Advice Needed (Which AR to purchase)

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by serve_and_protect, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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    Hi,

    I'm looking to purchase an AR on the Palmetto State Armory website, and I am a little confused as to which one I should buy. This AR will be for SHTF/emergency defense purposes.

    I know that I want it to be chambered in 5.56, but some of the choices seem very similar, despite varying prices.

    My first question is: is there any benefit to buying an AR pistol instead of an AR rifle?

    My second question is: regarding the rifles, can anyone explain the main differences between the following rifles? Which one would you recommend that I buy?:

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...lassic-ar-15-rifle-13-5-m-lok-rail-black.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...-nitride-lightweight-m-lok-classic-rifle.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ght-m-lok-moe-ept-rifle-w-mbus-sight-set.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...arbine-556-nato-classic-ar15-rifle-black.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-pa15-16-nitride-m4-carbine-556-nato-moe-ar15-fde.html


    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ghtweight-m-lok-classic-rifle-5165450254.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ht-m-lok-moe-ept-rifle-w-mbus-sight-set2.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-pa15-16-nitride-m4-carbine-556-nato-classic-ar15-rifle-gray.html

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...tr-rifle-with-2-stage-trigger-5165447926.html


    Their full list of AR pistols and rifles is here, in case anyone wants to check it out: https://palmettostatearmory.com/ar-15/pa-15-rifles.html?p=1

    If anyone has any other recommendations for a relatively low cost AR, feel free to comment, also!

    Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  2. SilentRecon

    SilentRecon

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    Pistol, throw a brace on it for personal defense Unless you want rifle length barrel for distance.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     

  3. wct097

    wct097

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    So you've linked a whole bunch of different guns. The differences are gas system, handguard, and barrel length.

    Carbine length vs mid length gas and maybe one rifle length gas. I personally would choose mid length.

    16" vs 14.7" (pinned I assume) and 20" barrel lengths. I'd choose 16 for your first AR.

    Handguards are either free float rails or plastic hanguards mounted between the receiver and the front site. I'd go with a MLOK free float.

    If the ones listed, I think this one:
    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ght-m-lok-moe-ept-rifle-w-mbus-sight-set.html

    Largely personal preference though, so YMMV. My logic is: 16" is standard AR barrel length. Mid gass is softer shooting and I feel more reliable. Free float seems to offer the most options for future configurations.

    An AR pistol just means you get a floppy thing that isn't a real buttstock and thus can have a barrel shorter than 16" without the hassle of NFA. I'm building one of those next.
     
  4. ARP

    ARP

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    Are you married to the idea of purchasing from PSA? I just sort of went thru this with a friend of mine last week. If you want to, there was a thread running on the black rifle forum about which rifle to buy.

    But anyway, here are a few pointers I might throw out there to assist in your decision making process.

    You can buy a pistol length AR, it most likely will come with a SB tactical brace and it will be registered as a pistol. You can then buy a finished upper in you decide you want a longer barrel, unpin the pistol upper and replace with the rifle length upper. You can not do this in reverse without a tax stamp for a SBR.

    Do you want a rifle length, mid length or carbine length gas system? This will determine or limit the choices available for your handguard. The most versatile of the options I just mentioned is the mid length. You can go with a free float hand guard and have lots of room for accessories and hand positions

    Barrel. I would look for a rifle that has a cold hammer forged barrel, designated in sales lingo as CHF. More durable, accurate, sellable.

    At this point a vast majority of rifles will have standard pistol grip, stock, milspec trigger, might have back up iron sights. I am starting to see more rifles with perceptabley better parts on them, more commonly Magpul stocks and pistol grips rather than the standard A2 throw away stuff. Don't get me wrong they work just fine but a lot of the other stuff by Magpul, BCM, Daniel Defense etc feel more comfortable.

