So I was perusing the book of face and saw someone refer to the Parkland shooter’s rifle as “Derp Tier” and another one referred to low cost lower receivers by a certain company as “Poverty Ponies” and both agreed that a good quality Aero Precision would have been better in every way…
How can I put this? I was born and raise in Washington State, and remember when companies like Aero Precision and Mega Machine who were Boeing subcontractors started putting out AR-15 parts to get income between contracts for Boeing. You know people said back then? They said, “you should follow your ABCs, which is Armalite, Bushmaster, and Colt, anything else is crap.”
But so what? Olympic Arms put out some crap receivers decades ago and never lived it down, despite putting out a quality product for the vast majority of their time before they closed their doors. Then “Stag Arms” was the “well it’s cheap, so it must be crap” and then it was “Palmetto State Armory is cheap and crap” and now it’s “Anderson Arms is ‘poverty ponies!'” Heck, I remember when Bravo Company was considered low tier (and it probably still is in many circles).
Seriously. Colt and Bushmaster are essentially gone from the market due to bankruptcy, we’ll see how those brands fair and who buys them if at all. Other companies like Roggio Arsenal quietly died off.
Now, where are your ABCs? It’s more like Daniel Defense, Rock River, Spikes, Noveske… There are so many “good” manufacturers out there that really the roll stamp on the lower receiver isn’t much of a concern any more. Heck, there are even boutique shops like Rainier Arms that just serve up the “top tier” advertising to make people think they are buying a truly “premium” product.
But “premium product” and AR-15 is mostly marketing. Unless you are buying a competition grade rifle from Compass Lake Engineering or White Oak, what are you really getting? Is it serious quality? Or is it advertising?
If you want a reliable AR-15, you need to concentrate on your upper receiver. The bolt carrier group needs to be properly assembled, and the gas key firmly staked. The headspace needs to be safe, and the gas port in the barrel drilled to the correct dimensions. The roll stamp on the lower receiver has nothing to do with this.
I had another friend turn his nose up at an Anderson lower because he’d heard a report that a Magpul wouldn’t always drop free. Which to him meant it wasn’t “milspec” enough. The problem is I’ve been in uniform and handled M16A2s by FN and M4s by Colt, and M4A1s by FN enough to know that magazines don’t always fall free, especially on NEW issued rifles. Don’t worry folks, the mags and magwells will wear in over time.
So, would you go to war with a cheap 700 dollar M4 clone? FN won the M4A1 bit with a 642 dollar per unit cost. Anything more than that, and what are you really paying for? The name? Seriously if you show up on the firing line with a home built AR-15 no one is going to look twice at you. If you show up with a Stag, Aero Precision, Mega, or Anderson no one is going to call you “derp tier” and criticize your rifle and explain how it’s a jam-o-matic unlike their ever so top tier choice.
And as far as the “derp tier” rifle the parkland shooter used, it was a Smith & Wesson M&P-15. Entry level, yes, but the jamming probably had a lot more to do with crap magazines and lack of lube rather than the rifle being “derp tier.” Thank goodness the shooter was “derp tier” at least.