I’m going with a 16in barrel but not sure what is a good length rail system. I have a 15 and 12in in mind. Any Input on the pros and cons on length would be great. Thanxs
Honestly it all depends on how much real estate you want to have available. Or if you want to put a grip as far forward as possible. This sort of falls in to the whole personal preference area. You might be best off visiting an FFL and handling one of each to find what’s comfortable.
@Ted You might want to consider the sight radius if you are using iron sights or BUIS. 3" doesn’t seem like much realestate but it counts. I would not recommend running optics only. Depending on your gas block position, an exposed gas tube is not recommended, either. I run mid and rifle length gas tubes to reduce wear & tear on my platforms. Carbine and pistol length gas tubes may improve cycling but at a cost to lifespan.
Backing up @Jeff-A1 on make sure the gas block/tube is covered. After that, its mostly preference.
A longer rail will let you put “stuff” closer to the muzzle. Maybe your hand, a weapon light, iron sights, handstop/foregrip, etc. Lights in particular should be as far out as possible otherwise they will cast a shadow of the barrell somewhere across your field of view.
The downside is more weight compared to a shorter rail.
My opinion is on a 16" barrel get as long a rail as you can. I’m not sure I would go all the way out on a 20" barrel, but a 16" i would.
You did not specify what cartridge you would be building your ar in. If you are thinking .223 or one of the other higher intensity cartridges such as 6.5 grendal etc. mid-length or rifle length. If you are doing your build in a cartridge like the 300 blackout look at one of the shorter systems, particularly if you are planning on running low pressure subsonics.
Agree with the opinions of our esteemed members. A carbine rail is around 7 or less inches of usable space. By the time you add a backup sight, red-dot, and maybe a light and/or laser, you run out of space quickly. I put an old school quad rail on my carbine to more easily handle the above listed items. She is a little front heavy but not a big deal to me.
I have found that a mid-length gas system is a soft-shooting option that more easily allows for accesories. I think it is a nice compromise between longevity and portability.
Brian I’m going with a FN 5.56 mid length barrel.
Everyone has been very helpful with the pros and cons. I never really gave much thought about the real estate on the rail. I don’t no if I will use much space on the rail but I guess it’s better to have to much than not enough. I’m going with the 15in M-Lok rail.