    Up till now this has been all about rifles. I went the route of a 9mm pistol caliber CZ EVO vs doing an AR pistol. A 10.5in barrel might be the sweet spot for an AR pistol. It most likely will come with an A2 bird cage flash hider. The percussion and blowback of gasses onto the shooter can make shooting these a bit uncomfortable. My friend bought the pistol vs the rifle, he shot an Ar pistol, the noise and blowback with the A2 flash hider were substantial in his estimation so he ordered a KAK flash can for about $20 to direct the noise and gasses away from the shooter down range. His will be here tuesday, it is a Ruger 556 AR pistol, comes with a standard trigger, I think a Magpul pistol grip, and the free float handguard and a non CHF barrel.

    He could have bought the Ruger rifle model 8542 which addresses almost everything that I would change if I were buying a standard off the shelf rifle (it has the desired upgrades already on it, Magpul stock and pistol grip, 2 stage trigger, CHF barrel) And this is important because myself and plenty of other people have bought a bare bones stock rifle and then start buying and swapping out all the parts I mention and then some to personalize it. And that route gets expensive.

    He bought his AR pistol from www.lockedloaded.com They have some great prices. That Ruger AR 8542 is priced at $574. I am sure others will be along shortly and recommend the S&W Sport II another fine entry level AR about the same price range, it does not have any of the features I mentioned that i consider important. Others will say buy parts and build or Colt or it is a fake or save your money and buy a BCM-DD-LW??-or more than the budget you set.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  5. Bradley T

    Bradley T

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    I'd get the classic gray one. It will be better for you than a pistol. Good price too. That's the one I'd get. Has a stock. Standard spec 16" AR. All you need. That gray is cool too!
    For do-or-die situations, use what has been proven in combat a lot of times! PSA stuff is good! Might get my AR-10 from those guys.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  6. vitalibertas

    vitalibertas

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    This is all correct. The free-floated barrels are going to be a bit more accurate because the hand guard is attached to the upper receiver, not the barrel, but you’ll need to add a backup rear sight as well.

    M-LOK is Magpul’s accessory attachment standard that pretty much dominates over the older key lock standard

    Middy gas is the softer shooting vs carbine and more reliable as it mitigates bolt bounce in combination with a full-auto bolt carrier and carbine buffer.

    The 14.7” cold hammer forged barreled rifle with the pinned flash hider (for legal 16” length) has a FN barrel that is going to be far and away the longest lasting barrel PSA has and for $700 gets you a whole lot of bang for the buck. https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ht-m-lok-moe-ept-rifle-w-mbus-sight-set2.html It’s going to handle high sustained rates of fire due to the forging process as well as the chrome lining. That’s a mid-level rifle that will typically outlast most shooters.

    I’ll also say that unless you’re really going to run your rifle because your profession depends on it, even a mid-level rifle is over-kill. Most people shoot a few times a year and a reliable branded entry level rifle with a 4150 CMV Nitride Barrel that isn’t hammer forged nor chrome lined is more than adequate for self-defense. Any barrel that’s been button rifled is going to be comparable to hammer forged. You’re going to spend more money in ammo many times over than it costs before you’ll ever need to replace it.

    That being said you can probably find this Ruger for $150 less than the PSA and all it’s missing is the chrome-lined barrel. As an entry level rifle, that’s hard to beat for features vs. price. https://ruger.com/products/ar556Free/specSheets/8542.html

    It’s much more important that you shoot what you buy so that you understand the qualities and limitations of your platform when you need to use it to possibly save your life.

    People spend waaaaay too much time deliberating on buying their safe queen and pimping it out with unnecessary accessories and not enough time training.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  7. pblanc

    pblanc

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    OK. I took at least a quick look at most of your choices and will offer my two cents worth of advice which I am certain many will disagree with.

