All right gents, I just created an account and wanted to spur some conversation to hopefully educate myself a bit. I will include a little about me so it frames the question with facts bearing on the problem which should help me get the best answers. I am 29, grew up in Central Oregon, and have been an active duty Army Officer for 8 years. Growing up I hunted everything from "sage-rats" to Elk. I have a few rifles, a handful of handguns, and a couple shotguns. I have carried a Colt M4 during two deployments to Afghanistan along with a Berretta 92F. I am not looking to expand my collection to include an assault/battle rifle. I have a fairly broad experience when it comes to weapons, but would by no means call myself an expert. I would like to get an AR15 in the near future, but am seeking some help picking one out. I will list a few bullet comments to give you my perspective and hopefully get everyone, especially Walt's help deciding.
*I know there is a big toss-up going on between DI and Piston. I will never put a suppressor on this weapon, it will not fire full auto, I am interested in accuracy, but not terribly concerned about having a sub-moa rifle. Quite frankly unless I am benched in I will not be capable of being under 2-MOA let alone sub-MOA. Is there really a difference for a non-SEAL owner between the functionality of DI and Piston?
*I have scoured the inter-web for parts and pieces, and it looks like I can build my own "Franken-rifle" for about $800-$900, but I wonder if putting all those different brands pieces together is going to cause me more heartache in the long run than just buying one "off the shelf"?
*I carried my M4, cared for it, and fired it under many different conditions. I know Colt makes a good product. Last I saw, I was looking at between $1200-$1500 for the models that caught my eye. I suppose I could buy a Stag for about $900, or trip the lights fantastic with a Daniel Defense for about $2500. Is there that much difference in brand? I can understand the difference between Kimber and Highpoint, but as far as ARs are concerned I thought it was always a debate like Ruger Vs. Smith for revolvers.
I suppose I have put enough info and questions on here that I will enrage a few folks out there, I apologize if that is the case. I am just looking for feedback from those that own/build these "black rifles" to help me aid in my decision. I suppose the best way to end this is to say I am looking for a dependable and easy to acquire parts for AR that is accurate enough to plink with or defend myself should the zombies come to my door. I don't want to "waste" money by buying an inferior or problem-ridden product that is nothing but a hassle to own, but I don't want to spend 3 or 4 times as much as I should just for a name and so people think I am a "Cool Guy" Thanks to all who take the time to read my ramblings and provide feedback.