New to ARs, looking for suggestions

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Hi All,

Never thought I would go to the "dark side" and look at black rifles, but have started to change my mind. In my current situation, I think an AR carbine is the best option for home defense. One reason is that my girlfriend had never shot a gun up until recently. The only thing she has shot so far is a Marlin Model 70 .22, and getting her comfortable with an AR seems a lot easier than getting her up to speed with a handgun and is much less intimidating than my 12 gauge.

I've been researching quite a bit lately and am liking the Springfield Armory Saint. I know there are cheaper entry level options, but I'm partial to Springfield Armory and like some of the upgrades for that price point. The BCM furniture, nickel boron trigger, melonite barrel and some other options seem really solid.

I've also started considering upgrades to the my new prospective rifle. Starting with a red dot sight, BCM gunfighter charging handle and probably ending with removal of the A-frame sight and addition of a full length rail.

I went into SafeFire a couple days ago to see what they had and looked at the Rogue Defense AR, with Magpul furniture, looks like it's about $100 cheaper than what I can find the Saint for.

So my question is... Should I go for the Saint? Or look at something cheaper (Rogue Defense, Anderson Arms, S&W, etc)?

Thanks and sorry for the essay ;)
 

osprey

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Well if you plan on changing many parts you may be better off financially to buy a lower priced AR with a good barrel and build around it. Hard to beat the price and quality of a PSA FN barreled upper for a starting point. If you are not mechanically inclined and would have to farm out the upgrades, a complete quality AR might be a better option. Welcome to the darkside.
 
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bbbass

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I'm kinda partial to Ruger AR556 myself. But if you are going to use optics, I'd go with a flattop to begin with. Removal of A2 sight to change to a low profile gas block is not a newbie rated job IMO.

Part of the fun of AR world is accessorizing. I like to build my own but I'll second the recommendation to get a low cost one and enjoy changing up. Or you can start out with one that has everything you want. Just know that the base parts quality is all about the same nowadays. So what you are paying extra for is either upgraded accessories or just name branding.
 

Capn Jack

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I see your from Vancouver. Something to consider when choosing an AR is the caliber. o_O
You can't hunt anything but varmints with a .223 in the State of Washington. :(
There are many other calibers available that you may want to look into for future use of the rifle.:D
 
OP
NW_bang_bang
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Thank you for all the replies so far. To be honest, I kinda meant to open up a can of worms. I want to get all the opinions I can before I commit to something. Most of my firearm experience is in the realm of c&r, or at least older designs (1911s for example). I've had a few newer weapons, but these fancy ARs are still a bit of a mystery.

Well if you plan on changing many parts you may be better off financially to buy a lower priced AR with a good barrel and build around it. Hard to beat the price and quality of a PSA FN barreled upper for a starting point. If you are not mechanically inclined and would have to farm out the upgrades, a complete quality AR might be a better option. Welcome to the darkside.
I'm pretty mechanically inclined and would feel pretty comfortable building my own, however I'd like to learn on something new with a solid warranty ;) I am intrigued by 80% lowers though...

I'm kinda partial to Ruger AR556 myself. But if you are going to use optics, I'd go with a flattop to begin with. Removal of A2 sight to change to a low profile gas block is not a newbie rated job IMO.

Part of the fun of AR world is accessorizing. I like to build my own but I'll second the recommendation to get a low cost one and enjoy changing up. Or you can start out with one that has everything you want. Just know that the base parts quality is all about the same nowadays. So what you are paying extra for is either upgraded accessories or just name branding.
Definitely some good points here! I've looked into A2 sight removal and low profile gas blocks and you're right, not a newbie job. How would you compare it to building from a complete upper and lower? If I go with something with an A2 sight, removal is something I would do down the road and I'm not against having co-witness for a while.

I see your from Vancouver. Something to consider when choosing an AR is the caliber. o_O
You can't hunt anything but varmints with a .223 in the State of Washington. :(
There are many other calibers available that you may want to look into for future use of the rifle.:D
Thank you for the info Capn Jack! I didn't know that about .223. To be honest, I'm not a hunter (at least right now). My first AR will be for home defense, target shooting and transitioning my girlfriend to something with a little more punch than a .22LR. I'm definitely intrigued by other caliber options though. I think my ultimate goal, at least for a home defense AR, would be something in .300 blk and suppressed. That is definitely down the road.

Hmmm... Still lots to consider. I really do like the idea of building (and saving money), I'm pretty confident in my capability, but don't know if that's how I wanna get my feet wet. Thank you all again, I'd definitely like to hear more thoughts if anyone is willing to share!
 
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I think an AR carbine is the best option for home defense.
Do alittle more research, an AR for home defense in most cases would be very bad for home defense. I would only suggest use for property defense when shtf. If you have any neighbors close to you an AR would be a poor choice. If someone did enter your home and attack, you shoot. Not only do you hit the intruder but you may hit 1-2 others as your bullet will exit your home and possibly hit your neighbors. When we are talking life and death think about worst case. A shotgun speaks all languages and can scare off the biggest baddest dudes ;)
 
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For me, there is something fundamentally wrong with removing an A2 front sight.
That is one of the iconic features of the platform.
Keep in mind that the front sight will go out of focus at 3x or 4x.
It is also useful in a co-witness sight system.

