A Parable for the Poors: Palmetto State Armory v.s. Everyone

A Parable for the Poors: Palmetto State Armory v.s. Everyone

A parable for the poors:

A PSA is like a Honda Civic. It goes from point A to B reliably. The driver obeys the local laws. It doesn’t cost much. It is a car for people who don’t have much money or a car for people who have much more wealth than you realize.

A KAC/Hodge/etc is like driving a Porsche or (insert high-end car here). It goes from point A to B reliably. The driver obeys the local laws. It cost much more. It is a car for people with great wealth or a car for people who make poor financial decisions.

In your day to day life, there is an insignificant chance you will use either the Civic or the Porsche in a life or death race… you simply go from point A to point B Monday through Friday.

If the day comes where you must race your Porsche or Civic in a life or death race… It will be vitally important that your choice of the car starts reliably. When the race begins, the announcer says that the race is a drag strip seven yards in length. The only thing you need to do to survive is to start your engine and cross the finish line.

The Porsche crosses the line first, but the owner is pissed because 99 percent of the power, engineering, cost, and luxury were left out of the race entirely.

The Civic owner was sad that he was slightly slower but was ultimately relieved that his car started and functioned as designed.

Both cars were seized by authorities after the life or death race pending an investigation into the incident. The Porsche owner was rightfully pissed. The Civic owner said “ok” and his wife picked him up in the spare Civic they got during a Honda BOGO sale.


  • The vast majority of self-defense shootings occur from 3 – 7 yards.
  • Most gunfights expel a total of around 3 rounds.
  • If your PSA went bang last week after your 150 round session at the range it will probably go bang when its cleaned, lubed, and in standby. They are basic… but reliable rifles.
  • If you value your life enough to only buy Knights Armament / Colt / Hodge and people who buy PSA’s are idiots… then I hope your cardiac health is in peak condition and that you drive a 2020 Toyota Camry ( Five stars NHTSA Front, Rear, and Rollover ) as in all likelihood you will be involved in a car accident at some point in your life and the most lethal foe you will encounter in life will be coronary artery disease. You will most likely never get into a gunfight unless you are very unlucky.

Buy what you can afford, shoot the piss out of it, and enjoy the sport. In all likelihood, you will never pick up your gun in anger… however it’s sure a nice feeling that your gun can bark fire if lightning strikes and things go south. Don’t look down on a budget rifleman who knows his rifle. If you can afford nicer rifles, don’t snub those who can’t. The more “normal” people who have a black rifle in their hands the better.

If you need a 10.5 inch shorty like the lead photo because I know its hot… don’t worry. I got you boo.

-Lothaen Out!

PSA 10.5″ 5.56 NATO 1/7 Nitride Classic Shockwave Pistol Kit, Black – 5165449715
Written by lothaen


  1. Clyde · March 5, 2020

    Agreed. PSA is a very reliable hammer, Daniel Defense is a scalpel. Both work. I’ll take classes with a PSA tool sporting a budget red dot or scope because I can have 2 identical ready-to-go spares in the car, and all 3 can be handed out to whomever needs one When It Gets Real along with 8-10 Gen2 mags of XM193 while I use a DD or BCM and MK262.

    • lothaen · March 6, 2020

      This is the way. More eyeballs with good rifles are way more valuable than one set of eyeballs with a laser rifle.

    • comradewhoopie · March 7, 2020

      I bought a $350 Del-Ton at a gun show and it runs just as good as my Colt A2, in fact perhaps a wee bit more accurate, probably because the bore isn’t chrome lined.

  2. 1 With A Bullet · March 5, 2020

    Are those foam ear plugs in the slot on the brace? Sharp idea.

    Oh, and I concur with the article’s premise. Well done.

    • lothaen · March 5, 2020

      They are indeed earplugs. If you don’t have time to put them on before firing your 10.5… at least they will be there to stop the bleeding.

  3. Geoff · March 5, 2020

    Several of my ARs were built using PSA parts. Nothing wrong with them.

  4. Mike · March 5, 2020

    They can’t be beat. I’d rather have two PSA than a single Gucci. I’m old enough not to care what other people think… PSA rifles work and that is the bottom line…

  5. Matthew Alan · March 5, 2020

    One of the Vegas gun ranges posted their results using PSA CHF uppers on their machine gun lowers. They keep exacting records of when equipment is put into use, how many rounds were fired and damage. They found the PSA uppers ran as long or longer than the Colt uppers that were on the guns when new. They had no more breakages or wear than the Colts.

