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Old 07-10-2017, 04:45 PM
AlyourPal AlyourPal is offline
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Hello and greetings from Texas. I've seen plenty of these newbie intro posts just from quick scrolling, but wanted to put mine out here anyway.

A few months ago, I bought a S&W M&P Shield 9, and got my CHL (now actually an LTC in Texas). It's not the first gun I've ever bought, but close to it. By far not the first I've shot. I don't even carry it very much, but just wanted to have one in case I did. And wow, was I impressed. Shootability of a full size 9mm, but small enough to carry comfortably. I love this pistol. Got a nice Alien holster (again rarely used), then Trijicon HD Nightsights and Talon grips. I don't want to get into any trigger mods or mag mods, or anything else. It's a carry weapon and I don't want to mess with the mechanics.

Which brings me here. I like that Shield so much, I went out and got an M&P15 rifle this weekend. I've never owned an AR before and have only shot one once. This is not a defense weapon for me by any stretch, so pretty much a blank page on what I can do to it. Just want to have fun modifying and taking to the range. Not looking to fill a shopping cart with stuff week one, but something I can upgrade over time.

So I was hoping to just get some general pointers here, what have y'all's experiences been modifying your M&P15? What's the best bang for your buck mods? Is it worth saving up for a high dollar optic, or will cheaper import ones suffice? How often should I clean the AR? Does the gas tube need more frequent attention? Which ammo is best for range duty?

One other question.. I dry fired the AR once while partially disassembled (first pin out, with upper and lower pivoting on second pin). Then I read in the owner's manual that you should never do this. Did I damage something?

Other than that, just wanted to introduce myself. Happy shooting!
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:47 PM
Dad_Roman Dad_Roman is offline
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Originally Posted by AlyourPal View Post
Hello and greetings from Texas. I've seen plenty of these newbie intro posts just from quick scrolling, but wanted to put mine out here anyway.

A few months ago, I bought a S&W M&P Shield 9, and got my CHL (now actually an LTC in Texas). It's not the first gun I've ever bought, but close to it. By far not the first I've shot. I don't even carry it very much, but just wanted to have one in case I did. And wow, was I impressed. Shootability of a full size 9mm, but small enough to carry comfortably. I love this pistol. Got a nice Alien holster (again rarely used), then Trijicon HD Nightsights and Talon grips. I don't want to get into any trigger mods or mag mods, or anything else. It's a carry weapon and I don't want to mess with the mechanics.Eventually you will want to polish it up and you will be super happy that you did. Vid is on the M&P pistol sub-forum

Which brings me here. I like that Shield so much, I went out and got an M&P15 rifle this weekend. I've never owned an AR before and have only shot one once. This is not a defense weapon for me by any stretch, so pretty much a blank page on what I can do to it. Just want to have fun modifying and taking to the range. Not looking to fill a shopping cart with stuff week one, but something I can upgrade over time.

So I was hoping to just get some general pointers here, what have y'all's experiences been modifying your M&P15?Its really simple, no problems

What's the best bang for your buck mods?That is absolutely your call. I went with a SlideFire stock, front grip.

Is it worth saving up for a high dollar optic, or will cheaper import ones suffice? Again, your call completely. I run a 20 dollar reddot on mammas. It seems to put up with the FA shennanigans

How often should I clean the AR? To each his own. I clean everytime I shoot, lots of guys dont.

Does the gas tube need more frequent attention? No

Which ammo is best for range duty?Cheap 55gr unless your going for some kind of long range accuracy/precision. SGammo, TargetSports to get you started shopping

One other question.. I dry fired the AR once while partially disassembled (first pin out, with upper and lower pivoting on second pin). Then I read in the owner's manual that you should never do this. Did I damage something?No but dont do it anymore. The hammer slams into the edge of the lower when the upper is not in place. YES it will tear things up and break your toy. Dont do that. Look at it, you will see what Im talking about. I put my finger in front of the hammer when I want to pull the trigger to protect things.

Other than that, just wanted to introduce myself. Happy shooting!
Hello new dude and welcome from...well....Texas

Sounds like we went down the same road. We already had a couple of units from the M&P line so when mamma said she wanted an AR and I said what kind? she said well...we like the M&P line so lets stick with it. Very pleased with the rifle.

Last edited by Dad_Roman; 07-10-2017 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:55 PM
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:55 PM
hugger-4641 hugger-4641 is offline
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Welcome to our addiction!

Others will jump in soon, but here's my 2C on some of your questions:

Dry firing is not good, but once or twice by mistake is not likely to do any significant permanent damage.

Gas system is pretty reliable unless you drag it thru mud, sand, etc., so no special attention other than periodic cleaning.
Cleaning is a personal preference. I would disassemble and clean the rifle good before the first shot is fired. After that, it depends on how you treat it and how many rounds you fire. If this is just going to be a range gun, then clean it after every range trip. Many folks only clean after several hundred rounds. At the very least, apply some CLP and a bore snake after each trip.

Ammo and optics are where you probably want to sink most of your money.

Optics are more a question of what you want to do with the gun. Are you trying to be a Seal Team Sniper and crack heads at 500yds+? Do you want quick target acquisition and sub MOA out to 200yds? Night vision? The possibilities are too endless to answer without knowing what you want. I would shoot the iron sights that came on your rifle until you get an idea what you want.

