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Buying my 1st AR Upper. Have some questions

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So I have a built aero lower ready to go. Have been waiting on a complete BCM upper and see there are some on sale. Have some questions before I order though.

Looking at these 2. The 16" is on sale for 35% off for black friday and the 14.5" is not. 


BCM Standard 16" Mid Length Upper Receiver Group w/ MI (KeyMod) SSK-12 Handguard



This one is on sale for $415 + taxes and shipping without BCG and charging handle. Has a Midwest SSK-12 handrail. Can also get it for same price with Alpha 13" rail



BCM Standard 14.5" Mid Length Upper Receiver Group



This one I would have to add the BCM Comp 1 for an extra $90 and it has a pinned FSB. It comes out to $523 before shipping and taxes without BCG and Handle. No rail or handguard either.


I have some questions: 

1) Is it worth the extra money to get the 14.5" + 1.5" BCM Comp over the 16" with smaller BCM comp?

2) the 14.5" comes with a pinned FSB. is that something I would want on a 1st AR? or are the flip sights better? 

3) The 16" comes with a 12" Midwest SSK-12 rail. Is this something that is important or is a standard plastic MOE or similar hand guard OK?

4) Does anyone know if BCM pins the comp on the end of the 16" barrel? And does it has a bayonet lug that I would have to get removed? Is that something that would need to be remopved before my receiving it?



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are you stuck on bcm?  If not, other options out there with more accurate barrels


1. assuming you are, it's preference really as I have both and like both but I'd go with the 14.5

2.I personally love the fsb, less things to go wrong, doesn't interfere with scopes or dots and I love the look.  Have with and without, I gravitate towards the fsb rifles

3.the MI rail is better, gives you better options for placing vfg, light etc should you decide to go that route

4. they do but it costs extra however, you get her ready to go

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Here are my thoughts point for point:

1).  No, both are the same gas system so you're talking about a meaningless velocity difference in between the two and 1.5" of length.  If a teeny bit of weight or length doesn't have a huge importance to you then 16" will be the most cost effective.  

2.)  Flip sights are easier for future upgrades if you decide you want to do optics.  This way if the front sight tower annoys you, you fold it down or remove it.  With the fixed FSB, you could always cut off the tower and cold-blue it turning it into a poor mans low profile gas block so you aren't 100% locked into your choice should you go a different route in the future.  However, with these short barrels, you may want a longer handguard and longer handguards on short barrels typically go beyond the gas block. which means the fixed FSB is a no-go

That being said I would encourage you to do the upper that isn't the fixed FSB, or plan on cutting the fixed FSB down on the 14.5 right away and putting on a good handguard right off the bat.

3.)  It's a "good" hand guard.  Better than a plain plastic hunk

4.) Last time I bought a BCM upper, I HAD to get the 14.5" as it's the only length they pin comps on (since it's a fed thing).  Maybe they'll do it for a 16" (phone call?) since they clearly have the capability, but I don't think they offer it up front.  The 14.5" has a lug that would need removing, the 16" does not.  You can receive it with the lug, it is not a firearm.

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1. Thats gonna be user preference. They are both midlength gas systems so thats a plus. It really just depends if you want to deal with an extra 1" or not. 16" will give you a little more velocity over the 14.5" but depending on your intended use, that might not matter.

2. Again, user preference. My 1st AR had a FSB on it. If you want to use iron sights, it works fine and cheaper than the flips up (most of the time). If you run a red dot, the FSB does not get in the way of your field of view. Obviously a flip up site wont get in the way either. My current ARs dont have FSB or iron sights on them, red dot only. 

3. From a performance standpoint, the Midwest rail would be better as it free floated. The additional length gives you more mounting options and lets you really reach out with teh support hand to help control the muzzle.The midwest rail would be more robust compared to the plastic handguards too. Other than that, it comes down to the look you are going for. BCM makes good stuff so the plastic handguard will work. I prefer metal rails, but to each their own

4. On the 16" setups, the muzzle device is not pinned. If you email them, they may be able to pin it. The bayo lug would have to be removed as well. It might be easier just to have the entire upper sent to a gunsmith near you and have them pin it and shave the lug themselves.

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