    • Erik. · March 5, 2020

      Matthew, the CHF upper of Palmetto’s isn’t exactly a budget upper. It may not cost much but it’s parts are top notch. For fairness, testing one of their freedom uppers would be better.

  6. Tyler London · March 6, 2020

    Comparing one of the most reliable and well engineered cars to PShit A is an insult to Honda. They care about quality.

    PShitA ia the Yugo of cars. It’s a piece of shit that you buy because you can’t get anything better and you only care that it runs (but badly).

    The author seems to be under the impression KAC and Hodge offer nothing ovwr PSA than price.

    • lothaen · March 6, 2020

      Way over your head. You may be a lawyer who enjoys finer things. You may be a dude who worked overtime to buy a high end AR. It really doesn’t matter.

      You have a great rifle. A PSA does 90% of what your high end rifle does for most people. That’s a good thing because back in 2002 when I started shooting ARs there were numerous brands that screwed customers with out of spec parts, poor assembly, terrible QC.

      With the war on terror, call of duty, the rise of the knowledgeable customer, and the highly competitive market… AR manufacturers had to build a rifle which went bang every time or word would spread and informed customers would move off your brand quick. We are flooded with good choices these days. Aero. Colt. PSA. Hodge. Larue. G. Etc. Etc. All of them great good kit at different price ranges.

      PSA has continued to refine their production to make generational changes to their ARs. Initially I was quite suspicious. I have been obsessed with the AR platform since 2002. I spend too much time, even today, reading, researching, and shooting. New companies like PSA didn’t get a second look from me.

      What changed is the reports of reliability that keep coming. Henderson defense and their rental range. Customers noting that they run and run. Then having two for myself really made me a believer. They are solid, albeit basic rifles.

      At most, I would suggest keeping a mil-spec spare bolt. Otherwise if your PSA can hold about 1.5 MOA and earns your trust with its out of the box reliability then you have a far better AR than many of the early year 2K saps who brought brand x home from the gun show.

      Overgassed? Sure. Gritty trigger? Not in my experience. The PSA stuff I have handled ships with much better triggers than my first Bushmaster and Oly… Two “budget” brands that are dead. Accuracy? They hover around 1-2 moa. I haven’t free floated my PSA rifles as I leave them pretty basic.

      I’m gonna wrap it up. Basic. Reliable. Like Honda.

    • Phil · April 16, 2020

      Total BS. PLEEEEENTY of proof that PSA is gtg. Even their Freedom rifles… PLENTY of proof.

    • Mr Mike · November 12, 2020

      Sorry to burst your bubble, Sonny Jim but I’ve seen KAC , Colts, BCMs and LMTs all ” shit the bed in police and civilian carbine classes. PSA ” can” be hit or miss but 95% of the time they are hits. I own two colts( 6920 and 6940), a BCM haley jack carbine- way too expensive, a Spikes tactical M4LE ( colt clone) and LMT Mforgery, and 3 PSA mid lengths – one with the premium CHF FN barrel and Daniel’s defense lower parts kit upgrade. And the rest are better nitride barrels ” freedom” offerings.

      My Haley Jack and my Spikes are my actual ” got to’s”, but that’s my own personal bias. In a police 2 day carbine class, my colt 6940s bolt cracked and jammed up to action at 320 rounds- so much for ” colt reliability” and my LMT safe queen has signs of RUST on the barrel, but has less than 1,000 rds fired!

      My PSA ” poor mans ” rifles? Each has 750 rds and performed satisfactory- they are all >2 moa shooters with 69 gr smk, just like my colts, my Spikes and my BCM ( yes that includes the two freedom midlengths!

      Trashing PSA is just…juvenile. unless you’ve had constant or consistent failures with PSA rifles , you are sadly barking the same crap those tacticool tier 1operator wannabes on M4C spout to justify their penis measuring by who can pay the most for a rifle your government buys for $700/ per. Those M4C loons talk all that ” run rm hard” BS, but even Uncle Sam replaces their full auto Colt and FN carbines 10,000 rds- 99% of AR-15 owners will NEVET shoot 10,000 rds in their LIFETIME.

      FWIW, nobody uses KAC or BCM ” in combat”- you got Washington State Patrol and Texas Dept of Public Safety out on patrol with Bushmaster AR-15s, Travis Haley used a Franken gun in Iraq and Chris Paronto used a Franken gun in Libya!