    First, my personal bias is that neither an AR pistol nor an AR rifle or carbine would be my first choice for home defense. I do feel that both hand guns and long guns have a role in home defense. Hand guns are more portable and maneuverable and can be shot and operated more easily one-handed than many long guns can be. On the other hand, most people can shoot long guns with greater accuracy than hand guns. But AR long guns are very loud and pistols are even worse since the muzzle winds up closer to the shooter's ears. I have about 14 handguns, three ARs, an AK, 2 pistol caliber carbines and one 12 gauge pump shotgun but no AR pistols. If I had to defend myself in the home I would likely use whatever was closest but if I had the option to use a long gun, it would be the shotgun. If I chose a pistol, I would like it to be something less loud and less awkward than an AR pistol.

    But there are lots of people who seem to think that an AR is the best option for home defense and if you are one of them I won't argue the point. In that case, I would definitely recommend a carbine over the pistol. As for which of your choices is best, my short answer is it doesn't make any material difference.

    I would point out that many of your choices do not include any sights at all. Others include an A2 type front sight tower without any rear sight, one includes a set of front and rear flip-up sights, and one or two include an A2 front sight tower with a flip-up rear sight. So I would ask yourself what type of sight system(s) do you plan to deploy? My choice for a home defense AR carbine would be either a non-magnified prism optic or a reflex red dot sight that either has very long battery life, or a motion-detection, instant-on feature like many Holosuns and the SIG Romeos. If you go that route, a set of back-up open sights might be of some benefit. Of course, you can add flip-up front and/or rear sights to any of those options, but it will entail some additional expense with many of them.

    As for the hand guard, there really won't be much advantage to a free floated hand guard for your stated use. Yes, they do improve potential accuracy a bit for shooting at any distance, but at home defense ranges or even outdoor defense scenarios in civilian settings the difference in accuracy won't amount to a hill of beans. If you are more concerned about zombie apocalypses, the next American Civil War, a Red Dawn scenario, or survival after a global thermonuclear war I can't offer you any help as I have no experience with any of those. Polymer non-free floated hand guards are a bit lighter and work fine. But I would consider adding a tactical light to your hand guard and for that purpose either an aluminum or polymer hand guard with M-LOK slots would be desirable. If you should happen to buy a carbine with a basic polymer hand guard with no slots, you could easily swap it for a Magpul MOE carbine length hand guard with M-LOK slots for not much cash, however.

    As for carbine length versus mid-length gas system, I wouldn't sweat that much either. I have any AR with a rifle length gas system and two with carbine length gas systems and I really can't perceive any difference in perceived recoil between the two unless I really, really concentrate on it. And if you ever have to use the carbine for self-defense, I guarantee you won't notice the difference. Theoretically, a longer length gas system is a little kinder to the bolt carrier group and might result in slightly greater longevity but that probably would not be significant until you had fired many thousands of rounds. My two carbine length gas system ARs happen to be more reliable than the one with the rifle length gas system, but I don't think that has anything to do with the gas tube length.

    At least one of your options had a two stage trigger. The PSA two stage trigger is not too bad and is nicer for target shooting (I have one on one of my rifles) but for self-defense use I think the standard single stage mil-spec type trigger is probably the safer choice.
     
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  8. jrs93accord

    jrs93accord

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    For a SHTF/Emergency purpose, this one.

    https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa...ht-m-lok-moe-ept-rifle-w-mbus-sight-set2.html

    It has the higher quality CHF barrel, BCG and buffer tube. The EPT trigger is a plus. The mid-length gas system will provide a smooth shooting weapon.

    For an optic and BUISs, I recommend these.
    https://www.primaryarms.com/trijico...ith-full-co-witness-mount-matte-mro-c-2200005

    https://www.primaryarms.com/midwest-industries-low-profile-combat-rifle-sight-set-with-a2-sight-tool

    These are out of stock at Primary Arms right now, but could be found elsewhere if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, if you wait, they should be back in stock soon.
     
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  9. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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    Thank you for the advice everyone who commented!!
     
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  10. Just_plinking

    Just_plinking

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    I'm not an expert but, imo, if you're gonna have a .556 gun (which I am a big fan of), you might as well not neuter it with a short barrel, especially if you only have one.

