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Why are lower-end ARs so hard to get?

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default Why are lower-end ARs so hard to get?

OK...I'm new to the AR scene, but have several other guns and have been shooting forever. I want to get an AR-style 5.56mm rifle while you still can (no paranoia here, eh?), and have had my local gunshop guy looking for one. I live in Indiana, where gun laws are friendlier, and he's checked with several distribuors for a rifle or carbine in the S&W M&P 15 Sport range. Here's what a Smith employee told me:
The demand on that model has been extremely high and we are having difficulty keeping them in supply to meet all of the incoming orders.

Anyone know of a distributor that has anything like that? I'm not picky...would like a decent barrel (16"), maybe a flattop with detachable handle, 5.56 as opposed to .223, M4-type buttstock, etc. I would like an A2-style front sight with either a handle-mounted or rail-mounted rear sight. Nothing fancy, just your basic B-flat rifle. (Sorry...I'm a band director...). I've bugged my machinist son who owns one and has made parts for his enough to know the differences between low-and high-end carbines and have accepted that my price range rules out what you guys might normally recommend. Since I'm almost 60, the lack of a dustcover and forward assist doesn't bother me...knees won't let me crawl thru the mud... . Anyway, what's going on? Just a high-demand-low-supply market? This is starting to remind me of the primer/ammo/9mm shortage a year or so ago.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:51 AM   #2
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Look at palmetto state armory build kits. You'll probably find something you like better for an even cheaper price.

I recently found what I would like to have for about $650. They get good reviews, have a great reputation for good quality, and have some is the best prices by far.

I didn't actually order the parts, but I'm seriously thinking about it. I've been planning on joining the 1911 club for a while, but man that AR is calling my name.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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Your first mistake was having your LGS look for you. Do a little of the foot work for yourself and you'd be surprised at how fast you can find something (google).

Like trip said look into Palmetto State Armory.
“The bitterness of poor quality Lingers long after The sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
-John Ruskin

Originally Posted by Quentin View Post
"The biggest issue with assembling an AR isn't so much getting the parts together right - it's getting the right parts together."
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:50 AM   #4
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Good ol' supply and demand. You are experiencing capitalism at it's purest.

Take a wad of cash to every gun show you can find. DO NOT get in a hurry, but when you find what you want just out of your price range, walk up and pull about 80% of your budget out and count it in front of the seller. Offer him every dollar you have in hand and see what he does. If he high balls you, pull a few more bucks out and count the whole wad again. Look him in the eye and ask him if he wants CASH. I bet you can make a deal, certainly better than what you will see advertised.

And DO NOT GET ANTSY! Better to go home disappointed with your cash in your pocket than go home excited to find you bought a piece of junk.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:37 PM   #5
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Yeah, I agree that my local gun guy gets too busy to do much research, and he doesn't specialize in AR sales. He asked me to help with the search, which I am doing. I've learned an awful lot online, plus from my AR-owning son. My problem is that I have to hold the price down, as I do the website for his gunshop and this is the 2nd year that my compensation for doing that has been a firearm. I simply don't want to overdo it in terms of price. Originally I wanted the Smith M&P Sport but we can't find one at his distributors so I am investigating the kit route and other brands. Anyway, all advice is appreciated. the way, the website is A simple, easy-to-navigate site. the owner's a great guy and has some really good prices for a small, local dealer.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:24 AM   #6
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Does your local guy sell stripped lowers? Why not buy one from him if the price isn't much over $100, then buy the rest of the AR shipped to your door from Palmetto State as Trip said above. You'll get a good price and there's nothing like building your own AR.

BTW, if you can't get a lower from the local guy for $100-120 he's not your friend.
The biggest issue with assembling an AR isn't so much getting the parts together right - it's getting the right parts together.
US Army 1966-69, VFW Life Member, Retired Geek
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