Price - $50
Material - Reinforced polymer
Finish - integrated into plastic
Color - black, zombie green, sand, green, white, pink
Rear pocket - completed
Trigger guard - integrated
Engravings - Safe/Fire/Auto
Notable features - Jigless design, safety selector stops
Works with the 80% Arms Universal Easy Jig - yes
Works with the Modulus Arms Jig - yes
The second generation EP Armory 80% lower polymer receiver addresses several issues the first generation had. Most importantly it no longer has the dual color plastic which was a guide for users not using a jig but was also the cause of an ATF raid when it was decided these had at one point been firearms. This receiver has also been reinforced in some areas and dimensional issues have been fixed as well. Extra reinforcing material has been added to the buffer tube area and the bolt area has been narrowed to prevent the need to use a plastic washer. The rear takedown pin holes are now better aligned so extra fitting to the upper receiver is not required. These are all welcome changes to this receiver.
This is a well made polymer based lower. You can tell it has been reinforced by both look and strength of the material. This is a strong polymer and squeezing shows no signs of give. The rear pocket is already milled (or formed) out which I always appreciate. Since the color is set into the plastic no additional finishing is required. The original EP Armory lowers came in several colors and the new model does as well.
The new model lost it's dual color innards but in keeping with the jigless idea a sticker sheet is included that you attach to the receiver to provide a guide for milling. Precise alignment with this set is obviously needed so take your time if you go this route. I always prefer to use a jig and this will fit both the 80% Arms Easy Jig and the Modulus Arms jig. One issue I have with the sticker set is there is no guide for milling the trigger hole. I would like to see another sticker for the top of the receiver to be used for full length milling of the trigger hole. Then it would be removed and the sticker for the fire control group pocket could take its place. Because there is no other physical guide you will need to use this in a milling machine or a drill press with an attached vise, preferably an X-Y vise.
Here is a side by side comparison of the first generation receiver (top, already machined) and the second generation (bottom, not machined).
Here are close ups of the various changes from gen1 to gen2. First is the differences in the bolt catch area. The gen1 is on the left and gen2 on the right. Notice the narrowing of the bolt catch slot. It has gone from about 0.185" to about 0.175". The bottom rib, which sits above the trigger opening, has also been removed.
The bottom rib above the trigger guard has also been removed from the magazine release button area. Gen1 is on the left and gen2 on the right.
Here are photos showing the extra material added to the rear of the receiver above the rear takedown pin holes. Gen1 is on the left and gen2 on the right.
Fitment to the universal Easy Jig:
Fitment to the Modulus Arms Jig:
Ease of machining:
Polymer is very easy to machine and you can zip right through it with the 3/8" drill bit and a 1/4" end mill. It should be noted that if you go too fast the drill bit will heat up and melt the plastic. Be sure to allow the drill bit to cool down occasionally to prevent overheating and melting. I do not use any cutting fluids when machining polymer receivers.
I have not yet machined this lower but my experience with the previous generation was positive with the issues I did have being fixed with this new model. The hole for the pistol grip screw is not threaded but it will be threaded by the pistol grip screw at the time of installation. I do not recommend trying to use a tap and die. I recommend starting the hole with just the screw for a few threads and then remove the screw and install the grip. This will help ensure you are threading the screw in straight which is hard to see with the grip in place.
At $50 this is a very good value in a well-built polymer lower receiver. The multitude of colors is a plus if you want something besides black. As I had hoped the issues with the first generation lower have been fixed with this new version.