AR-15 A2 vs A4

This is a discussion on AR-15 A2 vs A4 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Someone asked me the difference between an A2 and a A4 Ar-15 Is the only difference the lenght of the barrel?...

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Thread: AR-15 A2 vs A4

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    AR-15 A2 vs A4

    Someone asked me the difference between an A2 and a A4 Ar-15

    Is the only difference the lenght of the barrel?
    Timmy Jimmy

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  3. #2
    JD
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    No an A2 and an A4 have the same bbl length, the A4 is basically an A2 with a flat top receiver and quad rails IIRC.

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    OD*
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    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    So what is mine if it has a flat top and regular heat shields?

    Timmy Jimmy

    If it is not in the US Constitution then the Federal Government should not be doing it.

    "Carrying a gun is a social responsibility."

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    Member Array PSIShapiro's Avatar
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    If I understand correctly, you have an A4 has a mil-spec picatinny rail which can be fitted with a scope OR a Handle. If I understand correctly, the A2 has the integrated handle. Can someone with more experience confirm this, as I am the one who asked Tim to begin with.


    Thanks!
    Steve

  7. #6
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmy Jimmy View Post
    So what is mine if it has a flat top and regular heat shields?

    That's an M4 "Style" as it really isn't an M4.

    Your's is a 16" with a collapsible stock, and a flat top receiver.

    To be brutally honest, it's a total mutt as far as designations go.

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    You're basically correct, PSI. In the actual M16 series, the A2 has a fixed carrying handle, the A4 has a detachable one with a railed upper reciever. The fore end rails don't really matter, because you can put them on any model/variant.

    In "AR-15" terms, it gets a bit more nebulous - there are so many makers, options, and so forth that there is no standardized nomenclature. What Timmy has is an "M4gery;" flat-top upper, collapsable stock, M4 profile barrel (the indent in front of the front sight being necessary to mount an M203 on a true M4, and serving no other purpose)...although Timmy's has a 16" bbl (it appears) instead of the 14.5" one on a true M4...

    ETA: JD beat me to most of it... :)
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Member Array PSIShapiro's Avatar
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    Oh yeah... It's crystal clear now... No really, thanks for your help.

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    Welcome to the world of the AR...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Skygod's Avatar
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    The A2 was originally a full length barrel with a fixed stock and fixed carry handle with AR style iron sights. I was around when the A2 had semi auto and only 3 round burst.

    The A4 being the same with a flat top reciever without the RIS or SIR rail system. Rail systems came into play much later in the life of the M16 and M4 series. I carried and M4 with the profiled barrel and fixed carry handle with a GG&G 1913 mount on top with one of the first of Aimpoints ever deployed with any SOF forces. Things have changed drastically since Knights introduced the SOPMOD program for SOF forces employing the M4.

    Actually the profile barrel seved two purposes. For the mount for the 203 and to lighten the barrel for faster cooling. Much like fluting is used today in competition barrels.

    Just as things have changed for Colt as well. It was not unusual for any SOF team to be carrying LMT rifles with SOPMOD modifications from Knights or in some cases from personal soldiers preferences that were purchased with out of pocket money. At one time we had a box full of Knights stuff and we could grab it and install it ourselves or have the armorer install it for us. I saw more foregrips left in the boxes than other item. Now it's considered unusual if you don't have a foregrip.
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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    Timmy....

    "Designations" do not matter downrange. What does matter is whether the rifle will run and whether you are able to run it.
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  13. #12
    Member Array Zach S's Avatar
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    As far as AR15s go, its simply for the upper.

    A1s had a fixed carry handle and the rear sight didnt adjust for elevation.

    A2s also had the fixed carry handle, but the rear sight is adjustable for elevation.

    A3s and A4s are flattops, like yours in the pic.

  14. #13
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach S View Post
    As far as AR15s go, its simply for the upper.

    A1s had a fixed carry handle and the rear sight didnt adjust for elevation.

    A2s also had the fixed carry handle, but the rear sight is adjustable for elevation.

    A3s and A4s are flattops, like yours in the pic.
    Not exactly...

    The A1 was single shot semi auto / full auto
    the A2 was single shot semi / 3 round burst, as well are the A4 and M4, the CAR 15 (predecessor to the M4) was single shot semi / full auto.

    The A1 had a flash suppressor, the other models have compensators.

    The A1 also did not have a brass deflector, the stock was slightly different and the front sight post was also different
    IIRC.

    While most of those differences are on the upper, the firing mechanisms are in fact different.

  15. #14
    OD*
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    The M16A3 has full auto capability.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  16. #15
    Member Array Zach S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Not exactly...

    The A1 was single shot semi auto / full auto
    the A2 was single shot semi / 3 round burst, as well are the A4 and M4, the CAR 15 (predecessor to the M4) was single shot semi / full auto.

    The A1 had a flash suppressor, the other models have compensators.

    The A1 also did not have a brass deflector, the stock was slightly different and the front sight post was also different
    IIRC.

    While most of those differences are on the upper, the firing mechanisms are in fact different.
    Where did I mention the M16? We're talking uppers for ARs.

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