Author: John McCoy
There are a lot of AR-platform barrel and parts manufacturers out there today; some are excellent, some are good, and with some, you should swipe left. But we are talking about Ballistic Advantage barrels today. No cheapies here; you wanted a Ballistic Advantage premium barrel review, and now you’re getting it.
Before we dive into the article, an introduction to Ballistic Advantage is due first. Ballistic Advantage began in founder Adam Wainio’s garage in Altamonte Springs, Florida, in 2008. Adam outgrew his home shop and expanded steadily, and Aero Precision took notice of his barrels. He partnered with Aero Precision and nearly tripled his business with that lucrative partnership. Since then, he has continued to grow and expand, reinvesting into his business making high-quality barrels available to everyone.
Now, let’s take a look at some barrels!
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 Barrels
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 10.3″ Barrel – Hanson Carbine
Ballistic Advantage Hanson barrels are an excellent choice for shooters looking to shave weight off their rig without sacrificing accuracy and reliability.
The Ballistic Advantage 10.3” barrel in the Hanson profile is an excellent pick for a competition AR pistol build where you need reduced length but cannot afford to sacrifice reliability. For this reason, it is equipped with a carbine-length gas port and comes with a factory-installed low-profile gas block.
Ballistic Advantage 10.5” Barrels
For your pistol build or a registered SBR, a Ballistic Advantage 10.5″ barrel is a great place to start! The standard government profile barrel gives a compact profile but plenty of reach and velocity. This barrel is manufactured from 4150 chrome moly vanadium steel and features QPQ-coated M4 feed ramps.
Ballistic Advantage 11.5” Barrels
If you want just a little more reach and velocity than a 10.5” barrel, but want to maintain a short, compact profile, then the Ballistic Advantage 11.5” barrel is perfect.
Our suggestion is the government profile 11.5” barrel. It is a great all-purpose short barrel cut with a 1:7 twist, making it perfect for heavier grain loads. As with all of their barrels, the Ballistic Advantage 11.5” barrel in 5.56NATO is guaranteed to produce sub-MOA accuracy. You can’t go wrong with that!
Ballistic Advantage 12.5” Barrel
The Ballistic Advantage 12.5” government profile barrel is an excellent option for a more extended pistol build or an SBR that can still reach out and touch somebody. Like its shorter brethren, it lacks nothing in quality: it is equipped with standard, coated M4 feed ramps and is constructed of 4150 CMV steel.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 14.7” Barrel – Pencil Profile Mid-length
If you’re looking for the perfect barrel for an ultra-lightweight carbine build, check out the Ballistic Advantage 14.7” pencil profile barrel. With it tipping the scales at a scant 21 ounces, this featherweight will not disappoint in performance.
We need to mention that you must have a permanent muzzle device pinned and welded to 16″ total length to be rifle-legal without a tax stamp. But if that is your goal, this is your gear.
Ballistic Advantage 16” Barrels
Ballistic Advantage has a slew of offerings in the 16″ length range. These are built with different uses in mind, so we have several of their offerings to review. We can start from the smallest profile to the largest.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 16” Barrel – Pencil Profile
The pencil profile barrel is a perfect complement to your lightweight or ultralight build, weighing about 18 percent less than a government profile barrel. In addition, the Ballistic Advantage 16” pencil profile saves you over a quarter of a pound when ounces count!
There is no skimping in quality here: the pencil profile barrel is manufactured from 4150 CMV and nitride coated. A standard 1:7 twist makes it well-adapted for heavier loads, and, as always, Ballistic Advantage guarantees sub-MOA performance with match-grade ammo.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 16” Barrel – M4 Carbine Length
The standard M4 barrel with a carbine-length gas port is excellent for carbine-length AR builds. Whether you are going for an optics-ready M4 clone or a patrol rifle with a free-floating handguard, the M4 barrel is a perfect fit. It is also a highly affordable option that won’t break your bank.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 16″ Barrel – Government Profile
When you want a little more heft to your barrel but aren’t interested in a bull barrel, the Ballistic Advantage 16” barrel in the government profile is an excellent choice. It is made of 4150 CMV with their standard Nitride coating to ensure years of corrosion-free use even in the harshest shooting environments.
Ballistic Advantage .223 Wylde 16″ Barrel – SPR Fluted
The Ballistic Advantage SPR barrel is truly a thing of beauty. This mid-length barrel is 416R stainless steel, bead-blasted to provide a matte finish. The feed ramps are Nickel Boron coated extended M4-style to ensure reliable feeding every time.
Since stainless steel is a heavier metal, the six- and eight-channel flutes are beautifully sculpted to carve away extra weight to bring it into the range of a standard M4-profile barrel while delivering the cycling reliability of a mid-length barrel.
Chambered in .223 Wylde, the Ballistic Advantage SPR fluted barrel will shoot 5.56 or .223 ammo without a hitch and provide unparalleled accuracy.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 16″ Barrel – Hanson Mid-Length
The Hanson profile is a proprietary design that is lightweight in feel and balance, without the limitations of a lightweight barrel.
