DPMS Panther A3 Lite 16 - Review

Discussion in 'DPMS' started by milproakron, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. milproakron

    milproakron G&G Newbie

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    I had the chance to throw some rounds through my new A3L16 this weekend, so I thought I would offer a bit of a review for anyone in the market who is considering purchasing one for themselves.

    The A3L16 is a very "crisp" rifle. If you have fired alot of AR15/M16 rifles, you may know what I'm talking about. Some feel very long and "soft" in their action. This one, probably due to its newness and the shorter buffer/spring system, feels very sharp when firing. Its very managable in rapid fire scenarios. Basically, it has a good "feel" to it. Accuracy was great while just plinking around, but I'll have to wait til I have some real range time before judging it at greater distances.

    The "Lite" barrel heats up very fast. LOL After just 15 rounds, you won't be grabbing it. It does cool pretty quickly though, so I didn't find this an issue.

    The negatives: I have never been a fan of the A2 style grip. I have meaty hands and they don't fit comfortably on this type of grip. This will most likely be the first part I change out, probably going with a saw style or A1 version.

    Sharp edges: Under the trigger-guard, the metal is sharp and rubs into your hand. (see attached pics) It actually scraped some skin from my middle finger while shooting. I had to take a small metal file and smooth it off to relieve the issue.

    The Pardus stock is very solid and snaps into its various positions tightly giving you a good solid hold, but the shape of it is problematic. The curve back toward the shooter at the bottom. This may not be an issue for everyone, but for my stance, more of a cqb than weaver, and high in the pocket, it concentrates the recoil onto about a one inch area. Granted, the recoil on this rifle isn't much to be concerned about, but if you were going to be at the range all day, it could be uncomfortable. This I will probably replace with a standard M4 style stock, or other variant that doesn't curve out.

    The magazines that came with the rifle, 2x30rd generic, are pretty cheap, but they functioned without issue. The sharp metal edges at the top make it very uncomfortable to load your rounds. I scraped alot of skin off my fingertips saturday. LOL You will definitely want to buy better magazines.

    I like this rifle. For the money ($699 new, w/2 30rd mags, sling, cleaning kit, and hard-shell case) I think it would be hard to beat. If you could find one with the AP4 stock instead of the Pardus, I'd go with that one. Its my first DPMS purchase and I'm pretty pleased with it. With some adjustments and accessorizing, its going to be my new primary weapon system.

    Attached Files:

  2. texnmidwest

    texnmidwest Sir Loin of Beef Forum Contributor

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    Great review milpro! Thanks!
  3. SwedeSteve

    SwedeSteve Freedom Zealot Forum Contributor

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    Yep, thanks for the info !!
  4. Soldier Medic

    Soldier Medic G&G Newbie

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    I was just about to buy this rifle to....still am
  5. Darkfront

    Darkfront G&G Enthusiast

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    Great review! I've had some people give DPMS a bad rap because it's not an Armalite or S&W, but I've never had problems with mine.

    Two pretty reasonable upgrades you might want to look at for your DPMS. Magpul MIAD Basic kit will let you customize your grip size with interchangeable backstraps/frontsraps and give you storage space. The next is from DPMS's website, order the "Gapper" It's a little rubber piece that fits right in where the trigger guard meets the grip and will take care of the sharp edges. It's completely worth the $2.50 for it.
  6. Burke

    Burke Ahh..Cordite.

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    Woot for DPMS!..

    Love mine..
  7. milproakron

    milproakron G&G Newbie

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    Thanks Darkfront. I checked those items out online today and they seem to be exactly what I need to deal with my grip issue. I appreciate your input.
  8. Darkfront

    Darkfront G&G Enthusiast

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    Anytime milpro. Oh, and I don't know about your AR experience, so don't take offense if you know this, but watch it when you're removing the grip. The detent and spring that holds the safety in place is in the grip and it will fly out if you remove it too fast.
  9. milproakron

    milproakron G&G Newbie

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    Thanks!

    I rarely take offense. LOL I have lot of experience SHOOTING AR15/M16 rifles after alot of years in the military, but other than breaking down for cleaning, I have very little experience in building or modifying one. There are alot of things they designate as, "armorer level maintenance" that they don't allow us to do ourselves. So, I was unaware of the safety spring issue and I thank you for the warning. You probably saved me some grief. lol

    I installed my quad-rail that arrived today, much easier than I thought it would be. Also installed a riser on the flat-top and mounted my red-dot.

    I've decided to go with the CAA CBS stock to replace the Pardus.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  10. northerndragon

    northerndragon G&G Newbie

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    what brand of quad-rail did you get?
  11. milproakron

    milproakron G&G Newbie

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    UTG

    I got the UTG. Price was right and when I order from my normal place online I usually get it within 3 days. ( AK-47 Parts and Accessories ) The link says AK, but they started carrying alot of AR stuff as well.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  12. northerndragon

    northerndragon G&G Newbie

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    interesting, myself i was looking at either the DD Omega Rail or a YHM free float rail.
  13. Darkfront

    Darkfront G&G Enthusiast

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    I have the YHM free float myself. I'm very pleased with it, it's a very simple installation. My only problem with free floats is getting it completely straight and in-line with the receiver rail. Best done with a 1-piece scope mount that spans between the rail and receiver.
  14. northerndragon

    northerndragon G&G Newbie

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    I'll keep that in mind as well. thank you darkfront.
  15. milproakron

    milproakron G&G Newbie

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    Update Time!...

    Here are the latest pics of my DPMS rifle. I know I said the grip would probably be the first thing I replace but, ... well, I guess I lied. LOL Haven't found just the right one yet, so I did everything else first.
    The first pic is the original rifle out of the box. The other two are the rifle as it is now. I'm sure I'll play around with other optics, but a simple red-dot on a riser works for now.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2008
  16. B4DAER

    B4DAER G&G Newbie

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    Thanks for posting the review I just purchased one myself and the tips you posted are a big help. I look forward to when I get to shoot the weapon. The tips you posted will help make it even more enjoyable.
  17. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

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    Nice transformation. Congratulations. You have some good vids.
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