Warrior Systems Manufacturing WSM15 | An official journal of the NRA


As stated in the book Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, a well-built and well-maintained motorcycle is more likely to have the subjective quality of “excellence” than an expensive motorcycle that no one cares to maintain. Excellence can be hard to define, but you probably know it when you encounter it.

If you’re looking for that virtue in an AR-15, you could do a lot worse than look at Warrior Systems Manufacturing’s WSM15.

Everything about this 16 inch barrel 5.56 NATO rifle meets or exceeds military specifications. Its single-stage trigger, controls, and charging handle are what you’d expect on a modern AR, though trigger creep is slightly better than MIL-SPEC.

Billet machined upper and lower receivers have fine detail. The integrated trigger guard is larger than standard, leaving more room for gloves. Its Cerakote is smooth throughout and makes the rifle look sharper. Five coating options are available: Cerakote Armor Black, Tungsten Grey, FDE, Midnight Bronze or Type III Anodized Black. The bolt carrier group has a black nitride coating, which facilitates cleaning.

The WSM15 has fine details, smooth Cerakote and a full length rail, plus a good combination of standard controls and smart upgrades like the grip and large trigger guard. Its padded bag includes a hook and loop shooting mat.

The floating handguard with a full-length M-LOK rail system is, again, more than a slight upgrade that adds to the overall excellence; in fact, the 15-inch rail is a major selling point, as you can mount just about anything – multiple things in a row, in fact.

The stock and pistol grip are from B5 Systems – again, a small step that makes a big difference. The latter, B5’s Type 23 P-Grip, gives you a steeper grip angle, which both adds distance to the trigger and puts less pressure on the support wrist. This angle felt right to me during filming. The texture of the grip is good without being abrasive. Its ambidextrous quick-disconnect grips with built-in strap are another nice touch.

WSM15 SpecificationsThe WSM15 comes with a Mission First Tactical 30 round magazine and sports a slightly flared magazine for easy seating. You can easily change the bolt lock thanks to the threaded cylindrical pin of the bolt lock. The screws are seated on the support key, but the castellated nut is not seated in place. The gun uses a medium length direct impact gas system.

My review copy came with WSM’s Viking 1 muzzle brake. The company offers four exclusive stainless steel muzzle brake variants – and this one really is a look. All muzzle brake options were, of course, designed for optimal redistribution of outgoing throttle, and it seemed to do its job well.

The WSM15 comes with an FDE (tan) enclosure. It is well padded and the hook-and-loop closure straps help secure the firearm in the padded corners inside the holster; however, there are no regular pockets (i.e., those that close with zippers), making it difficult to secure small items. Also, there is no easy way to tell from the outside what the up direction is without peeking. Sometimes the subtle is just too subtle – maybe a spot for a patch would have been nice, or even a little logo. Finally, it lacks any shoulder strap attachment mechanism, so you are forced to carry it by hand. The case, however, reassures me somewhat by having a removable pad attached via hook-and-loop fasteners in its center, which is nice to have for shooting while lying down or kneeling.

Shooting this rifle only made me like it better. The gun performed well even though it was hot. It felt good and is very precise.

Overall, what do you get with this rifle? In my opinion, about as much excellence as you could possibly put into this award. It’s a solid, precise choice with great aesthetics – a nice step up from the norm without being too expensive.

WSM15 shooting results

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