14 July 12
I’ve written recently about utility ARs, most of which currently retail at 1k to 1.5k. Windham, and a few others (Palmetto, Del-Ton) come in below $800.00. I don’t have personal experience with all, but Windham’s version seems very acceptable. Friends tell me the other two mentioned above are acceptable also.
I like plain-vanilla rifles, designed for serious Operators for serious use, and recommend them to most of my students. So long as they are operator-grade, and the manufacturer provides good customer service, I’m fine with most. BCM, RRA, DSA, S&W, Doublestar, LMT, and others, all adequately fill this bill, so long as the rifle comes with a legitimate NATO (5.56×45) chamber, not a tight, sporting (223) chamber. Tight, 223 chambers will generate no end of grief (excessive blown primers are just one example) when the rifle is put to continuous, heavy use.
I thus have scant interest in tight, frail, temperamental, hobby-grade rifles, designed to appeal strictly to myopic contest-shooters who are interested in seeing their names on the top of the leader-board, and in little else.
I use the terms, “serious rifle” and “Operator-Grade” to describe the former.
Several premium manufacturers, most of whom I know personally, and for whom I have a great deal of personal and professional respect, offer premium-grade rifles, intended for serious use by sophisticated Operators who appreciate critical refinements, and are willing to pay for them.
At the top of the this List are Mark LaRue and Dave Lauck. I would add NGA to the List also, but they are now out of business.
Dave and Mark are both design geniuses, and both are devoted to providing bona-fide Operators with guns that feature every genuine advantage currently known. I have copies of Dave’s and Mark’s wares, and they are second to none, but they are expensive!
Dave’s DLS/CQB is an extraordinarily solid car-gun. Short, slick, light, fast. It fairly defines a fighting rifle. Every sharp corner and edge is rounded-off, and the entire unit is treated with a high-tech finish that provides superior protection from the elements. Trigger is wonderful. It’s a pleasure to carry and use. I carried and shot my copy all last week at an Urban Rifle Course here in CO, and I, along with everyone else who used it, loved it!
My copy is equipped with Leupold’s Prismatic, zero-magnification, optic. Not much bigger than an Aimpoint T1, Leopuld’s version features an AUG-style “doughnut of death,” which has some real advantages. Works like a red-dot, and has a battery-module for low-light, but features an etched-glass reticle that is always there, even when batteries fail. I’ve learned to like it!
Mark’s LT15 is similarly solid and reliable. I’ve personally carried and ran it in a number of Courses. It has never failed. My copy is equipped with a forward-mounted Aimpoint T1, as the rifle comes with a full-length rail. It is a little longer and heavier than the DLS/CQB, but it also makes a superb car-gun. Mark’s attention to detail is second to none, as is his customer service.
I’m proud to count both Dave and Mark, and many others, among my friends, and I appreciate them tolerating me and patiently contributing to my continuing education.
When you’re willing to pay for premium features on a superb fighting rifle, they are the ones to see!