I just recently started a new job, and one of the things that has plagued me the first few days is the inability to do certain things because I do not have the right tools. I know this will change in the days to come as I sit idle, and when asked, explain that “I can’t drive a nail without a hammer.” So while I do have a laptop, and the equipment necessary, I still don’t have the right software, or “tools” to do my job… yet. Completely unrelated, a few weeks ago I was part of a conversation about the differences and advantages and disadvantages between the AR and AK platforms of Modern Sporting Rifles.
A thought occurred to me, and I have seen it often. One of the great advantages of the AR platform is its modularity, and the ability to configure it for just about any task. One of the great disadvantages is its modularity, and the ability to configure it for just about any task.
In the picture above, a guy is using his Camaro like a pickup truck. A Camaro is a sports car that was designed to go fast. A Pickup truck is designed to carry a load conveniently. By their nature, pickup trucks do not go fast, and sports cars aren’t very good at hauling crap. The car in the picture above does neither. It does not go fast, and it doesn’t haul stuff very conveniently.
So why do I see AR style rifles, with a Leupold Mk-IV scope, Laser, Flashlight, Bi-pod, Forward Pistol grip, 45 degree offset Backup Iron Sights, etc.? I’m really surprised that there isn’t a CD Player, Cigarette lighter, GPS, and Cup holder on it. What would you use that rifle for? Hunting? Competition? Home Defense?
If you do have an AR, what do you plan on doing with it? If you say “everything” then you need to take a step back, and re-evaluate why you are getting one.
If you want to know a good way to set up your rifle for competition, look at what the competitors use and have on their rifles.
Notice; no bi-pod, no forward pistol grip, no extra bells or whistles. Just a short-range scope. That’s it.
If you want to know a good way to set up your rifle for hunting, look at what the hunters use and have on their rifles.
Notice again; no forward grip, no fancy curb feelers, just a long-range scope, and a bi-pod. Just what is needed to get the job done, and nothing more.
So what about for Self or Home Defense?
Some of the items mentioned above have a purpose here. For Close Quarters Combat, which includes Home Defense and Self Defense, you want your rifle set up specifically for that job, like the one above. A good open red dot style sight, backup iron sights, a tactical flashlight, forward grip, and a paired magazine bracket all make sense on a rifle you depend on to save your life or the life of a loved one. While you could compete with this rifle, you would get tired of lugging all the extra weight around after one or two stages and will probably start stripping components off. You could also hunt with this rifle, but it would get potentially frustrating having to balance all of that weight for a ranged shot, and have your prey be gut shot more often than not.
So if you have an MSR make sure you configure it for one purpose, instead of trying to make a screwhammer out of it. You drive nails with hammers, and screws with screwdrivers. It’s the same with your MSR.