PSA, Palmetto State Amory does have a sale going one right now. If you don't want to doe the full build thing, your can buy a full lower from them for 299.95. and a full upper in your choice of 20" or 16" for about 418, that puts you in a new world class gun for about 718. You need a couple of mags, and that does not include a rear sight or optics. They are also shipping everthing for free right now, and no sales tax. I just bought that 20" upper myself, so my ar will be a 20" scoped gun or a 16" iron sight gun in seconds. You can catch a decent rear sight for under 30 on ebay, and the best mags are pmags, around 13 to 14 each. To find the lower Complete PSA AR-15 Lower - MOE Edition, to shop the upper http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/ar-15-05/ complete-uppers.html and the 16" madness, and 20" madness deals are on this page
One thing was not clear, that 418 deal, look for the 299.95 madness upper sale items, after you add the bolt carrier group, and charging handle your total will right at 418. These items require no tools, and just go together in a few seconds, and you have a complete fireable weapon, with only other need is a rear sight or scope, and and some mags.
Seems no one mentions spikes tactical anymore :confused:
I have had one a while and love it. Awesome quality
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I just picked up the M&P Sport. I took it to the range Wednesday and it ate up the cheap Tula Ammo without hesitating. I'm happy with my choice.
For an "entry level" hobby gun, the best choice is the M&P15 Sport. For an entry level defensive gun... well, there really is no entry level. You can buy AR's from some of the best makers for only a hundred or two more than lower quality AR's.
The M&P15 Sport will work for the vast majority of AR15 users. And for the price tag of $600 or so, it's hard to go wrong. I do believe it would be reliable enough for defensive use. Reliable enough for Baghdad? Probably not, but like you said, you're not going there anytime soon :)
I'd like to get the Sport myself, just as a toy.
Now if you're planning on going for a hard use, no nonsense rifle..... I may be biased because I use an M&P15X, but I believe that the M&P15's (non-sport models) are about the "lowest" quality serious rifle you can get. The bad part is, most gun shops sell them for the same price (or more) as Colt's. I run an "H" buffer and BCM full auto BCG in mine because the gas port is a little over gassed. But that's to assure reliability with lesser quality ammo. I may go to an "H2" buffer. Some may look down on the 1:9 twist, but honestly.... unless you're shooting 77gr ammo passed 150-200 yards, you won't NEED a 1:7 twist. I've accurately shot 75gr ammo at 100 yards with ease in my 1:9. The 1:7 is preferred, but I wouldn't turn a rifle down simply because it's 1:9.
I picked up a DPMS Oracle for $570 and dropped $90 for a Bushnell red dot. I'm not out rolling around in the dirt with it, so it does fine for my needs. Yes, I could have dropped $1K plus for something else that I am sure would be the ultimate AR, but at this point, I don't feel guilty if I don't have time to get out and shoot it as much as I would like.
My personal AR is a Colt upper w/ a DPMS lower. I bought it used for $500. The only addition I made was a flashlight and she runs like a champ. My Dept issued me a Bushmaster M4 for a patrol rifle. That also ran like a champ when I took it through the Carbine Instructor School in 2008. It has continue to run well ever since. Before I took the M4 to the Carbine School, it had some extraction issues. That was quickly fixed with a "D" ring over the spring.
+1 on the M&P Sport. Got one about 6 months ago and it has performed great with lots of different ammo. Bought a CMMG .22LR bolt so I could shoot cheaply and that works great in the Sport, as well.
If I had to do it all over again, I'd strongly consider purchasing a PSA. From what I've read/heard they have really good quality for the $$. I've been in one of their stores and everyone there is very helpful and friendly.
When I wanted to change out the buttstock on my Sport, the gentleman @ PSA actually fitted one on the Sport they had in stock to ensure that it was Mil-Spec and not commercial. That spoke volumes for me since it was a $60 part with most likely minimal mark up.