How To Buy The Best AR 15

Ever been in the store looking at a new gun and feel slightly overwhelmed? If you aren’t sure how to buy the best AR 15 that you can afford, you aren’t alone. In this episode of TFB TV, Patrick interviews William Larson of Semper Paratus Arms and Sionics about what you should be looking for when purchasing your next rifle.

These simple pointers can save you a lot of heartache at the range and keep your rifle running for years to come. Big thanks to William Larson of Semper Paratus Arms for helping us out with this video.

Thanks to our sponsors:

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Transcript ….

 

[coming soon]



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Co-Director for TFBTV. He is a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially overly modified plastic handguns, precision rifles, and AR based things. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at TFBpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • TheNotoriousIUD
    • Dat third pin dog!

    • jonp

      No Pew, Pew, Pew Pew

  • Gun Fu Guru

    “And in fact, now the Army and the military is going to the H2 buffer even though they haven’t changed gas port sizing.”

    I question the expertise of interviewee after that statement. The H2 buffers (as well as the H1s and H3s) never had anything to do with “gas port sizing.” The change is a result of the M4A1 program and the subsequent decision by the Army to convert all M4s to M4A1s.

    SOCOM needed a heavier barrel to handle the LMG-esque sustained fire for which they used the M4. They also sought to get rid of the three-round burst which decreased their rates of fire and replace with fully automatic fire. The Army organized the effort into the M4A1 development program. The administrators found a significant amount of bolt bounce when using the standard H1 buffer with the heavier SOCOM barrel specifically in full auto. This caused many light primer strikes and occasional out-of-battery detonations. When they swapped out one more steel weight in the buffer for one more tungsten weight, they found the issue solved itself and created the H2 buffer at the same time.

    • Wolfgar

      Gas port size does have an effect on dwell time which can be tuned with the proper buffer. Perhaps the standard M-4 runs fine with the H2 buffer as well as the M4A1 and they decided to just use the one and not have two different buffers in the inventory.

      • Gun Fu Guru

        “Gas port size does have an effect on dwell time which can be tuned with the proper buffer.”
        This is different than what I said. I discussed the creation and adoption of the H2 buffer by the Army, not the different circumstances which might necessitate a heavier buffer.

        “Perhaps the standard M-4 runs fine with the H2 buffer as well as the M4A1 and they decided to just use the one and not have two different buffers in the inventory.”
        The M4 does work well with the H2. However, they are getting rid of the H1s simply because they are converting ALL Army-issued M4s to M4A1s which need the H2 buffer to function properly with the heavier barrel.

        • Wolfgar

          I wasn’t arguing. You are correct about the reason the Army adopted the H2 buffer. It will take awhile for the standard M-4’s to be replaced and I was just thinking out loud about the exclusive procurement of the H-2 buffer.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Bought mine in early 2000s. Spent many many times more than that getting it just right. By time it was done I realized I just needed to buy a stripped lower and I’d have a complete 2nd gun which was identical to the first I bought.

    Seems futile trying to buy the best after you learn how to put them together.

    • Gun Fu Guru

      Firearms manufacturing has improved several fold since the early 2000s.

      • MrBrassporkchop

        The exact same thing will be said 20 years from now.

        I wasn’t saying “i got one over 10 years ago and it’s fine”. I was saying after you learn to put them together trying to buy the best is almost pointless since you can build the best.

      • Porty1119

        In tactical rifles, yes. In firearms requiring hand fitting and finishing, it’s gotten quite a bit worse due to bean counters trying to squeeze every last drop of profit out of a company at the expense of long-term reputation and quality.

        • Gun Fu Guru

          That only happens in craptastic manufacturers. Real custom makers know the process is expensive but it requires a lot of money and shouldn’t be capped.

  • Gregory

    AR-15 = dirty running piece of junk that craps where it eats. AR-15 = excessive carbon buildup and unreliability. End of statement!

    • Drew Coleman

      Source?

      • Spencerhut

        On the wall of a Russian porta potty.

