Question of the Day: What Would Be Your Perfect AR-15?

I know what I like and don’t like in, on or around a rifle. But I’m a single parent, OCD blogger and unrelenting babe seeker. I don’t have the time to design a storage system for my vast collection of unused and unusable holsters, never mind exploring the advantages of various lengths and twist rates for cold-hammer forged barrels. Damn that sounds sexy. Which is why I’m not adverse to paying a bit extra for an upgraded rifle package like the somewhat redundantly-named Ruger SR-556VT (Varmit Target). But you guys? You guys are superultramegapersnickety. You know exactly what you want. You’re willing to discuss the ideal AR set-up down to the last barrel retaining ring. So gopher it. Tell us your perfect AR in excruciating detail. Go on. You know you want to.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

102 Responses to Question of the Day: What Would Be Your Perfect AR-15?

  1. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    one that never ran out of ammo

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      + ∞

      Oh my god yes. This ammo starvation needs to end. NAO!

      • avatarSixpack70 says:

        My LGS is selling American Eagle .223 100 round packs for $49.95.(better than anything on gun bot by far) I got one box but have to wait until payday to buy more.

    • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

      Yeah that would be nice.
      I would start with a Tavor.
      AR would be second up. 16 inc barrel tactical sights, and not much else. I really don’t need a thousand things hanging off it. It needs to function, and function well. I could see adding a light, maybe. I prefer the M4, oh and if money was no option I would add a Timney trigger.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        Bad news first: I don’t think this “shortage” is going away. The government is buying most of it up to keep it out of our hands.

        What we need is a new ammo manufacturer that will not sell ammo to the feds.

        • avatarready,fire,aim says:

          i beg to differ the wally-mart by me is starting to get supplies in….not the ones the public is clamoring for i.e 22lr but it does look like it’s starting too loosen up a bit

        • avatarJeff the Griz says:

          I just bought 3 boxes of 5.56 at walmart, I don’t think anyone else has seen it, it’s kinda hiden and way upin the back of the locked case, I was very quiet and plan to go back shhh… $13 for 55 grain target 20 rounds still cheaper than 1.30a round I have been seeing.. perfect ar…. I would like a stag 3g with the side sites and the leopold 3x lighted sight timminy trigger, magpul Bad lever, Badger ordanace charging handle, 15 pmags, Vltor sling loop on the buffer tube for single point sling, Mako magwell grip, and a daniel defense M4 with select fire as my back up, lol This is dream land right?

  2. avatarjwm says:

    My perfect AR would be a non neutered AK74. But I live in the constitution free zone of California. Sigh.

    • avatarChristopher says:

      Time to move…

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      I wish we could get some big stupid legislation overturned through the court systems soon. You guys in CA need some help!

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      You know where the road that leads out is, RIGHT? You Californiacs love California more than you love liberty! What’s up with THAT?

      • avatarjwm says:

        Family, friends and the knowledge that if we run we cede part of America to the enemy. I’m not a Californian or Texan, I’m an American.

      • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

        I do not love California more than liberty, but I will be damned sir, if I will sit idly by and let these ass-hat politicians get away with tom-foolery and douche-bagery in this state. In the end we may loose, but it will not be due to people laying down and giving up! We will make sure as best we can that this will not simply happen, with gun owners simply sitting silently, and letting it happen.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Well, Daniel, I sympathize, but part of winning is to realize what battles are not worth fighting. There’s always Nevada, to name one.

          WINNING!!!

        • avatarjason21m says:

          Keep on fighting the good fight. We shouldn’t give them an inch without opposition, not to mention a state. You have my support, all the way from Ohio.

        • avatarKirk says:

          Agreed. Born and bred. I was here, first, and have the title and water rights to prove it.

    • avatarSammy says:

      “Constitution Free Zone”

      I’ll be borrowing this from time to time as my new title for the slave states.
      A Synonym is born.

    • avatartk says:

      any one interested in helping out in CA please visit calguns.net and donate there…

  3. avatarChristopher says:

    Ultra lightweight, 20 inch pencil barrel with a slow twist, 1 in 9 or slower, A2 style sights for simplicity. No stupid crap hanging on the end, either. Fixed ultralight stock.

