Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle | Quick Hit

Rex Nanorum reviews the Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle.

Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle
Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle

U.S.A. –-(  Palmetto State Armory (PSA) has been delivering firearms to the American public at a prodigious rate since they opened.  With an extremely popular webstore, PSA has been shipping out name-brand guns, parts, and accessories, as well as slinging their own lineup of American made guns.  This runs right in line with what seems to be their driving line, “that all free men should be armed”.

Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle

Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10
Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10

When I ran my own FFL (with SOT), PSA’s AR-pattern rifles were extremely popular for their balance of price and performance.  I’ve long since moved on as a dealer, so now I get to revisit the brand to check out PSA’s new Gen III PA-10 platform offering, an AR-10 pattern rifle chambered in .308 Winchester.Buy Now Gun Deals

Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle Tech Specs:

  • Barrel Length: 18”
  • Barrel Material: 416R Stainless Steel
  • Barrel Profile: A2 Style
  • Chamber: .308 WIN
  • Twist Rate: 1 in 10”
  • Extension: M4
  • Gas System: Mid-Length
  • Gas Block Type: Low-profile 5 position click switch adjustable gas block
  • Upper Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Receiver Style: PA10 Flat top with Feed Ramps
  • Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
  • Forward Assist: Yes
  • Dust Cover: Yes
  • Handguard Type: PSA 15″ M-Lok Free Float Rail with Anti-slip and anti-rotation features
  • Bolt Carrier Group: Yes, Toolcraft PA10 BCG with extra power extractor spring
  • Staked Gas Key: Yes
  • Lower Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Receiver Finish: Hardcoat Anodized
  • Fire Control Group: Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
  • Buffer Tube: 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Adjustment: 6-position telescoping stock
  • Stock: Magpul MOE Carbine Stock, Black
  • Grip: PSA Overmolded A2 Grip, Black
  • Magazine: 20 Round PMAG

Gen 3 Benefits at a glance:

  • Lower Includes relief cuts for a broader compatibility with 308 BCG’s
  • Twice Staked Castle Nuts
  • Standardized carbine length buffer tube with short, heavy buffer
  • Dimpled 416R Stainless Steel Barrel
  • 5 Position Adjustable Click Switch Gas Block
  • Extra Power Extractor Springs
  • 7075 T6 Charging Handle Included in all uppers
  • Black Nitride Gas Tube
  • Barrel Nuts properly torqued to military specifications
  • Anti-slip and anti-rotation handguards
Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10
Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle – Staking done RIGHT

All right, so we can see Palmetto State Armory has taken things up a notch with their Gen 3 version of the PA-10 rifle. Out of the box, fit and finish look great.  There is only the slightest discernible movement between receivers, not even enough to call a wobble.  After a quick shot of lube, running the bolt carrier back and forth feels smooth and easy, with no grit or hangup.  The staking on the castle nut looks perfect.  The adjustable gas block is accessible through the front opening of the handguard with the included Allen key.

Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10
Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle. Gas block accessible, and generous cut-outs enhance cooling and keep the weight down.

The Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle’s two-stage trigger felt really nice during dry fire familiarization.  Clean take-up followed by a crisp break.  The second stage is a little heavier than the two-stage target triggers from Geisselle and CMC that I’m used to, I’d put it between 4.5 – 5 lbs.  This is a really good spot for a heavier use gun, whether defensive or hunting focused.  It’s a snappy enough break to be accurate with, but not overly sensitive.  I’d be very happy if this replaced the standard mil-spec trigger as the baseline for which all AR platform rifles came with.

Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle
The Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle is pretty sleek…

I tossed on a Burris TMPR 3×32 prismatic optic and hit the range with a pile of Norma Match .308, featuring a Sierra Matchking HPBT projectile.  I don’t like accuracy testing during the first couple hundred rounds, so I consider these first two or three range trips to be for familiarization more than a hard baseline of what the rifle can do.  That’s especially true with a three power optic on a rifle I’ll be shooting out to 800 yards.  The first 200 rounds were spent between 50 and 200 yards, and I only shot a couple groups at 50 and 100 yards to get zeroed.  The 50-yard groups were around 1.1″, while the one group at 100 yards was 1.6″.  Not bad for the first magazine through the gun!  I’ll follow-up once the barrel is broken in fully.

Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10
.9-1.16″ @ 50 yards during break-in. : Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle
Palmetto State Armory PSA PA-10
1.6″ @ 100 yards during break-in. Palmetto State Armory Gen III PA-10 Rifle

The PSA Gen III PA-10 is like a dream behind the gun.  It’s really well balanced and not an excessively heavy hog like many -10 pattern rifles are.  Recoil is well managed and the rifle was fully reliable during the admittedly small initial sample size of 200 rounds.  Popping clay pigeons at 200 yards was no trouble, showing once again I’m better at taking hit/miss shots than I am at shooting groups.  At $899.99, the Palmetto State Armory might not be the Ferrari of Modern Sporting Rifles, but it’s at least a modern Honda Civic.  Reliable, economical and faster than you’d think until you turn the key.  It’s still early, but so far I’m loving the Gen III PA-10.

About Rex NanorumJens Hammer

Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”


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Wild Bill

@OV, Yes, … and twelve kids … and a cat!

Phil in TX

The twelve kids wouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but the cat sure would! I’m allergic to them critters! Phil in TX


@WB – @OV – So long as it’s not twelve cats and a kid.

Wild Bill

@Gentlemen, Good fun!

Wild Bill

@OV, Why should she make one man miserable… when she can make so many men happy!

Wild Bill

@OV, The voice of experience!


I really liked the PSX10 as it was scaled much like an AR15. How does this compare?
EDIT: it was pretty similar to the DPMS Gen II rifles (almost imperceptibly different)


PSA is a hit and miss, kinda like the author hit the clays instead of the bullseye! A word of advice, don’t throw away your boxes. Oct. 2 – 19, I purchased this gen 3 – PA 10 with the 20in barrel and bought the high dollar lower with nickel boron 2 stage trigger group. The lower was sent with the wrong buffer spring and buffer. I realized this after adjusting the gas port from one extreme to the other. Never got one shell to eject. After 4 conversations with customer service finally got the correct parts shipped to me.… Read more »

Ryben Flynn

I bought one of the first PA-10 rifle kits and slapped it on a Polymer 80 lower I finished. There was a part compatibility with the PSA LPK, the takedown pins were too short due to the heavier thickness of the polymer at those points. I had to order the Polymer80 LPK. I also replaced the A2 handguard with a quad rail and the A2 stock with the MagPul MOE. I also cut off the front sight post/gas block and replaced it with a low profile one. I believe this is the kit I bought, it’s been several years. Very… Read more »