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[Video] WWSD2020: California Edition SPACE GUN

We take the What Would Stoner Do Project and made it California-style. Come see what we came up with! Spoiler alert, it's pretty rad!

Most of us know the story of the AR-15, brainchild of Eugene Stoner in the mid-1950s, the rifle would quickly take the world by storm.

Decades later, nearly every western nation uses an AR-pattern rifle as their standard-issued military small arm. The AR-15 is also by far the most popular civilian rifle in the USA.

WWSD 2020 PPT CA Edition (10)
WWSD 2020 PPT CA Edition, AKA: “Space Gun”

But can it be better? What if it was totally redesigned and brought back to its roots? That’s the soul of the WWSD2020 project, and we love that idea.

So, we tackled the idea head on with our version of the WWSD2020.

If you want to see our build in all its glory, check out John’s video on this awesome rifle below!

Also don’t forget to subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube for other cool gun vids!

Table of Contents


What Is The WWSD?

What Would Stoner Do started in 2017 when InRangeTV’s Ian and Karl embarked on a quest to reenvision the AR-15 using the design intentions of the creator Eugene Stoner.

Karl and Ian
Ian McCollum (left), Karl Kasarda (right)

Over the past 50+ years the AR-15 has changed in a number of small ways that add up to it being a very different rifle than when it was first designed.

It’s heavier, has extra features you don’t need, and hasn’t really advanced much except in terms of optics and mounting options.

The evolution of the M16 and its offspring, the M4
The evolution of the M16 and its offspring, the M4 (second from bottom).

This reenvisioning would be getting back to the roots of the rifle. Using cutting-edge modern materials, a lightweight design philosophy, and ditching all of the fluff that isn’t needed by normal shooters.

The project was wildly successful and resulted in a rifle that is really one of the best AR-15s on the market by far.

Unfortunately for most people, it was not a commercial product. While anyone could build a WWSD rifle using the parts list InRangeTV created, you couldn’t just go buy one.

Shut Up & Take My Money

In 2020 the project was revisited for a 2.0 upgrade, a new complete lower, and some minor changes in other areas.

Best of all — Brownells and KE Arms partnered with InRangeTV to offer the lowers and the complete rifles as standard products you can easily acquire. 

Pew Pew Tactical’s Version of the WWSD

We’re not here to supplant or bash the OG WWSD rifle, we think it’s pretty freaking awesome.

It does have one major limitation though — it is not ban state friendly. Brownells does not currently, and we’re told has no plans to later, offer a CA/NJ/NY compliant version of the 2020 WWSD rifle.

They do offer the stripped and complete lowers, but separate uppers aren’t sold and the complete rifle only comes in “evil” features.

CA Featureless Rifle Grips
CA Featureless Rifle Grips

This is the main reason behind our attempt at the WWSD, to give people (mostly in CA because it’s the laws I know best) an option to make their own WWSD style rifle.

It also includes some other changes that I made because I think they are better options.

While I have absolutely nothing against InRangeTV’s rifle, I found different solutions and conclusions than they did in a couple of areas.

So Ours Is Better, Right?

No. It’s different.

Really, if you’re building the rifle yourself — as long as you stick to a few critical components and follow the design intent of the rifle, you will end up with an excellent shooter.

Parts List

Completed rifle!


The complete KP Ambi lower is the exact same as the WWSD rifles and is arguably the most central to the design.

KP-15 Complete Lower
KP-15 Complete Lower

We also use the same carbon fiber handguard, trigger, lower parks pack, and close enough the same upper receiver. Everything else though — we went in a slightly different direction but still adhered to the goals of the design.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


While the WWSD uses a pencil profile barrel, we used a Faxon Gunner profile. The gunner profile has slightly more meat on the bone and this increases the weight by 6-ounces.

Faxon 16 Gunner Barrel
Faxon 16-inch Gunner Barrel

That 6-ounces give you better heat control and the ability to mount suppressors without major POI shifts.

Also, it’s what we had in the office. If saving 6-ounces is important to you — get a pencil barrel.