    Have you ever seen a 16" ar? The "carbine" moniker is well deserved (a gun with a 16" barrel is still pretty compact and light).

    I'd vote for anything with a full length barrel and a mid length gas system. But, again, I'm a laymen. That's just my opinion.

    I dont hate ar pistols, and I'd like to get one in the future, but it wouldn't be chambered in .556.
     
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  11. vitalibertas

    vitalibertas

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    I agree. There are problems with 5.56 once you go below 10.5” barrels with respect to erosion and reliability. The DI gas system was not made with smaller configurations in mind. Plus even shooting with a 10.5” barrel, the 5.56 loses a lot of energy, is really loud, and increases wear on the BCG, especially the gas key, rings, and bolt.

    I’d personally go with either 7.62x39 or .300 BLK on a barrel less than 14.5” as they are lower pressure cartridges and lose less energy.

    However, I still haven’t found a pistol caliber carbine that I would take in place of a handgun. I really dislike the handling characteristics of these rifles in pistol configs. 6 or 7 lbs without a stock is unwieldy and dangerous when your life depends on it. I’d rather have an SBR.
     
  12. Pete perfection

    Pete perfection

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  13. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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    Thanks everyone for your replies!!
     
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  14. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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    Hi wct097, thanks for your reply!!

    I have another question: on the rifle you recommended, it looks from the photo like the picatinny rail doesn't extend all the way across the top of the rifle. It looks like it has a length of rail over the action to mount an optic, and then there is a tiny bit of rail to mount a front sight.

    My question is, does the lack of a full length rail on the top of the rifle limit the accessories I would be able to attach in the future, such as a night vision or laser system, etc?

    Is there any downside (or upside) to not having a full length rail on the top of the rifle?

    Thanks again for your advice!
     
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  15. PattonWasRight

    PattonWasRight

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    I'm not a fan of 5.56/223 for indoor home defense ... SHTF includes that scenario

    The sound is concussive in a closed area. 2X with a pistol length. You'll disorient/shock yourself like a stun grenade went off

    Some people keep muffs with their gun for this reason. Good idea. But in the heat of the moment?

    I think people who use this round as a home defense solution are a bit naive as to what a loud blast does to our senses ... reaction ability, vision, orientation

    If not for in home, then a mid length AR from a trusted MFR that offers lifetime warranty and doesn't use proprietary stuff. There are many to choose from. PSA is decent, but not sure they'd be at top of list.
     
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  16. jrs93accord

    jrs93accord

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    A continuous picatinny top rail is not a deal breaker for most people. For those who absolutely need the rail space for running additional devices like a NV scope or an aiming laser, they may need a handguard with that continuous picatinny top rail. For many, the picatinny top rail is seldom used. Most find use for the small section of rail at the front on the top, sides, and bottom. If they do end up needing more rail space for additional devices in the future, there are rail sections that are made for the M-LOK and Keymod rail formats.

    The model I recommended does have a continuous picatinny top rail, but no picatinny rail sections on the side. It is a cleaner looking handguard. There are M-LOK slots available for mounting additional devices (flashlights, bipods, etc.) should you decide to in the future.
     
  17. ARP

    ARP

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    You can add a section of rail to the top of the handguard to make it full length or short pieces to handle just a few inches.
     
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  18. Sharkey

    Sharkey

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    I would do a bit more research on the nomenclature of the AR so you are more familiar with the AR system before buying something. For a SHTF scenario, I would go rifle over pistol. There is another thread about a member wanting a budget entry AR so you might check that thread. I would just head over to Locked and Loaded and get that S&W Middy Gas System with Magpul furniture for $549. I think I have bought separate uppers and lowers from PSA and made 2 AR pistols and 1 rifle for about $450 so PSA does offer decent deals.
     
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  19. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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    Hi ARP, thanks for your reply! How would I add a section of rail to the top of the rifle?

    Does the rail section just screw on somehow, or would it need to be welded onto the top of the rifle or something like that?
     
  20. serve_and_protect

    serve_and_protect

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