Well, here it is everyone, my review of the Thunder Tactical AR-15 Rifle Kit. I plan to be as detail oriented as possible with this one, so get some popcorn and enjoy this completely objective review of one of the AR-15 kits I purchased from Thunder Tactical.
Who is Thunder Tactical ?
Thunder Tactical is an online store really, or at least as far as I know, they do not have an open storefront. The company however, is based in Daytona Beach Florida, which is no surprise seeing as Florida companies seem to dominate online sales of 80% lowers. Thunder Tactical is an 80% lower online store that sells various parts and kits for the various AR platforms and polymer 80 handguns.
What Does Thunder Tactical Sell?
Thunder Tactical Specifically sells 80% lowers, so they are different from most “gun stores” because what they sell aren’t legally considered firearms. From their website, they sell rifle and pistol kits for the AR-15, AR-10, AR-9 and 300 blk.
What does an AR-15 rifle kit come with?
Now most people won’t really see the term rifle kit and associate it with anything they have heard about guns because most guns people buy are not broken down when you get them. The Thunder Tactical kits come completely disassembled which means all the parts to all the components must be put together before you can make a functioning firearm. At the checkout, you can opt to have your upper assembled which saves about 5 minutes of time if you know what you are doing. In any case, there are pros and cons to having the kit come unassembled.
First off, an assembled 80% lower needs to be milled out already, so there is no use in shipping it assembled. It’s less of a hassle with the uppers, but if you are familiar with building or are planning on gutting the internals in place of different parts, you don’t have to spend the $30 it takes to get the upper preassembled. I did actually opt for this, and after testing the upper with another one of my spare lowers, I have to go ahead and approve the assembly they did, because there were no gas system issues at all (which should be without saying, but even the best companies can falter with their upper assemblies).
The AR-15 kit I received came with the following pieces:
- 16″ Phosphate Barrel
- 12″ Keymod Rail
- Low profiile gas block
- Forward Assist (comes with spring and pin)
- Rifle Length Gas Tube
- Ejection Port Cover (comes with spring and pin)
- Charging Handle
- M-16 Nitride Bolt Carrier Group (with chrome lined gas key)
- Flash Hider with Crush Washer
- Standard Milspec grip
- Milspec lower parts kit
- AR-15 buffer tube
- AR-15 buffer
- AR-15 buffer spring and weight
- AR-15 Milspec Stock
- AR-15 80% Lower receiver
That is about it for the parts that came in the kit I received from Thunder Tactical. If you get your order preassembled, that laundry list of parts will seem like less of a hassle, but the great thing about the AR-15 is that the parts are very easy to assemble or get rid of.
How is the quality of the parts?
So now that you know what all the AR-15 rifle kit comes with, how is the quality of them? And I have to say, the quality of the parts is nothing to write home about. It definitely isn’t like your Springfield Saint when you look at all the pieces right in front of each other, but it also doesn’t seem like a Palmetto build. It is somewhere in the middle really, and the Eotech that I put on it does not look out of place when I put it on my $480 gun. Generally, there is nothing wrong with the parts I received from them, but I will break them down more individually in the contents below.
We all know that the anodize or the cerakote is what everyone sees. Especially when you want your build to look good, the quality of the final finish is what makes a budget build look like a budget build or a match tier AR with the works. The finish on the kit I got (anodized black), was great honestly, and from what I was told, they actually anodize their parts inhouse, which is probably why they turn out to be one of the less expensive options on the internet. I saw some of the older reviews on Thunder Tactical – as part of the research I do before I buy from an online store – where someone had made a comment about a faulty finish on their AR frame, but I can tell you that whatever I received did not have anything wrong with it in that regard.
Is the Thunder Tactical Rifle Kit Worth the money?
If you are someone like me, then you are always looking for ways to save a pretty penny. When it comes to shopping online, I always check out a few different places to see if I am getting a good deal on what I am purchasing. I am quite literally the epitome of a budget builder as I have come out of a build spending as low as $250, something I highly recommend you DON’T do. It is not the first time I have purchased from Thunder Tactical, and it probably won’t be the last either.
The prices on Thunder Tactical’s website, for essentially the makings of a complete firearm are phenomenally good. Taking into consideration the general quality of the parts compared to what is available with complete firearms on the market, you can definitely come out with a build that is several hundred dollars cheaper. One of the main reason I do shop so intensely is because I know that the products being sold to us by most of the name brands are actually made from a few of the same companies out there, and I would rather not have to pay for the name of company when I can get parts of the same quality for much cheaper.
Final Verdict On the Thunder Tactical AR-15 Rifle Kit
So I got the kit, built it like any of the other AR-15s I have done and took it out to shoot. The first thing I do with any of the uppers I get from an online company is test it as these are the parts of the AR that go through the most stress. I am also not willing to bet my safety on believing a company’s word when they say their uppers are tested. I like to take that into my own hands regardless.
That being said, after a few runs and guns with this particular Thunder Tactical build, I have to say the level of consistency I have seen as a repeat buyer is great. Every single one of the kits I have purchased from this company has worked as intended. And I really can’t ask for more.
I don’t shop Thunder Tactical for the highest quality parts, I mean if I wanted a Spikes lower, I wouldn’t even really be able to shoot it. The guns you can make from the Thunder Tactical AR-15 kits are great for beginners. They are great for those who want to upgrade their builds over time. The barrels and the BCGs are the nicest parts on them, so you can definitely take this with you for the long haul.
The only thing you’d really need to complete your build is a proper optic or a set of irons to run and then it’s over. You can have fun without breaking the bank, and even upgrade it as you go. This Thunder Tactical AR-15 rifle kit has my recommendation.