Carbine Basics: How should I set my gun up?

It isn't pretty, but it works

Here are our suggestions for a basic carbine.


  1. Base rifle:  Quality AR15 with either a carbine or mid length gas system.  We consider Daniel Defense, Colt, Windham Weaponry and BCM top of the line manufactures. For a less expensive options, we have have good luck with JT Distributing.  We have seen piston guns break down as much or more then DI guns.
  2. Iron sights: Larue LT-103 with CSAT rear sight.  We recommend the CSAT rear sight from XS.  It has a small aperture with a notch located above to allow the shooter to engage long and short range targets from the same sight without changing the sight or using an offset aiming point.
  3. Optic:  Aimpoint T1 in Larue mount. The T1 is small and light, the Larue mount repeats zero well. While the T1 dot is large for some (4MOA) I have found it acceptable for use out to 200 yards. If you are new to red dot sights, the small tube of the T1 might take some getting used to, if that is the case, this is a great option. I use a red dot because I am unable to close my dominant eye while keeping my other eye open, the red dot enable me to shoot weak shoulder.
  4. Rail:  Entirely unnecessary, but if you want one for the cool factor,  Larue and Daniel Defense make great rails.
  5. Sling:  VTAC, hands down best product out there.  For carbine get the unpadded version. We don’t use the keepers on ours because it tends to get in the way.  The Vickers sling is a great piece of kit and I used one for a few years, but the VTAC is a superior product for less money.  It is long enough for a shotgun as well and cheap enough to keep a few lying around.
  6. Lubrication:  Clenzoil Field and Range  or Militec or CLP.  I prefer Clenzoil and use it as an all in one product for all my firearms.  It is fantastic stuff and a solid value for the money.
Clenzoil, our favorite all in one cleaner
Vertical grips: I no longer use one. All of these seemed like a good idea at the time.

This is my zero target from my rifle with a T1 using PMC 55 grain 223.  At the top are the two 100 yard groups, the one on the left is after I adjusted the sight.  The upper is a Colt SOCOM profile with DD Omega rail.  All shots unsupported prone.  The upper has at least 10,000 legit rounds through it.  the dot subtends 8 inches at 200 yards, so it gets interesting.  POA was top of the dot on the bottom edge of the painted line.  Both groups are 2.5 moa.

This was from my first time out with the CSAT rear.  These were mostly single shots from entry ready. All times were 1.10-1.20, this is the same with my T1.  Split times on 5 shot strings were .67s, my splits in a T1 are .68.  The dot is 2.5″ at 7 yards.