        • Right next to a drawing of a penis.

          • LCON

            and a Phone number for Tanya offering a good time.

          • Нельзя ли быстрее раздеваться? Я же оплачиваю по часам…

        • n0truscotsman

          Russians dont have porta potties. They have slit trenches. 😛

          (Pedantry alert)

      • Gregory

        I am the source. I have shot multiple police agency owned M4’s over a 17 year period. The guns are not reliable and the BCG’s get filthy after very few rounds fired. Multiple malfunctions have occurred with clean rifles. Out of the last three rifles I shot, two had malfunctions and only one worked without issues. This failure rate is unacceptable for a rifle I have to
        trust my life with.

        • CommonSense23

          Sounds like you need to talk to your armorers about why they can’t keep them running. Or learn how to easy it is to keep them running.

        • No one

          Cool yet another person who abuses his weapon and weapon and never cleans it (you chould ask my friend about the 12 or so G36’s he had to cut in half from a PD because they abused them so much their trunnions melted, such masterful reliability!) and that his anecdotal word is the authority on the matter!

          I guess we’ve been using the AR-15 platform in the military since the 1960s because people still buy into myths that uncleaned M16A1s using the wrong powder from the very first batches in Vietnam = still true today!

          Meanwhile, the open topped M14 was clearly a master of reliability compared to these people and the evidence shows this….wait.

          • CommonSense23

            Not cleaning a AR isn’t going to cause issues. Not noing how to do maintenance other than cleaning is.

        • Dan

          All the major news outlets must be covering up the thousands upon thousands of service men and women we are most surely losing to these utterly unreliable rifles.
          I’m going to write my representatives right now and demand they investigate this matter. I hope you will let me use your posts as proof of these junk rifles? You clearly sound like you are a definitive source of information.
          I just wish you came forward sooner.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yep, thank God for Greg. I almost fooled myself, just because my own AR-15 pretends to be so reliable in spite of my tendency to neglect to clean it. Now I know it’s all just a lie. Greg, you’ve opened our eyes.

    • Tell that to filthy 14.

    • J.K.

      Lol, here come the piston fan boys!

      Come on! Justify that price premium for a piston and how much you love your muzzle heavy rifle!

    • Porty1119

      If you aren’t running it wet, you’re doing it wrong.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Interesting. I clean my rifles every 700-1000 rounds and can’t seem to get them to fail. Maybe you need to talk to whoever maintains the rifles and talk to them about getting better at their job.

  • wicketr

    Sooo, for a dummy, what are the top 2-3 brands to buy?

    • Wolfgar

      BCM, Daniel Defense and LMT

    • Depends on what you need.

      But the three companies that stick closest to TDP, which typically indicates a well built AR-15 are Colt, BCM, and LMT.

    • ostiariusalpha

      FN also makes an excellent AR-15 (no surprise, as they are the contract supplier for M16 & M4 rifles to the U.S. military), but for whatever reason they don’t install their famous CHF barrels on their civilian versions of those guns. You can get a SCAR with a cold-hammer forged barrel, but not with any FN15. Of course, the Colt LE6920 isn’t CHF either.

    • n0truscotsman

      What wolfgar said. Ill also add that buying a regular ol Colt is more than adequate.

    • John

      Top for me is HK (Heckler and Koch, my favorite Piston AR15), KAC (Knights Armament Company, my favorite direct impingement AR15), and then JP Enterprises (Sweet shooting guns that are popular in competition 3Gun). But taking into account cost and bang for buck? BCM (Bravo Company Manufacturing but get the upper/lower separately and just pop them together. Saves you money by the manufacturer not paying such a big excise tax penalty), Colt (Get the 6920 OEM and have a friend finish it for you or watch youtube videos), or PSA (Palmetto State Armory. Do the same Upper/Lower trick I mentioned for BCM)

      Hope this helps

    • No one

      1. LMT
      2. Daniel Defense
      3. BCM or LWRC

      POF isn’t terrible or anything, I owned a POF-415 for a while, but ultimately sold it for an LMT and didn’t really regret it.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    Just buy the Colt LE6920. It’s pretty much the same rifle that the U.S. military has been using for decades. That forced Colt to get it right.

