The AR is like the Lego of the gun world. The parts interchange with amazing flexibility and there are enough pieces parts out there to configure them like a Mr. Potato head.
There are many good AR brands out there. But, each brand can have a bad example crop up from time to time. I did a ton of research before deciding to build my own.
AR's used to be basically ABC (Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt) but the number of makers is probably beyond counting now....
First thing I learned - Mil Spec are two words that till make your head explode, and start wars.
Second thing I learned - there are huge fan clubs of each model, asking which is better will start wars in all the places the first thing I learned missed.
For me, IMO the research funneled down to 2 levels, an AR designed to be an end of the world ultimate reliable absolute necessity, or an AR designed for the occasional plinker and sporter.
For the first case there are some big names in AR's like Daniel Defense, which are awesome firearms, but expensive. For the second case, just about any AR from places like Bushmaster, or DPMS will be great.
For me, ultimately the $$$ made the choice, I dug up parts from places that had the qualities I wanted and assembled my own. I was initially intimidated by the concept, but in reality it turned out to be rather simple, and furthered my knowledge of the firearm and how to care for it in the process.
Last edited by anothernewb; December 10, 2012 at 05:05 PM.