Project Vera – Update

Some time back I took the plunge started building an AR-15. As with my other guns, I planned to build this with someone else’s money, so it’s taken about 8 months to complete.

So far, I’ve completed the lower. Here’s the specs:

Completed lower

The lower is a an aluminum billet lower from New Frontier Armory, While they have made a name with their polymer lower, I went with the aluminum.

The lower parts kit is from DPMS, via Lakeside Guns. Assembly wasn’t too difficult thanks to several Youtube videos and a resolve to be patient.

The stock is a collapsible Tapco stock, made right here in Kennesaw. I also added a padded ERGO grip, that I got from Adventure Outdoors along with the stock.

Then, the pause. I had to earn more money to finish the project. In the meantime, I picked up some PMAGs, so I can be ready.


Time passes. I cut grass, save money, and wait.

In the meantime, I do my research. Based on my experience putting together the lower, and on my research, I decided to let a professional put together the upper. For one thing, most of the houses that did this (and the one I would choose) test fire them afterward, so I would know it was a good assembly.

Finally I made a decision, and started to look for the right combination of specifications.

Here is what I ordered:


It’s the MWA-16 upper assembly from New Frontier Armory, the same company that made my lower. Here are the specs:

  • A3 Upper Receiver forged from 7075-T6 aluminum with extended M4 feed ramps and T markings
  • 16” MATCH GRADE M4 profile stainless steel barrel (from Black Hole Weaponry) with a black finish
  • 1 in 8” Twist with 3 groove polygonal rifling and M4 Feed Ramp
  • 1/2 x 28 threads / .750″ diameter gas block/YHM front flip up sight / gas block combo
  • Chrome lined MIL-SPEC bolt carrier group
  • MAGPUL MOE Handguards
  • MAGPUL MBUS rear flip up sight

What I really like is all the extras like MAGPUL furniture is already included.


So, I finally got on line, and placed my order. Bad news, this was 2 days after the school shootings in Connecticut, and the frenzy was already on. I was first told one to two weeks lead time, but it has now stretched to 6 weeks.

We will see. All I know is I’m willing to be patient, I’ve waited this long.


In the meantime I have adhered to The Diaper Rule, thus: when my kids were young, I knew whenever I was at Walmart, I should pick up diapers. I knew I would need them. Similarly, when I was at the gun store, I bought a PMAG. I now own 4 PMAGs that I paid $15 each for. And, sadly, the stores I go to don’t have any more in stock.


Where can I order a Skittles dispenser?


Liberty Reborn

Besides beefing up the frame with a third pin, when Glock introduced their 3rd generation pistols, (the Gen3), they made an attempt to add finger grooves on the grip. This wasn’t the normal flowing finger grooves of a Smith & Wesson grip, these were raised notches with a rough grip surface in between.

On the full size guns (G17, G20, G21, G22, etc.) these grooves seemed to line up okay with my fingers. But, for some reason, Glock decided that whoever bought the smaller midsize and compact framed pistols must have smaller hands, so the finger grooves were made closer together.

Ever since I got my Glock 19, Liberty, I’ve lived with this design oversight, but, truth be told, it made my hands hurt after shooting a few magazines through it. After a while, I decided to slip a rubber Hogue grip over the G19 finger grooves, and that gave a little relief, but it didn’t solve the problem.

Some people suggested removing the finger grooves, but I was reluctant to deface the G19 frame that much, in the even that I decided to sell it some time. But, I also reasoned that someone who was buying it might actually appreciate a gun that fit their hand.

So, without much further ado, I decided to use a sanding drum on my Dremel tool to zip those finger grooves down flush. I hand finished the job with some 300 grit paper, and smoothed it all with some Armor-All. I then slipped on the old Hogue grip, to index my fingers like they are on my G17, Bruce.

The verdict? I just wish I hadn’t waited so long.

The project in pictures:

Before – finger grooves intact

After – grooves all ground off

The final product, with Hogue grip installed