DPMS AP4 Carbine Review: An Excellent Combat Rifle
(www.guns.com)-Story by Gerard Valentino- Not long ago, the AR-15 market consisted of three or four manufacturers that built quality rifles and a few that had a dubious reputation. Today, someone interested in buying a black rifle can choose among countless companies that are building quality products. DPMS Panther Arms Inc. is one of the many building quality guns and has won contracts to build rifles for some of the biggest law enforcement organizations in the United States, including the U.S. Border Patrol. And one of the most popular AR-15 rifles they offer is the DPMS AP4 Panther Carbine 16 inch.
The AP4 is basically a clone of the ubiquitous U.S. Army M4 carbine and comes with a 16-inch barrel, removable carry handle and adjustable stock. From the factory, the AP4 comes with an A2 style birdcage suppressor and an A2 front sight assembly. The gun is shipped in a well-built hard case with two quality 30 round magazines, a cleaning kit and a military style nylon sling. And with an MSRP set at $949, it's affordable. Online it sells for around $700 to $900.
However, you may also find it for above $1000, too, but more than likely it has customized features (DPMS offers several options).
The rifle tested came with a JP Enterprises adjustable trigger. Except for the aforementioned trigger, the AP4 has the same manual of arms as any other AR-15.
Over a six-month period, the rifle was 100 percent reliable with all types of ammo including traditional military style full metal jacket and also with more exotic fare. There was one major problem that occurred when the adjustable trigger set screw worked loose and left the gun unable to fire. A touch of thread lock fixed the problem, but the issue exposed the potential risk that comes with using an adjustable trigger on a fighting rifle.
Everyone has to make his or her own decision about whether an adjustable trigger is a liability. One thing is certain, the optional JP Enterprises trigger transforms the clunky AR-15 trigger pull into one worthy of a match grade rifle.
With the removable carry handle installed, the DPMS AP4 offers typical A2 style sights, which are excellent for a combat rifle. The gun truly shines, however, with the carry handle removed and a red dot optic installed.
As with any M4 style carbine, the AP4 offers excellent ergonomics and maneuverability. Reliability is the hallmark of a fighting rifle and with the exception of the one-time problem with the trigger, the AP4 has performed admirably.
Accuracy with the sample rifle is above average, with three shot groups averaging just shy of one inch at 100 meters with Winchester Q3131 ammunition. Shooters buying their own AP4 shouldn’t expect such a high standard for accuracy considering the test gun exceeds what is guaranteed from the factory.
Clearly, DPMS got this specific gun right, and produced a carbine that exceeded their own accuracy expectations.
If you are looking for a solid performing AR-15 at a good price, be sure to check out the DPMS Panther Arms 16 inch. Chances are you will get a great rifle and still have some extra money left over to pick up a few extra magazines and a few boxes of ammunition.