The new POF-USA Renegade + rifle takes the company’s standard direct gas impingement AR to the next level.
The AR-15/M16 has been around since the mid-1960s, with various improvements added to make it more reliable. But most people would be hard pressed to find an AR with more design changes than those made by Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF).
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the company’s first entry that found widespread acceptance in the AR market was a gas-piston design. For many years, POF’s ARs were all piston guns, but recently it began producing a direct gas impingement (DGI) AR, the Renegade, which has now been followed by the Renegade +.
At first glance, it looks like an AR, a sleek and handsome one. But closer examination reveals a number of design changes, most carryovers from the company’s traditional piston guns.
At the front, the 16.5-inch barrel ends with the company’s Triple Port Muzzle Brake that has three large lateral ports on each side, three small ports on the top right, and another small one on the top left. It is designed to decrease felt recoil and muzzle rise, and in testing, it was very effective.
The barrel has 1:8-inch twist rifling, a compromise between a 1:7 or 1:9 twist. While it doesn’t satisfy everyone, the 1:8 twist seems to be a good compromise; at least it worked well on the test gun.
Making this DGI system a bit different from a typical one, POF installs its Dictator gas block that can be adjusted to one of nine positions, each of which meters a slightly different amount of gas to the system. This allows the user to adjust the amount of force applied to the bolt carrier group for the selected ammunition so that spent cases are extracted with just the right amount of force. Unnecessary wear to parts is avoided, spent brass is tossed in a predictable pattern, and the gas system can be adjusted for use with or without a sound suppressor.
Holding the barrel to the upper receiver is a massive heat sink barrel nut that is designed to pull accuracy-robbing—and wear-producing—heat away from the chamber and barrel. The nut also increases rigidity between the receiver and barrel to aid accuracy.
Inside the chamber is a feature that is not readily apparent, but aids in a challenge inherent to the AR design. Over the years, extraction has been a problem for the AR-15, especially when the design was new. Various fixes have been applied, including a stronger extractor spring and insert as well as the addition of a spongy o-ring that surrounds the spring to increase the force with which the extractor grabs the shell casing. POF employs these features, but went a step further with its E2 Dual Extraction Technology.
The E2 chamber has four grooves cut into the sides that allow a small amount of gas to get between the chamber and neck of the spent case. This assists in breaking the contact between the chamber wall and the brass case and also pushes the case toward the rear.
The Renegade handguard permits the barrel to float freely. Instead of just one attachment system for accessories, the handguard has both Picatinny rails and Magpul’s M-Lok system. There are also plenty of holes for ventilation to assist in barrel cooling. Additionally, the handguard has quick-detach sling mount sockets on both sides at the front and rear.
The upper receiver is built to military specifications, but the lower receiver has a number of enhancements. POF calls it the Gen 4 lower, and all the controls are truly ambidextrous. Releasing the bolt to strip a round from the magazine can be done either by retracting the charging handle and letting go, or by pressing the top of the bolt stop toggle on the left. But with the Renegade +, it can also be done by pushing a button on the right side of the receiver.
The bolt can be held to the rear in the conventional way, or by pressing a bolt catch button located at the bottom of the receiver just behind the magazine well and inside the trigger guard. It is easily done with the trigger finger.
The trigger guard is integral to the lower receiver, but is enlarged so a gloved trigger finger fits. The magazine well is generously beveled to encourage fast and positive magazine changes. Additionally, the lower has QD sling mount sockets built into the left and right side of the endplate.
POF even modified the receiver extension by adding what it calls a carrier cradle. It is a lip at the bottom of the front of the tube that extends slightly forward and supports the rear of the bolt carrier when in battery. POF’s reason for this is to prevent carrier tilt, which is a problem on some ARs. The tube also sports three drain holes. POF added another enhancement to its lower receiver: The trigger and hammer pins on a Mil-Spec AR are secure, but POF replaced them with KNS Precision stainless steel anti-walk pins for additional piece of mind.
An obvious difference compared to a Mil-Spec AR is the trigger. POF uses a special drop-in unit with a straight trigger. It is a non-adjustable, single-stage trigger with an advertised 3.5-pound pull weight. On the test gun, it broke cleanly with no discernible take-up or overtravel.
POF has even made improvements to the Mil-Spec charging handle, which has been known to break. The Tomahawk Ambidextrous Charging Handle is large so that it can be more easily grasped even when it sits below an optic, and the latch unlocks when grabbed from the right or left.
POF equips the gun with a Mission First Tactical EPGI16 Engage pistol grip that features interchangeable front and backstraps that are available from Mission First Tactical. The Battlelink Minimalist Stock is also from Mission First Tactical and is billed as the lightest buttstock on the market.
POF also made changes to the bolt carrier group (BCG). Instead of the standard phosphate finish, POF plates the BCG with NP3, a nickel-PTFE coating that is corrosion-resistant and adds lubricity. And instead of a bolted-on gas key, it is integral to the carrier, eliminating the possibility of coming loose.
Instead of a standard cam pin with its rectangular head, the patented POF cam pin has a round, roller head. This reduces friction that occurs when a normal cam pin contacts the inside of the receiver, which is often the case as is evidenced by a wear spot.
There were no malfunctions while range testing the Renegade +. The Triple Port muzzle brake did an effective job of reducing felt recoil and muzzle rise, making return to target for follow-up shots easy.
The sample Renegade + lived up to POF’s promise of minute of angle (MOA) accuracy, and it printed groups at 100 yards well within that standard. Whether the gun is used for hunting, competition or personal protection, the accuracy is probably well beyond most shooter’s needs.
If you want an AR that is a bit different, take a look at the Renegade +. Patriot Ordnance Factory, 623-561-9572, POF-USA.com.
POF-USA Renegade +
Type: Semi-auto, direct gas impingement
Caliber: 5.56 NATO
Barrel Length: 16.5 in., 1:8 twist
Overall Length: 33.5 in. (collapsed)
Weight: 6.4 lbs. (empty)
Stock: Mission First Tactical
Sights: Optic Ready
Finish: Black, type 3 hard coat anodized
Manufacturer: Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF-USA)
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from the July 2016 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
Subscribe to the Gun Digest email newsletter and we'll send your print-at-home target pack right away. Just enter your email address below.