Tactical

Mountainside Outfitters Pyro-15: The Glorious AR-Style Flamethrower

Ask a 20th century soldier or war historian to name the single most dreaded, psychologically devastating man-packable infantry weapon in modern history. The weapon they would vote most capable of sending enemy combatants’ collective amygdalae (* The primitive portion of the human brain that unilaterally and automatically triggers your “flight or flight” response when in mortal danger.) into “Run home and cry to mama” mode would almost certainly be… the Flamethrower. For the contemporary warrior, we give you the Mountainside Outfitters Pyro-15.

Mountainside Outfitters Pyro-15 AR Flamethrower

If you had to name the country capable of turning this fearsome and devastating purveyor of ungodly hellfire into one of the most fun and entertaining adult toys you could ever hope to operate with your pants on (or not…we aren’t here to judge), it goes without saying that the “winner, winner, chicken dinner” correct response would be “The Good ‘Ol USA.” More specifically, it would be “somewhere in southwestern Missouri and deep within the innovative, totally unique, and refreshingly upbeat showroom of Mountainside Outfitters! 

Through a stroke of luck, I met the Mountainside Outfitters team during the twilight hours of SHOT Show 2021. Exhibitors were in the process of dismantling their booths and I was hoofing it towards the exit doors to catch a ride to the airport. My egress halted when I heard the sounds of merriment and potential shenanigans coming from a particularly colorful booth directly in my line of travel. Like a moth to a flame, I stopped to say hello. Someone immediately offered me an adult beverage. While we can’t identify Mountainside Outfitter’s favorite drink by name for legal reasons, we can provide a hint. They built a killer customized tribute Pyro-15 for a customer in its honor! In no time, it became obvious that the Mountainside Outfitter posse is a group of folks that can effortlessly be included in nearly any shooter’s “Book of the Cool.” 

The Pyro-15

What propelled the Mountainside Outfitter team into SHOT Show 2020 stardom was their pièce de résistance…the Pyro-15 flamethrower. This portable, yet powerful flamethrower utilizes an unlikely platform as its foundation…the AR-15. However, before we get to the Pyro-15’s nuts, bolts, piezo-electric ignition source, artsy paint schemes, and fuel tank options, let’s give some props to its forebears…the OG (Original Gangsta) flamethrowers of yesteryear.

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.

George Carlin

Genesis of a Battlefield Monster: Forget Dragons…Enter the Flamethrower

In the annals of modern warfare, there are few close-quarter battle weapons more terrible and demoralizing to enemy combatants than the flamethrower. The infernal destruction and utter carnage created by the effective deployment of this weapon are terrible not only in their combat effectiveness and tactical ruthlessness, but in their devastating effect on even the most hardcore foe’s psyche. 

Ground forces of the Byzantine Empire implemented the earliest iteration of this hellish battlefield implement against their Arab antagonists in the late 7th century. Famously known as “Greek Fire,” the delivery system for this flammable, hard to douse fuel (comprised of pitch and a mixture of crude oil and peat) was a device employing a tube/siphon design and capable of spraying its insidious cocktail on the hulls of enemy sailing vessels or the battlements and gates of a fortress. Other nations such as China followed suit in the following centuries with updated and improved versions, but the deadliest successor was born from one of the most violent episodes in human history…the Great War.

Flamethrower in WWII.

WWI Battlefield Carnage

WWI witnessed the advent of battlefield carnage on an industrial scale. While it is true that weapon designers like Hiram Maxim (father of the first modern belt-fed machine gun) created fiendishly destructive portable weapons capable of meting out death in Costco “family-sized” servings previously unheard of prior to the late 19th Century, it was obscure German engineer Richard Fiedler who wins the prize for overall deviousness. In 1901, this relatively unknown German inventor (whose name sounds more like a chicken-chested Broadway musical theatre lyricist than the father of a battlefield implement designed to turn his fellow man into jelly-stuffed charcoal brickette Hot-Pockets) submitted his first flamethrower prototype to the German army for consideration. Ultimately, an improved version gained adoption and use in the killing fields and trenches of WWI.

World War II Flamethrower Resurgence

The “War to End All Wars” did just that…for twenty years, nine months, and twenty-one days. In that relatively peaceful interim, the flamethrower, while remaining in several nations’ arsenals, seemed to disappear into history’s Goodwill bin. It’s hiatus ended with the initiation of America’s Pacific Campaign against the Japanese. It was then that something wonderful (but not for soldiers from the “Land of the Rising Sun”) happened. The United States Marine Corps got their hands on it.

For the flamethrower, things were about to go from zero to Michael Bay… muy rapido.

Where the Hell do you put the bayonet?

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller

The U.S. military used flamethrowers throughout the 20th century, until 1978 in combat theaters from Korea to Vietnam. But the weapon’s true legacy emblazoned into the annals of combat history during the pitched battles of the United States’ Pacific Campaign during WWII. Historical news reels of the savage fighting required to rest islands such as Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima from the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army nearly always contains footage of U.S. Marines employing the flamethrower in all of its infernal glory. This videography has withstood the test of time, and while modern, high resolution video formats create visually stunning content, nothing can impart how shockingly hellish the flamethrower’s destructive capabilities were in the “danger close” tropical combat zones of the Pacific Campaign quite like those grainy, black and white reels from another era.

