My former classmate messaged me wondering about AR15’s. Thus here is an introduction to mine, the thought processes behind selecting the various components, or lack thereof, and in general things to think about when you are considering buying or building a rifle. Certainly this was written about the ubiquitous american black rifle, but the thought processes are the same for me when considering any piece of equipment.


“hey ! ar15 huh? the black rifle that every american’s gotta have! the thing with AR15s is that there are a million different varieties, and for the most part, they will all work.

It all really depends on what you want out of your rifle, becuase ARs are full versatile and customizable. You could build one for $500 or $5000, all that is up to preference.

The best way to start, really is to ask yourself:

What is my purpose?

Once you have an objective, then you can figure out how best to achieve it. For me, I wanted a robust, simple, lightweight, military compatible AR15 carbine of high quality, with the fewest bells and whistles possible. I also wanted a the lower to stay with me for many decades to come, and be a good candidate for future SPR or accurized ar15 build. Thus I bought myself a complete factory LMT m4 lower with 5 position LE stock and LMT 2 stage trigger.

LMT is known to produce some of the best military m4s and m16s. They are simple, straightforward, and very high quality. cost is slightly higher, but fit, finish, is good. With LMT you know they didn’t cut any corners.

Then for the upper is a cheaper, CMMG 16″ m4 flat top. nothing special at all, not one bit special. I bought it at peak price for $700, you could probably get this for $450. Instead of the m4 fat handguards, i switched out for a set of 5$ mis-matched skinny car-15 ones. I like the skinny CAR handguards better.

To round out the package, is a RAD lock, which works as a bullet button in CA, or once unscrewed, as a normal mag release if out of state.

On top of my hand guards is a nylon, very light weight, FAB Arms 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock rail mount. It is ultra simple, and indestructible. In the 10 o’clock position is a bright led 6v flashlight. Mine is a cheaper UTG one, which is still very very bright and very high quality. Given the choice tho, I would prefer to go with a surefire g2 LED, which is twice the price, but it is made of nylon instead of aluminum. It is dimmer at 90 lumen vs 140 lumen.

I would go for the nylon because it is more resilient to impact, and scratches, and the elements, also it is lighter, and lightweight is important to me.

Dimmer in this case is better because it lasts 11hours on one set of batteries, giving better reliability so you don’t run out when you need it. Also, inside houses, most walls are white, and you don’t want to blind yourself indoors in a defensive situation. at 90 lumen, it is still bright enough to blind and stun someone, so it does the job.

also, the surefire can be locked off or locked on, where as the UTG light that I have is push on only. the surefire also has a “deform switch” capability, meaning you can push the side of the end cap and it will turn on, you don’t have to push the rear button.

sling is straight USGI silent sling, which i prefer for simplicity, ease of use, low cost (5$) and versatility. I am well practiced with that sling, and use it just as well as someone and a $60 super tacticool thingie.

I changed out the $35 ergo grip for a 1$ m16a2 plastic pistol grip. simple, skinny, light, good.

The rear sight is a daniel defense A1.5. It is a small rear tower with no carry handle= light. It has no elevation adjustment, as you can do that with your front sight to zero in. This makes it very very simple, no dials to mess up, get dirty, or break. only 1 moving part. In order to adjust it, you need a bullet tip, just like an m16a1…again, simple, can’t screw it up. It does not fold, and does not quick detach. fewer things to lose or break. When you look through it, it has the flip up m16a2 rear sight that we are familiar with, with the big ghost ring for close range and nighttime, and peep sight for precision work.

that’s my AR. oh, and add to that a CMMG .22 conversion kit for cheap practice, and ahem…a dozen mags for…well, you know, zombies. haha.

Thus! My AR is about as plain as you will ever see one. Nonetheless, I shoot it well, I know it inside and out, I love it to death, and I respect its capabilities and limitations. Is a nice, light little gun I would not be afraid to use, that handles great and is simple, robust, reliable, cost effective. Its a working gun, a tool, rather than a toy.

What do you want out of a rifle?