Ultimate Guide to AR-15 Barrel Profiles: Choose the Right One

Ultimate Guide to AR-15 Barrel Profiles: Choose the Right One

In this press release from Faxon Firearms, they provide a stellar guide to AR-15 barrel profiles. Read on to learn about the different types of profiles:

Faxon Firearms, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based manufacturer of quality rifle and pistol components, complete firearms, and the highly regarded line of Faxon barrels, is proud to provide its latest informational effort: The Ultimate Guide to Barrel Profiles.

Building or tweaking an AR-15 can involve a variety of things, some vital, some arguable or even cosmetic. It could be receiver sets, muzzle devices, anti-walk pins, or any of a dozen other things, but one of the most important considerations is that of a barrel – and when you’re choosing a barrel, you need to be thinking about barrel profiles.

Barrel profiles

Finding the right barrel profile is a Big Deal. It’s not just about looks; it shapes how your rifle handles and shoots and fits your shooting lifestyle, whether that’s defending your home, hunting in the woods, or just having fun at the range.

Why should you care? Every profile offers something different; each one has relative advantages and arguable disadvantages.

From the heavy hitters to the lightweight models, we’ll walk you through what each might mean for your build or intended upgrade. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or someone who’s just getting started, we want you to make the choice that feels—and functions—just right.

Faxon Barrel Profiles Explained

The term “barrel profile” refers to the thickness of the barrel on an AR-15-style rifle (like the Faxon Sentry). Different barrel profiles can impact the gun’s performance in various ways.

For instance, thinner barrels are lightweight and easy to handle, while thicker barrels provide more stability by adding weight to the front of the gun and can withstand more heat. The weight of your barrel is going to impact the weight of your rifle. Though those few ounces might seem insignificant, they’re not, particularly if you’re manipulating the weapon for extended periods, carrying a bunch of weight in other ways (armor, gear, etc.), or maybe just dealing with physical constraints or limitations.

It’s important to consider the trade-offs of different barrel options available (particularly vis-a-vis accuracy, heat dispersion, durability, and weight) before making your choice!

Let’s take a look at some AR15 barrel profiles and see what makes each one unique.

Faxon Firearms prepping barrels for range day

Faxon Gunner Profile

The Faxon Firearms Gunner profile blends two of the best-performing profiles of all time: Government (Gov’t) and Pencil.

Infographic reads: Did you know? Faxon's gunner profile is a hybrid design to combine the best features of the pencil and govt/socom barrel profiles.

Faxon’s Gunner profile combines the durability of the Gov’t profile with the weight savings and maneuverability of the Pencil profile.

The Gunner profile brings the balance of the rifle back towards the shooter’s body, limiting fatigue and allowing you to shoot, train, or hunt all day long.

AR-15 barrel

Government/SOCOM Profile

A SOCOM barrel for an AR-15 is designed differently from the standard M4/A2 barrel.

Instead of being consistently thick throughout, it has a thinner section past the gas block and a thicker section near the chamber. SOCOM barrels often have a slot for attaching a grenade launcher and provide a balance between strength and weight.

If you’re looking for a barrel that can handle sustained shooting while still being lightweight, a SOCOM barrel may be a good option for you.

Pencil Profile

The pencil barrel is the original profile for the AR-15. It typically measures 0.625 inches in diameter.

It is known for being slim and lightweight, making it easy to carry and handle. Its thinness, however, makes it heat more quickly than its cousins, particularly during rapid fire. Overheating the barrel leads to elastic deformation or warping, which in turn affects accuracy and reliability.

Unlike run-of-the-mill pencil barrels, Faxon Firearms barrels are properly heat-treated and stress-relieved. The Faxon manufacturing process improves heat resistance and longevity.

The durability of this AR15 barrel profile is ideal for shooters with a light or medium shooting schedule.

Learn more about barrel characteristics and how they affect the performance and longevity of your weapon, particularly AR15 barrel profiles.

What is the Best All-Around Barrel Profile to Use?

Of course, barrel profile doesn’t just affect AR15s and large-frame pistols. The barrel characteristics (not just the profile) of any firearm can greatly affect its overall performance and handling.

We’ve looked at the three most common barrel profiles: Gunner, Government, and Pencil.

Of those, the Government/SOCOM provides the most stability with the greatest potential for accuracy. It does so because it’s the thickest and heaviest style, which adds weight to the gun and to the shooter’s aggregate loadout.