      AK operators Union on YouTube trashed a ” top tier ” Daniel’s Defense midlength at 2,500 rds but ran a PSA freedom carbine to 5,000 rds and noted it was still good to go!

  7. Fukov · March 6, 2020

    Smells like validating terrible choices in here.

  8. Sasq Quatch · March 6, 2020

    Wow, I paired a used hand me down upper/used ACOG with a PSA lower. Drove to my range in my 2006 civic and had a great time shootig about a mags worth (not 150 rounds). I used Tula and paired it with my glock or to save more money used my mkIII. LOL Good times

    • lothaen · March 6, 2020

      I wrote this with you specifically in mind. I would also venture to say that glass (such as your ACOG) is a more important purchase than the rifle so long as you choose a reliable base.

      In the end, the target doesn’t know it was hit by a M&P or a Colt.

  9. Dan · March 6, 2020

    I’ve been in the so called AR game since the late 80’s. I carried a M16 from 83-2003. I own or have owned Colt, Bushmaster, Olympic Arms, Troy, Brownells, and PSA. My current match ARs were assembled by me using Wilson Combat receiver sets and are currently the higher end ARs I own.
    The two match rifles shoot better than all the rest as I would expect them to. It’s not because they are more reliable but are more accurate again as I would expect with the parts I chose for the builds. But the rest of them are every bit as reliable and accurate as the rifles I was issued across 20 years of military service. All the rifles I initially listed were most interesting mil spec with the exception of one Colt being a HBar A2 and the one Bushmaster also a heavy barrel target. The PSAs I have match up perfectly to these brand name rifles. I’ve had zero issues with PSA, used to run one with binary trigger without issue and the meet or exceed accuracy of my issue rifle. They also cost way less than the brand names.
    I have no issue going to my PSA for any job, even a match gun, as I used to bring one of my PSAs as a backup just in case my primary went down. I don’t hesitate to recommend the brand to anyone who is looking for a mil spec capable rifle and doesn’t have $1500+ to spend. I greatly appreciate PSA’s mission statement and commitment to the shooting community.

    • lothaen · March 6, 2020

      Thanks for the input! That’s the beauty of it. It’s a reliable stepping stone for shooters just getting started. If not for PSA certain friends and family would have never spent $900 plus on rifle. Cut that cost to half and many more picked up a black rifle courtesy of PSA.

      Some of them even want more refined rifles later on… whodathunk?

  10. Bryan · March 6, 2020

    I just got my first AR a few weeks ago and it’s a PSA. I went with it because the FFL I am very good friends with, and who has 3 huge safes full of rifles for everything from law enforcement to competition, told me this is the brand to buy. I picked all the parts and he helped me build it. I’ve now sent about 400 rounds through it and it shoots better than any of the rifles I shot while I was in the military. Gun snobs will be gun snobs. If they want to throw away their money on a more expensive brand that does the exact same thing, then so be it. If they want to throw shade, whatever, they’re the one that spent 2-3 times the amount of money for a different named stamp on the side of the exact same piece of metal!

  11. D.S. · March 6, 2020

    While I love my Savage AR15 and wouldn’t trade it for anything, my PSA Pistol has been every bit as reliable as my Savage, BCM, DPMS or any AR I have had in the past. And it’s about half the cost. If I were to get anything different on a PSA rifle just to have any more confidence in it. It would be a different BCG. I would get an AERO or BCM. That’s it. Nothing on a PSA rifle has ever failed me. They shoot very accurately, and just work. The only reason I would change the BCG is because those companies are very PROVEN. And PSA is getting there. A few more years and PSA will have the market cornered on complete rifles for under $700 that can compete with BCM, Aero Precision, DD and those companies that cost 2 to 3 times as much

  12. JUST HARD FACTS · March 7, 2020

    Those high dollar rifles are no better than a PSA! I like the idiots who sit around and try to make people buy their over priced $5000.00 AR-15 made in the same factory as other $500.00 Ar-15’s.

    One of the head guys @PSA has handed out loads of their AR-15’s for free to top honorable testers…all past the test often outdoing the Gucci Guns Above!

  13. KH · March 7, 2020

    I stopped reading after the first paragraph. The Porsche/Honda to KACorHodge/PSA comparison is laughable. As a rule, there isn’t a PSA rifle on the face of this Earth that is going to hold a candle to an SR15 in anything- not reliability, not durability, not accuracy over its life. Comparing a KAC or Hodge to a Porsche (which is a high maintenance performance car) completely overlooks the fact that KACs have been used in duty roles in some of the most demanding environments by some of the most elite professionals who trust their lives to their tools. You can’t say the same about a PSA. If anything, a KAC is a Land Cruiser and a PSA is a 1990 Kia.

