Best C.A.R. AR Setup?

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Jul 16, 2005
I am looking at building my first AR, and have already ordered a lower. I was debating on a 16" varmint with bull barrell and A3 flat top for longer range. But also I am thinking of more close range tactical stuff and might want a car style rifle.

My question is this: What is the best setup for close quarters defense? I am assuming 16" with 4 position stock. What upper... A2 or A3? What sight system? I would like the option of scoping it as well for longer range stuff.

Eventually I plan on 2 ARs.. the CAR and the varmint. Which would you recommend I get first?
I would get the CAR first in a A3. I started with a used Bushy M4A3 Easy to scope the flat top. I changed to a flip-up front sight/gas block and use a 4X12X40 scope. If I find I really get into the long range shooting I'll build a 24", floated upper in 6.8 or 6.5G.
Just my opinions here.

For close range I'd think you'd want the gun light and short; i.e., pencil barrel or government profile - no bull barrel. If you're going to mount optics the A3 configuration is best, and for close quarters I'd want something like an Eotech. If you're not going to put an aiming device on it the A2's integral iron sights may save some bucks over getting a rear BUIS.

If you are going to put a scope on it, let me suggest a LaRue mount that will hold zero. With that setup you can remove the scope when you're at home and the gun's an HD piece, and reinstall it when you are going out for varmints.

Stocks are pretty much a personal preference thing and the 4 position stock is a fine place to start. I have adjustable stocks and I never use them in any position except fully extended. But I do collapse them for transport in cases.

I'd start with the CAR and get the varmint (or a varmint upper) later.
If it were me, I'd get the 16" version first. It will do most everything the longer-barreled gun will, but can also be used as a defense/plinking gun.

Here's my favorite setup (Rock River Arms Elite CAR A4):


That's not a lightweight barrel, though (it's sort of a heavy profile). On the other hand, RRA guarantees 1 MOA with that carbine with premium ammunition.
7.7 pounds is on the heavy side for an AR carbine, but if you're not carrying it around it's probably not that big a deal.
What is best depends on what you like. That's the cool thing about the AR--it's America's kit gun.:D

Keep the gun light as it will get heavy when you bolt stuff on. I like the flat top with a fixed stock (Sully), with single point sling. I run Aimpoint MLII or M3s with Troy BUIS, Tango Down grip, Grippod and a light. YMMV.

What's best for "close quarters defense"? A bunch of training.:)
If I get the A3 flat top upper w/ the standard front sight and mount optics on it, will the front sight not interfere w/ the optics?
A3 uppers have a detachable carry handle. I believe (not entirely sure), that the A4 has the m4 feed ramps and detachable carry handle. But I am sure that the A3 is the flattop.

In military nomenclature:

M16A1 - upper receiver is fixed carry handle with non-adjustable rear sights, forward assist, no shell deflector.

M16A2 - upper receiver is fixed carry handle with adjustable rear sights, forward assist, shell deflector.

M16A3 - upper receiver is same as A2. A3 is the designation for an A2 with a full-auto trigger instead of 3-round burst.

M16A4 - upper receiver is a flattop with forward assist and shell deflector. It may or may not have feed ramps.

Now in the civilian world, many manufacturers didn't realize that the military already had an M16A3 designated and will mistakenly call flattop receivers "A3". It just depends on the manufacturer in that case.
Depends on the optics.

I'm running an LMT 14.5" M4 barrel & flattop upper (one of the various Phantoms welded onto the barrel to extend it to proper length), EOTech 552, RRA Dominator rear sight (lifts the EOTech so the irons are in the lower third of the EOTech's window, rather than the center) & Magpul M93 stock.

Well that was interesting, Bart and Jeremy. If you talk to any dealer or manufacturer and say "A3" they'll interpret that as meaning a flattop. Now I know a little bit more about the miltary designations, but I doubt I'll come to using "A4."
This is my rifle...I got the 6 position stock, after this pic I also have added an UTG quad rail forend and vertical fore grip. Also, a riser for the red dot to get it over the front sight. I have the backup removeable carry handle. The red dot is a Tru Glo 30mm and has worked great. The AR broke a few lesser red dots that were promptly returned and traded out until I got one that didn't break and held zero.

Rock River Arms Entry Tactical, 6 position stock, Surefire Weapons light, Aimpoint Comp M2, Knights Armament RAS... and a bunch of other tacticool crap. I have 2 RRA AR-15's both have been 100% reliable, more accurate than any other AR's I've seen, well worth the wait and then money.

Don't try to buy it all at one time... go with quality, and go slow. I have relationships and contacts that made what I have very cost effective. :neener:


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