    Don’t believe the secretly sponsored hype and groupthink on YouTube channels, gun magazines, et cetera, about this or that firearm manufacturer supposedly going beyond milspec. Universally hyped AR-15 manufacturers like BCM, Daniel Defense, LMT, et cetera, tend not to do as well as a “boring” milspec Colt LE6920 at high-volume firing ranges. The owner of Batllefield Vegas revealed that Daniel Defense and LMT bolts only last about 20,000 rounds before they have to be replaced. In comparison, Colt M4 bolts last over 60,000 rounds.

    The Colt LE6920 is also moderately priced. You can find one for $1,000 no problem.

    • BCM is the only other brand that also builds as closely to the TDP as possible. In fact the whole reason BCM was started was due to Colt’s in ability to deliver rifles and parts in sufficient quantity.

    • Paul White

      Hell, how much better is it than the Sport II or the Ruger AR? Both of which are significantly cheaper.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Well, for the average person, there’s probably no point to buying something more expensive than the S&W M&P Sport II since most people will never shoot more than a few thousand rounds.

        I forget the name of the psychological concept, but it basically states that people are more likely to recommend increasingly inferior products based on how far removed they are from that person. They buy the best products for themselves, they recommend slightly crappier products to their close friends and family, and for strangers they recommend even crappier products. I try to avoid doing that as much as possible. If I wouldn’t trust my life to it, then I’m not going to tell other people to trust their life to it.

      • n0truscotsman

        It depends on how much you use it. If you are an advanced shooter who is up-to-snuff on his/her AR15 and who plows through thousands of rounds annually, you will undoubtedly notice the difference.

        The long term, heavy round usage is what seperates the milspec ARs from the ‘hobby grade’ ones, although I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by some bushmasters and M&Ps. IME, the ‘big names’ offer more consistency than the others.

        Most, however, dont shoot more than 500 a year. Most dont even take their fighting rifle to a course. So if they did buy a ‘big name’ they wouldn’t make full extent of its use.

    • Hoplopfheil

      And the good thing is, no matter how many times Colt goes out of business they always seem to bounce back! So you’ll be able to send it in for work down the road.

    • Brian Smith

      Calling anything that isn’t a reproduction of a Colt’s “recent” but dated LE6920, which is over half a decade old, and a trivial modification of a nearly 50-year-old platform “Gucci” is dishonest at best.

      There’s been plenty of improvements to the architecture that could have been incorporated in the Colt product line many years ago, such as better triggers, free-float rails (nevermind M-LOK/Keyhole options), improved grips, improved stocks, improved trigger guards, mid-length gas systems on 16″ barrels, etc.

      Don’t forget this iconic firearm manufacturer MANAGED TO GO BANKRUPT DURING AN ELECTION YEAR. They fscked up so bad that I expect they’re a target example for MBA students to denigrate in their papers.

      I’m being very charitable: Colt’s maybe as absolutely as good as it used to be in the 80’s, but certainly not better and hasn’t kept pace. Times, technology, manufacturing techniques, consumer demands, etc. have drastically changed, and Colt hasn’t.

      Good bye Colt.

      • ostiariusalpha

        The 80’s were Colt’s worst decade, both financially and with quality.

        • Brian Smith

          I pulled the 80’s thing out of my butt, and I’m saddened to hear that they were even worse thirty years ago than they are now.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The long union strike of the 80’s put Colt in the situation it’s been stuck in since then. A lot of it was bad management, with the corporate executives refusing to compromise with labor in any way, and deciding to neglect development of products for the civilian market at that time. The union was by no means innocent, but the corporate heads dug 70% of the hole that Colt has never managed to climb out of.

      • Echo5Charlie

        I’m guessing you are relatively new to the AR world (as well as Colt).

