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Thread: Sub $1K AR's,.. a waste of money or a bargain?

  1. #1
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    Sub $1K AR's,.. a waste of money or a bargain?

    I don't know what it is about putting little holes in paper with gunpowder and projectiles,… But apparently it's addicting! LOL

    I've been thinking about getting a rifle, AR type. But once again being a total noob, I have no idea if Buying something like this rifle from the shop where I purchased my Glock. (picture posted). I don't know enough to tell if thats a decent price for a decent rifle or if Im just asking for yet another expensive "Hellcat" type lesson in firearm purchasing.

    Appreciate any advice or opinions before I consider blowing another grand or so. :O.

    (...btw, I am TOTALLY ignorant of and confused by, a great many of the Acronyms and Alphabet Soup abbreviations you guys use regularly in these posts,.. so please keep that in mind. &#128514
    Thanks!


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  2. #2
    Moderator BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    There's a metric shit ton of threads on this already and a great amount of experience and knowledge to be gained by searching.

    That said, without knowing anything about what you actually want to do with the gun, the M&P Sport II will do everything damn near every AR shooter will ask it to do and will not be what holds their shooting back. The prices are currently inflated, but nobody has a crystal ball on when/if pricing returns to normal, but not terribly long ago that was a $500-$550 pretty easily. But today is not yesterday.
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  3. #3
    Pago Fatuus critter's Avatar
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    I don't own one of these, but several shooting buddies do. The M&P seems a solid rifle to me. All of the ones I've shot have done exactly what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it. They definitely like 'em. I think you may be able to get one a little cheaper, but keeping your local shop in business is worth doing as well.

    The only AR I can personally recommend is BCM, just because it's the only one with which I have extensive ownership and shooting experience.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    There's a metric shit ton of threads on this already and a great amount of experience and knowledge to be gained by searching.

    That said, without knowing anything about what you actually want to do with the gun, the M&P Sport II will do everything damn near every AR shooter will ask it to do and will not be what holds their shooting back. The prices are currently inflated, but nobody has a crystal ball on when/if pricing returns to normal, but not terribly long ago that was a $500-$550 pretty easily. But today is not yesterday.
    Yup! I agree and I'm aware of the search function. I'm not looking to be that lazy, annoying noob that wants errbody else to do his grunt work,...

    I've actually done some searching on this & other topics. Here and on gge interwebz. I readily admit, my "Google-Fu" is weak to begin with but also I keep bumping up against all the unfamiliar Abbreviations, jargon, tech-speak, etc. Which not only makes it challenging to decipher some of the advice & recommendations being offered, but also limits my success in attempting a search!

    That said,.. In considering an AR Im thinking of 2 maybe 3 different objectives,..

    First, as I mentioned. Im discovering its really satisfying and FUN to put tight(ish) 😂 groups of holes in paper with gunpowder & projectiles!

    Second,.. personal and home defense should shit start to SERIOUSLY go sideways in the next few months.

    2-1/2 or Third: Depending in the outcome of the election, some are predicting that Gun prices might just go freakin ASTRONOMICAL afterwards.

    If Im going to purchase anyway, I'd like to buy before they go any higher,.. already spent considerabley more for the handguns & ammo than I would have pre pandemic panic.

    @BehindBlueI's, thanks for the information on that particular weapon. I appreciate it. I looked at quite a few online reviews of the Hellcat before I purchased. Didn't come across any of the issues I've since heard of concerning Springfield and that weapon until I started searching for the specific issues I read about here! So naturally, I was concerned especially since a VAST majority of the other AR type weapons they have in the shop are all several thousands of dollars. Not a lot in the $700-$800 range. So I worried that maybe the M&P was maybe a bargain basement rifle. It's good to know that isn't the case.

    Anyway,.. thanks again for the heads up. I'll do some more research/reading for that specific rifle.
    Last edited by Chomps; 10-29-2020 at 11:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chomps View Post
    Yup! I agree and I'm aware of the search function. I'm not looking to be that lazy, annoying noob that wants errbody else to do his grunt work,...

    I've actually done some searching on this & other topics. Here and on gge interwebz. I readily admit, my "Google-Fu" is weak to begin with but also I keep bumping up against all the unfamiliar Abbreviations, jargon, tech-speak, etc. Which not only makes it challenging to decipher some of the advice & recommendations being offered, but also limits my success in attempting a search!

    That said,.. In considering an AR Im thinking of 2 maybe 3 different objectives,..

    First, as I mentioned. Im discovering its FUN to put tight(ish) 😂 groups of holes in paper with gunpowder & projectiles!

    Second,.. personal and home defense should shit SERIOUSLY go sideways in the next few months.

    2-1/2 or Third: Depending in the outcome of the election, some are predicting that Gun prices might just go freakin ASTRONOMICAL afterwards.

    If Im going to purchase anyway, I'd like to buy before they go any higher,.. already spent considerabley more for the handguns & ammo than I would have pre pandemic panic.

    @BehindBlueI's, thanks for the information on that particular weapon. I appreciate it. I looked at quite a few online reviews of the Hellcat before I purchased. Didn't come across any of the issues I've sunce heard of concerning Springfield and tgat weapon until I started searching for the specific issues I read here! So naturally, I was concerned because a VAST majority of the other AR type weapons they have in the shop are several thousands of dollars. Not in the $700-$800 range. So I worried that the M&P was maybe a bargain basement rifle. It's good to know that isn't the case.

    Anyway,.. thanks again for the heads up. I'll do some more research/reading for that specific rifle.
    The M&P Sport II is a budget AR but it is, IMHO the best of the "budget" ARs. As BBI said this time last year this was a $500 rifle but it is 2020 so $799 is the current rate.

