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Old December 17, 2012, 05:14 PM   #1
ratshooter
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Flat top Carry Handle?

I just bought a DPMS AR with a flat top. What are good quality carry handles that you guys would recommend. Thanks in advance. I am an AR dummy.

Here is the gun I bought. http://dpmsinc.com/LITE-16-A3_ep_139-1.html

If this is a crummy gun please don't say so. I started a thread about two weeks ago asking about DPMS rifles and most said they worked fine.

Also who makes reliable 20 round mags. The Stoner 20 rounders had mixed reviews on Midway. Most were bad reports.
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Old December 17, 2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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First, remember that there are at least three different kinds of AR carry handles. First are the ultra cheap Chinese knockoffs you see for about $35 and should avoid.

Then there are two different height US made CHs. The proper milspec height is used on Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense, Noveske, LMT, PSA, Spikes and others. This also is the same height that you see on most third party flip up sights like Troy, Magpul, BCM, MI and others. All these rear sights expect the proper height F-marked FSB or third party front sight. F-marked means flat top or M16A4/M4 height.

The second height for US made CHs is 0.04" shorter than milspec. Often it's called commercial height or A2 height and is used on DPMS, Bushmaster, ArmaLite and others. Depending on your front sight this may be the height you want. A2 is the same height as the old integrated carry handle on the M16, M16A1, M16A2 and M16A3.

Proper carry handles made at US forges like Cardinal, Anchor Harvey, Cerro Forge and others tend to cost from $80-135 new. Used ones can be found, even on eBay for around $35 but you have to make sure they're not knockoffs or the wrong height.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:20 PM   #3
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Thanks Quentin2. At least I have a starting point. I will call DPMS tommorow and see if they sell the CH seperately. Their site is not very good with detail. I have heard that there are cheap handles. I want a good one wth accurate adjustments.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:36 PM   #4
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I'd expect DPMS does sell carry handles. Assuming you have the shorter height front sight then Bushmaster or ArmaLite should work, too.

Actually if you have the short front sight it makes sense to buy a 0.04" taller post then get a milspec height carry handle or quality flip up. I did this - by buying the taller post Bushmaster sells for under $10 then put it on my ArmaLite. Then bought a $35 Colt pulloff on eBay. It zeroed perfectly and later when I got a Magpul MBUS2 flipup it also worked fine.

Honestly I think it's better to get a flip up rear sight instead unless you're certain you'll never need some of the top rail for an optic, like the RDS.

Lots of us have carry handles that we finally replaced and threw in the parts box. That's why you see used ones for sale. Good CHs are tough so you don't have to worry about horrible accuracy from a used one.
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Old December 17, 2012, 07:55 PM   #5
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Quentin2 - I'm not in the market for a handle and don't like detachable handles anyway (either the gun has it or it doesn't and if it doesn't, why bother?). Anyway, what's wrong with the Chinese knock offs? I've never seen one before. Is it material, fabrication technique, workmanship?
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Old December 17, 2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for the information. I looked on ebay and they only had about 4 CH for sale. Gunbroker has a bunch. I do want the full carry handle instead of the flip up sight. I like the way it looks better than the flip up sights.

I will call DPMS and ask about handles and what front sight they install. I like the idea of having the standard front sight height.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:09 PM   #7
Quentin2
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Quote:
Quentin2 - I'm not in the market for a handle and don't like detachable handles anyway (either the gun has it or it doesn't and if it doesn't, why bother?). Anyway, what's wrong with the Chinese knock offs? I've never seen one before. Is it material, fabrication technique, workmanship?
4V50 Gary, the main problem with the Chinese carry handles is not knowing what you're getting. They could be decent quality or they could be lightweight airsoft versions. I've only looked at a few copies and they looked inferior to US forged units. I have not bothered to test one, no doubt some are acceptable but which ones? I saw one that didn't cinch down well on the top rail and I'm sure wouldn't hold zero over a long range session.

Anyway here's a quick listing of what turned up at Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_sa...dle&sprefix=ar

I have bought quite a few carry handles over the years and always get ones forged at Cardinal, Anchor Harvey or Cerro Forge. Used they cost about the same as the knockoffs do.

Last edited by Quentin2; December 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:33 PM   #8
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Quentin I was hoping you would come back and explain more about the quality handles. Of the ones on the Amazon link you posted which ones would you recommend? If they have windage and elevation adjustments do you still recommend getting the .040 taller front sight?

I found several Weaver carry handles. Are they any good? Sorry to bug you but I need your knowlege.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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Why do you need a carry handle? Put some sort of optic on it and shoot it.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Mobuck I like open sights. And i have dug through my box-o-scopes and picked out a couple to mount. But scopes make poor sites for close range self defense. And red dots rely on batteries. I know that they make very good red dots but like Clint Smith said after the balloon goes up everyone will be back to fixed sights. I may shoot more with a scope but I want the option of open sights. Besides I just like the original AR look.

