Ok folks, so I took the plunge today and bought my first AR from my local LE dealer as they give me LE/Military pricing on everything for being a fireman.
I first went to the Gun show this morning, and it was outrageous. All the vendors had bad attitudes, were extremely rude, and acted as if you were doing them a favor when they finally got around to helping you. I lost count of how many times today I heard, "well, wait til you see the price go up after the elections".
Stripped lowers, if you found any, were selling for $180. Complete lowers from LMT for $675. And all the rifles were way overpriced. Average price on a Colt 6920 was $1,500, some as high as $1,799.00.
PMAGS were $25.00 EACH, or 5 for a $100.
So I left there and went to my local LE dealer. I was set on a Bushmaster LE, or a S&W M&P 15A. The bushmaster would have cost me $959 OTD, and the S&W $969 OTD. Then my salesman showed me 1 of 3 S&W M&P 15T's he had left. This rifle was $1,169.00 + tax and background for a total of $1,256.00 OTD.
I went with the S&W 15T (5.56) for the following reasons. I feel it was the most bang for my buck and the rifle comes out of the box set up exactly how I wanted my rifle and with a lifetime warranty from a reputable manufacturer. The rifle comes with Troy Rails, and Troy front and rear sights. For me the the rifle is G2G as is for now, all it would need is an ergo grip, sling, and an EOTECH/Aimpoint.
When I factored in the cost of going with the basic S&W or Bushmaster and upgrading it as the 15T already came I would spend more than what the S&W cost me up front.
I considered for a moment going with LMT, but then the LMT would not have been configured as the Smith.
Some of the fanboys might argue no 1:7 twist and so on, but at the end of the day, I'm not in Afghanistan with this being my duty rifle, nor am I LE using it for SWAT or on duty. I'm a regular Joe who will use it to practice with, take some tactical classes, and protect my home. And for those uses I feel it's more than adequate. If I get the chance I will build a higher end rifle in the future but for right now with everyone being out of stock on uppers and lowers, or over charging for what is in stock this was the best fit for me. One of my Army buddies was with me and he got the same rifle also. There was one left and someone was buying it as we were leaving.
Thanks to all of those who have helped with info and pm's, here's a pic from our outdated camera. Enjoy.