By Rob Kay
After publishing a review on the Primary Weapons System’s MK114 piston upper, we wanted to know more about the company. You don’t really hear enough about PWS, which is an innovator in the piston space.
We spoke to Stacey Nagy, head of Dealer Development and Sales over at the company’s headquarters in Boise, Idaho.
Please tell me a bit about the genesis of your company.
Our company was started as AK concepts, a custom AK builder in Meridian Idaho, but evolved into PWS when our focus shifted to the FSC muzzle device development and the AR market.
When was it founded and by whom?
PWS was started by a small group of investors who saw the potential in the US gun market and the niche that our just emerging product line(s) could satisfy.
Is there one engineer/guru behind your piston technology or is it a team effort?
We always jokingly say that Mikhail Kalashnikov is behind our piston technology. Truly, we have simply taken the best design aspects of the AK and have scaled down and modernized them for use in the AR-15 platform without increasing the height of the receiver There is some group effort in our designs, but it is often on the aesthetics of the products. The “nuts and bolts” of our design are executed by our CTO who prefers his name to not be published.
How does your proprietary gas system differ (why do you think it’s better) than other gas piston manufacturers?
Our push rod, long stroke piston design does not impact the op-rod into the carrier. Pretty much all other piston operated AR-15s operate on the principle of a piston op-rod being pressurized and impinged into a corresponding strike face on the carrier. This can result in abnormal forces being transmitted to the shooter in the recoil impulse, down the barrel affecting harmonics. There is also the carrier tilt and corresponding impact at the lip of the buffer tube that has been seen on many short stroke piston uppers and rifles as well.
Was your market niche always piston guns?
Our primary focus for our uppers and rifles has always been the long stroke piston driven design. Less maintenance between longer intervals of use.
Tell us a bit more about the enhanced buffer tube that you manufacture. Is it obligatory to use with a PWS upper?
We use our own PWS Enhanced Buffer Tube on all of our rifles and pistols but it is not required for use with our uppers. It is a very nice item and it fully supports the carrier from action closed to action open, eliminates the castle nut and has integrated QD sling swivel sockets. We actually designed it and released it before we began producing rifles as a way to “fix” everyone else’s piston gun that operates on a short stroke design vs our push rod, long stroke design. Many of those other rifles exhibit “carrier tilt” and the EBT solves that issue on those other competing brands’ rifles. We offer a ST2 and ST3 buffer from Spike’s when we can for dedicated suppressor users but all of our rifles ship with the standard carbine buffer weight.
How often should the BCG and chamber area be cleaned?
I and other PWS employees clean our bore and chambers every 1000 rounds. BCG can be disassembled every 3,000 to 4,000 or sooner if using a suppressor.
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