Just picked up my first AR15, what to do now?

Just picked up my first AR15, what to do now?

This is a discussion on Just picked up my first AR15, what to do now? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hello all, I just purchased a brand new Windham Weaponry AR15. I've heard great things about it and decided to take the plunge. I'm brand ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array PainCakesx's Avatar
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    Just picked up my first AR15, what to do now?

    Hello all,

    I just purchased a brand new Windham Weaponry AR15. I've heard great things about it and decided to take the plunge. I'm brand new to this whole AR15 thing so I'm not totally sure where to proceed from here. I will probably end up customizing this rifle extensively as I get time, but any pointers on where to get started? The gun comes with sights already installed, though the rear sights can be folded down, presumably to allow other rail mounted optics.

    Some things I've been thinking about are a new railed handguard, optics and grip. Any ideas or advice? What are considered the top of the line brands for the magazines? Is it generally worth it to buy a foregrip?

    Thanks for any and all advice?

    Also, as an aside, how does the AR15 compare to a shotgun for home defense?


  2. #2
    Member Array jbonfadini's Avatar
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    Ar's are very fun guns. As for customizing there is so so much you can do. Mags I recommend p-mags they are awesome I've never had one do anything to malfunction. First steps I'd take are optics depending what you want there are countless possibility
    Here's two of mine give you an idea

    Just my two cents nothing beats shotgun for home defence
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    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    Customizing will depend on what you plan to use the weapon for. As for magazines many on this forum favor Magpul. Shop around on the internet for a good price on them.
    PMAG® MAGAZINES

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PainCakesx View Post
    Just picked up my first AR15, what to do now?
    I'd just shoot the jeebies out of it, for awhile. IMO, you'll want to first get comfortable with how it behaves, how to maintain (clean) it properly, what the little foibles are in your specific gun. You might well find that "bone stock" is perfectly fine. Whatever else is true, it's far less to go wrong. Many of those fully-loaded guns have stuff that just gets in the way of less-than-experienced folks who haven't been trained on effectively using all that stuff. IMO, starting light and simple has merit, beyond saving the cash over silly purchases you might well find (down the road) aren't necessary. KISS is good, with a defensive firearm. Keep it simple.

    Also, as an aside, how does the AR15 compare to a shotgun for home defense?
    Depends on what you're skilled at using. Long guns can have their limitations in maneuverability and range, as well as rate of fire. Depends on the situations for which you're arming yourself. Imagine the differences a rancher or farmer on 500ac would have, as compared to someone living in an apartment in an urban setting. Different situations, different requirements for defensive firepower. Compare your handgun and AR to a basic lever-action rifle or an M1 Carbine, in terms of how the characteristics of the given firearm contribute. Each has its pros/cons, depending on the situation.

    A good "Basic Defensive Rifle" type course might be well worth your while, once you're comfortable with the gun and it's running reliably well. Highly educational. Such courses can often teach us the limits of our earlier assumptions (including whether all that add-on crap will actually contribute or detract from one's ability to get the job done in a life-or-death situation).

    My first (and only) AR was a Stag. I purchased it as a flat-top, with my choice of grip, then added sights. Simple, basic, functional, easy to operate. Hard not to like, as is. About the only additional useful element would be, to my way of thinking, a good light, all the better for knowing the target.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; October 15th, 2012 at 08:50 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Member Array PainCakesx's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. Are there any recommendations for railed handguards? That is something that I know I'd want to attach a light.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    For attaching something like a light and or handguard you can get something inexpensive like this one that even though it mounts pretty solid it's not something you would want to mount a laser or other sighting system too since it could possibly get bumped and knock your optics out of alignment
    AR-15 16" Carbine Deluxe Tactical Quad Rail New Target Sports
    These free float quadrails made by Yankee Hill Machine are stable enough to mount anything on them
    AR-15/M16 LIGHTWEIGHT FREE-FLOAT HANDGUARDS - Brownells
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    Before loading your gun up with "stuff", invest in some serious trainng about how to run the gun and how to fight with it. That will force you to put thousands of rounds through the gun and in so doing you'll figure out what you really need. The very basics are decent sights, a sling, and reliable magazines. Beyond that, optics would be next and then a white light. But you don't "need" a rail until you figure out what you'll hang on it. You don't "need" a vertical foregrip or a bipod until you know how to fight with the gun. Save your money and for now, invest in ammo, mags and training!
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    Congratulations on your first Barbie! You can get all sorts of outfits for her and change them as often as you want. Because of the velocity and ballistics (I presume it is a .223 and/or 5.56) you will want to scope it for some 2 to 3 hundred yard fun.

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    Pmags are the consensus best. TZ Armory has some for sale at a good price, they are a site sponsor.
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    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PainCakesx View Post
    Some things I've been thinking about are a new railed handguard, optics and grip. Any ideas or advice? What are considered the top of the line brands for the magazines? Is it generally worth it to buy a foregrip?

