What Makes a DSG Upper a Consistent, Reliable and Dependable Choice
DSG's goal in producing our assembled upper receivers is to provide users with a reliable, consistent product using high-quality components assembled by experienced armorers. We feel confident that any Duty or Precision Series upper is ready to deployed for field use. Below is a short guide on the build process and some of the techniques we employ. Separately we've also published a guide on our test and verification process providing answers to a few of our frequently asked questions about how we verify our assembly process.
To manufacture a quality product made up of many sub-components/assemblies you need several things to be successful...
First, you must start with quality parts if you expect the final product to be of the best quality. Quality parts are either manufactured in house or sourced from reputable vendors in the USA. There are large supplies of sub-standard and imported parts currently in the market. DSG is aware of this and uses only high quality, American made parts. Parts that are made to a high standard using quality materials and "best practice” manufacturing techniques. Even when sourcing parts from top tier manufacturers, DSG Arms still relies on independent quality control inspections on these parts prior to installation on our complete upper receivers.
Start gas block roll pin
The second factor when determining the quality of an upper receiver is the attention to detail given during the subassembly and the final assembly process. Subassemblies include such things as port door and forward assist installation on the upper receiver. Non-marring fixtures are used to prevent the finish from becoming damaged during the installation process. Gas tubes and gas blocks are checked for obstructions before being pinned together. Barrels are drilled to allow the rear set screw on the gas block to rest below a flush and grip the barrel preventing any movement during recoil. Drilling the barrel for the gas block is a service DSG only performs on barrels that are being installed in our complete upper receivers. For customers building their own upper with a DSG brand barrel, we recommend a fixture for gas block dimpling.
Anti-seize on Barrel extension
The final assembly is performed by installing anti-seize to the barrel extension before it is seated into the upper receiver assembly. Anti-seize is also applied before the barrel nut is installed. The purpose of the anti-seize is to prevent galling between the two dissimilar metals, the steel barrel extension, and barrel nut and the aluminum upper receiver. Once the barrel nut is properly secured it is checked for a minimum torque specification and a bolt carrier assembly is inserted into the upper receiver to ensure that the barrel did not rotate in relation to the upper receiver as the barrel nut was being torqued in place. Any rotation will cause binding between the lugs on the bolt and the lugs on the barrel extension. We have performed two quality assurance checks already and have only installed the barrel. Next, the gas block is slid into place and the 2 set screws dipped in high temp thread locker to prevent them from backing out under vibration.
Check gas block alignment
The gas block is timed to the upper receiver to ensure that it will be centered in the handguard. Once the gas block is timed the set screws are tightened down a final time. Next, the handguard/rail is installed per DSG or the manufacturer’s specifications. This can involve heating the handguard if it is a press-fit assembly (BCM MCMR, etc.) and then being pressed into place using a non-marring fixture to prevent damage to the finish on the rail. Regardless of which type of handguard is installed on the DSG Arms upper receiver, the rail is timed to the upper receiver allowing a smooth transition from the receiver to the handguard. Once the rail is timed to the upper receiver the bolts/screws/fasteners that hold the rail to the barrel nut are torqued per the manufacturer’s specification and thread locker is used if the manufacturer calls for it. Our G4 handguard includes additional screw locking features such as the striated lock plate internal to the mounting clamp. These features along with the anti-rotation tabs built into most handguards guarantee a solid and reliable installation for long term duty and field use.
Install and time flash hider
Next, the flash hider is installed and it is timed with the upper receiver/rail as well. Finally, the nearly completed upper receiver is cleaned of any excess oil, thread locker, anti-seize, etc. that may be present and it has its bolt carrier group inserted and it is ready for test fire.
Finally, no complete Duty or Precision series upper receiver will ship to a customer without being test-fired. It doesn’t matter if the eventual end-user is PMC, an agency, individual officer or a freedom-loving civilian.
Each upper receiver is tested with a DSG standard charging handle and DSG bolt carrier group and the upper receiver is affixed to a Colt LE6920 lower receiver (in its original configuration) with a standard “H” buffer installed.
