Written by Scott Fuller on . Posted in Blog

As Ethan would say it, “Get that s*!t off my rifle!”

What do we really need on our fighting rifle? What is extraneous? What is just “nice to have”? Are some of us falling victim to the neat-o factor of the newest tactical and tacticool stuff?

The KISS principle when it came to a fighting carbine used to mean fixed carry handle iron sights on a lightweight gun with a sling. Not a bad idea at all, and I certainly wouldn't feel terrible if it was my only option We have come a long way since the the CAR-15 was the ultimate in simplicity, and I think the 2015 fighting rifle needs a few more bells and whistles.

Lumens (All of Them)
A fighting gun needs a white light. Period. You cannot shoot what you cannot identify. you cannot identify what you cannot see. A gunfight occurring at night or in another situation that requires lighting is a seriously real probability. Your rifle will need a light and a foolproof way to mount that light on the rifle. The more lumens the better. Experts may argue on the Book of Face about there being such thing as too many lumens, but you cannot go wrong with 500 or more on your gun.

Not a red dot, not an EOtech. An Aimpoint. With a battery life measured in years instead of minutes or hours and a reputation of rugged reliability the Aimpoint has earned its place as a must have tool on your rifle. If you might have the chance of defending your home, your family or your life with your rifle, there should be an aimpoint perched on top of it.

This is a strap to hold your rifle to your body. VTAC, VCAS, Magpul or WOTG will do the trick nicely. Dont forget a solid way to mount the sling to the gun. BFG and Mossie have proven sling mounts that fit any gun. If you have ever tried to fight without a sling you already know why it is required.

That is it. That is all that is required. Anything else might make fighting with the carbine easier, but it is not a requirement.

Some things we like to add to our rifles that are totally extraneous and have zero or no or even negative impact on the rifles fighting ability.

Muzzle Devices
The A2 that your rifle probably came with is the perfect muzzle device. It is hard to make a better flash hider than the A2 and the inherent compensating characteristics even help muzzle climb. And it costs $5! Five Freaking Dollars! Talk about a bargain. Instead of buying a $100 plus muzzle device or the compensator de jour, spend that money on a local carine class or some range ammo.

I like a freefloat handguard. I know it helps accuracy in the AR-15, but unless you are using a magnified optic the freefloat tube is entirely extraneous. An Aimpoint or iron sight equipped rifle will not benefit in any practical way to this upgrade.If you install your gas block correctly and you run a well designed handguard, you will not hurt the fighting ability of the gun, and you just may add to the ease of accessorizing mounts for lights and slings. Still, it is not strictly needed.

Personal Preference
There is something to be said for running a sweet SOPMOD stock or a crisp CMC trigger on your rifle. Just keep in mind that just because I prefer, and equip all my guns with, the BCM Gunfighter charging handle and the Magpul CTR stock doesn't mean that they are a requirement for a defensive rifle. Don’t fall into the trap of adding a part because it is cool, or that someone else told you would make your fighting carbine 130% more accurate. Have a solid reason, backed up with testing and actual feedback.

I dont want you to think I dont like the newest cool gizmo for my blaster. I love them. I have rifles with extraneous junk on them right now. I just want you to know and keep in mind that some of that stuff is just not needed.

Please, bolt whatever grips, stocks and vertical foregrips you want on your gun. Just do me a favor and take it all off and spend some time at the range. See if the gun shoots any better, or any worse. It might tell you something about your mindset.

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