Tested: POF-USA Renegade Plus Rifle
Article first appeared at American Rifleman.
POF-USA, a company that established a presence in the crowded AR manufacturing world by offering a piston-driven rifle as far back as 2004, has introduced a new direct-impingement model called the Renegade Plus. Designed for competition, security, law-enforcement work and even hunting, the lightweight carbine boasts a number of novel features. We’ve seen other makers of piston guns introducing direct-gas models, so considering POF-USA’s history of innovation, it’s no surprise that it, too, is entering this ascendant arena.
Company President Frank DeSomma spent his entire adult life in the aerospace industry. An engineer, he worked with super alloys, precision machining and heat-and-friction-reducing coatings. This knowledge informed his previous AR designs and motivated him to create an improved direct-impingement system.
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The result is the DIctator Gas System—an adjustable gas system with nine settings that allow the user to fine-tune the rifle to a given ammunition and/or suppressor. A gun that is not over- or under-gassed is less likely to malfunction and will operate smoothly and accurately. The DIctator uses an uncommonly straight gas tube, and the Renegade Plus ships with a special tool for making adjustments.
DeSomma also made some improvements to the bolt carrier group. The one-piece bolt carrier has an integral key positioned behind the cam pin to reduce bolt carrier tilt. Another patented feature is the roller cam. Traditional AR rifles use a square, steel cam that can gouge and cause wear inside the aluminum receiver over time. The roller cam reduces drag and friction as it rolls along the inside of the receiver. Both the cam and the bolt carrier are coated with Robar’s NP3, a nickel/Teflon finish, which is corrosion-resistant and self-lubricating. The bolt, extractor and firing pin are chrome-plated for the same reason.
POF-USA outfits the Renegade Plus with a 1:8″ RH twist, chrome-alloy barrel that is nitride-heat-treated for corrosion resistance and durability. The 16.5″ barrel terminates in a ported muzzle brake that, by design, reduces muzzle rise and recoil for faster follow-up shots.
The Renegade Plus’ barrel features POF-USA’s E2 dual extraction system that involves four small channels, cut laterally into the chamber’s walls at the neck. They allow a small amount of gas to push against the shoulder of the spent case, thus breaking the seal between it and the chamber. According to the company, the system drastically reduces the amount of work the extractor performs, thus reducing wear on it and improving reliability.
Heat buildup in the action is a known characteristic of direct-impingement guns. POF-USA devised an aluminum barrel nut to completely encompass the chamber and throat areas of the barrel in order to help dissipate heat where it is most intense. The company claims it provides 17 times more heat dispersion than a standard AR barrel nut, and its length provides a very rigid platform for the attachment of the Renegade Plus fore-end.
The lightweight aluminum, free-floating handguard boasts a top Picatinny rail that mates perfectly to the flat-top receiver. It provides more than 14″ of length for optics, detachable sights, magnifiers and night-vision accessories. The fore-end is sleek, 2″ in diameter, and has M-Lok-compatible slots for mounting accessories on three sides. Access ports are cut bilaterally into the fore-end to facilitate adjustment of the DIctator gas block.
Renegade Plus’ lower receiver possesses just as many innovations as the upper. Constructed from billet aluminum, the lower receiver is completely bilateral. There’s a large bolt-release paddle in the traditional location on the left side of the receiver, but there is also a rectangular release positioned just above the magazine release on the right side of the rifle. For a right-handed shooter, the release can easily be disengaged with the trigger finger without shifting the firing grip. The bolt can also be locked to the rear by pushing up on a tab located inside the trigger guard, in front of the trigger, while pulling the bilateral Tomahawk charging handle to the rear.
Magazines can be released in the conventional manner or by depressing the “L” shaped lever, located just below the bolt catch on the left side of the lower receiver. The safety selector has levers on both sides of the receiver. A dimpled finger rest is machined on both sides of the receiver just forward of the trigger guard. It gives the user a safe and consistent place to index the trigger finger when not shooting.
The Renegade Plus is issued with a flat-faced, single-stage trigger constructed from wire EDM cut American A2 tool steel and nitride-heat-treated for strength and corrosion resistance. Our test sample’s trigger broke crisply at 3 lbs., 8 ozs. with a very positive reset for quick follow-on shots. The gun also features KNS Precision stainless steel non-rotating anti-walk pins, designed specifically for POF-USA’s bilateral lowers.
Shooting the Renegade Plus was a delight thanks to its clean, crisp trigger. To test the rifle’s accuracy we attached a Trijicon (TR23-1G) 5-20X 50 mm scope and fired five, five-shot groups at 100 yds. Admittedly, this was a lot of scope for a lightweight, 16.5″-barreled carbine, but it was extremely useful in ascertaining the gun’s potential for accuracy, which was exceptional with each of the three loads tested.
For field shooting we switched to a Trijicon (TR21R) 1.25-4X 24 mm scope—an optic popular with law enforcement and 3-gun competitors. The small diameter of the rifle’s fore-end and the gun’s light weight help make it point naturally, resulting in extremely fast target-to-target transitions, and its three-port muzzle brake keeps the sights on target while shooting. There were no failures of any type during the evaluation.
POF-USA’s new Renegade Plus possesses a number of unique features in keeping with the company’s history of innovation, and the test rifle’s craftsmanship, fit and finish, and accuracy did not disappoint.