This article will outline Thomas’ upgrade recommendations on an m4 ar15.

The cost/benefit is key in these decision making items.  If you have to pay for the “system”, then take off and then add. It can get expensive quickly. Its so much better to build it the way you want & the way you’ll be happy long term!

By building an ar15 sourced from West Desert Tactical (WDT)/Austin, you can buy your “completion kit” for about $500 & then upgrade and notify Austin of parts you no longer need in the completion kit. So, for about another $150 you can totally upgrade your rifle(depending on how many upgrades you do)!

IMO the most important party of your rifle system is your “professional training”. I highly recommend Marksmanship Matters’ 5 day rifle course! To attend the 5 day rifle course, you must have successfully completed the 5 day “defensive pistol” class.  This means you won’t get an unqualified fellow-student in the rifle class. This means the guy/gal next to you is SAFE…proven they take safety seriously!


Thomas’ recommended Upgrades

  • Professional Training! factor this cost into the purchase price of the rifle
  • Quality Sling. This sling is “OK” if you plan to dutch tape it to the length you want; otherwise is slips/expands the length.
  • Quality iron sights. I like the flip-up magpul sights. If your optic fails, you can flip them up quickly. Do NOT simultaneously use your optic & your iron sights (that is what mall-ninjas do).
  • If you can afford it, one of my fav upgrades is to a Rock River National Match two-stage trigger.  Currently, they are only $62! Brownell is often a good place to purchase these too.
  • furniture upgrades
  • Forward sling mount. If you are getting the 1812 handguard from Austin (one of my favs), you’ll want a sling mount. I’ve had good luck with this one from magpul

If you want recommendations on optics.

My recommended & fav magazines!

20 round magazines, I can’t over emphasize how awesome 20 round mags are!  I was converted to the 20 round ar15 magazines when I took Larry’s rifle class in 2012.
I LOVE these things (makes you wonder how magpul got its start 😉
This is a standard m4 build-out. Your 2nd or 3rd ar15 may be a precision ar15 or a “house clearing” short-barreled-rifle (SBR) ar15…or even an ar15 pistol.
But, an m4 is going to do everything you need it to do if you are trained in its use.

Why I don’t like ar15 “pistols”

1) my impression is, the gas system was made for a 16″ barrel, and now you’ve shorted that. You may have over-gassed issues or some “impact to relability”
2) ar15 pistols have a “gas tube” sticking out the back…so, its almost the same length stock as a normal ar15.  Other systems that have a charging handle with no “buffer tube” can be pistols to the end of the receiver! AKA an AK can be a pistol or a folder stock. So can sig 556s.
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