  4. avatarMercutio says:

    The one that neither the Soviet of Hawaii, nor the Feds knew about.

  5. avatarRandallOfLegend says:

    One that exists. Thanks NY :(

  6. avatarLance says:

    Best ever made is the AR-15A2 which is the exact copy of the M-16A2. Best model most accurate no crappy carbine gas system or heavy piston system. has good iron sights which are good to 800 meters. Can accept Trijicon ACOG scopes for added range. Most solders Ive meet have found likes for the M-16A2.

  7. avatarCameron S. says:

    Integrally suppressed .300BLK upper, flat top with BUIS and an Eotech, Magpul Furniture.

    • avatarBnGRacing says:

      Since we can dream, why not a .300BLK SBR…monolithic rail? My LMT is an absolute beauty queen and I can only imagine a 10″ .300 barrel would make it look even better (and get rid of some weight up front).

      Add a Wilson trigger, 1pt sling, Aimpoint/LaRue (1/3 cowitness), and stocker LMT fixed irons – but it’s still not a dream gun.

      There is no “dream gun” – only a dream collection ;)

      • avatarAlex says:

        I have the 10 inch and 16 inch. 10 inch is definitely better and at 100 meters I notice no loss in accuracy.

  8. avatarbo says:

    Like Christopher said “ultra light.” But then again, variety is the spice of life. One ultra light m4 clone with irons only, one super reliable mid length 16″, one 20″ varminter chambered in 223 (for accuracy), and one piston 7.5″ pistol for giggles at the range. Why just one?

  9. avatarTyler Kee says:

    AR 15?

    Armalite receivers (flat top upper)
    18″ 1:7 .223 wylde chamber
    Magpul furniture all the way around
    Timney trigger
    Apex compensator

    AR10?

    One of those dpms hunter lites in .243

  10. avatarJames K. says:

    Easy. AAC Honey Badger. Just add Magpul MBUS v2 irons, Eotech XPS2 and flip-to-the-side 3x magnifier and you’re set.

    In the realm of reality, picking up a Barnes Precision AR-15 in .223 Wylde next month. Add optics and possibly a Timney trigger and I’ll be pretty happy with that.

  11. avatarS_J says:

    AR-10, original 1960 Portuguese spec. I’ll pass on the modern knockoffs.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      When did you last see one? I had a plastic replica when I was a little boy. Never saw the real deal.

      • avatarS_J says:

        Title says “Perfect AR.” It merely has to exist, the fact that such a beast in mint condition is not available to my financially challenged person for less than the price of a brand new midsize sedan is irrelevant.

        Besides I live in NY at the moment, no Scary Black Rifles for us. *sigh*

      • avatarfoggy says:

        I saw a new Armalite AR-10 at Gander Mountain in Ocala, Fl back in November. It was a flattop and I think it was about $1800. Good luck finding one now.

  12. A threaded short barrel (about 6 inches) and upper chambered for 300 blackout. Magpul furniture all around, with a flashlight, laser and Masterkey attached to the fore end. I’d have a holographic sight in addition to the synthetic night sights. Add on the extended charging handle and gunsmith-tooled components, and I’d have my ideal rifle. And then I’d go call upon a winged marshmallow to fly me to the sherbet kingdom.

  13. avatarEnsitue says:

    anything that is not a Rem.

  14. avatarJim R says:

    Hmm. I can’t really pin it down because TBH I don’t know a whole lot about the various AR manufacturers and their components–who’s is best, etc. So this is something a little more general.
    I want an adjustable stock, a full length Picatinny top rail (for optics), a good red-dot with a little magnification (maybe 4x). Extra rails on the forend–one with a laser designator, one with an auxilliary set of iron sights. Heavy barrel, threaded to accept suppressor or compensator (whichever was more appropriate for the task at hand). Vertical foregrip as well (one of the ones that can double as a bipod), fully ambi controls and an LH ejection port.

    • avatarutdmatt says:

      Gonna be hard to find a monolithic upper rail and a lefty. If you’re okay with a 2 piece it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

      • avatarJim R says:

        Oh a 2-piece rail isn’t that big of a deal. The LH setup is, though. My right eye is all but useless, so any long gun I have I have to shoot southpaw.

