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[Video+Review] Faxon Ascent AR-15: Pistol & Rifle

Who doesn’t love a good AR?

Reliable, modular, and let’s be real, they’re just plain fun.

Modded AR-15s
AR-15s

So, I love when I can get my hands on a new AR-15 to test out and take to the range.

A few months ago, I tried my hand at Faxon’s ultralight platform – the Ion. I really liked Faxon’s take on the AR-15 and was impressed with the performance.

Faxon Ion Rifle Side
Faxon Ion

Today, I tackle another series of rifles from Faxon — the Ascent — the entry-level AR lineup.

This series offers both a full-length AR-15 and a shorter AR pistol.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Pistol Shooting
Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Pistol

I will walk you through each of these bad boys, take you to the range, and, ultimately, help you decide if one (or both) is right for you.

If you prefer to skip the reading and go straight to the action, check out my full video review below.

And if you want even more videos to pass the time, check out the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel. Should keep you busy for a while.

With that said, let’s dive into these ARs.

Table of Contents

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The Ascent: Let’s Talk Basics

So, you’re probably asking what is the Ascent?

Well, straight up, the Ascent series is Faxon’s most affordable AR-15. Period.

As I mentioned before, you have the option of a full-length AR-15 or a smaller AR pistol. Both guns feature a forged receiver set with nitride finish.

799
at Faxon Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Upfront, you’ll find an M-LOK handguard ready to accept lights, lasers, or any other M-LOK compatible accessory. The full-sized Ascent opts for a 13-inch handguard, while the pistol goes for the smaller 9-inch.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Pistol MLOK Handguard
M-LOK handguard on the AR pistol.

They come as flattops, so I added the U.S. Optics TSR 1X to one and the Vortex Spitfire Prism Scope to the other.

230
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Topping off the features, the full-length rifle offers an M4 stock while the pistol, of course, comes with an SBA3 Adjustable Pistol Brace.

Both the 16-inch and 10.5-inch Ascent models use a 556 SOCOM Profile barrel that comes nitride coated and, it’s kind of a given, but they’re chambered in 5.56 NATO.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Flash Hiders
Faxon Firearms Ascent barrels side-by-side.

Faxon is sort of known for barrels, and I’ve owned a bunch of their barrels over the years. Never a letdown with this crew. Faxon barrels are always good stuff.  

Both ARs also sport an A2 flash hider.

The full-length Ascent weighs in at 6.12-pounds while the shorter pistol tips scales at 5.4-pounds.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15
Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15

MSRP right now for the Ascent pistol is $850 and $800 for the rifle. That’s nearly half the cost of the Ions.

Want to save money but still come out with a Faxon gun? This is the way you do it.  

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 in Box
Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 in Box

Order one of these, and you’ll get a great hard-shell case, a magazine, and some sweet swag as well. (Always a plus!)

I also like that Faxon stands behind its products with a lifetime warranty – nice peace of mind.

Looks and Feel

Ergonomics are completely familiar and what you’ve come to expect from an AR platform.  Controls sit where they’re supposed to be, and everything works crisply and cleanly.

Faxon Firearms Ascent Controls
Faxon Firearms Ascent controls

Generally speaking, the Ascent feels good.

The handguards on both the pistol and full-length rifle offer plenty of room to get a good grasp. They also feel nice. No complaints here.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15

The trigger is totally mil-spec. It’s not a good or bad thing, necessarily. There’s almost zero take-up, and the break feels fine.

But…it’s nothing to write home about. You’ll definitely want to upgrade the trigger down the road.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Trigger
The Ascent trigger is okay.

Need to know which AR triggers are worth the cash? Check out our article on the Best AR-15 Triggers.

Speaking of upgrades…the Ascent line could use a few.

850
at Faxon Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The series uses super entry-level components – not surprising given the MSRP – but to give the platform some oomph, invest in some elevated accessories. 

I suggest going after the stock and grip first as both are just your basic models and, in the words of Shania Twain, don’t impress me much.

Shania Twain Impress Me Much

Plus, those components are typically cheap and easy upgrades. We got our favorites gathered together in the 12 Best AR-15 Stocks and Best AR-15 Grips.

Second, toss on an ambidextrous charging handle. It makes life easier, trust me. If you need some recommendations, take a look at the Best AR Charging Handles.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 Charging Handle

Yes, a few areas of the gun I would change, but the great thing is the bones to a solid rifle are all there.

As far as aesthetics, both Ascent models sport a classic black look, which is fine by me. I also appreciate the clean Faxon logo. It’s not obnoxious or in your face.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Pistol

Range Time!

There’s an ammo shortage right now, so I only used steel-cased Wolf. Sorry, not sorry.

I also grabbed every AR magazine I could find to test alongside the Faxon pair. Happy to report, every magazine fed great. Zero problems.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 Various Mags
All the mags

Speaking of things working well, both guns ran great! They fed, fired, and ejected as intended with no issues.

Even running Russian, steel-cased ammo, neither Ascent raised complaints.

I love drama-free range days with no surprises. It means things worked and the Ascent line just works.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 Shooting
A blast to shoot!

In terms of accuracy, both firearms put shots where I wanted. At 50-yards from the shoulder, I landed consistent shots on target every time.

The U.S. Optics and Vortex Spitfire Prism were also nice additions to these guns.

Best Fixed Magnification
301
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Let’s be real, a Faxon barrel paired with the Ascent’s great receiver and handguard…these ARs will last you through Armageddon.

So which model did I like best?

Ergonomically speaking, I like the rifle. Because it’s bigger.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15
Ascent AR-15

For a home-defense setup, the pistol is the clear winner.

But to be honest, there’s not much difference between the two other than size.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR Pistol
Ascent Pistol

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

I used discount magazines. Fed it garbage Russian ammo. I wasn’t gentle. And I couldn’t make this thing quit. It runs.

Ergonomics: 4/5

It’s an AR. We don’t need to have a discussion about this.

Accuracy: 4.5/5

Shots where you want them. Every time.

Customization: 7/5

Knock yourself out.

Value: 4/5

Lot of bang for the buck here. But the BEST is that as of this writing, it’s in stock!

799
at Faxon Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 4.5/5

Yes, down the road you might want to change out a few things…but everything it needs is easy peasy to change. Great rifle. Great price.

Conclusion

Overall, Faxon Firearms’ Ascent lineup is a serious contender in the budget-friendly AR space. Both models felt great and ran with zero issues.

I don’t have anything to gripe about. You’ll likely want to add a few upgrades down the road just to kick this platform up a notch, but we’re talking about a charging handle, grip, stock, and maybe a trigger.

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15
Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15

The Ascent has good bones and a solid foundation, so any upgrades will be minor.

I had a fun time with the Ascent rifle and pistol, so I give these two a definite thumbs up.

850
at Faxon Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Again, if you prefer to watch me gab about these guns, check out my video review of the Ascent below.

What do you think of Faxon’s Ascent? We want to hear your thoughts below. If you’re interested in more Faxon stuff, check out our review of the Ion as well as our look at the 16-inch Gunner Barrel.

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