‘Hobby’ AR15s Suck…Or Do They?!



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Many tactical elitists in the gun community will disparage the so-called “hobby AR-15.” I myself was confused by this early in my AR-15 experience, thinking that best ARs were pre-assembled, single manufacturer produced. This is not the only path to the “ultimate AR.” The components of AR-15s are now excellent and unlike when found in pre-assembled gun, all must stand on their own individual quality level. With a bit of research and planning, you can assemble an amazingly accurate, totally reliable, lightweight, cool, and tailored-just-for-you AR-15. It will most likely deliver life long service to you.

And yet in some quarters these builds are still discouraged. This may be because of those advocating this or that brand or “special edition” of AR-15 are getting kickbacks. They will promote an elitist mindset of you buying their “exclusive” AR build to enhance their “tactical” reputation and make money off of you. They will cite horror stories of range break downs and state “I’d never trust MY life” to a “parts gun” in order to scare you and elevate themselves as the wise sages of the gun community.

Tactical elitists routinely insult the practice of AR-15 creation as “hobby builds” not ready for real war fighting. Instead they steer you to their own kickback brands, usually a “prestige” brand costing $2,000 or more. This is mostly BS. Our own self- built ARs have been flawless in all operations and heavy shooting and all shoot easily into 1 MOA. In fact all AR-15s now reviewed in TNP are compared against our builds; none have surpassed their performance. Contrast that against highly touted single manufacturer guns like KAC that shoot into 3 MOA. That’s not to say they aren’t MANY awesome single mfr. ARs you can get; many are excellent now. Getting them is still a rec’d option.

It’s simply to say that a user-built AR can easily meet and even exceed these pre-built options. Plan, build, and enjoy your own AR with confidence.

See my video Best AR build in the World for my own build preferences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbN5hmQYTIk
Also “The Perfect AR-15” by Nutnfancy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJASJhcFQSc

28 thoughts on “‘Hobby’ AR15s Suck…Or Do They?!”

  1. Quality barrel, bolt carrier, sights or scope, and trigger is all that is really needed. The rest is just nice stuff.

  2. I went to a tactical carbine course with an M&P-15 Sport (the good one with the 1:8, 5R rifling) and was able to make off-hand, standing hits at 220yds with irons. It helped that the instructor was a down-to-earth guy who didn't care what rifle I had. I put 690 zinc-plated steel Russian rounds through it that day without a single failure.

    Last year, I finally sprung for a mil-spec stripped upper just to get the dust cover for personal reasons (not due to any jams or anything).

  3. This video reminds me of a post on the AR15 sub-Reddit from about a year ago, where a user posted a comment about the only weapons worth using and seriously shooting was "purpose built name brand" and weapons used and maintained by a trained armor. Naturally he was debunked quickly but since then I have heard different people say similar things. Hopefully this video will put some of that to rest.

  4. Nutn, where can I find the product list for this build? your other two videos for best AR seem to be different parts.

  5. I agree completely.  Got a single lower built to my liking and 3 uppers to my liking for different purposes, A 5.56 cqb 16" upper for cqb.  An 18" 5.56 scoped for predator hunting, And a 16" 450 bushmaster for large game.

  6. I know you're the Dad and all, but why you gotta question Doodle on if he cleared the chamber before disassembly? He's a grown man now. You raised him right. Trust him.

  7. I just got my first ar 15 after being in the army. I love the fact you get those guys trying to tell people that home built ars are garbage or the lower price point ars aren't good either. great video, can you do a review of the Windham Weaponry CDI?

  8. I'm a hobby builder. I did my little bit of research. I found out that about 10-20 companies manufacture the stripped lowers and then sell them to the AR companies who then brand them. Same thing with the uppers, the lower parts kits, and probably the barrels as well. When I found that out I decided I didn't care so much whose name was on it.

    So now I'm just starting a simple cheap project. I've got an Anderson stripped lower ($40) and an Aero Precision LPK ($80). I plan on purchasing complete barreled upper (ALWAYS go for a 1:7 twist) from Palmetto State Armory ($350-$420). I want either a Desert Tan or an FDE Stock ($50-60) with the same color ERGO grip ($30). Add in the buffer system for about ($20). Reasonable rear sight for about ($40). Total cost ($590-$690). And that sucker will shoot all day every day that I want it too.

    One of these days. when I get the money together, I'll build something with a little more quality. Perhaps with a matching Billet lower and upper receiver and other quality parts. But, til then that "hobby frankengun" will be a nice beater gun. I'm not a good enough shooter to try and achieve serious MOA. Nor do I have the time, the money, the shooting range, or the location to try and become that good.

