When I hear “for the poors” I can’t help but reflect on how good we have it these days. For now. Take a look at PSA as a prime example. A $300 PSA kit with an Anderson lower receiver is the poster child for internet mockery. “Poverty pony”. “For the Poors.” Etc. Etc. I can’t help but think back on the on the AR15 market circa 2002-2004 and I can’t believe how good we have it. In those days, if you told me that I can buy an AR15 for $300-$400 I would expect the following:
- A cast aluminum lower
- Mystery bolt
- carbine gas system
- Poor/no staking on the half moon carrier
- 4140 1/9 twist barrel without chrome lining
- Non-F marked FSB
- Basic mil-spec furniture
- gritty trigger
- A2 flash hider
There were less manufacturers, and less options… standard Bushmasters retailed around $900+ dollars. Getting a kit back then for sub $400 was a recipe for range disaster and frustration. Fast forward to today:
- A PSA kit for $289. Hmmm.
- Nitrided 4150 1/7 twist with 5.56 Nato chamber
- Mid-length gas system
- Carpenter 158 bolt, shot peened, MPI
- Bolt carrier staked well, grade 8 fasteners, full m16 weight
- F marked FSB
- Basic mil-spec trigger
- A2 flash hider
Something like this was not possible and not probable in the immediate post AWB market. It took a demoncrat president and EIGHT YEARS of panic buying to fan the flames of the AR15 market. This hot market caused numerous manufacturers to enter the arena and they produced some amazing advancements in the AR15 platform… rails, triggers, optics, furiniture, etc. etc. we could go on all night! Most importantly, in my opinion, was the competition and ensuing price reduction… making it cheaper to enter the AR15 market with a higher quality firearm than we had in years past.
A rifle which, according to Henderson Defense, keeps going and going on their rental line.
That averages out to 39,000 rounds of use for that upper assembly until the bolt broke and suffered a complete catastrophic failure. Because the bolt did break, the armorers checked the throat erosion (no issues) because they wanted to see for themselves how well it’s handled. – Ron shares his notes on PSA at AR15.c0m
That’s right. His PSA went 39k rounds before a bolt broke. That’s roughly $10k in ammo costs that rifle ate before it failed. To be fair, Ron says elsewhere that Colt bolts last the longest, but also elsewhere he noted that a HK416 was a waste of money due to it key holing well before it should have. Se le vie. I would be pretty happy with my budget blaster going 39k rounds.
So, in all honesty, today’s budget AR15 has closed the performance gap between basic and premium AR15’s quite a bit. I recognize that quality control from unit to unit may favor a higher priced AR15… that’s life. Every manufacturer has a lemon, and possibly more PSA’s may leave the line and need to be returned for QC issues… but they also produce something like 700+ serialized firearms and or receivers per day. That’s clown shoes. That’s nutso. I hope during the great igloo that PSA
airdrops shovels AR15s out the back of their mass produced B57 bomber nockoff to arm the resistance. They have the capacity.
The “poors” are getting some good gear these days. I stand by them and this blog has never frowned upon shooters with a budget. We are all in this together. A new shooter can grab a two PSA rifles, optic, mags, ammo, and some decent level IIIA ceramics for the price of a Daniel Defense DDM4. We are in a race to be equipped and ready for whatever the future may hold. It’s not a smart move in some areas of the USA to save for over a year for the rifle you want as they may be banned before you can get one.
For shooters who do frown upon lower tier brands, get some perspective. If you spend more than 5k-10k a year shooting and training, and can really appreciate that KAC and high end gear… Good for you. You are statically alone. Look around you. Look at normal people. Who does what you do? You are the anomaly. If you have knowledge of the gun, then part of your mission will necessitate on getting people educated and squared away, regardless of their budget.
Appreciate what shooters on a budget have these days. It’s far better than what they had in years past. We are lucky a company like PSA has streamlined the AR15 production process to the point where they can deliver a high quality product for the price. Without the sub $400 AR15, many shooters would have never looked at the black rifle as it was too expensive. Once they take the leap… They become one of us.
Once you start, you just can’t stop.