We see rifles set up for Close Quarte Battle (CQB), Designated Marksman (DM), Special Purpose Rifle (SPR), General Purpose (GP) and a myriad of other acronyms. While I fully support building of fine firearms, I just wanted to talk about a Do Everything carbine.
First off, we must look at our application of the rifle. That’s the first thing we should determine prior to the build. Just like with cars, somethings are very specific and hinder other roles. The AR platform can literally be adapted to any role and is only limited by caliber. That limit is based on application as well. So here are some basic questions to ask when planning a build.
What do I want it to do?
What will I be doing the most?
What is my skillset?
What ranges will I be using it at the most?
What type of shooting will I be doing?
What is the budget?
Once you have some of these answers you can start planning the build. In days of old some things that were “facts” helped lead us in a direction. We thought that for accuracy at 600 yards we needed 18-20 inches of barrel hence the SPR. We also thought that anything less than 16 was only good for 200 yards and in. So, if I had the need to do CQB and distance work, I needed at the minimum of two uppers set up specifically for each role. This types well, but is very cumbersome. Most built 2 rifles because, be honest, who wants an upper laying around without the rest of the rifle.
While we can still do, that times have changed. First I am going to lay out Kyle Defoor’s rifle.
US Optics 1-4
Streamlight Protac Rail 1
BCM 11-5″ BFH 1-7 KMR-A
Viking Tactics Sling
Kyle says “the most capable carbine I’ve ever had. One that will handle CQB out to 400 yds. (b/c steel) “AUTHOR NOTE: BC steel is 11-13/16″ x 23-5/8″
Now, Kyle’s roll for the rifle is exactly inside those parameters for his use in most of his carbine classes. That is an 11.5-inch barrel that carries him to double the old standard of 200 yards with a short barrel. Notice he is shooting steel not using it for combat which might change his effective range. His set up gives him one gun, one optic, one trigger feel from 0-400.
My rifle lays out like this using Kyles format
Leupold MK6 1-6
Larue 1.93 mount
Streamlight ProTac Rail 1
Liberty Hill Tactical 16 inch 1/7 with SLR 15-inch rail
My role is slightly different. My rifle is capable of 0-600 on BC Steel. The difference for this is Kyle uses a dedicated rifle for his Defoor Proformance Scoped Rifle Classes. I intend on using one rifle for that type of shooting but there is a compromise with it. I trade length and weight for the ability to reach a bit farther. Also, Kyle runs suppressed at many of his classes where as I am not, much to the dismay of those around me.
So now I ask, based off the roles of the rifles I opened with, what is the purpose of the dedicated guns for perceived range bands? Kyle is reaching 300 yards past most public ranges in the US and I am reaching 200 yards beyond the longest public range in my area. Yet both guns are perfectly capable of close work with no noticeable loss of time up close where we both spend most of our time.
This leaves us both with a Do Everything Carbine (DEC). Now I have seen Kyle take that little gun out to 600 on steel so don’t let him fool you. He is capable of 600 but the optic choice is really the limiting factor. I apply a base rule of 1x per 100 yards for shooting. For target ID and reliable hits, I go 2x over that furthest yard line I intend on shooting to. My scope choice is based off a planned 400 yards. This is a baseline and not true for everyone.
Take some time and do the research for YOUR build. If you ask the internet what gun you should build you are not building a gun for you, you are building it for them. I will tell you that having a rifle that rocks at what you do is much better than having a rifle built to someone else’s requirements. I have had both.
– Ash Hess
PS Thanks to Kyle for the help building this article. Always appreciated