PSA JAKL Upper Review

Let's take a look at the PSA JAKL upper receiver. Before anyone on Reddit forums tells you reasons not to get one, you need to check out this review guide first. The PSA JAKL is a modular SCAR alike upper receiver that works with standard AR15 lower receivers. There aren't many gun parts like this.

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PSA JAKL Initial Impression

The PSA JAKL right off the bat feels heavy. Oh yeah, it's a piston system with a front side charging handle, and it definitely feels heavier than a standard direct impingement upper receiver.

psa jakl upper
psa jakl long stroke piston bolt

Palmetto State Armory manufactures their uppers in-house at their own facility, which helps keep costs down since there's no middleman involved.

psa jakl vs ar15

This approach allows them to offer their AR15 uppers at prices that don't exceed $900, making them much more affordable compared to other brands where the price often includes markups to cover the profits of intermediaries.

This strategy aligns with Palmetto State Armory's commitment to providing affordable firearms to civilians, ensuring that more people have access to quality gun parts without breaking the bank.

PSA JAKL Upper Receiver

With 5.56, I hardly notice any difference in performance across the four settings, and my setup is a pinned and welded 14.5" barrel because I just don't want to deal with any NFA stuff at this point in my life, and I've also moved a lot in the recent years. 

psa jakl upper receiver 5.56

I started with the upper kit, then added my existing lower receiver with a modified bolt release paddle and receiver back plate.

psa jakl bolt release

Since the upper is wider than a standard AR15 upper, any factory AR15 bolt release paddle needs to be trimmed in order to fit the lower receiver. PSA also sell a premade JAKL bolt release paddle. I highly recommend just buy it unless you have a dremel tool at home to DIY it.

However, so far there isn't any battery assisted device for the JAKL, and the Magpul BAD lever will not work on the JAKL.

Lower Receiver Part

The PSA JAKL needs the JAKL lower receiver backplate adapter to go on the lower receiver featuring a QD sling mount. Everything in a normal AR15 lower receiver will work with the JAKL including aftermarket triggers.

psa jakl lower receiver vs ar15

All you need to do is screw this in like this:

psa jakl lower receiver adapter

The only complaint here is that the adapter have sharp edges that can cut your hand if you're not careful. 

Since the PSA JAKL is a bufferless system, there is no need for the buffer spring. The pic rail adapter can accept many folding stock like ones used on the Sig MCX.

psa jakl ar15 receiver adapter
psa jakl stock adapter pic rail

A pic rail stock actually provides me adjustable cheek height positions, which also compensate my optic mount height. I can basically make a lower third optic mount feel like a 1.93" optic height mount by adjusting the stock position. 

f5 mfg psa jakl stock

PSA also partnered with F5 MFG to make the F5 MFG PSA JAKL Modular Stock System. The F5 MFG modular left-side folding stock system is adjustable, ultra-rugged, lightweight, and simple to operate. It has the aesthetics of the ACR rifle.

  • Left Side Folding Stock 
  • Adjustable Cheek Riser
  • Adjustable Stock

Bolt Carrier Group

The PSA JAKL has a long piston connected to the rest of the bolt. It's very similar to an AK, and its heavy with a tough Carpenter 158 bolt paired with a 4340 steel carrier.

psa jakl bolt carrier group
ar15 bcg vs psa jakl bolt

The installation of the bolt in the upper receiver is very easy like an regular AR15 BCG, and the charging handle can be switched to either side based on preference. 

When putting the BCG back into the receiver, it took me a couple try before finding the sweet spot to snap everything in place. The long piston needs to be perfectly aligned with the gas block before everything can fit. For someone new to the JAKL, this will take you about like 5 to 10 minutes to get it right and figure out where all these odd spots are.

psa jakl charging handle

And when it comes to maintenance, the JAKL keeps things simple. Field stripping, as well as taking out the carrier, recoil, and sled assemblies, is tool-free. This means cleaning and upkeep are straightforward, keeping you shooting more and fiddling less.

fn scar 17 stock adapter

The recoil spring retainer snaps it in place. Unlike the FN SCAR, the PSA JAKL retains everything on the upper receiver and it doesn't exert any bolt force on the backplate, and the charging handle doesn't reciprocate when firing, so I can grip the rifle anyway I want, and it won't cause malfunction when firing close to the ground or wall.

psa jakl vs scar bcg


This review only covers the use of 5.56 without suppression. So far it feeds well with factory 55 grain ammo without any issues unless the adjustable gas block is improperly dialed.

psa jakl jam

If there isn't enough gas coming back to cycle the bolt the upper will not chamber the round or have trouble feeding a round and fully seat it.

Some people have reported that early batch of PSA JAKL may have some inconsistent bolt specs due to some quality control issues. Please contact PSA for more information.

PSA JAKL Handguard

The handguard on the PSA JAKL is proprietary. All of them come with M LOK slots and the entire Monolithic 6105 Rifle-Length Receiver is one piece. For standard AR15 users who hate handguards getting lose, the PSA JAKL will not have that issue.

psa jakl handguard

At the front of the handguard, there is an opening to tune the gas setting. There are multiple settings to play around with, and low gas setting can cause cycling issues if not shooting suppressed.

Just use a bullet tip to dial.

psa jakl gas setting

There are plenty of MLOK slots available to mount lights and grips like this:


This particular PSA JAKL is 14.5" pinned and welded barrel with a SilencerCo ASR Flash Hider. Overall its 16" so I can attach a stock to the rifle and not deal with any NFA headache.

psa jakl muzzle device silencerco

The barrel is 5.56 NATO nitride 4150V chrome moly steel barrel with a 1:7 twist rate. The 1:7 twist rate is good for 55 grain to 77 grain bullets. Some people complaint that the M4 profile barrel adds too much weight to the upper and it will be nice to have a pencil profile barrel in the future.

Be sure to reference this in the future

best ar15 barrel twist rate

Wrap Up Remarks

PSA has been making AR15 ownership much more affordable and accessible in today's economy. The JAKL isn't as cheap as PSA's standard AR15 upper, but it offers a completely different ergonomics than a traditional AR15, and there aren't many like it. In fact, there isn't anything like it.

For people who want something new and unique, and still use the same AR15 lower ergonomics, the JAKL is the answer. 

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