Dress my AR-15 without going overboard


September 3, 2006, 12:25 AM
Hey everyone. I have a Colt Sporter AR in .223 with a 20" HBAR, solid rifle stock and carrying handle (no flat-top). I am looking to add to it for the following reasons.

-SHTF battlerifle

So what should I add? I was thinking about the following

-AIM-point or Red Dot scope.
-cheek rest or modular stock
-custom pistol grip
-SIR rails

I was thinking of adding a forward pistol grip, but I heard things about that applying twisting to the handguard and then pinching the gas tube. Is there any truth to this? Is there anyway to prevent it?

Im not looking to go overboard here with a tacticool rifle with a ton of things Im not going to need/use. I would just like a handier rifle for target acquistion and comfort.

Thanks. :cool:

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September 3, 2006, 12:50 AM
I have been down this exact road with my Bushie A2 16". I have finally settled on a configuration that keeps the rifle light, yet allows for fast targeting and accurate shooting. My Bushmaster is outfitted with a Streamlight Scorpion light, a carry handle scope mount, and a 1x20 Nikon scope. Like i said, shoots accurate out to 200 yds (farthest ive shot). I tried the whole front grip, bipod, rails everywhere thing. All i ended up with was a 12lb light rifle that balanced horrible and was a pain in the a** to pack. As far as the replacement pistol grip goes, feel free to swap to any which one fits your hand. I use an Ergo grip and love it. I also recently added a Command Arms stock saddle. I dont know how i lived without it for so long. It's kinda odd, that a $20 stock saddle can make the rifle so much easier to shoot accurately because i can get a real cheek weld now, instead of a jaw weld. And yes, that is a 5 round mag. I use it for coyote hunting.

September 3, 2006, 01:13 AM
Speaking on the foward pistol grip I havent seen any problems come from them. I put somewhere around 3000 rounds down range with an M4 in 6 months last year using the foward grip and never had a problem with the working of the rifle.

one shot one kill

September 3, 2006, 01:20 AM
A veritcal foregrip is only a problem on a cheap rail like YHM without a locking system.

Read up at AR15.com to see what you like and add a little at a time.

September 3, 2006, 01:24 AM
Before you go with a full on rail system (as the good ones are rather expensive), ask yourself this: What do you want to mount on it?

If all you want is a weapon light, consider a Surefire handguard light, where the light is integral to the handguards.

Is the A2 stock too long for you? If not, why replace it? If it is, you have a plethora of choices. My preferance would be for a shorter fixed stock, but the swoopy telescoping stocks are all the rage these days.

There are mounts that will allow you to attach an optic to the carry handle. Consider getting a cheek pad, but you may not need it. If you do get one, get one that straps to the stock and can be easily removed. That way, if the sight goes down and you need to use the irons, you can just rotate the pad out of the way.

Don't Tread On Me
September 3, 2006, 01:42 AM
Consider this...

Get an Aimpoint. Mount that with a carry handle mount that is see-through so that you can still use your irons as backups. That will increase your target acquisition a lot. More speed, better engagement. Also gives you night capability.

Swap out the grip for a Hogue, Ergo or whatever your personal preference is.

For stock, it would depend what you want to do. I've put my M4 stocked lower on my 20" upper after seeing that done on the internet, and it is really a GOOD idea. You get all the velocity and performance of a 20" barrel, but the ability to shorten down the rifle for use in cramped spaces. It's never going to be as good as a 16" or SBR, but it will definately be *good enough*.

When I get around to it, I'm going to sell the A2 stock on my 20" and go with a collapsible. There's also those ACE stocks. They are fixed and light and not bulky at all. You could get a shorter length for it..that might work.

You don't NEED a rail system to attach a verticle forward grip. I have a Colt rifle, and I have one attached with zero problems. It is a small piece of rail by GG&G, and that mounts through the holes..then you attach any standard vertical grip to that. I wrote about that in another thread here on THR. People report problems using this method and heavily advocate a rail system. I can put a lot of power on this grip and I have no issues or flexing. Colt handguards (at least mine) are thick and beefy and aren't flimsy like the handguards I had on a kit-gun once. That's my experience, so your mileage may vary.

A vertical pistol grip is nice, it helps you balance the rifle better since both hands are on the same plane almost, rather than your trigger hand vertical, with your support hand horizontal 5" higher.

September 3, 2006, 11:46 AM
The only "needs" I see there are
1. Have ADCO recontour the barrel to Gvt spec
2. Ammo
3. A light for HD/SHTF. G&R Tac has some great affordable packages

A collapsable stock on a 20" HBAR will make the balance completely awful. Just swap in an A1 stock.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 3, 2006, 12:25 PM
So what should I add? I was thinking about the following

-AIM-point or Red Dot scope.

