What would you do to improve an AR for defensive use


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Kentucky
August 23, 2010, 06:18 PM
In another thread taliv wrote

some are are purpose built for CMP or 3gun. others are general purpose for carbine classes and defense.

with respect to the chart almost all of the latter exceed the mil-standards listed on the chart

So assuming you have a defensive/fighting rifle that is completely milspec, say a BCM, what would you do to improve it for defensive/fighting purposes? What parts would you replace and what accessories would you add?

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Mags
August 23, 2010, 06:23 PM
I would replace the stock with an EMod, trigger guard with an aluminum miad, throw a BAD lever on, replace the grip with a MOE or MIAD. I would also add a lightweight FF rail with an AFG. Choose either an Aimpoint or Acog if you need magnification and you're set, providing you already have the MATech BUIS and mil-spec everything else. Also some carbine courses require weapon lights for that I would get a Surefire scout light.

kludge
August 23, 2010, 06:23 PM
SBR it and add a suppressor.

rbernie
August 23, 2010, 06:25 PM
So assuming you have a defensive/fighting rifle that is completely milspec, say a BCM, what would you do to improve it for defensive/fighting purposes? What parts would you replace and what accessories would you add? I would take it to a formal carbine class or two and run it and run it and run it. Then I would look at how it worked and decide what needed to be changed based upon real experience and not an internet forum. :)

Mudinyeri
August 23, 2010, 06:26 PM
I would take it to a formal carbine class or two and run it and run it and run it. Then I would look at how it worked and decide what needed to be changed based upon real experience and not an internet forum. :)
Ha ha! Saved me from making basically the same comment. Thanks.

Joe Demko
August 23, 2010, 06:26 PM
I'd practice with it in a systematic way before I did anything else.

briansmithwins
August 23, 2010, 06:30 PM
Light and Aimpoint.

Assuming it works (you'll find out at your rifle class) everything else is just fluff.

BSW

taliv
August 23, 2010, 07:22 PM
Agree with rbernie but having attended several classes already, you can see how my kac is configured... Sling, optic and light. The brake is sweet but not at all necessary. If I had unlimited funds I'd try some of the sexy night vision gear but I don't know if it would still be on the gun at the end of class :)

taliv
August 23, 2010, 07:25 PM
That said the fail zero coating might be interesting too. I don't like the bad lever. A kac or magpul trigger guard is nice too.

ThePunisher'sArmory
August 23, 2010, 07:41 PM
"I would take it to a formal carbine class or two and run it and run it and run it. Then I would look at how it worked and decide what needed to be changed based upon real experience and not an internet forum."

Then what good is The High Road?

SSN Vet
August 23, 2010, 07:55 PM
Buy lots of ammo. Shoot it a lot and make yourself very familiar with the controls... with the aim of building muscle memory.

IMHO, a 16" AR with iron sights is a fine home defense, zombie defense, civil unrest rifle just the way it is.

Can you enhance it by spending more $ ? Sure.

But your biggest bang for the buck is to shoot is a lot and become very familiar with it.

A carbine class would be sweet, but that $ could go a long way towards juniors braces, and I personally would want to be very proficient with the basic operations b4 I went to a class.

benEzra
August 23, 2010, 08:14 PM
Assuming you're starting with a rifle that already has the reliability bits done right, I'd say:


good JHP ammo that feeds 100% reliably
light
couple of PMAG's
optic
sling (Blue Force's Vicker's-style Victory series 2-point is a good value)
improved flash suppressor (Vortex or Blackout), if not already fitted


...in that order.

The rest is just gravy, IMO. I would love a stock with onboard battery storage someday, but for an HD rifle I can go grab more batteries out of the cabinet when it's time for scheduled replacement.

ugaarguy
August 23, 2010, 08:34 PM
I like BenEzra's recommendations, but I'd put the sling before the optic - but that's just me nitpicking. I haven't added an optic yet. I'm sold on the advantages, but I just haven't shelled out the cash for a new Aimpoint yet.

My LMT M4gery is setup pretty light. I added a folding rear sight, and a sling. I bolted a Midwest Industries Picatinny rail to the front sight A frame, and a stuck a Surefire X series light on that. It came with a Falcon Ergo grip, and SOPMOD stock, both of which are really user preference items as to the type of grip & the stock. That's it until I add an Aimpoint M4s (battery life) or Micro T1 (less weight). After the Aimpoint I don't see myself doing much else but continuing to shoot it.

Hagen442
August 23, 2010, 08:50 PM
Mfgs need to make a 30-06 & 30 Carbine Version to satisfy us Old Heads.
The AR Platform is easier to add attachments than our Garands and Carbines.

Hatterasguy
August 23, 2010, 09:35 PM
I would start with a high quality off the rack AR like a LWRC, Noveske, or Colt and make sure it runs right.

DeepSouth
August 23, 2010, 09:40 PM
Mfgs need to make a 30-06 & 30 Carbine Version to satisfy us Old Heads.
The AR Platform is easier to add attachments than our Garands and Carbines.

+1

I would make it a 30cal of some variation, and I'm only 31.

Z-Michigan
August 23, 2010, 09:46 PM
What rbernie said.

A sling and a light makes sense for a lot of defensive uses. All other accessories, including optics, may or may not make sense depending on your situation, plans, and training.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 23, 2010, 09:47 PM
I think the training is much, much more important than the gear; but a good red dot and a light add a lot of capability to an AR for home defense.

JonB
August 23, 2010, 09:55 PM
I would add a flamethrower attachment. Nice!

Justin
August 23, 2010, 10:10 PM
The best mechanical modification you can make for the AR15 is the installation of a float tube. I'm a big fan of the ones made by Vtac with a cheap piece of plastic rail at 6 o'clock for shooting off of flat surfaces.

A sling is nice to have, and a scope like the ACOG will allow your rifle to be much more effective at longer distances (at the expense of short range).

Aimpoints are clearly faster and better if you intend to shoot from 0-200ish yards.

Magpul MOE grips and BAD levers are nice things to have but absolutely unessential to an effective rifle.

Ditto for backup irons, unless you actually practice with them regularly.

It's pretty cool to be able to bolt all sorts of addons to your rifle, but ultimately all of that stuff is useless if you can't hit a target at reasonable rifle ranges. A gun that's capable of hitting a popper at 400 yards is useless if you can't make that hit.

Know your gun, but more importantly, know yourself.

Sent from my G1 using Tapatalk.

ugaarguy
August 23, 2010, 10:33 PM
Mfgs need to make a 30-06 & 30 Carbine Version to satisfy us Old Heads.
The AR Platform is easier to add attachments than our Garands and Carbines.
How bout .300 Whisper on an AR-15 frame? Or 6.8 (.277) SPC?
+1

I would make it a 30cal of some variation, and I'm only 31.
Been around for a while in .308 / 7.62 NATO. They call it the AR-10.

CraigC
August 23, 2010, 10:35 PM
High quality red dot, free float tube, vertical foregrip and a light. I like an offset light mount so that I can manipulate the light with my weak thumb, rather than relying on a tapeswitch. For a sling I like the V-TAC for its quick adaptability and adjustability with just a tug.

I have to disagree about the grip swap. I don't have overly large hands but the stock AR grip puts way too much of my finger over the trigger. The MIAD is a much better fit and gives me a little more spacing for proper trigger control.

Actually, to be honest, for a strict home defense role I'd much rather have a pistol cartridge carbine than any rifle cartridge. Especially a .30cal rifle. Yes, everything is loud but a .223 or bigger going off indoors will be enough to not only disorient the shooter but also permanently damage your hearing.

lebowski
August 23, 2010, 10:36 PM
I think you have a quality carbine like an BCM (or other top tier brands - DD, Colt, LMT, Noveske, etc.), I really don't think you need to do anything. A basic carbine with iron sights is fine.

If possible, I do prefer to have a quality red dot optic and a white light. I also have a BCM gunfighter and ordered a magpul BAD for my go-to carbine, but accessories like these really aren't absolutely necessary, it's more personal preference at that point.

My personal HD M4gery is a Daniel Defense M4 with Aimpoint CompML3 and streamlight TLR1.

WardenWolf
August 23, 2010, 10:41 PM
Turn it into an AK. :evil:

But seriously, a 16" AR that's optimized for reliability and perhaps with a laser and flashlight is really the best you can do. In the vast majority of defensive situations, you're close enough that a gun's inherent accuracy doesn't come into play much. The most important thing is that it shoots. If you can count on it to go bang when you need it to, it's a good defensive gun.

migkillertwo
August 23, 2010, 10:46 PM
A defensive weapon needs a good red dot, a flashlight, and some kind of handguard with picatinny rails.

