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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 1.5 yrs ago I bought my first AR15, the S&W m&p sport 2, when we started to see mass riots taking place. I bought it because it was affordable and available at the time. I made a lot of upgrades to it because the stock furniture on it was garbage. With that said, I consider this rifle to be mid tier and will get the job done.

now that I’ve had time to research and review other more expensive brands it begs the question, are there diminishing returns when spending $1500+ on an AR? I understand that the more expensive brands will typically use better materials and manufacturing processes, but at the end of the day are you really getting more for your money or are you just paying for the name brand?

I’m thinking that if I do buy another AR I’d want to get either a BCM, Geiselle or Daniel Defense. All of these brands have great reputations and are mildly more affordable than say Radian or Noveske.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think when you move up to those brands, that tier, you're buying something that is not supposed to fail for a very large round count.
that’s what I figured. I think my S&W could probably take a beating but the barrel not so much. At this point the S&W is my budget gun that I give zero effs about. If anything, if I encounter any failures with it I could just use it for spare parts. Even more reason for me to buy a top tier brand
 

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About 1.5 yrs ago I bought my first AR15, the S&W m&p sport 2, when we started to see mass riots taking place. I bought it because it was affordable and available at the time. I made a lot of upgrades to it because the stock furniture on it was garbage. With that said, I consider this rifle to be mid tier and will get the job done.

now that I’ve had time to research and review other more expensive brands it begs the question, are there diminishing returns when spending $1500+ on an AR? I understand that the more expensive brands will typically use better materials and manufacturing processes, but at the end of the day are you really getting more for your money or are you just paying for the name brand?

I’m thinking that if I do buy another AR I’d want to get either a BCM, Geiselle or Daniel Defense. All of these brands have great reputations and are mildly more affordable than say Radian or Noveske.
You’re ahead of me, I got my first a few months ago. Very emotional, buying a rifle without the smallest splinter of wood anywhere on it.
 

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I don't own an AR, but - I have fired a few guns that people had, and then went and put upgrades, springs and such, that were for higher end firearms of the same type/model, and there was a noticeable difference. maybe they are just tuned a bit more, or made out of a bit better materials. You may be paying a bit for the name, but not only for the name.
 

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Chief Cook&Bottle Washer
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To me configuration is important. A rifle length vs mid length vs carbine feels and shoots different. Heavier chrome barrel is better. Good furniture. Good optics. Even staying within what is considered lower and mid tier stuff there can be notable differences. The buttstock on the m&p 2 sucks. A basic magpul unit makes it better. The cheap magpul sights are ok. The pro models are better. So IMO you do not have to go all high end to get something decent. It is a modular platform thos and if you are going to shoot alot well you will go down the rabbit hole- barrels, bcg, stocks, optics, slings, etc.
 

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@OP - I suppose you're correct in your critique of the S&P Sport2. I have one as well (nearly 6 years now). After a few mods & improvements to it, it seemed like a pretty capable weapon. Until a guy at the range offered me a couple of pulls on his Daniel Defense AR - (can't recall the exact model he had). But he went on to highly recommend the gun as he had others with him... I assumed he was knowledgeable as he was proficient (he was a very good marksman).

When I asked about the DD line and the M4V7 18" in particular at my favorite store in AZ, the attendant also rated it v. highly, but then turned me towards the POF at a comparable price point. I ended up opting for the Patriot Gen4 16". It's essentially stock but has a decent site and other equip. It's more robust in terms of construction and seems to be simpler over a number of other ARs incl. the S&P. But I would say the Sport2 is a solid back-up weapon. It's reliable - fires time and time again and has never jammed, it's fairly accurate and its light weight - guess I got a good one?
 

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Prepared in NH
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IMHO, There is no need to spend $2000.00 on an upper tier AR15.

I got my first AR15 in 2004 right after the sunset of the Clinton gun control ban.

It was an Olympic Arms AR, which are considered lower tier, but I had zero issues with it. My wife even used it once to take a live fire AR class and it ran perfectly fine. We still have it.

I've since picked up others, including an OA K23 pistol, Colt 6940, Windham Weaponry heavy barrel configuration, a Frankenstein assembled AR, a Firestar lower with a PSA upper, PSA AR's, and went on to learn how to build my own years ago.

I have taken AR building classes, a number of AR classes, including live fire tactical classes run by LEO & Military training schools, where you are going thru 20 plus 30 round mags a session (that's where you might see a diff. In a lower tier AR and a mid-level or higher tier AR).

I've built my own using lowers from Andersen Arms, Ruger, and Aero Precision.

Honestly, all of them have ran fine with no major malfunctions, although I did loose a lip on a magpul mag when I was first testing out a new build with a YHM suppressor on it.

Again, IMHO, I would not worry about spending more on an AR15.

I would instead suggest that you stick to AR manufacturers that have a decent rep, but are sub $1K, and I STRONGLY suggest that you instead put together a spare parts kit(s) for your AR15's.

If you don't know what that entails, maybe check out u toob and do a search on that topic, along with watching some videos on disassembling and assembling and cleaning your AR15 and it's BCG, and how to replace key "wear" parts on an AR15.

If you live in a free state, maybe consider sinking some spare money into a supressor?

And last, but not least, why not stock-up on spare mags now, while you can still get them at decent prices?
 
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The AR-15s that I have now, I have built myself to meet the specific needs that I have.

They are a mix of parts from various manufacturers, that include such names BCM, Stag, Spikes, Anderson, Stoner, etc.

I didn't drop an insane amount of money on any, and all are very functional, quality rifles.
 