        Colt has indeed drastically changed their stance in the past 12 years. Ask anyone who wanted a LE6920 in 2005 how interesting it was to get.

      • baserock love

        If you actually listen to any details of the management history of the colt company, they were basically bought and looted and gutted by vulture capitalists multiple times.

        The predicament that colt continuously finds itself in is little fault of the company itself. You can’t exactly invest millions of dollars into new product development when your company is owned by a bunch of vultures who know utterly nothing about guns or the gun market who won’t let you because their investors need their returns as big as possible and as soon as possible. They’ve just been strangling the goose that laid the golden egg for decades.

        • ostiariusalpha

          That’s not necessarily true. Though Ian McCollum badmouthed the Fairbanks-Whitney conglomerate, they actually saved the company from a financial crisis and ran it quite well for 20 years. There was plenty of innovation and the build quality was excellent. It was just at the end of the 70’s that management started neglecting development of new products for the civilian market, which they might have recovered from easily enough if it hadn’t been compounded with the truly mind-blowing stupidity of the 80’s management playing suicide chicken with the union. Everything that is really wrong with Colt was born from the 80’s.

    • n0truscotsman

      “tend not to do as well as a “boring” milspec Colt LE6920 at high-volume firing ranges”

      They’re built to the same specifications, and IME, they perform similarly. There’s a chart I had a while back that confirms this, looks like Ill have to go digging in my archives.

      Firing a bolt past the 15k round mark is not even adhering to proper maintenance intervals anyways. One lot of Colt bolts may certainly do that, but that doesn’t make Colt somehow “better”. And Ill be the first to endorse Walmart Colts for the sub1000 dollar range all day long.

      *only 20k rounds* now thats a funny statement. Dunno if that was intentional on your part.

  • derfelcadarn

    The best AR rifle you will ever see is the one you leave in the store POS.

    • No one

      Whatever you say armchair gun expert.

  • derpmaster

    Semi-related question – there’s all this drama over gas keys and staking and whatnot.

    Why not just TIG weld the stupid thing to the bolt carrier? Is this really a wear item that is replaced?

    • J.K.

      Yes, the gas key is a consumable part.

      • derpmaster

        What’s the lifespan of a gas key? I always figured the reason why it was screwed on was manufacturing cost, not being a consumable part.

        • Echo5Charlie

          Clearly you haven’t seen on dropped on the key.

      • Porty1119

        With BCGs available for $60, I wouldn’t balk too much at one with a permanently-attached gas key.

  • Arthur

    Two guys who couldn’t jog a mile without risking a heart attack telling you which AR features you can bet your life on. Cool…

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      I’m pretty sure my father can’t jog a mile but he’s a Marine and a Vietnam veteran who could still probably whip your a-s.

      • Arthur

        You’re probably right. I guess it’s good to know about these things but conversations like this drive me crazy. “Spend that extra $400 on your rifle so that you can shoot $8k worth of ammo through it without replacing any parts.” Just take care of whatever rifle you have and keep spare parts handy. Simple.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          I don’t disagree with you.
          This is rather basic for a site like this full of gun nuts. There’s no new information for guys who have been building and shooting for decades but hey maybe some new guys got something out of it. And there are degrees of quality in any product.
          I just don’t see the need for personal attacks.
          Cheers.

          • Arthur

            My point was that for the vast majority of people who have AR’s, even those who use them for home defense, a properly staked castle nut is very very low on the list of things that will cost you your life. I think physical fitness is one of the things that is more important. No disrespect to these dudes.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Like I said I’m not arguing your basic point. I own a legal XM177 and my castle but isn’t staked. You could go round and round arguing it. Either it gets loose or it doesn’t. I think using an AR for your bump in the night gun is goofy anyway. I keep my Glock 45 on the dresser. I’ll be the first to laugh at the 350 lb rednecks in full fatigues at the gun show but the people who post here know guns. They aren’t mall ninjas.