Also I'd consider steering away from HBAR rifles. Lightweight is always better.

I personally have a spikes upper, DSA lower with a primary arms M3 red dot and a YHM Free-floating quad-rail.

Zak Smith
August 23, 2010, 11:04 PM
The purpose of learning from a carbine class and not the internet is that you have direct experience that applies to how you operate your specific rifle and what changes might enhance or detract from its operation. The challenge put to the shooter and the carbine in a modern fighting rifle class is much more discriminating than either speculating idly on internet forums or plinking at the range.

Z-Michigan
August 23, 2010, 11:12 PM
A defensive weapon needs a good red dot, a flashlight, and some kind of handguard with picatinny rails.

What role do the red dot and picatinny rails play in a scenario involving lawful self defense, which will generally mean less than 25 yards to the target?

briansmithwins
August 23, 2010, 11:17 PM
What role do the red dot and picatinny rails play in a scenario involving lawful self defense, which will generally mean less than 25 yards to the target?

The red dot is going to get you hits on a bad guy faster and more accurately than irons.

Railed handguards do offer you a place to put a light. So you can see who you are thinking about shooting before you pull the trigger. BSW

possum
August 23, 2010, 11:19 PM
i am currently ordering all the parts for a BCM rifle right now, to replace my current ar. it is for defensive/ fighting use, so i figured that i would chime in

BCM 16" Socom upper
BCG this is very important so i am going to go with BCM of course
Spikes tactical lower
M2 sling (any fighting gun needs a good sling, i run single points more than anything else, and i like to have the option to make it 2 point if need be.(not that i will that often, however it is value added)
Optic and sights i have used and trained with alot of different optics in the militray and training sector, and i prefer the eo tech, so that is what i run, and with any optic you need a back up, i will be running an MBUS on my new ar.
lights you need a good light, i have several and i haven't descided which one i am going to use yet, but it will have one.
magazines you need good reliable magazines, i use pmags.
Odds and In's redi mag to speed up my reloads, and a BAD lever to make my speed reloads more efficient, and clearing a type three as well.

possum
August 23, 2010, 11:22 PM
the main thing is stay in context of what you need the rifle to do. for example i have an ar now with a knights armament rail, but the next rifle doesn't need that. i just need a handguard that will allow the attachment of the vfg, a light and a sling swivel. this way i save money, and i don't have a million miles of rail that i don't need.

now in the military context (as I am an Infantryman) i want as much rail as i can get for lights, peq 15, vfg etc.

Z-Michigan
August 23, 2010, 11:34 PM
The red dot is going to get you hits on a bad guy faster and more accurately than irons.

Yes, I know this is the standard advice, but is it really going to matter within 25 yards? FYI, I've done 2-gun competitions where I scored better with iron sights than with an EOTech. YMMV and I know that isn't how it works for many people, but you must understand you own skillset.

Railed handguards do offer you a place to put a light. So you can see who you are thinking about shooting before you pull the trigger. BSW

I agree on the light, but you don't need a fancy quadrail which is what the person seemed to be indicating. A $8 polymer rail section attached to your stock or MOE handguards will hold a small, high quality tactical light in place nicely, without adding much weight or costing a fortune.

Girodin
August 23, 2010, 11:39 PM
Light, Aimpoint micro T1, AFG, stock (likely a UBR), suppressor, BAD lever, MAgpul ASAP (pictured below),Magpul MS2 sling, Magpul MOE trigger guard, MIAD grip. Not all of these things are necessary. They are however modifications that I find useful.

http://primaryarms.com/images/asap.jpg

To those commenting about training. You are of course right that it is more important than accessories, at least it is IMHO, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Thus to answer the question and say how you set up your rifle or would set it up is doesn't assume there will not also be seeking training, buying ammo or whatever else.

To those putting on ACOGs and talking about 400 yard shots, I cannot imagine a realistic defensive scenario in which I am shooting to 400 yards.

gun guy
August 24, 2010, 12:01 AM
It's not so much, how you change a weapon for offensive/defensive it is the tactics and thought process that makes the most difference. The AR or Assualt Rifle is just that. The rifle was designed to press forward an attack, by a group of soldiers. It has long been shown that a high volume of fire, even delievered with poor hit probability, poured on a static postion, tends to keep the heads down of the defenders, and make them rush their shots. Also due to the sheer volume of spray and pray, some hits can be expected. A superior force, with a high volume of fire, can overwhelm a fixed defense.
Conversely, as the defender, careful aimed fire, designed to cause the maximum casulty rate is the desired goal. Only systematically eliminating the attackers number will cause the assualt to wavier and fall apart. If you are planning on mainly defense, those items that will increase your hit probability taylored to existing conditions. Day, night, close quarters, farm land etc. Items such as scopes, aim points, lasers, folding stocks etc. The pitfall you want to avoid, with all the gadets and rails available for the AR, is overloading the weapon with gizmo's, which slow the weapon moving into battery. And depending on those gizmos while neglecting range time. Remember Murphys law, and respect the KISS principal.

gun guy
August 24, 2010, 12:08 AM
A good commander will usually only consider assualting an fortified defense, with a 10 to 1 advantage. All to often even a 5 to 1 advantage has failed to overtake a fortified position. Always remember, most criminals are cowards, and not very bright ones to begin with. So if a couple of them, decide to rush your house as it were, they have already lost to the force multiplier by a factor of 5. Hit one, his BFF will most likely turn tail and head for greener pastures.

ugaarguy
August 24, 2010, 12:09 AM
The AR or Assualt Rifle is just that.
Except that the AR in the AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle, not Assault Rifle. Not the current Armalite either, but the original one; the division Fairchild Aviation where Eugene Stoner designed the weapon. Further, an Assault Rifle, by definition, must be capable of burst or fully automatic fire.

Girodin
August 24, 2010, 12:33 AM
folding stocks

That is not real practical on an AR.

redbullitt
August 24, 2010, 01:15 AM
I vote lots of ammo OR .22 conversion and shoot the heck out of it. That will take care of your sighting, controls etc. This has helped me a TON.

Either way, shoot it and try to drill with it.

LRS_Ranger
August 24, 2010, 01:54 AM
The best thing you can give your defensive weapon is lots of practice. Tactical doodads don't make you better with your weapon. However, quality magazines and a good sling will go a ways to making you better able to employ your weapon.

Barbara
August 24, 2010, 04:16 AM
Same stuff.

Practice/training.
Good magazines.
Good, dependable, repeatable ammo for defensive use. Less reliable ammunition can be used for practice but have a mag or two of the good stuff ready to go.

Beyond that, I have a lot of things attached but the minimum are probably a an optic with BUIS, a light and a decent sling.

Those are things that would be requirements for me, but there are a lot of things that I prefer.

I like a VFG which requires a rail but that's not a requirement and I find I've been sliding towards mag well use anyway, as it feels more stable for me.

An adjustable stock is good because I'm built relatively small.

Rail covers, hogue grip, etc? I have them but other than maybe a small spot of cover where my left thumb hits the rail, none of the other stuff is necessary.

Kentucky
August 24, 2010, 08:13 AM
OK, I probably should have elabroated a little more in my original post. Yes I understand that practice and training are priority #1. I practice a little more than I can actually afford to on my own dime. In addition, I am on my department's entry team, so that combined with our other regular training and shoots help the cause a little bit more.

I kinda wish I had left accessories out of my original post, and I was moreso talking about component changes to the AR. I probably just read it sideways, but in taliv's post where he mentions his fighting rifles being superior to the TDP for that purpose I thought perhaps he was talking about component changes to enhance reliability. For example, Noveske's barrels, which are supposed to be better than the barrels spec'd on the TDP.

Perhaps a better quality steel in the barrel? More stringent testing on the BCG? A more reliable extractor? Things like that. I thought perhaps there was an entire market of high-quality AR parts floating around out there and I was hoping to have an evolutionary leap forward in my understanding and knowledge of the AR rifle.

Yes, everything is loud but a .223 or bigger going off indoors will be enough to not only disorient the shooter but also permanently damage your hearing.

You know, I keep reading this but it is not neccesarily true in my opinion. I have fired quite a few rounds indoors now, some in shoothouses with rooms that are smaller and more confined than my own house, and I have not noticed any disorientation or permanent affects. As a matter of fact, when I am busy I don't really notice the noise of the shots much at all. I had never really thought about it until I was at a Dave Grossman class last week and he talked about auditory exclusion that often accompanies combat. I suppose that is the reason, in any event I don't find the 223 too loud for indoor work, especially when I consider the AR platform to be superior for fighting.

