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AR, Flat top Or Carry Handle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by KodeFore, Mar 31, 2010.

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  1. KodeFore

    KodeFore Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    Looking for an inexpensive plinker/hd upper. Wondering if what primary advantages disadvantages are between flat top & carry handle versions.

    I am leaning towards a carry handle because it comes with a workable set of sights I am already familiar with that will always and forever be available on the rifle. A stanag rail can be added to the handle for scopes & red dot optics.

    Looks like a flat top might have a little advantage for scoping because it puts the optics closer to the bore, but a lot of flat tops have the a2 sight and you have to chose an optic that works with that.

    What do you people here think?
  2. glock36

    glock36 Member

    Apr 29, 2009
    South West, MO
    You could always go with the flat top and a removable carry handle and then you have the best of both worlds.
    Good luck God speed
  3. bpl

    bpl Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Get a flat top and a removable carry handle if you want one.
  4. guntech59

    guntech59 Member

    Sep 29, 2009
    Carthage NY
    Get the flat top. I have a carrying handle that I will give you. I don't need it. You just pay postage.

    Where are you?

    FYI, I'm not a stalker or anything....just feeling generous.:D
  5. Quentin

    Quentin Member

    Jul 30, 2005
    NorthWest USA
    I'd also get a flattop then add a carry handle. But not sure why you don't want A2 sights - and that will be a problem because removable carry handles have A2 sights. I'm pretty sure to get A1 rear sights you'll have to buy an A1 upper with a permanent carry handle.

    Very generous offer by Guntech! Or you can often find genuine carry handles on eBay, I just bought one for $35 including shipping. (But be careful, most there are cheap knockoffs, look for one that has a proper forge mark. Also, there are two kinds of genuine carry handles that have different sight heights. The milspec/Colt type sights are 0.04" taller than ones sold by Bushmaster, ArmaLite, DPMS and others. The taller sights should be put on rifles that have the F marked front sight. The non-F marked front sights are 0.04" shorter than the F marked thus the shorter rear sight. If you match up the wrong ones you may have trouble screwing the front sight post up or down enough to compensate (which is why Bushmaster sells a taller sight post in case you get a Colt carry handle on their rifle).
  6. Seagrave7

    Seagrave7 Member

    Apr 27, 2006
    Go with a flat top. If you like the Carry Handle sights you can also go with LMT tactical sights. Same as a carry handle with out the handle.
  7. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 26, 2002
    You can always add a carry handle to a flattop. The reverse is not true.

    Besides, with a flattop, you aren't limited to just a carry handle. You can get a whole array of different iron sights for an AR15 flattop - HK-style rear drum aperture sights, M14 style sights, A1 style sights, folding, non-folding, etc.
  8. mrnkc130

    mrnkc130 Member

    Sep 29, 2009
    Justin, TX
    another vote for a4 with removeable carry handle...lot's more options...plus i think alot of people buy them and then sell the carry handle...i see them on craigslist all the time for like $40...so it wouldnt cost much more to get all the extra options...may even be cheaper depending on where you buy it from
  9. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

    Mar 12, 2003
    western Washington
    flat top. it can be configured with a carry handle and nearly infinite other sights, but if you get the fixed handle, it severely limits your options.

  10. Dwrice

    Dwrice Member

    Aug 27, 2009
    Western MA
    First if you are looking for a "plinker" an AR is not the weapon for you. Go to Walmart of Dicks and buy a .22.

    If you are looking for a very dependable middle level rifle, AR15 with the top rail is what you need. It gives you many options which many others have spoken about.
  11. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    :scrutiny: I see no reason not to get a AR for "plinking" and HD. While some immediately think of .22 rimfires when"plinking" is involved, I throughly enjoy "plinking" with just about every rifle or handgun I own. Economically, yes, one gets the most pulls of the trigger per dollar with a rimfire .22 That being said, several 30 round mags full of 7.62x39 and my AK puts me in "plinker's heaven" It might not be as cheap as shooting a .22, but sheer economy isn't my only concern or desire. While I might not shoot 500-1000 rounds per session with an AK or other rifle, I enjoy casual plinking with them all the same. After all, I'm not into buying guns I don't like to shoot, and sitting at a bench punching tiny groups gets old after awhile. I've learned more about real world shooting from hours spent plinking than I've ever learned sitting at the bench.
  12. Tirod

    Tirod Member

    May 24, 2008
    SW MO
    One man's plinker is another's luxury dream. The OP in this case asked for a plinker and "hd" gun. That subtle hint means .22's need not apply.

    The AR is a versatile platform, the Lego of the firearms world. Sticking to a non removable carry handle upper restricts options in mounting other sights and optics. Most mounts on the handle put the optics too high, making it less than good for getting a sight picture. It certainly works, but not at the optimum. As for the sights themselves, aperatures and posts don't get changed that much, A1 or A2 means nothing looking through them. Dialing them in at the range is the only difference. Familiarity and an understanding of how to do it doesn't hurt.

    Flattops offer more choices. Mounting a red dot with iron sights coaxial means being able to use them either way. For home defense ( defense in general ) it keeps some kind of sight picture available in more kinds of bad situations, the weapon will place rounds accurately, and there will be less question of liability.

    I got into the Infantry right after the VN era. Nobody in our generation would ever carry the weapon by the handle. It was a VN thing, with plenty of users photo'd that way. The negative outcome of that conflict and lack of tactical appropriateness tainted the carry handles use from then on, and it became an institutional no-go to be seen doing it, with correction on the spot from team mates.

    Like the Garand clip, you have to ask what was the designer thinking, or was it institutionally imposed?
  13. halfded

    halfded Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    I got an A2 upper for the same reasons you listed; and the flattops were out of stock at the time.

    I'm in the process of pricing out converting my A2 to a flattop (not sure which number that would make it? A3? A4?). To get it swapped to what I want (new upper receiver, rear folding BUIS, and some kind of red dot) I'm looking at around $300 or so. Wishing I'd either spent the money in the first place or been more patient waiting for the flattops to be in stock.

    On the other hand, the A2 has helped me tremendously because I couldn't give up on the iron sights and switch to an optic.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd go with the flattop with the removable carry handle. As others have said, best of both worlds.
  14. Patriotme

    Patriotme Member

    Nov 13, 2009
    Go with the detachable carrying handle. Sooner or later you will want to change things around.
  15. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    A flattop offers more versatility than a fixed carry handle.

    I don't like the big fastener knobs on removable carry handles. Whether my concern about snagging is founded or not, I removed them from my M4s and sold them.
  16. Zach S

    Zach S Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    Western NC

    Superior Arms used to make a really nice one as well.
  17. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Flat top for me as well. My old H Bar has a handle but back then that is all there was. Every thing else has a flat top and if I am looking at a used one I figure the cost of replacing the upper reciever in the price I'd pay.
  18. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC
    Flattop with a standalone rear sight and no handle would be my preference. The handle isn't actually much good for carrying the rifle, it adds weight, and it limits your optic choices. A fixed carry handle pretty much locks you into never using an optic, since carry handle mounted optics leave a lot to be desired.

    The only advantage that I see to a fixed-handle upper, unless you want a nostalgic Vietnam-era look, is that it's a little cheaper. Even from a weight standpoint, a flattop with a standalone rear sight probably wins over a fixed handle.
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