I've built over 15 ARs in the past 10 years. Prior to attending the class, I truly wasn't sure if I was going to learn anything earth shattering. Let me tell you that this class exceeded every expectation I had. Chad discussed each part in detail and examined each part to make sure it was up to his standards. I can't tell you how many issues were discovered, even with my so-called "top of the line" DD MK18. Chad not only walks you through the process of inspecting each part, but explains in detail the whys. I came out of the class realizing how much I really didn't know. Not only did I feel a sense of accomplishment, but I felt more confident than ever to be able to diagnose problems, and properly fix them. I highly recommend this class to anyone who is looking to build an AR. Whether you're a beginner, or someone like me who thought they were knowledgeable (Boy was I mistaken), I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I look forward to taking future classes at SOTAR. 5 Star class with a 5 Star Instructor!!!
Doc Holliday (aka wolfdad)(Sunday, September 24 17 03:25 pm EDT)
Absolutely a superb class, no matter what your experience/expertise level. Chad takes you through EVERYTHING you need to know to buy, build and maintain your AR. You will also get to see other AR's as they are also gauged, inspected and made right. I have never seen anyone who can solve any AR gunsmithing problem like Chad can.
Matthew Morton(Tuesday, March 14 17 02:51 pm EDT)
I just completed my second, yes second, build class with Chad.
Even though I had built up a rifle at his class before, it had been a while and I had just got the last of the parts in to complete the rifle, exactly at the same time I saw Chad had a class going on.
Luckily, there was a spot open and I was able to attend. Although I felt pretty confident on building one up myself, it had been a while and my free time was limited. I was worried I would run into a problem and not know what to do and I would wind up with a pile of parts in a bin under my workbench until I was able to complete it.
I ran into one issue with feed ramps and was able to quickly correct them with Chad's assistance, which I was grateful to have since I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of screwing up my rifle.
Thankfully, that was the worst of my problems. My only hiccup was me putting the gas tube in the gs block upside down which was quickly found on Chad's borescope. That is another thing about his class. He has an amazing assortment of specialty tools that allow you to check your work as you go along.
I can't say enough about his level of skill and attention to detail in everything he does. I have not yet been able to test fire the rifle I built but after my previous experience with his class and work, I would have no problem grabbing it and using it to defend myself.
Greg(Sunday, March 05 17 09:31 pm EST)
....Chad, thank you so much for the awesome AR build class. Thanks for fixing (correcting) my 300. I am still very depressed about all the stuff you had to do with it. Damn CMMG. Your class is like one that people should take prior to making a huge purchase. That way you can see things prior to purchasing. I learned a shitload of stuff yesterday....I still need to go through your secure portal and all the documents. I still need to learn tons more to even feel competent.
I also appreciate how you took the time to fix all the issues with others, as well. It was good to have issues with all the different types of ARs at the class. I could go on and on. I am very proud of my AR now. Need to get more now. Damn things are like Tribbles.
Your teaching style is spectacular. No questions are stupid and you give answers- not just verbally, but physically and hypothetically. Example, a question is asked. You answer and show the questioner. Then you give what ifs to reinforce and to open our minds. I do the same with my sysadmins. Makes them think and not just go through the motions. You also do not rush people.
Again, you are a brilliant teacher and we are blessed and honored that you are sharing your wealth of knowledge with us.
Mercy Jantz(Saturday, February 04 17 01:58 pm EST)
Walked in with a box of parts and zero build experienced - walked out with a TON of knowledge and a fully functional blue printed build AR15! The knowledge received in this class has had me go on to buy the tools needed to build other rifles in different calibers and configurations. There is SO much bad information out on the internet and this (and SOTAR's Armorer's class) cut right through the crap down to the heart of the documented and proven truth. I can not wait to take another set of classes just to review and for the experience. Best hands on training I've experienced!
outrider58 'Rone'(Saturday, February 04 17 08:39 am EST)
The AR alum build class was an absolute must having taken the SOTAR armorer's class the way I saw it.
I took Chad's second armorer's class he ever offered. If I could have gotten into his first class, I would have. With all the info gained in that class, the obvious "next step" was going to be a build class. When he hinted at starting alumni build class, I wanted to be first in line. I've heard some balk at the price of this course, but I am here to tell you, I would have paid twice that to get in one. I liken this to being on a peewee football team and Bill Belichick shows up and says "from here on out, I will be your coach". What would that be worth to you?
You have the opportunity to build your own AR from the ground up under the guiding eyes and helping hands of Chad Albrecht, Master Armorer/Builder. Along with that comes the assurance that, if anything comes up as a problem with that gun, Chad will always be just a phone call away to see that problem through. That is not written anywhere. That's just a sample of his dedication to his schools and his students. Dedication like that is hard to find these days and impossible to put a price on.
You start out with $1000-$1200 worth of gun parts and by the end of the day, you walk out with a $2000 rifle. The BEST rifle you will ever build.
Sticky(Sunday, May 15 16 09:05 am EDT)
Outstanding! Truly an invaluable class for anyone that wants to or plans on building an AR platform weapon, or even some like me, that already have 'assembled' a weapon, but now understand, in great
detail, how to properly 'build' the weapon and how to deal with a myriad of issues that one can encounter (knowingly or not) in a build comprised of various pieces and parts from a handful or more of
This class goes into great detail and provides the opportunity to see several weapons being assembled and the many little issues that can be encountered along the way. The beauty is that you are
experiencing several concurrent builds, each a little different in some way or another, and each with the occasional problem that can crop up when assembling the various stages of the weapon. You
learn from the others in the group as the instructor helps each attendee deal with the issues as they are encountered. All issues can be corrected/dealt with and Chad has the knowledge, expertise and
experience to handle all of them and overcome all but those that cannot be overcome.