          • Arthur

            I had one of those XM177 replica compensators and a carry handle upper laying around and that was my excuse to build a pistol “clone”. More of a tribute actually. If you squint it looks like a real one. I get that this video isn’t for gun nuts. Here, let me show how it should have gone… “Hi folks. Buy a rifle you can afford from a reputable manufacturer. Thanks for watching TFBTV”.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Fair enough.
            I figure it’s free content so you get what you pay for.
            This is mine. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/30c7ba313a3a7492fb49afa87607b73ad4bca7b801853499ba6a9e289378ec17.jpg

        • Edeco

          I’m not into shooting for self defence, but I’d rather as much durability and little maintenence as possible. Nothing’s too good for me. Especially on a new gun, carte blanche, gimme the screws that won’t act up. If I wanted to be the curator if something I’d have a Ross straight-pull.

      • Anonymoose

        My aunt is a 65yo Air Force Colonel who ran the Boston Marathon when it was bombed. Her doctor has since told her not run so much anymore.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          That’s crazy, sounds like a tough lady.

    • Brian Smith

      Not calling other engineers fat, but it sounds like you’d need to get off of your high horse to see eye-to-eye with the engineers that crunched the numbers for the design, and engineers who ensure the manufacturing quality of anything you buy.

      Granted I have no reason to believe neither of these guys perform any such role, but being able to jog real good doesn’t have a d-mn thing to do with the topic.

      You’re just an internet badass taking a cheap shot at some overweight folks though, rather than commenting on the content.

      Do you think the F-35 is fscked because of some overweight engineers? You could be on to something. Something fscked in the head.

      • Arthur

        Yikes… you really missed the point of my wisecrack. Take it easy bud.

        • Brian Smith

          Your point, which is absolutely fallacious, was these two people don’t appear healthy (the one dude is pretty tubby, but it’s irrelevant), so you can’t trust them for advice about weapons.

          What’s next? Jokes about old and fat engineers who couldn’t survive airframe validation tests in an F35?

          • Arthur

            Yes. That sounds hilarious.

          • Echo5Charlie

            Let the butthurt flow through you

      • iksnilol

        Are… Are you overweight?

      • Edeco

        It’s pretty impressive, the post is about springs and screws, yet someone finds an excuse to wave dong about fitness. Virtue-signaling is a force of nature, life finds a way.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Never underestimate the power of fat Americans

      • Dan

        They have all the time in the world to learn how to do things. Since you know they aren’t spending free time exercising. I jk. Nothing against the larger folk, you all some good people.

        • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

          Shooting is more fun than running

    • jonp

      If you know how to shoot you don’t have to run anywhere

  • Major Tom

    Thanks for the suggestions! Now I know the best AR to buy is anything but an AR. So my next rifle is gonna be something like say that Kel-Tec RDB or a Mini-14 or a Saiga Sporter or what have you.

    AR’s are so bloody overrated it’s no longer funny.

    • CommonSense23

      You would seriously choose a mini 14 over a AR?

      • Major Tom

        With all the fanboyism and tactitards going on, yes. It makes for a toxic shooter community and a sense of being completely overrated.

        That and if I wanted a 5.56mm semi-auto rifle, why must it be an AR? What if I say want a more traditionally built one? Or just a different design to begin with?

      • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

        Im an AR guy because it just makes too much sense, but I would love to become (or at least pretend to be) an obnoxious Mini 14 fanboy just to make waves on sites like this. Sounds fun. I already do that with my Glock comments.

    • No one

      “Now I know the best AR to buy is anything but an AR. So my next rifle is
      gonna be something like say that Kel-Tec RDB or a Mini-14”

      And…Now I know to never trust your opinion on a choice of firearm ever again.

      • RSG

        A keltec? A mini 14? Wow. You couldn’t suggest two more historically unreliable choices if you tried. Your attempt to be a contrarian exposed your a$$.

        • No one

          Why are you saying that to me? he’s the one that said it.

          • RSG

            Because I’m clearly retarded. Lol. 🙂

  • John

    The best AR-15 around is the one you have on you, or the one you can actually afford.

