A lot of people are very attached to the "AR Platform"; some people (mostly oldtimers) swear by the M14; the 7.62x39 imports are widely regarded as low-budget better-than-nothing. I have the impression that a person's preference is often based on what weapon they were first trained on! The AR enthusiasts point to three things as being advantages: the ammo is light, so one can carry more; the charging handle is on the "right" side; in a domestic civil conflict or breakdown of civilization one can resupply from battlefield pickups. Deer hunters generally evaluate the 5.56NATO as lacking stopping power, which is echoed in some after-action reports from Afghanistan. That sort of constrains the operator to use multiple rounds per target, and encourages high - volume suppressive fire. What's your tactic for when a half-way competent opponent hunkers down, speads out, and starts picking shots? Comrade Kalishnikov put the charging handle on the support-hand side, and the user can keep a grip on the "go" button while changing mags... Now consider the source of those battlefield pickups. Are you going to shoot a Guardsman?! Or a cop?!! And if you do, how long are you going to stick around? The AR operating system blows products of combustion into the guts of the feed system, and requires more cleaning and maintenance than anything else out there. Furthermore, after you pay a price with a comma in it for the basic weapon, you still have to upgrade with wedge-thingies, rails, stocks/grips, and other reliability and accuracy doohickies. The civilian M14 is a bit pricey also, but you get value for the money. They're not available through CMP - why? - because the military is sending every one it can clean up over to the G-WOT! The Ruger Mini-14 (&Mini-30) was a great idea - M14 operating system for the 5.56NATO round - but it doesn't seem to have panned out. I've never owned one - I'd like to hear from those of you who have... Now - just to stir you up a little more - look at the lineup of offerings by Remington. Many LEOs and rabbit hunters are comfortable with the 870 pump 12gauge "trench broom" ( a WW I reference). The 7400 (now remodelled as the 750) handles the same, has the same controls, looks less "politically incorrect", operates by a rod not by gas impingement, comes in a wide variety of chamberings including good-old .308, the-standard-by-which-others-are-measured 30-06, and the flat-shooting .270Win. One nuisance is that it's REEALLY hard to find a mag larger than 10 rounds. But if you just can't get over that high-volume-of-fire mindset, look at the 7615 (7615LE): chambered in .223Rem, runs on AR mags, pump action reliability, handles like an 870, affordable, and looks pretty. Yes you can get a black plastic one if you must. You can also get a barrel long enough to let the cartridge do its job. I believe in Democracy, which is, The Wisdom of Consensus. Therefore, I believe that I have just as much right to have a stupid idea as the next person, and the the next person has the right to tell me why my idea is so dumb. Enjoy the debate!