Several months ago, I wrote an article on building your own AR on a budget. (Click the link if you missed it.) It has become this site’s most popular article as more and more people take an interest in owning and building an AR rifle.
In that article, I wanted to give readers the information they would need to build their own AR 15. I tried to stick to the basics and not overwhelm the reader. I also listed AR parts that would not “break the bank”. The response was very positive.
I received a lot of email about it, asking all sorts of different questions. The one question that kept popping up was: “I want to build a quality AR and I am willing to spend more $$. Which parts would you recommend?”
Now before I answer this, I want to give a little clarification. While I have always advocated getting quality firearms (because some day your life might depend upon them), that does not mean that I believe that you always have to spend huge amounts of money to get quality. Yes, I believe that you get what you pay for. But sometimes, you can find quality on a budget.
I have built two different AR rifles using Palmetto State Armory (PSA) parts. Both have served me well. They were dependable and accurate. And both would fit within “budget” pricing. Hence I do NOT have any problem recommending PSA when looking for decent AR parts while on a budget.
If you are like me, you love watching exciting “Action” movies. Who doesn’t love a good movie scene with an exciting car chase and lots of explosions? Unfortunately, many times what we see in the movies is NOT what happens in real life. Firearms are no exception. In fact, many times Hollywood (and the public in general) gets firearms and how they really function completely WRONG.
So I thought I would take a look at 5 myths or beliefs on firearms that are either erroneous, or at the least very misleading.
#1 – Silencers are whisper quiet
If you are a James Bond fan, you have seen our hero sneak into some fortified castle, and use his Walter PPK with a silencer to quietly take out the bad guys. Sadly, this Hollywood depiction of a silencer is not accurate.
Silencers reduce a portion of the noise, this being the pressure wave from the expanding propellant gases. It does NOT reduce the noise of the sonic crack a supersonic round creates when fired.
To put this into layman’s terms, a typical supersonic round fired from a commercially available firearm is between 140-190 decibels. Variables such as caliber, barrel length, etc can change this some. But typically, this is the most common range for the sound made from firing a gun.
A silencer reduces the noise level only down to 120 to 140 or so dB. And if you think subsonic rounds are much quieter, think again. Commercially available silencers used in conjunction with subsonic rounds still produce between 110-130 dBs.
To give you some perspective, most ambulance sirens produce around 100-120 dBs. And since hearing damage/loss can start at around 85 dBs (sustained), it is still recommended that you wear ear protection when firing a gun with a silencer.
Previously, I discussed how to protect your ammo storage long-term. If you missed it, be sure to check it out by clicking here.
Now, I want to discuss building your stockpile of ammo. Maybe I should have written this first, but regardless, here it is. 🙂
I’ll look at the reasons why you should stockpile, I’ll dispel some myths about stockpiling ammo, and I’ll give you some hints and tips on how to do it. So let’s jump right in!
Why should I stockpile ammo?
Let me say this right off the bat. If you stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition because you anticipate a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) event where you will be engaging in dozens of gun battles, you might want to reconsider your plans.
First, the chances of a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event are slim. I’m not saying that it can’t or won’t happen someday. But keep in mind that the more extreme an event, the less likely it is to occur. The complete collapse of society as we know it is at the FAR end of the “possibility spectrum”.
Second, even if there is a WROL event, you must remember that the more often you engage in armed conflict, the greater your chances of being hit/killed by return fire. As I have stated before:
“an over eagerness to engage in conflict runs the risks of unintended collateral damage, injury and/or death to you and loved ones. It also leads to the potential destruction of vital gear and equipment.
Your primary goal is to avoid conflict. Guns are the back-up plan!”
Rambo is Hollywood fiction, and bullets do not discriminate. The more often you get into gun battles, the greater your risk of being injured or killed. And the greater the risk you put those close to you.
I regularly talk about EDC (Every Day Carry), and the importance of being armed. Being ready and prepared to defend yourself from the “wolves” of this world is something that everyone should be willing and able to do.
