You don’t need a $3000 AR…

Part of my ranting here will be about some cliche’s and meme’s. To wit:



Have you ever built your own AR? If so you’ll know there are literally thousands of options . If  you haven’t built or tried to build your own AR, this article is mostly aimed at you.

All things being equal, AR’s really come down to preferences. Option A vs Option B which do you need? What do you want your rifle to do?  Are you planning to liberate California? Or do you want a simple black rifle that fills a wide variety of needs?  If the latter, then Option C is for you.

Honestly, building your own AR is largely pointless if you’re not a competitive shooter. And I know it’s fun to play pretend, but be honest with yourself about your AR and what needs you have. As much as you want it to be, the AR-15 is not an M16 or M4. And anyone that has ever used an M16 or M4 will probably tell you their rifles are pretty cheaply made ( I want to say an M16A4 made by Colt is around $800,but don’t quote me on that), but still, with proper maintenance perform just fine.


Let me say right now, that standing on a square range plinking away at a stationary target has its place. You need to get used to recoil, noise, and learn proper manipulation of your weapon platform and whatever optic you want to use (I’ll cover optics in a later article).

So how much training is enough? Shooting is a perishable skill. If you don’t practice you lose proficiency.  I may shoot between 5,000-25,000 rounds a year in various competition environments and sometimes just for fun. My local gunstore owner told me I’m the only person he knows that has shot the barrel out of an AK (shot the gun so much the barrel needed replacing).

Do you need to put 5,000+ rounds downrange each year? Ideally, yes. But you have to make the most of your time and simply standing stationary on a square range is not enough. Do you practice any movement while you shoot? What about exposing yourself to stress? Every confrontation I’ve ever been in, with or without a gun has been enough to increase my heart rate significantly.  How well will you handle that $3000 paperweight when your heart is beating so fast you begin to experience auditory and visual exclusion? How about having adrenaline flood your body to the point your hands shake and you start breathing like you’ve run a mile?


There are a number of places you can go to find training. Plenty of schools with well known trigger-pullers are everywhere, but you ask, do I really need to spend $1000 to learn some basics? No, not really. There are plenty of schools like  the Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute and there YSINTG! (You suck it’s not the gun!) course.  I can’t tell you every school; that’s your homework and your mission should you choose to accept it.

Ask questions, talk to former students, talk to the instructors. Especially the instructors. If instructors are too busy  to answer your questions, how much individual instruction do you think you’ll get? If instructors don’t provide testimonials from former students or –the really good ones will –give you contact info so you can ask questions of people that have had the class, look elsewhere.

The internet is an amazing tool. If you don’t use it, you’re willfully choosing to be ignorant.

Ignorance will get you killed. Don’t make yourself an easy target.


One Response to “You don’t need a $3000 AR…

  • Hooligan
    6 years ago

    Nice Finn. Great links. I agree that acquiring an AR should make you to assess what you want it for. (Unless its your thing to build stuff) Check out the many AR options prebuilt to that criteria that’s right for you. Which you figure out through training…=) loving it Keep it up!

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