As many of you know, I am not, nor have I have pretended to be, any kind of firearm guru, gun geek, gear head or rifle mega-enthusiast. My relationship with guns is easily likened to my relationship with cars. I really like them. I use them every day. I can replace parts and change oil, but when it comes to knowing all the technical intricacies of any given model, I’m happy to step back and let someone else take over.
All that to say, this is NOT an expert technical review! If you are God’s gift to technical gun expertise (and a couple of SHWAT™ Pro Staffers probably are!), you’ll probably get bored reading this. It is, however, a user-friendly report about my experience with this gun, the pros, the cons and my recommendations to consumers.
Here we go…
First, the GII AP4 is just plain sexy. It’s going to get attention wherever it goes. If you want to hit the shooting range and stay incognito, better leave this rifle at home. As soon as you open the case and pull it out, you’re going to quickly get labeled “The guy/girl (you know who you are) shooting that AR”. And of course it’s not really even AR15, I know, but that’s really jumping into technicalities. Your friends might see this as the Porsche® 718 GTS of guns. It’s not going to break the bank, but it’s guaranteed to turn heads. Heck, just showing up at the range with this baby might net you some new friends.
So what was it like driving the AP4?… Fun! Not like a “popping off cans with your ol’ .22 on a lazy Sunday afternoon” kind of fun. More like “driving a little too fast on a windy back road with the top down and scaring yourself once or twice before pulling back into the garage” fun. When you turn a .308 round loose out of the 16” barrel of this sucker, you will have some emotions. There’s a split second of “#%*@!” instantly followed by “I wanna do that AGAIN!”
Following their classmate presentations, a teacher friend of mine used to encourage her students to give their peer a GLOW (an area that student shined) and a GROW (an area they felt that he or she could improve).
Let’s see if the format can be applied to an AR’s performance…
The Gll AP4’s most significant GLOW, in my opinion, is its eagerness to work. It just felt like a gun that enjoyed being shot. It’s not fussy. I haven’t had a ton of experience with AR’s, but after a quick introduction, I was fully confident taking it out to play with coyotes. It’s not arrogant. You don’t have to treat it just right before it’ll be your friend. Much like a truck with a 6.7L engine, this gun just wants to help you get the job done.
Warm fuzzies done, time for the GROW. Let me preface this by saying, I did nothing to this gun but pull it out of the box, pop a full mag in and start shooting. I do plan on greasing this thing up and throwing on a mod or two. However, I wanted to experience the gun as “straight from the factory” as possible.
There were two growth opportunities that stood out to me. First, the trigger. The trigger genuinely made me angry. Fight or flight? I generally go into fight mode. So when controlling my breathing, holding steady on a target and slowly squeezing the AP4’s trigger I’m looking for the surprise BOOM. But instead the trigger kind of just stops and want me to pull harder!?!
When you press on your brake pedal, you expect something to happen. When it doesn’t, a certain amount of scare sets in. For an accurate shot conventional wisdom says it’s best to gently squeeze the trigger, let the hammer hit the firing pin, igniting the powder causing the reaction that projects the bullet to surprise you. Surprise is a nice fluttery feeling. Scare is not. The stick in the trigger takes the shot from surprise to scare. SHWAT™ publisher Jonathan has sold me on Timney Triggers, so “Hello” Mr. Publisher! Can we take four minutes and swap one in?
Second GROW is a less fact, more opinion. If you look at the factory stock online you might quick shrug it off as “meh,” kind of 1994 Honda Civic wheels on our Porsche. It was once cool, and given the options for stocks now I guess that’s okay. We added a Luth-AR MBA stock. It looks great and lets me get this 308 set up just right for me.
And like any great buy we have to accessorize this DPMS GII just right. It can’t be cheesy, and doesn’t need scream BLING!! So a Trijicon ACOG seems pretty appropriate and a Nikon 1-6x as well. We can keep both zeroed using ZRODELTA mounts, which coincidentally look amazing. And yeah, the Hexmag does sing “Look at me!” but here in Colorado we have speed limits and magazine capacity limits. Hexmag makes a neutered keeping us legal.
There you have it, a non-technical review of the DPMS Panther Arms Gll AP4. A great ride. A fast, powerful ride with a rig that is ready to get it done. But it could use a little tweaking.
Go ahead, give it a test drive. And share your opinion in the comments below.