In writing this review I had to take considerable time as to whether I wanted to do one. There was some angst as to whether I could be able to truly give a solid picture of the material covered in The School of The American Rifle 2-day course put on by Chad Albrecht. So Here I am. Let’s do this.
Before I get in to it, a little disclaimer and background so the reader can get where I am coming from. I am a firearms instructor and armorer for a federal law enforcement agency. With that said, what I write down are strictly my own experiences, observations, and opinions and do not represent or are condoned by any organization or agency I belong to. When it comes to the AR15/M16 platform, I have been an armorer for 12 years having attended 3 Colt armorer courses, a Weapon Systems Training Council (Rock River/Stag Arms) course, and 2 of Semper Paratus Arms’ armorer courses (I knew Will Larson of Semper Paratus personally). So roughly every 2 years I have recertified as an armorer. With the knowledge I have acquired from the training, I have either repaired, rebuilt, or completely built an AR pattern rifle for duty use. The rifles were spec’d to function in CQB/VCQB out to designated marksman roles and anything in between. So that’s my background.
Now how to best describe School of the American Rifle…? I think an analogy would best work here. Let’s start by saying that attending a manufacturer’s armorer course is akin to going to high school. Like high school, you learn the basics to get by in life. Some basic math, basic English, and some home economics and you can go out into society and be productive. In these courses, you breakdown and put back together a rifle over and over until it becomes rote. If something breaks, you can replace it and get the rifle up and running. You get some troubleshooting knowledge to figure out what needs replacing. Boom, now you are a factory certified armorer.
So what would be college level? Easy, going to a course like the one form Semper Paratus Arms. It opened my eyes to a whole new world. Gas port sizes, gas system lengths, buffer weights, and a myriad of other things to build a rifle as specified in a technical data package. You learn what it takes to confidently build a rifle that is going to work because it built around the specifications required by our military forces. You learn troubleshooting techniques that allow you to think out the issue and ensure that it won’t reoccur. College wise, this is being an armorer on an intellectual level.
Where does this put School of the American Rifle? This course is your doctorate/PhD as an armorer. When you bring in your rifle or rifle parts kit to work on, you have no idea that you are about to step into a new dimension of understanding that rifle. Learning to gauge critical parts, understanding tolerances, and learning some gunsmithing techniques relevant to the AR15 platform creates this new level of awareness. One that I am truly appreciative for. When you grasp the reasoning of measuring out tolerances, you can literally predict when a part in your rifle will fail. Now when you troubleshoot, you go from knowing what happened to why it happened. Also, those same skillsets can now tell you if a vendor or manufacturer is putting out quality products. No more asking for someone else’s experience or opinion. Buy the part, gauge it, and see for yourself. Talk about having confidence in every part you put in a rifle build! I won’t go into detail about everything taught by Chad. No, that would make this review a dissertation and frankly, it was like drinking from a firehose. I will say though, that when you leave the course you walk away with a rifle and skillset that will set you apart as an armorer.
Vincent Anders(Sunday, January 03 21 10:39 am EST)
I met chad just prior to the formation of SOTAR. He had a ton of information back then and when I found out he was making a school, I knew good things were to come. Chad has done some immense good for the AR community by elevating people's knowledge and troubleshooting of the AR platform both in his classes and his YouTube videos/shirt lectures. If you want to learn the ins and outs of the AR15. I can think of nobody better than the Chad/Donna team at SOTAR.
Michael R Calam(Thursday, December 31 20 09:51 am EST)
Exceptional course...can't recommend it enough...Chad is an excellent instructor and all around good guy...he is receptive to interaction with his students and his attention to detail is sets the standard for other instructors...it was worth every penny and 2,000 miles of travel.
