This is taken from user BKlement and his post on the definitive firearms thread:
It's a list and explanation of the desirable features of the M4. While that thread is a monster, you can still dig up quite a bit of information there.
I don't like the Kalasnikov. You cannot get prone. Your head is tempted higher by the long magazine. The SKS is better.
A good old fashioned bolt action rifle has a lot of merit. Longer range and regulars hate snipers with reason.
Assault weapons are neither flesh, fish nor good red herring. You cannot conceal them and they lack range.
Willie Papa is not to be mentioned on this thread, but the Lord knows why after all we are talking about butchery. No, please don't try to pretty it all up. I have been there and done that. If it is not butchery you are just not going to make it because you will be an amateur against professionals.
I feel the urge to spout off on optics as long as you are thinking of getting an AR-15.
Two one-power optics dominate the field for AR-15: AimPoint and EoTech.
Aimpoint makes the Micro-T1 and Micro-H1. They also make a larger Comp-M4. Most of the guys I know go with the Micro models. The T1 is night vision compatible, but as I learn more I realize that even if you have some NV it does not work well trying to wear it on you head and look through the sights. I suppose you could mount it on the rifle, but that has drawbacks as well. The T1 might be a little more rugged as well. I guess it is a flip whether you want to save $50 by getting the H1.
Most get the Aimpoint from Larue Tactical with the Larue quick release mount. This raises the Aimpoint to the level for co-witnessing the iron sights. The Larue mount is very nice.
The way to go with EoTech is with the XPS or EXPS series. The big improvement is the horizontally mounted CR123 battery. The earlier models with the batteries mounted lengthwise had issues with the battery springs compressing over time.
Advocates of the Aimpoint cite the fact that the battery can be left on for months without turning it off. However the EoTech battery also lasts quite a long time so it may not be as important as they make it out to be. Mike Pannone felt that it was not an issue.
The Aimpoint has a single dot. It comes in 4 moa and 2 moa. You would want the 2 moa dot.
EoTech has a 1 moa dot surrounded by a 65 moa circle. This makes it much faster than the Aimpoint for acquiring targets at close range. At the Mike Pannone carbine class one guy was able to do two center mass and on head shot in 0.8 seconds with the Eotech, while the fast Aimpoint shooters were doing about 1.2 seconds.
LaRue sells an EoTech XPS with their mount. The EXPS is already raised and has an EoTech quick release mount. They also come in NV and non-NV models.
The regular Army runs the Aimpoint, but special forces seem to prefer the EoTech. Mike Pannone said that the use of Aimpoint may be more of a procurement process thing with Aimpoint getting the red tape finished first and it being hard to change gears.
That being said, it seems that the future of optics is moving to the newer 1x-4x and 1x-6x scopes that combine long range magnification with the ability to be used for close range work. These are heavier than the one-power sights and also much more expensive. In my opinion these would be better for a 7.62×51 battle rifle like the SCAR mk17.
For the sake of completeness, I should mention the Trijicon ACOG. This is more or less a 4 power scope (several models). It is also considered a good product, but it seems to be from an older generation. People I know that have them like them. I suppose you need to work out how to use the 4 power at close range. One marine I spoke with said that he indexed off the top of the sight when close. I think that there would be an eye relief issue and an need to worry more about the cheek weld with the magnified scopes.
That reminds me to mention that the Aimpoint and Eotech are designed to keep both eyes open when using so you actually focus on the target and the reticle superimposes and your brain adjusts. Both are somewhat forgiving of head positioning, with the Eotech being more forgiving.
I just finished reading a book by one of the guys that started up the FBI HRT unit and he mentioned that the use of these optics really improved the hit rate of soldiers in the middle east wars.
As with the carbine, there are cheaper red dot optics out there. All of the cheaper ones are not as rugged and the EoTech knock-offs apparently fail to reproduce the holographic weapon sight effect of the EoTech.
You definitely want to avoid adding a lot of extra stuff to your carbine, but I think you realize that already.
I have been told that you should have an optic, a sling and maybe a light. Beyond that it is unnecessary bulk and weight.
For a sling you should get a two-point sling. The reason is that the one-point slings are not so good for shoulder transitions.
For a light the two main contenders are the Surefire X300 and the InForce weapon light. There is a good youtube video of Travis Haley showing why he prefers the light scatter pattern of the 200 lumen InForce that he had Inforce create for him to sell.
Good luck. Stay safe. I hope this helps.
We agree on almost every point, so I'm sure it's no surprise, but I hope Bob and others considering a defensive rifle likewise consider optics. I've used the Aimpoints and ACOGs extensively in the military and have a strong bias towards the ACOG. The magnification is extremely helpful in target and terrain identification, and of course, makes hits at greater range much simplier.
Between the EOTech and Aimpoint, I do favor the EOTech.
The only problem is that the battery life on the older EOTechs was about 1200 hours.
