AR15s properly configured as Defensive Rifles

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by bluez, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    The following is my opinion.

    Different schools of thought exist on these things, but there are certain things most professionals can agree one what constitutes an Infantry Carbine.
    Since I am not using the Army or USMC parts pin, but have access to the more extensive civilian parts bin, my examples will look a bit different, not worse in any way though..

    ...but in any event, I will try to explain the configuration choices that IMO make up a good defensive rifle/Infantry Carbine configuration for a citizen..

    ...Also this is not about whether a given component is "high end" or not.. but simply on how the rifle is configured...which can be done with any "level" of parts.

    First some pics of rifle I own or have owned in the past, that were primarily configured as generalist fighting rifles, or General Infantry Carbines.

    What does this mean?

    Its means not configured as a designated marksman rifle.. often abbreviated as DMR..(which would entail a 20 inch barrel and a traditional optic among other things.)... DMRs need not apply since they or often not very handy...

    Also a not rifle configured as a PDW , Personal Defensive Weapon. Sometimes also known as trunk guns or truck guns... These are marked by very short barrels sometimes even mags under 30...Their short barrels and at time ultrashort stocks limit their abilities as fighting rifles as some performance considerations are subordinated to their handiness.

    So I want to present a jack of all trades that can fill a generalist infantry Carbine role
    This to me, presupposes a minimum barrel...lenght of 14.5 inches.. better 16 in order to get good performance out of available ammo.


    Example 1:
    100_0758.JPG

    This rifle is very close to what I consider a all around good defensive configuration, good for very short range and out to maybe 300m..
    I owned this rifle in the past.
    -It features a 14.5 inch barrel for handiness. 14.5 inch is the Army's M4A1 Carbine spec. The AK series BTW features 16 inch barrels.. I consider both barrels lengths fine but have a slight preference for 16 inch. This had a professional welded+pinned muzzle brake on it to keep it at NFA free 16.1 inch length. Dont play fast and loose with these rules BTW.
    This particular barrel is CHF chrome lined but your gear does not have t be this high end.. a "regular" ordnance steel barrel that is nitrided will suffice.
    - Adjustable stock... this is important to get your rifle to fit your personal ergonomics.. and also what clothes u happen to wear at the time. I prefer in the prone to pull the stock out all the way and when walking to push it in one notch from all the way.
    -This particular rifle has a less angled pistol grip. A BCM. I like these a lot. The original angle pistol grip for the M16 was designed when doctrine was still closely matched to traditional shooting from the prone.
    And while the prone is still the best firing position for cover and accuracy its well accepted now that most modern defensive uses occur when standing (or leaning over a hood, leaning against a wall or reflexive fire when surprised while walking, etc) or kneeling.
    This pistol grip is more ergonomic for that. I ordered a few of them and intend to equip all my ARs with them.
    - A 30 rd mag... yes this is the proper standard. Why not 40 rd or more? The extra weight doesnt help the rifles handiness and the "chin" of the mag juts out excessive for some firing positions.
    Then why not a 20 rd mag, wouldnt that be better for the prone? No. In the real world nothing is ever perfectly flat you have to adjust your elbows usually a bit on the high end anyway.. dont worry a 30 rd mag will not keep you from a good prone position... and when exhausted you might like the mag bottom resting on the ground for extra stability (even though its not good for the mag... but when u really need it .. who cares..)
    - A vertical front grip under a free float rail.. free float rails while aiding accuracy are not mandatory by any means... they come in different flavors ,, the army arsenal picatinny Quad rail, as adopted by Army and USMC, (which I still prefer), M-Lok and others... the main thing is there is a vertical front grip installed and its not too far forward.
    This is a bit of a personal preference of mine... not everyone agrees with this. A VFG is Army Standard on the M4 but many "cool kids" like to use holds that dont use a VFG grip at all... My arguement for it is, is that its a 80% solution... its helpful to reduce fatigue when walking in the low ready, and also helps ripping the carbine around quickly from the low ready.. Its not the best tool for every single firing hold but an decent one for a great many of them..
    Most of us who train have limited training time and ammo budget.. so it may be best to just pick one hold and train with it until its mastered.
    But again this is a personal preference and not all people whom I respect, agree.
    - A weapons mounted light. A lot of defense shootings happen at night.. It can be a useful tool if used wisely.
    - This particular rifle is configured with a muzzle brake instead of a flash hider.. many sport shooters or competitors prefer muzzle brakes.. but for a defensive rifle.. just no.... .. I bought it used with the brake on it. I strongly prefer a flash hider... in this caliber there simply is no reason to worry about recoil... especially not to the extent of being willing to self blind with muzzle flash at night which a muzzle brake might do... and also the muzzle brake acts as a loudener.. not good if you have have to shoot indoors on short notice and dont wear your muffs.
    They also kick up extra dust when shooting close to the ground.
    - Electroptics. A defensive Carbine is set up for close to medium ranges. Electro optics such as red dots or holographic weapons sights such as this one ( an EOtech 512) excel at this.
    Note the postion on the rail far forward. it looks goofy but its the proper set up for this... some push even further to the front.

