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Spike’s Tactical Compressor SBR-300 BLK Review

by Eric R. Poole   |  March 19th, 2013 4


The Spike’s Tactical Compressor is a factory-produced SBR with sound suppressor—the first whose suppressor requires no maintenance. Weighing just seven pounds and six ounces (suppressor attached), this second-generation Compressor is the most overbuilt AR-type rifle we’ve seen. If NASA ever came together to build an AR, we’re certain this is what it would look like. Let’s go over the details from one end to the other.

Billet aluminum has been machined into a matching set of receivers, providing the foundation of what’s to follow on these pages. By choosing 7075-T6 billet, Spike’s Tactical was able to cleanly integrate features into the rifle that were previously aftermarket add-ons.

The Lower
The winter triggerguard and large, flared magazine well are two of those integral features. And if you stop to look closely, you’ll notice three chevrons milled into the front of the mag well. Subtle markings used throughout seem to personify this rifle, in this case suggesting, Feed me, please. Fresh mags go here.

A tough, octagonal-shaped upper not only insulates the lightened bolt carrier group from the environment, but also offers a level of protection to the external controls on each side of the receiver. You see, this rifle is the most ambi-friendly SBR we’ve tested and the raised surfaces have an inherent protective quality (besides enhancing its already aggressive appearance). Take the bolt catch, for example. It’s almost set back into the shape of the upper, and certainly less likely to snag or become activated/deactivated because of what it bumps into. View it not as a preventative measure, but more of a safeguard if you will.

This safety theme extends to the ambidextrous selector, trigger pins, and mag release. A rifle of this quality doesn’t just give you a Mil-Spec safety switch. Spike’s installs a BAD-ASS 90-degree flipper that dovetails its locking side levers and attaches them with Torx hardware. (It’s an acronym for Battle Arms Development-Ambidextrous Safety Selector.)

We can’t remember the last time trigger pins (that weren’t already broken) walked out on us, but Spike’s uses KNS Gen 2 Mod 1 anti-rotational pins to keep the trigger together. Supplied Magpul PMAGs are quickly cleared from the magwell by means of an ambi, low-profile Norgon release.

Though the trigger assembly is Mil-Spec, it doesn’t feel like it. Probably because it’s been nickel boron coated (just one of the self-lubricating coatings Spike’s Tactical applies to these rifles). This coating carries with it natural lubricous qualities that minimize friction and improve trigger pull. Though the trigger engagement surfaces haven’t changed, it feels like a trigger half its weight because the rounded hammer doesn’t drag on the disconnector. An integral reset adjustment screw also helps to improve the Mil-Spec quality of this trigger.

If you have a sharp eye for quality, you’ll notice the absence of play between the upper and lower receivers. There’s a tensioning screw used to fit tight. Inside, the bolt carrier meets resistance to rearward travel upon recoil as it pushes against a black ST-T3 buffer. Spike’s Tactical has championed buffer technology with its use of solid Tungsten weights within the buffer’s billet aluminum body. These buffers are highly effective at smoothing out the sharp impulse from recoil and managing the cyclic rate of the bolt and bolt carrier.

The buffer rides within a micro-polished carbine buffer spring and aluminum buffer tube that’s been treated with Dryfilm lube inside and out. This is a rifle that doesn’t sound like its buffer is scratching against the walls of the tube under your face while you fire. Keeping it all together is a properly torqued castle nut that joins with the receiver and a Magpul ASAP sling plate that’s staked in two locations.

Controlling the Compressor is quite simple for all body types. A stippled Magpul MOE pistol grip and AFG 2 angled foregrip feel like they bite back into your hands. No sweaty palm excuses here. The six-position Magpul CTR stock is the high-end variant of the MOE. It grips the shoulder with its enhanced rubber butt pad, and offers the user two additional QD sling sockets for the supplied Magpul MSD sling. What remains for small parts used in the lower is Mil-Spec hardware like the various pins and springs.

The Upper

Besides the aggressive styling it adds to the shell deflector and the forward-assist housing, the use of billet allows the upper receiver to feature pockets for things like the aforementioned bolt catch. These shapes and pockets also help to reduce weight. T-marked numberings within the notches of the upper receiver rail run continuously to the muzzle end of the forend. At each milled end are flats used for tastefully engraving Spike’s spider logo.

The brilliance of this rifle can only be understood by the sum of its parts. It has nothing to do with someone’s opinion or a marketing gimmick, it’s things like the forward assist that’s retained with a threaded 303 stainless steel pin. No one should ever see it. It’s the ejection port door rod that’s captured with a set screw.

And if you’re not careful, you might miss the fact that the upper receiver is ported to dissipate excess gas and heat during extended strings of fire. Ported upper? Yep. As the bolt reciprocates, air circulates. Contained within the billet upper is a lightweight, ball-dimpled M16 bolt carrier—not semiauto—that’s machined from 8620 tool steel and nickel boron coated.

The holes mean less reciprocating mass and more surface area for heat dissipation; dissipating a little heat here and there all adds up. The cam pin notch is even given a radius to reduce bolt cam pin drag, and the direct impingement carrier key is properly secured by way of Torx hardware and four hydraulic stakes.

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