The Aimpoint boasted 500,000 hours. Naturally, for a civilian who is keeping a rifle for defense and must provide his own logistic needs, the Aimpoint just lasts a lot longer.
That said, while I see where Pannone is coming from (and respect his opinion) there is a phenomenon in training that supposes that the needs of a citizen are the same as the needs of a Police Officer are the same as the needs of a Special Operations commando… That I don't agree with.
So, I do think it's wise to challenge convention on some of these things. The Trijicon RMR, for example offers a dual-illumination model optic (tritium and fiber optic) that requires no batteries at all, and will dim after 12 years. It's also 2 ounces, compared with the Aimpoint's Micro T1 (4 oz) and the EOTech's XPS2 (8 oz) which are the two most comparable offerings from these manufactures.
There are other things to consider, but in general, the guys "in the know" don't have to concern themselves with the issues citizens do, and while their advice is "good", it is also for profit and made 'for the masses'.
Also, while I know Arthur's comment was tongue in cheek, he's not wrong.
For almost any circumstance, a decent hunting rifle would do as well as a fighting rifle. There's a common fallacy amongst survivors that fighting rifles are "required" of the savvy survivor, and a small arsenal is part of the package. It's not. In my opinion, this runs contrary to surviving.
There isn't much about combat that lends itself to surviving, and that's something I hope is understood…
Most of us would be far better off with a $300 chicken coop, $300 garden, and $300 rifle than we would with a $1500 rifle with a mess of ammo, and perishable, non-regenerating food stocks.
I agree entirely with your comment about being weapons-centric to the exclusion of more important prepping needs.
Having a single low frill reliable weapon and really knowing how to operate it will definitely trump having a collection of weapons you never train with.
An instructor at one class a couple years ago said "In terms of improving their personal survival rate, most of the guys taking my class would get a better result from a gym membership."
My suggestions on AR manufacturers was from the point of view of if you want an AR that can handle heavy usage without breaking these are the ones that people who shout a lot recommend.
Your points about civilian and military needs being different are certainly valid. Day to day self protection now and even family or neighborhood protection in a less civil environment are definitely different than military operations and the appropriate tactics are very different.
My downplaying of Trijicon in the previous post is most likely due to the fact that I have never actually used one. I have looked through a couple ACOGs.
I have heard recently of some people running the RMR on AR's. I have always thought it was too tiny but it seems to work for them.
Having an optic that does not require batteries to operate could be a problem in some long term scenarios.
Bottom line, being physically fit, healthy, being able to grow or raise food, having a network for family and friends etc. is probably more important to long term survival than a huge arsenal of weapons.
I guess they way to describe it is that having a way to protect yourself is necessary, but far from sufficient.
This might be drifting, but please remember that my initial posts were in response to a question about getting a new light weight rifle.
For people who are starting out and want a weapon as one part of a well rounded set of preparations getting a reliable handgun and some professional training on how to use it should be the first steps.
When expanding to a long gun you need to give thought to the function that would serve.
On the same page, Joe!I even agree that getting something of better quality is a smarter investment.
As to the RMR, I prefer them on the AK, as it’s already heavy and benefits more from the smaller device… it also lines up perfectly on the ultimak system, so it works better there than it does on an AR.
In any case, fitness is probably the best resilience attribute you can bolster.
I have been lurking for the past few days and want to give y'all and update on my thinking based partially on your input.
I have been thinking all along that I wanted to get a good red dot optic for whatever I buy. I have a fairly decent scope on my M1A but the mount is a problem (will not hold zero at all) and I have to replace it soon. I don't think a red dot on an M1A is how I will go.
On the AR question, I am leaning toward a Daniel Defense platform with a shortish barrel so that it is more like an M4 than an M16. They are made just down the road from me and seem to have a good reputation. It sure would be nice to find a used one on GunBroker or someplace like that.
Thanks again for your help.
I came across this thread and even though it's old I thought I'd leave my two cents.
The beauty of this rifle lies not in the obvious comparisons but in the application possibilities. First off let me say that my SU16c has a few thousand rounds through it with zero issues. Of course I admittedly do not use cheap ammo and I do clean after every session.
This rifle folds (in half) into a compact size that fits nicely into many carrying options that nothing else fits into. This includes a backpack, large tennis racket case, duffel bag, or whatever you can come up with. The weapon also fires (the C model) while folded in half as well.
The rifle is super light comparatively speaking and takes all AR magazines of the various sizes. It has a perfect balance/feel to me with 20 round mags (I like Magpul). So of course a Sig, HK or whatever custom maker you want to add is going to be superior in many ways, they are heavier, and take-down options are severely limited. The price point is also vastly different and sometimes you don't want the attention a weapon like that brings.
I hate to use the phrase 'bug-out' because it's so cliched now, but I doubt you find a better rifle for this purpose on the market today, and although this is the only Kel-Tec I have firsthand experience with I have no concerns about reliability from what I've experienced thus far.