The AR-15 has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade, and many gun owners own at least one of these firearms. Along with being available at many different price points, what makes this style of rifle so useful is the amazing amount of customization that the platform allows for. While there are countless accessories available for a wide variety of uses, we’ve broken down the most effective customization for the most common uses.
Barrel: 14.5” with flash suppressor
Sights: Holographic Sight
There are a number of considerations to make when choosing a weapon for home defense, including the proximity of nearby homes, maneuverability of the weapon through close quarters, and most importantly, who else is in the home. For these reasons, we chose an AR that features the shortest barrel that is legally allowed, providing optimal maneuverability. Along with this, the 5.56 round carries less energy than some of the larger chamberings that are available, helping to reduce the risk of accidental injuries caused by over-penetration. While not listed, it should also be noted that soft point bullets should be used in a home defense situation, as they will cause more damage to any threat, while reducing the risk of over-penetration, both through walls and through the threat. While any bullet can penetrate walls, these considerations help to reduce the risk somewhat.
For a sight, we chose a holographic sight that will allow for an extremely quick sight picture. Along with this, we also added a foregrip to give us increased control and a flashlight that can illuminate a potentially dark home.
Sights: 3-9×40 Scope & offset Red Dot Sight
While the 5.56 round can be effective at killing smaller hogs and, with proper shot placement, larger hogs, we opted for the 7.62 round to ensure a quick and clean kill. The 20” barrel does increase the weight some over the more traditional 16” barrel, but the increased accuracy for longer range shots is worth it. However, it should be noted that this was chosen with hunting in areas like Texas where the hogs are plentiful and longer range shots over open terrain are not uncommon. Should you be hunting in thick woods, such as the swamps of Florida, the shorter 16” or even 14.5” barrel would be more appropriate as maneuverability becomes more of a concern than long range accuracy. To help us with taking accurate shots over a variety of distances, we opted for an adjustable 3-9x scope. However, the offset red dot sight also comes in handy should a number of close range shots be necessary.
For accessories, the sling allows us to keep the rifle on our body while keeping our hands free. The foregrip is important to increase our control over the rifle and the adjustable stock allows us to keep the rifle in a comfortable position when shouldered at all times.
For this customization, we wanted to create a rifle that would be as versatile as possible. The chambering in .300AAC is a nice compromise between the 5.56 and 7.62, allowing us to use the rifle for essentially anything. However, we’ve also included the 5.56 chambering as if you intend to create a rifle for a survival situation, the 5.56 round will be much more commonly found. The standard 16” barrel gives us quality accuracy without sacrificing maneuverability or weight. Having both a holographic sight and a low magnification scope that is capable of being flipped to the side means we have the capability for close quarters shooting, as well as being able to identify and engage targets at medium to long range.
Our accessories include a foregrip to give us better control, a sling to allow us to easily carry the rifle while keeping our hands free, and an adjustable stock to ensure proper fit, especially if the rifle will be shared by several members of the family. The flashlight can be handy for any number of uses and is an easy accessory to maintain, while the silencer helps reduce the noise any shooting makes to a more ear friendly decibel, as well as increases accuracy and ensures better position concealment.
This is a pretty simple setup and doesn’t require much explanation. Plinking is a great way to practice your shooting and rifle skills very cheaply. If you don’t have an AR in .22 then a .22 conversion kit is a cheap and easy way to start. Keep things simple. Standard barrel length, iron sights, and a foregrip is all you need to practice your shooting cheaply.
Long Range Shooting
Sights: 8-32×56 Scope
While the AR-15 is not as inherently accurate as bolt-action rifles, they can still be setup to shoot at long ranges rather effectively. For this style of shooting, we’ll keep things simple. The 7.62 round is a much better long distance round than the 5.56 due to the increased weight and energy. The 20” barrel gives us more accuracy than the shorter versions. We’ll throw a quality 8-32x scope on the rifle to allow us to see our targets several hundred yards down range. The only accessory to add to the rifle is a bipod so we can create a stable shooting base, something that is extremely important when shooting long distances as even small mistakes are amplified into big problems when such long distances are at play.
Written by: Dieter Heren
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