AR-15 Reliability, like Glock pistols?


December 5, 2008, 01:09 AM
I've shot several AR-15s with great enjoyment and success, but I've yet to own one of my own.

I'd like to buy one and keep it around for self-defense, short-range plinking and for SHTF reasons, but I don't currently have access to a range. It may be a while (a year?) until I can get to one.

If I buy one, can I expect it to run well of the box should I have occasion to use it before I get to a range? Are they as reliable out of the box as Glocks? How well do they shoot to POA out of the box?

Also, I'm not very experienced at sighting in any rifle. I would need help regardless of whatever sights I choose. Which ones shoot well to POA with their existing iron sights before I get around to getting a scope or dot (whichever I decide upon).

I'm not crazy about scopes to begin with, (I was raised and taught with lever actions and bolt-actions with iron sights) and I can't really afford one yet. If I go to the range before I get a scope, what kind of 100-300 yard accuracy could I expect with the kind of iron sights that current AR-14s come standard with?


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December 5, 2008, 01:13 AM
for the most part they are superbly reliable.

had a colt that would jam every once in a while.

now have a bushmaster

apprx 5500 rounds. no stops of any kind.


is that as good as a glock?

December 5, 2008, 06:42 AM
Most of the positive things are 100% trued, most of the negative things said are only 20% true.

They are very:

-reliable, if properly maintained
-easy to order and install parts

December 5, 2008, 07:46 AM
I just bought a Stag Model 4 about 6 months ago:

I have to say it's one of the most reliable firearms I own, it's never had a FTF or an FTE. I've used PMC, Remington, Winchester, Sellier and Bellot, and Amscor (sp?) ammo in it with no problems. I couldn't be happier with it. I've used it both with the iron sights and with a 6X scope. I can hit a 12" circle at 100 yards with the iron sights non-benchrest 10 times out of 10. I couldn't be happier with it.

December 5, 2008, 08:09 AM
Depends what you are going to do with it. If you are heading to the sandbox, (well, you don't have jmuch of a choice then anyhow) a better gun may be needed. For the average shooter, the AR is VERY reliable. This is dependant on how it was made, what ammo you fire through it, and if you clean it regulary.

December 5, 2008, 10:13 AM
Out of the box they can be very good or crap. Just like any other mechanical device. I just ( last June) bought a Sig pistol that's been back 3 times for failures to extract. Previously, I purchased a Mossberg 590 that also failed to extract and required a trip baack to the factory for a new barrel and bolt to fix.

I think the stories abgout ARs lack of reliability stand out because:
1) So many rifle out there. ARs are one of the most popular rifles in the states.
2) Rifles being built to every standard (or lack thereof) in the book. Lots of ARs are built at home or by vendors whose only concern is what part set is ceapest.
3) Rifles being built in weird configurations that were never engineered correctly. Is anyone surprised the 14.7" carbines have harsh extractions? How about 7" barreled pistols?
4) Crap magazines. People are just unwilling to toss crap USGI mags when they start going bad. Pmags and other high quality mags have eliminated a lot of the magazine failures I used to see.


December 5, 2008, 06:05 PM
AR-15 Reliability, like Glock pistols?

I don't own a Glock, but those thing NEVER stop running, same thing can not be said for AR-15's. I have a Bushmaster, Colt and Stag...all of them have stopped at one time of another, however the AK I have has yet to stop. YMMV

December 5, 2008, 06:26 PM
well, Ive owned 2 Glocks and got rid of both of'em.. some folks have great luck with them, but I diddnt.
However, there are ALL KINDS of 'ARs', and reliability is all over the board.
I own a DPMS Sportical, and it has been 99.9999 percent reliable. only one faulty was from a lesser grade ammo, a failure to feed. its otherwise, exactly what I wanted from an AR, and more.

nothing like a glock ime. I just wont go down that road again.

I think AR's could be more accurately compared to 1911's.. as there are MANY brands, many Armchair commandos who support their favorite brand even if they dont own it, many variables of quality.
there are also folks who own and shoot various brands of both, and swear by one or the other, or other, or other...

so all in all, NO, AR's dont compare to Glocks in anything.
but thats just my opinion...


