View Full Version : AR-15 Barrel Lengths

January 1, 2010, 05:34 PM
I am going to buy an AR tomorrow. What barrel length would you guys recommend? 16'' 18'' 20'' 24''

January 1, 2010, 05:34 PM
What use?

http://tinyurl.com/ykggrll :rolleyes:

January 1, 2010, 06:01 PM
I would recommend a 14.5" with a permanently attached flash hider.

But what is your purpose for this rifle?

January 1, 2010, 06:26 PM
20" gives you a longer sight radius and a velocity boost. 24" has always felt ungainly to me, but for varminting and target plinking it can do just fine.

If somebody starts talking about CQB or whatnot, just realize your odds of taking your civilian rifle into a CQB situation are less than your odds of winning the lottery...


January 1, 2010, 06:41 PM
If somebody starts talking about CQB or whatnot, just realize your odds of taking your civilian rifle into a CQB situation are less than your odds of winning the lottery...
But your odds of taking your rifle to a class that simulates CQB (where you would want the CQB-style rifle) can be pretty darn good. ;)

January 1, 2010, 06:57 PM
Assuming you want carbine length not rifle, I'd go with a true 16" barrel and midlength gas system. Really like the Wilson barrel/ArmaLite upper on my recent AR build.

January 1, 2010, 07:39 PM
I second the 14.5'' with permanently attached flash hider/compensator/whatever. Unless you're looking into long range shooting, you really don't need anything longer than 14.5'' and anything extra is just weight.

January 1, 2010, 07:46 PM
Hey rkmnt tactical
Why do you reccomend a 14.5" barrel if it is not going to shorten the rifle?
It can't be much lighter and has to lose some velocity.
I am not disagreeing. I am asking not trying to start an arguement.

January 1, 2010, 07:53 PM
A 14.5" with a permanently attached flash hider is shorter than a 16" w/ a flash hider.

If somebody starts talking about CQB or whatnot, just realize your odds of taking your civilian rifle into a CQB situation are less than your odds of winning the lottery...

Not exactly the same. Much better chance of needing a rifle to defend your life than winning the lottery. However, the chances are also much greater that you would need an AR15 at short range to defend your life than long range.

January 1, 2010, 07:57 PM
16" midlength. a 14 with a perm attached will make changes difficult. They are cool, but it is only 1.5". If this is your first or only AR, 16 middy is best. I have a 16 car and love it. My only regret is i should have got a 16 midlength.

January 1, 2010, 08:38 PM
I doubt without special ordering you are going to have much more of an option besides a 16" M4forgery......:)

January 1, 2010, 10:57 PM
I have them from 10-24 if i could only have one it would be 18"

January 1, 2010, 11:07 PM

How many times have you needed to defend your life with an AR-15?

Just asking.


This is your rifle, take your time handling a couple different configurations to see which you like better. I'm am guessing that a 20 inch barrel is going to give you the most enjoyment on the range. If you want to take a carbine class, go for it. The difference between a 16" and 20" barrel isn't going to make a difference in what the instructors teach.

Then again, if you are serious about home defense and becoming an elite team fighter, there are some videos on youtube....

Either way, good luck, good shooting.


January 1, 2010, 11:56 PM
I would go with an 18 inch barrel for mobility and better gas expelling constraint purposes for a more reliable bullet flight. Once you go past 18 inches it becomes a little harder to point the rifle, however if hunting is your main and or only purpose for said rifle, or even target shooting, go with something longer than 18. better accuracy/sight picture, slighly higher velocity and downrange punch with the longer barrels. biggest bennefit will be sight picture/accuracy.

January 2, 2010, 12:03 AM

How many times have you won the lottery?

Just asking.

That said, I have never been in a serious car accident, but I still always wear my seatbelt. Stupid, huh?