IF YOU MUST, you don't have to remove it....YOU CAN SHAVE IT, if it bothers you.
When done correctly, they can look pretty nice...

Gas_Block1.jpg

Edit:
If you do remove an A2 front sight, save it in case you want to go back.
Your A2 front sight and barrel are a UNIQUE SET.
They are the only "hand fit" parts on an AR and they do not interchange.
Well, 1 in 10,000 MIGHT interchange.

;)
 
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OP
NW_bang_bang
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I will whole heartedly admit I am no expert and also I know that an AR carbine is not the "best option, for everyone all the time." However, my research is what lead me to consider something in 5.56 to begin with, as well as the fact that I don't think my girlfriend is up to handling a hand gun or shotgun.

From the research I've done, which being the interwebz, I will also admit could be biased or flat out wrong, it seems the 5.56/.223 round has less potential for over penetration through walls than many common pistol and shotgun rounds.

Here are a few articles in a quick google search I found on the subject, the first being one of the originals that started to sway my opinion about black rifles.

The AR for Home Defense: One Expert's Opinion

"Statements are made that the shotgun or pistol should be used because of the of the over-penetration problem with 5.56 carbine ammunition. This could not be further from the truth. If you conduct a little research you will find that numerous law enforcement departments, to include the FBI, have proven this to be false in most cases. The fact of the matter is that many of these bullets will penetrate numerous walls, but standard 5.56 loadings are the least of your worries when compared to pistol and shotgun fodder, which continue to take top honors in the category of over-penetration. "

- retired Sgt./Maj. Kyle E. Lamb

Hornadyle.com - Are there over-penetration risks when using 223 or 5.56 NATO ammunition?

Self-defense inside the home: Avoiding over-penetration

I don't want to be a contrarian, but this is what ultimately led me down this path. For myself, I'd much prefer a .45 acp out of a 1911 or my 12 gauge, but I don't think it's the best option in my current circumstance.

I have not done my own testing, so I can't verify the accuracy of the statements I've read, however it seems like a lot of these source are pretty solid.

I'm totally open and willing to consider all arguments, however my research so far has led me to believe that as far as over penetration goes, 5.56 is a pretty good option.
 
OP
NW_bang_bang
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For me, there is something fundamentally wrong with removing an A2 front sight.
That is one of the iconic features of the platform.
Keep in mind that the front sight will go out of focus at 3x or 4x.
It is also useful in a co-witness sight system.

IF YOU MUST, you don't have to remove it....YOU CAN SHAVE IT, if it bothers you.
When done correctly, they can look pretty nice...

View attachment 354883

Edit:
If you do remove an A2 front sight, save it in case you want to go back.
Your A2 front sight and barrel are a UNIQUE SET.
They are the only "hand fit" parts on an AR and they do not interchange.
Well, 1 in 10,000 MIGHT interchange.

;)
That shaved sight looks pretty slick! I'm pretty handy with a dremel ;)
 
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PalmettoStateArmory.com,

buy lower
Blem AR15 Complete MOE Plus Lower - Black

buy upper (I prefer full length rails because I run scopes, but for your purpose this works)

PSA 16" Midlength 5.56 NATO 1:8 SS MOE Freedom Upper w/BCG, CH, & Rear MBUS Sight - 516445358

Cost: (159.99 +$25) *1.1 + 319.99 = $523.48 for a complete rifle with sights and Magpul furniture. I challenge anyone to post a better value of rifle per dollar.

Done.

I have two PSA builds and they have run flawless with more than 500 rounds in each (not a lot I know, but I shoot for accuracy most of the time and I don't do mag dumps) Both with 16 inch barrels, I have one currently scoped with a 3x9 and shoot 1 moa at 200 yards from rest at bench. I haven't shot it further. The other rifle has just BUIS currently because I use it as a loaner sometimes at CQC matches. I have shot Larue's and of course can appreciate more expensive rifles, but I am perfectly happy with what I have for what I paid.
 
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bbbass

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I enjoy building my own lowers from a stripped, cerakoted, fresh lower. I bought the LPK with the upgraded trigger kit (don't stick her with a bad trigger). It's easy peasy. Then I bought a complete upper from ARparts.com on Gunbroker.com... PSA uppers are good too, bought one for my daughter. My reasoning for the complete upper was so I didn't have to mess with the gas block or with headspace tests; although lots of experienced AR builders will say that headspace testing is not necessary on the AR. IDK.

I built an AR pistol with a 10.5" barrel, and a Shockwave stabilizer, specifically for bedroom duty. It has been proven that if you use softpoint ammo instead of military FMJ stuff that overpenetrating walls is not a concern.