    This is another one of my rifles.
    The famous LWRC M6A2.. but its not about how hi end a Carbine is but this article is about configuration..
    No muzzle brake but flashhider, extended trigger guard, Adjustable stock, weapons mounted light, VFG a decent electrooptic mounted forward...
    101_0673bbcc.jpg

    This has something important the previous one missed a traditional 2 point sling.
    One point slings look cool but dont really accomplish that which a sling is supposed to accomplish... Keep your hands free and your rifle out of the way while you, load a vehicle, do work , climb, march while handling a a radio etc etc..

    Also on this rifle you can see an extended latch charging handle..
    Those are an significant ergonomic improvement over the original design.
    Every single one of my Carbines have extended ergonomic charging handles like this now.
    This particular one is a BCM medium
    The pistol grip has the old school angle (since changed to the more vertical BCM)
    Both rifles feature back up sights.. flippable magpul... which work quite well and are quite robust...
    Most folks would say you MUST have back ups sights and for good reason... but I am not really doctrinaire about that... some of the modern electrooptics are more robust than the rifle itself... so IMHO its less of a must-have than maybe years ago..
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
    PANDEMIC, Oldoutlaw, locutus and 2 others like this.
  2. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    Here is another. This one is missing its sling. and is running a basic Red dot (TRS25 if memory serves... the cheapest red dot that, in a money-crunch pinch, is still serviceable IMO, I got it on sale for 60 bucks) but has all the other elements i discussed.
    It has a troy Quadrail (I like those, but be sure to screw 'em on tight, maybe even with hi temp loctite), a flash hider (yes it looks different, but its a flashider not a muzzle brake)
    I configure all my generalist rifles more or less the same.. same position for Vertical front grip.. same angled pistol grip., same position for electrooptic, etc

    Some of you may notice that my mags tend not to be the more common dark grey/near black of polymer mags.
    That is on purpose.. in daytime especially in front of alight colored background like a housing wall, a wall in a room, against a field of grass .. against a lake view etc etc... a dark banana clip jutting out under your rifle helps the human eye to recognize what you are holding as a weapon.

    The idea is not to make it easy. Thats is why I like to paint and or mix colors on my defensive carbines as well.
    Every little bit helps and any fraction of a second you can slow down the others guys OODA loop may save your life.
    So a great many of my mags are in FDE or OD Green or painted.

    Some of my other rifles are painted stem to stern in camo.
    I havent gotten around to it with all of them.. life sometimes gets on the way of these things..

    100_0721.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
    PANDEMIC, Oldoutlaw, JTJ and 4 others like this.

  3. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    Ok one more... here is a fully camoed rifle..
    This rifle was near perfect.. except I needed to replace the pistol grip with a more modern angled one such as BCM.
    Actually the powdercoated kryptek is a bit over the top for my tastes.. but years ago it was a package deal used unfired and I coudlnt pass it up.
    As some of you will have noticed I tried to cover up the dark Eotech with some camo tape.
    Later I got the rest of the Eotech as well.