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 24, 2010, 08:24 AM
If you have a mil-spec weapon, the parts on it are gonna be more than good enough for home defense. I assume you're not riding around in a HMMWV busting down doors in the desert, so your rifle is not really gonna be seeing all that much wear and tear. Even going to carbine classes and taking it to the range often is not going to damage a good mil-spec weapon, like BCM. I will recommend both the Magpul ASAP sling plate pictured a few posts above. That helps tremendously with shoulder to shoulder transitions, which are essential when operating indoors. I'll add to that a new charging handle with the extended grip, which you can also find on BCM. Those are great for operating the charging handle easily with one hand so that you do not upset your grip on the weapon. Beyond that, replacing stock parts really isn't an issue. If you have a good AR in the first place, which BCM is certainly that, the parts it came with are more than enough.

*If you're in a state that allows it, I would definitely consider going the SBR route. Shorter barrels are always easier to use indoors, and the loss of long range accuracy is irrelevant with a home defense gun.

Zeke Markham
August 24, 2010, 08:33 AM
Quote:
Yes, everything is loud but a .223 or bigger going off indoors will be enough to not only disorient the shooter but also permanently damage your hearing.

You know, I keep reading this but it is not neccesarily true in my opinion. I have fired quite a few rounds indoors now, some in shoothouses with rooms that are smaller and more confined than my own house, and I have not noticed any disorientation or permanent affects.

Oh give it time, sooner or later you'll notice. I know it isn't always going to be available, but when ever possible, use hearing protection.

Tirod
August 24, 2010, 08:59 AM
I'm going to step on some toes and suggest that three gun and defensive fighting are two different things.

If you plan on carrying a pistol, have practiced transistion drills, and use a sling, have you done so indoors in your home? That is just one scenario of defensive fighting, and not the only one. Assuming you have your gear available at a moment's notice, can get into it, and be prepared to confront someone, would you be putting on a belt and holster, or just grabbing the AR?

My point is, sling use is another tacticool recommendation made by users who focus on a competitive event and assume it would be useful in actual combat in a defensive role.

Most likely, someone armed with an AR won't have a pistol, won't need to keep the AR from hitting the ground while using the pistol, and should be doing a better job of using the AR or making sure it was highly reliable to not need the pistol. The transition to sidearm scenario is based on sudden failure, that LEO/Mil will see it more often due to their constant confrontational work habits. It's a nice accessory for a two gun advanced user, not the casual gun owner. It's not even a recommendation by the military on a consistent basis.

In urban use, vehicular, or in buildings, slings get caught on stupid things, which create sudden changes in the users handling and negotiation of obstacles, like staircases, vehicle doors, fencing, furniture, vegetation, ad infinitum. A single point sling reduces the exposure, but no sling at all minimizes the risk to zero. You won't ever see snag obstacles on a range precisely because it's unsafe. Nonetheless, the world is filled with them.

The constant chant of the mantra "optic/light/sling" distracts from the fact a user needs to practice without them and get the basics down to the point they can't make a mistake. The chant focuses on buying gear rather than training, and assumes a high standard of expertise on someone with a credit card, rather than reinforcing the need to invest time in training.

I have no complaint about optics, especially red dots, and lights can be helpful if correctly controlled, I draw the line at slings. Unless highly skilled, slings can do more harm than good for an excited and untrained user.

possum
August 24, 2010, 09:06 AM
when you do get the gun, and gear figured out, i highly suggest that you attend some training, heck someone that is highly trained on an a2 bone stock gun is better off in my book than someone with all the bells and wistles, and no training. I have the training, and i will continue to do more. (another carbine class in march).

with that said, my first 2 carbine courses, which were both 5 days each was with a bushmaster a2 carbine post ban. i have moved on since then and figured out what i like and or need in an AR and what works best for me. It is a never ending process, as now there are even more things out that i want to try, and atleats give them a chance. (ie the afg, redi-mag, bad lever etc) if they work out they will stay on the gun, if not they will be sold.

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 24, 2010, 10:08 AM
The constant chant of the mantra "optic/light/sling" distracts from the fact a user needs to practice without them and get the basics down to the point they can't make a mistake. The chant focuses on buying gear rather than training, and assumes a high standard of expertise on someone with a credit card, rather than reinforcing the need to invest time in training.

A: I think it's a bit presumptuous for you to assume that people who use or suggest slings lack skills and just try to make up for it with gear purchases.

B: A rifle is generally a two handed weapon. What do you propose the defender do with his rifle in a home setting when one or both of his hands are needed for something else?

C: Have you ever actually practiced with a sling and had it get caught on something or really just be that in the way to the point you think sling use is foolish?

taliv
August 24, 2010, 10:40 AM
I kinda wish I had left accessories out of my original post, and I was moreso talking about component changes to the AR. I probably just read it sideways, but in taliv's post where he mentions his fighting rifles being superior to the TDP for that purpose I thought perhaps he was talking about component changes to enhance reliability. For example, Noveske's barrels, which are supposed to be better than the barrels spec'd on the TDP.

Perhaps a better quality steel in the barrel? More stringent testing on the BCG? A more reliable extractor? Things like that. I thought perhaps there was an entire market of high-quality AR parts floating around out there and I was hoping to have an evolutionary leap forward in my understanding and knowledge of the AR rifle.

KY,

that's pretty much it. You can get much better barrels than milspec, with better specs. For instance,
longer or shorter barrel, as appropriate for your needs
hammer forged or stainless if it's more appropriate to what you're doing
a wylde chamber (or noveske's et al copies, or sam-r)
a profile that's lighter weight
thicker chrome in noveske's barrels (arguably mil-spec, just not for the M4)

and that's just the barrel
look at the KAC SR-15 bolt lugs (better than milspec), extractor (better than milspec) and dual extractor springs (better than milspec)
the geissele SSA trigger is a lot better than mil spec and still reliable.
if you're looking for improvements in the receiver, look at the monolithic uppers

that's just a couple things off the top of my head. i'm sure there are literally hundreds of products out there that are better than mil-spec.

I'm going to step on some toes and suggest that three gun and defensive fighting are two different things.
i don't think you're stepping on toes so much as standing up straw men. off-topic strawmen at that. Please start another thread if you want to debate your opinion on slings.

Delta39
August 24, 2010, 11:03 AM
Abolish all laws restricting the ownership of SBR's. I know, ain't gonna happen.

C-grunt
August 24, 2010, 11:03 AM
I would suggest a sling and a light. Those I would say are needed.

The light to ID your target.

The sling can be usefull for many things. Like freeing up your hands to do what ever. More importantly it is good for weapon retention. If someone grabs your barrel and you are slung up, take a large step back and go to a knee quickly, this will usually either free the rifle up or bring the muzzle into the bad guy.

Red dots are helpfull for sure, especially at night. But I wouldnt say they are NEEDED.

CraigC
August 24, 2010, 12:52 PM
What role do the red dot and picatinny rails play in a scenario involving lawful self defense, which will generally mean less than 25 yards to the target?
Ever try to find your iron sights in the dark or while using a weaponlight? Finding your targets on a 3-gun course in broad daylight is a lot different from finding the intruder in your living room at 2am.


You know, I keep reading this but it is not neccesarily true in my opinion. I have fired quite a few rounds indoors now, some in shoothouses with rooms that are smaller and more confined than my own house, and I have not noticed any disorientation or permanent affects.
Without hearing protection???

Barbara
August 24, 2010, 12:58 PM
The constant chant of the mantra "optic/light/sling" distracts from the fact a user needs to practice without them and get the basics down to the point they can't make a mistake. The chant focuses on buying gear rather than training, and assumes a high standard of expertise on someone with a credit card, rather than reinforcing the need to invest time in training.

It doesn't at all focus on buying gear. If that were the case, I'd have suggested froofroo stock, a big honking quad rail with flashlights in two positions, a bad lever, redi-mag, and a Schmidt and Bender optic. Instead, I focused on the three things, for me, that made the carbines I shoot regularly useful for my purposes which are home defense and two gun shooting.

In the one situation where I used (but did not fire) my rifle in a home defense situation, I used the sling. I did not use a holster and in fact, set my pistol down to hold an additional carbine magazine. If I had been wearing more than a t shirt and undies, I'd have probably used a pocket but that wasn't an option. But my hands were full. I was glad to have the option of extra support if necessary.

My iron sights are sited in (well, they were until this past weekend, when I completely unassembled my barrel and upper receiver during an armorer's class..but by the weekend, they'll be back there.) and I can use them, although I'm not as fast with them and in the close quarters I'd ever likely need them, as accurate.

I've trained at least moderately well for a civilian and I'm confident in my abilities to hit bad guys, which is my goal for training. These three items are the ones, for me, that my training and use have led me to believe would be most useful to me in a defensive situation.