        • avatarRambeast says:

          Same reason I shoot leftie. I am supposed to be saving up for surgery to correct my right eye, but I keep buying new guns, accessories, and ammo. >=(

    • avatarRambeast says:

      Troy makes an awesome LH mag release (this is the function most lefties hate in the AR platform), Ambi safeties are all over (left hand only available from Stag Arms). You will hurt your options with a LH eject. If you need to replace BCG parts, you will be out of luck or paying out the nose.

  15. The exact one I’ve got:
    Dissipator with midlength gas system
    5.56 FN CL cold hammer forged barrel
    Flat top, 6 pos collapsable stock
    Matech buis
    MFT engage pistol grip
    Geissele SSA-E (thanks hon!)
    M1 Garand OD web sling

    No magpul

  16. avatarEric says:

    In an emergency? Any one I get my hands on.non-emergency? Any one I can afford

  17. avatarEric says:

    In an emergency? Any one I get my hands on.non-emergency? Any one I can afford.

  18. avatarJason Lynch says:

    FN FAL, 16″ barrel, fixed stock… I’m a traditionalist.

  19. avatarjason21m says:

    The most expensive one. I’m an AR newbie (still researching what exactly I want), so I don’t know what would be best. I figure a standard DI gun with a 16-18 inch barrel, flip up sights, threaded muzzle, full auto fun switch, some kind of expensive glass on top, and a flashlight out front. I shoot left handed, so throw in as many ambi controls as I can and it sounds good to me.

  20. avatarMax says:

    A Colt 6520, with the pencil barrel cut down to 14.5 inches, threaded, and fitted with a KAC Triple Tap muzzle brake/hider, pinned. An old aluminum CAR buttstock, and an Umbrella Corporation Rifle Grip.
    All else remaining stock from the factory.
    Simple, fairly lightweight, short enough to be handy, long enough to fight with at a distance.
    In a perfect world, without the bureaucracy, I would have a select fire trigger group simply going: safe-semi-auto.

  21. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    Troy Defense Carbine.

  22. avatarNazgul says:

    One that’s affordable, 100% reliable, and easy to clean. Oops, no such thing (but I still want one anyway).

  23. avatarRambeast says:

    I have a few, but my favorite is:

    Doublestar 16″ flat top with GI front sight.
    Random 4 rail aluminum forend.
    Pistol form factor 160 lumen flashlight/strobe.
    Mission First Tactical’s React Magwell Grip placed 1/2 way down the rail.
    A.R.M.S. BUIS in rear.
    Primary Arms 3X Compact Scope.
    LAR Grizzly lower with a Rock River Arms short fixed stock.
    Mission First Tactical G-27 pistol grip.
    All loaded with Tubb Precision CS springs.

    I had an Effin’ A tunable compensator installed, but went back to the A2 flash hider. I found out the hard way that .223 and 5.56 have drastically different reactions to the comp’s tuning.

  24. avatarKen says:

    Already have it:
    LMT MRP, 12” piston drive
    Surefire Flash Hider w/Surefire Suppressor
    Troy Battlesights F & R
    Aimpoint T-1 on Larue QR mount
    Magpul Hand Grip
    Magpul MRP stock
    Wilson Tactical Trigger Unit –LE/Mil 5#
    BAD Ambi Selector
    Knights Ambi Mag Release
    Surefire Rail Covers
    Gear Sector Single Point Sling

  25. avatarMike CROGNALE says:

    Any standard issue Colt. Don’t need any of the fancy crap. I can kill at any reasonable distance with standard sights.

  26. avatarSwarf says:

    I’m on the “doesn’t understand the appeal of AR’s” list, so I’ll trade one of you guys my fantasy AR for a couple of your fantasy lever action rifles.

  27. avatarGreg Camp says:

    One with a gas piston, rather than direct impingement–oh, wait…

    • avatarHuman Being says:

      You’ve got about five or six different companies to choose from there, including Barrett (yes, that Barrett), LWRC, Ruger, and Patriot Ordnance Foundry.

  28. avatarMatthew says:

    LWRC 6.8

  29. avatarRoss says:

    I don’t own an AR, but if I was to get me one the LWRC IC SPR would go very nicely with my other piston driven rifles.