Jim Karrenbauer(Wednesday, December 30 20 09:48 pm EST)
I completed the Armorers course and all I can say is “WOW” what an education. The instructor Chad, spent well over 11 hours teaching and helping every student. He was super patient and made sure every student was able to get his question answered or their uppers gauged etc. never once did Chad rush or skip any question the class had. I learned more in that class than what I learned in the military. Chads approx did knowledge of the AR platform are second to none. Regardless of what you may or may not know about the rifle, you WILL leave a mischievous better working knowledge and a high level of confidence working on your own. Highly recommend taking any of their classes. I know I will again!
Thanks for an awesome experience!
Philip Nelson(Saturday, October 31 20 02:21 pm EDT)
I recently attended the School of the American Rifle two day combined course. This wasn’t the first AR15 Armorer class I’ve taken, but the amount of knowledge I took away from this class was amazing. Chad Albrecht’s knowledge of the platform is second to none, and I found his teaching style great. SOTAR’s collection of bad and failed parts really helped me to visualize some of the problems that can be encountered, and what to look for. The small class size really made you feel like part of a group instead of just another nameless student. The amount of information that Chad covers is amazing. He took the time to answer all questions any student had before moving on. Chad would demonstrate several ways to complete most tasks, then let the student decide the way they wanted to do it while building their gun. Chad is an absolute professional and his love of the AR15 platform really shows in the class. I would recommend this class to anyone regardless of their current skill level. The class is worth every penny, and I would do it again.Thank you for the experience SOTAR!
Rob Davenport(Monday, July 27 20 11:11 am EDT)
I found Chad’s teaching style to be extremely thorough, fast paced but detailed and very informative with just the right amount of humor thrown in.
No matter your level of familiarity with the AR platform, you will learn new things.
I feel the value to dollar for Chad’s class is better than anything else available to either civilian or military at this time.
I look forward to seeing what Chad is able to do in the AR industry in the future, I firmly believe that this is only the beginning.
Ed Berrios(Monday, May 25 20 07:49 pm EDT)
This is an absolutely great course. First, I found Instructor Chad Albrecht to be extremely knowledgeable about the technical and historical aspects of the AR-15 platform, including selection, gauging, and modification of parts, to ensure safe, consistent, and reliable operation of the AR-15. Second, in sharing his knowledge, Chad's gives an in depth view of the AR-15 and gauging processes; it is presented to students in a manner that is easily digestible and retainable, with hands on training, as you build your AR-15. Third, the class environment is optimal for learning. The classroom is a museum to the AR-15, broken down to its parts and gauges. Class size was four students. Student benches have most of the tools and materials that a student would need to build their AR-15. Every student felt comfortable to ask questions and Chad focused on each one of us to ensure that we understood the material and tasks along the way. Each student was given options of whether and how to perform certain tasks in their build and it was for student to choose. Chad, simply, doesn't cut corners and this is evident in how he teaches the course from start to finish. I came away, and you will too, with a new fondness for, knowledge of, and techniques and gauges to use in building and maintaining the AR-15.
Stefan P Czerwinski(Tuesday, March 03 20 03:25 pm EST)
Chad Albrecht of the School of the American Rifle devotes a great amount of personal effort and interest sharing his endless knowledge of the AR platform with both his students and online AR enthusiasts. He is making an outstanding contribution to teaching his students and to the general enlightenment of other AR enthusiasts, online or other, willing to listen objectively to both his seasoned procedures and innovative original perspective in function diagnostics and build techniques. I can without a doubt recommend anyone from the novice, just looking to get their "feet wet" to the advanced builder, who's plateaued and needs a new perspective, to attend one of the courses provided by the School of the American Rifle. And for those individuals and professional agencies who may be looking to utilize his recently announced future AR inspection and reliability services, I would definitely "pull the trigger". Chad's professionalism and commitment to maintaining nothing short of the highest quality standards in his class instruction will undoubtedly transfer to his daily business operations. I personally look forward to his future posts and videos as well as hopefully attending his course again to add to my knowledge base and absorb what I can from his years of experience.