TFB Review: Battle Arms Development OIP2 – 3.8lb Ultralight AR!

Category: Firearms | Reviews

Battle Arms Development OIP2: Lightweight wonder or just a lightweight?

My first exposure to Battle Arms Development’s OIP project was at SHOT 2019.  It’s one thing to read press releases, it’s another thing entirely to test fire an example of a gun.  Personally, I couldn’t believe both the light (3.8lbs) weight of the OIP2 rifle and the fact that the rifle didn’t have a corresponding increase in recoil. Duly impressed, I decided to save up for an OIP 2 rifle of my own.

What’s in the Box?

Per Battle Arms Development:

The OIP® utilizes a patented OIP® buffer system in conjunction with a lightweight titanium bolt carrier with
ArmorTi™ finish for durability. It is balanced with a custom mid-length gas system and a specially designed
titanium THUMPER™ compensator. OIP® defies what logic would dictate from a lightweight rifle with recoil
akin to a .22LR and shooting so flat that it can be fired single-handed. It is rigorously tested and proven to
run reliably even in fully-automatic fire, not just semi-auto.

New in Gen 2 is the user-configurable M-LOK carbon fiber handguard and a carbon-fiber pistol grip that
weighs barely one ounce. A new titanium billet CNC machined bolt catch and a lightweight single side
Clutch™ charging handle are just a couple more of the new upgrades to the OIP®. The rifle was designed to
be an optics ready carbine, providing a single stretch of Picatinny rail in the optimal spot for a red dot sight
while eliminating the unnecessary weight of the rail elsewhere. The patented, lightweight 7075-T6 billet
aluminum receivers are not simply skeletonized and hollowed out but is carefully engineered with structural
consideration. The technology and engineering that foes into the OIP® Ultralight Rifle bring forth the nex evolution of the AR platform.

Specs, per BAD:

  • SKU: OIP-002
  • UPC: 810033782909
  • Manufacturer: Battle Arms Development, Inc.
  • Receiver Model: BAD556 OIP (Billet)
  • Type: Semi-Auto Rifle
  • Caliber: 5.56NATO
  • Muzzle Thread: 1/2×28 TPI
  • Rail: 10in Carbon Fiber M-LOK Free-Float Rail
  • Gas System: Mid Length
  • Barrel Length: 14.5in Pinned for 16in OAL
  • Barrel Twist Rate: 1:8T
  • Barrel Profile/Finish/Material: OIP Profile, Black Nitride, 4150 CM,  .625″ Diameter Gas Block
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs (1.72 kg)
  • Overall Length: 32in (813mm)
  • Collapsed Length: N/A
  • Charging Handle: RACK™ Ambidextrous Charging Handle
  • Trigger: Rock River Arms 2-Stage National Match Trigger
  • Safety: BAD-ASS-LW
  • Stock/Brace: Fixed Lightweight
  • Finish: Type III Black Hard Coat Anodize
  • Magazine: (1) 20rd Magazine
  • Sights: Optics Ready Platform
  • MSRP: $3290
    Ultralightweight

    OIP2 Ultralightweig

Unbelievably light

When I describe this rifle as “ultralight”, there is no hyperbole.  The rifle is in a category of light that beggars belief.  The first thing my FFL said to me when I came to pick up the rifle was “I promise you, there’s a gun in that case, even if it doesn’t feel like it.”  This came to be my experience several times over the course of many months in handling this rifle.  I would have to double check the case just to make sure a gun was in there.  Sure, 3.8lbs is noticeable in a handgun case when dealing with large semiautos or revolvers, but distributed through a rifle case, it is hardly noticeable.

The plastic hard case itself is well laid out, with custom cut foam inserts for the rifle, magazines, and included boresnake.  The OIP2 comes with one 20rnd OIP-logoed Okay Industries magazine and a Battle Arms PVC patch.  Stickers, a certificate of authenticity and Allen keys for the handguard are included as well.

The fixed lightweight stock may give one pause at first glance.  It has radiused edges on the metal butt, which imparts more psi on one’s shoulder than a full flat contact area would.  Despite this, recoil impulse when actually firing the gun was not unpleasant or painful.  This is not the rifle equivalent of a 340PD.  The carbon fiber handguard has larger holes at the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock positions that one’s hand and digits can grip into, making for a very stable point of contact.  The 1-ounce grip afforded good purchase and seems to be at an optimum angle for this type of rifle.

