Dupe an M-4 Carbine
Dr. John Woods 10.10.19
Time and time again at regional gun shows I am asked by customers, “How can I build or buy a very basic AR to use for home, farm, or ranch protection or as a truck rifle?” You see, not everyone wants to use an AR as a platform for hanging accessories onto.
If you want or need a base AR platform, what should you select?
What I suggest is an AR modeled after the military version known as the M4 Carbine but in a civilian semi-auto format. This rather plain-Jane AR platform is a working man’s rifle. Specifications should closely follow the original M-4 carbine with an overall length of 33 inches with the stock extended and 29.75 inches with the stock retracted. This would allow the rifle to be cased in many popular discreet type bags.
The barrel should be the shortest available without getting into SBR territory. That would be a 16-inch barrel with a standard birdcage flash hider on the muzzle. The barrel should be thin to stay with an M-4 profile, but select a heavier barrel if you like. The forend should be the standard ribbed handguard without a bunch of rails.
The top of the upper unit can be either the old Army type with a carry handle to stay true to form or a flat top with a section of Picatinny rail for optional optics. I can certainly argue for the rail top to attach a primo red dot or holographic sight. These days it is hard not to support the use of a good optic on any AR.
Regular BUIS iron sights can be good as a backup knowing that the standard M-4 open sights includes the high “A” frame front sight as I call them. For many, this would be another point for going with the flat rail top.
These are options and features only the buyer should pick. A rifle like this could be built or bought in the $400-500 range.