Zak Smith
August 24, 2010, 01:15 PM
Hearing damage is cumulative and irreversible. Torching rounds off outside with no earpro will cause some hearing damage - inside, definitely. You might or might not notice, but it's there.

I don't like a lot of junk on my rifles, and I do not usually like to have a rail fore-end. The exceptions are if I will be using a VFG more than half the time (useful when shooting full-auto or suppressed to deal with barrel heat) or have a light mounted. But there are a bunch of modular float tubes that allow just the rail sections you need to be mounted, which can reduce the overall bulk of the front end of the rifle.

I'm going to step on some toes and suggest that three gun and defensive fighting are two different things.
This shouldn't step on toes. Fighting and competition are two different things by definition. However, 3-Gun competition is a crucible in which better techniques and equipment are evolved to solve practical shooting problems. Fighting adds other aspects and when taking those techniques and tools from competition to fighting, judgment and experience must be brought to bear on if they are appropriate or not, an advantage or not, a liability or not, etc. However, with that said, competition is the place where most of the better tools and techniques are developed: the US Army and USMC both understand this and that's why they have 3-Gun (and other practical shooting teams).

My point is, sling use is another tacticool recommendation made by users who focus on a competitive event and assume it would be useful in actual combat in a defensive role.
I find this statement curious. I have taken a bunch of fighting rifle classes from a variety of trainers, and I have competed in 3-Gun at the national level since 2003. Categorically, 3Gunners are less concerned about slings and almost always only put them on their rifles when the stage requires it (otherwise they get in the way and can slow you down), while the fighting rifle trainers always indicate that the sling is mandatory.

You won't ever see snag obstacles on a range precisely because it's unsafe.
In 3-Gun matches I've shot from within/on/in vegegation, vehicles (moving and non moving), doors, walls, wobbly platforms, helicopters (both "prop" and flying), armored vehicles, trenches, trees, stairs, furniture, bunkers, etc.

EdLaver
August 24, 2010, 01:31 PM
Keep it light, enhance the trigger, add a 1-4x optic with an etched illuminated reticle (So if the batteries run out, you still have a reticle). Choose a grip and stock that fit your hand and cheek weld. Sling of your choice and if you decide, a flashlight.

LiquidTension
August 24, 2010, 01:33 PM
As long as you start with a quality gun such as a BCM and run it enough to make sure it's reliable, I don't see the need to upgrade any of the core components.

If we're talking accessories, I feel a light is mandatory for HD use. Other items could of course be useful (red dots, slings, VFGs, suppressors, etc.) but the light is the only thing you really can't do without.

benEzra
August 24, 2010, 02:36 PM
Yes, I know this is the standard advice, but is it really going to matter within 25 yards? FYI, I've done 2-gun competitions where I scored better with iron sights than with an EOTech. YMMV and I know that isn't how it works for many people, but you must understand you own skillset.
I am definitely a bit faster with an Eotech than with irons even in good lighting and a normal shooting position, but where the Eotech really pulls ahead is in lousy/contrasty lighting, oddball shooting positions, and moving targets (or shooting while moving), IMO. The fact that you don't have to refocus your eyes from the target to the front sight post to make a precise shot is nice, also.

Yes, everything is loud but a .223 or bigger going off indoors will be enough to not only disorient the shooter but also permanently damage your hearing.
Because the loudness of a gunshot is proportional to caliber and inversely proportional to barrel length, a .223/16" barrel is not significantly louder in terms of peak dBA than a 9mm or .40 with a 3.5" or 4" barrel, and is considerably less loud than a .357 revolver due to the barrel/cylinder gap. The sound spectrum may be a bit different, but in terms of hearing damage a .223, a 9mm, a .40, a .45, and a 12-gauge/18" barrel are all about the same.

CraigC
August 24, 2010, 02:42 PM
Pressure relative to bore size is also a factor and I have a REALLY hard time believing that a .223 rifle fired indoors will have no more effect than your average duty pistol.

Z-Michigan
August 24, 2010, 03:03 PM
Ever try to find your iron sights in the dark or while using a weaponlight?

I have actually practiced both of those skills. Cheekweld and practice, cheekweld and practice, cheekweld and practice. At greater distances and in perfectly-bad lighting conditions I can see the benefits of the RDS. Inside the house or at other short typical defensive distances I am not convinced of a significant benefit. The RDS is also a benefit if you're in the dark and your target is a big dark blur inside of dark. In that case, how do you know that your target is (1) a bad guy [rather than the cat, or your daughter's boyfriend] and (2) actually threatening you at the moment you shoot, therefore making the shoot a lawful defensive shoot?

I am definitely a bit faster with an Eotech than with irons even in good lighting and a normal shooting position, but where the Eotech really pulls ahead is in lousy/contrasty lighting, oddball shooting positions, and moving targets (or shooting while moving), IMO. The fact that you don't have to refocus your eyes from the target to the front sight post to make a precise shot is nice, also.

No argument here.

I'm not saying that the RDS is necessarily a bad choice, I'm saying that I do not consider it anywhere near essential for civilian defensive use. And it has some big drawbacks:
-cost - $400+ for a quality "bet your life" Aimpoint or Trijicon option
-turning it on - unless it's one of those two (leave an Aimpoint on constantly)
-even if it's one of those two, it can fail. If it's anything else, it's prone to fail.
-leave your rifle stored on its buttstock for months? I'll bet your optic has a lot of dust on the lens, making it poor to useless. Oh, unless you keep a lens cover on it, which would then be one more thing to have to deal with, or forget, in the heat of a defensive scenario.

I want to emphasize that I consider the optic choice more personal than many other gear choices, in large part because eyesight varies a lot from person to person in several different ways. I have great eyesight, I can shoot irons with both eyes open with no issues (ditto with an ACOG), and I apparently have an astigmatism that causes conventional RDS (not the EOTech) to be a blob instead of a small dot in moderate to dim lighting conditions. If you have poor eyesight, or at least don't have the astigmatism, the RDS might work better for you. But my understanding was that the discussion here is focused on essentials, not "nice to have" type items. If we go the latter route I would be asking for a para-M249 with EOTech, NVG, and maybe an assistant gunner to carry spare belts for me.

Dr.Rob
August 24, 2010, 03:27 PM
I think removing your irons and relying on optics only is a bad idea. Doesn't matter if its electronic or standard glass.. scopes get banged around and can fail. A sling of some sort is useful so you can use your hands. A flashlight is useless at long range but makes sense up close.

Good magazines are critical. Almost everyone is using Mag-pul now. I've had no jams with Colt or Mag-pul magazines.

Set your collapsing stock to where its comfortable and leave it. I used a bit of pac-skin to cover the hole in the top of the stock where it yanks on my beard. Stock AR grips aren't for everyone. I haven't replaced mine yet, but I'm planning on a Houge grip, same as my defensive handguns. I also added a slip on recoil pad.. not that an AR kicks much just the stock butt of the Colt 6920 has serrations etc that I found uncomfortable and would snag on my shirt when shouldering it.

And yes SHOOT IT A BUNCH and not just off a bench.

mljdeckard
August 24, 2010, 03:35 PM
I am a fan of everything magpul, and I might throw many things onto it, but at the same time, there is something to be said about learning the rifle bone stock, how to run it, how it will behave, what to expect, BEFORE you start tinkering with it.

The rule is; "Everything you need, nothing you don't." As with everything gun-related, the line between 'need' and 'want' lies with the individual. :) Just be willing to ask yourself if an accessory really makes the gun run better or if you just think it's cool.

Ike R
August 24, 2010, 04:06 PM
Essentials are sling either 2 point or 1 point that is capable of unsnapping, 100 lumen light, iron sights. it is nice to have am eotech or other RD sight, but it is not necesary in the home IMHO. A laser is not a bad idea IMHO, but once again not nessecary.

The other advantage to a sling that alot of people don't seem to mention is that you won't drop your rifle if you encounter an obstruction, slip, trip, fall, get stabbed, shot, tackled ect. I mention slings capable of unsnapping because in a carbine class I watched a poor uninformed student get stuck so many times because he couldn't clear a tangle or switch to off shoulder quickly enough with his stiff, immaculately tooled padded leather hunting sling that was permantly attached to his shoulder.

What is needed is training either from a pro or lacking the cash practical application of what you do know! I have taken a few carbine and pistol courses but I feel training in the area you have to work in is paramount to defending your home.

For example are you home alone? Are the kids gone, maybe the wifes out with them or friends? Sling on your rifle and cook a meal, or vacume the house, clear each room one at a time as you would in a SHTF LEFMO situation....get active in your home and on your property WITH your equipment so that muscle memory tells you how to move with that rifles weight hanging on your shoulders. Note area's that you can't move at the ready through and objects that give the appearance of an intruder, fix those issues if possible. Once you are comfortable with this include your family in the drill.