Ballistic Advantage Hanson barrels are light, accurate, and reliable, with excess materials elegantly carved away from the unnecessary areas rather than sharp angles.
Each Hanson-profile barrel is shipped with a low-profile 0.750 gas block mounted and pinned, eliminating that guesswork from you. These barrels are an excellent pick for your 3-Gun competition rig, and you can rest assured that your bullets will end up where you aim with Ballistic Advantage’s sub-MOA guarantee.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 16″ Barrel – HBAR Profile
Each Ballistic Advantage 16” barrel tackles a different shooting dilemma. The heavy barrel chambered in 5.56 is well-suited for situations where weight is not a premium, and at 35 ounces, it is hefty!
What you get in return is a barrel that can be run hard with minimal concern of warpage, a nice feature to have when you are mowing down feral hogs or prairie dogs, or just a long-range day.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 NATO 18″ Barrel – SPR Rifle
The 5.56x45mm has proven itself over the decades to be a highly capable all-around lightweight cartridge and has an excellent track record in combat.
The SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) was born and mounted with 18″ barrels to maximize accuracy and stopping power while maintaining compactness. So, whether you are building a clone of the Mk 12 or a one-off custom design, the Ballistic Advantage SPR barrel is your Huckleberry.
Ballistic Advantage 5.56 20″ Barrel – Government Profile
Something is appealing and nostalgic about the classic M16A2, especially to us DD214-holders dating back more than a couple of decades. If an A2 clone is in your future, look no farther than the Ballistic Advantage 20” government profile barrel.
Whether you want to go with a traditional A2 upper or a more modern flattop upper, you won’t go wrong with this barrel. Pin that front sight post on and dial it in at 300 meters!
Ballistic Advantage AR Barrels in Calibers Other Than 5.56
Ballistic Advantage 9mm AR Barrels
Sometimes a pistol caliber AR pistol or carbine is a better option for you than in a rifle caliber. If this is the case for you, we have you covered with a variety of 9mm Ballistic Advantage barrels.
For our pistoleros, the 5.5” 9mm barrel is a superb selection for that ultra-compact AR pistol build. But, of course, if you have a spare $200 sitting around and time on your hands, you can always build this out as a micro-SBR.
The Ballistic Advantage 8.3” barrel in 9mm is a good step up from the 5.5″, and the pencil profile will keep the weight down to a minimum, coming in at a scant 9.5 ounces. This barrel is a must if you think about a 9mm PDW built on the AR platform.
Stepping up to an 11” 9mm barrel will maximize your velocity and muzzle energy while maintaining the compact characteristics of a pistol or a 9mm SBR build. The 11″ barrel is very light at 9.5 ounces. It is compatible with Colt/Rock River and Glock builds.
Finally, we have the carbine-length, 16” barrel. A 9mm carbine makes a lot of sense for all kinds of scenarios, especially a Glock-build that shares magazines with your sidearm. On the other hand, an AR-9 build uses cheaper ammunition and is a great home defense option.
As with all Ballistic Advantage barrels, you get their sub-MOA guarantee and an altogether great product at a fantastic price point.
Ballistic Advantage .300 Blackout Barrels
We’ll be taking a look at three .300 Blackout barrels by Ballistic Advantage. The .300 Blackout, or .300 BLK, has taken the AR world by storm over the past decade or so. It has become an inexpensive and easy-to-find alternative to the 5.56, offering a different shooting profile that spans from short-range hunting to self-defense.
Take a look at the Ballistic Advantage 10″ .300 Blackout barrel for your pistol builds or the 10.5” barrel. Pistol builds and SBRs are where the .300 Blackout really shines; it is designed to operate optimally from short barrels, including subsonic loads explicitly designed for suppressed shooting.
These two short barrels are identical other than length and are ideally suited for a PDW pistol build, or an SBR married to your favorite suppressor. Either way, you won’t go wrong with them.
The Ballistic Advantage 16” .300 Blackout barrel is a nice compliment to your AR armory. Additionally, 4150 CMV construction with Nitride coating and M4 feed ramp extensions will provide thousands of rounds of reliable operation and looks great doing it.
Ballistic Advantage .308 20″ Barrel– Heavy Profile
While far from new, the AR-10 is enjoying a renaissance, and for great reason. With so many common cartridges based off of the venerable .308 (.243, 6.5 Creedmoor, etc.), it is a great platform to build off of.
Of course, the .308 is still very capable, especially in North America, where it can be used effectively on most game animals, and the AR-10 is a great platform to do it. An upper built with the Ballistic Advantage .308 20” barrel will give you the advantage you want and the range you need.
Ballistic Advantage is rising through a crowded landscape of AR barrel manufacturers to be recognized as one of the best. Here we have laid out a sampling of our favorite barrels, but this is not exhaustive. If you would like to see more, take a look here. Otherwise, what are you waiting for? The day isn’t getting any younger, and your next AR isn’t going to build itself. So pick up a Ballistic Advantage barrel today and get shooting!
One Last Tip
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