    A work/duty grade AR such as a colt or basic BCM, Sons of Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW) is currently running $1200 to $1500 in the current market. Most higher grade ARs are running $1800 to $2400.

    Since you aren't using this for duty, and the current market is inflated, I will say I would rather have a fully equipped M&P Sport II than a higher grade gun and no money for enablers, accessories, mags or ammo.

    For the same $$ I would buy the standard M&P Sport II with the A frame front sight rather than the "OR" (Optics Ready) version.

    For the uses you mentioned I would want the following for the rifle:

    Enablers: An optic (red dot sight) and a light. - why ? Irons are workable when you have young eyes with 20/20 vision but optics are faster and red dots optics in particular are also effective in low light. A long gun used for home or personal defense needs a white light. no exceptions. Many bad things happen in low light and you have an absolute responsibility to positively ID your target.

    accessories:

    A quick adjust 2 point sling. This is the holster for your rifle. There are many brands most are good. Viking tactics, Blue force gear and magpul are three of the most common.

    Magazines: AR magazines are, and were designed to be, consumable, disposable items. They are normally made of aluminum or polymer. You use them till they have problems then throw them away. While you may only use 4 or 6 at any one time, given the potential for mags to be banned you want a lifetime supply. I would want at least 10 to 12 mags, 20 or 30 would be better. Magpul and aluminum GI mags with magpul followers are my choices. Lancer, Troy and Tango Down ARC mags are also acceptable. For GI mags, OK/Surefeed are my first choice, Brownells brand second. The D&H mags also sold as BCM and PSA brand are OK too.

    Good luck finding ammo.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    The M&P Sport II is a budget AR but it is, IMHO the best of the "budget" ARs. As BBI said this time last year this was a $500 rifle but it is 2020 so $799 is the current rate.

    A work/duty grade AR such as a colt or basic BCM, Sons of Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW) is currently running $1200 to $1500 in the current market. Most higher grade ARs are running $1800 to $2400.

    Since you aren't using this for duty, and the current market is inflated, I will say I would rather have a fully equipped M&P Sport II than a higher grade gun and no money for enablers, accessories, mags or ammo.

    For the same $$ I would buy the standard M&P Sport II with the A frame front sight rather than the "OR" (Optics Ready) version.
    I agree with everything HCM wrote. I would try to buy the version that has the A Frame front sight that HCM suggested because it is more ready to go. Here is the version HCM suggested if you can find it: https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/mp-15-sport-ii

    If all you can find is the version that you listed that doesn't come with sights, I would buy that and then get some aftermarket front and rear sights if you can't get a red dot optic immediately.

    The gun, ammo, and some magazines are your first priority, with the gun being primary since guns have the potential to be most scarce and harder to get later. And if you don't have the gun you don't have anything.

    Then buy ammo which is right now harder to find than the gun, and magazines which seem to be available at the moment.

  7. #7
    I own Colt, Daniel Defense, and LaRue AR platforms.... marques usually considered premium. I also own an older version of the M&P 15 you're considering. I think the S&W is a fine weapon and I agree with the comment that it is among the top of the "budget" AR guns. My only caution would be your accuracy expectation. AR's can certainly be accurate, but generally are not going to approach what you typically see in the bolt gun world. Exceptions abound (my LaRue is a sub-MOA rifle), but the trend is the trend.

    And mind Ed's comment about ammo, magazines, and sights. You'll want the first two in as much abundance as you can manage. And you can never have too good an optic.

  8. #8
    Accused M&P Cultist Joe in PNG's Avatar
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    If you buy it from a gunshop, they may have reserved ammo for gun buyers- check with the clerk.

    This may be your best bet at the moment, so go for it if that's what you want.
    "You win 100% of the fights you avoid. If you're not there when it happens, you don't lose." - William Aprill
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  9. #9
    10.3" Master Race TGS's Avatar
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    This can be kind of a hard question right now because of availability. Usually we'd say, "Go buy a BCM, Colt, SOLGW, Daniel Defense, etc...." but that's not really good advice since you can't readily buy any of those right now with any choice in a decent choice of varieties....and if you do find whatever specific one you're looking for, you're going to pay a premium markup.

    If you want to keep the decision simple and buy something readily available for under $1k that will generally do you well, I'd get this: https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-...ight-set3.html

    I would not get the M&P, honestly. They have absurdly heavy barrels for standard carbine use. While falling short of "duty-grade" in a few harder to notice but key points (one of which can be easily rectified for $80 with the purchase of a BCM bolt head), the one I linked to is equal or better to the M&P in virtually every category. The Gov't profile barrel isn't a nice lightweight profile but it's at least noticeably lighter than the M&P Sport....the rail system will allow you to experiment with different placements for grips, lights, etc and is lightweight. The mid-length gas system will shoot softer and the bolt will have a longer life than a carbine gas system........and while subjective, the furniture is much nicer than what the M&P Sport is wearing. Again, that's subjective, but I despise the A2 grip.

    To me, that's a no brainer decision if I were limiting my choices to in-stock complete rifles for under $1000. If you wanted to mix-and-match uppers and lowers and look at building something, you could do better.....but honestly I don't see that being a good route for you to pursue at your current knowledge level. My recommendation is to start with the one I linked to, start shooting and learning, and go from there.

    Have fun, enjoy.
    Last edited by TGS; 10-30-2020 at 08:42 AM.
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  10. #10
    Site Supporter MGW's Avatar
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    I bought a new mid length M&P MOE a few years ago that has been a great rifle. It was well under $1k at the time. I seem to remember Chuck Haggard using an M&P sport, I believe the original model, and giving it a thumbs up.

    If you just want a rifle to beat on I think it’ll be fine. You can always put together another rifle later when prices drop again.
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