    Barring that, Ruger and Smith & Wesson offer a well-regarded AR-15. I also hear good thing about Windham Weaponry.

    But really, whatever you can afford is fine. Once you have one, then worry about operating tactically with it.

    • Nashvone

      While that’s true, you should have added to do some judicious shopping. I picked up an M&P 15 Sport for about the same as several “entry level” rifles.

      • Dan

        I would hope so the M&P isn’t more than a step above “entry level”

        • NiteGoat

          Nonsense.

  • Twilight sparkle

    I didn’t watch the whole video but most of this stuff seems like it was just ripped of “the chart” from m4 carbine

  • Hoplopfheil

    Step 1:
    Buy a bunch of parts and build it yourself.

    • Dan

      Unless you fail at putting things together.

    • RSG

      I’m pretty sure this was directed at new buyers. Why? Because they said so in the video. Do you really think a noobie is gonna spend $500 (vice, punches, torque wrench, hammer etc) on tools to build perhaps 1 rifle? These folks don’t even know what parts they need or want. I always suggest a first time buyer get a complete rifle. Especially because of the warranty.

      • Armand Fight

        Yes, they said it was directed at new buyers but at the same time they use a variety of terms (without explanation/definition) that new buyers might not know. That is major shortcoming for this video

        • Hoplopfheil

          I built my first AR. You don’t have to buy all that many tools, and there’s no better way than to learn how the rifle works, and how to maintain it than by putting one together.

        • Rebellivesmatter

          Exactly! These guys are supposedly talking to newbies but they’re throwing out terms that even a seasoned person would have trouble understanding. Staked? H buffer? Castle nut? Really? They’re confusing hell out of me and I shoot all the time. The smartest thing they said was that you won’t get a decent gun for $600 and under. But it will shoot something.

    • n0truscotsman

      My PSA builds have been comparable to my Colts and BCM so far, although its not a novice’s game Ill admit. There’s a bit of a learning curve to build *right*, but its worth it to learn, IMO.

  • Al Wise

    POF. It’s that simple.

    • J.K.

      Lol!

  • mmyers08

    Larson sounds like he’s missing his CPAP machine.

  • Robert Kruckman

    Who cares ARs are now less than $500. Shoot it and junk it!

    • Ed

      That’s just a stupid thing to say when you can spend as little as $775 on a Stag Arms that has a lifetime warranty and free barrel replacement for life. A little research into some of these companies reveals a few jems. Rock river arms prices have Been dropping a bit too.

      • Echo5Charlie

        A warranty only lasts as long as the company. Also, Stag is hurting financially, big time. I’d be surprised if they are around in two years.

  • No one

    Step 1. Buy an LMT of your choosing.

    Step 2. ???

  • thedarkknightreturns

    The most important consideration for me immediately is upper and lower receiver fit. There should not be any play or gaps, particularly where the upper and lower should meet right at the receiver extension. If there is a gap there, the gun will recoil on the take-down pins. nearly all the other things mentioned in the video can be fixed very easily, fit can not be easily fixed. It’s either done right or not. If a builder can’t get something as fundamental as the fit right, I don’t really expect anything else to be done right either.

    • RSG

      Newer designs being adopted pretty widely now is the addition of an adjustable set screw that snuggles from the back of the lower to the upper. Pretty nifty idea that takes up the slack. Makes ill fitting parts obsolete. Fwiw.

  • AZgunner

    I carried a Colt in the Army. Never had a problem. Got out and bought a BCM, I find it to be noticeably better. I would not hesitate to own and use BCM, LMT, or Daniel Defense.

    There are other good brands, but those are my top three.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    How do you buy the best AR15? Piece by piece.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    Close your eyes and imagine John Goodman telling you about your AR15. He sounds just like the guy.

