Review: Geissele Super Duty AR-15-Style Rifle

posted on June 23, 2020

The first product Bill Geissele made was an improved trigger for the AR-15. Ever since then, he has been working his way through the parts and details of the AR-15, offering improved products at every turn. Now, his company offers a complete rifle.

The Super Duty is composed of mostly Geissele parts. The upper and lower receivers are machined in-house out of 7075-T6 aluminum forgings. In the upper, Geissele installs its own cold-hammer-forged barrel, which is chrome-lined, manganese-phosphate coated and sports a proper 5.56 NATO throat. The gas block is a low-profile Geissele unit, pinned to the barrel, and the gas system is Geissele’s own mid-length-plus, for the smoothest operation. The 16-inch barrel has a SureFire SF3P flash hider securely mounted, and for extra durability and ease of maintenance, the SF3P is given the Geissele Nanoweapon coating. 

Geissele uses an improved Carpenter 158 alloy for the bolt and bolt forgings, and then machines them to dimension. Subsequently, they are mated to the barrel. They are, of course, stress-relieved via a shot-peening process and given a proof test before being magnetic-particle inspected. The carrier is composed of 8620-alloy steel, and the cam pin even comes in for an improved alloy choice. All the internals are also given the Geissele Nanoweapon coating, conferring added lubricity and corrosion resistance.

flash hider, Geissele SSA-E X trigger, braided buffer spring, full-length Picatinny top rail, bolt-carrier, Airborne Charging Handle
The flash hider is a QD mount for SureFire suppressors • An outstanding Geissele SSA-E X trigger sits inside an enlarged trigger guard allowing for greater access • A braided buffer spring is yet another reliability-enhancing feature • Attaching optics is easy with the full-length Picatinny top rail • Each Geissele bolt-carrier is stress-relieved via a shot-peening process • Generous in size, the Airborne Charging Handle allows the rifle to be charged with either hand, while serrated levers provide for added purchase.

The lower has more Geissele extras: The buffer assembly includes the company’s H2 buffer and a braided buffer spring for extreme durability and reliable function. Outside of the buffer tube, Geissele installs a B5 Systems Enhanced SOPMOD stock, which provides a solid and consistent cheek weld—always important in accurate shooting. The lower parts kit is the Geissele Ultra Duty, with ergonomically improved ambidextrous selector and trigger guard.

Its bang switch is the Geissele SSA-E X, with the company’s Lighting Bow trigger. The Super Semi-Automatic Enhanced is a two-stage component, with the parts nanocoated, and the Lighting trigger bow is wider and straighter than a mil-spec bow. Straight triggers are now all the rage, but not everyone finds them an improvement. The Lighting trigger takes the best of both and combines them into one shape.

The final step in the basic rifle (as if anything from Geissele could be called “basic”) is the handguard. It features a 15-inch MK16 Super Modular handguard. This is mated to the Geissele-machined Super Duty upper, and one notable detail of the fit is Geissele uses a center-alignment tab system to prevent handguard torque. Hard use, or vertical foregrips, can create handguard rotation if there isn’t a tab like the one on the MK16. 

The MK16 has a full-length top rail, machined to proper Picatinny specs, and on the other seven flats of the octagonal tube, Geissele has machined M-Lok slots. The Geissele MK16 uses a proprietary barrel nut and incorporates a pair of hefty crossbolts to clamp the MK16 to the barrel nut. Tabs (and locking screws) keep the handguard from rotating, and the barrel nut and crossbolts prevent it from moving forward.

To aid you in operating the bolt, Geissele installs an Airborne Charging Handle, the company’s lowest-profile, but still ambidextrous, charging handle. You can request one larger, but this is the one a certain end-use group asked for, to reduce the changes of the charging handle getting tangled in their gear.

Each Super Duty rifle is custom-built to order. To review it, I requested a carbine in Desert Dirt Color (the Geissele Tan/Coyote/FDE/Bronze anodizing), which I much prefer over other non-black colors. The rifle and all its externals came that color.

Testing the Super Duty risked spoiling me for all other rifles. I luckily did the chrono work with the Super Duty before the accuracy work and was able to get used to the Geissele SSA-E X feel. 

Accuracy was better than gratifying and verged on brag worthy. I assumed that the Geissele barrel would deliver, so I used only the most accurate ammunition I had on the shelf, and I was not disappointed.

Geissele Super Duty Shooting Results

There may be two areas in which the Geissele Super Duty might seem to be less than spectacular: cost and weight. The basic rifle starts at $1,750, and changes and upgrades will add to that. But you get what you pay for, and with Geissele you get extreme performance and durability.

Geissele Super Duty Specs


New home for Silencer Central
New home for Silencer Central

Silencer Central Holds New HQ Grand Opening

Larger facilities mean more choices for American gun owners.

First Look: TAC Six Branded Shooting Cases from Allen Company

Gear designed for the tactical market that performs at a higher level.

Colonel Rex Applegate

For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.

First Look: Armasight Contractor Thermal Optic

Armasight’s new thermal optic, the Contractor, is now available for sale.

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Products to keep you prepared when you need to grab and go.

Beretta APX A1 Carry

Comfort is a big part of daily carry, and it should be. If packing your favorite handgun feels like you are smuggling a shoebox (or an angry hedgehog), then you will squirm, shift and give away the fact that you are carrying. Hot weather makes it even worse, as light clothing offers less in the way of concealment. When EDC becomes too much of a hassle, some just leave it at home. 


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.