I shamelessly poached this from Classic Firearms, I have bought pistols from them before as well as parts and found them as a good source. I haven't bought anything recently during the kung-flu so I don't know how they are doing. I have been exceedingly frugal with my firearm dollars because of the unknown nature of what to expect.
This entry was posted on May 1, 2020.
Barrel length and the AR-15The AR-15 is a fascinating rifle. Not just its long history of service, or the fact that it’s America’s favorite rifle, but also from an engineering perspective. The rifle is incredibly modular, and you can pick and choose parts like no other weapon out there. One major change you can make is with the barrel length. There are a wide variety of barrel lengths you can use for your gun, so we’ve broken them down here.
The Rifles24 Inches
A 24-inch barrel is an odd one, and when it comes to a 5.56 AR, there are not many advantages to the four extra inches of barrel. However, in calibers like 6.5 Grendel, the extra barrel length can get you extra velocity, which adds extra range and hitting power.
Twenty inches is what the original 223 Remington round was built for. 20-inch barrels allow you to maximize the velocity of a 5.56 or 223 Remington round. The extra barrel length not only provides extra velocity and range, but offers you a softer shooting, smoother handling rifle.
The Weird One18 inches
Eight inches is an odd barrel length, but it’s a cool idea rooted in Special Operations. The 18-inch barrel allows you to use a rifle-length gas system, which gives you the same recoil and muzzle rise impulse as a 20-inch barrel. It’s also two inches shorter, giving you a more handy rifle. 18-inch barrels are popular in the competition world due to their smooth shooting.
The Civilian Carbine Standard16 Inches
16-inch barrels are the shortest a civilian can legally go as a title 1 firearm. Any shorter necessitates a pistol or short-barreled rifle. Sixteen inches gives you a light and handy rifle that makes good use of the 5.56 cartridge. It’s the most popular AR-15 barrel length.
The Military Carbine Standard14.5 inches
14.5-inch barrels are the standard for the military’s M4 program. They are popular with civilians as well, but they have to be pistols SBRs, or a third option is choosing a 1.5-inch long muzzle device and pinning and welding it to create a 16-inch barrel. Like 16-inch barrels, the 14.5 is light and handy, and still retains decent velocity and range capability.
The Shorties12.5, 11.5, and 10.3 inches
These three lengths are super short and commonly found on rifles purpose-built for clearing rooms. All of these lengths require a pistol build or SBR. These three lengths all have reduced velocity, and therefore range, but are so light and handy they are perfect for inside of 300 yards. They can hit targets beyond that range, but they aren’t optimal for those distances.
The Super Shorties7.5 inches and Below
The super shorties are a little silly when your AR-15 is a 5.56. Rounds like the 300 Blackout and 9x19 can be effective from these super short barrels. These short barrel lengths make the guns even handier inside structures, but also easy to conceal in bags. These super short barrels can be a lot of fun, and when paired with a suppressor, you still get a light and short rifle.