You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know… And This Guy Doesn’t Know.

I generally do not like taking someone to task publically. It largely precludes the learning curve and prevents better information from getting in. I am also not an end all be all expert in the field by any means.

But when this ignoramus spouts drivel using his Military background as a claim of expertise and this is far from the only questionable thing of his in this circle… game on.

“Why The AR-15 Sucks For Preppers”

I’m a 28-year Green Beret veteran (8 years boots-on-the-ground just in Afghanistan). My family comes from a manufacturing background.

Ok, credentials. Cool. Weird you feel the need to establish a familial ‘manufacturing’ background? Your argument should stand scrutiny regardless, but go on.

And, I hate the AR-15. 

Weird flex… but ok. Most people would disagree, but opinions are what they are. Why should I hate it?

This sounds like an AA meeting for American veterans, so I better put up a decent argument soon before I’m lynched. Why does the AR suck?

Yes, please make your case.

It’s interesting that you are building a subjective image that those in disagreement are a lynch mod though. Could it be you’re argument isn’t solid and you need some extra demerits to your detractors? Could it be you don’t know what you’re talking about half as well as you think you do? Dunning? Kruger?

It’s too complex. Any time you have a system that is complex, you have two results: efficiency and fragility. 

The AR is too complex… How? How are it’s systems so dramatically more complicated than other designs?

Answer: They aren’t.

Efficiency and fragility are not the result of a complicated system, maybe certain component or material choices increase and decrease efficiency and durability but and I do not understand why these descriptors were used or why efficiency is presented as a negative here.

In the military we are taught that the AR-15 is a fine weapon “as long as you maintain it.” In truth, the design works (80% of the time) in spite of itself, and has gone through so many design iterations that people have lost count.  The history of the AR-15 is a history of band-aids.

All weapons require maintenance. Vietnam would like it’s overplayed misconstrued argument back. All current weapons systems fielded by modernized militaries are the subject of product improvement programs. AK47 to AKM to AK74 to AK12 for example, since this knob is an AK fanboi.

From front to back:

The front sight assembly sits ridiculously high because the straight (non-ergonomic) stock has to contain a massive spring and buffer assembly. If the weight or spring compression in that assembly is off just a small amount, it causes malfunction. This design flaw, right out of the gate, causes a huge mechanical offset where the eye lines up around three inches higher than the barrel. That’s why in 2019 you can’t find a new AR-15 with an old school front sight assembly.

2018 new and still in production… Also every stand issue M4A1 coming off of Colt and FN’s line. Also the same height as all flip up sights. I can’t fathom why he hates barrel sight offset…

I don’t know why barrel sight offset is causing him to go into a fit of tremors but since most modern fielded weapon systems are mirroring the offset and/or increasing the offset (1.93″ anyone?) this seems to be a non sequitur feature and not a detriment. Listing, just off the top of my head, the rifles with inline recoil systems and ~3″ sight offset are: AR, SCAR, ACR, Barrett M82/M107, Barrett MRAD, G36, Tavor/X95, HK433, XM2010, MK13Mod7…

Why is inline so prominent?

Because, having your recoil impulse in line with your shoulder is ergonomically sensical. Weapons design has crept closer and closer to the AR, not further away. But what do the guys building the guns know? I’m sure none of them have experience or spoke with other tip of the spear folks when designing their submissions. [/sarc]

The gas tube is thin, fragile and subject to bending or breaking—usually taking the rifle out of commission. If a build up of mud, water or carbon decreases gas pressure to the bolt, the the AR-15 fails to cycle.  This is particularly common with AR’s that have shorter barrels. That’s why gas rods have become all the rage. Yet another band aid…

If any gas system takes damage the rifle will probably be out of commision. Dent an AK gas tube some time or bust a roller inside an MP5.

However, they invented this wonderful thing back in the day called a handguard that does an admirable job of protecting that gas tube. Today that protection is better than ever since it’s usually a massive solid machined aluminum shield made by Knight’s Armament, Daniel Defense, or Geissele (speaking of M4’s).

I have seen ONE gas tube related failure on an M4. One. Ever.

“If a build up of mud, water or carbon decreases gas pressure…” I don’t think he knows how a gas system works. The system blows itself clear after each round. A significant enough obstruction in the gas system will blow the system, not act like a half closed propane valve.

