It is not unusual for me to start my product reviews by introducing the company involved. However, I really don’t think much of an introduction is needed for Bravo Company USA. Anyone who has gotten into the AR-15 craze likely couldn’t help but notice one of their two-page advertisements that adorn most firearm publications. For some, it is better than the centerfold of Playboy.
The AR-15 has overtaken all other firearms in regard to the number of aftermarket parts and accessories available, and the majority of them can be ordered directly from Bravo. In retrospect, I should clarify this to mean the majority of the “quality” parts and accessories. Not all parts are created equal and having your product in a Bravo ad is somewhat of a status symbol. To prove my point, just look at the rifles in their ads. They can be considered as manikins decked out to the nines in an array of add-ons, and it is like viewing celebrities strut down the red carpet at a Hollywood gala.
Once you study these ads, you will notice that not only does Bravo market top names like Aimpoint and Daniel Defense, but the company also manufactures a complete line of its own “BCM” (Bravo Company Manufacturing) accessories.
“Anyone who has gotten into the AR-15 craze couldn’t help but notice one of their two-page advertisements … For some, it is better than the centerfold of Playboy.”
Look a little closer, and you see the BCM “Gunfighter” label on many of these parts. Bravo is rather proud of its Gunfighter line of rifles and accessories, and it has a right to be so. The company has gathered together a group of the top military and civilian warriors, shooters and instructors to help in the design of these products. You know that any item that has the Gunfighter label has been evaluated, modified and improved by those that actually use the AR-15 for serious business and serious pleasure. If I seem to be a little too free with my praise for Bravo, it is because I have purchased, installed and tested a few of the brand’s products on my personal rifles. I’m a little particular about what goes on my firearms, and I have enjoyed being able to “try” before I buy. After all, it is “all about me.” The Bravo parts I have tried were all on review rifles from different companies, but there are still more Bravo parts I am interested in. It just made sense that the best way to try them all was to get one of the complete rifle systems from Bravo and rate them all at once. Not only could I judge a few more of the company’s accessories, but I could also evaluate the quality of its finished rifles.
To look up its complete weapon systems online, you leave the Bravo Company USA website and jump over to Bravo Company Manufacturing. On this site, you will find a complete array of AR-15s in about every configuration you could imagine. Just not to shortchange you, Bravo has even thrown in one 1911 handgun to spice things up. However, I was looking at its rifles and wanted to find one just a little different than the typical M4 pattern.
BCM REECE 18
In scrolling through the list of Bravo’s rifles, I came across the BCM Recce-18 Precision, and it just caught my eye. This was going to be my chance to judge the value of a barrel a tad longer than normal. A week later, I had a sample rifle sitting in my office. The BCM Recce-18 Precision starts off with an upper and lower receiver, machined from 7075-T6 aluminum. The hard-coat anodizing is per MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2 specifications.
The flattop upper receiver has the typical dust cover and forward assist, as well as the T-Marked rail system. The receiver also has the M4 feed-ramp cuts matching the M4 cuts in the barrel extension. This rifle is chambered for the 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge and has an 18-inch 410 stainless-steel barrel with a 0.13-inch twist. The MK12 contoured barrel has a rifle-length gas system. The barrel is finished with the addition of a BCM Gunfighter Compensator Mod 0. This stainless-steel flash hider/compensator is the same overall size as the USGI “birdcage” flash hider, but it is machined with tuned slots and an interior cone to control recoil, muzzle rise and flash. One can also appreciate the reduction in side blast and noise normally found on compensators. The “Gunfighter” crew influenced this design by thinking about the potential use of this rifle in team tactics for CQB; but anyone shooting nearby while you’re at the range will also be thankful for their efforts.
A low-profile gas block in the rifle-length position is hidden (and protected) under a BCM KMR-A15 free-float handguard. This 15-inch-long handguard has a continuous Picatinny rail along the top surface, but since it is octagonal in shape, there are seven additional sides with KeyMod attachment points. This allows accessories or additional rail segments to be mounted every 45 degrees instead of the standard 90 degrees. Even with a 15-inch length, this aluminum handguard is only 10.30 ounces with the mounting hardware included. One of Bravo’s most popular accessories (and one of my favorites) is the BCM Gunfighter charging handle with the Mod 4 locking latch. Thankfully, this is one feature added to the BCM Recce-18 Precision. I’m fond of adding low-powered scopes to my rifles, and this latch makes off-hand manipulation quick and comfortable. The design of the pivot point on the latch also eliminates the side stress, preventing failure of the charging handle. This is just another of the small, but important, details found in Bravo products. The bolt on this rifle is 158-carpenter steel and is high-pressure and magnetic-particle tested. The carrier and gas key are both chromed-lined. The bolt has a tool steel extractor with an upgraded black extractor insert. The flattop upper receiver does not come with sights, but you can always add a set of BUIS sights if needed. There is enough rail space for whatever optics you desire.