Here is the thread I started a couple of weeks ago. I have been looking at getting an AR for a long time. I just never seemed to be able to make up my mind. http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=507804

If you read through this you will see I really wanted a traditional AR with a carry handle. I have been outbid on two of the guns mentioned in this thread. I have a chance at a third one and may take a shot at that one too. Oh dear. Am I getting AR fever?
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Quentin I was hoping you would come back and explain more about the quality handles. Of the ones on the Amazon link you posted which ones would you recommend? If they have windage and elevation adjustments do you still recommend getting the .040 taller front sight?

I found several Weaver carry handles. Are they any good? Sorry to bug you but I need your knowlege.
ratshooter, I can't recommend any of those Chinese carry handles on Amazon. I listed them just to make the point that there are many knockoffs and we really don't know a thing about them.

As far as which carry handle would I recommend - a milspec height one like Colt, BCM, PSA and others sell (more listed above). If your DPMS front sight is the shorter A2 height then you can buy the Bushmaster) .04" taller post if you can't zero. What happens is you keep unscrewing the front sight to zero for elevation and if you have to go too far the sight post starts flopping around ruining your windage zero. The tall post fixes that, as it did on my ArmaLite. It's a beautiful solution since later you'll probably move on to a flip up sight and already have the proper height front sight.


Here's an eBay auction for a brand new US made milspec carry handle, $41 now and looks like it could climb to $75 (used would be less):
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Spikes-Tacti...item3f20416b23

Description:
"The Spike’s Tactical Mil-Spec A2 Carry Handle is a fully Mil-Spec Carry Handle that’s machined from a 7075 Aluminum Forging and coated in a Mil-Spec Type III Hard Coat Anodized finish. Our Carry Handle also features staked thumb screws, an A2 Aperture, 6/3 windage drums, and of course is of Mil-Spec height that’s compatible with F-Marked A2 Front Sight Bases."


And below is another auction for a US made carry handle but the seller doesn't understand the different heights. He calls it Colt and milspec but from the picture I can see it's a DPMS, etc. shorter version. (The steel ears that protect the sight are short and fall below the aluminum handle part unlike the Spikes above.) The seller is probably honest but mistaken, this did not come off a Colt. It is US made because I can see a square forge mark which is a good one, Brass Aluminum Forging Enterprises.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Colt-AR-Flat...item35c2a0fae6

Last edited by Quentin2; December 18, 2012 at 01:05 AM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:16 AM   #12
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In my opinion the carrying handle is the most useless AR accessory there is. In the military you'd get slapped if you ever carried your M16 by the carrying handle ("It's not a ****ing briefcase!!!").

As soon as they started making rifles with removable ones the first thing everyone did was take it off and put on an optic and a flip-up rear site.

Removing the carrying handle and installing a rear sight both allows you to mount optics and also gets rid of a completely useless part.
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:35 AM   #13
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I actually like. Them.

Maybe just because I'm used to them. I suppose it is kind of a pointless shape given that they aren't carried that way. Still I like iron sights, and most flip sights tend to annoy me for no reason. Anyway if I can still consistently hit the target at 8 or 9 without a scope, good. Less expensive hardware to screw up with one bad fall. Then again, my eyesight isn't what it used to be.... Sometimes I think that it would be nice to see my target a bit more clearly.
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Old December 18, 2012, 09:40 AM   #14
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Quentin thanks for the links and pointing out the differences between a good site and a cheaper knock off.

And I don't intend to carry my rifle like a "breifcase". (that was funny) Its just that I LIKE open sights and I LIKE the way an AR looks with a carry handle on it. And this isn't a range toy. It will be kept in the closet with a loaded mag next to it ready to defend if needed. After I am sighted in I like to put targets like cans or rocks on the far side of my buddies pond and start shooting. I like the challenge of open sights. Thats why I practice with them more than other sight systems.

I put a scope on my Mini-14 when I first got it. That lasted about 15 minutes. I hated how it looked and how it felt. Its back to open sights and I dobt it will ever wear a scope again.
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:05 AM   #15
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Have you ever tried a non-magnifying red-dot or holographic sight? They're far faster and easier to use than iron sights, plus you can keep both eyes open while sighting in.

If you want to stick with iron sights and don't like the quality of flip-ups, they make rear sights that are exactly like the one on the carrying handle without the useless bulk of the carrying handle. That would lower your weight, still give you the exact same sight picture, and also allow you to add an optic in case you change your mind in the future.

Of course, if looks matter (and I'll admit they do to me too) then go with a carrying handle. Me, I think the carrying handle looks old-fashioned, but to each his own. That's the wonderful thing about the AR-15: it's infinitely customizable.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:39 PM   #16
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i've got a removable rock river carry handle i could sell you if you're interested. it came with my rifle, but i don't use it. PM me if interested.
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Old December 18, 2012, 01:14 PM   #17
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Dan, is the RRA carry handle milspec or commercial height?
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Old December 18, 2012, 02:04 PM   #18
ratshooter
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Theohazard I have looked through a couple of the flip up rear sites. They are not out of the equasion. I did have a red dot on a 22 once. It worked fine. IIRC I also mounted one on my marlin 357 lever action. I used to shoot other guys handguns with red dots at the falling plate matches I used to shoot in the early 90s.