Ammo is another personal preference. The cheapest thing on the store shelves right now is Tullammo 55gr fmj. It works well for range use out to 200yds or so, but don't expect tight groups past that distance and don't expect good performance on a live target like a coyote or other varmint. If you want tight groups and/or good stopping power, buy good ammo designed for what you want. If you are willing to buy in bulk, there are many options for good prices thru online sites like surplusammo.com, gunbroker, and many others. There's a sticky thread in this forum that covers some of these.


You didn't say which M&P 15 you bought, but assuming it is probably the Sport II, the first mod most people will make to the Sport II is the hand guard. This can be for many different reasons and there are many options to suit a purpose. I would do a search here and read more about this before heading in any direction. If all you need is a place to attach more toys, then a drop in with quad rails will probably be the most economical choice.

You came to the right place to ask questions, keep asking and enjoy the ride!
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:20 PM
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Dry firing is not good, but once or twice by mistake is not likely to do any significant permanent damage.
Hmmm, guess you should let the military and top training instructors know that they are doing it wrong!

Seriously, big difference between "dry firing" and what the OP did. Dry firing with the firearm fully assembled doesn't do any harm. We did a lot of dry firing in the military before they would let us touch real ammo.
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Old 07-10-2017, 07:24 PM
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Welcome from Va.
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Old 07-10-2017, 09:48 PM
AlyourPal AlyourPal is offline
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Good stuff, thanks for the tips and welcomes. Yes it is the II and I was already thinking the quad rail would be the first step. That and a ton of ammo. Definitely right about the addiction part!
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:11 PM
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I say there's no reason to spend less than $150 on an optic since there are many high quality optics in the $150-$200 range, including models from Leupold, Nikon and Redfield. Just search online for deals, or go to natchezss.com. Beyond $200 is up to you. I'm one of the many who bought a sub-$100 optic that broke after about 200 rounds, so buy once, cry once.
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:04 PM
AlyourPal AlyourPal is offline
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Okay thanks, I'll keep that in mind for optics.

I have one more question: When the bolt is closed and the hammer has been dropped (i.e., the trigger has been dry fired), the safety selector will not go into SAFE. Is that normal for these rifles?
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:24 PM
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Normal operation. It's pretty much standard on all firearms, since the action isn't cocked.
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:31 PM
hugger-4641 hugger-4641 is offline
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Hmmm, guess you should let the military and top training instructors know that they are doing it wrong!

Seriously, big difference between "dry firing" and what the OP did. Dry firing with the firearm fully assembled doesn't do any harm. We did a lot of dry firing in the military before they would let us touch real ammo.
Good point! I did not catch the OP's comment about being partially disassembled!
Dry firing for military training purposes with an M4 is one thing, but I don't think anyone would recommend making a habit of doing it repeatedly to a Sport II! But I could be wrong.
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Old 07-11-2017, 02:46 PM
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Dry firing for military training purposes with an M4 is one thing, but I don't think anyone would recommend making a habit of doing it repeatedly to a Sport II! But I could be wrong.
No harm will come to your Sport II from dry firing... Many instructors will also recommend dry firing to work on the fundamentals.

I won't dry fire a few of my rimfires, or my S&W Model 66, but my AR's get lots of dry fire practice.
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Old 07-11-2017, 04:32 PM
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Good stuff, thanks for the tips and welcomes. Yes it is the II and I was already thinking the quad rail would be the first step. That and a ton of ammo. Definitely right about the addiction part!
Pass on the quad rail, buy ammo and master the rifle. You will then have a better idea of what upgrades you really want.
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Old 07-11-2017, 05:04 PM
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Ammo first, shoot the irons to get them zero'd. Forget the quad rail as @stwings said. If anything, buy some extra mags to have around, those are something worth buying from the jump. After you've shot her a bit, then decide on an optic based on what your shooting distances are going to be and/or how you want to use the rifle.

But for now learn how the rifle works, charging it, emptying it, safety etc. and learn how to disassemble and clean it. Those things are important to do right away.

Welcome, these rifles are a blast to shoot, but beware the ever emptying checkbook.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:32 PM
Pisgah Pisgah is offline
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Before you make any modifications to your rifle -- learn the rifle! Get comfortable with it and with every aspect of its operation and maintenance. You may well decide that you don't need or want any modifications at all.

Of all the possible modifications -- and Lord knows they are plentiful -- the one that, to me, represents the best return for the expense is trigger improvement. There are many possible alternatives for achieving this, from a simple replacement grip bolt that allows you to adjust most of the creep our of the trigger to a replacement trigger worthy of benchrest target competition, with prices ranging from $15 to over $200. Whichever route you take, you will be amazed at how much more "user friendly" a decent trigger will make your rifle.

As for optics, really fine scopes begin at around $150 (Nikons are great), but if you use your rifle mostly for plinking or casual target work you can get by with less-expensive ones and never miss the advantages a higher-priced scope can give you (mainly, durability under rough use).

Beware of adding things just for the "cool factor" that sucks so many folks in. They tend to be expensive and may in some cases actually degrade the usability of the rifle (mainly by adding weight in return for zero performance improvement).

And magazines -- get a few. Excellent-quality mags are plentiful and inexpensive, available from many sources.
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