Fortunately, I live in a state that allows its law abiding citizens to carry a weapon in public to protect themselves from deadly situations. However, there is more to having an EDC weapon than simply packing some heat! There are rules that everyone should follow when carrying an EDC weapon. Here are my 7 rules for carrying your EDC weapon:
#1 – Know your state laws and local ordinances
I cannot stress this enough. Too many times I see people that carry a weapon but do not fully know or understand the laws in their area governing this. What can you legally carry? What are the laws governing self-defense and the use of your weapon? Know these, and help save yourself a potential legal fire storm should you ever find yourself having to use your EDC weapon to defend yourself!
If your state allows you to get a carry conceal permit, then by all means get it!
Also keep in mind that what is legal in your state may not be legal in another. So check firearms/self defense laws in any other states you might be traveling to. Click here for an excellent source for learning about the firearm laws in your area and across the nation.
#2 – Get a quality firearm
Just recently, my parents went through a free, carry conceal class that my police department puts on 2 or 3 times a year for city employees and their family members. The morning section is in a class room setting, and the afternoon portion is out on the range.
A few months ago, my brother and I were visiting a local gun show. I do not usually buy firearms at gun shows, as they tend to be a bit overpriced in my opinion. But I have found some good deals on parts and accessories, and I love to “window shop”.
Anyway, while making our way from table to table, my brother came upon a slightly used Smith and Wesson M&P Shield in .40 cal. The owner allowed him to field strip it, and we realized it was in excellent condition, LNIB. (Like New In Box.) After some slight haggling, my brother bought it. And after a trip to the range, I thought I would give it a review as an EDC firearm.
The M&P Shield is a black polymer framed, striker fired pistol. It is slim and light weight. The pistol is a bit over 4.5 inches tall, and weights about 19 oz. The barrel is 3.1 inches long. So for a 40 cal pistol, the Shield is small enough to conceal, but offers significant stopping power.
As I mentioned, this particular pistol is a .40 cal. Smith and Wesson also makes the M&P Shield in 9mm, but because our ammo stores are .40 cal, we went with the .40 cal. The .40 comes with a single stack 6 or 7 round magazine.
My review of the Smith and Wesson Sport model AR-15 as a budget AR is one of this site’s most popular articles. A lot of people want to buy an AR style rifle while they still can. But for many, money is tight and they may not have the cash needed to buy a decent AR. So to these folks I say, “Then buy the parts you need over time, and build it yourself!”
Before you completely dismiss this idea because you believe it is too hard, too complicated, and you just don’t have the know-how, stop! Putting together an AR is really NOT that hard. You can do it in about 30 minutes or so. And you do not need a wide variety of tools. In many cases, you can purchase a completed upper and lower receiver, and simply connect them together yourself in mere minutes.
At the end of this article I have all sorts of links and resources available to help you buy the parts and build your own AR, including a video showing you step by step how to completely assemble an AR. So if you don’t need any further convincing, skip to the bottom of this article to get started! Be sure to check out part II of this series, Premium Builds!
Now if you still aren’t sure, let me give you some reasons why I think now is the time to get this project started!
Regardless of whether you build or buy an AR, if you want one I strongly encourage you to get one now! This site is not a political site, as I believe that being prepared transcends political parties. But the “gun control” drum is being beaten loudly, and it would not surprise me to see some in our government try to strip away the 2nd amendment rights of its law abiding citizens.
These rifles have been banned before, and it can happen again. This despite the fact that a majority of Americans are opposed to banning these types of rifles. So if money is a concern but you want to own an AR rifle, then start buying the pieces now while you can!
For the purposes of this article, I will be talking about building an AR-15 that is calibrated to fire the 5.56/.223 round. You can build variants that shoot the 300 blackout round, the 6.8 mm round, 6.5 Creedmoor, or the .308 round. (AR-10) But these builds are generally more expensive than the standard AR platform. So I am just focusing on the 5.56 version for the purposes of this article. (Although there is no real difference in building them, just different part sizes.)