December 5, 2008, 07:41 PM
The brands of AR-15 I'd trust the most are Colt and LMT, or a Franken-AR made up of the right parts (Colt, BCM, CMMG, or LMT upper; Colt, BCM, or LMT bolt carrier group; H or H2 buffer if it's a carbine, and any old lower with a mil-spec tube).

The rest cut a few too many corners for me.

Evil Monkey
December 5, 2008, 07:48 PM
I'm not crazy about scopes to begin with, (I was raised and taught with lever actions and bolt-actions with iron sights) and I can't really afford one yet.

If you can afford an AR, you can afford a decent scope. No more than around $300.

December 5, 2008, 07:55 PM
well i sold my glock because i thought it should have grouped allittle better but as far as AR'S go i've got a colt,olympic,del-ton all perform great had a few jams with the colt and one slam fire(allmost gave me a heart attack)but now we are talking 5 jams over the 2000 or so rounds i put through it ......i think a colt needs to be cleaned more often

December 5, 2008, 08:11 PM
I have shot and shot the M16A1 and the M16A2 in the Army for 20 years. I never had a stoppage. FTF or a FTE once that I can remember. I cleaned them and oiled them and as promised they delivered flawlessly. If you neglect the AR15 platform then they will neglect you.
They are not Mosin Nagants or AK47s. They can take a licking and keep on ticking but you have to clean.
By nature of design they are accurate. The cartridge is accurate. the cartridge will not buck the wind nowhere as well as the heavier .30 calibers will and stay in line with the target.

December 5, 2008, 08:35 PM
Great information. Thanks to everyone who replied. It's just a matter of time now before I have one. :D

December 6, 2008, 04:25 AM
I dont own either, but from what I understand, there is a difference. Generally, Glocks will run without lube or cleaning, and generally, ARs will not.

December 6, 2008, 06:13 AM
AR's are NOT reliable unless you spoonfeed them special ammo and pay special care and attention to them.

If you feed them crappy cheap ammo, like I do, you can expect failure to extracts. If you leave mags loaded for long periods of time, you can expect failure to strip rounds. They routinely jam on softpoint ammo, a LOT. If you don't keep them clean and lubed, you can expect problems.

The AR would NOT be my first second or third choice in a chaos scenario, but they are a nice rifle to add to any collection. I like mine, I just realize what it is.

December 6, 2008, 12:15 PM
My glock is living proof that a maintained glock can go forever with a single hiccup in many years.
My original model glock 22 (40 s&w) was shot over 25,000 rounds over the years that I know of (it was used and I have no clue what it went through before me). The tip of the extractor chipped enough to start to cause an occasional failure to extract. A few bucks later and about 15 seconds of work I was back up and shooting it again.
An AR needs to be cleaned, maintained, and kept wet with oil because of the nature of the gas return system. If kept clean and oiled regularly they will shoot for many many years without a problem.
As far as durability I wouldnt do what a glock can put up with, to an AR, for that matter I think you could recycle an AK-47 into a small block of scrap metal with the amount of punishment glocks can take.
By the way Im proud to say that the glock I own still looks today like it did when i bought it, even the finish.

December 6, 2008, 12:24 PM
AR's are NOT reliable unless you spoonfeed them special ammo and pay special care and attention to them.

If you feed them crappy cheap ammo, like I do, you can expect failure to extracts. If you leave mags loaded for long periods of time, you can expect failure to strip rounds. They routinely jam on softpoint ammo, a LOT. If you don't keep them clean and lubed, you can expect problems.

The AR would NOT be my first second or third choice in a chaos scenario, but they are a nice rifle to add to any collection. I like mine, I just realize what it is.


I've shot many in civilian and the M4 in the Army. Failures are WAY too common.

A good gun, but expect to keep it fed premium ammo and keep it spotless (that means hours of scrubbing the carbon off the star chamber).

For a first rifle, I would choose something else like an AK, SKS, PTR91... even a lever action .357 or .30-30.

Regarding Glocks, aside from one kaboom from homemade ammo I foolishly bought, of the thousands of shots I've fired I've had zero malfunctions!

December 6, 2008, 01:16 PM
I dont have to feed mine anything special.....
it dont ftf, fte,..

but then again like I said. they are more like a 1911... depends on what brand, model, etc etc...

PS, you shouldnt leave mags fully loaded for long periods of time... I just keep 25rds in my 30's...

what would you expect to happen?