Battle Arms Development OIP2

Battle Arms Development OIP2

A look inside

OIP2 components

OIP2 components

The inner workings of the gun yield weight savings as well.  The titanium bolt carrier is the biggest item in the interior weight savings department.  Backing up the bolt is a standard recoil spring and patented OIP buffer, with the buffer head and buffer body being two separate pieces held together by a large flat hex head.  The RRA National Match 2 stage trigger broke cleanly right at 4.3lbs, with a positive if somewhat long reset.

The lightweight clutch single side charging handle was easy to manipulate and always locked positively in place. Upper to lower fit is very tight, though the takedown pins are not correspondingly difficult to push in and out.  Overall, I’d describe the overall fit and finish of the rifle as excellent. Best of all, the weight of the OIP2 with optic, mount, and loaded 20rnd magazine was still a paltry 4lbs, 6oz.

A note on optics:  The OIP2 has a short section of rail machined onto the top of the receiver to accommodate an RDS or similar sight.  If one wanted to use irons, one would have to use the short section of rail and the 12 o’clock M-LOK slot on the handguard.  Personally, I think ultra-lightweight flip-up irons like those provided on the B&T APC45 would be a nice thing to include with such a lightweight build.

RANGE TIME

After topping the OIP2’s short optics rail with a Scalarworks LEAP mount and Aimpoint Micro H-2, I was ready to hit the range.  I already knew what to expect from the recoil impulse, given that I had the opportunity to try out this rifle at SHOT 2019.  It was nice to see the reliability of the rifle, though, putting 500 rounds downrange right away without issue.  Most importantly, my shoulder and cheek were not at all discomforted by the light weight of the rifle in regards to recoil.  The mid-length gas system combined with the thumper titanium brake make for a very soft and flat shooting rifle.

Battle Arms Development OIP2

Battle Arms Development OIP2

Thumper Ti Brake

Thumper Ti Brake

Thumper Ti Brake

Thumper Ti Brake

Later, I tested the OIP2 for accuracy at 100 yards, braced off of sandbags.  I used everything from 50-77grn ammunition.  I gained the best results from the lightweight profile 4150CM 1:8 barrel with (relatively inexpensive when I purchased it) 62gr IMI M855 ammunition. The OIP2 was able to consistently hold 1.2 MOA 5 shot groups with that ammo.  This is not sub-MOA performance but is very good considering the light weight of the platform. Using hold-overs, I was able to learn the POI of the RDS well enough to consistently make hits at 100 yard intervals out to 500 yards.

Field use

Using the rifle over several months in outdoor pursuits, I found the OIP2 to be an excellent companion on the trail.  Strapped to the side of my pack, it made for an excellent trail gun for long wilderness hikes checking my trail camera route and going far into the backcountry.  I hardly noticed it was on the side of my pack, and did not experience any extra shoulder fatigue on the side I had it attached to. The OIP2 also makes for a near-unnoticeable (weight-wise) rifle to have slung behind you when mountain biking or cross country skiing.  Your balance will not be thrown off at all by having this rifle slung behind you.

Terrain like this makes one thankful for a lightweight rifle

Terrain like this makes one thankful for a lightweight rifle

I experienced no reliability or function issues with the rifle being exposed to snow, mud and dirt.  After several months of backcountry use, there are a few scratches on the carbon fiber handguard and the buffer tube, but that’s it.

Overall Impression

While I like the fit, finish, and overall lightweight aesthetic of the OIP2, I do have a few minor complaints.  At this price point, I would appreciate some sort of ultra lightweight flip-up iron sights.  I also don’t think the rear of the buttstock is as ergonomically optimal as it could be.

Battle Arms Development OIP2

Battle Arms Development OIP2

Objectively, The Battle Arms Development OIP2 is a very well put together, reasonably accurate and very lightweight rifle.  It has proven to be reliable, durable and soft shooting despite its lightweight configuration. Subjectively, the OIP2 has proven to be the rifle I most often bring with me into the backcountry with the exception of during deer and elk hunting season.  It’s nice to have a 500 yard capable rifle with me that weighs so little. All that being said, the amount that the OIP2 will lighten one’s wallet by will be a real sticking point for most prospective buyers.

Pros:

  • Extremely well made
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Soft shooting despite light weight

Cons:

  • May be at the point of diminishing returns in regards to weight vs cost
  • No provided sighting solution

For more information, please visit Battle Arms Development 



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