Kerryann’s KE Arms KE15

by on 09/16/2015

Kerryann De La Cruz is a racer and motoblogger that we know from our sister publication MotoIQ where she hosts our podcast. Being part of the racing community we also know Mike Kenney, the owner of KE Arms out in Arizona. Mike was deeply involved in the Time Attack scene a few years back. So when Kerryann wanted to get a new rifle, of course she went to Mike to get something special and Mike created a custom KE Arms KE15 just for her.  Lets take a look at it.

The KE15 has a forged upper receiver and one of their new flared magwell billet lower receivers. The lower parts are all standard mil-spec stuff.

The upper and lower receivers are finished in Robar Guns‘ NP3 finish. NP3 is a electroless nickel plating that is teflon impregnated. NP3 is very wear and corrosion resistant; much harder than the base aluminum of the receiver. It’s very slippery and self lubricating. Dirt and carbon have a hard time sticking to it and most fouling simply wipes off. We think the non-reflective dull satin gray color is cool looking as well. NP3 is peel and scratch resistant and much more durable than Anodizing or Cerakote.

This KE15 features KE’s heptagonal 12.5″ keymod rail. This handguard is not super low profile which some folks may not like since sleek low profile rails are all the rage nowadays. Consider this though, we have noticed that very low profile rails tend to get pretty hot, even with slow fire and lower capacity magazines. KE rails have more clearance for keeping cool and are less toasty on the fingers. The front sight is a folding A.R.M.S. 71L-F. The sight body is made of polymer but has a mil-spec steel post. The sights lean to the rear so if the rifle is dropped on them they will simply spring closed and absorb the impact and hold zero.  We found the front sight to be exceedingly hard to adjust with the post being sticky and almost impossible to turn. We broke the front sight adjusting tool trying to adjust it and marred up the sight’s polymer body in the process. Regardless, the sight has held zero well but the difficulty in adjusting compared to something like a Magpul or even regular mil-spec sights is a big sticking point with us (bad pun).

The rear sight is a flip up ARMS 71L-R which has a polymer body with dual large and small apertures for close up work and longer ranges. The apertures are mil-spec steel and will not distort. Like the front sight, the rear sight also leans toward the rear so if struck, it will simply fold down without damage or point of impact shift. Unlike the front sight, we found the rear sight to be acceptably easy to adjust. Kerryann equipped her AE15 with a BCM Gunfighter Mod 3 large latch charging handle to make one handed charging drills easier.

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NP3 finish is self lubricating, easy to clean and durable. The KE Arms trigger is smooth, crisp and has a positive reset, an excellent single stage trigger. The KE15 is built with all top shelf parts with a BCG from Young Manufacturing, Magpul furniture and barrel from Daniel Defense. Great reliability and functional accuracy even with cheap ammo. Flared magwell makes quick reloads easy.


The flared Magwell may not be compatible with all magazines. If you like this feature, test your magazines before you go out. Usually not an issue with most popular magazines. The ARMS front sight sucks. The post binds in the threaded hole in the sight body making the post difficult to turn. Gun is on the expensive side (but with nice std parts)

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Great gun, just put some Magpul Pros on it! Score would be higher with better sights. All of the important bits are spot on.

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