AR-15 build: A4 or M4?


December 20, 2006, 01:46 PM
Any thoughts?

I have a Mini-14, which is a rather more compact and handy carbine than an M4gery anyway. I live in a condo; I won't be shooting .223 indoors, even at an intruder.

I've got a lower (currently with a fixed A2 stock) that is interested in getting an upper for itself.

My options:

1. 16" carbine of various sorts, many vendors.
2. Mid-length 16", few vendors, but attractive to me. I like the longer sight radius, longer gas system, and longer foreend.
3. Full-length standard M16A4 style upper, 20".

Since I want a fun rifle, and it needn't be tacticool at the expense of real performance, I've been thinking of going with the 20". I'd like a 16" midlength, but they aren't available from many vendors.

Anyone have comments?

Gas system longevity? Ergonomics? Fun factor?

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December 20, 2006, 01:56 PM
Just to give you an idea, a 16" upper mated to your existing hardware will look like this:

Zak Smith
December 20, 2006, 04:24 PM
Midlength 16" is the way to go for general purpose / defense (unless you go NFA SBR). ( [ link to LARGER image ] ( ( [ link to LARGER image ] (

For NRA High Power, you want a 20". For 3-Gun / action rifle, there are a few advantages to a 17-18" barrel and a rifle-length gas system.

December 20, 2006, 06:25 PM
I agree. Midlength is definitely the way to go. It is so much softer shooting than a carbine gas system, and you can mount an evil bayonet!:evil:

Bartholomew Roberts
December 20, 2006, 06:35 PM
If you already owned an AR in the past, then I'd try something new. If not the midlength is a great do-it-all AR that combines the best features of the carbine (light weight, handiness) and the rifle (sight radius, longer forearm, softer recoil impulse).

Vendor-wise, Armalite, RRA, Sabre Defence, Bravo Company, and CMMG all offer production variety midlengths and you can get them from the various high-end custom AR places as well.

On a 20" that you will be using for fun, about the only things to consider are that many 20" barrels are HBAR profile (about 3.4lbs). If you can get a government profile 20", you'll shave almost a pound off the weight.

December 21, 2006, 04:42 AM
A friend had Model 1 Sales take a short barrel and weld on a flash hider to make it legal, they also turned the barrel down in diameter to reduce the weight. It's an exceptionally light gun.

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