Palmetto State Armory’s PSA-15 MOE Freedom Rifle Review


PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifle

USA – -( I’m a bit of an AR fanatic.

If I were starting out as a shooter today, this would probably be the AR-pattern rifle I would choose. Aside from a rear sight or an optic, all you need to add is a rifle sling (see our Best Rifle Sling Review) and a light (see our Top 5 Carbine Weapon Lights), and you’re good to go. This rifle gets my highest recommendation.

My first rifle was an M16A2 at 17, courtesy of the USMC. In the 30 years since then, I have built hundreds of them. My collection is composed of multiple configurations in numerous calibers from 22 long rifle to 50 Beowulf and nearly every one in between.

With the exception of two of them, all were built by yours truly.

Quite a few of those parts came from Palmetto State Armory. I have found this South Carolina-based company to be both affordable and ultra reliable and have been buying from them since they opened about ten years ago. I wanted to try out a few of their products and PSA was more than happy to oblige. Mainly, I wanted to lay hands on their ARs.

They sent us one of their PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifles chambered in 5.56, and it ranks up there despite the sub $500 price tag.

PSA 16″ M4 MOE EPT Freedom Rifle With MBUS Rear, Olive Drab Green

PSA-15 MOE Freedom Rifle – The Good

Build quality on the PSA-15 MOE (Magpul Original Equipment) Freedom rifle is excellent. There are no gaps between upper and lower receivers. True M4 feed ramps are present, and the barrel is 4150V Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel. The carbine has an adequately staked M16 bolt carrier, and we like the fit and finish on the rifle.

The Magpul green furniture gives it a unique look, and you cannot beat the utility of Magpul’s products. MLOK rails can be added to the handguard for the attachment of light, lasers, bipods and other accessories. The buttstock even came with a QD (Quick Detach) swivel installed. The rifle is available with black or tan furniture; we just liked the look of the green.

PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifle ships with Magpul furniture

As an iron sight shooter, we prefer the fixed front sight post, although some shooters who run dedicated optics or collapsible sight sets may not like this configuration. We wanted the accuracy and thought this would make an excellent choice for shooters who run either irons or optics.

PSA Freedom Rifle fixed front sight post

The trigger had a nice crisp feel to it, and when we pulled it out to see if it was an aftermarket type, it looked like a carefully polished Mil-spec trigger. This is a factory part that I usually recommend changing on most factory ARs, but Palmetto did such a beautiful job on these that I would suggest leaving it installed.

PSA-15 MOE Freedom Rifle – The Bad

It’s an almost complete rifle. That is, there was no rear sight so if you think you can unbox this one and run to the range, you will need a rear sight or an optic mounted, first. It was easily remedied with a Magpul MBUS in matching green, however.

All it needs is a rear sight to be range-ready

That was the only negative thing we have to say about this rifle.

At the range

We fired 300 or so rounds of Aguila 5.56 ammunition in either 55 grain or 62-grain bullet weights. We suffered no failures to feed, ejector function. The PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifle ran flawlessly. With irons, we were able to keep it under 3 MOA and may mount a Trijicon ACOG on it down the road to see if we can’t tighten that up a bit.

PSA-15 MOE Freedom Rifle – The Reality

All in all, I was more impressed with this rifle than I have been with rifles from their competitors in the same price range. PSA seems to keep its prices down by building the rifles in-house with their components. The PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifle is lightweight, reliable and a perfect base gun to work with from a novice to a more advanced shooter. Plus it represents a great value considering the quality of materials and the rifle’s performance.

PSA-15 MOE Freedom rifle

PSA-15 MOE Freedom Rifle Specs

  • Barrel Length: 16″
  • Barrel Material: 4150V Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel
  • Barrel Profile: M4
  • Chamber: 5.56 NATO
  • Twist Rate: 1 in 7”
  • Extension: M4
  • Gas System: Carbine-Length
  • Gas Block Type: F-marked Front Sight Base
  • Upper Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Upper Receiver Style: M4 flat top with feed ramps
  • Upper Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
  • Forward Assist: Yes
  • Dust Cover: Yes
  • Handguard Type: Polymer
  • Handguard Style: Magpul
  • MSRP: $499 w free shipping
  • Handguard Length: Carbine-Length
  • Bolt Steel: Carpenter 158, Mag Phosphate coated
  • Bolt Carrier Steel: 8620, Chrome Lined
  • Staked Gas Key: Yes
  • Lower Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Lower Receiver Finish: Hard Coat Anodized
  • Fire Control Group: Single-Stage, Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
  • Buffer Tube: 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Stock Adjustment: 6-position
  • Stock: Magpul Carbine Stock
  • Length: 33″
  • Magazine: 30 Round Magpul PMAG
  • Includes: Magpul MBUS Front Sight, Black
  • MSRP: $499.99



Mike Searson
Mike Searson

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson’s career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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I just bought a BLEM AR 16 inch upper with CH and BCG (no rear sight) and a BLEM mil spec collapsible stock lower for a total of $330,with free shipping. Added a red dot and rear sight and had less than $400 tied up in the gun. Been running it for the last couple of weeks and it works great.

Preferred Customer

I have a “blemished” 300 blk upper with a 10.5″ barrel. I have no clue what qualified it as such, it didn’t appear to have any blemishes. Married it to a lower and can shoot 2-ish inch sized groups at 100m using a red dot. That’s good enough for me. Love PSA stuff 🙂

Jay H

“Sub $500”? We can’t split nickels on that claim as it is only sub-$500 by a penny. Beyond that, there is nothing here to be critical of. But call it what it really is: a great value for $500.


The only problem I have had with PSA is the gas rings in thier carpenter steel and thier MPI AND MPI LASER logo bolts. I have shot far less rounds and have worn away and busted rings with thier product than with my LE 6920 that has over 3,000 rounds with the same rings using the same lubricant and lubed the same way and I run a wet rifle. I have since purchased colt rings but have yet to use them.


I have a .300BLK upper from PSA. It is awesome. Extremely accurate out to 200 yds. That’s as far as I have shot it.

Lee g

Excellent product, just about the only parts we use anymore. Very nice trigger for a mass produced piece. We have had zero issues with them, and order frequently from them. An optic, and a few other add ons and it is gtg. Much better product then 80% of the other “mil-spec” crap on the market… Nuff said.


I have nothing bad to say about Palmetto, every single transaction with them has been flawless. That’s pretty hard to say these days. We’ve seen the price of AR’s fall dramatically over the past few years and the old saying “you can never have too many” certainly applies here. Why you may ask? Because you can never, EVER, trust politicians! I like to build them from 80% lowers and use Palmetto for everything else. One thing I’ve found that’s the best bargain ever is there “blemished” sale that they have on uppers. I’ve written about them before and I consider… Read more »


Heh. PSA ‘blems’. Most of the time you simply cannot find a blem. Additionally, to sell some things below MAP PSA has listed them as blems. I love PSA ‘blems’.