    A paint job does not have to be this Gucci to be servicable..
    ..but here it is.. food for thought..
    (On this rifle every single component was high end.. Geisselle rail, Noveske barrel.. powder coated at the factory..upgraded trigger, Kryptek B5 systems sopmod stock, machined upper and lower,.. etc etc.. sold it during a short period of unemployment, a sale I regret but at least it was to a friend.. who had been eyeing it with lust in his eyes when we shot together previously...)
    306964.jpg

    307170.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
    PANDEMIC, Oldoutlaw, JTJ and 3 others like this.
  4. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    So.. no lasers, no giant lights, no muzzle brakes, no magpul BAD levers, no 100rd mags, no crazy new fangled Gucci 3 point slings, no 10.5 inch or 22 inch barrel, no High dollar special ammo...
    ..just the basics, , a moderate length barrel, a rail for optics and VFG, a quality optic, and modern ergonomics (VFG and product improved pistol grip, product improved charging handle).. shooting M193 clones.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  5. Ghost1958

    Ghost1958 Well-Known Member

    4,079
    4,335
    113
    That's sort of like the way mine is set up.

    Stock Ruger 556. Added a Blue Force quick adjust sling, a barrel mounted weapon light with touch pad and a Vortex Crossfire 2 red dot.
    5 loaded 30 rounders and a ten round just in case I would decide to hunt with it.

    Cant see putting anything else on it except maybe a 3x magnifier if i hunt .
     
    bluez likes this.
  6. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    13,215
    7,178
    113
    Except for the forward grip Mine is set up similarly. I am using a Holosun instant on circle dot optic. My other AR has a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24. I dont have a lot of junk on mine either. I am using 2 point slings. The one point is for my Sub 2k.
     
    bluez, Ghost1958 and Oldoutlaw like this.
  7. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    21,750
    12,822
    113
    My defensive AR is a Colt LE6940, 16 inch, front and rear BUIS and 3X ACOG. Single point sling and forward pistol grip.

    It's very well suited for point blank to 300 metres.

    le6940.jpeg
     
    PANDEMIC, towboater, alsaqr and 3 others like this.
  8. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    One more thing.
    You will note all my rifles always have an upgraded trigger guard.
    This is not just for winter glove use but also if you ever have to run your tactical rifle without Tacgloves it really is much more hand friendly than the sharp and cutting straight edge of the classic milspec trigger guard.

    yet another thing..
    You will note all my Weapons mounted lights are small.
    Thats on purpose.
    More prestigious brands exist. but I use the lights so rarely.
    They are Inforce.. not as reliable as Surefire (about 1 in 5 I received was bad in the box)
    But these are relatively affordable.. use only 1 C123 battery so they are light.
    They are slender and hug the rail so are less likely to hang up on anything.
    So when I dont use them they dont get in the way in any way.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    towboater likes this.
  9. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    1,193
    499
    83
    I finally got a mount for my light, a standard Surefire G2 on a $15 WalMart mount. Where my off hand hand rests it's a natural for the push button on the base of the light.
     
    bluez likes this.
  10. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    13,215
    7,178
    113
    Bluez, I am thinking about the Eotech 518. I have astigmatism and without glasses red dots are a problem. I am looking at replacing my Holosun. Does the Eotech work with astigmatism or am I looking at the same problem? I can adjust scopes so I dont need glasses in case I lose or break mine.
     
  11. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    I also have some astigmatism on my shooting eye.

    Its not a lot but I do just fine with the EOtech reticle.
    That the dot is in the middle surrounded by a circle really centers things for you.

    When I shoot Aimpoint the Redot turns into something of a canted hourglass.. and duing zero i find myself guessing if I should use the top of part of the "hourglass" or the bottom or the middle where both parts meet.

    I dont have these issues with the EOtech.
    But I can make Aimpoint and other reddots work quite well for most shooting situations.

    My bigger issue is I am now also farsighted.. and cannot see a front sight post clear anymore.
    I can still make it work with luck and pluck and last year was quite proud that I could hit a not overly large 300m target again and again just with irons..

    But due to the fuzzy (to me) front sight post , I had to give it 100% concentration and probably took an extra moment estimate the FSP position centered under the target... compared to when I could see the FSP easily clear.

    But fundamentally I ought to have specialized glasses made for myself for shooting iron sights at any distance.

    However I refuse... i got eye surgery to remove the need for glasses and I see long range 20/20 and sometimes a tad better..

    So for the combined reasons outlined above I strongly prefer electrooptics and EOtechs especially.

    However I dont know how bad your astigmatism is.. dont the new HoloSuns have a good reticle like a Eotech?
    Not just a red dot?

