When it comes to choosing a high-performance rifle, we live in the best time ever for gun owners. Dozens of precision-made weapons in various sizes and capacities, from some of the world’s best rifle manufacturers to date. With so much to choose from, and prices to suit your budget, you could spend all day leafing through firearm magazines, looking for the perfect one for you.
But we don’t have all day. We’ve got just this one article, and we’re going to use it to dive deeper into four of the biggest names in AR pistol and carbine model firearms on the market: the AR-15, AR-10/.308, .300 Blackout, and AR-9.
So, without any further ado, let’s take these four out onto the field and break down exactly what it is that makes each one so popular.
What Is The AR-15?
The short answer to this question is: “The most popular civilian rifle on the American market, today”. Of course, there’s more to it than that. The AR-15 is a robust, lightweight semi-automatic rifle based on the military M-16 rifle. Popular for its inexpensive components, versatile construction, and endless customization, this firearm has earned its reputation as “America’s rifle”.
But let’s look closer. The ancestor of the M-16 ancestor, the modern AR-15 is a fully automatic weapon, firing multiple rounds with every squeeze of the trigger. In order to create a commercial, civilian counterpart, the AR-15 was made semi-automatic, with each pull of the trigger firing a single shot.
The functionality, obviously, doesn’t stop there. The AR-15’s design promotes rapid reloading, perfect for combat situations. An internal spring within the rifle stock acts as a massive shock absorber, soaking in the impact of each shot for lower recoil. This makes it easier and more accurate to fire off each shot, even when compared to military weapons.
One of the biggest draws with these rifles is how easily they can be customized. Adding scopes, lasers, custom sites and other accessories is made easy because the rifle itself is modular. And with AR-15 lower and AR-15 upper kits, more and more people are opting to build their own, every year. This makes it versatile and completely suited to any style of shooting. As a consumer product, the benefit of an AR-15 is in getting exactly the weapon you want, from varmint and game hunting to home defence with the AR-15 pistol.
What Makes It Different?
Compared to the AR10 .308 rifle, both firearms are impressively light, making them easy to use. Where it differs, however, is in how many bullets you can carry at any given time. The AR-15s 5.56mm cartridges are obviously lighter than the AR-10’s 7.62, making it easier to carry more of them. The larger bullets, meanwhile, carry more kinetic energy, making for greater stopping power with each round fired.
Big game hunters may prefer the larger round for its ability to take down more substantial targets. AR-15s are considered better for home protection and sport shooting.
What Is The .308?
The modern AR-10 rifle has seen a renaissance in recent years, putting it at the top of the pile for .308 rifles. This .308 semi-automatic rifle is an extremely versatile weapon for gun enthusiasts and novices alike. It’s perfectly at home on both big game hunting trips and for self or home defense, although the .308 round is more likely to pass right through walls and other barriers making it less ideal.
The AR-10 features a similarly lightweight design to the AR-15, above. Its air-cooled, gas-operated design is still pretty common on battlefields around the world, only in automatic variants instead of the semi-autos available to civilians. With variants customized for sniping and marksmanship, this is a gun for all seasons. Increased stopping power and a magazine-fed design make for a commercially accessible firearm with military-grade capabilities.
The AR-10 uses fires standard 7.62 NATO rounds or.308 Winchesters, equally well. With semi-automatic properly set up, it’s possible to fire off around 40 rounds in under a minute. As a standard, magazines come with 20 shots, but many variants are also available. What’s most important is that the ammunition here is something serious, with stopping power enough to kill elk, moose, and bear.
What Sets It Apart?
When placed side-by-side with the AR-15, you’ll notice the increased power of the AR-10, first and foremost. Something that doesn’t get as much press is the honest-to-God improvement over its accuracy, which is well worth the investment. Over long distances, this is a formidable weapon that hits the mark more reliably than most.
It’s a firearm with a lot of room for customization, as well, meaning the ability to create something that shoots, handles, and reloads the way you want it to. Configure your AR-15 upper or lower according to your budget and operation requirements.
A potential downside is that using it in tactical situations isn’t as easy as it would be with a shorter rifle, like the AR-15. Home defense is less of an option in this regard, in addition to the fact that higher caliber bullets are more likely to tear through your walls, supports and foundation. A general rule of thumb is that if you are defending your home with a firearm, you should not have to worry about the round damaging someone else in the house.
The .308 AR pistol, meanwhile, leans into its rifle counterpart’s maneuverability with an even more compact design. More easily concealed, it’s also far more powerful than handguns of similar sizes, making this a “best of both worlds” situation.
Which Parts Are Interchangeable?
