IMO, there have been many valid points made here, and i will throw in my 2 cents worth on the matter. i bought my first (bushmaster m4a2 carbine) my next one will be built, not sure as to the maker of parts yet, but i do know the caliber (6.8 spc rem.) i agree that you can build a ar for less than the price of one off the shelf, bare bones and not a lot of frills though. i believe that if you shop carefully and maybe catch a few parts on sale and take your time, and buy quality parts, you can have a very reliable, and custom rifle for less than one off the shelf. another option is buying one used in decent shape for a decent price and customizing it to suit you, sights, grips, stock, ect. ect. also by building of customizing it yourself, you gain a lot of knowledge into the inner workings of your rifle.