The AR rifle is fast becoming the most popular rifle for plinking, hunting and sport shooting. Making a choice to purchase an AR platform rifle might be an easy decision, but picking out the one that best fits your needs can be overwhelming. There are as many types of configurations and calibers for the AR platform as there are people that own them. I know of almost no one that hasn’t added an accessory to their AR, even just a red dot sight. That’s a good thing. Adding one’s personal touches to a firearm increase that ownership pride. The harder question to answer is, “How do I choose the right caliber, with the right stuff, without wasting money?” The key word here being “right” in regards to caliber and accessories. Well this simply comes down to a personal choice, but certainly some suggested items to consider are merited.
Start first with caliber and what you intend to do. For example, long range shooting, I would consider the .308. Hunters have several caliber choices to fit the game they seek. Then look at the rifle itself. I consider the stock, grip, forend, and don’t forget barrel length. This is typically not a huge issue as the rifle is purchased with the appropriate one. If you do desire a barrel length change, nowadays it is much easier to change the complete upper than to switch out a barrel. The “furniture” are the easy parts to change. I have one old AR that has seen many new looks over the years. If you have a tough time deciding go to your local gun retailer and just shoulder several ARs. This can give you a feel and is a much better evaluation for comfort and balance. Other parts commonly replaced are the charging handle and bolt carrier group, again more choices than you can shake a stick at. Once that decision is made think about the type of optic. Whether you have a carry handle or flat top upper you have a vast amount of choices even after you have weighed the pro con debate on red dot versus magnification. Price is often the decider on the optic.I believe in going to the best I can afford. One caution, there are a lot of cheaply made optics out there and you may find that you are replacing these particular units more often, spending good money for bad.
So while it promises not to be an easy decision it is a whole lot of fun to put together a personalized AR. If you are in the market for an AR visit us at AZFirearms.com online, or in our store in Avondale, Arizona. We have several manufacturers in stock, like Bushmaster, Colt, Windham Weaponry, Rock River Arms, Adams Arms, and Sig Sauer. In addition to the conventional 5.56/.223 calibers we are well stocked with the large .308 ARs and even the hard hitting .458 SOCOM. We have accessories from Mag Pul and high quality EOTECH optics. Most of all enjoy this amazing rifle platform. Be safe.
Thinking about carrying your firearm concealed? It is by far the most popular form of carry today, thanks to state laws that recognize this important self protection. So now let’s talk about exactly what type of concealed carry option to choose. This is where it can get a bit complicated. I like to use a process for helping me determine what type of concealed device I am going to use. First, let’s see what I have to choose from. I have an ankle holster, a small “EDC” or every day carry bag (no, it’s not a purse), an inside the waist band holster and I still have my old “fanny” pack from the early 90’s. I know that Clint Smith, professes that carrying a firearm should be comforting not comfortable, but I am here to add a caveat that if it is comfortable then one is more likely to carry. Typically the place or places I will be going usually determines the carry option. When I wear khakis or dress pants I prefer the ankle holster. While this method does have some shortcomings I at least know that I have my gun on me. When in casual clothes or shorts I like my EDC carry bag. I can also load up with extra magazines and other items without filling up my pockets. While women have an easier time with carrying a bag many of the EDC bags designed for men resemble a brief case or small back pack and they will usually have a holster pocket for your firearm. The purse options are a better choice for women as these bags will have a specific slot or pocket for the handgun alleviating digging around inside searching for the gun (If you do plan on carrying in a bag that does not have a designated pouch or pocket for your gun, then I highly recommend that the gun be placed in a sleeve type holster. This can avoid a potential accidental discharge). I will admit that I no longer use my fanny pack, but I just can’t part with it. In my opinion these packs were such a common carry method back in the day that everyone knew that you were carrying a gun. So much for concealed.
If it’s hot out, and it is that a lot in Arizona, then I like the inside the waist band carry. I use the “Sticky Holster” which is genius for its simplicity. This is great for those short trips to the grocery store as I can just slip this into the waistband. The Sticky is made of a material that utilizes compression when holding the gun in place and in drawing the firearm. It has no clips so it can be carried strong side, cross draw, small of the back or in the pocket. These holsters are available at AZFirearms.com for $24.95.
As with any concealed carry option you must practice accessing and drawing your weapon. Practice, too, reholstering, because if you are in a situation to if you have to defend yourself with your gun you do not want to be standing around holding your gun when the police arrive. To them they are going to a serious call and then pull up and they see you holding a gun you are a threat until otherwise determined not to be.
Carrying concealed comes with a great deal of responsibility. Research the many options that will work for you and make sense for the type of environment you live. Always know the laws associated with carrying concealed firearms and when you can use them. Practice, practice and stay safe.