For most self defense
situations a person is likely to encounter, a long barreled rifle is not the weapon of
choice. Intended primarily as an offensive armament, its greatest drawback
in a defensive situation is the fact that it may be too long and too unwieldy to
be quickly deployed and maneuvered in a close quarter, cluttered, or confined
environment. A rifle is designed to produce long, accurate shots.
Hence, it may pose a threat to innocent people from over penetration or
On the positive side, a rifle possesses better stopping
power, presents a stronger visual deterrent, and provides greater accuracy than
any handgun. Recoil will be tolerable and manageable with the preferred
urban defense rounds such as the sporting .223 Remington, its military cousin
the 5.56 NATO, .357 Magnum and .44
Magnum. These latter two revolver cartridges benefit significantly from
being chambered in a carbine.
which is the civilian semiautomatic version of the standard issue U.S. military
M4 carbine or M16 rifle, is well suited for personal protection. The
shorter 16-inch barrel of the carbine is preferred.
5.56 NATO AR platform is extremely versatile. The upper receiver
is attached to the lower receiver by means of two movable pins.
This allows the upper receiver, which holds the barrel, to be easily
removed from the lower receiver. Shooters can swap out different
barrel configurations depending upon the type of shooting they wish to
pursue. Numerous carbines and rifles can be conveniently built
using only one lower. Upper receivers from one manufacturer will
generally fit on the lower receiver of a different manufacturer if both
sure to visit the Armory munitions room "Rifle
Ammunition: Self Defense" for detailed information regarding
rifle rounds suited to urban self defense. The discussion of .223
Remington/5.56 NATO ammunition includes a matrix of bullet weights that can be stabilized
from AR-15 carbines and rifles with differing barrel lengths and rifling
twists. Also investigate "Tech
Tips" in this regard.
1994, a number of makes and models of .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO
semiautomatic rifles were banned by federal legislators
as "assault rifles". Other caliber rifles were
included as well. Rather than confront and address the nature of crime in this
country (Duh!- criminals, particularly repeat offenders), these
liberal and progressive politicians chose to blame societal ills on an inanimate tool: a household
firearm. In an orgy of deceit, frenzy was substituted for
foresight and illusion for substance in conjuring up this so-called
"Crime Bill": the "Clinton Gun Ban".
"assault rifles" are capable of firing select fire or full auto, in a manner
comparable to the U.S. Army M4A1 carbine. Rifles for the civilian market
are restricted to semiautomatic operation only, in which the trigger
must be pulled to initiate each shot.
Amazingly, the criteria used
by the Clinton Gun Ban to
classify a civilian rifle as an "assault rifle" was based solely on appearance,
accessories or ancillary features that had no bearing on the operating
mechanics of the firearm.
rifle" was defined by the Clinton Gun Ban as a semiautomatic rifle that had two of the
five following features:
- folding or telescoping stock;
- pistol grip;
- flash suppressor;
- grenade launcher.
civilian AR never incorporated a grenade launcher. A weapon system of
that type and its explosive projectile are considered to be "destructive devices" subject to considerable federal
regulation, oversight and taxation. Hence, the gun ban really only
focused on ergonomic features like stocks
and grips, and the innocuous flash suppressor. Modern combat doesn't
lend itself to bayonet use, and the AR platform isn't particularly suited
to thrusting, yet the inoffensive bayonet lug was also restricted.
In most civilian applications, the bayonet lug serves as a handy
accessory mounting point for attaching tactical lights, lasers or bipods.
reiterate and emphasize, civilian "assault rifles" were never
select fire or full auto, a category of firearm regulated to military
use. In terms of its operation, the semiautomatic action of these so-called "assault rifles" is
identical to the action of other countless, and legal, self loading handguns,
rifles, and shotguns. Nevertheless, because of their "scary"
military look, many fine rifles were outlawed.
Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. So Fuzzy Wuzzy
wasn't fuzzy was he?"
portion of the Clinton Gun Ban which demonized military style
semiautomatic firearms passed into law subject to a
"sunset" provision which was to become effective in a decade,
unless the law was reenacted. On September 13, 2004, this truly
pathetic piece of legislation expired. No evidence was
ever produced which demonstrated that the ban contributed anything
at all toward the reduction of crime. Of course, that was never
its intent. It was really the "camel's nose in the tent"
with regard to firearm confiscation.
the sunset of the Clinton Gun Ban, the exact same
civilian rifle as a pre-ban "assault
rifle" can now be purchased new and legally owned. Yes, if
you so desire, it will even possesses the "intimidating" cosmetic
features that Slick Willie and the liberals and progressives in
congress found to be so frightening! Of course, this freedom is
restricted in the Peoples' Republic of California and the
Eastern Bloc states.