Pyro-15 action on the range.

Psychopaths, Puppies, and the Pyro-15 Flamethrower: Profiling Abnormal Behavior without the DSM-5! 

According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), psychopaths, among other alarming personality traits, have a horrifically flawed sense of empathy and sympathy. Because of this, it doesn’t take a PhD in criminal psychology to identify one. Simply place a cuddly little Belgian Sheepdog puppy in their lap and then observe their behavior. If your “person of interest” doesn’t immediately start baby-talking and sporting a giddy look of happiness (similar to what you get when you day-drink to excess on a weekday) plastered all over their puss, it’s time to put FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit on speed-dial and keep the subject away from small animals and crawlspaces.

If you don’t have a puppy readily available, don’t despair. Mountainside Outfitters has a backup plan ready to roll your way…one that won’t mark its territory on your favorite La-Z-Boy or require a license. As an added bonus, it can even be shipped directly to your house with no need for a Federal Firearms License “in-between man” or requirement to fill out one of those tedious ATF firearms transaction cards!

Pyro-Mania!

The wonder-device under discussion: the Pyro-15. The lightweight, portable flamethrower utilizes a platform familiar to nearly every shooter in the United States: the AR-15. Just like the aforementioned puppy, the Pyro-15 can also serve as a useful diagnostic tool in identifying a potential psychopath, because when unleashed in all of its infernal glory, the only appropriate stimulus-based response by the person pushing the trigger should be a goofy ear-to-ear grin. 

The Pyro-15 is a multi-purpose device capable of serving its duties in triplicate. This uber-lightweight flamethrower can serve in multiple roles. Whether you wish to make lighting a campfire so easy it feels like cheating, liven up a family reunion, bar-mitzvah, or gender reveal party, or make a last stand against a zombie hoard or roaming band, Mountainside Outfitters’ inflammatory masterpiece can be effective at all of these things and more! 

Unique yellow colorway of the Pyro-15.

How Did They Fit That Much Awesome in Such a Small Package? 

The Pyro-15, on outward appearance, has all of the trappings of a modern AR-15…to include a multi-position stock, a picatinny optics rail on the upper receiver, and matching accessory rails running along the length of the handguards. If you are a Cerakote fan, it is available in multiple color schemes…including customized, artsy formats. 

The Pyro-15’s “guts,” are where it parts ways with its modern firearm counterpart. In lieu of a bolt, buffer system, or any other components of a modern semi-automatic rifle, the Pyro-15’s down-range magic comes from a small but powerful heavy duty fuel pump. This fuel pump is engineered for longevity with limited need for replacement or repair. The pump and piezo-electric ignitor at the end of the ‘barrel’ are powered by your choice of DeWalt, Makita, or Milwaukee power tool batteries. Smart, utilitarian, and effective!

Contrary to What Billy Joel Said, We DID Start the Fire! (Fueling and Feeding the Pyro-15)

The Pyro-15 operates on a diet of flammable liquids. Only operator imagination limits the available “ammunition” (Fissionable material, gypsy tears, and orphan blood cursed by a witch doctor not covered under warranty). The suggested fuel mix is a half-and-half combination of diesel and gasoline. This will allow the flame thrower to reach out to approximately 25 feet. However, if you are more adventurous, “home-brews” of other flammable mixtures are also within the realm of possibility.

Mountainside Outfitters Pyro-15 up close.

The good crew at Mountainside outfitters have this to say on the subject: “You can put most anything flammable in the tank, but we usually just eyeball about a 50/50 mix of gas/diesel, which will get you distances of 25-feet-plus or so and light any bonfire pretty much immediately. Of course, being the type of people that this product attracts, many enthusiasts are playing with mixtures tweaked with a dash of rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and secret ingredients they won’t share, as they compete to get 40-feet-plus burns.” 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained…except maybe some third degree burns and your crybaby insurance rep defaulting to that wussy “Act of God” clause on your policy every time he sees your number pop up on his caller ID.

Anonymous

The Pyro-15’s fueling needs feed from two types of reservoirs. The first feed system looks like an M249 200-round detachable box and Thompson SMG 50-round drum magazine had a love-child. It is splashproof (thanks to an inhouse-designed check valve) and can be inserted into the Pyro-15 like an AR-15 magazine. The second reservoir comes in the form of a 2-gallon backpack and comes in handy when you can’t get the lyrics to “Disco Inferno” out of your head and want an extended session of “burning that mother down!”

Say “Up Yours” to the “Weather Potato” and Get Yourself a Pyro-15!!!

There’s nothing not to love about the Pyro-15 and it has something to offer everyone. Whether you are a strict utilitarian in need of a reliable and safe device with which to conduct controlled burns on your property, a “Last Starfighter” cosplay enthusiast looking to defend the frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada, or just everybody’s favorite average fun-seeking Joe or Jolene wishing to light up their children’s eyes (and everything down-range) at the family picnic, this is the tool/weapon/toy for you! 

In these trying times, when fun seems to be at a premium, you can’t go wrong with throwing down $1,200 large for a good ‘ol fashioned flamethrower, manufactured in the good ‘ol USA, by the wonderful, intelligently zany team at Mountainside Outfitters. 

For more info, visit mountainsideoutfitters.com.

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