Is the A2 "Carry Handle" AR an optics stepchild?


December 24, 2008, 08:57 PM
I lucked into a great deal on a Bushmaster A2S, but due to eyesight problems, I'm unable to effectively use the iron sights.

I've tried to search and read as much as possible, but it seems like the A2 carry handle models take a third seat (that's further than a backseat) to flat tops.

My purpose is personal/property perimeter defense out to 100yds.

Would you invest the money to convert a perfectly good A2 upper to a flat top for more optics options, or just attach something to the A2?

I'm open to informed opinions before I haul off and waste time and money fixing something that, perhaps, isn't broken.:confused:

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December 24, 2008, 09:04 PM
There is really no way to convert an A2 into a flat could purchase another upper if you so desired. I have used a mount on an a2 with a scope. It works just fine for most shooting, but it is difficult to get a good cheek weld.

December 24, 2008, 09:22 PM
Yes, I understand. I can purchase the flat top upper for around $100 and change and have a local gunsmith do the swap.

Thanks for the input.

December 24, 2008, 09:23 PM
bravo has stripped m4 uppers in stock for a hundred bucks

December 24, 2008, 09:38 PM
Yep, that's the one I was looking at.

hmmm....wonder what my local smitty would charge me to change it.

December 24, 2008, 09:39 PM
Keep in mind that not only will you have to swap out the upper receiver, but you will also have to replace the front sight base with the corresponding "F"-marked one.

The F-marked FSBs are 0.040" taller in order to line up with rear sights on flat top uppers.

December 24, 2008, 09:49 PM
see there?

I have a lot to learn about this AR guns.

December 24, 2008, 10:06 PM
Perhaps something like these would help...

I do not have first hand experience with them, but they look similar to the ones supplied by Colt for their Delta HBars.

December 24, 2008, 10:07 PM
If it were me (and I’m a pragmatist, which means I’m swimming against the tide in here) I’d just find something workable and mount it on the handle. I see nothing wrong with doing so since you state your objective is defense out to about 100 yards.
Since you’ve already got “a deal”, why not keep it so?

Anywho, I’ve got an SP-1 ‘bout 30 years old with an original Colt 3x Sporter scope mounted on the handle, and it does fine. Bought a RRA when the ban expired, and got a flattop, but got the detachable handle and have an ACOG mounted on the handle.
I did remove the handle on my last purchase (Colt 6920) to mount an EOTech on it.

Anywho, with a scope mounted that high, if you try the old trick of zeroing at 25 yards (and expecting it to be zeroed at 100?) you’re going to have some wild bullet trajectories. If you go ahead and sight it in at 100 yards to eliminate said trajectory swings, you should be fine.

BTW…if you want to go real cheap, Hakko made the original Colt Sporter Scopes-you can find updated Hakko versions of ‘em for around $100 on eBay (I hear you should stick with the ones made in Japan).

‘Nother $100 bucks and you should be good to go!
‘Course, this ain’t gonna sit well with folks who like to argue ‘bout how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
You didn’t say being a match competitor was in the cards-just wanted for personal/property defense out to about 100 yards!

December 24, 2008, 10:11 PM
bblur, I hear ya, man.

That makes a lot of sense. (And I have seen those retro scopes online. Definitely old school and cool!)

My eyesight's not very good, and I wear trifocals so quick target acquisition is a challenge to me using a scope of any kind.

I had that variable sighted in at 50 yds. and easily compensated for 100yd 10 ring shots.

Might put some kind of a big view red dot on the handle and see how that works out to 50.

whaddya think?

December 24, 2008, 10:22 PM
whaddya think?

Heck if I know?
Don't know exactly how much of a handicap your eyesight is (mine ain't getting any better). My answer was based without taking anything unusual in the eye department into account.

If you can use a scope, I still like the idea of a new Hakko-you're only out $100, can probably get most if not all of your money back if it doesn't work out, and you said you're still learning so you get a chance to learn a lot for little cash!

BTW-I like my ACOG best of all-guess the EOTech would be 2nd (557 with 4x magnifier)-the old Colt Sporter is probably 3rd, but I can do just as well with it as the other 2-it just ain't fancy enough!

I've come close to buying one of the Hakko's to play with-some of the features sound pretty nice-my old Sporter is just crosshairs-nuttin' more.

EDIT: Might want to check out this post over at the "other" High Road?
Got into a discussion 'bout zeroing scopes, scope heights, etc. When folks tell you zero at 25 and you'll be good for X, they're talking hunting rifles etc-an AR with a handle mounted scope is going to be much higher from bore center than a hunting rifle. The free Remington software mentioned in the post is a great educational tool!

December 24, 2008, 10:32 PM
How's the Hakko for quick target acquisition out to 50 yds?

December 24, 2008, 10:36 PM
You can either use a gooseneck mount and mount a reddot or similar on it forward of the carry handle, or stick an optic on top of the carry handle. The former is preferred, simply because the optic offset of the latter solution.

The key would seem to be to get an aperture in the rear sight that allows for enough field-of-view to make the forward optic useable. I have no direct experience with a gooseneck mount and cannot tell you if a standard A2 100yd aperture is open enough for use with a forward-mounted red dot.

December 24, 2008, 11:06 PM
How's the Hakko for quick target acquisition out to 50 yds?

My Hakko works great for short or long range, past 150 yds or so a higher power is better for use nearly blind folk.

December 24, 2008, 11:16 PM
The C-More sight with the Scout mount works pretty well. There are actually a lot of decent scopes that will work just fine. The hardest part is getting a good cheek weld. A high rise cheek pad will help. The second downside is that the zero can be knocked off pretty easily. Apples to apples, the flat top with a good optic is going to be faster and more rigid- but the carry mount can work just fine.

December 24, 2008, 11:21 PM
Ditto the cantilever mount for a 'scout scope' type optic. Or, put a freefloat rail on the forend and mount the optic to it. Mounting it on top of the carry handle would be the least desireable option for me, but it will also work.


December 24, 2008, 11:35 PM
Just get an ACOG and mount it to the handle.

December 24, 2008, 11:37 PM
its different for everyone.

a while back i was looking around at mounts for my colt match target rifle.

its an a3 with the flattop receiver and i wound up sticking the carry handle back on it and mounting with lo profile rings on a carry handle rail.

it was just the most comfortable way for me.

so here while back while shopping for a new ar i decided to get the a2 because i like optics on the handle anyway.

as far as accuracy, and returning to zero, i havent had any probs with it.

in fact ive been very impressed with being able to remove the scope, put it back, and its perfect everytime.

try it before you decide to go buy an upper, might be the same deal for you.

Joe Demko
December 25, 2008, 12:23 AM
I've used handle-mounted optics on three different AR's with satisfactory results. Delta HBAR-style cheekpieces are available pretty inexpensively and work well enough if you want a consistent cheekweld. Right now, I have a Bushmaster with a 24 inch heavy barrel set up like a Delta HBAR clone, complete with rubber armored 3-9x scope. Absolutely a hoot for ridding the world of evil rodents and pumpkins.

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