BTW, I would recommend .223 ammo vs 5.56 for your girlfriend. The recoil is slightly lower and it is available in softpoints. I also have a muzzle brake/compensator that tames it even more. Loud but barely more recoil than .22lr. Take the brake off for home defense and use a good flash suppressor. You also might want to get electronic earmuffs... you can hear a pin drop but you can still hear after firing inside the house. :)
 
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5.56...recoil? lol. she can handle it.

We got a little toothpick girl that's a buddies cousin out there that has no trouble shooting my buddies .450 bushmaster. 5.56 kick is very tame. And it can be tamed to about that of a 22LR with adjustable gas systems, longer gas systems (think mid length/rifle length gas systems) and buffer damper setups.

Almost all of that though is not necessary. My rifle has the adjustable gas system but I still have the gas on full flow position as I have not gotten around to adjusting it yet, and another buddies wife shot my gun and didn't want to give it back lol. She loved it and she was firing M855 out of it.

So the whole 223/5.56 is moot. aside from the fact a 5.56 barrel can shoot .223 and a .223 wylde (becoming quite popular now) can shoot both .223 and 5.56 as well.

Now for ultimate home defense stopping power... I would say .450 bushmaster or .50 beowulf, but the bushmaster is cheaper and far more effective at range than the beowulf is.

Both have a decent kick to them, but the .450 is basically a .45ACP slug (not exactly but pretty darn close) with a rifle load behind it to get that round moving at well over 2000FPS. And they come in hollopoint!

Though at close quarters that round is not really going to spread much and is more likely to pass through due to its velocity.

Then again you can do a 5.56 build and get a spare upper in 300blk which uses the same mags, same BCG, same everything other than the barrel and the muzzle device (most have a flashhider on there) 300blk will have 30 cal stopping power with 2k+ FPS velocity unless you get sub loads, but you would really only use those with a suppressor.
 
OP
NW_bang_bang
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You also might want to get electronic earmuffs... you can hear a pin drop but you can still hear after firing inside the house. :)
Electronic ear muffs are definitely part of my defensive plan, they'll be right next to whatever I end up with ;)

Now for ultimate home defense stopping power... I would say .450 bushmaster or .50 beowulf, but the bushmaster is cheaper and far more effective at range than the beowulf is.

Both have a decent kick to them, but the .450 is basically a .45ACP slug (not exactly but pretty darn close) with a rifle load behind it to get that round moving at well over 2000FPS. And they come in hollopoint!

Though at close quarters that round is not really going to spread much and is more likely to pass through due to its velocity.

Then again you can do a 5.56 build and get a spare upper in 300blk which uses the same mags, same BCG, same everything other than the barrel and the muzzle device (most have a flashhider on there) 300blk will have 30 cal stopping power with 2k+ FPS velocity unless you get sub loads, but you would really only use those with a suppressor.
As far as caliber goes, I'm usually of the opinion bigger is better (I'll take .45 ACP over 9 mm any day). But in this case, I wanna stick with 5.56/.223 for my first AR. Keep it simple... at least for the first one. Down the road once I get the hang of all this, and a few more dollars, I'd really like to do a build in .300blk with a suppressor.
 

3MTA3

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My advice is to keep it simple and get a basic AR-15 in either a carbine or medium length gas system. The medium gas system will feel a bit smoother. Don't worry about free floating, and the fixed front sight works well. You may be using a scope or red dot sight, but you still should have iron sights as a backup. I personally like folding sights, and there are some good gas blocks that have folding sights built in.

For now stick with the standard furniture until you determine a preference. I personally like the standard magpul hand guard, magpul MIAD grip (adjustable to hand size and configuration, and minimalist stock. I also like the magpul trigger guard. Shown below is my Ruger AR556 in this configuration. This gives you a very handy rifle. I do recommend the Ruger as an entry level rifle - the barrel profile gives it an excellent balance, the fir and finish are excellent, and honestly it feels like a more expensive rifle than it is.
upload_2016-8-6_17-29-20-png.48473.png
 
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If you're looking for suggestions and like and want to keep things in 45 ACP, then why not keep things in 45 ACP? And mitigate the recoil in the same instant: KRISS USA - Kriss Vector gen II SDP Black KV45-PBL20

If you want a 300 blk, you can always build it in 300... The recoil shouldn't be that much more. And you can always get an extra heavy buffer to help out.

But back to your original issue, if you want a carbine and want to put an optic on there, your FSB doesn't have to be an issue, this is what I'm planning on doing with my 308 carbine. From what I've been told, the FSB won't even get in the way of the red dot.

Just a few thoughts... ;)

IMG_3151.PNG
 
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Actually it is beneficial in many ways to have the permanent A2 front sight and a folding rear. A red dot can be co- witnessed and you have a great redundant sight system.
At first glance the n00b is going to think that the A2 front sight is going to be in the way of the optic.
When in fact it actually is not.
Many A2 front sights get n00b-mutilated because of this first impression.


:)
 

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