I do this regularly, in fact clear my entire property regularly, I let my nieghbors know what i am doing and invite them to participate, normally its me my father and brother (who live on each side of me) but some night's the young lady next door participates with her pistol. LE stopped one night as they drove by but a few words from my mother who waits by the road and he left about his business again. We clear the area's in and around all 4 houses, the rice dryers, and 3 shops, we move as a 2 or 3 person team, covered at range by someone in a "sniper" type position. its about a 7 acre tract, it takes about 20 mins starting on one side of the property together and going to the other, takes about 45 if my brother exits his home and clears his way to me, then me and him to my father, then us to our nieghbors.

Zerodefect
August 24, 2010, 04:50 PM
Ok, good thread. Good question. A defensive carbine should be kept simple, but have/do everything it can to keep you safe. No exceptions for cost or comfort.

Assuming using a basic base Flattop M4 type AR like a Colt 6920 or BCM I would add/change (in order of importance):

-Magpul AOTTC 2 DVD. Gives you and idea where to start, what works, and what you can expect at defensive carbine classes. Skip the first one, the basics are still covered in the second.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Magpul-Dynamics-Art-of-the-tactical-carbine-2-dvd-p/magpul%20dvd%20dyn002.htm

-Tacticle carbine training. Costs less than an optic, and is worth much, much more. Classes are $300-600 usually and about 1000rnds 5.56 and 300 for your secondary.

-Ambi safety, you don't get to choose to shoot left or right handed in a defensive situation, your cover determines which arm you use. And you can't just leave your safety off when moving.

-Magpul 30rnd pmags
-1x optic. Aimpoint ML3, M3, T1, H1
-Larue Optic mount (best of the best)
-Magpul Ms2 sling. Great sling, switches from 2 point to a perfect single point in less than a second.

-sling mount plate

-BCM chest carrier. You can keep 4 mags in this ready to go. Grab it and throw it over your shoulder anytime you grab your AR. Things have gone way south if the pistol on your hip didn't do the trick and your going for your
AR anyway.

-Magpul BAD lever. Speeds up mag changes, double feed clearence, and lefty operation.

-Rifle length Free Float rails. DD or Larue. You can't put a light on a carbine rail and still have a proper grip, you'll need longer rails unless you use a obsolete grip stance. If you want to stay with a standard carbine than MI makes a pair of rails that atach to the front sight base. It spaces your light out farther for a better grip stance.

-Troy BUIS, obviosly needed if you hacked off the front sight for your rail system.

-Light in a offset QD mount. I like Larues mount and a Surefie G2LED.
-Magpul XTM rail covers. Nice and tight.
-Forward sling mount on your rails. So you can switch the MS2 sling to 2 point mode.


Basicly I run nothing less than the above for defense. I may QD the light and ditch it during the day.

Ike R
August 24, 2010, 05:22 PM
Wanted to add that EMA tactical (www.EMAtactical.com) makes a very excellent CQC light laser combo called the TLL. its very small and while not mil spec I have had no issues mounting it on anything I own.

150 lumens on the light and runs 6 hours,

laser stays solid at POA even without locktite after rapid fire. (tested this on a 223 full auto fired off a grip pod)

has thumb and pressure switch with 4 settings to turn off, light on alone, laser on alone and light and laser on

its also quick detach

Price at a local gunshop was 107 dollars out the door with 2 spare batterys

no reason not to have both light and laser equipped at that price IMHO.

Also I am a big fan of vertical forgrips, especially the ones that allow you to hold a magazine, if you have one on your carbine then won't forget a reload

Kentucky
August 24, 2010, 06:57 PM
look at the KAC SR-15 bolt lugs (better than milspec), extractor (better than milspec) and dual extractor springs (better than milspec)
the geissele SSA trigger is a lot better than mil spec and still reliable.
if you're looking for improvements in the receiver, look at the monolithic uppers

Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate everybody's standard answer of getting training, and practicing, but believe me I am doing that and equipment does not preclude training. I have more classes on my wish list than I could possibly get to next year, I was hoping to discuss equipment upgrades that enhance reliability or functionality of a fighting gun.

Assuming using a basic base Flattop M4 type AR like a Colt 6920 or BCM I would add/change (in order of importance):

-Magpul AOTTC 2 DVD. Gives you and idea where to start, what works, and what you can expect at defensive carbine classes. Skip the first one, the basics are still covered in the second.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Magpu...d%20dyn002.htm

-Tacticle carbine training. Costs less than an optic, and is worth much, much more. Classes are $300-600 usually and about 1000rnds 5.56 and 300 for your secondary.

-Ambi safety, you don't get to choose to shoot left or right handed in a defensive situation, your cover determines which arm you use. And you can't just leave your safety off when moving.

-Magpul 30rnd pmags
-1x optic. Aimpoint ML3, M3, T1, H1
-Larue Optic mount (best of the best)
-Magpul Ms2 sling. Great sling, switches from 2 point to a perfect single point in less than a second.

-sling mount plate

-BCM chest carrier. You can keep 4 mags in this ready to go. Grab it and throw it over your shoulder anytime you grab your AR. Things have gone way south if the pistol on your hip didn't do the trick and your going for your
AR anyway.

-Magpul BAD lever. Speeds up mag changes, double feed clearence, and lefty operation.

-Rifle length Free Float rails. DD or Larue. You can't put a light on a carbine rail and still have a proper grip, you'll need longer rails unless you use a obsolete grip stance. If you want to stay with a standard carbine than MI makes a pair of rails that atach to the front sight base. It spaces your light out farther for a better grip stance.

-Troy BUIS, obviosly needed if you hacked off the front sight for your rail system.

-Light in a offset QD mount. I like Larues mount and a Surefie G2LED.
-Magpul XTM rail covers. Nice and tight.
-Forward sling mount on your rails. So you can switch the MS2 sling to 2 point mode.


Basicly I run nothing less than the above for defense. I may QD the light and ditch it during the day.

Thanks, this sounds like a great setup and kind of mirrors my own desires.

So when talking about component upgrades in the AR system to enhance reliability and usability, this is what I see on the list so far.

- KAC SR-15 bolt lugs
- KAC extractor
- KAC dual extractor springs
- Geissele SSA trigger
- Noveske barrel
- BCM charging handle

Bartholomew Roberts
August 24, 2010, 07:11 PM
Note that the KAC bolt requires a KAC barrel extension as well. You can't retrofit the KAC bolt to a BCM barrel.

benEzra
August 24, 2010, 07:57 PM
Pressure relative to bore size is also a factor and I have a REALLY hard time believing that a .223 rifle fired indoors will have no more effect than your average duty pistol.
Because of the duty pistol's far shorter barrel, the gas pressure behind the bullet at muzzle exit is not much different than the pressure behind the .223 bullet out of a non-NFA-length barrel at muzzle exit. Now, if you were comparing a 16" 9mm to a 16" .223, or a 4" 9mm to a 4" .223 (ha!) then obviously .223 would be louder. But 4" 9mm vs. 16" .223 is comparable.

I'm not sure if the following figures are dB (flat) or dBA (weighted to reflect the frequency response of the human ear). dBA is the more important number of the two, and I think these are dBA.

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml

Table 1. SHOTGUN NOISE DATA (DECIBEL AVERAGES)

.410 Bore 28" barrel.....150dB
26" barrel...............150.25dB
18 _" barrel.............156.30dB
20 Gauge 28" barrel......152.50dB
22" barrel...............154.75dB
12 Gauge 28" barrel......151.50dB
26" barrel...............156.10dB
18 _" barrel.............161.50dB

Dr. Krammer continues to say that shotgun noise averaged slightly more that 150dB. This is approximately 14dB beyond the threshold of pain, and more than sufficient to cause sudden hearing loss with complications.


Table 2. CENTERFIRE RIFLE DATA

.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18 _" barrel.....155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel...........................155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel.........................156.0dB
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel.....................157.5dB
.308 in 24" barrel...........................156.2dB
.30-06 in 24" barrel.........................158.5dB
.30-06 in 18 _" barrel.......................163.2dB
.375 — 18" barrel with muzzle brake...........170 dB

Krammer adds that sound pressure levels for the various pistols and ammunition tested yielded an average mean of 157.5 dB, which is greater than those previously shown for shotgun and rifle noise levels. There was also a greater range, from 152.4dB to 164.5dB, representing 12 dB difference, or more than 10 time as much acoustic energy for the top end of the pistol spectrum. It should be noticed that this figure of 164.5 dB approaches the practical limit of impulse noise measurement capability inherent in most modern sound level meters.