  • Lead Kisses

    There is a TON of great info, but you failed to address the big picture. When buying (or selling to a customer) an AR-15, you need to understand what the customer’s needs are. You pretty much just highlighted what you should look for in an AR-15 if you’re preparing to go to war. Let’s get practical for a sec…

    I work at one of the largest gun stores in DFW. Most of my customers aren’t specifically looking for a self-defense gun. Over half of my customers are first time buyers that are hobby shooting and just looking for a DIY build to learn. I tell them to pick up a vanilla gun (something cheaper) and plan on upgrading the components a few at a time. The pros are that you have something that is range ready from day 1, and you can take your time researching each component to upgrade/replace. This way, you have a before and after reference and learn a little bit more. Does your new trigger or free float handguard actually help clean up your groups? Do you feel that the H2 buffer dampens recoil? Also, you begin to gather spare parts. Most of the people that are looking to tinker seem to end up with multiple rifles anyways.

    I do believe that you should double check ALL components and make sure that they are torqued properly. I see more muzzle devices loose than castle nuts. I’ve also caught a company tossing red thread lock on a buffer tube. The tinkerer may not want a staked castle nut, though.

    Many of my other customers plan on (hog) hunting too. I always suggest bringing a backup rifle, especially if you have a bit of money invested in that hunt. But if I had a dollar for every customer that buys a Sig M400 and wants to put a $40 BSA on it… (or Sako A7’s with Nikon Buckmaster) $700 budget? We’re going to cut more corners on the rifle and less on the optic.

    I also get a ton of people looking to get into 3-gun. IMO, comparing reliability in competition use versus a self-defense gun is like comparing apples and oranges.
    You think that everyone should “do their due diligence and don’t rely on the salesman…” which I COMPLETELY agree, but the reality is that isn’t always the case. You’re failing to recognize that many customers put on this helpless charade. I had a customer once that was INSITANT that he couldn’t change the grips on a revolver and begged me to do it for him. I explained to him that he just had to remove 2 screws. Still didn’t care. Many of us gun nuts are tinkerers that over research things and generally have an idea what we want before we buy it but at this stage of the game, the first time AR-15 buyers are not the tinkering type (except for the younger kids).

    I’m glad you said that about fit and finish! People get hung up on a lot of stuff that isn’t practical to worry about. Is failing to chrome line a barrel really cutting a corner? Sure, many of us prefer chrome-lined but how practical is it for the average end user? I have a general interest in any users that report a polymer dust cover failing. I prefer the contrary, but I’m not sure that I’m opposed to polymer yet. Didn’t know why we had commercial buffer tubes, good to know!! FWIW, looks like Colt is starting to cut some corners on their rifles by out sourcing parts. One of the guys that I work with said that he pulled a 6920 that didn’t have a Colt BCG. Haven’t verified this yet, but check for all the key roll marks!

    I totally take the time to point out the extra features that you get with a 6920 versus an Oracle if you tell me that you’re looking for home defense/SHTF/WWIII/Zombie Apocalypse/Obama 3rd term/The Texas Revolution etc. but honestly, that just isn’t what I’m seeing with the base of customers that I personally deal with.

  • 300 wm

    I bought my first ar15. Now as I have 2 stripped lowers in my inventory it’s time to build one.

  • ICannotBelieveItsNotButtrSPRAY

    Daniel Defense, BCM, LaRue, LMT, CMT, FN, LWRC, Colt, Knight’s etc. = Top shelf

    Spike’s, CMMG, Windham (except CF), Armalite, S&W, Sig, Troy = Upper shelf

    Bushmaster (freedom group), Del-Ton, PSA, Diamondback, Anderson, Rock River, Stag = Middle Shelf

    DPMS, Radical Firearms, Core15, ATI = Lower Shelf

    • mcjagermech

      whats wrong with DPMS?

  • Vet for Trump

    Custom home built = above the top shelf.

  • Vitor Roma

    Chris Bartocci is a big fan of LMT, and he knows about ARs.

    • Gun Fu Guru

      He would also be the first one to tell you that LMT is a premier brand that most people can’t afford. On the cheap side, he likes Aero Precision.

  • junkman

    I keep it simple: when I ‘need’ (want) another firearm I simply buy a Ruger. Never ever a single issue with any of them. 100% American too.