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  1. #1
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    Default Rifle modularity and my take on it.

    It is 2018, and we live in an age when a certain level of modularity is needed, or at least expected in a rifle. I don't think the AR was designed to be modular, but it's design allowed it to become modular. I think this is one of the reasons it has become so popular.

    So now we have some new kids on the block with the scar, bren, arx, mcx ect. With both civilians and militaries calling for modularity, obviously these manufacturers incorporated a certain level of modularity into their designs.

    The AR of course has a lower. You can very easily swap grips and buttstock on these lowers, but the real modularity comes with the fact that one can easily swap different uppers for different needs.

    The scar, bren, and arx all seemed to have gone a slightly different direction then the AR. They all have "monolithic" style uppers and have some way of swapping barrels with relative ease. They also offer some modularity with buttstock with the use of various adaptors. Personally though, I am not a huge fan of these setups if you are actually looking for modularity. My reasoning for that is, if i am switching barrel lengths, I am usually switching the role of the rifle, and want the optic and entire rifle to suit that need.

    For instance, if i have a 16" barreled rifle, I would want a handguard of at least 10", but prefer 12 to 13". I would also want a low powered magnified optic. If I go down to say a 10" barrel, I want as long of a handguard as I can get away with, and would probably run a RDS. So in my view. Swapping out entire uppers with zeroed optics on them is preferable to swapping barrels and optics.

    Now, if you look at the mcx, I think they hit it out of the park when it comes to modularity because they took what the AR had, and then added to it. You have a lower that accepts many Ar parts, and with a few screws you can go from fixed, to folding, to a pdw stock. You still have the swappable upper concept, but now you can very easily swap barrels and handguards.

    So why have I not traded in all of my ARs for the MCX? Because, in all honesty, while I would like to have that level of modularity, I don't really need that much modularity . I also don't have full trust in the platform either. I might own one someday though.

    While the AR is not perfect, and is not the king of modularity, it still does so many things right, and at a better price point. That is why I don't see it going anywhere for a long time, and it will continue to be my choice.

    Anyway, that is just my .02



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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    With my AR I simply switch barrels. Ammo choices leave the optic poa unchanged.
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  3. #3
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    I "get" the modularity concept; but I find it hard accept in practicality. Yep I could have just one lower and build, rebuild, etc as the need arises (think the old Stoner System); but in the real world it seems kinda silly, or at least limiting to me, as in WHY? Whenever I think, I'll just get a different upper, I always end up with a new lower to go with it. Its not like Im gonna carry every bit and piece with me to assemble the perfect weapon for one particular need, then switch to another configuration for the next corner in a room or long shot. Ultimately you have the rifle that you have when its time to go to guns and hopefully you brought the right one.

    You wont be modifying it on the run, so why not have fully assembled guns in the vault and choose as needed. Yes its a bit more expensive; but its also more complete weapons instead of parts. Back in the 80s (maybe earlier), HK sold a pistol that could be switched between 22LR, 25acp, 32acp, and 380. It seemed like a great idea, especially since I was heavy into the survivalist thinking and the ability to scrounge four different types of ammo seemed like a fantastic idea. In the end I shot it once in 22LR, a couple times in 380 and never in the others.

    Yeah being able to switch is a good thing but I just have trouble grasping the need.

  4. #4
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    The advantage to shooter modularity to me is not so much switching calibers on the same gun as being able to as I want to change gun as I please. If I decide I want a short barrel I simply change the barrel without the services of a gunsmith. Literally every part I can change out for repair or just because I want something else. Someone I knew when working as a contractor in Iraq would take a CAR upper with him and once in Iraq would pick up a M16 lower for it there. This is really one of the most attractive aspects of the AR/M16 platform is the interchangeability of parts.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    I'd rather have multiple guns for different purposes, and leave them alone once they're complete. That way if something breaks, you aren't obliged to deal with it immediately. One lower is still a single point of failure vs having two rifles.

    Think of them as readily serviced, rather than easy to swap around.
    Making the bad man go away since 1982.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDELWEISS View Post
    Yeah being able to switch is a good thing but I just have trouble grasping the need.
    What's need got to do with it?

    The XO likes 556. I'm a .30 bigot.
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  7. #7
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    Every time I tell myself I was going to build a spare upper, for a different purpose/reason/use, I end up building the lower to go with it. I don't have a single "spare" upper.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddle View Post
    What's need got to do with it?

    The XO likes 556. I'm a .30 bigot.
    Hahahaha If you have issues with "need", then lets talk about WHY. Your example fuels my position. As you describe it your wife liking 556 and you liking 30; how would ONE receiver help? Even assuming you mean 300Blk, then one lower means one gun? Wouldn't two guns better serve you?

    When I was into Contenders/Encores I still found myself with multiple frames. I ended up with a frame for each barrel I liked and eventually sold the barrels I didn't use enough to bother adding another frame.

    In my vault there are maybe 10 "xtra" lowers (waiting to be built); but no spare completed uppers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    For organizations (police/mil) modularity is a bigger thing, IMHO. With the ability to "fit" the weapon to various body-types/sizes without specialty work being done. Additionally having a platform that can be adapted/tailored to various roles (entry rifle, designated marksman rifle, et al.) you reduce hardware costs as well as training budgets. I suppose this logic could also apply (somewhat) to a family or other small group, but with lesser return on investment.
    For regular folks, I see the benefits more as the ability to (economically) try new things and build the rifle you want even if you don't have all the money at he beginning. A $1000 rifle set up with $1000 in training and ammo will yield far better results that a $2000 rifle in the hands of a novice. The shooter can upgrade the $1000 gun when he starts being able to outshoot his current rig.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Never really bought into the modularity thing. It is an interesting concept, but one I find not really practical. I have a RA XCR that was one of the first to approach the modular idea in a reasonably realistic fashion. Never even considered buying another kit to swap out barrels/calibers. I have different rifles for different things, and while I could simply swap out an upper onto a single lower, there would be compromises I really wouldn't want to deal with. For example, I wouldn't want a 2lb trigger on a defensive rifle, and I wouldn't want a 5lb or greater trigger on a varmint/ marksman rifle. Stocks are another thing. I just don't want to compromise.

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