If you are going to have the carry handle, I really like the compact ACOGs from Trijicon. They fit into the carry handle and let you use the irons just by dropping your head. They also let you mount a quality optic without having to buy a cantilever mount if you don't have a FF rail system to mount to.

-cheek rest or modular stock
-custom pistol grip

These tend to be personal preference items mostly. I would do your best to try them out before you buy them as these are items that people tend to have widely varying opinions about. As for add-on cheek rests, I am not a fan of them on the AR. If you go that way, make sure you can still use irons and that you can still use the charging handle with the cheek rest installed.

-SIR rails

SIR rails are some of the heaviest rails out there. The version for the A2 is easily one of the heaviest rail systems in existence (unless this is their new SOPMOD Block II candidate, which I haven't seen on the market yet). Adding this rail to a 20" Colt HBAR is going to make for a heavy rifle in general and a nose-heavy balance to boot.

If you go that route, you will likely want a vertical grip just to get better leverage on the extra weight. However, I would suggest that you consider having the barrel re-profiled to a Govt' profile and go with a lighter, less involved rail system like the new SIR, Daniel Defense, Larue or Knight's Armament offerings (DD and KAC are competing with new & improved SIR for the SOPMOD contract and are part of the final three).

The first step into getting what you need without adding things that you don't is to decide what you need. You've given us some rough categories; but they are so vague that they could mean a 20" 16lb rifle for one person and a 10.5" SBR for another. Letting us know your specific needs will give us a better idea of how the rifle might better serve those needs.

September 3, 2006, 12:31 PM
I have my Bushmaster A3 set up with an ACOG and that's it. I did have the vertical grip on my first Bushmaster but really didn't care for it. So, it just sits in the vault unused. Less is more for me. While I do have the flat-top adaptor for the ACOG, I use the carry-handle mount. It's more simple and I can still use iron sights.


September 3, 2006, 01:29 PM
I'll vote for a good sling and lots of practice with the iron sights. Remember that most 5.56mm ammo is most lethal on COM shots out to approx. 115 yards -- or less-- with a 16.5" barrel. That's well within iron sights range.

Maybe a front site inset, like a KKN crosshair?, could make you more accurate father out withour having to go to glass. Just a thought.

September 3, 2006, 02:19 PM
I found the KKN front duplex crosshair sight to blur to the point of being totally useless.

September 3, 2006, 04:53 PM
wow thanks for advice guys.

The cheek rest and custom grip are personal preference, so I do understand that. Im probably going to tinker around with some sight systems at some gun shops and decide from there.

As for the rails, I understand they are heavy and I do not need a complete rail set up. Something to add a Surefire on would be appropriate.

So thanks for all the great information guys.

September 3, 2006, 08:07 PM
If all you want on the foreend is a light, I again would suggest a Surefire Forend Weapon Light.

They're expensive, but likely less so than the cost of a good weapon light AND the rail handguards on which to mount it.

THESE MODELS (http://www.surefire.com/maxexp/main.pl?pgm=co_disp&func=displ&sesent=00&carfnbr=128) should fit your rifle.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 3, 2006, 11:30 PM
As for the rails, I understand they are heavy and I do not need a complete rail set up. Something to add a Surefire on would be appropriate.

The SIR rails are heavy. There are rails out there that replace the steel barrel nut with an aluminium one and the total weight comes out comparable or less than the plastic handguards (Daniel Defense). There are also rails that are full Picatinny spec rails that just don't weight as much as the SIR because they attach on the barrel nut instead of using a receiver mounted yoke.

If you want a cheap way to mount a Surefire, then the SoTech Universal Light Buckle and a Surefire G2 are hard to beat. The light buckle costs $14 and the Surefire G2 costs about $30. This rig will put out 60 lumens of light with a decent throw and I went 5,000 rounds before I finally killed the lamp on mine (spare lamps are $19).

Zach S
September 3, 2006, 11:58 PM
I cant stand 20" HBARs. The balance is all off even with the A2 stock. I'd have it turned down to A2 specs under the handgaurds.

My light is simply a 6P (9P coming soon) mounted to the front sight with one of these mounts (http://cdnninvestments.com/arfrsitomone.html) and some cheap 1" rings. I also have a tapeswitch from tac-star taped (yes, taped) in a location where it works for my gf and myself (shes right handed, I'm not).

If you add rails, you have more options on where to mount your light, and you can also mount whatever optic foreward of the carry handle to cowitness with your irons.

Adding a collapsable stock isnt a bad idea, if you have your barrel turned down.

As for grips, I just sanded the finger groove off of my A2. Works for me.

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