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Old November 3, 2011, 11:23 AM   #1
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My buddy got me into guns as he's been a huge gun nut for a while. I was looking for an AR-15, and was wondering what the closest one to the military M4 is (IE barrel length and such). I'v always been a huge fan of the M4, but I didn't know they had a civilian version.
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Last edited by ttdub; November 3, 2011 at 11:32 AM.
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:36 PM   #2
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well since the two main companies that make the M16/4 rifles are FN Herstal and Colt I would recommend those first. however I dont really like colts prices and FN Herstal does not sell an AR15 to civilian markets. however if you feel up to the task of building one yourself. palmetto state armory has a proprietary group of build kits which are almost entirely FN Herstal parts so you will essentially be getting a milspec AR that's been restamped for PSA and you'll get it for a fraction of the price of a colt.
the upper reciever, bolt carrier group, barrel, gas block+tube are all completely assembled. the lower recievers need some assembly but there are plenty of vids on youtube and the like about proper assembly and it's not every difficult.
a completely milspec colt is going to run you about 1200-1400 dollars, the palmetto state kits will cost you about $600-700.

I often take the stand that milspec isn't everything and that in most cases a good economy model is all anyone ever needs but if I ever decided to go with another 5.56 AR it would be a PSA build
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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Bushmaster makes quite a few variants in the style you are looking for.
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Old November 3, 2011, 01:06 PM   #4
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Almost every manufacturer (15-20) have some version of the M4 that is legal to own as a civilian...

A word of advice:
Don't get caught up in mil-spec vs non mil-spec or the infamous "chart" that's floating around the interweb.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson, 1776
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Old November 3, 2011, 04:04 PM   #5
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All sound advice. If you are going to build yours, try to get the same brand
upper and lower. Better chance of color match and fit. Don't skimp on the barrel and trigger.
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Old November 3, 2011, 05:17 PM   #6
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If you are going to build yours, try to get the same brand
upper and lower. Better chance of color match and fit
Not necessarily true. I've seen DMPS and Bushmaster rifles where it looks like the uppers and lowers were built on different planets. Likewise, I have an AR build with a Spikes upper and a PSA lower that are as tight and well-finished as you could ever hope to find.

In response to the OP's question, the closest thing you will find on the civilian market to the current contract of military M4 rifles (at least in respect of the manufacturer's name stamped on the side) is the Colt 6920. The only real differences are a 16" barrel instead of 14.5" barrel and the lack of a happy switch. FYI - Colt is building the current contract of M4 carbines, and FN is building the current contract of M16 rifles.

That said, Colt builds their M4s out of a bin of sub-contractors components just like everyone else, so I will defer to tahunua001's advise. Check out Palmetto State Armory (PSA). They are even offering complete carbines now such as this one, which for all practical purposes is identical to the quality you'll find in a Colt, but for about $400 less. Remember the advise above - many of PSA's small parts and barrels are the same used as FN.

They also have a version with an FN cold hammer-forged barrel for $100 more than the one linked above.

Last edited by Fishbed77; November 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM.
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Old November 3, 2011, 05:28 PM   #7
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I'v always been a huge fan of the M4, but I didn't know they had a civilian version.

They don't the barrel is too short, however you could build a close replica, however you will have to register it as a SBR with ATF, tax stamp, finger prints, FBI background check and all that jazz. It is not that hard, many do. Or you can just use a 16 1/4 inch barrel and have a close copy.

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