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The Cox Arms EMR-1 Affordable Yet Uncompromising Performance Rifle

The Cox Arms EMR-1 is a feature-packed rifle that manages to put premium-level components in an affordable package. It's a true "every man's" rifle that you can be proud to own.

The Cox Arms EMR-1 Affordable Yet Uncompromising Performance Rifle

At any given time, it feels as if there are a thousand choices when it comes to AR-15s. Lately, the trend in the market has been towards high-end, bedazzled guns with a variety of plutonium-infused space-age options. Companies have spent countless hours poring over designs and specs in an attempt to essentially create a better mousetrap. In some cases, real advancement is made, while other efforts are not as fruitful. In each instance, these advances have been minute and sometimes unnoticeable. Like many of you, it takes quite a bit for me to take a serious interest in “design advancement.” The major sticking point for most companies is price point. There seems to be an inability for major companies to build a high-end AR at less than stratospheric prices. Enter Cox Arms from San Tan Valley, Arizona just on the edge of Phoenix. When Michael Cox, owner of Cox Arms took a hard look at this challenge, he simply said, stand by. The result is the EMR (Every Mans Rifle)-1.

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The EMR-1 is one of the most feature-rich guns I have seen in its price range. The EMR-1 starts with a 7075-T6 Aluminum forged receiver set. Inside the upper, Cox Arms uses an Enhanced bolt carrier group (BCG). These BCGs go through both MPI and HPT to ensure quality. The EMR-1 has a mid-length gas system with a 16-inch government profile 5.56 NATO, 1:7 twist, 4150 CrMoV barrel. Cox Arms USA takes time to ensure the durability of the EMR-1. One example of that is Rocksetting the screws in the gas block. Over the barrel is a 13-inch Lightweight Anti-rotation, Steel-on-Steel Retention Handguard. The barrel is finished with Cox Arms USA’s High Performance “Battle Brake” Muzzle Device. The Battle Brake is the gold standard in muzzle devices.

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Another example of the quality and high-performance design of the gun is the inclusion of an Elftmann Tactical trigger. The Elf-SE trigger has a pull weight of only 3.5 pounds and is set inside an enhanced trigger guard for a sleek, complimentary look. The EMR-1 has both an ambidextrous safety as well as an ambidextrous charging handle to make operation easier. Following the ease of operation idea, Cox Arms USA has also designed a double-beveled magwell for easier and faster reloads. Finishing the gun out is the B5 Systems P-23 grip and Bravo stock with six-position adjustment; this furniture will be available in five different colors that the customer can choose from (Black, Coyote Brown, Wolf Grey, OD Green, and FDE). Other notable features of the EMR-1 include an upgraded H1 buffer, a threaded pin for the bolt catch, a threaded pin for the forward assist, captured rear take-down pin detent/spring, and an upper receiver tension screw. Coming in at only 6.6 pounds, it is an exceptional rifle that can serve a spectrum of needs.

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As with any rifle with significant buzz, it is always best to get it on the range to get proof of performance. With claims being put forward on the EMR1, it had to be quantified with some old-school shooting. Range day would be pretty straightforward and focused on performance. The day began early as the rifle case was cracked open. While the goal is to be impartial, the rifle is good-looking. It is obvious that a lot of work went into the design. A lack of sharp edges, tight tolerances and overall feel put this gun in a good light before the first magazine was even loaded. The fit and finish on the rifle were good. The rifle is obviously hand-fit because there is no play between the upper and lower.

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There was no rattle in the gun, which is a downfall of lesser-quality guns. The rifle was finished out with a Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24 FFP Rifle Scope, which would give me good magnification for longer shots and still work well in close quarters. The weather was perfect as the late Arizona Spring provided clear, comfortable conditions. The first order of business was the gathering of data on groups. As we started the zeroing process, I began to get a feel for the rifle. The first thing I noticed was the trigger. It broke cleanly with a firm reset and equal travel backward and forward. A good trigger can make or break a gun, and this one is a winner. The fact that Cox Arms includes an Elftmann Tactical trigger is just one example of them making this gun more than a boring off-the-shelf shooter.

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Running the gun turned out to be a déjà vu all over again. The overall operation and reliability of the rifle were exactly like earlier Cox models I have run in the past. The true ambidextrous nature of the rifle took just a moment to acclimate to. It is worth noting that once you experience the benefit of this design, your other rifles will be seen in less than glowing light. They allowed for smooth and efficient operations. This shined when I did support side drills shooting left-handed. Getting into some serious shooting, I ran the gun as I would during a class. That included targets at three yards to 100 yards. In every drill, the rifle performed well. When I tested for accuracy, I was able to shoot a couple of one-inch groups back-to-back using Federal Gold Medal Berger 73-grain ammo. I found the B5 furniture to be a strong addition to the gun. It fits my hands well and seemed like a perfect fit. It was mostly free of harsh edges and offered a good balance between grip and smoothness. The lightweight nature of the gun made it a breeze to run in any drill and even from non-traditional shooting positions. 

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Another item I need to shine a special light on is the lack of muzzle rise. Cox Arms uses its own “Battle Brake” muzzle device. It performed better than any brake I have ever shot. Cox Arms put significant design and development into the device. They ended up with a muzzle device that reduces muzzle rise by 42 percent. This was determined by testing the brake on a recoil-measuring device. Out of curiosity, I conducted a speed test with the brake as well. Both Michael Cox and I would run a series of shots on steel using the new EMR-1. At the buzzer, we would fire two shots on each of the four pieces of steel set up at 20 yards. The first test would use a traditional A2 flash hider, and then we would repeat the test using the brake. The results were dramatic with our combined average speed improvement coming in at over 74 percent. The muzzle devices have gotten so much attention that Cox Arms is selling them by themselves on their website. When it came time to consider applications for this gun, the two that stood out most were a home protection weapon and a hunting rifle. The lightweight and easy-to-run nature of the EMR1 makes it a natural fighter. It is also a lot of gun for the money.

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Rare is the company that puts so many high-end features into a blaster without jacking the price up so high you need oxygen to view it. Cox Arms has hit this one out of the park, and I have a new gun to recommend to new and experienced shooters alike. Michael Cox of Cox Arms USA states “In a world where people think they’re getting ten pieces of real chicken for $0.99 and quality AR-15s for $299, we set out to create an all American-Made AR-15 that is financially obtainable to pretty much everyone. We do understand that not everyone has a $2,000 budget, so we set out to create a more affordable, feature-rich rifle made with quality parts that even some of the higher-end rifles don’t have. It’s very important to us that our company provides our customers with the best products possible for the money, knowing that your life may depend on it!” The Cox Arms EMR-1 is an exceptional rifle and would be considered so at twice its price. If you are interested in getting a serious rifle without breaking the bank, the EMR-1 is your rifle.

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Cox Arms EMR-1 Specs

  • Type: Direct impingement, semi-automatic
  • Cartridge: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 16 in., 54150 CrMoV steel construction
  • Construction: 7075-T6 Aluminum forged uper/lower
  • Finish: True Black Class 2, type 3 hardcoat anodized
  • Stock: B5 Bravo stock
  • Grip: B5 P Grip 23
  • Overall Length: 33.25 in. 
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs. 
  • Trigger: Elftman Tactical, 3.5 lbs. 
  • MSRP: $1,099
  • Manufacturer: Cox Arms



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