  30. Perfection is the enemy of the good

  31. avatarMD Matt says:

    Depends on what I want the platform to do.
    For hunting:
    Franklin Armory complete lower, Bushmaster .450 bm upper, Magpul furnature, Troy buis, green laser, and a fixed 2x optic, parts worked over by robar and internals polished and treated with slipstream.
    For defense:
    Either a troy defense carbine, complete colt hbar, or crusader weaponry variant.
    For all purpose:
    Wilson combat complete .458socom, with options for bipod, suppressor, acog sight and buis.
    For plinking:
    Plastic lower fit to a tactical solutions m4 .22 upper, inexpensive folding stock and hogue parts.

    A crew of large breasted supermodel gunsmiths to customize, maintain, and tend to various needs…Long as we’re wishing.

    In reality I like guns made of wood and steel, so the ar really isn’t on my list.

  32. avatarAccur81 says:

    I really like the LWRC Individual Carbine in FDE.

    Why own one? I like my heavy duty Ruger SR-556, CMMG M4 LEP II in 6.8 SPC with Magpul MOE, and Palmetto 5.56 with Magpul MOE build. My last build will have a 16 or 18″ stainless steel barrel with 1:8 twist and MAgpul MOE stock.

    The M16A2 is a great gun, and the new a Ruger SR-556VT looks pretty damn cool. Nicks obsession with the 300 BLK is perfectly understandable, and the 6.5 Grendel and .50 Beowulf are cool cartridges as well.

    Exploration of the “perfect” caliber and platform combination ought to be part of the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness for any responsible citizen. It’s a shame that we have such a conflict with our current administration over the ability of the good guy to own and use such things.

  33. avatarguy22 says:

    About anything that the LEO’s were toting in Boston. Some nice looking stuff.
    Guy22

  34. avatarMike in NC says:

    Daniel Defense V5 (medium wt. 5.56); V5LW (light wt. 5.56) or V5-300 Blk. Add good iron folding sights like Yankee Hill QDS. Other optics: [this space intentionally left blank - if you can't hit it with irons... ]

    Daniel Defense is going to offer an integrally suppressed SBR (one stamp) in 300 Blk.

  35. avatarp35flash says:

    ar15a1–no fancy crap except a forend flashlight and night sights

  36. avatarBlehtastic says:

    When I get BUIS i might put my fixed sights on the side to look all three-guneriffic.

    I like mid length gas systems. I don’t like the AFG, i tried it. Might try a VFG. 5.56 chambering is good, I suppose. Currently free floating a 16″, but might get a second AR with 14.5 and pinned flash hider and Delta Ring for home defense and closer up stuff.

    I dunno, I like M1A’s. AR’s are nice and light and super useful, but I can’t get excited about them.

  37. avatarBrian says:

    I’m in the process of finishing up my ideal build of the moment, just waiting on my lower now. Here’s my parts list:

    -Colt 6920 upper
    -Knight’s Armament rails and foregrip
    -BattleComp 2.0 compensator
    -MaTech BUIS rear sights
    -Aimpoint PRO
    -FailZero Nickel Boron coated M16 BCG
    -Rainier Arms Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
    -Magpul MIAD and CTR in OD green
    -LWRC Deluxe lower parts kit
    -KNS precision non-rotating trigger pins (not necessary for semi-auto I know but I think they look cool)
    -Lower receiver from York Arms, with custom magwell art and serial number (taking quite a while because of the massive order backlog they have)

    After I finish this I will probably start looking at .300 BLK SBR uppers.

  38. avatarborekfk says:

    My perfect AR is simple, lightweight, and iron sights.

  39. avatarRalph says:

    My perfect AR-15 is a full auto M-16, not its neutered civilian offspring.

  40. avatarSgc says:

    A decent AR that costs less than $1000. Considering there is probably $350 worth of plastic and metal in there…it doesn’t sound unreasonable…does it?

  41. avatarJohn Bergmann says:

    The Wally World by me has so little ammo they are putting spray paint overflow there so it’s not such a gaping hole.
    My dream AR is the one I am building. 300BLK carbine. Free float quad rail, flip ups and that new fangled Nikon 300BLK scope when I can afford it.