"post-ban" rifles purchased between 1994 and 2004 may also be
legally retrofitted with the collapsible stock option, the bayonet lug,
and the flash suppressor, while still
retaining the handy pistol grip.
Some feel that
deletion of the flash suppressor mandated by the 1994 "Clinton
Gun Ban" actually improved the overall
accuracy of the AR rifle. However, for those wishing this
particular component, the flash suppressor can be purchased with a new rifle, or as a retrofit to a rifle purchased during the
also legal to install a
"muzzle break" or a "compensator" to the barrel of
the rifle should the shooter desire to reduce either,
respectively, perceived recoil or barrel jump. These devices look somewhat akin to a flash suppressor, but function
differently, based on the location and orientation of ports.
Americans are looking for crime
control with substance. What they got in the Clinton Gun
Ban of 1994 was a
charade which did nothing to inhibit the lawless. This travesty was rather only another infringement upon the liberties of the law
abiding. With dedicated attention by an informed citizenry, hopefully
any future debacle regarding "assault rifle" prohibition can
can and do occur with autoloaders such as an AR. The most common are failure to
feed and failure to eject. The opportunity for problems increases
dramatically in physical environments that are unfriendly to mechanical
objects. These include dirt, sand, mud and salt as well as water,
rain, snow and ice. Heat and cold also affect moving parts,
cartridges and lubricants.
it comes to AR manufacturers and their products, shooters have their
favorites. Experiences vary greatly, and loyalty or disdain for a
particular brand can be intense. It usually boils down to whether or not a
particular carbine/rifle is an accurate and reliable specimen that
allows the shooter to do his or her job. This means that it
doesn't jam and it doesn't break. It isn't persnickety, and will
cycle appropriate ammunition from all sources: domestic manufacture, foreign
manufacture or military surplus.
factors affecting shooter sentiment and satisfaction include fit,
finish, features, accessories and warranty. Subjective factors
include intangibles such as perceived product value, reputation, feel
what's inside the AR carbine/rifle? What's it made of? Were the
materials produced and parts manufactured properly? Were the parts
finished and assembled correctly and with attention to detail? Is
quality control practiced at the factory, or is the customer the
"inspector" of final recourse and that's why a warranty is
really offered? Compared to its competitors, how does a particular
manufacturer's quality rate? How can a person tell?
a standard exists in this regard. It's the military specification,
or mil-spec. Uncle Sam has already done the homework for you to
ascertain how an assault carbine/rifle should be made. In true
Department of Defense protocol, the process was methodical and
laborious. Testing was rigorous and extreme.
advantage of the tremendous research and investment that the military
has conducted to equip our troops. Equip yourself with an AR that
comes as close to mil-spec as you can afford.
you undertake the process of comparison shopping AR's, you will find
all makes of AR platform carbines/rifles are created equal. Quality varies
considerably among manufacturers. If particular price points were
associated directly with levels of quality, the selection process would
be relatively easy. A customer could assess product value in terms
of what they were willing to spend. Unfortunately, that isn't
necessarily the case. Some average makes may command some of the
Manufacturers vary greatly in their candor regarding
the standards and specifications of their products. Some are very forthcoming.
Others are cautious and defensive. Some are not cooperative at
all, citing "proprietary" intellectual properties.
Some claim that they have invented "better" alternatives to
mil-spec. Perhaps they have. If so, let them convince you by
thoughtful marketing descriptions and informative comparisons. Some claim to be
mil-spec, but aren't consistently so. Some
may selectively ignore the mil-spec and substitute "substandard" parts.
Some may not test or inspect every part, just a few from a batch.
following enumeration, while not all inclusive, will give you an idea of some of the components,
processes and features that comprise a M4 configured mil-spec AR-15.
Machined From Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6;
Coat Anodize Per Mil-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2;
Feed Ramp Flat Top Upper Receiver, T-Marked.
16-Inch M4 Contour;
USGI 1:7 Twist Rate;
11595E Barrel Steel, Independently Certified ;
Pressure Test (HPT) Per Mil-Spec;
Particle Inspected (MPI) Per Mil-Spec;
Feed Ramp Barrel Extension;
5.56mm NATO Chamber;
Lined Bore and Chamber;
Phosphate Barrel Finish On Entire Barrel, Including Under Front Sight
F-Marked Forged Front Sight;
Front Sight Base;
Heat Shielded Hand Guard.