The Pencil version is the thinnest and lightest option, making it easier to handle and carry but it does sacrifice some stability and accuracy potential.

Faxon believes the Faxon Firearms Gunner barrel is the best general barrel choice. It provides the best balance of the other two, offering a good compromise between weight, performance, and durability.

Ultimately, the choice of barrel profile will depend on the individual’s personal preferences, but should absolutely be appropriate for the intended use of the rifle.

Consider the trade-offs and choose the barrel profile that best suits your needs!

SOLO: Lynx Defense Rifle Bag

Lynx Defense Rifle Bag in FDE

Lynx Defense sent out their latest rifle bags, the Solo for me to review. It just became available in FDE, which is right up my alley.

Single Rifle Bag
The original Single Rifle Bag. Lynx Defense/Facebook.

It takes over from their Single Rifle Bag. It was designed to hold a 16″ AR-15 with a collapsible stock. They are 100% made in Selma, NC, in the US of A, which I applaud them for doing because of how difficult it is to accomplish, especially in the tactical nylon business. Most companies outsource labor to cut costs. Having a USA made product supports fellow hard-working Americans and keeps our economy and industry strong.

Open Lynx Defense Rifle Bag with rifle

My Solo Rifle Bag came with a Certificate of Authenticity with initials from the person who sewed it, inspected it, did the final quality check, and then signed by Michael Savage, the President. It brings a very personal touch and connection to everyone involved with working on the end product, which you are about to use and, in this case, something you are trusting to protect your expensive hardware. I also appreciate certificates of authenticity in the products I use because it shows that the people behind it put a lot of care and pride into what they make.

Front of the Lynx Defense Solo

I usually run double rifle bags so I can carry more guns with me to the range. I never really thought much about having single rifle bags for that reason. After picking up the Solo Rifle Bag, I immediately felt and understood why having one is beneficial. This bag is deceiving because it is so much lighter than it looks, and it is a good-looking bag, too. The quality of materials and workmanship is quickly apparent throughout the bag. It is one of the nicest bags I have had.

Here are the Dimensions:

  • Length – 36″
  • Height – 12″
  • Width – 4″

It is very simplistic, with a nice black velcro ID panel in the center, below the carry handles. The panel has tan cross-stitching, which gives it a nice touch. Below that is a velcro-sealed admin pouch. To the left and right are bigger, zippered storage compartments.

Velcro panel of the Solo.

Onto the main compartment. The front panel has two zippered storage compartments that run the entire length inside and are split in the middle. The back panel is black velcro, similar to the exterior ID panel. There are three tan retention straps that will help keep your rifle stable.

On the back, there are D rings at each corner of the bag. There is a good amount of padding in every place in the Solo Rifle Bag, and it does so very well. there are no edges that get folded in or collapse at times. It is a very solidly designed and made bag. It does an excellent job at keeping your rifle safe from impacts, not that most rifles can’t handle being tossed around, but why not keep it in the best shape if you can, during transport?

Rifle secured in the Solo

There was one thing I really wish it had, and that would be having lockable zippers for the main compartment. I like to be able to lock the zipper. Even if small locks are easy to defeat or cut, it’s something that I prefer. I relayed this suggestion over to them for some feedback.

The bag is still very lightweight, even with my rifle inside. Carrying it is easy with the single carry handle. I do like to be able to have a single shoulder strap or two and wear it as a backpack. The straps for the present D rings will be available soon.

Back of the Lynx Defense Solo rifle bag

This bag is perfect for everyone who just needs to take one rifle with them to the range, as well as for Law Enforcement Officers and their Patrol Rifles if they carry them in their trunks.

The price of the Solo Rifle Bag starts at $299 with solid colors: Black, Tan (FDE), Wolf Grey, and Ranger Green. The prices go up to $359 for camo pattern colorways, depending on the specific pattern. There is Multicam Black and Tropic, Vietnam and Desert Tiger Stripe. I can see some out there asking why it is at that high of a price point. The answer to that is overall quality. That comes from quality materials, build quality, and attention to detail that is put into each bag, and done so with American labor. You get what you pay for, and I will say you will get your hard earned dollar’s worth with the Solo Rifle Bag.

Lynx Defense Rifle Bags in various colors
Lynx Defense Rifle Bags in available colors.

For more info, please visit https://lynxdefense.com/rifle-bags/solo.