    Great video btw. Y'all have a great day.

  9. "SPR CQB gun" well which is it nutn? I suppose close quarter combat could be this rifle's special purpose.

  10. Great vid fellas. I don't own any home builds but I dig the message in your video. Stick it to the Marketing Man. Love it.

  11. Is hobby gun the same thing as beater gun?  I always thought of my PSA as my beater, not bad but not a camp perry rifle either.

  12. I've never heard the term "hobby" AR-15 before. I built my first AR after my first deployment and it shot better than my first purchased AR. Now I've built an AR9 and it's probably more reliable than some AR15's and variants.

  13. Greetings Nutn,
    I have built two AR's and will attest to quality parts. My first build was based on an xm15-E2S bushmaster lower. It originally had an A1 upper on it and I wanted a flat rail upper. I researched many manufacturers and bought one part a pay check. When something was on sale of got it. The A3 upper is a BCM upper that was marked down due to "blemished" parts. The grip and but stick are Nagpul MOE. The fore end is a Midwest Industries 7" I also have a Nagpul BAD lever. And BCM charging handle. All was good so far. I sprung for an AWESOME drop in trigger by CMMG and a Savage AR bbl all including the expensive trigger I was up to $557 so I opted for a made in China gas block to save cash. Big mistake. At first I thought I didn't Aline my gas tube correctly. It was short stroking almost every round. I through it in the closet and forgot about it for 6 months. After that I started researching and decided to buy a good gas block and give it a try. I decided on the YankeeHill gas block/front sight combo. And BOOM it ate anything I fed it. Thanks and keep up the vids.

  14. I can't help but worry about my rifle. I had to use lower cost components (CMMG barrel for example) because of my budget (I work at a WalMart). I haven't gotten to sight it in yet, but it did pass a preliminary 40 round function test (used TulAmmo for this) with no problems.

  15. I have two AR15's and both built from quality parts exactly how I wanted them and I've had no issues. I would like a nice BCM or Daniel Defense but I feel like they will only be more reliable in theory.

  16. Love that burnt bronze color. Totally turns me on, as a fellow Utah'n lonely living an hour away from you, I would totally pay you to do that to some of my guns. No joke.

  17. Nutnfancy, would you do a video on the equipment you use to film, audio record, and edit your videos? I'm trying to learn many of the things you incorporate in your videos for my channel.

  18. I have built a number of ARs over the last 10 years, and only have come across one that was a dud. Just like you stated, its all about the components. I am currently running a standard carbine Stage upper with a Spikes lower. ALG standard trigger and Vortex SPARK.  My KISS rifle. I love it and run and gun the crap out of it. I have run a few tactical l courses and shoot a lot of Apple seed shoots with it. Never a problem with her.

  19. I've built all my ARs off of stripped lowers and fairly inexpensive build kits. Love them all. I've (so far) never had any issues with them. I'm very confident in their "go to war" capabilities. Not that I want to take them to war (please God Almighty never let put me in that situation).

  20. So in 2013 I built 3 lowers for myself and my 2 adult boys. I used the Spikes ST15 lowers that are 7075 forged. I used the package deal spikes tube, spring and T2 buffer and Delton std lower parts kit and figured they could get another trigger and select any upper they wanted. I put a Geissele SSA trigger and an Adams Arms EVO 16" upper on mine and added a Griffin M4SD compensator. 2013 prices were crazy but all things being equal this was a mid price build for the day that came in under $1,800 with Magpul ACS stock and BAD lever. You could do it cheaper today. Then I eventually put a Burris MTAC 1.5-6 x 42 scope on it using the Burris mount. Add $425 carefully shopped online.

    Results? With no optics or mag it weighs 7.6 lbs. You can get to 7.1 lbs if using a CTR stock and keeping the A2 birdcage.This is s DMR combat weapon in my mind and is very good to about 450 yards. On the range it shoots about 0.5 MOA at both 100 and 300 yards using either MK262 or my preferred Hornady Superformance 75 gr 5.56. Use Federal XM193 and it opens up to just over 1.5 MOA. After over 3,000 rounds I have ZERO malfunctions not directly traceable to a bad mag (never use a rivet to pin a 30 round PMag to 10 rounds for California, thank God I live in Reno now). I thought a was lucky with the Adams Arms upper, nope. Both boys chose different model 16" AA uppers and both shoot exactly the same as mine. 1.5 with XM193 and 0.5 with the expensive and heavy rounds.

    Why would anyone buy a DI AR and why would anyone pay like $2,800 ?? My guns lower stays so clean it amazes me. Yep, I've become an Adams Arms fan boy.

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