Monday, February 24, 2020

And So It Goes

Twenty years ago on internet gun forums, before 9/11 and the GWOT, before Bravo Company and Daniel Defense and Noveske, before everybody and their brother made an entry-level AR for six bills or less...well, most of us knew nothing about AR-15s.

You think it's derpy out there now with "jUsT aS gOoD aS" and "wOrKs fOr mE"? Well, it was like that pretty much everywhere in the Before Times. Even the smart people who knew a lot about the AR family of weapons didn't know as much back then as they do now because, frankly, we've learned a lot over nearly two decades of endless war.

Anyway, back then when J. Random Newb showed up on a gun forum asking about AR-15s, the advice he'd be given, in between AK shooters saying dumb stuff about "poops where it eats" and he-man M1A fans crowing about "poodleshooters", would be to "stick to the ABC's". In this case "ABC" meant Armalite, Bushmaster, and Colt. Sometimes a "D" was added for DPMS.

The middle one was mine, early '03. Derpeste. ("Derpeste" is like "namaste". It means "The derp in me recognizes and acknowledges the derp in you.")
I guess Armalite's still in business, or at least their website is up this morning, but I haven't really checked in a few years. Colt is still thrashing around, stubbornly refusing to let the bubbles stop. Bushmaster and DPMS got swallowed by Cerbe...Freedom Gro...Remington Outdoors and were quietly shuttered recently, and I'm not surprised. I literally can't remember the last time someone I personally know bought a "Bushhamster" or a "DerPMS", as they're sometimes derisively referred to by AR snobs.

They suffered from being priced almost as high as an actual Colt while having a rep for occasionally indifferent QC that made the extra cost over an entry-level Smith or Ruger hard to justify. That, and half everybody builds rather than buying whole these days. If I'm going to shell out for a complete gun, it's going to be the aforementioned Colt, or a Bravo Company or DD. ("But Tam!" says the informed consumer, "The AR business is so incestuous that most of those manufacturers are drawing parts from the same pool!" This is true, but the BC or DD rifle will be properly assembled and checked. If I wanted to roll the dice on needing to finish the assembly at home, I'd buy PSA and be happy. I've done it before.)

Although there's one side effect of Remington closing down some of their tacticool labels that I hadn't anticipated. Tapco is one of the brands that made the go-aways, and apparently they are...or, were, I of the only sources of reliable aftermarket Mini-14 magazines. Not doing a lot of A-Team cosplay, I was unaware of this fact. But if it means never having to see an SKS in a janky pinned "folding" stock or hear Cletus talk about how he made his WASR into a "Dragon-off", it's a small price to pay.