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Discussion Starter #1
So I hoped it would never come to this, but I feel like in today's time I would be neglectful to not have an AR-15 to protect my family and property.

That being said, I've seen many articles espousing that you should build one as it can be cheaper and more customizable vs buying one.

That being said, I'm not the most mechanically inclined (despite being an engineer) and not even sure where to start. Plus I'm not sure if legal battles would be easier if I bought a stock one instead of "building a death machine".

Just curious as to what's the better route in all of your opinions?

Also, if you suggest buying, please recommend 1 or 2 to look at. My cursory search has led me to a Ruger AR-556 or the S&W M&P 15. And if you suggest building, feel free to suggest sites to buy parts and help with the building process.

Thanks everyone. (And I hope this isn't a super dumb question).
 

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There are no dumb questions, only unasked questions.

It depends on your time and the availability in the marketplace. To be honest, if I were you, I would start with the Ruger or S&W mentioned, or if you want to step up in the hierarchy, a Colt LE 6920. That, and several cases of ammo! :smile:

Go have fun. :danceban::danceban::danceban:

There are really no wrong answers here.

IFF you like to "tinker" get a complete lower and a complete upper and snap them together and then add optics or BUIS. :image035: That is fun too. I just did that with two.

I would not buy a parts kit unless you have a coach that can take the mystery of a complete build in a hands-on environment. :yup: I have never done that, and probably never will.

I would also look at Palmetto State Armory ("PSA"). They are like a toy store.
 

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I will echo ^^^Rock and Glock^^^ advice the Ruger or S&W M&P Sport is a great choice for getting into the AR game! If you want to go step above I would seriously consider adding the FN M-4 along with the venerable Colt 6920. BTW, the FN now is the contract manufacturer for the U.S. military M-4. Good luck!
 

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I don't know a whole lot about the subject of building one, but I bought a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II last year and I really like it. I run mostly my own reloaded ammo and never have any feed problems. It's very accurate with a pretty cheap scope on it. It's not the cheapest one you can buy but it's near the lower end in price. I'm a big S&W fan so it was the logical choice for me.
 

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Everybody seems to have an opinion on this question!

Personally, I don't think that now is a good time to tackle the learning curve of building your first AR. I'd buy one.

For an entry-level AR, you won't beat a PSA. Catch their complete lowers and uppers on sale (which is quite often), and you'll have a gun for under $400 that will perform right up there with brands costing 3 or 4 times more. The Ruger & S&W are both good choices for a name brand on a budget. If finances allow, the Colt LE6920 is pretty much the Gold Standard for a quality mil-spec carbine at a still reasonable price.

I've owned all of these except the Ruger. My favorite is the Colt, but I've been very happy with all of them. The Colt will also hold its value a little better if you should decide to sell later.

Good luck & enjoy your shopping!
 

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My daughter in law just finished a Mil Spec AR pistol build that took about 2 weeks to complete...mostly waiting for parts to arrive. She started with a lower that she purchased from a local FFL, then a lower parts kit (with polished trigger parts), added an adjustable brace, then last week she got a great deal on a full upper assembly 8.5" bbl and completed the build. She put a Vortex red dot on and I gave her a couple of new Magpul mags. The total build was just over $600 minus the Vortex. The unit is slightly smaller than a Ruger Charger. . .in this photo the AR doesn't yet have the Vortex added.



61307691140__426C6B1B-ECE9-4977-8002-BDB8269EC8D5 2.jpeg
 

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I instruct an AR-15 armorer's course in the Pacific Northwest. With very few exceptions I always advocate that somebody build their rifle. One reason has to do with Federal excise tax. There is an 11% tax on anything that is attached to the serialized part of the rifle (lower receiver) and is based on the overall dollar value. A complete rifle will have a much higher excise tax than a striped lower receiver.

Second, assembling a lower receiver gives you a greater depth of knowledge on how your rifle works. You will have a better understanding on all of the internal parts and their relationships. Third, you will have a greater sense of pride for your rifle since you were the one who put it together.

As others have said, you can customize it how you would like as well. The two rifle brands you mentioned S&W and Ruger were my two top recommendations if you buy one outright.

If you want to pursue the build route, you will only need to assemble the lower receiver. The upper is complete and ready to go. If that is something that interests you please drop me a PM. I will help you out with it. At the very least you will get some more information.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Why have you "hoped it would never come to this"? The Ar15 is not what the media has portrayed it to be.
I have no problem with the AR-15 obviously. I guess I just felt until now that the societal situation was safe enough that I could defend myself adequately without the need for one (seemed like overkill). I no longer feel that way.
 

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I would buy. I tried to build one and it did not turn out well. It was supposed to be an AR, but every time I pulled the trigger, the garage door went up and down. :ticking:

I am also mechanically handicapped so don't take my word for it.
 

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Being an engineer does not make one a mechanic. Most mechanics will agree.

First time out of the gate, I'd look into PSA (Palmetto). Good stuff, can buy uppers and lowers separately--a mix & match option--and the price is right.
 

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If you can find what you want for sale, I’d just buy it. If you would end up spending a bunch of money to change stuff, I would build what you want. Building them became popular when it was difficult to find them already built. If you don’t already have the necessary tools, you’re probably not going to save money. In fact, you probably won’t even break even financially.
 

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If not too mechanically inclined and want to avoid too much of the fine skills involved in parts of the build, how about a decent brand plain jane off-the-shelf. Trigger replacement isn't difficult if you're not happy with the stock trigger. I'd recommend a Tubbs flat buffer spring. Optics are wide open, from open sights to reflex red dot to tube red dot to traditional scope. Grips are easy and inexpensive replacements. I'd think full custom could be quite expensive if you want quality parts.

Forgot to add, make sure it's a forged lower and upper, as forged is stronger than billet or cast.
 

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Building is not necessarily cheaper than buying. Some people buy one and then start customizing. If you build what you want from scratch, then you don't spend more later to replace parts. Plus, it's a lot easier to say, I'll just spend $x more for this part to get a better one. Pretty soon, you've spent more on ALL the parts.

If you have no interest in building one - then don't. But, building one was an enjoyable experience AND I know everything about my weapon. I can't find the channel I used on YouTube to walk me through the process (maybe they were taken down). But, there are still tons of videos out there that will guide you through the process.

The hardest part of building is figuring out which parts (and tools) to get. AR-15s are like legos - most all the parts fit with each other. But, there are some that are not exactly standard and only certain parts will go with them. You can find an existing parts list for a complete build and then do research on any parts you want to replace to make sure they are compatible. I think the only specialized tools I bought were a mag well block (for holding the lower in a vise) and a combo wrench. However, I already had punches and gunsmith screwdriver set. You can probably get away without those if need be.
 
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