Goldilocks Barrel
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Muzzle Device

Originally the WWSD rifle was going to feature a titanium flash hider, but was changed to a standard A2 flash hider.

But since this rifle needs to be featureless to be CA compliant we have to go with a muzzle brake. 

Ascend Armory Titanium Brake Mod 1

When we tested the Best Muzzle Brakes one of the brakes we took a look at was the Ascend Armory Titanium Brake Mod 1. It was a great brake that did well, so we went with it for this project too.

Titanium is a cool material and is crazy lightweight, perfect for WWSD. It does tend to spark in low-light though leading to things like this:

Titanium go boom!
Titanium go boom!

Now personally, that’s a feature — not a bug. But if you’re planning on doing a lot of night shooting, maybe you should pick something less sparkletastic.

If you’re wondering why it does that; we Googled it and according to the internet micro shavings of titanium are to blame.

Have you tried the Ascend Armory Titanium Brake Mod 1? If so, rate it below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (674)

Your Rating?

Bolt Carrier Group

Cryptic Coating’s BCG is one of the biggest changes we’ve made.

WWSD uses a chrome BCG from Young Manufacturing, the design of the YM BCG is very cool — but the changes are mostly useful to full auto shooters, not normal shooters.

Us being “normal shooters.”

There is also some question about the quality of the Y/M BCGs. School of the American Rifle tested two random Y/M BCGs and they didn’t pass with flying colors.

While chrome is a great coating, it can be better.

Cryptic Coating’s Mystic Black BCG — this picture was taken after ~900 rounds and zero lube. It wiped clean with a rag.

Hard chrome’s dry friction coefficient is 0.21 or 0.16 lubricated. Cryptic Coating’s Mystic Black CoF is 0.01. It provides ultra-durability, effortless cleaning, and is by far the slickest BCG I’ve ever handled.

I’ve been using this BCG for several thousand rounds now across three or four different builds and it’s proven to be a total beast.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Buffer Assembly

WWSD uses a JP Silent Capture Spring and we actually like the system, but personally — it’s not my favorite for the money.

If the “twang” of an AR is deeply annoying to you though, then go with the official WWSD part.

For our rifle — we chose the stock standard carbine buffer spring included with the KP complete lower and switched the buffer weight for a KynSHOT hydraulic buffer.


KynSHOT is basically a buffer weight and installs just like a normal one would.

But it’s not just a weight, it’s also a hydraulic buffer that further dampens the recoil impulse of the shot at the rear of travel.

KynShot Science Behind the shot

On forward travel of the BCG it also absorbs some of that energy and acts with the deadblow effect that the free weights in a normal buffer weight have to prevent bolt bounce.

This combines into a dramatically smoother and softer recoil curve that makes the rifle shoot a dream.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Charging Handle

The 2017 rifle named the Geissele Super Charging Handle as the part of choice and we love that handle.

For 2020, a custom marked Breek Arms charging handle is the official WWSD 2020 part, it’s one we haven’t used much yet but it’s a good handle.

Dev 2X Jackal
X2 Dev Group Jackal

However, we’ve chosen the X2 Dev Group Jackel charging handle.

This is a different design than most CHs on the market and adds a layer of reliability and anti-snag you can’t find elsewhere. It’s also just a really great, smooth, nice charging handle.

It takes a little getting used to since it requires a slightly different angle of attack, but we really dig the anti-snaggyness of it.

Range Report

The first outing with our WWSD rifle was a very speedy-built rifle the night before a planned desert trip for filming other projects. With no testing and barely any plan, we got the rifle out to run some rounds through it and see what would happen.

With a Comp M5 on top the unloaded weight is 5.6-pounds.

Desert Brutality
Remote Brutality

Within the first magazine, we knew that this rifle was magic. Quickly dubbed the “Space Gat” our WWSD clone is simply revolutionary. 

KE Arm’s trigger is great and we highly recommend it, but the magic of the rifle as a whole is much more impressive than any one part.

We started with just the stock buffer weight since this was before we had ever shot with a KynShot and needed a good “before” feel.

