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GFarra31

New AR Buyer....Want to Buy....Some Advice Please

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Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying how much I appreciate this site and the people on here.    My experience with firearms is limited but this site has been very very helpful.   I currently own a SIG P320 in 9mm and have been shooting for about a year.    I would like to add a rifle and I am considering the AR platform.    My intention for use is target and home defense.    I am leaning to the AR due to the vast support in being able to add accessories with ease.   I also understand that this rifle comes with a lot of scrutiny in our wonderful republic.

I want to buy rather than build.  Perhaps if I go for a second down the road I will venture into building, but for now, I just want to learn and shoot.    Based on my internet searching and reading, I keep running up the same 3 rifles.....S&W M&P15, Rugar AR556, and the Springfield Saint.    So onto my questions:

  1. My budget....I would like to be between $700 - $900.
  2. Features I think I want:
    1. 16" barrel since I want to use for home defense.....can I do 18" or am I pushing it?
    2. Floating style hand guard to give me flexibility with accessories (M-LOK, Pictanny, etc)
  3. I want it chambered in 5.56/.223 for ease in finding ammo
  4. Which other brands should be on my radar?
  5. Should I consider buying used or is that a pile of trouble?

What else should I be thinking about?

I am in Bergen county and shoot mostly at Reloaderz in Wayne.  I was hoping to make it over to Cherry Ridge this summer (I'd rather be outside) but that never happened.    I was going to first see what Reloaderz has available to rent.

Can you recommend a FFL that can help me with this in the Northern NJ area?

Thank you for any help, guidance, and assistance!

George

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7 hours ago, GFarra31 said:

    I would like to add a rifle and I am considering the AR platform.    

 Based on my internet searching and reading, I keep running up the same 3 rifles.....S&W M&P15, Rugar AR556, and the Springfield Saint.    So onto my questions:

  1. My budget....I would like to be between $700 -900
  2. Can you recommend a FFL that can help me with this in the Northern NJ area?

A little more than you want to spend but worth it in my opinion is the Colt CR6920.

Chrome lined 4150 barrel, MP inspected bolt, H-buffer and Mil Spec parts that are not found on the other budget AR's. Plus excellent resale value.

Monmouth Arms has one in stock with N.J. compliance work included in the price, which BTW is not reflected in the online prices of the M&P15, Ruger Saint, etc. 

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You mentioned looking for the free floating handguards so the S&W and Colts are traditional carbine handguard setups. Also are you looking for a A2 style front site? If not then the two mentioned above are not the ones you are looking for. The Colt and S&W are nice rifles to start with but is that what you want as the first AR or not?

If you are handy and patient maybe it will be worthwhile to build your own by starting with a complete upper then build around that. It's really easy going that route. All mine have been built this way and I have not had any issues with any of them. Don't ask how many it becomes an obsession as many here can attest to.

 

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For sights, ideally I am going to put an optic on it.   I have another thread regarding my P320 and going to an optic on that.   I realize I have only been shooting for a year, but I need glasses to see things arms length or closer and I am having trouble with my P320 (it has XRay night sights) so I've decided to go into optics earlier than I planned.

That said...it was my understanding that there are some aftermarket handguards that work with the S&W and Colt that give rail placement beyond the A2 sight and towards the barrel....they may not be floating as you point out.   I want the handguard mainly to mount the a light....and i kinda like the look of the handguard extending out close to the end of the barrel.   But I have no experience with the A2 sight set up versus flip up sights.

I do plan on seeing what Reloaderz has available to rent so I can actually see the difference in sight set ups as well as grips, etc since I have never handled an AR.   That was my approach when I bought the P320.....I rented a lot of handguns and went with what felt good in my hands and shot reasonably well for a beginner.

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7 hours ago, GFarra31 said:

  I want the handguard mainly to mount the a light....and i kinda like the look of the handguard extending out close to the end of the barrel.   But I have no experience with the A2 sight set up versus flip up sights.

