Moving forward with part one of setting up your carbine, I’ll be going over accessories that will assist in your setup process. You can without a doubt utilize a carbine with the “bare bones,” but with the amount of affordable equipment to accessorize your rifle why would you skimp out? Without a doubt, putting thousands of dollars of “add on’s” onto your rifle is worthless without the proper training. Although, if you’re willing to spend the money on a rifle and the ammo along with it, you may want to save some additional funds to aid in efficiency of your long gun.
Any type of firearm has a fair amount of flash and gas that is emitted from the muzzle. If you can control the way the gas is emitted or shield the flash it can aid to the operation of the weapon system. There are a few different variations out there and they all offer something different. First up is the muzzle break, this device deflects gas out to the rear or to the sides. This can significantly reduce felt recoil, therefore allowing the shooter to initiate follow up shots. They aren’t as popular on traditional AR platforms, but you will see them on larger bored rifles such as the infamous .50 cal Barrett M82. A flash suppressor type device does just that it, suppresses flash from the round. This is what you’ll traditionally see on carbines used by the US military. Its primary purpose is to conceal the user during night time operations as well as to suppress night blindness. The final type of device has become the most popular in the most recent years, the compensator. The “comp” as it’s also called, is transferred over from the competitive shooting community. It redirects gas upwards, therefore counteracting the effects of muzzle rise. The downside to the comp is that that it’s excessively loud and the gases emitted are a huge nuisance and distraction to other shooters that may be on the line with you. Whichever device you choose, understand what your end goals are and facilitate the proper training from there.
There are about as many optics out in the civilian market as there are manufacturers of carbines. For a defensive carbine there are basically two types, a red dot and a variable power optic. The former is just that, it provides the user with a red dot that coincides with the zero of their rifle. In layman's terms, wherever the user places the dot they should receive accurate rounds on target as long as they are taking mechanical offset into account. The downside to a red dot, is it provides zero magnification. Depending on the brand/type you decide to purchase, the adjustable controls will all be different. What it should provide is an on/off function, easy adjustability of zero, easy access to batteries as well as adjustability for the brightness of the dot. A variable power optic looks similar to a scope used on a hunting rifle. In recent years, they have become more popular in the defensive shooting community as that it’s a traditional set up on “3-Gun” competition rifles. Having an adjustable power, more simply known as magnification, allows the user to have zero to 6x magnification all with a simple twist of the scope. This allows the shooter to get accurate shots at close up to extended distances. The downside is they are significantly more expensive than a red dot, take up more “real estate” on the rifle as well as are usually heavier. Regardless of the form of optic you choose, the major players in the game are Leupold, Trijicon and Vortex. All vary in price and some have better dependability than others. Whichever you choose, make sure you’re buying it with a reason behind it instead of just a name.
Odd’s & End’s
In this final section, I’ll briefly touch on other accessories than can aid in your shooting but aren’t necessary for you to get rounds on target. Back up iron sights (BUIS) are commonly found on rifles that use a red dot or variable power optic. In a SHTF scenario where your optic breaks, having another form of aiming system allows the shooter to still get effective rounds downrange. If you choose to put them on your rifle, make sure that they are properly zeroed just like your optic is. Most home invasions occur at night, so why not have some way to illuminate and positively ID your target? Just as you shouldn’t carry your pistol without some form of illumination tool, having one mounted to your rifle will make sure it is in fact a threat you’re pointing your muzzle at. The more lumes (measurements of brightness) on your light, the better. Slings are a great addition to not only retain your rifle if you need to go hands on, but also can aid in your precision depending on your shooting position. Two forms you will see, are one-point and two-point slings. Two points won’t bounce around when you’re doing something other than shooting and is what most legitimate instructors will recommend.