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

  1. #31
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    My "best" AR is a S&W - a Gen 1 M&P VTAC. Most of my ARs are "frankengun" that I build for target with non standard calibers - 224V, 6.5 Grendel plus a 6.8 for short range hunting. I have three PSA uppers - two 5.56 and one 300 BO - the PSA uppers work just fine for the hundreds of rounds through them at the square range. The PSA upper'd 300 BO pistol is a product of the long PDW thread. I carried Colt MIL issue for decades (M16A1 through M4) - if I went into harms way a Colt AR would be very nice. However, out of the several million ARs in the wild, how many will see a thousand rounds down the barrel? How many will see a few hundred rounds down the barrel? How many will be used in the heat of some form of battle? If you can afford (and can find) a boutique AR by all means get one. If all you can justifiably afford (or find) by all means get the S&W or even PSA.

  2. #32
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    The market really hasn’t been hit that bad as far as pricing goes, just availability. If I were you and had the money, I’d probably buy the S&W and then watch online stores and forums for a better upper. Then sell the upper that came with that gun to make a little money back. But better really means more modular, lighter and more ergonomic, probably better gassed, and maybe a little more accurate. It’s rare that I actually here about M&Ps not running reliably, even if I wouldn’t buy one.

    If you’re patient, the good stuff is still out there at normal pricing. I bought a KAC 11.5 upper a few weeks ago for the same pricing they’ve been for over a year.


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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wake27 View Post
    The market really hasn’t been hit that bad as far as pricing goes, just availability. If I were you and had the money, I’d probably buy the S&W and then watch online stores and forums for a better upper. Then sell the upper that came with that gun to make a little money back. But better really means more modular, lighter and more ergonomic, probably better gassed, and maybe a little more accurate. It’s rare that I actually here about M&Ps not running reliably, even if I wouldn’t buy one.

    If you’re patient, the good stuff is still out there at normal pricing. I bought a KAC 11.5 upper a few weeks ago for the same pricing they’ve been for over a year.


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    Do you want two ARs? Cause this is how you end up with two ARs.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by rd62 View Post
    Do you want two ARs? Cause this is how you end up with two ARs.
    Or 11.

  5. #35
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    I've had a chance to inspect and shoot an early S&W MP 15 (probably made in 2007 or 2008, before S&W introduced the sport model).

    This particular rifle shoots well, is accurate and has had no significant issues over a few thousand rounds. Gas key staking is solid. Castle nut wasn't staked, but that's an easy fix. The government profile barrel is on the heavy side compared to a lightweight barrel, but otherwise it's a solid carbine. If I wanted to buy an AR in a pandemic, and a S&W MP15 was available, I'd jump on it.

    ETA: Remembered another shooting buddy with an M&P 15 Sport. He loves it and has shot the shit out of it. In fact he shot the barrel out, and had another barrel installed.
    Last edited by Mark D; 11-01-2020 at 10:22 AM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    Well that goes to show the availability issues right now, because the reason I linked to it is because it was in-stock...
    ^This^ also figured heavily into my OP. It's moot now, LoL! As of Fri, the S&W's are gone. Snooze ya lose,.... So I started to research the Colt offering they had in stock. Nothing additional, RedDot etc, for appx. $300+ more to start. Once more,.. As of opening their site this very morning,....
    YA Snooze ya lose,....

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricM View Post
    My understanding is the SKU the OP posted includes the Crimson Trace 4 MOA red/green dot shown in his pic (link). So if price, local availability, and being ready to go out of the box are the primary considerations, I might lean that way vs. the one with a fixed front sight and spending an extra $150 or so on an optic. I'd think the MOE handguard would be a little easier to mount a light to as well.

    No doubt the configuration TGS linked to is much more modern and flexible, and you can always keep an eye out for good red dot deals when Black Friday rolls around. How's the customer service from PSA in case of an issue? Generally heard good things about S&W in that department but haven't dealt with either myself.
    Yup,... Not knowing much of nothing at all. It seemed like a way to go to start off. (...assuming as I asked in the OP that the SW was a decent quality, beginner type AR.


    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.

    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.
    Awesome info, Thank you! That will be VERY helpful when/if I am finally ready to buy!

    I have a follow up on your "duty grade" AR recs,.. I have read a review or two on THIS rifle that is in stack atm,... Unlike Colt, but like most of the others you mentioned, I've Never heard of Double Star or Dragon. Any opinions on this particular AR @ that price point!.

    Seems to be Mil-Spec,.. with a lot of the barrel and upper "upgrades" that some ppl have mentioned for a decent AR.

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    And as for your last,..? LOL. No kidding!!! :O. 5.56 Ammo seems to be more elusive than even 9mm. So much so, it might just make any decision to pick up an AR regardless of price, quality or availability, irrelevant at this juncture.


    (...I found a few off, Off, OFF brands of 5.56 in bulk, but paying good $$ for those doesn't seem like such a good idea to me.)
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    Last edited by Chomps; 11-01-2020 at 10:52 AM.

  7. #37
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    Never heard of a Double Star. I'd pass.

  8. #38
    I Demand Pie Lex Luthier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rd62 View Post
    Never heard of a Double Star. I'd pass.
    What he said @Chomps

    There are several veteran LEOs here on the board who trust their lives to S & W-made ARs. I defer to their experience.


    Under the general search terms "S & W M & P-15 5.56" on Gunbroker, arranged by price;low to high:

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Semi-Auto-R...=4&PageSize=24

    here's one set-

    https://www.gunbroker.com/item/882465822 M & P-15 sport II, NIB with iron sights, $729 buy it now, quantity available: 8

    There are also plenty of the versions you posted earlier with the included red/green dot optic on Gunbroker.
    (Most here would tell you that Crimson Trace unit isn't reliable as a duty grade bet-your-farm-on-it sight, but you can surely use it to learn with)

    As noted, you can get the posted rifle to learn on, and get a more dialed in upper later to meet your needs as they develop. The lower receiver will accept all the usual upgrade components, same as any other decent AR lower. So better triggers, etc are well within reach.
    *If you have access to someone who knows ARs and can help you vet them,* some of the regular M&P-15s are worth looking into in the used market. They have nicer features than the Sport IIs do, such as chrome bores and bolt carrier groups.

    Let us know how it goes!
    "Elbonia did not need an air force for paratroopers since they were trebucheted into action..."

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  9. #39
    Hillbilly Elitist Malamute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chomps View Post
    Not knowing much of nothing at all.


    Seems to be Mil-Spec,..
    Be advised, "mil spec" means just about whatever the advertiser wants it to mean. Many aftermarket guns and parts are not truly made to actual military spec as far as materials (many dont use the specified materials for bolts, receivers, receiver extensions, etc, its expensive), inspections (like every parts individually magnetic particle inspected, also adds to the cost) and so on. Theres no standard for advertising, they can say about anything they want to about their products with zero liability as regards the term "mil spec".
    Pro Biscuit

  10. #40
    Sometimes Mil-Spec means Lowest-Bidder

    It's a standard that can be exceeded.

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