You want to hear a funny story? Ok, actually I should ask if you want to know how to make my wife really mad? The answer is simple, over the Christmas holiday, go to Sportsman’s Warehouse with your father-in-law to get a bottle of gun oil and come home with an AR15.
Look my wife’ s very accommodating of my shooting hobby. Actually, she encourages it. But spending an unexpected $1100 right a Christmas, understandably, isn’t the best decision a husband can make. BUT...
Oh yea, there’s always a but. But, have you tried to find a buy an AR15 these days?! If you have, then you’ve already figured out what happened to me. I walked in to Sportsman’s Warehouse and the General Manager, Jim Rhodes, and I cross paths just inside the front door. The moment he sees me he waves me over. I know Jim pretty well and he knows I like to buy guns, many have come from his store. He ushers to a side office and whispers, “What if I knew I guy that had a brand new, Smith and Wesson M&P AR15 that he was going to sell...today. Would you be interested?”
What could I say? I’ve seen the shelves there. I’ve looked online. NO AR15s! “Sure, I’d be interested,” I said as I slipped the marital noose around my neck.
He looked around like a spy about to reveal state secrets and flicked his head to the side, “Come with me...” He turned and briskly walked past the gun counter, that was stacked with people, and threaded us into the back room that had an “Employees Only” sign over the door. There were a couple of guys in the storage room that he asked to leave. This confused me but I went along with it. As soon as he, my father-in-law and I were alone, he pulled a box from the shelf and opened it. Sure enough, a brand new M&P15.
He lowered his voice again, “Look, about every salesman here has a buyer on this. It came in about two hours ago and I bet it’ll be gone in about an hour. No big deal, but if you want it, it’s yours. If not, we’ll sell it pretty quickly.” He stared at me. I darted a glance at my father-in-law. He was wincing as he knew my dilemma. My heart started pounding, my palms sweat and I pulled the noose tight. “Jim, I think I’m gonna have to...” I bit my lip, “Dang it, I’ll take it.”
Jim nodded and and walked out of the room without a word. Ten seconds later he came back in with a sales guy. “Bob, sell this guy this M&P, but keep it back here. Don’t take it out and lay it on the counter.”
Bob looked up at Jim, “Are you serious?” Jim patted Bob on the back and said, “Yep. Take care of this young man.” Then waved and winked at me and walked out.
Bob seemed kind of pissed about something. He grouchily took my info and as he was getting my thumb prints muttered under his breath, “I have a guy that’s coming in for this thing later today.” Ah, I get it now. Well your buddy’s going to be disappointed is what I wanted to say. Little did he know that I was going to have to fight an insurgency on the home front.
As we walked to the front of the store, the sales guy was carrying the cardboard box with the big M&P printing facing outward. We passed a guy that pointed to the box and called out, “Hey!” but the sales guy charged passed him. Bob then flipped the box around so the words were hidden from view. “Damn it. I don’t want no one to know we got one of these.”
Why all the fuss? About a month earlier we got a new President that had a political history that wasn’t gun friendly and the day after his election, guns started flying off the shelves at a record pace, especially anything that could be slapped with the “Assault” label.
It’s actually ironic that a President that has a history of supporting gun control laws is actually responsible for one of the biggest runs on firearms and ammo that I’ve ever seen! Anyway, let’s shoot this thing!
The rifle is a standard S&W M&P15. Nothing fancy, no accessory rails or anything. It has a 16 inch, chromoly barrel, six-position adjustable stock, a single stage 6-7 pound trigger and 30-round magazine. I had to throw on a red dot that I use on my Ruger Mark III as a sighting instrument.
The next hurdle was finding .223 ammo. Wal-mart had it but man was is scarce. At the range, we attached the red dot, loaded the mag and with only the slightest adjustments had it sighted in. We started on the torso steels at 75 yards then moved to targets at 100. The gun shot very true.
The trigger was a bit stiff and “gritty” but I attributed it to newness. The recoil was “gentle” and didn’t match the noise the gun made. It felt like shooting a .22 magnum with the noise of a .22-250 rifle. The adjustable stock, while great for tactical situations, served another purpose. It made the gun easy to shoot for me at 5’ 9” and my father-in-law who’s 6’ 1”.
On the second outing, I only shot 50 rounds. Bruce and I were actually shooting our 10/22s for a side-by-side review of a custom built 10/22 vs. an off the shelf model (review here). But while I was there, I set a 5.5” target out at 100 yards and wanted to see what I could do with an unmagnified red dot at that distance. The dot covered 25% of the center of the target and I didn’t use a resting device but did set the bottom of the magazine on the shooting table.
For a regular guy, I felt pretty good about the results but know I can do better. Out of eight shots, I landed 7 in the target zone and had one straggler. The other way to look at it is that four were in the 10 ring and four we’re out of it. Not Quigley Down Under shooting by any means.
I love this gun and now that my wife has calmed down (mind you, I don’t blame her) I think it’ll be staying in my collection. I have big plans for it too and when she’s not looking, I’m going to add about $300 worth of accessories to it! As a side note, my good father-in-law offered me his own version of a bail out plan and offered to buy the gun from me as to ease my marital pain.
There are so many good quality options for AR15s right now. The hard part is finding one that’s not backordered. When you do find one, you might want to buy it. If we do get an “assault gun” ban, you’ll be glad you did. And even if we don’t, you’ll still be glad you did. Take my word it. Even Grandma can shoot it!
Oh and if you don’t think that owning an AR15 can get you killed, you haven’t bought one on Christmas without asking your wife first. Damn, those things are deadly!