“Particularly common with shorter barrels…” No. Short barrel rifles tend to be over gassed, not under, and will wear the gas port faster. Gas port erosion is the term, which will actually further over gas the gun as the port opens up. The whole cycle is also affected by the length of the barrel beyond the gas port. This controls dwell time, the time the gas system is sealed and feeding the action pressure to cycle it.

Also what is a “gas rod”? I’m inferring he means gas piston and operating rod, but since he’s the 28 year SOF veteran with the manufacturing background I’m certain he meant to use the term… despite it not matching any operational AR part.

The star chamber and bolt face are perhaps the single biggest design flaw of the AR-15.  That’s the eight-petaled flower at the front of the bolt. Flowers don’t belong in assault rifles. Some say the star chamber provides accuracy. It does not. Bolt-action sniper rifles don’t have star chambers. They have two or three lug bolts and they are the gold standard for accuracy.

“Flowers don’t belong in Assault Rifles…” Wait… What? What kind of argument is that? A Flower? It looks like a flower and therefore it’s wrong?

Also nobody says the star chamber provides accuracy. Nobody. It’s the locking chamber, it provides a seal like every other rotating bolt design including the bolt action rifles you mention at the end of the paragraph. Which aren’t the ‘gold standard for accuracy’ because of their chamber design, they’re the gold standard because of the number of moving parts and those parts influence on the gun during firing. Tangentially that fact actually lends itself to the AR’s accuracy; less moving parts around the barrel causing exterior influencing pressures during firing.

Ask any soldier about weapons inspection and they will tell you the test is worming a pinky in the chamber of the rifle. The pinky never comes out clean and that should give us a clue. The single most important part of the rifle is nearly impossible to keep clean even in a garrison setting.

Hold up… that’s not the standard at all beyond an anecdote referencing “inspection ready” parade ground weapons. A functionally clean weapon has a smooth running and properly lubricated action with minimal fouling present. Unless it’s so crustily fouled that it is impeding the travel of the bolt it’s fine. No seriously.

Think about that for a minute: the point where the bolt, bullet, and barrel meet is almost impossible to keep clean in an AR-15.

No it isn’t. They make plenty of cheap tools to specifically clean that part. Like really really easy. 10 minutes of your life after you’ve dumped a bunch of ammo down range.

The lugs on the bolt that lock into the star chamber are essentially a series of gears that if they don’t match up exactly, they cause a failure to feed or a failure to fire.

Not how that works in the slightest… The locking lugs are a sealing system and their placement means the bolt doesn’t have to turn very far to close and seal. It isn’t a gear. It isn’t a flower. Failure to feed is nearly always a magazine related stoppage. Failure to fire is an ammunition related stoppage. Neither have anything to do with the chamber.

Any number of things can cause the lugs not to pass efficiently through the star portion of the chamber: dirt

Yes something in the way causes all bolts not to close, that is called an obstruction and will stop every gun ever.

heat expansion

What? Of the chamber and bolt face? Nope. Watch a “burn down video and tell me where the gun stopped because the bolt or chamber warped out of spec. Example please. I’ll counter example here.


An obstruction… again… and one that is very quickly self correcting in a hot gun. Also closed bolt guns are sealed systems so how did the ice sneak in with an open cycle time of 1/13th of a second. Did you purposely feed an snow impacted magazine into the rifle? I have. First live fire and maneuver exercise I ever ran there was almost 2 feet of snow that had fallen overnight and I tripped and fell and jammed snow everywhere, but my M16 ran fine chock-full of snowy magazines.

wobbly bolt carrier or wear and tear.

Wobbly carrier you say? Carrier tilt was an issue on piston guns for a very specific reason, the force impacted to the carrier to cycle it was not in line with the rest of the carrier. The force on a piston is centered on where the gas key would be, above the majority of the carrier’s mass. The force on a DI gun is centerline inside the carrier as the gas forces the unlocking motion from the bolt carrier interior.

All can cause a bolt to seat incorrectly in the chamber, or not to extract after firing, causing a whole host of malfunctions. This is one of the reasons the forward assist was developed.

Still wrong. Using words that sound kind of correct doesn’t equate to accurately describing an issue. The bolt is either open and in the unlocked position or in the chamber closed in the locked position. The bolt has plenty of clearance to chamber unless there is a serious obstruction that needs to be cleared, like a double feed. Issues experienced by all self-loading rifles regardless of bolt type are not AR weaknesses. It was also not the reason the forward assist was developed.

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Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.