As it stood, it was very good. By far the lightest and smoothest shooting rifle we’ve tested.

Once the KynShot was installed, it took on a new life.

Nothing about 5.56 is snappy or hard recoiling, but there is a major felt difference with a KynShot and without. With it, the rifle literally barely moves and the push of the recoil is almost nonexistent. 

Going 30 for 30 rapid-fire on a steel torso target at ~40-yards was a breeze.

Remote Brutality

You’ll want to see the video for all the action, but we also ran the rifle for the Remote Brutality stage.

This on-the-clock stress test was great to run and a lot of fun. The rifle was amazing and really stood out as a quality tool!


The heart and soul of the rifle is the KP-15 lower and needs to be talked about in some detail.

First off, it’s plastic. Yes, we know.

The history of polymer lowers is pretty long going back to Colt in the late ‘60s and for almost all of that time, polymer lowers have kind of sucked. Okay, they’ve totally sucked.

colt polymer lower
Colt Vietnam era (really ugly) polymer lower. Image via SinistralRifleman

In our opinion, that changed with the Cav Arms monolithic polymer lower. 

This was a totally new design that didn’t just copy a stripped lower but actually included the entire lower unit as one complete piece.

By making the whole thing, lower, stock, and grip, out of polymer, it allowed Cav to design one that was ultra-durable, ultra-lightweight, and still very handy and easy to use.

The Cav Arms lower was followed by the GWAC lower that the WWSD 2017 rifle was built off of and KE Arms has now basically perfected the design with the KP-15.

KP-15 Complete Lower
KP-15 Complete Lower

There are two “major” downsides though.

First, it’s a fixed stock. Personally, I run all of my stocks at the same LOP and I never move them anyway so…I don’t care.

If you’re getting in and out of APCs all day or wear different types of armor often, I understand the need for an adjustable buttstock. Otherwise, it’s probably a feature that you don’t actually need very much.

The other “issue” is the grip isn’t replaceable. So no fancy Magpul new release for you.

In the grand scheme of things, this really won’t matter.

MFW I can’t choose from 50 pistol grips for my AR

But It’s Plastic!

Okay, sure. So is your Glock. And the M17. And the FN 509. And the CZ P-10 and almost every other modern military pistol.

Sig M17

The FN SCAR L and H lower receiver is polymer as is the buttstock assembly. While soon to be replaced by a 416 variation, the HK G36 is more plastic than it is metal. 

Looking at bullpups, almost all of them are mostly plastic — Steyr AUG, IWI Tavor, FN F2000. Each of these were adopted by militaries and police for mainline use.

Tavor Side view
IWI Tavor X95, we checked — plastic!

The idea that plastic isn’t good enough is simply wrong. It’s wrong a dozen times over. The design of the firearm as a whole is much more important.

When designed right, plastic receivers, and body assemblies are perfectly adequate for hard, long term, combat use.

I would also mention that aluminum was looked down on in much the same way when the AR-15 was first introduced. Going from walnut and steel to aluminum and steel was a culture shock for people in the 1950s.

But aluminum was better than walnut. And, when done correctly, polymer can be better than aluminum.

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

We put at least 500 rounds down range on film, I’ve personally put another 500 rounds down on my own time, and we had at least another 300 rounds during non-filming testing and iteration. Zero rifle malfs (we had a couple of hiccups with what turned out to be mad magazines)

Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15 Various Mags
Choose good mags, my pick us the Gen 3 PMAG. Oh hey, those are also plastic!

Accuracy: 5/5

The mechanical accuracy is outstanding for the ammo, around 1.5 MOA even with kind of crappy plinker stuff.

That is only part of the story though. Keeping the rifle on target, even at range, is crazy easy. Every shot drills nails and goes exactly where you want it. This is by far the quickest AR I’ve shot.

Looks: 4/5

If you ask me, it looks a little…strange. CF just doesn’t look very slick to me so I can’t say I love it. But maybe music was better when ugly people made it and this rifle kicks too much ass to ignore.

Ergonomics: 5/5

I really like KE Arm’s ambi safety and that the rifle can be put on safe even when the hammer is down. That handguard is a bit thicc, but it works for me. The balance of the rifle is PERFECT and that makes it feel lighter than it is.

