Normally it takes years for a firearms manufacturer to establish itself as a serious player in the market. Quality control, accuracy, reliability and value are the keys to success here. But one company, Windham Weaponry, proved it could be done just by hanging its shingle.
Back in 2006, the Freedom Group, an American firearms manufacturer holding company, bought Bushmaster Firearms. Richard Dyke spent his professional life building his brand and turning Bushmaster into one of the best known and highest-producing manufacturers of AR-15 rifles. At age 72, Dyke should have drifted off into the sunset to enjoy retirement and his well-earned money.
But in 2011, the Freedom Group decided to move Bushmaster manufacturing from the plant that Dyke still owned in Windham, Maine, to Ilion, New York. Employees who didn’t want to move would be left without a job. Dyke couldn’t let that happen to his loyal former employees. By moving Bushmaster’s manufacturing facility, the Freedom Group had unwittingly created a new competitor—coincidentally just as Dyke’ five-year non-compete clause expired. After rehabbing and updating his facility, Dyke “got the band back together,” and Windham Weaponry was born.
The bulk of Windham Weaponry’s employees are veteran Bushmaster workers, and they represent eons’ worth of AR building experience. Using the best machinery available and a host of vetted and trusted vendors, Windham Weaponry’s maxim became “to build the very best rifle available.”
Building The Best
While there is nothing spectacularly different about the way Windham rifles are constructed—they utilize the standard direct gas impingement operating system—it is immediately apparent upon examination that the company’s rifles exhibit a superior fit and finish. In fact, Dyke’s commitment to excellence is so important that one employee told me, “Any Windham Weaponry employee can stop the assembly line, for any reason, until the problem is corrected.” Windham’s commitment to excellence is so strong that the company offers a lifetime warranty for every rifle.
Windham Weaponry has also established a Carbon Fiber Division in Phoenix, Ariz., that works with the well-known and innovative Patriot Ordnance Factory to “produce rifles, parts and serve as a design and development center for new firearm products.”
Windham Weaponry’s most popular rifle is the MPC, and for all intents and purposes it is a semi-auto facsimile of our military’s M4 Carbine. It features a 16-inch, 1-in-9-inch-twist, chrome-lined barrel, a standard flash suppressor, a detachable carry handle/rear sight and a fixed front sight. It has M4-style handguards with heat shields and a six-position collapsible buttstock. Made to mil-spec standards, the MPC will accept any aftermarket accessories designed for mil-spec rifles. Want to add a railed handguard or match-grade, two-stage trigger? No problem!
Nearly identical to the MPC is the HBC (Heavy Barrel Carbine). It weighs about a half-pound more because it uses a heavy barrel profile, which does not have the M4 grenade launcher cut.
I reviewed the SRC (Sight-Ready Carbine) and discovered it to be a highly accurate and reliable weapon capable of firing five-shot, 100-yard groups under 1-inch from a hot barrel. It differs from the MPC in that it does not have a fixed front sight tower, but rather a railed gas block. It also does not come with a detachable rear sight. For my evaluation, I used flip-up front and rear sights to back up my optic. If you plan on using a holographic or red dot as your primary sight, this model would make the most sense. I’ve had excellent experience with Magpul’s flip-up front and rear sights. If you’re looking for a platform to build up an excellent tactical rifle, I can’t think of a better selection.
The Carbon Fiber SRC will give you the same features as the SRC and a weight savings of about half a pound. Mentioned earlier, this particular rifle is being produced at the Windham’s facility in Phoenix, Ariz. Windham Weaponry says, “The Carbon Fiber SRC was born out of the latest carbon-fiber composite molding technology to bring you an AR-type rifle of incredible light weight—without sacrificing any Windham Weaponry quality, durability, accuracy or value.” The carbon-fiber receivers offer a few benefits: They dissipate heat better, there is no surface finish to wear off, and the material has an inherent lubricity. Standard AR parts are used to build the rifles, and Windham backs its rifles up with transferrable lifetime warranties.
If you’d like to buy a tactical rifle that is ready to use right out of the box without modifications or additional accessories, look no further than Windham’s CDI model. It features a 16-inch, 1-in-9-inch-twist, M4-profile, chrome-lined barrel that terminates in a Vortex flash suppressor. It uses an excellent railed, free-floating Diamondhead handguard for adding lights, lasers and other accessories and includes a Magpul AFG (Angled Fore-Grip). The buttstock and pistol grip are also Magpul MOE parts. The rifle also comes with Diamondhead front and rear flip-up sights that can be folded down, out of the light of sight, when an optic is used. All of the parts used on the CDI are designed to stand up to hard use, and the rifle should serve its user well for law enforcement, security or home-defense applications.
For precision work, Windham Weaponry offers the VEX-SS, or “Varmint Exterminator,” featuring a bead-blasted, non-reflective, heavy, stainless steel, fluted barrel with a 1-in-8-inch twist rate. For maximum accuracy, the rifle is fitted with a knurled, aluminum, free-floating handguard and a fixed Ace skeleton buttstock. It uses a railed gas block and has a Hogue pistol grip. It’s not a lightweight gun, nor is it trying to be. There is a sling swivel stud affixed to the bottom of the handguard to make attaching a bipod an easy affair. The barrel’s 20-inch length is the perfect compromise between velocity and portability. The VEX-SS comes without sights, though detachable iron sights can be added. But most people interested in this rifle will outfit it with a scope with serious magnification to take advantage of its excellent inherent accuracy. For winter hunting, there is a model with snow camouflage available, and there is even a California-compliant model.
Windham Weaponry also offers a couple of law-enforcement-only models featuring 11.5-inch barrels and a variety of options and accessories.
My experience with Windham Weaponry rifles has been very positive. Using the best materials available, the company’s veteran crew of rifle builders assembles rock-solid, dependable guns with great accuracy and unfailing reliability at a great price.
For more information, visit windhamweaponry.com or call 855-808-1888.