Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. This is one of those times.
Drive a gas or diesel powered vehicle, and you’re engine needs motor oil. Most drivers use conventional motor oil, some though use synthetic oil, just because it’s better – for a number of different reasons. If you have an AR-15, you have a take down pin and a pivot pin (the two pins holding the upper receiver to the lower). A number of companies have tried to make better pins, but they generally compromise somewhere with their end result, which is why I’ve never used them. Until now, that is.
Battle Arms Development (BAD, yeah – that’s cool to say…) got on the map with their Ambidextrous Safety Selector. Sure, the OEM selector on your rifle works fine, but the one from Battle Arms works better. I think every AR should have one, preferably of the short throw variety. They’ve done it again with their Enhanced Pin Set (EPS). The EPS is the combination of the Enhanced Pivot Pin (EPP) and Enhanced Takedown Pin (ETP), and for $30 bucks and the world’s easiest installation, there’s no reason not to upgrade your AR15. The difficulty is this – until you actually handle a rifle with these installed, it’s honestly hard to appreciate their value. It’s kind of a see-it-to-believe-it thing. I’ll do my best here, and borrow a video from a friend to show you why I think every AR15 ought to be equipped with these enhanced pins.
So why upgrade your AR15 takedown and pivot pins? It’s not as if you’ll shoot faster or more accurately. And most of your shooting buddies probably won’t notice the subtle upgrades you’ve made after installation. You will, however, get the benefits of being able to open up your AR easily and instantly to deal with serious malfunctions. And according to Roger Wang at BAD, that was indeed part of the motivation to make these pins. Most of us will never have to worry about that. But what if you want to clean your gun and the upper and lower are tight? In my case, like many of you I’ve acquired more uppers than lowers. I’ll swap those out more often than I have to deal with a serious malfunction. The Enhanced Pin Set (EPS) eliminates any frustrations associated with tight fitting upper and lower receivers. You may know the annoyance of having to bang pins out. Or, perhaps the aggravation of tearing up the finish on a gun when whatever improvised tool you were using slipped off the pin… Perhaps like Wang you’ve thought, “There has to be a better way.”
So, how do you make pushing and pulling the pins easier without adding lug nut sized heads to the pins? Details don’t always matter, but in this case, they do. Battle Arms Development’s safety selectors were blocked on the right side of the gun when used with other manufacturers’ oversized pin heads created to make pulling the take down pin easy. Wang wanted a low profile, unobtrusive solution.
To get there, Battle Arms added a fraction of a fraction of an inch to the length of the pins. It’s not much, but it gives you just enough protrusion on the left side of the receiver to push the pin and get it moving out to the right. If for some reason you need a bullet or tool to push the pin, a concave indention or bullet guide prevents you from slipping off and tearing into your gun’s finish.
Getting the pins moving is easy enough. Ever tried to slip a fingernail under the right side of your take down or pivot pin to get it pulled far enough out to actually get hold of it? Using the BAD EPS, you won’t have to go that route again. Just grasp whichever pin you’re dealing with and yank it out. The still low profile pin heads give you a good grip. The ETP head has a knurled circumference and angled flat between 1 and 2 o’clock providing a firm and positive gripping surface. I don’t know how they came up with the idea to flatten that small area, but it makes a world of difference when gripping the takedown pin. Try one and you’ll see what I mean. It’s just easier and faster.
The Enhanced Pivot Pin head has a tapered shape with dimples around the circumference, once again making gripping and pulling simple. Changing out the pivot pin has historically been tricky. It uses a detent pin on top of a coil spring to keep the pivot pin from coming all the way out of the lower receiver. You can imagine how many of these tiny pins have been lost, shooting across the room powered by the spring behind them. The Enhanced Pivot Pin is a walk in the park to install, thanks to BAD’s brilliantly simple innovations: cut a channel into the pivot pin and use the small magnet that shipped with the pins to retain the small detent while installing.
You’ll want to watch the video from nsz85 that we’ve embedded here. He shows you exactly how easy this is to do. Jump to 5:05 if you want to fast forward to the installation.
You just read a review on a couple of metal pins. Who knew pins could be improved in such a way as to warrant written and video reviews? Use them and you’ll understand. And Battle Arms Development isn’t done either. They have several more enhancements for your gun on the way. I know what they are, and will be excited to let you know about them when they become available. In the meantime, you can purchase the Enhanced Pin Set directly from Battle Arms Development and get a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. I know, they’re just pins, but hey – I also run synthetic motor oil.