Table 3. CENTERFIRE PISTOL DATA

.25 ACP...........155.0 dB
.32 LONG..........152.4 dB
.32 ACP...........153.5 dB
.380..............157.7 dB
9mm...............159.8 dB
.38 S&W...........153.5 dB
.38 Spl...........156.3 dB
.357 Magnum.......164.3 dB
.41 Magnum........163.2 dB
.44 Spl...........155.9 dB
.45 ACP...........157.0 dB
.45 COLT..........154.7 dB

The figures he gives are for a 18" .223, so add a couple dB for a 16" barrel. And note that the loudest of all handguns are the the magnum revolvers, due to the combination of the relatively high working pressures and the barrel/cylinder gap.

Also note the big difference that a muzzle brake on a rifle makes. IMO this is one big reason not to use a muzzle brake or compensator on an HD rifle (the other reason would be the likelihood of momentarily flash-blinding yourself in dim light).

taliv
August 24, 2010, 08:47 PM
KY, note that i qualified most of those statements by mentioning your use case.

i don't really think the noveske barrel is necessarily, quantifiably more reliable than a bcm barrel. it MIGHT be sub-MOA a couple thousand rounds longer than a bcm barrel (assuming both started out sub-MOA). so if you NEED that, then go for it. clearly, the military doesn't think they need it, so they opted for the much cheaper spec.

i don't really know, but my guess is that as an LEOs in WY, you might need to shoot something a good bit farther away than an LEO in rural TN, since walmart parkinglots are about the only place you can see farther than 30 yrds

my point is just don't go buying everything on that list unless you need it or just want to :)

kwelz
August 24, 2010, 09:01 PM
Some good points Zero. if I could interject a few thoughts...

Ok, good thread. Good question. A defensive carbine should be kept simple, but have/do everything it can to keep you safe. No exceptions for cost or comfort.

Assuming using a basic base Flattop M4 type AR like a Colt 6920 or BCM I would add/change (in order of importance):

-Magpul AOTTC 2 DVD. Gives you and idea where to start, what works, and what you can expect at defensive carbine classes. Skip the first one, the basics are still covered in the second.
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Magpu...d%20dyn002.htm

Magpul vids are good. but I suggest also looking at some others. Vickers is expecially good.

-Tacticle carbine training. Costs less than an optic, and is worth much, much more. Classes are $300-600 usually and about 1000rnds 5.56 and 300 for your secondary.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO THIS!! This is the single most important thing you can do. Period.

-Ambi safety, you don't get to choose to shoot left or right handed in a defensive situation, your cover determines which arm you use. And you can't just leave your safety off when moving.

I agree this can be helpful but with the proper training you can work a standard safety left or right handed.

-Magpul 30rnd pmags
-1x optic. Aimpoint ML3, M3, T1, H1
-Larue Optic mount (best of the best)
-Magpul Ms2 sling. Great sling, switches from 2 point to a perfect single point in less than a second.

Agreed on the optics but I suggest the Vickers Tactical 2 Point sling. At the prompting of people here I gave 2 point slings a try and have found them much more useful/ Plus the MS2 sling is far to thin and prone to twisting. Also check out American Defense mounts. I like them slightly better than the Larue. They also don't scar up your upper like the Larue mount does. :)

-sling mount plate

-BCM chest carrier. You can keep 4 mags in this ready to go. Grab it and throw it over your shoulder anytime you grab your AR. Things have gone way south if the pistol on your hip didn't do the trick and your going for your
AR anyway.

Agreed although I would also suggest looking at a belt setup. You can fit a bit more on them like Pistol mags, lights, etc. But I in no way think the Chest Rig idea is a bad one. I have a couple

-Magpul BAD lever. Speeds up mag changes, double feed clearence, and lefty operation.

Here is the one area I am going to disagree on. I had them on all my guns. Thought they would be great for everything you said. They worked great in dry drills. Then I hit the range. Adrenaline was pumping. I was moving. I reloaded. I hit the Bad lever, and I sent a round into who knows where. When your blood gets pumping it is far to easy for your finger to continue moving into the trigger guard and light a round off. I have spoken with a couple people who know a heck of a lot more than I do about such things and they agree. B.A.D. is a great idea in theory but has a big flaw in practice. Especially with someone who is un or under trained.

-Rifle length Free Float rails. DD or Larue. You can't put a light on a carbine rail and still have a proper grip, you'll need longer rails unless you use a obsolete grip stance. If you want to stay with a standard carbine than MI makes a pair of rails that atach to the front sight base. It spaces your light out farther for a better grip stance.

Amen, I would also suggest the Troy TRX extreme and VTAC rails. Both are undere 200 and work great for a Home defense carbine.

-Troy BUIS, obviosly needed if you hacked off the front sight for your rail system.

Big thumbs up to this.

-Light in a offset QD mount. I like Larues mount and a Surefie G2LED.

A lightless carbine is pretty much useless at night.

-Magpul XTM rail covers. Nice and tight.

This is one reason I like the TRX. No need for covers. ;)

-Forward sling mount on your rails. So you can switch the MS2 sling to 2 point mode.


Basicly I run nothing less than the above for defense. I may QD the light and ditch it during the day.
Sounds like great minds things alike. Some minor variances but overall I agree with you.

Kentucky
August 24, 2010, 09:18 PM
i don't really know, but my guess is that as an LEOs in WY, you might need to shoot something a good bit farther away than an LEO in rural TN, since walmart parkinglots are about the only place you can see farther than 30 yrds

Well, I work for the city, so probably not too much further, at least in the line of duty. You are right about the distances though, even after a year+ out here I am still amazed by how far you can see sometimes. A 50 BMG wouldn't reach far enough to hit what you see sometimes :)


my point is just don't go buying everything on that list unless you need it or just want to

Yeah, I won't be because I don't know if I could get everything put together in time to defend myself against the wife when she saw the bill :) This thread was moreso to flesh out the idea and create a list of "better than milspec" components for the AR. And by better I mean "more reliable" or "more functional" without losing reliability.

I forgot to add a midlength gas system to my earlier list.

Zak Smith
August 25, 2010, 01:50 AM
I walked into a Super-Walmart once and started counting paces. I could walk over 300 paces line of sight in at least one direction.

Tirod
August 25, 2010, 11:20 AM
A: I think it's a bit presumptuous for you to assume that people who use or suggest slings lack skills and just try to make up for it with gear purchases.

B: A rifle is generally a two handed weapon. What do you propose the defender do with his rifle in a home setting when one or both of his hands are needed for something else?

C: Have you ever actually practiced with a sling and had it get caught on something or really just be that in the way to the point you think sling use is foolish?

A: Having read a lot of these posts in the 'net, I don't think it's presumptuous at all. I see a lot of recommendations for first time users to adopt gear that is professional grade and requires training first. Having been a young male, and still selling auto parts to them, I think I do understand that there are some that make gear purchases with no real understanding or experience. They buy more gun than they can shoot, they buy more hot rod parts than they can competently install and coordinate.

B: The Home Defender stereotype is to act like a Police Officer and attempt an arrest. Armed with a rifle, he's better off repelling the intruder and letting them go. Constitutionally, he's more often well within the law to shoot them once identified. I see little reason to need either hand for something else if both are on a carbine directed at the intruder. They are either leaving or down.

C:OIBC 4-83, 22 years Reserves. My last four years in I worked in an MP unit. Yes, I have worked with and without a sling, in the field, in admin situations, for weeks at a time. A Infantryman is not a cop, and beginning riflemen don't need complications in their initial training that cause problems. Again, get trained first, then add the doodads if needed.

Being most of my initial instructor's were badged to the max combat vets of Vietnam, and their consistent recommendation was no sling, I did it without much thought. Later on I got it, and still see little advantage to the beginning users. MP's, LEO, competition, no problem. Newb AR users with zip training, why create a buy impulse on something that's a bling item for their skill level?

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 25, 2010, 01:38 PM
I'm also gonna have to disagree on the use of Ambi-safties and the BAD levers. I understand this is a carbine for personal use and so my point is somewhat lessened, but I am a pretty firm believer in not adding anything to the weapon that changes its basic operation. One can train themselves to use a standard safety off hand. And the BAD levers just add a lot of stuff that someone else may not be familiar with. If someone else has to use your weapon or if the police have to pick it up, clear it, and log it in as evidence, I personally would want the operation of that weapon to be as close to standard as possible.

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 25, 2010, 01:41 PM
B: The Home Defender stereotype is to act like a Police Officer and attempt an arrest. Armed with a rifle, he's better off repelling the intruder and letting them go. Constitutionally, he's more often well within the law to shoot them once identified. I see little reason to need either hand for something else if both are on a carbine directed at the intruder. They are either leaving or down

So that home defender would not need to use a phone, door knob, light switch, perform first aid, pick a sleeping baby or child out of a bed to take them to the master bedroom, anything like that?