December 6, 2008, 06:48 PM
I have NEVER had an issue with my midlength and have run a lot of wolf, silver and brown bear as well as lake city value pack federal from WM. Every round has been fired using Pmags I would be just as confident in it as i would be my AK or SKS.

December 6, 2008, 06:55 PM
My experience is that my AR is never as reliable as my Glock. My Glock would run on anything I feed it. For short range or home defense rifle I'd go to my VZ-58.

December 6, 2008, 07:30 PM
Anyman-when you buy crappy ARs, there is a higher chance they will run crappy. When you use a worn out military m4, sometimes it will run crappy. When you treat it like crap and dont ever lube it, it will run crappy as ARs like to be run somewhat wet. When you buy a good AR and lube it occasionally, you will be fine. My smith M&P 15 eats wolf like thats its job. It eats prvi partizan, ultramax, and whatever the cheapest **** i can find happens to be and has never ever jammed or failed to feed through many rounds. It annoys me that there are people that have a bad experience with a crappy brand of AR and assume all ARs are that way, or worse, when someone doesnt clean it, doesnt lube it and then they go to the range, and it pukes on them, they wonder why and blame it on the platform. Go to arfcom and talk to some people who use their ARs for a living and go shooting literally every weekend, and on a side note a different poster mentioned dirty chamber lugs: I have never experienced/heard of/seen carbon buildup on the chamber lugs that wasnt easily wiped off with your finger or a q-tip, not sure what to make of that, besides there might have been something defective with that particular gun and the chamber was allowing gas to blast by the shell before it gets ejected. In general you get what you pay for with AR-15s.

December 6, 2008, 09:43 PM
flyboy i agree ......SOMEWHAT
i own a COLT H-BAR flat top
witch most say is top of the line

last year i bought an OLYMIC H-BAR flat top witch most say is junk

i'll tell u what they both shot great
very nice groups out of both rifles
no malfunctions lol in fact i got to where i just rotate them out from range trip to range trip

i know colt owns hate people like me who own both and like both because
when i post it makes it harder for them to look down there nose at outher AR owners

December 6, 2008, 09:50 PM
A GLOCK will eat every type of ammo you throw at it and ask for more. It'll also allow you to shoot thousands of rounds between cleanings without a single hiccup.

Now try the same ammo diversity and lack of cleaning with an AR and you'll be spending more time troubleshooting/cleaning/repairing than you will shooting.

If you were thinking AK, than yes - they are as reliable as a GLOCK.

December 6, 2008, 10:18 PM
My own experience has been that as long as you start with good parts, use good mags, and lube it, it won't fail you. I've got around 2000 rounds through a parts gun (CMMG upper, BM lower) without a failure, including plenty of Wolf, soft point etc. I probably clean it about every 500 rds or so, doesn't need to be spotless as long as there's some lube on it.

December 6, 2008, 11:36 PM
Well, another day and we have more of a mix of opinions.

What semi-auto is more reliable than an AR and still shoots well with open sights? Because I was also considering the Ruger Ranch Rifle which is also pretty fun - if not more fun.

December 7, 2008, 12:24 AM
You probably wouldn't hear many people argue that AR15's are Glock reliable...

That said, I hate unreliable guns. I own Glocks and AR15's and they both work great for me.

December 7, 2008, 12:27 AM
000buckshot: i didnt mean to say that all olys are crap or that all colts are perfect, i was just saying that in general, more problems are encountered with less expensive brands. Theres plenty of people out there who are content with olys, dpms, del-ton, and what have you, but the difference between you and the person i was responding to is that you seem to understand that not all ARs are finicky or unreliable. Its just that in general, there seems to be less problems encountered with more expensive brands. As far as jbauch saying that ARs are finicky with ammo. this is just another generalization. Some brands may be, but when you buy an AR from a reputable company and use decent magazines, your AR will not care whether you use fmj, softpoint, hollowpoint, wolf, silverbear, federal, or winchester. I dont spend more than 10-15 minutes cleaning my AR after a range session. But I clean ALL my guns after I shoot them, no matter what kind they are, so that is not a problem. I will not disagree that ARs need to be lubed properly, or the WILL eventually puke. Some people say that ARs need to be kept white glove clean. that is total bs. they NEED to have lube more than anything. So to answer the OPs question, as much as I love my AR, it is hard to come close to being glock reliable. you can probobly go through 50,000 rounds on a glock and not need to clean it whereas with a good AR, you will need to lube it probobly every thousand rounds or so to keep it going well.