    • lothaen · March 7, 2020

      That’s fine and all, but since you didn’t read the article you are talking to yourself… These points are addressed. The PSA will not match the performance of a KAC, but it has plenty of performance as a basic rifle to defend yourself and to enjoy trouble-free range sessions. So what if it isn’t as refined? If we don’t have a good basic rifle to intro new shooters to our sport, then they might assume it’s not worth getting started if they need to drop 1K to get a “good” gun. Nope, they can drop a few hundred and get a rifle that is very capable. We live in good times for now.

  14. Martin · March 17, 2020

    I agree – kind of. It’s a good basic gun, but for something I’d bet my life on I want to be a little more sure about quality of some of the parts. Are the lpk springs and pins good quality or the cheapest they can find? Are the other parts cast or MIM? For the upper, I want an HPT and MPI’d 158 bolt and a 4150 chrome lined barrel. Up to now my AR’s have been built using cheap parts but I just ordered a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 upper and a Sionics lpk to put together something “I can bet my life on” (I still like putting together my own lowers). As far as a basic gun though I like the PSA stuff. I’d take one over any of the budget factory built AR’s, with possible exception of S&W MP15.

    I do have a 300 Blackout pistol built on a PSA pistol lower and it’s a lot of fun. It does have a chrome lined barrel and a Toolcraft BCG in it though, instead of PSA parts. At $129 with a KAK Blade it’s a smoking hot deal, especially considering the Blade and tube alone are $65.

    • RSR · May 26, 2020

      Toolcraft makes most of PSA bcgs. C158 bolts are available, albeit not usually standard.

      Barrels are all CMV either 4140/4150 — and that’s splitting hairs IMO.

      Pins and such have all been fine for me. I usually install non-PSA triggers though, and those are the pins and springs that matter most.

      • RSR · May 26, 2020

        *Sionics is mid-market duty rifle. I personally prefer them slightly above BCM.

        DD — the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.

  15. Jbob · April 21, 2020

    Good article, it points out the truth about weapons and effectiveness. It doesn’t matter about how much the gun cost, but the operator behind it. Knowing your weapon and maintaining it.

    I’ve been in a few firefights(Iraq & Syria). I used all types of weapons, couple were from the 60s. Pretty sure the guys I shot at didn’t care I used an AK or M4.

  16. RSR · May 26, 2020

    Good post. So long as tools are tested and reliable, $ is best spent on optics, triggers, and training, NOT on makers’ marks.

    Also, these truth bombs should be dropped over on LooseRounds… Their anti-PSA beef is counter-productive.

  17. JB · July 15, 2020

    As a “working” ……Cert’D armorer by 3 different manufacturers, one very high end and about 15yrs of building and fixing on my own prior to Certification.
    I can say this from my experience.

    I have rebuilt about, a dozen PSA Ar’zzzz.
    Not because they crapped out, but the owners wanted to hop them up if you will…

    The guns (I) have worked on…were built very well and were easily dealt with, unlike afew famous manufacturers of AR’z.
    I dont know if its a lawyer thing or just the folks they have building them, but they cause much cursing and aggravation.

  18. Dennis Werner · May 15, 2021

    I honestly don’t get the constant desire to downplay or bash PSA, specifically with their premium line of products. Their budget guns are just that. Their premium guns are just that, at least in my experience.

    Right now I’m running a 16” premium PSA upper, with FN CHF chrome lined barrel. Lower has all MAGPUL furniture. Sharps XPB BCG, radian raptor CH.

    Out of the box, fit and finish is perfect, nothing rattles. Lower and upper fit together like a glove. I have not experienced any mechanical issues. Everything functions smooth and as expected.

    The biggest room for improvement would be with the MIL-SPEC trigger, but after the break in period the trigger functions just fine.

    As of yet I have not been given any reasons to believe that this gun could not be trusted.

  19. Zac · March 16, 2023

    Ar’s in general are a pretty wonky rifle. Overcomplicated, finicky, gas tubes your grandma couldn’t even fit a sewing needle into…. psa isn’t near as bad as you are claiming.

    The shit you talk sort of comes across as someone who’s losing out to this company.

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