The AR-15 and .308 are pretty similar in many respects. Owing to this, many of the parts in these guns are actually 100% interchangeable. Differences in size and caliber makes a lot of them incompatible and, complicating this problem, AR-10s and AR-15s are also manufactured by various brands. Each company produces versions unique to its brand, muddying the waters for direct comparisons.
Parts that are are more likely to be compatible between AR-15 and AR-10 builds include:
- Armalite capture roller pins
- Butt stops
- Cylinder Head Assemblies
- Disconnector springs
- Hammer springs
- Pistol handles (occasionally using spacers)
- Receiver extensions or protection tubes
- Safety selectors
- Spring-release buttons
- Trigger springs
What Is A .300 Blackout Rifle?
The .300 Blackout hit the American gun market with a crash, instantly becoming extremely popular with gun owners across the country. These were gun enthusiasts with long histories with the AR-15 platform. Bolt carrier groups, gas systems, and bolts. All of these standard parts, completely compatible with the 300 Blackout. With this much versatility, there’s a lot to offer with one of these rifles.
But the value doesn’t stop there. Another big part of why this weapon is rated among the best is its ability to fire different ammunition types without having to use an adjustable gas system of any sort. Subsonic and full power ammunition, specifically, are both on the table, for more firing options and a more varied product for your budget, overall.
300 Blackout Rifles are accurate, highly customizable, and, if you know where to shop, extremely affordable. It’s great for use at home, and lethal out on a hunt. Let’s put them under the microscope.
What Makes It Unique?
The 300 Blackout platform has become a household name for anybody looking for mid-level game performance or legitimate braking power in a close quarters combat scenario. Equally at home in home defense or on a hunt, this rifle sees equal play among hardcore enthusiasts and newcomers to the field alike. But how does it stack up against similar firearms in the same class?
The .300 Blk AR was built from as the civilian counterpart to the M4 Carbine. It’s versatility on the battlefield has made it a token item for those who want a more optimal defense and hunting caliber.
The platform was designed initially for combat, in order to be a more ideal counter to the AK-47s 7.62 rounds. However, it was made with the intent of adding various components, sub-sonic rounds, as well as suppressors for even more versatility.
They are optimal for pistol length barrels making them great defense weapons. Shorter barrel lengths means generally means turning corners a lot easier in close quarters. And the great thiung about the .300 Blackout pistol is that it is has the durability to withstand the pressure as many others of the AR platform don’t with such a short barrel length.
What Is The AR-9?
9mm Armalite Rifles are, first and foremost, a great weapon for effective home defense. 9mm bullets are available in a huge variety of options, helping to prevent overpenetration. And, if you’re looking for further proof that this calibre has what it takes to perform under pressure, just take the fact that the FBI has switched back to using this round.
Carbines in the 9mm range, such as the AR-9, have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and the AR platform is among the most popular out there. These rifles use the same magazines and ammo as your at-home 9mm pistol, while still packing more than enough firepower in the event of a home invasion.
As a proud member of the emerging pistol caliber carbine community, the AR-9 is a solid offering that looks as good as it operates. But let’s dive a little deeper into what makes the AR-9 such a unique firearm.
What’s Different In The AR-9?
AR rifles have barrel life expectancies, just the same as any other piece of performance machinery. Like any car, garbage disposal, or lawnmower, these components will give out eventually – it’s just a matter of time. When firing at high volume, standard barrels vary greatly in terms of their life expectancy varies greatly, especially given different options for ammunition. 9mm cartridges tend to give you a lot bang for your barrel’s buck. These rounds fire under much lower pressure, eroding the throat of your barrel in smaller increments.
Ammunition also costs less when compared to other AR-15 ammo, making these rifles a more budget-friendly option as well. Fire off a bucket of 9mm rounds, then do the same with .223/5.56 ammo and feel free to comment down below with how much each cost you. There’s no comparison when it comes to cartridge cost, here.
From AR-15 Pistol to 9mm Carbine, Which Firearm Works Best For You?
Whatever reason you have for investing in an Armalite rifle or equivalent pistol, you need to know you’re using a weapon you can rely on when you need it most. The firearms reviewed in today’s article are some of the highest-quality pieces on the market. Each has its own benefits, making them ideal for home defense, hunting, and sports shooting, in different ways.
So, which is the best rifle for you? Depending on your budget, experience, and home security needs, the answer is: definitely one of the ones listed here. For our money, the AR-15 pistol and its compact maneuverability make it an unbeatable all-rounder. But what are your favorites? Sound off in the comments below, and make sure to reach out to us for AR-15 lower and upper components to get the rifle you want by building your own today!