I have attended the Armorer’s course in which you learn, in great detail, how to properly gauge, inspect, clean/lube and maintain the weapon. This is a great starting point for any AR owner, whether
a bought weapon, or one that was built from parts. The build class takes the assembly process to a whole new level, with refinements to many of the ‘mil-spec’ parts used to build an AR, assuring far
greater reliability and performance in ANY AR-15. No detail is spared an exhaustive explanation of the why/what for as well as the how-to. It is all hands on. Each attendee will be doing each and
every step along the way, hands on, not just sitting back and watching someone show you. You do it… ALL!
Some of the procedures are intimidating at first, as one must be very careful when ‘fine tuning’ some of the various areas of the weapon, but with a careful, watchful eye and guidance, all are able
to fully perform these tasks and understand what and why they are performing these enhancements to the box full of parts that they walked in with at the beginning of the class.
I did not actually build an AR, as I have already assembled those that I want, but after attending the class, I will be going through each and every one of my previous builds, tearing them down
completely and going through them again, armed with the knowledge that I gleaned from the class. I know that those who did bring the parts along to build their new weapons, had them all reviewed and
discussed with Chad before attending the class, to help ensure that they had the correct parts to complete a weapon for the intended use, whether it be a SHTF gun, personal protection, hunting,
plinking or long range match. Inevitably, there is always something that gets overlooked, forgotten, or otherwise and Chad is very well equipped with a spare part, or solution to just about every
issue that crops up.
I was surprised to see a number of ‘mil-spec’ parts that were not manufactured to spec, many of which one would never know without proper gauging, measuring or inspection. Any one of these issues can
cause reliability problems with the AR and knowing how to spot them (AND CORRECT THEM) before completing the build is an invaluable asset and helps ensure reliable and consistent operation of the
weapon and can save one a ton of headache, time and money when the weapon has function issues from any one of these problems. Chad brings a ton and a half of spare parts that allow most every
attendee to be able to complete their builds, even when they encounter a problem with one of the parts that they walked in with, which otherwise would have stalled their build on the spot.
All of the necessary tools and gauges are on hand to ensure that each and every one is testing and measuring all of the critical aspects of the build along the way. All issues are dealt with directly
and thoroughly to help each builder walk away at the end of the day with a weapon that, in my personal opinion, will likely perform better than most any ‘off the shelf’ AR from just about any
manufacturer out there.
In summary, if you want to build an AR, you really need to attend this class. You will walk away far wiser and more knowledgeable in the platform and each and every piece of that platform. How they
interact, how to ensure they interact properly and how to enhance many of them to give performance and reliability above and beyond what would come in any factory build AR.
One thing to point out to all who plan to attend a class. While there is a timeframe set out for the length of the class, be prepared to stay longer. Since many issues can be encountered when
building several AR’s in one day, the class may take longer, as Chad goes above and beyond to be sure that every member fully understands, all problems and issues are dealt with thoroughly and
everyone walks away with a big fat smile at the end. It may take a couple hours more, depending on what crops up, but Chad is there to see it through til the end and deal with each and every issue
and aspect of the build process. So allow for a little flexibility in the schedule on your end, it will be WELL WORTH your time!
Thank you Chad, I am forever deeply indebted to you for sharing your knowledge with us and look forward to learning from you at every opportunity, as I already have every time I have had the pleasure
to share time with you!!! (even at the range when we are just supposed to be having fun, as there is always someone with something going on and you always step right up and help them out)
qwertee123(Tuesday, March 29 16 10:01 pm EDT)
I progressed further on my path to 'gunlightenment' on Saturday 01/09/2016: I took SOTAR’s AR Builder’s Class and felt compelled to write a thorough post (with pics) about the experience on
MDShooters, SEE https://www.mdshooters.com/showpost.php?p=4164101&postcount=57
Years ago, I took a two-day AR-15 build class from a well-known firearms manufacturer. That more expensive build class was just an assembly class; we read the Army manual and built our ARs. Instead
of that "Ikea AR" experience, in this SOTAR AR Build class you'll feel like your learning to be a Thos. Moser craftsman. What sets the SOTAR class apart is personalization, precision, and
pain-staking attention to detail. First, weeks in advanced, Chad asks what type of gun are you looking to build? Match? 3-gun? SHTF? Next, he offers great feedback on your parts lists; offering
options to consider independently and in aggregate. Third, knowing what are your individual objectives, he makes sure that he has the tools you might need and plans for contingencies. And lastly,
Chad provides a superbly well-paced, personalized educational class experience where classmates quickly bond through various stories and self-deprecating humor. The AR-15 is a great platform with
tons of vendors for all the parts. But not everything snaps together like Lego®. Some problems in AR-15 can arise from uneven wearing of parts caused by not tuning and fitting parts together during
the original build. In this class, at every step, Chad explains what we’re doing, what tools and gauges we’ll use and why. He helps you to identify, understand, baseline, and correct any potential
problems before the rifle is even finished. We performing lapping as needed, used various go/no-gauge gauge tests, baselined 'erosion', and made other small customizations that will reduce problems.
Once again, I learned more in a few hours than I had ever expected. This info will likely stay with me for what I hope will be a long lifetime.