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In general, you will get diminishing returns on an AR-15 the higher up in quality you go. I own everything from the bare essentials poverty pony that I run through the ringer, to a top tier LMT with a Nightforce NX8 1-8 on it. They all achieve the same purpose, but you can tell a clear difference when handling the different rifles. I think the "sweet spot" for bang for your buck is always building off of an Aero Precision lower, because you can complete the lower for around $250-300, depending on the furniture you're putting on it, etc. (outside of upgrading to maybe a Geissele or LaRue trigger) - where you should be spending the money, in my humble opinion, is on the upper, optic, and getting yourself a good sling and light.

For example: the most reliable/bang for your buck/SHTF/survival style AR-15 would probably be something like an Aero lower ($250) with a 14.5" Geissele/BCM/DD upper (commonly found between $1,000-$1,200), and then slapping a nice Aimpoint on top. Something you know will have battery life of 1+ years, and can literally get blown up and still turn on. I have an Aimpoint PRO on a Geissele URG-I sitting on an Aero lower and that's one of the most reliable guns I own. That is my recommendation, friend!
 

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OP your AR will serve you pretty well. With that said, you do get more from an AR when you pay more. Upper tier AR's cost more as they use higher quality components and the manufacturer takes the time to properly inspect and set-up the AR. I consider BCM, Spikes, etc...to be middle tier, but very good. LMT and KAC are more upper tier AR's. I do not own an AR any longer that I bought as a complete rifle. All of mine are assembled from parts that I pick and trust. I do like BCM and Spikes parts. JP as well.
 

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I believe many professionals will coin up for top tier ARs. I believe they are higher quality and QC inspected closer. Myself, I don't shoot high volume, full auto or any kind of accuracy matches, so my Palmetto State Armory has worked out great. I think it's been pretty well proven that the S&W's, Palmetto State's, Ect, are quality guns and they aren't just breaking or inaccurate. My opinion is that most shooters will be very well served with a S&W M&P15 AR. One could spend more but most probably won't benefit from it.
 

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My $.02:

They are all pretty damn similar in quality performance (at at certain price point) until you get in to the LWRC's, JP etc. With a 55g projectile, the max effective range is not that far anyway, so barrel quality (other than life) is not that important. Good triggers are not that expensive and are easy to change. The difference in pull will sometimes make a bad shooting gun into a decent one.

A quality barrel/upper for competitive shooting is a whole other enchilada and typically worth every penny.

Optics. Don't cheap out. Either spend the money to get good ones or learn to shoot iron sights.
 

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A higher tier AR will generally get you a rifle that has much more effort put into QA/QC. They are also more likely to be in-spec across the board. That will usually translate to a rifle that will shoot smoother, and last longer firing high round counts.

If you are looking for a plinker, or if you want a talisman to ward off evil, any AR will do. If you truly run your rifles hard, particularly in a professional capacity, the extra money tends to be well worth it. Both BCM and SOLGW will replace a rifle that is used in a shooting, or that is damaged on duty (car gets rear-ended with rifle getting crunched), for professional users. SOLGW guarantees all of their barrels for life - shoot one out, they send you a new one.

The armory at our range sees thousands of ARs come through a year for inspections or needed repairs. Some manufacturers we see come through needing repairs All. The. Time. Some we basically never see.

I own Colts, BCMs, SOLGW, KAC, and Hodge. I've shot probably 95% of other brands out there. The KAC is hands-down the smoothest shooting rifle I have ever shot. The Hodge is the only rifle I consider a matter of diminishing returns. It's definitely a boutique rifle. I think Daniel Defense rifles are too expensive for what you get (they are on-par with BCM and SOLGW, but cost more). Colt is what I consider the baseline standard.

After accessories, most of my ARs have about 3k into them. Some have much more. I shoot a lot, so for me, it is worth it. If you plan to actually use your gun, buy once cry once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I would instead suggest that you stick to AR manufacturers that have a decent rep, but are sub $1K, and I STRONGLY suggest that you instead put together a spare parts kit(s) for your AR15's.

If you don't know what that entails, maybe check out u toob and do a search on that topic, along with watching some videos on disassembling and assembling and cleaning your AR15 and it's BCG, and how to replace key "wear" parts on an AR15.

If you live in a free state, maybe consider sinking some spare money into a supressor?

And last, but not least, why not stock-up on spare mags now, while you can still get them at decent prices?
my issue boils down to time, which I don’t have. Believe me, I’ve considered doing my own build but these days time is a luxury. I also don’t want to wait for a suppressor. I’ve heard that it’s now taking 9 months or longer to get approved for one. As for spare mags, I do have those 😂 Not a ton but enough for my needs
 

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Desperta Ferro!
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I've never spent $1500 for an AR-15.
To me personally, that seems like wasteful spending.

I prefer the stripped-down basic PSA AR's, fitted by me with Magpul MBUS iron sights. That, plus a light on some rifles (but not all) is all I really need.

That said, I have a green / red dot optic that came with one AR from PSA. I left it on as a co-assist / backup for the MBUS sights.

FYI, PSA uses the barrels from FN Manufacturing.
They are very high quality, military grade, 1:7 twist barrels. Never a problem in over 10 years of my personal use.

UPDATE:
Just bought a PSA SBR complete upper w/BCG & CH. It's railed on all sides and came with a Sig Sauer Romeo 2 red dot sight.

After testing the optic, it appeared to be sharp and clear, but turning on the unit was a PITA, imho. You can only turn it on by rotating the top brightness knob. There is no typical on / off button. Properly set, however, the red dot was easily seen even in bright daylight.


You can buy a decent AR for $550-ish, drop another $175 on the MBUS pop up sights and still spend less than half of the cost of the grossly inferior S&W.
Inferior due to S&W's cheap furniture amd accessories.
 
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