Chrome barrels may reduce accuracy by a 1/4 MOA at 100yrds...not an issue with a defensive rifle or a plinker. Over the life time of the barrel, having the corrosion resistance far outweighs the expense savings of not having a chromed lined barrel.
The forward assist is very useful when doing a chamber check. If you pull the bolt back just a bit to check for a round, the bolt usually will not go back into battery all the way...the FA re-seats the bolt nicely. However, I will only use my thumb to re-seat the bolt instead of using my palm...just in case of a deformed cartridge.
The dust cover is excellent, especially for folks who like to run their rifles soaking wet with lube. The lube collects dust. A dust cover that is kept closed helps minimize junk getting in there, and I personally have taken a tumble or two while carrying an AR while on patrol.
I wont have a defensive AR with out any of these features. And seriously, there are other better ways of saving weight on an AR than going without them.
NRA Life Member (2003)
I think that one of the notions common to the anti-gunner is the idea that being a victim is 'noble'; as if it is better to be noble in your suffering than disruptive in your own defense.