I have been quietly reading a bunch of the threads here, and I'm seeing some 'Stinkin' Thinkin' going on... First off, There are only two or three people that are forcing their opinions and view points down everyone's throats. That's a bad thing when someone is a 'Self Appointed Internet God'... Secondly, No one here is addressing the three primary rules, 1. APPLICATION. 2. APPLICATION. 3. APPLICATION. All I see is advertisements for expensive parts you normally don't need and won't use. ------------------------------------ The 'BEST' AR (or any firearm for that matter...) IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU WHEN YOU NEED IT. No sense in having one of the 'Tacti-Cool' AR's with all the mounting surfaces covered in 'Gadgets' if it's at home under the bed because the batteries are always dead or it's too heavy, or it's not 'Legal' in your area because you have this or that installed, ect. ect. ect. Guys knock the first generation 'Soda Straw' barrels, They knock the early style CAR shoulder stocks, They knock early grab handles with the first generation sights, They knock the 10 or 20 round mags... THE PLAIN TRUTH IS... (drum roll please...) It's all BS. I can tell you I have the very light duty CAR stocks, soda straw 16" barrel and first gen iron sights... It's very light and compact so I actually CARRY IT with me... And the BEST AR is the one you have when you need it! Back to 'APPLICATION, APPLICATION, APPLICATION'! If you have the high dollar drum mag and it makes your rifle 'Illegal' in your area, TAKE IT OFF.. If you have a bayonet/bayonet lug and that makes your rifle illegal... TAKE IT OFF.. If folding stocks or collapsible stocks are illegal in your area.... TAKE IT OFF. If 16 barrels are illegal, get an 18" or 20" or what ever is legal! This isn't rocket science! And your rifle does you NO GOOD AT ALL if it's in storage in the closet at home! ---------------------------------- Now, for you guys that must 'Accessorize'. (Yes, I just said it! You have been 'Outed'...) BUY BARBIE DOLLS INSTEAD OF FIREARMS! For the rest of you, LEARN THE BASICS! In 16 Years as a firearms/small arms instructor in the military, and over 25 years as a civilian NRA certified instructor, I've NEVER seen any of the accessories dealers tell you the truth, and as the internet grew, I started seeing self appointed 'Experts' take over the forums and just parrot the crap the retailers have been spreading for so long.... THE TRUTH IS... YOU NEED TO LEARN TO SHOOT FIRST AND FOREMOST! You need to learn to use basic, fixed iron sights. You need to learn to use the firearm safely and efficiently. You need to learn to use the firearm in all conditions you might encounter with it and plan for every foreseeable contingency. You need to LEARN what the fire arm WILL, and WON'T do. LEARN TO USE THE IRON SIGHTS! An Army scout and part time buffalo hunter named Billy Dixon knocked an Indian off his horse at over 7/8 mile away with a .50-70 black powder rifle with open sights! Alvan York killed over 35 Germans in one day during WWI with a .30-06 Springfield rifle and all of his shots were over 600 yards. May were head shots, with fixed open sights! I watched a guy I've seen hit the bull regularly at 1,000 yard matches pass on a 400 yard shot hunting last year. When I asked 'Why', he said he wasn't sure of his sights and didn't want to cripple the animal. That guy knows how to shoot 1,000 yards, but also has the good sense to know when NOT to shoot. Learn How To Use The Iron Sights, Work On Your Shooting, & Learn The Capabilities Of The Firearm... ---------------------------- Back to APPLICATION, APPLICATION, APPLICATION... If you only shoot 100 yards and less, you DO NOT need a $1,000 set of optics! If you only get your rifle out once or twice a year, You don't need a bull barrel, premium ammo or expensive optics, since you can't hit anything anyway. Accurate shooting takes PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and all the expensive 'Toys' in the world aren't going to make up for poor stance, unbraced shooting positions, and lack of trigger control! If the only thing you use your rifle for is hanging 'Accessories' on to show off/impress your friends, you probably shouldn't own a firearm... -------------------- If, in fact, you regularly target shoot (at LEAST once a month), and you know the difference between a 'Bench Trigger' a 'Field Trigger' and a 'Military Trigger' then you might have a need for a more accurate barrel and a slicked up trigger. If your 'Zero' point is 200 yards or more, then you might have a need for some serious optics. If your 'Average' shot is farther than 400 yards, then you might have a need for 'Premium' ammo. No one I know (military not withstanding) NEEDS a $700 optic with 1x magnification... That includes the police... So if you have an 'Aim Point' on your AR, don't be surprised if I laugh at you... Same for lights, lasers, front pistol grips, extra mounting rails, bayonets, battery holders, disco balls, fuzzy dice or pink ribbons... Learn the basics, Balance, Bracing, Breathing, Sight Picture, Trigger Control & Follow Through. Nothing else matters, and nothing else can help you if you can't do the basics... Marksmanship IS NOT loading up on the latest fad sight, optic, light or mag. Marksmanship IS NOT making one good shot every once in a while. Marksmanship IS NOT loading up high capacity magazines and drenching the range in hopes you will hit a target, any target if you waste enough ammo... Marksmanship IS being able to repeat your shots time after time after time in all weather conditions. Marksmanship IS KNOWING IN YOUR SOUL you can blow the heart out of that Mule deer at 500 yards, because you have PRACTICED this very shot at this very angle with these very bullets in this very rifle in these very same weather conditions... Not thinking you can *MAYBE* hit the deer at 500 yards and *MAYBE* you will get lucky and it will die before it gets away... If you want to load up the 30 round mags or the 75 or 100 round drums and waste ammo, that's perfectly fine with me. Just don't mistake it for any form of 'Marksmanship', Or sign of any ability to control the firearm, Or ability to hit any given target on demand... ---------------------------------- I ground hog hunted and prairie dog hunted with an AR-15 and shot an AR-10 in competition 35 years ago. Don't think that every single time I took that black rifle out of it's case, people didn't snicker and sometimes outright laugh... Don't think I didn't take a butt load of abuse when I cleaned the rifles at the lodge before we went prairie dog hunting... By the end of the first day the jokes and snickering had stopped, And usually by the end of the second day, the 'Old Timers' were asking questions and wanting to get a closer look, maybe squeeze off a few rounds... And in case you all aren't familiar with firearms from that era, some guys were using .22 WMR & .218 Bee rounds, while others were using .220 SWIFT and 6MM Mag. to hunt with! No one, and I mean absolutely NO ONE used an auto loader for the first two years I went west to prairie dog hunt. On the third year, one guy had a Ruger Mini 14, and that was the only other auto loader I saw for may years... *IF* you put in the hours at the gun range to learn proper procedures, And *IF* you have a need, like hunting or long range targets, for a better barrel and some 'Slicking Up' of the action and trigger, then I can't fault you for it. That is just going back to the three basic rules... APPLICATION, APPLICATION, APPLICATION! *IF* you think a optic of any kind is going to make you a better 'Shooter', you are SADLY MISTAKEN! *IF* you think there is any need in the world for a gob of accessories on any AR, again, you are SADLY MISTAKEN! *IF* you think that owning an AR, With or Without a Gob of 'Paste On' accessories will make you more of a man or braver, then you are not only Sadly Mistaken, you need serious and intensive treatment from a mental health professional!