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AR-15 Platform

17 Nov 2016
@ 12:34 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Fellows, I know that some of you have had military or police experience. I'd like to ask a question that really doesn't belong in the hunting rifle forum, but it's one I've been wanting to ask for awhile.

For those of you that know, what constitutes a good AR-15 platform? I don't mean the lights, scopes, etc. but the actual rifle. Right now, the hot ticket here in the U.S. is Daniel Defense, but it is extremely expensive. I'd like to know if there is any real difference between an expensive rifle or an inexpensive rifle if they are made by reputable manufacturers. By those I mean Colt, DPMS, Rock River, Bushmaster, etc. And yes, I'm asking about fighting rifles, not hunting rifles.

Again, I'd like to ask for answers from those who really know. So, if you were SAS, NZSOF, Green Beret, or Chicago Police, I'm all ears!


17 Nov 2016
@ 08:29 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: AR-15 Platform
Ok, here we go.

In recent years I have been in a position to listen, observe and comment. I learn as much as I can and I try bring own independent experience to the table.

The one thing that you have to understand is that most of our soldiers are introduced to rifles as very young men, really just out of school. They are given X rifle, they learn how to use it and they bond with it. To them, their rifle, no matter what breed it is, is the best. It has to be. No soldier wants to be told that his rifle is a piece of shit.

Now be clear on this: Using a rifle does not make one a gun expert. The end user is just that, the end user. Unless he know better, having tested a variety of rifles and with a sound background in engineering, he may not be able to discern anything beyond whether the rifle jammed or did not jam. Many soldiers do not even understand basic ballistics. If the rifle shoots poorly, he will most likely blame himself because he places great trust in his superiors to provide him with the best rifle.

If anything, hollywood is to blame for modern misconceptions. This and the modern industry where every gun maker or shooting school uses an "ex marine" as their poster boy. Being a good rider does not make you a vet. being a good driver does not make you a mechanic. Being a good soldier does not make you a gun expert.

If you do not know better and do not have a wide range of experience with different platforms, you cannot report on what is good or bad.

The AR-15 is as you know, built by a variety of contractors. It is the QC that that matters most. All combat rifles are rigorously tested for function and reliability. There can be no great accuracy guarantee with generic infantry rifles (unless specifically stated) as who can predict what exact batch of ammo will be used anyway. The triggers are not crisp. The cross pins may have some slop. What really matters, is that the rifles keep firing whether hot or in extreme cold, that they do not jam. Again, function and reliability. Once the rifles pass these tests, off they go. The QC procedures tend to level the playing field with regard to your question as to which is best among mil contractors. Changes in staff and staff experience will also effect outcomes on a week to week basis.

Over the longer term, you may see some differences in wear. A friend who is an armorer reports that the Canadian Colt has proven more robust than others over time. Kudos to the Canadian workers. In NZ, our brass have selected the Lewis AR-15 after ongoing tests and after having had great results with the Lewis L129A1. The Ar-15 barrels are tuned for the 77gr SMK. Many retired soldiers here still feel that the SLR 7.62 will always be the best. It was certainly very robust and very accurate. It hit had more energy and potential penetration than the .223 however current .223 loads have changed the game to some degree.

The things I look for in an AR-15 rifle may not be the same as others. I like a very long forend to prevent the gas block touching anything when shooting prone, whether shooting over a pack or with the forend placed over rocks / mounds etc. I like a light crisp trigger so that each shot counts when culling rather than "carrying a full milk jug with my trigger while trying to shoot at the same time". I do not like 500 miles of picatinny rail to rip my hands, get hung up or cause a freeze burn or get caked with mud. But I am a civilian so I do not need quad mount points. I have seen civilians mount torches on quad rails- more shit to get hung up on. I want my cross pins tight, the barrel floated, the gas block small and out of the way apart from a top rail. I want a rifle that shoots 1 MOA or less, not more. I like a Longer 20" barrel for reach rather than a super short barrel as I do not hunt inside houses.

If you have a rifle with open sights, practice with them before mounting an optic. Make sure you know the trajectory to 300 yards. As for ammo, the 77gr load is the go (I see one lot on special at Midway at the moment). That or the Hornady 75 grain bullet.

The truth is, the things that a soldier could really do with, such as a crisp trigger, are not always an option due to the need for panic level safety. The realities of combat place a great deal of stress on the soldier. Some may be able to transition to accurate, designated marksman weapons while others may be at their best with a shotgun.

Severe stress affects us in many different ways. Our actual understanding of this is very poor. For example, a child raised with love, has far greater mirror neuron development. These mirror neurons can be called our interconnected nuerons, we feel a part of something greater. Those with a very high level, tend to feel that everything will be OK and will remain calmer than others under pressure. A good combat leader (or any alpha) has high seratonin, not adrenalin or some hard man fantasy chemical that is somehow connected with beard length. He may not be a tough hard man in the sense that some may think. Others, raised with either neglect or abuse, do not have this sense of interconnection. These people will feel threats more deeply and fear total annihilation of self under severe stress. Those who think that raising kids to be hard as a way to toughen them are unfortunately raising the opposite. Mirror neurons develop when we look into our kids eyes, smile and tell them we love them over and over again. This is how we raise strong and healthy individuals who are willing to take risks. As I have suggested, our understanding of stress to the soldier is extremely poor (outside of a handful of dedicated researchers), let alone which rifle he should use.

18 Nov 2016
@ 02:10 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: AR-15 Platform

Thanks! Awesome response as usual. I like your explanation of mirror neutrons as well.


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