C:OIBC 4-83, 22 years Reserves. My last four years in I worked in an MP unit. Yes, I have worked with and without a sling, in the field, in admin situations, for weeks at a time. A Infantryman is not a cop, and beginning riflemen don't need complications in their initial training that cause problems. Again, get trained first, then add the doodads if needed.

You didn't actually answer whether or not you ever found that sling to be in the way. I have also used a sling on my M4 as an MP and for civilian LEO training. I have never found the sling to be anything less than a great help.

I also gotta wonder at the logic behind the OP or any other civilian being smart enough to become reliable trained to use any rifle, yet somehow a sling is too complicated?

Zak Smith
August 25, 2010, 02:26 PM
I didn't see on that page of dB data where the measurement was taken; however, from testing suppressors using the mil-spec standard (ie including location of mic), peak dB for a .308 with no muzzle device is always over 160 dB.

UnTainted
August 25, 2010, 04:45 PM
sell it and buy a sig 556? I hear they do well at the classes. I'd get the "pistol" version, SBR register it, put a stock on it, and add a suppressor.

kwelz
August 25, 2010, 04:54 PM
Sig is ok but offers nothing over an AR and has a few shortcomings of its own.

benEzra
August 25, 2010, 05:13 PM
Not sure where the mic was in this test, so I would be careful about comparing those numbers to numbers generated by different equipment. Within the same test, though, the comparisons should be reasonably accurate.

Regarding the milspec suppressor testing procedure, would that be MIL-STD-1474D, or something else? Depending on how recent the spec is, it's hard to say which would be more accurate in absolute terms (milspec measurement vs. top-of-the-line civilian equipment), BUT the milspec would probably make the measurements very consistent and allow good comparison between different suppressors.

Zak Smith
August 25, 2010, 05:20 PM
Off the top of my head I believe that's the one. To my knowledge, there are only two SLMs that meet the rise time requirements and I believe both of them are out of production. Both are "commercial" units and not military equipment. We have a B&K 2209 (and appropriate mic), which is one of them.

The mil-spec test measures one specific thing, and not necessarily the sound pressure level at the shooter's ear or at an observer's ear.

Zanad
August 25, 2010, 05:21 PM
I cant really add anymore about being prepared but i justwanted to add about gear in question:

I know I'll problably going to open another can of worms but for shear lightweight design, have you ever considered the bushamster carbon 15?

Zerodefect
August 25, 2010, 05:41 PM
I cant really add anymore about being prepared but i justwanted to add about gear in question:

I know I'll problably going to open another can of worms but for shear lightweight design, have you ever considered the bushamster carbon 15?


:scrutiny:Mother of Pearl!!!11!!1!!:D

Really, really lightweight. Won't need to carry extra ammo because the C15 won't make it through one mag anyway. Just messing with ya, c15 owners.

stchman
August 25, 2010, 05:43 PM
Piston over DI.

Also allow the use of cheaper Wolf ammo. I mean in a SHTF scenario what if you could not get ammo that was perfectly compatible with your AR? Are you going to tell the bad guys "you will have to wait until I can get some GOOD ammo for my AR before try and attack me".

kwelz
August 25, 2010, 06:17 PM
All of my defensive Carbines chew up Wolf Ammo just fine Stchman. Piston Vs. DI has nothing to do with that. Chamber spec can however make a difference. The only gun I have ever had trouble with wold was a Bushmaster, and they tend to have tight chambers.

benEzra
August 25, 2010, 07:17 PM
Also allow the use of cheaper Wolf ammo. I mean in a SHTF scenario what if you could not get ammo that was perfectly compatible with your AR? Are you going to tell the bad guys "you will have to wait until I can get some GOOD ammo for my AR before try and attack me".
A quality DI AR set up as is typical for defensive use (5.56mm chamber, chrome lined barrel, properly matched buffer and spring, properly staked parts) will work as well with Wolf as with anything else. Where you get into difficulties is with tight, unchromed match grade chambers, rifles with buffers that are too heavy to cycle reliably with lower-powered loads, and questionable extractors or magazines. Piston or DI doesn't matter as far as those factors go; a National Match gun or a badly assembled rifle may be finicky with Wolf, and a well set up rifle will shoot it fine.

Tirod
August 26, 2010, 09:59 AM
It's very easy to set up a list of possible needs during an encounter with a home intruder, each of them specifically supporting a point of view. The real issue is - does that actually happen? There are actually very few home intrusions, and handguns are often the preferred response weapon precisely because rifles are known to be more difficult handling around furniture and in doorways, halls, etc. Adding a sling to a rifle doesn't mean the user will have it around their torso - many leave it dangling, which begs the question, what good does it do then? It becomes a snag master, getting caught on doorknobs, knocking down decor, etc. If it is used, then how does that improve mobility or accuracy at distances usually less than 21 feet? It forces the user to assume postures contrary to the immediate task of aiming at an intruder around doorways or cover. Changing "hands" for ambidextrous use is then complicated by the need to reverse the sling.

There are slings that cooperate with the user to do so, but most makers will also advise practicing ambidextrous shooting to get it down right. It's not part of something a beginner should handle, they don't have the appropriate skills necessary in gun handling down pat, much less the tactical training. They don't even have the memory developed to charge the weapon or make mag changes consistently.

While going through OJT at my local MP unit, I was also a commercial hardware estimator, and sold to contractors building schools, jails, etc. Commercial doorknobs are required to have lever handles with a return to the door face within about 1". This requirement started as part of NYC fire code to prevent hoses from getting trapped in the handle while fighting fires. Slings can and will get trapped, too, as I experienced working in MOUT training over the years, plus simple field use in woodlands. Getting snagged up and tripping during fast movement is not only embarrassing, it can be painful, and can contribute to the failure of the teams effort.

The OP was asking what would make a Home Defense firearm better, and I don't see a sling doing a homeowner who doesn't have basic skills needing one. Better they shoot for familiarization with the weapon, learn tactics, and actually walk through their property with a view of how someone could break in.

Having also served eight years in a Reserve OSUT unit that taught Basic and AIT at Ft Benning and elsewhere, I am aware of the progressive nature of training that is needed to properly acquire the skill levels necessary. New soldiers go through ITT, team, squad, platoon, and company tactics in that order. Very few show up with the complete skills necessary to not only handle their own weapon, but also do so as part of a fire team, in MOPP, under fire, on the first day they are handed a weapon most have never seen. Almost anyone can learn it given time and practice, what doesn't happen in civilian life is for a homeowner to TAKE the time to practice.

Gear doesn't make a shooter, he becomes one progressively. The average man off the street is rarely prepared to walk into a three gun match, or assault, and win it hands down.

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 26, 2010, 11:08 AM
Task - Develop a reasonable tactic to employ a rifle or carbine in a home defense setting while: opening doors, using light switches, using a mobile/cellular phone, and picking up or carrying one or more small children and carrying them to a more secure and defensible location, all without a sling.

Zerodefect
August 26, 2010, 11:22 AM
Great points Tirod. I agree training is essential, and really opens up what a carbine can do.

I base the assumption that a carbine will only be grabbed for home defense after a CCW. With the assuption that a pistol is grabbed first (nightstand), but if there's time to pack, then grabbing the carbine and bugging out.

Unless it's a farm house, or huge property. In those cases a Rifle may be my first pick. Coyotes chasing livestock at night, strange cars at the gate, or maybe when bugging out isn't an option, etc.

Your dead on about slings. I make sure mine is snug. The Ms2 and Gear Sector single point slings stay pretty tight on me and are great for use with both hands. I avoid the big two points because I can't keep the slack wrapped up properly and end up snagged on a barricade.

Tirod
August 26, 2010, 11:11 PM
That "Task" is hilarious, and show just what is unrealistic about internet home defense discussion. It describes a complete loss of control over a situation in a dramatic scene fit for Hollywood.

If that task is on someones todo list for training, I have to ask why they would waste their time here? They'd be making good money on contract advising foreign governments or writing "American Dad" scripts.

RockyMtnTactical
August 26, 2010, 11:15 PM
A sling is essential must have item.

My next upgrade would be either a light and/or a quality optic.

That's about all you need IMO.

IndianaBoy
August 26, 2010, 11:55 PM
Take it to a carbine or 3-gun match and shoot it from awkward positions while under stress and sweating.

Take classes.

Spend time shooting from improvised positions.


Never waste time sitting at a bench rest unless I am testing new handloads.

IndianaBoy
August 26, 2010, 11:56 PM
Piston over DI.