I called DPMS this morning and tried to pin down if it has an F marked front sight or the shorter sight. The guy on the other end just kept saying any carry handle will work with my gun. I asked if a Bushmaster handle would work on my gun. Same answer. He didn't offer to sell me a detachable handle so I guess they don't sell them.

I may shoot this for a while with a scope on it till I figure out what it is I want for a rear site. Anyway I am having fun here. I have also bid on a second AR. The second gun has the fixed rear sight. So this first gun may end up with a scope after all.

Dan I will send you a PM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 03:42 PM   #19
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What he was telling you was theoretically true. Just about any carry handle that's not deformed and designed for an AR-15 will work. It'll screw on, and attach just fine. You can sight it in. Some will work BETTER than others of course...
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:17 PM   #20
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Quote:
... Just about any carry handle that's not deformed and designed for an AR-15 will work. It'll screw on, and attach just fine. You can sight it in. Some will work BETTER than others of course...
That's generally true, JimDandy, but you're almost guaranteed to have a wobbly sight post if zeroed at 100 yards and the front FSB is not F-marked while the rear is milspec height. Fortunately a $10 Bushmaster 0.04" taller post will solve the problem.
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:18 PM   #21
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Quote:
I'm not in the market for a handle and don't like detachable handles anyway (either the gun has it or it doesn't and if it doesn't, why bother?).
Quote:
Removing the carrying handle and installing a rear sight both allows you to mount optics and also gets rid of a completely useless part.
There is one caveat to whether to have a "carry handle" or not: you are required to have one if you ever plan to compete in Service Rifle matches with an AR-15. Because I use my National Match (NM A4) RRA rifle with a scope in the "off" season for varmint hunting, I like the idea of having a removeable handle (which is an approved configuration in NRA sanctioned Service Rifle events). Just something to think about and consider when deciding on the purchase of an AR-15 if you ever think you might want to compete in a Service Rifle match.
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:29 PM   #22
Quentin2
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Quote:
... I called DPMS this morning and tried to pin down if it has an F marked front sight or the shorter sight. The guy on the other end just kept saying any carry handle will work with my gun. I asked if a Bushmaster handle would work on my gun. Same answer. He didn't offer to sell me a detachable handle so I guess they don't sell them...
ratshooter, the guy at DPMS doesn't know his product or doesn't care. DPMS does NOT go to any extra effort to use the proper F-marked FSB on their flat tops. Instead they use the shorter A2 FSB whether the upper is A2 (integrated carry handle) or A4/flat top. I suppose it saves them 50 cents per rifle. In fact if the guy had bothered to look at the specs you linked in the first post he'd see:

Front / Rear sight
Mil-spec A2 / none


So the FSB is the shorter A2 not F-marked!


BTW, I love your signatures!
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Old December 18, 2012, 05:18 PM   #23
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Quentin I learn something new each time you post. I didn't know an A-2 FS was shorter than the F marked site. I bought what is most likely an entry level gun. But thats OK because I will go through it and see how they work and whats good and whats not so good. The stuff I don't like I will change.

I will most likely order the taller post you suggested from Bushmaster. It was just a tad over $5. Probably $10 shipping.

And the guy at DPMS didn't act like he wanted to talk. Oh well I have this forum with a bunch of guys that are so willing to help. And thanks to each of you who have posted.

Quote:
BTW, I love your signatures!
The bulldog quote I shamelessly stole from someone on this forum. The one about Kenya is all mine.
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:32 PM   #24
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Glad to help, ratshooter... Yeah when I bought that BM tall post it seemed the shipping was as much as the post so I just rounded up to $10. It's so light they could stick it in a cheap mailer. Or you could wait and see what happens when you get the carry handle. I just prefer milspec height because I knew I'd later get an RDS and flipup rear.

Well congrats on the original signature, it's great. You could stretch that out into a full fledged joke...

maybe... "Mr. Pres, you've got a phone call." "From who?" "Kenya." "Who?" "The mayor of a village." What do they want?" ...

Call Leno fast!
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
maybe... "Mr. Pres, you've got a phone call." "From who?" "Kenya." "Who?" "The mayor of a village." What do they want?" ...

Call Leno fast!
Thats Great!!! I may have to steal that one too.

I appreciate everyones help and suggestions. I even took theohazards advice and checked out the flip up rear sites. Did you know some of those suckers are well over $200 bucks!!! I gotta rethink this some. This could get real expensive.

I am glad I got a rifle before everything started going crazy. New postings on GB are already reflecting mark ups on the guns. I had a bid on a second AR but a new buyer with no rating hit the Buy Now button. I stll have the option on another rifle. I haven't hit the reserve price yet. I suspect it will be snatched away from me also. I did get three 20 round mags. I have 3 thirty rounders I bought when they were on sale a couple of years ago.
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