Customization: 5/5

It’s an AR, it can do AR things. Cerakote is possible but needs special requirements, basically a lower temp and a longer bake. Check KE Arm’s website for more details before sending it out. Otherwise, have at it.

Value: 5/5

The stripped KP-15s are about $100, the complete ones go up from there but are solid values. Our finished price was almost on the nose as the complete WWSD rifle before optics.

While some parts might feel overpriced, the truth is that is just what it costs to have quality parts. You can down budget if you need to, but if you buy once you won’t be disappointed.

Overall: 5/5

I’m ordering more KP-15 lowers and have several more builds in mind. I believe in this lower and I’m putting my personal money where my mouth is.

confidently in love

As for the complete rifle, I’ll switch out the upper a little since many of these parts are borrowed from our shelves at the office — but effectively, this will become my personal home defense rifle.


We’ve reviewed a lot of ARs. From the bottom of the bucket budget to the custom-built by gunsmiths to the very pricey S-tier special forces approved, we’ve reviewed the whole range.

The WWSD 2020 and the KP-15 is the first time in a long, long time that we’ve been excited by an AR-15.

WWSD 2020 PPT CA Edition 20
Welcome to the space age.

If you’re on the fence, go for it. If you still need convincing, find a friend that has one and give it a go. I think you’re going to love it.

Want to see it in action? Check out John’s full video review below.

What are your thoughts on the KP-15 and the WWSD project? Can you give up your quad rails? Let us know in the comments! Upgrade your AR-15 with our list of the AR-15 Parts & Tools you’ll need and our recommend AR-15 Upgrades to get the job done.

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10 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Backpacker Dan

    Please thank John for the awesome video! It looks like most of the comments are about the silly fin grip, opposed to how great the WWSD build and KP-15 lower are compared to many of today's redundant offerings. Starting with a base weight around 5 lbs., then adding a light and optic, I'd gladly carry my 5 lb. 10 oz. WWSD rifle all day long. If you don't like Faxon barrels, spend some money on another lightweight offering. There is a huge following on reddit.com/r/InRangeTV/ and it keeps getting bigger as the word gets out. I'm having a hard time finding a reason to use any of my other rifles.

    June 9, 2021 8:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Lee Walker

    A big problem in the 2A community today is style over reality. Just do a Thorsen-type stock and drop the paddle garbage. Better ergonomics. 2A is NOT about styles and hobbies.

    May 31, 2021 7:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      This rifle uses the KP15 monolithic polymer stock. That's kinda the whole point of the build.

      November 6, 2021 1:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Question regarding your choice of the KynShot, the Brownell’s site states: “Do NOT use anything other than standard carbine buffers and round springs or the JP SCSS in the KP-15.” So what’s the deal?

    May 6, 2021 6:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Your FFL will charge you $100 + to process. With taxes and shipping , my guesstimate is the lower will come to $625.00. Plus grip etc.
    Total est cost without sights or optic is about $1412. I almost pulled the trigger on this but I spent that on building an Aero last year. Wish I worked for Google but I don’t . Have to pass . Love this idea.

    April 17, 2021 5:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Cool build! Dumb CA question - when you ordered the lower did you have to ship the grip fin to the FFL at the same time?

    April 2, 2021 10:18 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      No, the grip came to my house. Just the lower is legal even in it's standard configuration since it isn't a working firearm yet. Before putting an upper on it, I put the grip fin on.

      April 2, 2021 10:43 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Lee Walker

        Seems like such a waste, when there are Militia-grade/functional, AR-pattern, ban-compliant rifles available with better ergonomics. 2A is not about a hobby.

        And I wonder how long till those grip paddles don't pass legal muster. With this model, you're SOL, unless you literally saw off the pistol grip.

        June 1, 2021 12:46 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Walk Away

          Not about a hobby. LOL


          July 9, 2021 7:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew Spike

    Great article and accompanying video! Truly enjoy your content.

    March 26, 2021 4:21 am
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