machining and strict adherence to specs. If a batch of parts comes out just a little out of spec, even if it's "off" in a way that doesn't affect function, the FCD folks scrap the parts and run a new batch, done right this time. Their AR-15 parts are prized by serious AR fans for being in the top echelon of quality.
Forward Controls machines this upper receiver from a billet of 7075 T6 aluminum alloy, and they give it an exceptionally smooth, uniform hardcoat anodized finish. Up top there's a MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail with laser-engraved T-marks. Relief cuts in the sides of the tang provide extra clearance for easy access to your rear backup sight. Likewise, a cut in the top of the forward assist housing eases access to the right "ear" of an ambidextrous charging handle. Despite the strategic metal removal, this upper is plenty strong because its walls are a LOT thicker than a standard forged upper. That makes it a little heavier than a standard receiver, but the big benefit is significantly greater rigidity.
Metal is cut away at the front to provide clearance for any handguard that fits a standard "mil-spec" upper, as well as free-float handguards with anti-rotation tabs. An extra hole drilled just above the gas tube hole accommodates a handguard that uses an anti-rotation pin, like the M89 Drive Lock Rail by Sons of Liberty Gun Works. Unnecessary metal on the underside of the shell deflector is removed for weight reduction. On the opposite side, an oversized cutout for the bolt catch provides extra clearance for a Magpul B.A.D. Lever or other battery-assist device.
NOTE: This is the newer "v2" variant of the URF-B that omits the over-gas vent port, which turned out to be unnecessary.