DSG Duty Grade 8″ Upper


There are two things that really annoy me, and I must confess that I did both of them in regards to this upper.

I really dislike it when some reviewer reviews some product, but modifies it first.  I think it make it not a true review.

I also strongly recommend against people customizing their guns until AFTER they function check them.  When you make modifications, even little ones, you might void your warranty or make it much harder to get help from the manufacturer.

Well I did both with this DSG upper, but fortunately it worked out great for me.

For years and years I used to see ads for cheep 7.5 inch AR15 uppers with fixed iron sights.  I often wanted to buy one for a fun plinker, but I didn’t didn’t trust the quality of some of the manufactures making these.  (Yup, I had become a gun snob).  At other times I sort of liked the idea of having a very short AR with a muzzle break as a fun gun for annoying people next to me.  Neither of those reasons were enough to get me to buy one of those cheap questionable quality uppers.

A little while back DSG had a sale on their 8″ barreled 5.56 Duty Upper.  It came with a bolt carrier group (but no charging handle) and a good quality hand guard, the Bravo Company KMR.  I had a little cash burning in my pocket and I knew that DSG has a good reputation so I went and picked one up.  They shipped it out quickly.

These uppers can be had with a Keymod or MLOK hand guard.  I’m not planning on mounting anything on the modular hand guard, so I picked Keymod so I could use the sling mount and rail section that came with it on a different rifle I have.  If someone wasn’t invested in one system or the other, I would suggest MLOK as it appears to be winning the modular hand guard competition.

I heard that DSG has Ballistic Advantage make their barrels for them.  Their Duty Grade uppers come with a nitrated barrel and a Nickle Boron coated receiver extension.  1:7 twist rate, heavy profile, and a very nice target crown on it.

Now here is where I did something I advocate against doing.  Before I ever fired the upper, I unscrewed the stock A2 flash hider it came with and installed a Surefire Muzzle Brake I had laying around.  The Surefire Brake can reduce recoil up to 54%, but it does greatly increase flash and blast.

I find this a fun combination, but not what I would consider a practical one.  Because I did this, I don’t think this is a proper review as I’m not talking about the upper box-stock as a person would receive it.

A minor disappointment I had with this combination was that I had hoped I could mount a Surefire Warden on this muzzle brake when I wanted to do more serious shooting with this upper.  The Surefire MB556 mount puts what ever is mounted on it closes to the hand guard compared to other surefire muzzle devices.  And the BCM KMR hand guard extends out farther than the average 7″ rail.

So as it stands, nothing could be mounted to this muzzle brake.  Not really a problem, as this isn’t going to be a high volume gun for me.  More like something I pull out once in a while for shits & giggles.

The muzzle brake eliminated the muzzle flip when firing this upper.  The gun stayed level on target making rapid fire extremely easy.  30 rounds fired in pairs and triples were extremely easy.

30 rounds M855, rapid fire at 10 yards.  Double and triple taps.

Firing M855 with the muzzle break created a fireball that extended out to my peripheral vision with each shot.

Tried to snap a photo of the muzzle flash.

If I were planning to use this upper for serious use, the muzzle brake would come off and be replaced with a flash hider.  I could see my self in the future replacing the keymod hand hand guard with a quad rail, but there is no hurry to do that.

The sub 10 inch barreled 5.56s would not be anywhere near my first choice for a fighting gun due to the increased flash & blast along with reduced terminal performance.  That said, I feel that the DSG Duty Grade upper is a well made, reliable, and if I was forced to use a really short AR for a fight, I’d feel fine with this one.  But I would wear double hearing protection.


  1. Hey man, thanks for the review. I’m in the market for a 11.5″ complete upper and DSG seems to fit the bill. They have a complete 11.5″ barrel setup with BCM MCMR rail and BCG/CH for $625 right now which seems to be a good deal. I’ve priced out a few other options for complete uppers like Midwest Industries (~$715) and BCM (~$960), but I can’t find any concrete evidence that they warrant the price difference. I’m in the ‘buy once, cry once’ crowd, but I also get the feeling the current BCM lineup is charging a premium for the name.

    How’s your upper holding up since this review?

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