AR-15: Entry level and beyond.

In my last post I talked about how much I love the AR-15 platform.  What isn’t there to like?  From the versatility, to the eye candy factor, and cost to fun ratio… in my opinion, it just can’t be beat.  If you’re even remotely interested in owning one of these great iconic firearms there is an AR out there for everyone including you.

The first AR-15 I purchased I paid just under $600 from a local gun shop called Zulu Armoury.  That was a special deal for me only so don’t think you’re just going to walk up and get that.  It was a promo deal and it worked.  I bought four more guns and various accessories from him since then.  Pablo, the owner, is a great guy despite the fact that he’s a Marine.  I kid, he’s a great guy period; family man, Iraq Veteran, and City of Miami Police officer his knowledge and integrity is beyond reproach.  The AR-15 he custom built for me might not be a Daniel Defense, but it gets the job done and done right.

I thoroughly enjoy shooting that rifle.  I fell into the AR Trap.  Once you buy one you start looking at what else is out there.  Visiting his store, looking at other examples of his work, and then doing some research on my own, I soon became obsessed with the idea of owning a AR-15 in .300 Blackout.  The SBR (short barreled rifle) would be super nice to have for home protection, but the paperwork, extra cash, and wait period made it less enticing.  Until, while browsing through the offerings at the local gun show I was introduced to the AR-15 pistol.  “Say what?!…”

That’s right, like I said earlier, there is an AR-15 for everyone.  The AR-15 pistol is basically a short barreled version of the AR-15 available in 9mm, 5.56, .223, 7.62, and .300 Blackout.  It is available in barrels as short as 5.5″ and is equipped with no stock or a brace that replaces the stock.  If you’re willing to put up with not having a stock, no forward vertical pistol grip, and stares at the range; it’s a good compromise to the SBR.  Like all ARs the price varies drastically depending on who builds it, what materials are used, and what accessories come with it.  At this same gun show I saw a wide range of examples of the AR Pistol and my obsession with the .300 Blackout grew.  I was further enticed when I saw a vendor who had a complete AR-15 Pistol in .300 BLK for $399.  I couldn’t believe it.  I inspected that thing down to checking the barrel stamp and BCG.  It was all good quality. Again, not Daniel Defense, but adequate and for the price one can’t complain.  I was determined to save up the money and get me one at the next gun show.

Two months later I eagerly entered the gun show with money in hand ready to purchase the AR-15 pistol in .300 BLK.  The anticipation was killing me as I searched through all the aisle for the vendor I had seen and talked to the show before.  I was getting discouraged and reaching a state of great disappointment when I was unable to find the vendor.  I stopped at some vendors who were offering AR-15 Pistols wondering how much more one could cost.  Confirmed, the AR-15 pistol’s price varies as much as it’s configurations.  I saw one for the astonishing price of $2500… At a gun show!  Remember, I’m talking about a pistol not SBR.  Anyhow I scoffed at the over $1000 price tags and moved on.   I’m not looking to join a SEAL team or anything like that.  I just want something to go plinking with that will also offer an acceptable level of home defense should anything ever happen requiring that firearm.  As I continued to walk the aisles of the show, I had almost given up on the possibility of getting a AR Pistol this time around, and then I saw him.  There he was in a different part of the pavilion.  I stepped up ready to make my purchase and… no .300 Blackout.  Not only did he not have a .300 Blackout this time around, but the prices on all his firearms had gone up by $100.  It seems the AR Pistol got a boost in popularity due to the ATF letter defining the parameters of use.  It is basically acceptable to fire the AR Pistol from the shoulder as long as it does not have a stock.  With the rise in popularity and consequent demand, the price went up.  I looked at my wife and said, “I give up.  Maybe next time.”

We continued to walk the gun show checking out the different offerings from the vendors that filled the Miami-Dade County Fair and Expo indoor pavilion.  Among the many interesting items on display for purchase was a Sig Sauer P320 for $425.  I saved that in my memory bank for possible purchase.  Then, I turned my attention to a vendor I remembered from the earlier show, 22mods4all.  He had a great selection of barrels.  I didn’t want to walk away empty handed and figured if he had a .224 Valkyrie barrel I would purchase that and start my long range rifle build (I’ll write more about that on a upcoming post).  We went, we looked, I found what I was looking for, and just before making the purchase my wife said, “Hey, look at this.”  I walk over to her side and there it was- the AR Pistol in .300 Blackout for $399.  I quickly walked over to the lady behind the table.  I ended up having to patiently wait while she tended to another customer.  I think she could tell my fan boy anxiety was hitting maximum overload and said, “Go ahead, you can pick it up.  I’ll be with you in a moment.”  I took it and inspected every part of this gun.  It was just as good if not better than the one I had seen in the last show.  Only draw back is it had no optic or sights…  I can deal with that.  Sat down, filled out the paper work, background check (yes, a background check at a gun show- I wish I could find that loop hole everyone keeps talking about),  and the AR-15 Blackout was mine.

The $399 was a special gun show price.  It’s one of their promotional guns.  On the advice of the very helpful lady at the booth I selected a red magazine to go with my new AR Pistol.  This would help differentiate between .300 blackout and 5.56 rounds.  Don’t want to make that mistake.  Everything about the AR in .300 blackout is the same as a 5.56 AR except for the barrel.  The cartridges are even the same size and fit in the same magazines.  The 5.56 might even chamber a .300 Blackout round.  You just don’t want to fire it.  That could go very badly.

So far, I am very happy with the AR-15 pistol.  I’m going to purchase some small relatively inexpensive things like a angled forward grip and single point sling to upgrade the gun and increase stability, but it’s basically complete and ready to go.  The point is, depending on what you are looking to do with the gun, an AR-15 offers configurations for just about anything you may need.  Zulu Armoury in the city of Doral in Miami is a good place to start if for nothing else to get informed and see what’s available.  For those of you not living in Miami and looking to just dive in and take the AR-15 plunge check out 22mods4all (this is a direct link to a item they have on sale at the time of this post).  Either way you’ll get good service, good information, and a good deal.  Welcome to your new obsession.  Ah, don’t mention it…