    Also, as an aside, how does the AR15 compare to a shotgun for home defense?
    Congrats on the purchase!

    First recommendation is to go shoot it. 500 rounds should give you a good idea of what you need (not what looks cool/what everyone else has).

    IF you decide you need a rail system, it's up to personal preference. For a minimal system, I'm really liking the Daniel Defense MFS. As far as quadrails go, I really like Centurion or DD (RIS II) rails. The Centurions are nice because they offer simple install/maintanence and provide 4 integral QD points for slings.

    I think foregrips are worth it and they're pretty inexpensive to try out. I used a Magpul RVG which was cheap and OK, but have recently switched to a Tangodown stubby which IMO is far more comfortable, offers storage, and is a little smaller.

    Magpul PMAGS are the way to go on magazines IMO!

    Here's my SBR, with stubby grip, and Centurion C4 rail system (carbine cutout).




    Oh boy, the AR15/shotgun debate for HD. IMO, the AR15 wins for me. Because...

    -I use it/train with it the most (3-4,000 rounds/year) and is second nature for me to operate/manipulate controls in any light condition
    -higher capacity
    -no risk of 'short stoking' (applicable to pump action only)
    -ability to make 'hostage shot'
    -smaller package (12" barrel, 30" OAL, 5.5lbs) compared to shotguns
    -ability to suppress easily (Surefire 556-212 is on the way and will put me at around 34" OAL and 6.5lbs)
    ^^^^^^this is key, as ANY weapon fired indoors will render you and the bad guy temporarily blind/deaf. A suppressor will eliminate flash and reduce signature to below the hearing safe threshold (140dB as defined by OSHA)
    -easier to mount 'must have' accessories (light, sling, red dot sight)
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I know I'm a seasoned citizen around here, but IMHO you should take a lesson from the "less is more" school. Learn to run that AR like it's part of your body. Learn the workings like you know your own smell. Bells & whistles have their place but you might not live in that place. And you can't/won't know until you...know. A fine, new Martin guitar won't make you a better picker, it just makes an already accomplished picker better. FIRST become a masterful AR shooters and only THEN become a masterful accessory selector. Doing it backwards just makes the learning curve more expensive. Nice rifle BTW. Good Luck!
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    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by munch520 View Post
    Congrats on the purchase!

    First recommendation is to go shoot it. 500 rounds should give you a good idea of what you need (not what looks cool/what everyone else has).

    IF you decide you need a rail system, it's up to personal preference. For a minimal system, I'm really liking the Daniel Defense MFS. As far as quadrails go, I really like Centurion or DD (RIS II) rails. The Centurions are nice because they offer simple install/maintanence and provide 4 integral QD points for slings.

    I think foregrips are worth it and they're pretty inexpensive to try out. I used a Magpul RVG which was cheap and OK, but have recently switched to a Tangodown stubby which IMO is far more comfortable, offers storage, and is a little smaller.

    Magpul PMAGS are the way to go on magazines IMO!

    ...
    Followed by an Aimpoint PRO (about the least expensive quality RDS you will find).

    Then take a couple of classes. An intro/rifle carbine basics, then an advanced class.

    Figure on doubling what you paid for the rifle in mags, sling, and RDS. Double it again for ammo.
    Sticks

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    Take it to the range, and shoot it a bunch, as it is, with the iron sights. After you get a bunch of rounds downrange, you will have a better idea of what modifications you want.

    Pmags for magazines, as others have said.

    The only mod I would add before you are familiar with it, is a good sling, like the Vickers VTAC.
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    Member Array SFCDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PainCakesx View Post
    Hello all,

    I just purchased a brand new Windham Weaponry AR15. I've heard great things about it and decided to take the plunge. I'm brand new to this whole AR15 thing so I'm not totally sure where to proceed from here. I will probably end up customizing this rifle extensively as I get time, but any pointers on where to get started? The gun comes with sights already installed, though the rear sights can be folded down, presumably to allow other rail mounted optics.

    Some things I've been thinking about are a new railed handguard, optics and grip. Any ideas or advice? What are considered the top of the line brands for the magazines? Is it generally worth it to buy a foregrip?

    Thanks for any and all advice?

    Also, as an aside, how does the AR15 compare to a shotgun for home defense?
    For your last item, I have never given thought to an AR as home defense, but any weapon would essentially work. In regards to the weapon itself I recommend you find the longest range possible and give it a shot. While in service, I fired competition with an M16 (same round if you have 5.56 NATO) at 600YDS open sights and had solid hits. With optics longer distances are easily obtainable. If you have a short distance range (25 meters or so) you can try to shoot a 1/8" dot, which I have done with shooting buddies. As far as upgrades the sky is the limit.
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