The use of a Colt lower is not an endorsement of Colt or a statement about any other particular brand of lower, but we've found this type of lower is 1) common among many of our customers and 2) Colt is one of the original holders of the Technical Data Package (TDP) for the AR weapon type and like other choices in test components, it gives us a consistent baseline.
Each upper is tested firing 5 rounds of XM193 55gr. (or equivalent) ball ammunition fed from a 30 round DSG Teflon Coated magazine; Once the upper receiver is fired 5 times and with the ejection pattern acceptable and verification that the bolt carrier locks back on an empty magazine, the upper is separated from the lower, the charging handle and BCG are removed, a bore snake is pulled through the barrel. The upper is then placed in its box and a barcoded label is affixed to its package. The upper receiver is now ready to be sold and is placed in the warehouse for shipment.
7 uppers ready to test fire
As you can see, there are many inspections performed during the manufacturing of not only the final assembly but also the many components that make up a DSG Arms complete upper receiver assembly. The quality of the assembly process comes from the experience of the builders and the systematic approach taken to the final assembly. Our certified armorers have hundreds of hours of training and experience assembling as well as using this type of equipment in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Who produces your barrels/blanks? Our choice of suppliers for barrels varies over time and between each upper type. DSG staff and armorers build and shoot dozens of uppers to test for accuracy, reliability and manufacturing consistency. Since our uppers our targeted to field use we test for accuracy with mil-std type ammo as well as match and duty type rounds. Mil-surp and mil-std ammo is generally not a good choice for accuracy, but at the same time, a barrel that is properly designed and manufactured can far exceed the Military accuracy standard with these ammo types while also offering very high levels of accuracy with match ammunition. Our testing and eventual choices for each upper type are based heavily on a good balance of these factors. Rifling, chamber spec and landing considerations all play a part. Once these criteria are met then larger scale consistency becomes a major deciding factor in our decision process.
2. Are DSG barrels purchased individually the same as used in your complete uppers? Yes. Most barrels you see under the DSG brand are the same as what is currently or has been previously used in our manufactured assemblies. One exception is that we only dimple our barrels for our assembled uppers. If you are buying a barrel separately you'll need to dimple for your specific gas block or have an armorer do it for you. We do not recommend fielding any barrel/upper without a dimpled or pinned gas block.
3. Are the uppers that were produced for 'Black Friday 2014' related to current production uppers? No. Black Friday 2014 uppers were actually built by industry partners of that period. Current production uppers are assembled by DSG armorers with DSG select components.
4. Who makes 'x' for your uppers? In some cases, the best component for an upper already exists in the market. In those cases, you may see the brand name of that component prominently displayed on our assemblies or in a kit for sale. In most cases, though our components are produced for us, to our requirements, by many different companies. All are U.S. Manufactured and subject to our in-house Q.C. standards.
5. Can I use a suppressor on my DSG upper? Yes. We always consider suppressor use in our operating specs. See our verification process for some more details that may help.
6. What is the warranty on DSG Complete uppers? Current production DSG complete Uppers (post-2015) are warranted for the life cycle of the product against manufacturer defects in components or assembly using the test process and components described above. Normal wear and tear, abuse and problems introduced by adding or using non-DSG recommended components is not covered. Uppers returned for warranty inspection will be assessed based on the baseline test criteria published above.
P.S. For duty and critical self-defense use we will always recommend DSG's professionally assembled and tested uppers.
With that said; If you are reading this for tips on a do-it-yourself build, our best advice is to 1) use quality components 2) take advice from experienced armorers and users 3) buy lots of ammo.
Check youtube and other online sources. There is a large selection of useful content out there and we believe that anyone with the correct tools, good quality components, some good information, and minimal mechanical inclination can assemble a functioning upper receiver.
Once you've built your upper; there is no substitute for actually putting rounds downrange. High round counts and training provide a level of experience and confidence in your weapon and your own abilities that cannot be obtained in any other way.