The lower assembly of the rifle has the standard-style magazine release, two-position safety and bolt release, but there are several added features included in its design. A BCM PNT (polished nickel Teflon) trigger assembly provides a smooth and consistent single-stage trigger pull. This trigger assembly may look traditional, but improved manufacturing processes—and the addition of specialized coatings—provide a function far superior to other commercial products. The pull was just at five pounds, but the smoothness made it feel even lighter. To help with the alignment of your firing hand to the trigger, the pistol grip on this rifle is the BCM Gunfighter Grip Mod 3. Some may notice the extended forward tang that removes any gap between the grip and trigger guard; others may notice the high-rise beavertail back strap; and a few might favor this grip for its built-in trapdoor storage. The reason I added it to my rifles was the improved grip angle. This is the feature you have to feel before you can really appreciate it. Just in front of the grip is a BCM Gunfighter trigger guard. This enlarged guard removes any sharp edges found on MIL-SPEC units and offers an improved contour. Bravo pays attention to even the smallest of details, and to prove the point, the lower is finished off with a BCM Gunfighter QD end plate. This end plate includes an additional QD (quick detachable) sling attachment point that is very useful when using a single-point sling.
The carbine-style receiver extension tube houses a USGI H Buffer and is fitted with a BCM Gunfighter collapsible stock. I have not tried this stock before, but it felt comfortable in my office and was compact. It even had additional QD sling attachment points, but I would have to wait until I was on the firing line to make any real judgment.
“Not all parts are created equal and having your product in a Bravo ad is somewhat of a status symbol.”
Overall, the rifle has a subdued, black matte finish that was both evenly applied and attractive. Around the office, all of the controls were smooth, and there was not even a hint of drag or unevenness in the function of the safety, magazine release or bolt release.
Now is the time to remember that this review is all about me. The rifle looks good, but that doesn’t help me at all. I wanted to test the features of Bravo’s Gunfighter parts, as well as the function of the completed rifle, and the only way to do that properly was to head to the range. Just walking down to my range showed me a couple of details about this rifle. The 18-inch barrel makes little difference to how this rifle carries. It is only seven pounds unloaded (and without optics), and the collapsed length is only two inches longer than most M4 carbines.
I started my range testing with a Nikon M2231-4X20 scope mounted, and a selection of factory ammunition. Sight-in and the first groups were shot with Wolf 55-grain (steel-cased) WPA ammunition. I’m just now starting to use this ammunition, since I am not fully comfortable with it being steel-cased, but it functioned at 100 percent—and the best group for five shots was 0.81 inches. I actually had to laugh at myself. I found out that I could get comfortable quickly with any ammunition that will shoot under one MOA.
That was a nice start to the day, and I soon switched over to Federal 69-grain Match. After another four five-shot groups, the best-recorded group was again 0.81 inches. It wasn’t until I increased the projectile weight to 77 grains with Creedmoor Match Grade ammunition that my best group for a given load went above one MOA, with a measurement of 1.06 inches.
I will say that some rifles prefer one weight over others, and that may be the case here; but after trying all three brands, I’m sure I could go back tomorrow and these results would be totally reversed. There is only a 0.25-inch difference between all three brands, and I’m not going to complain one bit. What really was nice was the fact that these 100-yard groups were fired with only a 4X scope. I will install another scope before this rifle gets sent back to Bravo, if for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity.
“ … any item that has the Gunfighter label has been evaluated, modified and improved by those that actually use the AR-15 for serious business and serious pleasure.”
It is always a pleasure to get accuracy results like these, but to really try out this type of rifle, one needs to get away from the shooting bench. It was only after spending time shooting training drills on zombie targets that I could really appreciate Bravo’s use of hardcore shooters as a part of its R&D team. At my age, the “run-and-gun” shooting style is a bit more like a “shuffle-and-gun,” but the qualities of the Gunfighter parts were appreciated.
Bravo’s compensator had to be the one item I had not tried before that impressed me the most. What can I say: it works and works well. Of course, the free-floating handguard showed its value in the accuracy testing.
I had learned to appreciate the charging handle and grip prior to this range session, but the buttstock was new to me. The best thing you can say about an item like a buttstock is that you didn’t notice it. Every time I raised the rifle, I had a comfortable and repeatable shooting position exactly in line with the scope. That is what you want a stock to do.
After leaving the shooting bench and trying various shooting scenarios, I put a few hundred additional rounds down range before heading home. At the end of the day, the reliability of this rifle was 100 percent. A good wipe down with a silicon cloth made this rifle look the same as it did before I fired the first shot, and it was time to send it back. I’m very pleased with the performance of the rifle and the various “Gunfighter” designed parts I wanted to test. Overall, I will be looking at more of the Bravo ads and picking out the parts I want to add to my rifles. When the time comes that I want a new rifle, Bravo will be at the top of my list.
You can call them Bravo Company USA, or you can call them Bravo Company Manufacturing, or just plain Bravo. Just be assured, they know what brands to carry, they know how to make quality parts and they know how to put a rifle together!
Bravo Company Manufacturing
BCM Recce-18 Precision KMR-A
- Chambering: 5.56 x 45mm NATO
- Magazine: 1 30-round magazine
- Overall Length: 37 inches (stock extended)
- Empty Weight: 7.00 pounds
- Stock: BCM Gunfighter Stock
- Pistol Grip: BCM Gunfighter Grip Mod 3
- Sights: None
- Muzzle Treatment: BCM Gunfighter Compensator Mod 0
- Handguard: BCM KMR-A15 free-float handguard
- Barrel: 18-inch 410 stainless steel
- Receivers: 7075-T6 forged aluminum
- MSRP: $1,649
Accuracy Testing Results
Wolf 55-grain FMJ
Federal 69-grain Match
|2,726 fps||0.81 inches|
|Creedmoor 77-grain Match||2,648 fps||
NOTES: Bullet weight measured in grains; velocity is average of 10 shots in fps, measured 10 feet from muzzle; and accuracy is in inches for the best five-shot group at 100 yards.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the August print issue of World of Firepower.