January 2, 2010, 12:47 AM
I would not be worried about the barrel legnth so much as the twist rate. If you want to be able to shoot 70 grain and also the surplus 55 grains, i reccomend a 1:9 twist rate, it shoots the surplus bullets and heavy bullets fairly well in my experience. if you get a higher twist rate like 1:8 or 1:5 or anything else it will only shoot the heavy bullets well and you will find yourself spending a heckava lot more on ammunition. 1:9 to my knowledge shoots anything from 50-75 grain .223/.556 rounds very accurately. The most common twist rates use to be 1:11 and couldnt shoot anything heavier than 55 grain because they just wouldnt stabalize the bullet before it left the barrel. The same is true for the intense twist 1:5 barrels, but they wont stabalize the surplus 55 grain ammunition.

January 2, 2010, 01:04 AM
Twist rate shouldnt be a big deal. 1/7/, 1/8, 1/9 will all shoot mostly anything with the exception of 77gr plus bullets in the 1/9. 1/7 wouldn't be ideal for a varmint gun, but outside of that, you should be good to go.

January 2, 2010, 01:09 AM
Agreed. However, if you are gonna make a bulk purchase for a good price on ammo, its almost always always always gonna be 55 gr. And in this case i would have to say the 1:9 twist excells with its ability to fling any common bullet weight for the 223/556 cartridge accurately and reliably.

January 2, 2010, 03:41 AM

I don't buy lotto tickets. Nor do I plan on needing an AR-15 for CQB in my house. Not that I don't have two of them, just that I can't think up a scenario where I would need one that doesn't sound like the plot to a B grade horror movie or something from a Mack Bolan novel.

And your chances of getting in a really bad car wreck are actually much better than your chances of being in a gunfight. Orders of magnitude better.

Then again, flying is still statistically the safest way to travel...


January 2, 2010, 04:07 AM
I don't buy lotto tickets.

Neither do I. So, with that in mind, you could easily argue that it would be infinitely more likely that one of us would be presented with a time where we would need to defend ourselves with a rifle at close range than either of us would win the lottery.

I agree that getting in a car wreck is even more likely than either of those things.

I also CCW almost every time I leave the house. I don't plan on getting attacked or mugged (although I have been), but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

Considering that the AR15 is my go to gun, should I be the victim of a home invasion, it is a possibility that in my life I could use it. Maybe not a probability, but the odds are MUCH higher that I would use it to save innocent lives in a CQB scenario than I would win the lottery. That, I can assure you.

January 2, 2010, 04:14 AM
can you get a 14.5'' with a mid length handguard?

January 2, 2010, 04:23 AM
Yes. You can.


January 2, 2010, 04:27 AM
Buying from who; what brand?

January 2, 2010, 04:37 AM
In a carbine I'd say 16". If you're going for a rifle 20-22". I have a 24" Bushmaster vmatch and it's a tackdriver though I pay with weight and overall length.

January 2, 2010, 04:47 AM
For the record, my second choice would be a 16". :)

ranger dave
January 2, 2010, 02:20 PM
the barrel must be 16 inches long so why waist the 1.5 inches with a long flash hider . if you are only going for looks witch im sorry a lot of guys are get a shorty . but if you realy want to shoot get a 20 inch and a good scope and go for it

January 2, 2010, 02:28 PM
It's not a waste of 1.5". At most it is a "waste" of .2" since that is the difference in flash hider length. However, that extra .2" also goes a long way in increasing the effectiveness of the flash hider.

January 2, 2010, 03:06 PM
How many times have you needed to defend your life with an AR-15?

How many times has he not been targeted as a victim because he has a weapon and knows how to use it?

January 2, 2010, 03:23 PM

having a weapon and knowing how to use it doesn't refer to the specifics of a particular weapon. Whether the barrel is 14.5 with a flash hider or 20 inches without doesn't even factor into your comment.

The human is the weapon, the rifle is just a tool.


January 2, 2010, 07:32 PM
Length- Gas system
14.5- carbine
16 and 18- midlength
20- rifle