Originally Posted by DrGonzo11
I have a chance to get a DPMS Panther Lite 16 (not a flat-top) for $675. I'm pretty much a dunce when it comes to black guns, so I thought I ask for help B4 making any decisions. Is this gun worth a damn???? Is the price right???
Here's something to compare what you are seeing to....
R-Guns.net for DPMS rifles
DPMS 16" A3 Sportical Rifle
NOW IN STOCK
Something to keep in mind, too....once folks buy their first AR, rarely does it stay the same for very long.
True - it is cheaper in the long run to buy the closest configuration to what you finally want the gun to look like, so you don't have to spend more $$'s changing things out.
But fact is, alot of folks won't know what that look or feel is, until they've changed things and tried them out for themselves.
One of the worst traps you can fall into...becoming a SHEEPLE and following what everyone else is doing and using...because THEY said so. While it is possible that it may work out for you, chances are even better that you'll end up with something that they said looks cool, but isn't what you thought it would be, or you realize that the latest "mall-ninja" look isn't for you. Then you are right back to changing things again.
You have access to the internet, check out a few of the AR sites, not just the forums, but actual AR manufacturer sites, as well as AR parts and accessory sites. This will give you an idea of what is out there, what looks good to you, what price range to expect, as well as some feedback (hopefully unbiased) from gun folks who do reviews on those upgrades or parts, as well as reliability and functionality.
Next, go to a range if you have one nearby, and see if they have rental guns or if you have buddies who own AR's, or maybe another shooter at the range who might let you try his. You have to pick one up, see what it feels like, not just in weight, but hopefully be able to compare an A2 (carry handle as part of the upper) to an A3/A4 flat top receiver (with or without removable carry handle). If you are lucky, you may also be able to compare a 16" carbine to maybe a 20" rifle length, or possibly a 24" long range rifle, just to get an idea of more configurations, weight and length of each, sight radius, etc. This will give you more of an idea of a few of the variations out there, and what you can build or upgrade to.
For under $700, you can be plinking and shooting away with what you found. For under $100 more, you can change it to a flat top upper that you can add optics easily. For a few more $$$'s you can turn it into whatever kind of AR you ultimately want. Or like in the link above, you can find one in the same price range that already has the flat top, and be a little ahead of the curve. But then again, maybe you like the A2 handle look, if so, go for it.
OR....you can save up that money, add a bit more to it, and start off with something closer to what you think you might want as an end product. The choice is up to you and your wallet. But...you really need to do some research and homework, to figure out what it is that feels and looks right to you, and that will work for what you want to be able to do with it.