by Brad Walker
With all the political madness surrounding the firearms community, it was refreshing to find a company that’s not purposely hiking up its prices at the expense of the customer. Texas Custom Guns, located in Alvin, TX, is still putting out exceptional quality rifles at prices the average shooter can afford. They refuse to overprice their guns to wring a few more dollars out of their customers and ignore the “supply and demand” nonsense that some other companies cling to.
I originally heard about Texas Custom Guns through a friend who runs Monderno. He introduced me to the owner, Lonnie, who served in the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit for 5 years. He honed his craft and after returning home, began his dream by opening TCG where he’s built guns ever since.
Now for the goods.
Texas Custom Guns built their version of the AR platform for me to my specs. I asked for a simple rifle, cerakoted grey with black furniture and black components. Here’s what I received:
The upper and lower receivers are Texas Custom Guns’ design and are CNC machined out of extremely light and extremely strong solid block of 7075-T6 billet aluminum. They are then mil-spec anodized to a Type III hardcoat for thorough strength and protection.
Forward of the upper receiver, a 15” Midwest Industries Gen 2 SS one-piece free-floating handguard provides support and excellent ergonomics due to its extremely light weight and small diameter. It also came standard with three picatinny rail sections that allow the user to mount accessories in number of places. The MI handguard surrounds a 16” mid-length gas barrel that is fluted forward of the gas block to further lighten the muzzle end and alleviate muscle stress from the shooter. Finishing off the barrel is a Yankee Hill Machine 5C2 Flash Hider/Compensator.
The receivers and handguard were sandblasted and cerakoted with a subtle McMillan Grey. From afar, the rifle appears black, but once you get closer, the grey begins to catch your eye. It’s a really nice effect. All other parts and components were sprayed with Graphite Black.
Rounding out the package, Texas Custom Guns outfitted the rifle with all Magpul furniture, including a Magpul MIAD grip and CTR, as well as a set of MBUS2 sights.
Lastly, TCG coats their Bolt Carrier Groups and Trigger Groups in Nickel-Boron for a finish that, as my Dad would say, is “Slick as owl shit!” Needless to say, it requires very little lubrication and minimizes the drag created inside the receiver.
Now for the assessment.
Disclaimer: I am not a super-secret, Tier 1 ninja with tens of thousands of rounds out of the barrel of a rifle stolen from Bigfoot’s magical unicorn while he relieved himself into the pot of a Leprechaun’s gold; however I have shot an AR or two and know what right looks and feels like. That being said, let’s continue.
My initial impression of the TCG-15 was “Wow!” Even after Lonnie had put around 100 rounds through it during “testing”, it was immaculate. The cerakote job was flawless. The fit and finish really was on par with the best of the industry’s heavy-hitters. So after a good once-over and a functions check, it was off to the range.
Zero – I printed out a standard U.S. Army zero target, walked it out to 25m and got set up. I used Federal’s American Eagle Varmint 50 gr Polymer Tipped .223 rounds for this zero. Not great ammo for accuracy, but as we all know, ammo is scarce. Moving on, I got set up, broke one of the cleanest triggers that I’ve ever felt for a mil-spec trigger and the first 3 shot group landed just at the bottom of the paper well within the 3 cm margin. Windage was good. I adjusted 11 clicks up on the front sight post, and the second group was almost dead center. The weather was moving in, so I adjusted one more click up and called it good.
Rounds on Steel – I set a piece of steel out at approximately 150 yards just to check accuracy at distance. She was dead center every shot. Not quite Sub-MOA, but with better ammunition I’m confident that it would be. I even passed the rifle off to my step-son, who’d never shot an AR in his life. Even with my zero, he never missed. Very impressive rifle.
Speed Round – I loaded up a couple of magazines and quickly ran them through the rifle, got back on the 150 yard steel and still held a tight 1-2 inch group after the barrel was blazing hot. Ran another mag with the same result. It never skipped a beat.
Mind you, this was all with iron sights only. No optic assistance.
Overall, as a simple southern boy who grew up hunting whitetail and tin cans, I was very impressed with the TCG-15’s looks, feel and performance. I didn’t put it through any crazy environmental tests or torture scenarios, but for basic battlefield testing and sighting, it performed flawlessly.
I can’t really say anything bad about the gun other than I might change the trigger out down the road to see the difference…maybe a Geissele or a CMC Flat Trigger, we’ll see.
I tell everyone about this rifle because of the tremendous value you get from Texas Custom Guns’ TCG-15. What makes this rifle really great is that it’s hand-made by a veteran who puts real care and effort into what he does. He’s truly meticulous about the products he puts into his customer’s hands. Like most small businesses, you can pick up the phone and actually talk to Lonnie [himself]. The customer has the ability to totally customize the rifle. Muzzle devices, furniture, color…you name it and Texas Custom Guns will ensure you get what you need. If you want a quality gun that performs well under stress and that won’t empty your wallet, you really need to give Lonnie a call and let his crew at Texas Custom Guns build you a TCG-15 of your own.
For more info on the Texas Custom Guns, the TCG-15 and full details on their services, log on to their website at www.texascustomguns.net.