Time To Get Serious

While we are on the subject of guns, I need an AR. For the past several months I have gone to gun shows to look for an AR and I have read blog after blog about someone building one. Each time I get excited and announce “I have to have one!

I don’t have one. I have come close a few times. But always chicken out.

My brain can only handle so much info and so far it has been occupied with handguns, knives, training up my kids, focusing on being a good instructor and EMT, but now that I have mastered those(funny right?), it is time to get serious about adding a rifle to my safe. Plus for Christmas I really want a rifle rack for Jayne and she would look silly if it was empty all the time.

I currently have saved up $1200, but after Sunday it will be more like $1600. I have always been a decide what I want, have TSM research it and then go buy it kind of gal. I am still her, but the idea of doing the research(that is where you all come in) and maybe building an AR has a ton of appeal to me. So far fear and indecision has plagued me.

In keeping with my mantra of not letting fear win and in a small tribute to my friend Guffaw who faced his own fear, I am jumping in with both feet. Today M and I are off to fondle a few AR’s and ask some questions, but I would love any input I can get from the group.

42 thoughts on “Time To Get Serious

  1. Mine is a Bravo Company Mid Length which I believe is the cream of the crop and depending on stock, hand guards and accessories, can be had for your budget.


    Out side of that the Colts are great, but I am a fan of the Smith & Wesson M&P’s as well.

    This post was me asking the EXACT same question to my readers (even with the $1600 budget)


  2. Stag Model 3, spring for the “plus package”, and spend the balance on the optic of your choice and a pile o’ magazines and ammo.

    Perfectly acceptable utility rifle. It won’t be match-accurate but it WILL be combat-accurate. I love mine.

  3. Good for you! AR’s are a lot of fun and everyone in the family can shoot them. I enjoy them all and own several different brands. Building one is fun to do, but a lot of the prices are such that you can buy them ready to go at really reasonable prices. S&W M&P 15’s have a $100 dollar rebate for military/retired military and they are great rifles. Be careful about riding with guns in a gun rack though. I grew up that way and know there are still places where you won’t have a problem, but these days (even out in the country) there are people strung out on Meth or other drugs that will smash and grab whatever they can see…purses, wallets, laptops, money in the cup holder….or guns in a gun rack. If you decide to build, try to stick with one manufacturer so that the coloring of the upper will match the lower. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you decide on. (red dots are the way to go).

  4. AR’s are lots of fun to shoot. My brother n laws G/F is actually selling hers. Its a bushmaster + 400 rounds. She is asking 1200.00. and the best part is its a private seller..no papers. : )
    She has barely shot it. So its like brand new. She is in NC

  5. PS: I don’t think I would put an AR in a vehicle gun rack. That is something you want to keep as a main battle rifle. I have heard too many stories of folks keeping them in a car and having them stolen..

    • Not to leave in all the time. I don’t leave my cell phone let alone a gun. Thank you for the mention though. Very important!

  6. We have been VERY happy with Stag. We have two, a 2L for Bride (who’s a southpaw) and a 2 for me. Bride’s has been run more than mine (to include Thunder Ranch Urban Rifle) with nary a hitch. As a firm believer in iron sights I much prefer the Model 2 to the Model 3

  7. Wow…that`s nice! An AR…. lucky girl! 🙂
    I`ve read a long time ago (in a SWAT magazine) that a good shooter with an AR equipped with an ACOG sigth, can hit humanoids targets as far as 500 yards… So you know, all we here are waiting for your 500 yards videos…LOL!

  8. Ooh! You just had to ask! You KNEW I wouldn’t be able to resist tossing in my 0.02, didn’t you?

    Well, as a real (ahem) AR authority, I’m not sure building one is the right first step. You have to get familiar with the platform first and understand how they operate, or should operate anyway. Building one up saves some $$$$ sure, but you have no warranty. If you have a local person, who really knows them and can help you troubleshoot your build and perhaps even help you select the components, then maybe you can get away with it. But as a first gun, I’d be leery.

    AR’s are like everything else, you mostly get what you pay for. Some are overpriced, as in, you’re paying for the name but they work well.

    I consistently hear good things about Colts, LMT’s, Daniel Defense and of course, my favorite, Noveske.

    The biggest thing with an AR is, what do you intend to do with it? As you already know, they come in an absolutely bewildering array of features.

    My first was a plain jane Sabre Defense middy (Sabre no longer sold to the public I guess?) and my second was a Noveske Thunder Ranch Special. Nice n’ light, high end goodies like a VLTOR upper and the Noveske NSX handguard. But it’s not cheap and might be a tad overpriced. 🙂 But it’s a good gun. And for the money, it had better be.

    For HD/SD work, again I’d want to keep it as light and small as possible. No long, heavy barrels and not a bunch of doodads bolted to the handguard. A good red dot sight, a good white light and a good sling will getcha a long ways down the road. (and ammo and training naturally.)

    • Ok, good point. TSM of course has some skills and his best friend was(just retired) the precision weapons guru at Quantico, but your point is well taken. Especially because I have been trying to do this on my “own” I am asking TSM, John and Arete for input of course, but trying not to completely depend on their expertise. Silly, maybe…but…hard to explain.

      Thank you!!!