Keep in mind the more stuff you hang on the rifle the heavier it gets, thus defeating one of the main advantages to the AR.

Thats another reason I don't care for the M&P15, the heavy barrel profile. 

IMO after the riots last year primary SD weapons should be lightweight, high capacity (10rds in NJ) and reliable.

 In other words; 16 inch AR carbine, and 9mm striker fired semi auto.

For range toys get whatever you like.

 

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On 9/24/2021 at 7:18 AM, GFarra31 said:

For sights, ideally I am going to put an optic on it.   I have another thread regarding my P320 and going to an optic on that.   I realize I have only been shooting for a year, but I need glasses to see things arms length or closer and I am having trouble with my P320 (it has XRay night sights) so I've decided to go into optics earlier than I planned.

That said...it was my understanding that there are some aftermarket handguards that work with the S&W and Colt that give rail placement beyond the A2 sight and towards the barrel....they may not be floating as you point out.   I want the handguard mainly to mount the a light....and i kinda like the look of the handguard extending out close to the end of the barrel.   But I have no experience with the A2 sight set up versus flip up sights.

I do plan on seeing what Reloaderz has available to rent so I can actually see the difference in sight set ups as well as grips, etc since I have never handled an AR.   That was my approach when I bought the P320.....I rented a lot of handguns and went with what felt good in my hands and shot reasonably well for a beginner.

There’s nothing wrong going straight to an optic for either pistol or rifle. It is 2021, after all. ;) I still like having backup sights, but there’s a good chance that if you have a quality optic, you’ll likely never “need” the irons. 


I would highly recommend that if you even think that you would like a free float type of hand guard in the future, go free float right off the bat. It can be difficult or nearly impossible to change out to a free float hand guard on a NJ compliant AR. The easy option is to buy a new complete upper receiver, which isn’t exactly a “budget friendly” option most of the time. This isn’t usually an issue with the AR platform, but is an issue in NJ, since the muzzle device gets pinned and welded to the barrel. Your gas block typically won’t fit over a muzzle break, and you usually need to change that to swap between a traditional front sight base / delta ring and free float type of hand guard.

You’re on the right track with a light. A free float rail allows you to get the light further out, which can be advantageous. If you want it for self defense, a quality white light is essential. If you want to do it on the cheap and still have a high quality light, I would recommend getting a Streamlight Polytac or Surefire G2X Tactical (high output only is preferable) and a 1” flashlight ring mount. You can typically do that setup for well under $100. It isn’t a “rifle light” per say, but it tends to work very well. The Streamlight Protac Rail Mount HL-X can also be had on sale for under $100, and may be the best value going in dedicated rifle lights. 

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Two thoughts for you:

1. Gun for Hire has a huge selection of rental guns.  You can see what they have available on their website:  www.Gunforhire.com

2. I have had a Stag Arms Model 2 for almost ten years, and it has been flawless.  I've run it through relatively high intensity training classes on many occasions, and can't remember ever having an issue with it. 

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On 9/24/2021 at 7:18 AM, GFarra31 said:

That said...it was my understanding that there are some aftermarket handguards that work with the S&W and Colt that give rail placement beyond the A2 sight and towards the barrel....they may not be floating as you point out.   I want the handguard mainly to mount the a light....and i kinda like the look of the handguard extending out close to the end of the barrel.   But I have no experience with the A2 sight set up versus flip up sights.

Swapping out the handguard ends up costing more later on especially if you want the ones that work with the A2 front sight.(Limited options) If you decide to remove the A2 sight you've wasted alot of money committing to this design just to swap later on. (trust us we all been there)

If you haven't committed to an AR yet I would consider the free float handguard as a prerequisite. I like 13" guard on the 16" barrel to save some weight. If they have flip up sights that's a plus but if you going with magnifier/red dot combo that would be what I do. Also now you can also put on a flashlight if needed. Let us know what you decide on.

I also forgot check this link on the forum for the other rigs other members have posted on this site. It can give you some other ideas.

 

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