  42. avatartdiinva says:

    My smart a$$ answer is there is no way to perfect a rifle based on the crappy 223 cartridge. But in the Spirit of the question an AR in 243. Oh wait, that would be the perfect AR-10.

  43. avatarJon R. says:

    I really like that Vltor TS3 Carbine, throw a Tango down VFG and a EoTech sight on it and call it good. Would also be in AR-15 heaven with any Noveske rifle though.

  44. avatarHuman Being says:

    AXTS fully ambidextrous lower.
    Noveske stainless 16 inch upper in 300 BLK.
    Spike’s Tactical coated bolt carrier group.
    Troy Industries Alpha Rail forend.
    Geissele trigger.
    Gunfighter grip.
    AR Gas Vent replacement for the forward assist.
    JP Enterprises (silent) captured buffer spring.
    Magpul adjustable stock and gen 3 magazines.
    Still-not-released-to-the-public Silencerco Trifecta flash hider (so I don’t have to listen to a “ping” with every unsuppressed shot) and a .30 Saker to go on it.
    A lightweight optic to be named later.

  45. avatarBrian in Seattle says:

    KAC SR15 built for 6.8 with the mag well conforming to the LWRCI Six8 spec. One of their suppressors sized for 6.8, TA31H-68 ACOG, 100 Mags, 100k Ammo. I’m good.

  46. avatarRightontheleftcoast says:

    Actually, if I needed an AR, and I’d only need it for hunting, this looks pretty good. I’d prefer something thats already built to purpose, and dont mind paying more if improvements work well as integrated.

    Good review here on the earlier version:
    http://www.shootingtimes.com/2011/01/04/longgun_reviews_ruger_sr-556_010411/

    Would like to see how the VT does with accuracy from the longer heavier barrell. Good candidate for a review at the Ranch, for an OFWG on his first pig hunt, Robert?

  47. avatarJeff the Griz says:

    Wait scratch the previous, OMEN in .300 win mag!

  48. avatar16V says:

    One with the letters fixed to read “AK-47″…

    A caliber that works in a gun that works.

  49. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I really don’t care much about particular uppers or lowers. Accuracy in an AR comes from the quality of the barrel. The receivers, furniture, buffer/spring, etc… all are pretty much in the noise from my perspective. I’d put some bedding compound into the rear of the bottom receiver to keep the upper from wiggling around when the pins are set.

    I’d go with a 1:8 twist, stainless barrel, .223 Wylde chamber, 18 to 22″ long (depending on the application). 1:8 allows me to stabilize anything from 55 to 77 grain pills. I’d dispense with any flash hider or comp. The barrel would have a 11 degree crown on it, just because I like the way it looks better than the alternatives.

    The barrel should would be a Krieger or Bartlein, and I’d get a 1.250″ blank and contour it myself. The gas port I’d probably locate for a mid-length gas system.

    The only other thing I’d insist on would be a Geissele trigger group.

  50. avatarBen says:

    Barrett Rec-7, in 6.8 SPC, with a 12″ barrel. Hang a suppressor off the end (double tax stamps for the win!), so the overall length is about the same as an unsuppressed normal length rifle.

  51. avatarTimVa says:

    Any in my possession should qualify as perfect as long as it had ammo and plenty of it.

  52. Piston-driven .300 blk sbr with forward charging handle. And a suppressor, of course.

  53. avatarGuy says:

    The Perfect one for me would be one the Government is not trying to Demonize and take from me.

  54. avatarDavidT says:

    This in .300BLK with a quality suppressor. http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=37491&catid=19872

  55. avatarKirk says:

    Noveske, whichever you can lay your hands on. Aimpoint Tactical M2 with “50k hour” battery. Magpul adjustable stock.

  56. avatarJustice06RR says:

    Too many choices to choose from. I would either go for one of these (or all three):

    1. Colt 6920
    2. AAC 300BLK with 10-inch barrel and suppressor
    3. BCM midlength 5.56 M4

    Ultimate choice?
    Colt M4A1

  57. avatarPhilpac33 says:

    BCM/HSP Jack Carbine. Aimpoint T1 in Larue mount, BFG padded VCAS. For me, absolute perfect factory rifle plus my optic and sling of choice. No need to dick around.

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