I know the Mods might be unenthusiastic, if I pick up on this one statement from a few months back, but I want to give my middle-of-the-road 2 cents:
for what its worth I was never a huge brand snob, started out with 2 mid-range guns Stag and RRA (back then when the 3 tier system was more meaningful than now) but I did feel very leery of entry level AR's back then.
But recently I thought about it; since we never fire our civlian rifles full auto the stress on them will be way
This is a huge factor in the material and QC you need for a given system.
I've spent years in Gov't Acquistions so looking at requirements and intended system use is key to evaluating any tool you get.
So whether you run a DPMS or Delton instead of a BCM or Noveske I doubt it will make any noticable difference in any situation that doesnt involve a lot of full auto fire.
Now if you are a triple canopy contractor you'd probably want a DD , or Noveske etc (at a level of workmanship which our troops dont even get) and it might only cost you 2 days pay depending on what you do.
But the quality of entry level AR's has become so good compared to years past, its ridiculous and they will serve the rest of us quite well, even if we ever <do> get in a high volume shooting situation (Heck the Delton Extreme Duty M4gery has not just HPT/MPI bolts but a CHF barrell as well, which is way more than our troops get, if they made it in a mid lenght thats what I would get)
PS: My so called mid range gun, my RRA ,compares to the army issue M16 and then M4 I used to carry. Carpenter 158 extractor, O ring, MPI bolt and barrell, accurate etc etc.
And frankly since we dont shoot full auto.. sometimes I am even wondering if even our entry level AR's are not starting to be a bit overkill in terms of semi-auto only since we run them very close to the god of "mil spec" ... which was written to support full auto fire.
And I LOVE the 16 inch barrel (which is not mil spec) especiacally if supported by a mid lenght gas system (also not mil spec).
The 16 inch barrel is a great compromise between handiness and ballistic performance and the Army almost
picked it over 14.5 inch for general issue.