Machined From Mil-Spec Carpenter No. 158 Steel;
Pressure Test (HPT) Per Mil-Spec;
Particle Inspected (MPI) Per Mil-Spec;
Lined Carrier (AUTO);
Lined Gas Key, Hardened To USGI Mil-Spec;
Key Hardened To USGI Mil-Spec;
8 Hardened Fasteners For Key;
Staked Per Mil-Spec;
Mil-Spec Extractor, Shot Peened;
Machined From Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6;
Hard Coat Anodize Per Mil-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2;
Size 7075-T6 Receiver Extension;
Castle Type Lock Nut, Staked Per Mil-Spec.
resources are available which will describe the foregoing parameters and
attempt to explain their importance should you wish to further
investigate these matters.
any company can produce a "lemon". The truly exceptional
firms, such as Colt's Manufacturing Company and Bravo Company
Manufacturing (BCM), incorporate measures that focus on eliminating this
potential. Materials, production processes, parts assembly and
quality control are held to rigorous and consistent standards. The
Colt SP6920 is based on the same standards and specifications as U.S.
government military issue. It is as close to the M4 carbine used
by the Armed Forces as a civilian can get. BCM's MOD 0, MOD 1 and
MOD 2 are nearly identical to the USGI M4, with a few sound
you have a real need for the abundant "tactical" wiz bangs and
gizmos that flood the market and aftermarket, beware of AR companies
that allow you to configure your own weapon. The Armory is aware
of some real "boat anchors" that unsuspecting shooters ordered
from manufacturers on-line. These customers were extremely
disappointed when their "dream" carbine/rifle arrived at their
local FFL weighing a ton and incredibly front heavy. In most self
defense situations, light weight and balance trump SWAT type
problem with upgrading or "tricking out" a base model carbine
or rifle from the manufacturer is that you will likely be able to
recapture little if any of your investment in the extras when it comes
time to resell. Upgrade options typically involve choices for
different hand guards, grips, butt stocks, front sight/gas blocks,
charging handles, safety selectors, triggers, barrel steel, chrome
lining options, muzzle devices and trigger guards. Financially, it
is better to select a standard model that has most of the features you
desire instead of adding a bunch of options to a base
manufacturers have recently introduced "California compliant"
ARs. These adulterated models have to dodge the discredited
Clinton Gun Ban "assault rifle" criteria that is still on the
books in the Golden State. To do this, "compliant"
carbines and rifles have to be made so that they are not capable of
accepting conventional, detachable AR magazines. By doing so, the
guns avoid being classified as "assault weapons".
Some "compliant" models rather feature an attached 9- or
10-round magazine that requires a "tool" for removal, using
the so-called "bullet button" mechanism. Really?
This farce is pretty much the equivalent of a young man not being able
to get a real girlfriend, and settling for a life-size blow up doll
instead! As an alternative to "bullet button", think
carbines, which are essentially short-barreled rifles, are a viable home
defense weapon. Such a firearm will possess a lever action, an exposed hammer, a barrel length from 16- to 20-inches, a tubular magazine,
and a cartridge chambered in .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum.
cowboy-type carbine is less maneuverable in tight quarters than a
handgun. It is also more susceptible to capture should an intruder successfully come within arms reach and attempt
to grapple for the weapon.
the hang" of a cowboy carbine is easier than mastering a
handgun. The cowboy carbine hits harder and recoils less.
compared to a long barreled rifle, cowboy carbines which chamber a handgun
round do not exhibit the propensity to over
penetrate. Neighbors and innocent bystanders are less likely to be inadvertently shot.
tubular magazine of a cowboy carbine holds numerous rounds. A practiced
individual can sustain a comforting rate of fire. In fact, tests have
shown that target acquisition and accurate fire from a cowboy carbine
nearly matches that from an AR-15. The superiority of the
autoloader is evident when it comes time to reload. The benefit of
a preloaded magazine enables the AR-15 to be brought back quickly into
in mind that cowboy carbines lack a magazine cutoff. Hence,
cartridges must be cycled through the action in order to unload them.
The presence of a cross bolt safety, placed in the "safe"
position, makes the unloading operation far less hazardous than
otherwise would be the case without it. Engaging the cross bolt
safety also reduces the chance of an accidental discharge when standing
down after a high stress confrontation.
this age of political correctness in America, inanimate firearms and law
abiding members of the gun community are under legislative assault at the
national, state and local levels. In contrast, career criminals and habitual
offenders cycle without significant punitive accountability through a legal
system which mocks the concept of justice.
With the perverted logic
of the times in perspective, consider that the benign appearance and
innocuous name of the cowboy carbine suggest memories of affable cowhands and the
camaraderie of the campfire. Thus, the cowboy carbine is less
likely to be regulated into oblivion when compared to its "scary
looking" counterparts which possess a somewhat military bearing.
This said, however, never underestimate the ultimate intentions of the
gun grabbing fanatics who infest the courts and our national and state capitols: usurping your
freedom of choice for personal protection by the confiscation
of all firearms from private ownership.
image, rest assured that the cowboy carbine is an efficient, potent
and decisive firearm for self defense purposes.