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!
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!
WHY YOU SHOULD TRUST US
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.
FAXON ION-X HYPERLITE OVERVIEW
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.
An entire rifle, though?
|16-inch Pencil Barrel
|Mid Length w/ Adjustable Gas Block
|Hiperfire EDTDM Single Stage
|X-tra Lite Forged Receivers
WHERE TO BUY AN ION-X
PROS & CONS
- 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
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.
HOW WE TESTED
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.
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.
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.
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.
“GUNNER” LIGHTWEIGHT BCG
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.
HIPERFIRE EDTDM SINGLE STAGE TRIGGER
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.
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.
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:
- Best AR-15 Lowers
- Best AR-15 Triggers
- Best AR-15 Stocks
- Best BCGs
- Best AR-15 Uppers
- Best AR-15 Charging Handles
- Best AR-15 Suppressors
- Best AR-15 Lasers
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 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.
Check out our SLx 1-6×24 review for more information.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.
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 (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!