Also allow the use of cheaper Wolf ammo. I mean in a SHTF scenario what if you could not get ammo that was perfectly compatible with your AR? Are you going to tell the bad guys "you will have to wait until I can get some GOOD ammo for my AR before try and attack me".

My DI AR likes Wolf just fine.

taliv
August 27, 2010, 12:52 AM
A sling is essential must have item.

yep

and I disagree with Tirod about slings, though obviously, I agree about training, training and more training.

I've never really been concerned about home invasions, but a few years back, my daughter and her friend (about age 8 at the time) came in from playing in the yard and said there was a stranger in the neighbor's driveway asking if her parents were home, etc. Long story short, the local police picked him up and turns out he was a wanted child molester from out of state. Since then, my thoughts around "defensive use" mostly involve running outdoors, not retreating to my bedroom and calling 911. I figure dogs, trolling pedos or rabid animals are all far more likely than a home invasion. Given that, there are a hundred reasons I could foresee wanting to do something with my hands (like carry a child) without leaving my rifle halfway down the street. Hence, A sling is essential must have item.

and I think your argument is poorly supported/constructed...

It's very easy to set up a list of possible needs during an encounter with a home intruder, each of them specifically supporting a point of view. The real issue is - does that actually happen? There are actually very few home intrusions,
There are actually very few defensive gun uses of any kind. I assume you don't believe that somehow means CCW is irrelevant.

and handguns are often the preferred response weapon precisely because rifles are known to be more difficult handling around furniture and in doorways, halls, etc.
If that were true, why do SWAT teams and almost everyone else who kicks in doors for a living choose to use carbines instead of handguns? Aren't they afraid their slung carbines will catch on all the doorknobs and furniture in the houses they're entering?
Speaking of hollywood, TV is the only place I've seen no-knock warrants executed with handguns instead of carbines. It seems like 'the real issue' is that if most people knew they were going to be in a fight, they'd bring a long gun, and most people only use handguns because they're convenient. and since the OP is a LEO, I'll guess he will likely keep both a carbine and handgun handy in his cruiser/house...

It becomes a snag master, getting caught on doorknobs, knocking down decor, etc.
help me understand how when ragnar suggests someone might want to practice/test operating a door while holding a gun, it is 'unrealistic' and 'hilarious' but you say slings somehow get caught on doorknobs enough to warrant building code changes!

If it is used, then how does that improve mobility or accuracy at distances usually less than 21 feet? It forces the user to assume postures contrary to the immediate task of aiming at an intruder around doorways or cover. Changing "hands" for ambidextrous use is then complicated by the need to reverse the sling.
I don't think anyone was suggesting donning our shooting jackets and getting slung in for accuracy during a home invasion. This seems like a total strawman.

but most makers will also advise practicing ambidextrous shooting to get it down right. It's not part of something a beginner should handle, they don't have the appropriate skills necessary in gun handling down pat, much less the tactical training.
Did someone say we shouldn't practice ambidextrous shooting? Seems like another strawman. And as for beginners, I believe the OP is an experienced LEO, and he's mentioned having attended training classes already in this very thread.

Very few show up with the complete skills necessary to not only handle their own weapon, but also do so as part of a fire team, in MOPP, under fire, on the first day they are handed a weapon most have never seen. Almost anyone can learn it given time and practice, what doesn't happen in civilian life is for a homeowner to TAKE the time to practice.
I'm not at all certain how this is relevant to the discussion, but assuming it is somehow, what does 18/19 year old recruits showing up in the military without complete skills have to do with a trained LEO? or for that matter, a homeowner taking the time to practice?

The OP was asking what would make a Home Defense firearm better, and I don't see a sling doing a homeowner who doesn't have basic skills needing one.
If this means you believe that a sling is useful for a homeowner who has skills, then maybe we agree after all and just have different assumptions about the OP's level of training.

Tirod
August 27, 2010, 09:17 AM
I have never said a skilled homeowner couldn't use a sling. The OP asked what was appropriate to accessorize an AR for defensive use, and I first stated that three gun competitive events and combat were two different things.

I further stated that just because someone had a credit card, an AR with gear on it didn't make them any better a shooter - especially if they had no training. Too many new shooters equate possessing a kitted out gun as somehow making them effective, when in fact, it can make things worse. Since an honest self assessment is also an admission of potential weakness, self image becomes an overriding concern - and out come the torches and pitchforks. I didn't expect any different.

A first responder to a home invasion, seeing the door open and the residents possibly in danger of their life, can and should enter the home with their sidearm to confront the assailants. It's becoming the response to quickly confront - rather than let the perps wander randomly around inflicting injury while the carbine is brought out of the trunk, or sitting idly by waiting for the callout crew to arrive 20 mins later. Point being, anyone can trick up multiple scenarios and nitpick the situation on the internet to support their view. Home defense is largely an internet fantasy to support the purchase of accessorized Entry Team carbines for gun enthusiasts who need to justify their latest affection.

As for sling use, this video came up lately, it's got a catchy soundtrack. I note that a lot of shooters don't have slings, those that do are practiced in loading around it, and that most of these guys have had all their obvious mistakes either practiced out of their action - or edited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcT1mw0i4fE&feature=player_embedded#!

You can't just buy a gun and be this good. Asking what to put on one over the internet potentially means not having any experienced advisers in real life, or worse, thinking a bunch of video gamers with guns are. The odds are, someone who has carried a firearm daily and trained with it is still doing so, and hasn't got the time to waste lurking on a forum. There are a few who can, I respect their advice, but that doesn't mean there is one monolithic answer to any certain situation, much less on what gear to use - except you have to train to get there and be able to use it.

Just having the UPS man show up doesn't make you a shooter.

taliv
August 27, 2010, 09:47 AM
i agree with that. but the OP wasn't asking what to put on it. He was asking what commercial components of the gun itself (receiver/barrel/etc) are better than mil-spec, since many folks rightly say mil-spec is a minimum not maximum standard.

Tirod
August 28, 2010, 11:26 PM
He left it open for accessories, but I have no problem with the larger intent. Milspec is ok as a minimum standard if we understand it's an institutional list of requirements that takes a bureaucracy to amend. Not everything on the list is sacrosanct, as the DOD hasn't the ability to retro fit carbines with processes or parts that could improve things in a timely manner. It has to do so as budgets permit, and iterations develop.

Case in point, the flash hider is a relic - developed decades ago, it does mute the visible signature, it does nothing to reduce the impact of the report on the user, and it is a diameter specified for rifle grenades - which I never saw inventoried or used in my training as an infantryman, MP, or held in stocks at an ammo point.

That is an item that can be seriously improved on, right up to and including using a suppressor. They are actually easily available, less expensive than in the past, have superior performance, and improve the users offensive and defensive needs. In Europe, they are often required at some ranges, and can be bought and sold more easily than the firearms they mount on.

It's actually going to be another Zumbo moment when some behind-the-times journalist spouts off about the complete lack of need for a suppressor and how only a criminal would consider their use. All of us with hearing loss know different. Had they already been in use for the last 50 years, many of us would be a bit less cranky about people mumbling at us.

You don't need much training to appreciate a suppressor, it could add length to a firearm, but using one on an SBR isn't a major legal hassle - in most states.

Another improvement over mil spec are the charging handles that allow left hand use; I'll go one better and suggest a left side charger upper is superior. A non reciprocating handle for the support hand to manipulate during loading, mag changes, or stoppages adds a lot to a combat carbine, and has been around for decades on other designs. If it's not all that ambidextrous, take a tip from the AK crowd - roll the weapon over.

If it's for defensive purposes, a more powerful caliber could be used. 5.56 isn't always the best choice, and the government can and has used others. For the individual, ammo costs may a concern. Using a different caliber during training can be done, including military or .22. Reloading can also cut costs dramatically. But moving up to a more powerful caliber matched to the task can be significant.

It's just one area that milspec can be improved on - because milspec isn't all that big a deal. Government requirements are not always leading edge or even the best choice. They can be arbitrary compromises the individual doesn't have to accept.

Brian10
August 30, 2010, 01:38 PM
I think it all depends on what defense means to you. For me, defense means very close quarters combat, navigating hallways to retrieve my kids, and potentially all during the middle of the night.

I'd want an SBR, 10-12" barrel I'd guess, with a flashlight attached. Adding a 1x red dot would complete it.

stchman
August 31, 2010, 06:58 PM
There are a lot of AR owners that won't let Wolf ammo within 100 yards of their rifles. Even CMMG tells you they will void your warranty if you shoot Wolf.

I shoot a lot of cheap .223 in my Mini-14 for plinking at the range. I have some better quality brass cased stuff as well.

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