      • I want it for defense. Same as my carry gun…I a, not looking for anything fancy or high speed. Love those things, but I just want a good, reliable gun that will take care of a threat should I be forced to deal with one. Light and effective. If I win the lotto then maybe one with lots-o-gadgets:)

  9. Well I’d check the local Wal-marts, they have excellent prices on both Colt and Bushmaster, and Sig (although I haven’t heard much on the Sigs)

    But they did have the Colt 6940? for $1047, and although I already have a fairly full stable of AR’s found it tempting

    Best of luck in your quest, save some for magazines etc

  10. No need to get fancy.

    For around $1,000 you can pick up a Colt 6920 that will last you (and your kids) a lifetime.

    • Oh, more than anything I want to hand down my guns to my kids. I get very tear eyed thinking about it. No one is going to hand me down theirs…a little sad, but I get to be the first generation. Someday my kids will be saying, this was grandma’s and man she could she shoot:)

  11. I put on a few classes for “ARs” and “M4s” I have a basic class for new shooters- covers the safety, how to zero etc. Then an advanced class for cops. and a few months ago I came up with a class on how to clean them correctly.
    So I’ve seen almost all the brands. Unless you are going to shoot hundreds of rounds a day, you don’t really need the new gas piston type–but they really help keep the gun cool and cleaner.
    My own I set up really simple and light- after having to carry one for many years I decided I don’t need to make one weigh 12 pounds or more.
    I have a good optic and iron sights incase the optics fail (which in over 12 years they haven’t so far).
    ARs are like Barbie dolls—they have all kinds of crap you can put on them. Do you want a 12 or 15 pound gun, or something light and handy? The more stuff you add, the more heavier it gets and the more chance for something to get in the way or fail.

  12. I’ve owned 4 1/2 ARs (one in kit form wasn’t completed) They were all lost when the vault was stolen. Great rifles! loved shooting them. And I’m no rifleman.
    Do your research and invest wisely.
    And thanks for being my friend!


  13. An AR platform is on the “Guns I Want” list. I already have an AK pattern Evil Black Rifle and it really should have a counterpart.

  14. Colt, LMT, BCM are almost always good to go, along with the some of the boutique makes like Noveske. My ancient Colt SP1 still runs just fine. Many others are often fine, but you get more lemons from a lot of them. But for $1600 you can get a top tier gun plus a small light like a streamlight TR1 w/remote and a decent optic like an aimpoint PRO.

  15. Don’t have one yet, myself (all my long guns are bolt-action or .22….and all made before 1950), although Mrs.Alien really wants a SW M&P in 5.56. Of course, my views on guns is that while handguns are nice and all, why not “stop” the target long before they get into handgun range? If a mob of Zombie-Tangos is chasing you, drop as many as you can before they get into range of your hand cannon. Then switch when necessary.

  16. I’ve owned a couple of Colt’s, still have a Sporter in 7.62×39 and a Bushmaster M4 wannabe. Overall though for the money I’m sold on the S&W AR rifles but if you want a really good looking rifle go with a Ruger Mini 14, that’ll make you want an M1A.

    • I like looks, but they aren’t important to me. I want a good solid gun that works:) Maybe the next one can be just for fun:)

  17. There are so many ways to go with the AR platform. It all depends on what you want to do with it. I saw no bad advice in any of the comments but you need to decide what is going to work best for you. You need to understand the fixed vs. adjustable stock and decide if that is important to you. Do the standard (for the brand and model) handguards work for you or do you want something different later. Is a free floated barrel important to you (for precision work it is, for under 300 yd (or so maybe not). Will you put an optic on it? Do you want the traditional M-16/ M-4 triangular shaped front sight post for iron sights? Do you need sections of picatinny rail to mount a white light or a laser to?

    Here are some of my thoughts on this one:
    – Go with a brand that you trust (S&W, Colt, etc.)
    – Decide on the stock. Most will come with adjustable stocks. I ran an M16A1 and A2 with fixed stocks for years. These newfangled adjustable ones do give you some ability to better fit the rifle to you though.
    – Feel the hand guards that are out there and decide what works best for you. You can always add small rail sections for mounting things. I like personally don’t care for the full length quad rails, and lean toward smoother finishes like Apex, or JP. Diamondhead and Seekins Precision both have sets that I would like to try out as well but they are spendy.
    – IRON SIGHTS. Must have, and you must learn to shoot them. Once you know that optics are easy. If the optic fails, you always have iron. I like the Diamondhead diamond sights. Expensive but worth it.

    My recommendation: Buy a mid-level S&W M&P-15 that fits your needs. Learn the platform, and then slowly make modifications to it to make it work better for you. Save a few more bucks and buy an M&P 15-22 to go along with it. My wife and kids laid claim to my 15-22 within weeks of acquiring it, and I only get to shoot it when I ask them really nice.

    Good luck with it and please let us know how it turns out.

    • Thank you! My husband thinks the S&W is the way to go too. He has been talking about it for a few months.

      Great info. Appreciate it.

  18. Hey Girl, check out walmart’s SigSauer M-400 with a scope for $897.00ish…I’m looking for X–mas gifts for the kids and the reports I’ve seen are good…Good luck, Joe.

  19. I have the M&P from S&W. Have a big problem with malfunctions, but likely because my jurisdiction limits me to 10 round mags. Have heard good things about the sig so suggest you check that out.

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