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Freedom Forge Armory’s Joint Rifle Project

By Robert Bruce

(Editor’s note: There are a lot of start-ups making rifles, and quite a few of them are led by veterans of the recent Afghan and Iraq wars. We don’t have the space to cover every product, but we chose the Joint Rifle Project because it was a real requirement from a real end user, and a veteran owned company took a chance on building their concept and are beyond prototype and are marketing the end result now. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the changes in the abilities in the firearms community today- Dan)

“The original customer was local law enforcement, looking for an M4 type carbine for tactical and high risk work. But standard military and commercial versions just didn’t fit their application, would have required extensive modification and were nearly impossible to get at the time in the post-Newtown industry meltdown.” Brandon Pritchard, owner of Freedom Forge Armory

Also known as Sergeant Pritchard in his career as a full time administrator with an aviation battalion of the Virginia Army National Guard, he has double duties as a UH-72 Lakota helo crew chief. He carried an issue M4 Carbine in a decidedly hazardous tour of duty deployment to Iraq crewing a UH-60 Black Hawk, noting firsthand the weapon’s strengths and weaknesses.

A skilled gunsmith and competitive shooter, Pritchard was approached in 2013 by a respected LE entity (anonymity required by contract) with an interesting request.

“They wanted a version of a well-recognized manufacturer’s special purpose rifle, modified with ambidextrous controls, different barrel lengths for specialized tasks, quick-disconnect suppressor attachment, and nickel boron bolt and carrier,” Pritchard told SAR.

“I suggested that -- instead of waiting months for the basic SPR and then having me modify it -- I could build rifles to their specs, right out of the box.”

Armed with the customer’s specifications and following in-depth conversations on how the various versions including Designated Marksman Rifle and compact Carbine would be employed, Pritchard set to work designing, building and testing.

“The AR15 is the ‘Mister Potato Head’ of the firearms world,” he is not alone in noting....


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