Faxon Firearms ION-X Hyperlite Review: 650+ Round Test

Posted by Gunmade.com on Dec 6th 2023

Faxon Firearms ION-X Hyperlite Review: 650+ Round Test

Originally posted here.

The Faxon Firearms ION-X Hyperlite rifle has carved out a notable place in the market, gaining recognition for its innovative approach to balancing lightweight design with robust functionality.

Evolving from a lineage of precision-engineered firearms, the ION-X Hyperlite represents a significant leap forward, particularly in reducing weight without sacrificing performance.

When building my first AR-15, I remember wondering how light I could make it without sacrificing any durability or quality.

I’m a guy with a champagne taste and a Busch Light type of budget, and I felt a little out of place when I first found Faxon Firearms on my search for a lightweight AR build many years ago. But after months of looking at the website nearly daily and waiting on a notification for a pencil barrel to come in stock, I jumped.

And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Fast forward to today, and we have been sent one of the lightest rifles on the market to review!

Faxon ION-X rifle equipped with Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24 LPVO and Primary Weapons Systems B.D.E. .556 Suppressor on arrival day
On arrival day, the Faxon ION-X got fitted with the Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 LPVO and a Primary Weapons Systems B.D.E. .556 Suppressor.

The ION-X comes with a lightweight BCG, carbon fiber handguard, pencil barrel, and lightweight lower receiver. While going down its lightweight journey, Faxon has done an excellent job of providing many of the popular upgrades we like to see.

The Faxon Firearms ION-X Hyperlite aims to achieve the title of best lightweight rifle in the game, but the question is, can we rely on it? While the rifle comes in at an extremely light 4.93 pounds, will it actually withstand any type of longevity on the range and in the field?

Let’s find out!


With a deep-rooted passion for firearms, I bring a unique blend of personal and professional expertise to this field.

Born into a family with a law enforcement background and World War II veterans, I developed a strong interest in firearms, focusing on their quality, durability, and performance. My journey in building and testing firearms, especially lightweight AR builds, is backed by years of experience.

This review of the Faxon Firearms ION-X Hyperlite is underpinned by comprehensive research, including extensive personal testing and consultations with industry experts.

As a firearm enthusiast who values quality and affordability, I understand the common concerns of our readers. This review is current, addressing relevant questions about the product, and will be updated with any new insights or developments in the field.

Trust this review for its thoroughness, expertise, and commitment to honest, practical advice for fellow gun enthusiasts.


I have to admit, I had high hopes for this rifle right out of the gate.

My original 14.5” pencil barrel from Faxon has had over 5k rounds through it and is still going strong. I’ve also added a lightweight BCG and another lightweight Gunner barrel from Faxon to the collection in previous years.

All have had no issues.

Close-up of the 14.5-inch Faxon Firearms Pencil Barrel
A 14.5” Faxon Firearms Pencil Barrel

An entire rifle, though?

faxon ion-x concrete background
Something about a concrete background that gives the perfect aesthetic.


Capacity30 rounds
Barrel16-inch Pencil Barrel
GasMid Length w/ Adjustable Gas Block
TriggerHiperfire EDTDM Single Stage
ReceiverX-tra Lite Forged Receivers
Weight4.93 pounds





  • Extremely lightweight yet durable
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Plenty of rail space to mount accessories
  • Exceptional quality components
  • Stand-up company and lifetime guarantee
  • On the pricey side
  • No Picatinny on top of the handguard
  • Limited configurations (lengths and finishes)
  • Not suppressor ready

Initial Thoughts

We received our review rifle with one Magpul PMAG inside a generic package. I am curious to know what the actual customer would receive when it comes to the presentation of this product.

The first shots with the rifle came across smooth, flat, and loud. The slimline brake that the rifle comes with is meant to keep the barrel low but lets everyone know you’re there.

Since I planned to get a suppressor on it immediately, I was a little concerned with the slick carbon fiber handguard and wondered how quickly it would heat up.

To my surprise, the carbon fiber helped absorb the heat, and I didn’t need a glove for the entire review.




We put almost all of the 650+ rounds through this rifle suppressed. At least 500 of them.

We ran it during multiple range days and review sessions. We experienced zero malfunctions during the YouTube recording/testing phase.

However, we started having failure to feeds every several rounds with how dirty the rifle got near the tail end of those 650+ rounds.

Once we assessed, added a little oil, and got it back on the range, it worked fine since. This leads me to believe the rifle was just super dirty and needs a good old spit shine.


We used quite a few different rounds for this review.

AAC 55gr 223, WOLF 55gr 223, ZSR 55gr 556, and ATOMIC 77gr 223 were the ones that made the cut.

The ION-X ate everything we threw at it in the initial 625 rounds. Once we started having the malfunctions, it was with Wolf Steel Case and Atomic Subs.

ammo used for faxon ionx review
Wolf 55gr 223, Atomic 77gr 223, ZSR 55gr 5.56, & AAC 55gr 223 (Which Is Not Pictured).

You can also check out our guide on AR-15 ammo to get our top recommendations.


