Column: Aegis15 is first locally made AR in Sarasota, Bradenton

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Published: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 2:11 p.m.

Meet the Aegis15.

It is the first locally designed and locally made AR to hit the market.

The new rifle is the product of a partnership between Aegis Tactical, a tactical

Master gunsmith Mike Pires adds a rail to an Aegis15 at the "AR Bar" at Aegis Tactical in Bradenton on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

Master gunsmith Mike Pires adds a rail to an Aegis15 at the “AR Bar” at Aegis Tactical in Bradenton on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

training firm and firearms retailer in Bradenton and Armorit, an engineering, design and manufacturing firm in Sarasota.

The MSRP for the Aegis15 is $859, and for that low price you get a lot of gun.

In fact, I did not expect nearly that much gun for the money.

“We have it priced for the mom or dad who want to get into shooting,” Aegis’ owner Joe Krawtschenko said. “I know we could charge more.”

Availability too is not an issue.

“I have 400 of them ready to go,” he said.

The Aegis15 comes loaded with extras, like a full-auto rated bolt carrier group, ambidextrous single-point sling adapter, milled-out mag well, an upgraded trigger and a custom finish that’s chock-full of Teflon, which improves performance and maintenance.

“You can spend a weekend shooting with the kids and you won’t have to spend a day cleaning it,” Krawtschenko said.

Aegis has also civilized the rifle purchasing process.

Potential buyers can sit at the “AR Bar,” while Mike Pires, Aegis’ master gunsmith, discusses furniture and accessory options.

Once you make your choices, he will assemble the rifle while you wait, while you watch, or teach you how to do it yourself in one of his build classes. In my humble opinion, Mike is one of the best AR builders on the planet.

While they have always sold ARs, the introduction of their own rifle charts a

STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG The Aegis15 rifle is the product of a partnership between Aegis Tactical, a tactical training firm and gun retailer located in Bradenton and Armorit, an engineering, design and manufacturing firm in Sarasota.

STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG
The Aegis15 rifle is the product of a partnership between Aegis Tactical, a tactical training firm and gun retailer located in Bradenton and Armorit, an engineering, design and manufacturing firm in Sarasota.

new direction for Aegis Tactical — a move spawned in part by the rush on black rifles over the past couple of years, and the exorbitant prices it produced.

“We saw so many people getting ripped off — guys paying $1,500 for an $800 gun and a few accessories they didn’t want,” Krawtschenko said.

“Rather, we start with a blank sheet of paper and then make it the way you want it. It’s like Legos for adults.”

Floyd Asbury, Armorit’s president, founded the firm in 2004, which for years did highly specialized work for the Defense Department until the government contracts began to wane during the recession.

Asbury, an Air Force vet and competitive shooter, says his 17 employees did the engineering while Aegis’ team did the validation — the shooting and testing.

The results of the partnership are impressive.

“It’s all about reliability and quality — someone being able to depend on it,” Asbury said.

“We went through validation and development for over a year. I think it’s affordable and dependable,” he said.

Armorit has other firearms in development, Asbury said.

The Aegis15 is solid, with zero play between the upper and lower receivers.

The trigger’s crisp and resets quickly.

Fit and finish are outstanding.

It shoots like a dream.

There is another important factor.

“Not only did we want everything made in America, but we wanted as much as we possibly could get made in Sarasota and Manatee counties,” Krawtschenko said.

If we don’t run into each other at the range, you can reach me at (941) 361-4975, by email at lee.williams@heraldtribune.com or by regular mail, 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can also follow me on social media at www.facebook.com/TheGunWriter or www.Twitter.com/ht_gunwriter.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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