December 7, 2008, 01:29 AM
I love my AR's but I can't say that they are uber-reliable. They don't like dirt, or mud or cheap ammo. The extractor is a bit finicky- the "D-fender" helps. The gas system needs regular attention- as does the bolt and chamber. The front sight/ gas block does not like to be knocked around. But when they run, they are the best. My Glock pistols tend to be much more reliable than my AR's.

December 7, 2008, 01:42 AM
Every time I shoot it, or any of my firearms I clean them spotless. After all, I find that one of the most relaxing things after shooting is to clean my firearms, its all part of the fun of shooting them. To me its what the weapon deserves, and what a rifleman should always do. Your firearms need to be maintained properly, if I dont have time that night, the first chance I get the weapon gets the maintance it deserves. Its also a great way to notice a problem that could get worse, or cost your life when you really need it.
A colt AR a friend has was bought used, it was only fired a few times by its first owner, the bolt was never removed from the carrier, and a few other parts were never removed for cleaning, but everywhere else you could have eaten your supper off of it.
I taught him to maintain it properly, he has so much fun cleaning it properly, and the bolt fits a noticeable amount better in the carrier with proper cleaning, and lubrication.
He has now fired around 400 rds through it, it has been cleaned and oiled properly 3 times. The rifle was bone dry at purchase time with the only indication of oil ever being put on it being a few drips around the bolt and the upper reciever, period. It was amazing how much oil this rifle just absorbed.
Oh well the original owner lost out on alot of money, he paid $1500 plus for it, my friend paid less than $900 to buy it. The few hundred rds he has fired finally made the first wear marks on the rifle. He is always asking when we are going out to shoot next.

December 7, 2008, 01:51 AM
That is asking a very broad question. How far back are we going? My garand hasn't had a ftfeed, ftfire, fte, etc. in over 20 years. There are plenty of semi's out there with near perfect records for that specific gun. Most guns are only as accurate as you are when using irons anyways. If the gun only shoots .75 inches instead of .5 inches with irons, will that be an issue (if you are doing comp, then yes it is an issue)?

The AR is a wholly different beast than pretty much all other semi's out there. I don't know of any that are gas operated in current production that were designed to have the reciever taken apart without tools while being extremely upgradeable with a minimal effort like the AR is.
My M16 fired well a few thousand rounds and never had a failure of any type while I was the operator and trust me, the bolt had been cleaned so much that there was little left that wasn't bare metal. I never spent more than an hour cleaning it after a range and could white glove it by the time I was done. I don't see where people say you need 5 hours in the locking lugs to clean one.

December 7, 2008, 02:03 AM
I had one problem firing non jacketed lead bullets once in my glock (the manufacturer says not to). After firing 100 rds of lead non jacketed rds it finally had a problem loading, the lead had built up in the chamber and barrel pretty badly.
As far as ammo, I dont use wolf, but Im going to try it. I do use ALOT of barnaul brown bear, I find it to be actually very good quality, very clean, they are loaded hot and go bang a noticeable amount more than any other brand Ive tried. They make a big muzzle flash, and its noticeable during the broad daylight. In fact I get the same accuracy results with brown bear as PMC, federal tactical, and many brands costing alot more with both my DPMS lopro classic and with the Ruger model 77 target rifle I have that places 4 bullets almost in the same hole at 100 meters shooting one handed off of a bipod.
Ive never had a maintained AR, M-16, etc ever jamb. The M-16A2 I carried in the desert years ago had been through Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, and was back into Iraq and Afganistan before being replaced by an M-4 with my old unit. I couldnt tell you how many thousand rds I fired through it, and many of them in combat. This doesnt include use by its former users and future users afterwards.

December 8, 2008, 09:54 PM
flyboy, you callin' my Bushy crappy?:scrutiny: nobody calls my Bushy crappy.:fire:

Anyman-when you buy crappy ARs, there is a higher chance they will run crappy

Seriously, I don't think the make has a whole lot to do with it. I think the major issue is the chamber taper is too light to be reliable with laquer or poly coated casings.

AK all the way. Life is too short to be messin' around with cleaning all the time.

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