This pencil barrel was an excellent choice for this rifle. It is super accurate and on point to where we have confirmed hits at 500 yards with the ION-X. Every target closer than 500 yards barely stood a chance, and transitioning between targets was easy.

faxon ionx fitted with a Burris BT35 V2 Thermal scope for accurate targeting at range
We even added the Burris BT35 V2 Thermal. Talk about an easy-to-tote blaster for some of those pesky vermin.



Coming with an ambidextrous charging handle and safety selector, even you wrong-handed shooters should be able to manipulate this rifle easily. The mag release and bolt catch are not ambidextrous, though.

Ambi controls are one of the biggest must-haves for me. Most of the time, it’s an easy addition on the manufacturer’s part, so I believe they should always come standard.

Faxon ION-X rifle showcasing Radian Talon safety selector and ambidextrous charging handle for both right and left-handed users
With a Radian Talon safety selector and ambidextrous charging handle, the ION-X is ready to work for both right-handed & wrong-handed shooters.


This BCG is an absolute workhorse. It knocks off a good chunk of the weight without sacrificing quality. I was initially concerned about bouncing it around in different-length barrel and rifle setups, but it hasn’t proved to have an issue with any combination so far for me.

Faxon Firearms Low Mass Gunner BCG displayed
Faxon Firearms Low Mass Gunner BCG.


The Hiperfire trigger was an excellent little chef’s kiss to the already decked-out rifle. It keeps up with quick splits and has a nice break and reset. It was one of my favorite parts of this Ion.

The last thing you want to worry about is outrunning the trigger; you definitely don’t have to with this one.

Detailed view of the Hiperfire EDTDM single stage trigger
The Hiperfire EDTDM single stage trigger is an incredibly clean trigger selected for the ION-X.



I almost got through the review unscathed.


Feels great. I’d possibly consider a rubberized pistol grip if I’m being nitpicky.


Even without the top Picatinny rail, you have plenty of options to set this rifle up how you’d like.


It’s a tube handguard, and those always look weird to me. Other than that, it looks clean.

VALUE (9/10)

I think Faxon has priced this right compared to the price of its standalone products while also achieving a good trade-off for money spent and quality received.


I’ve listed a few accessories that I think you should definitely consider adding to your ION-X.

In addition, here are some guides the Gun Made team put together if you’d like more options:


Primary Weapons Systems B.D.E. 5.56 Suppressor
PWS (Check Price) Rainier Arms (Check Price)

As always, we like having the ability to suppress right out of the box, and while the ION-X didn’t provide us with that option, we at least had enough stuff to accomplish the task at home easily.

This was a new suppressor for us and performed well. It’s modular and can be configured in short and long forms, depending on the situation. It also looks cool and doesn’t add much weight to the front end.

Primary Weapons Systems B.D.E 556 suppressor
The Primary Weapons Systems B.D.E. came in around the same time as the ION-X, so why not?


Primary Arms SLx 1-6X Scope
Primary Arms (Check Price) OpticsPlanet (Check Price) KYGUNCO (Check Price)

This LPVO has super clean glass. I have been getting into many more LPVOs and precision scopes this year, and Primary Arms has impressed me with its quality.

I liked having the illuminated reticle as it made it easy to find stuff in the varying lighting conditions we were shooting in. It also doesn’t add much weight, which is great for this lightweight rifle.

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24 optic with Aurora Reticle and cantilever mount
The Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 with Aurora Reticle and Primary Arms Cantilever Mount added only a little over one pound of extra weight.

Check out our SLx 1-6×24 review for more information.


Sylvan Arms Quick Detach Sling Mount
OpticsPlanet (Check Price)

If we had a petty complaint, it’s that there isn’t a QD spot on the rail already. It’s probably pretty complicated or unreliable to do that in carbon fiber, though. But don’t worry; this sling mount lets you snap a sling onto the front end in seconds.

Sylvan Arms Quick Detach Sling Mount
Sylvan Arms makes many excellent products.



Battle Arms .223 Remington AR Rifle with 16" Barrel, Gray - OIP003

Coming in at a low 4.6 pounds, the OIP (Ounces is Pounds) has the ION-X beat on weight. That shaving of a few ounces comes at a hefty price. You’re looking at roughly $3,000 for this rifle, and the availability is limited.

This one also has a unique look but doesn’t quite have the aesthetic appeal the ION-X does. But, if lighter weight is what you’re going for, it’s worth checking out.


Kaiser US X-7 Monarch
Kaiser US (Check Price)

The Kaiser US X-7 Monarch is much closer to the ION-X in price and is also lighter. However, this one uses a lower polymer, which I’m not sure is worth it. I would like to see how it would hold up in a legit torture test, as the horror stories of polymer lowers usually keep me far, far away.

The Monarch has a great aesthetic and doesn’t look like it’s built to be extremely lightweight.


My high hopes were met, and Faxon has once again impressed me. I’m excited to see a build incorporating many of the parts I had already bought separately, that share the same ideas and dreams that I had for a lightweight rifle.

If you are looking for a lightweight, reliable, and easy-on-the-eyes rifle, the Faxon ION-X may be the one for you.

What do you think of the Faxon Firearms ION-X rifle? Have you had a chance to shoot one yet? Let us know in the comments!