    My Astigmatism is strong enough I notice it with a red dot but mild enough I doesnt affect me with EOtech.
    And of course Electrooptics overcome the farsightedness problems especially the EOTech which is collimated to infiniti (supposedly)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  12. Sierra 173

    Sierra 173 Active Member

    126
    174
    43
    One of the things that needs to be addressed is some people will have physical deformities or problems that exclude them from using a standard sight or weapons system for their defensive needs. Right now I am working with an 8th degree black belt who asked for help in selecting his personal firearms for defensive uses. This person has had damage done to his right arm and right eye. At this stage we are trying out different firearms because he has an eye problem and a badly damaged arm that we need to take into consideration.

    I got him on target by switching his pistol to one with a longer sight relief and then switching the type of rifle sight that he was using. Next I plan to have him use an older shooting method to help offset the weakness of the right arm.

    While you can't take everything into consideration, you can figure on the main anticipated problems and known physical weaknesses. You can eliminate a of the potential damaging factors that could work against you or a friend in a combat situation if you use a little forethought and proper planning.
     
    bluez likes this.
  13. Sniper03

    Sniper03 Supporting Member Supporter

    10,949
    8,316
    113
    Bluez,

    Here is my Home and "Truck" defense gun. Followed by my always handy Closet Gun with NV !
    AR Pistol 2.JPG

    ROCK RIVER-NV.JPG
    Both guns are Rock River Arms.
    The top one is a Rock River 10" Pistol with Noveski Flaming Pig Muzzle Break - Sig Brace - RRA 2 Stage NM Trigger - KNS Anti Rotate Trigger and Hammer Pins - Quick disconnect Take Down and Pivot Pin - 4 MOA Red Dot with multiple Green and Red Reticles.
    The bottom picture is a Rock River Arms CAR A-4 with RRA
    2 Stage NM Trigger - EOTech 552 Holographic NV Comp. - NIVISYS Night Vision -
    Vertical Pistol Grip - Surefire Light. and Tactical Sling.

    03
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  14. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    13,215
    7,178
    113
    With glasses the red dots work great. Without them I have to guess which dot is the right one. The circle dot helps a lot. I will have to take a look through an Eotech. The Eotech is a hologram. I can run a computer without glasses which is why I think the hologram might work but I am not going to spend $500 to find out. I need to find one to look through. I know scopes work. Oddly I can still run peep sights and pistol sights up close without glasses.
     
  15. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    21,750
    12,822
    113
    Bluez,

    Have you tried the ACOG??? My 76 YO eyes don't work like they did when I was younger, but the ACOG sure works well for me.

    And now they are available in variable power. VCOG.
     
  16. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    13,215
    7,178
    113
    Isnt the ACOG a scope with a diopter adjustment? I do have a 3x prism that works but want 1X capability.
     
  17. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    The ACOG adds some weight and expense.

    I am trying to have all my General Infantry/Patrol type rifles set-up the exact same way.
    There is no way I could afford to mount them all with ACOGS.

    The Aimpoints I still have as legacy systems and but current I attempt to standardize on HWS.
    Expensive enough... but an ACOG costs 3 times what a entry level EOtech does..
    The eotechs work quite well for me.. and magnification is IMO not strictly necessary on the basic infantry configuration that I am aiming for.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
    JTJ likes this.
  18. Oldoutlaw

    Oldoutlaw Well-Known Member Supporter

    3,148
    6,519
    103
    I bought my Holosun's a few years ago. Yes, I can activate for a circle around the dot.
    My dots are 2 MOA dots. Much better than a 4 MOA dot I used to have.
     
    bluez likes this.
  19. bluez

    bluez Well-Known Member

    2,950
    2,297
    113
    PS: Some Edits made to my first post for clarity. I will keep making edits as I notice better ways to express my intention, inspired by responses to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
    Sierra 173 likes this.
  20. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    1,193
    499
    83
    I am poor. My only rifle is evolving, and is partly made of donated parts. I just now finally got the M-LOK adapter to attach my WalMart light mount, seen here with my donated Surefire G2 Nitrolon in it. Also visible is my only red dot, the Sig Romeo5, which to many is garbage not worth the picking up to throw in the can, but it works extremely well for this fat old blind man. I love the long battery life and simplicity of operation.
    I can hit a man sized target more often than not at 200 yards standing, so that will have to do.
    Trash Panda 7 12 2020.jpg
     
    PANDEMIC, Sierra 173, JTJ and 2 others like this.