Choosing My Next Build

I have been thinking for sometime what my next rifle build was going to be. I built my first rifle about a year and half ago and it came out quite well. So, I have been trying to think where I wanted to buy next.  I want all my firearms to have a purpose to them not to just buy firearms to buy firearms. I am very much a purpose driven person. What I mean by that I am not going to invest in anything that doesn’t bring a value or purpose to me. If, it doesn’t do one of those two things…well…dammit I don’t need it. Plain and simple.

Before I decided about building another rifle I was thinking about purchasing a defensive shotgun for the crib. I had a Benelli M4 in mind. Then, I pondered about building a precision rifle, so I can learn how to shoot long range or for hunting. Which was all pretty heavy monetary investments on either the shotgun or rifle. At, the end of the day I came back to building another rifle.

I have want three rifle variants. One to be a full size 16 inch barrel build. That one was going to be my jack of all trades with all around versatility. Second, I wanted to build an SBR with a suppressor.

That is an expensive endeavor to build an SBR. You have to submit paperwork and payment for a Tax stamp for the barrel through the ATF. Then, for the suppression you have to submit passport photos, fingerprints, and ATF Form 4 with application fees. After all that wait for your suppressor to be approved by the ATF. That’s just chaos personified. At this point, “Fuck that!” That SBR build will probably be my last build. Last but not least I wanted to build an AR pistol. Since, the SBR route is really expensive right now I am going to go a different route. I decided on building an AR pistol next.

Building Mentality

When I am building a rifle my mindset is building a solid rifle that is versatile and shoots well. So, I want a rifle that has good build quality with solid internals. So, i’m talking about a good upper and lower, a good barrel, and muzzle brake/compensator. In the lower I want a smooth and crisp trigger with good reset and lighter pull. At the end of the day I want to be able to shoot my rifle and have fun. To run the shit out of the gun and I know that every time I pull that trigger that rifle is gonna go “Bang”. Rifles are meant to be used and enjoyed. So, I say shoot the shit out that bitch. I am not trying to have the all the Gucci parts and accessories. Or to have it look pretty on the gram for me. I want a rifle that is going to run like a beast and perform. All, that other shit isn’t  necessary in my book.

Mark 18 Dreams

Now, the question becomes, “Where do I start from here?” Start from scratch and purchase all the pieces and build it from bottom up or do I go a different route? I thought to myself and said, “Ooooo… I should do a Daniel Defense Mk18 pistol kit. So, I go price hunting.

Daniel Defense sells three versions of the Mark 18. So, you have the complete Mk18 Upper which is going to cost you $1,100 on Brownell’s website and $1,300 on Daniel Defense website. You have the Mk18 pistol kit coming in at $1,891. Finally, a complete Daniel Defense Mk18 coming in at $2,064. When I saw  those prices I was like, “Dammmmmmnnnnn….that shit is expensive!” I felt like Obi Wan when he was scream at Luke about being the One to bring balance back to the force. I had so many dreams but, so quickly dashed by the price. In the defense of Daniel Defense they are synonymous with quality within the industry. So, you are getting the premium bang for your buck. But, a little too rich for my blood. So, I had to switch gears again.

Then, I decided to build a wannabe Mark 18. What I mean by a wannabe Mark 18 that it will not have any of the clone correct Mark 18 components. No, Daniel Defense Mk18 Upper (complete with BCG and charging handle), Colt Lower receiver, mil-spec trigger, Magpul pistol grip and buttstock (CTR Stock), and Knight’s Armament M4 flip up front and rear sights to make it a Mk18 clone. So, it will just be pretender and not the real thing.  I am okay with personally. Because I can build a wannabe Mark 18 for about $1,200-1,300 dollars with everything I want in the rifle build. Versus spending just $1,300 dollars for the Mk18 Upper receiver. Not including the lower and all the other stuff I would have to buy to complete the build. At, the end of the day it’s just more cost effective.  Maybe one day I will have a clone correct Mark 18 for now I can’t ball out like that yet. My bank account ain’t setup like that. Sorry, pimpin.

Pistol Build

The Upper

With the upper I am going to purchase a Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 10.5 pistol kit with an SB3 stock. People might be thinking why PSA?

I know PSA gets a bad rap by some in industry from inconsistent build quality and being out of spec from time to time. To that I say this. I have been working at a machine gun range for about 3 years now and have dealt with various companies rifles and parts. Sometimes new rifle companies and well-established companies in the industry gives our range rifles to stress test. Company A will approach management and tell us to run the dog shit out of their rifles and let them know when the rifle malfunctions, breaks down, or dies. Sometime they want the round count included in that information. In turn the company A can use it to improve build quality.

From talking with the armorers about this who work with these companies the most and sees the failures of these rifles. They believe PSA has quality rifles and parts to offer at its price point along with longevity.

I have seen other top tier brands at the range who have withered and died quickly and PSA is like the little engine that could. Just chugging along. Choo! Choo! That’s why I’m going with PSA pistol kit (Sorry for the soliloquy but I wanted to explain why I chose PSA).

I am going to remove PSA rail and put on BCM QRF Rail, a Surefire Warcomp for my muzzle break, a Radian Ambi Charging Handle, and a Vortex Strike Eagle to round it off for the upper.

The Lower

The Lower I am going to put on is a Spike’s Tactical Calico Jack lower. I like the pirate theme of the Calico Jack lower.  In the Marines I was 2nd BN 4th Marines Golf Co. our call sign was Joker and our guidon was a Jolly Roger. So, it has a little sentimental value to me. (I know lame!) I was going to drop in a Geissele 2 Stage Trigger.  Everything else will come with the pistol kit. So, I will get the parts to complete the lower and a Magpul pistol grip to round it off. I might buy a Spike’s Tactical T3 buffer to really help smooth that felt recoil out. I haven’t made up my mind on the buffer yet.


For accessories i’m gonna be K.I.S.S. about it. K.I.S.S. stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. So, I am going to include a BCM vertical grip, Daniel Defense Rail Panels, and Streamlight Protac rifle light.


Well, ladies and gentleman that is the rundown of my AR pistol build. Now, let’s take a moment and see how this all adds up. For reference the Daniel Defense is going to range anywhere from 1,300 just for a complete upper to $2,060 for a complete rifle. Lets see how my build stacks up.

The Upper

PSA Pistol Kit $399

BCM QRF Rail $185

Radian Ambi Charging Handle $60-90 (Prices Vary from Website to Website)

Surefire War comp $130

Vortex Strike Eagle $250 (Already bought)

The Lower

Spike’s Tactical Lower $110

Spike’s T3 Buffer $40

Geissele 2 Stage Trigger $165

The Accessories

BCM Vertical Grip $25

Daniel Defense Rail Panels x3 $80

Streamlight Protac Rifle Light $ 110

*Only thing not included in the overall price will be the Vortex Optic cause it is already purchased. I am only counting things left to be purchased for the build.

Grand Total: $1,305 (I used the minimum on the Charging handle to get this price)

So, what you have just witnessed here is me building a rifle that will be a pretender Mark 18 but it is coming in at the price of an Mark 18 Upper. I’m coming in over $750 cheaper than a complete Mark 18 Rifle. So, money saved all around. I can’t be mad about that. Below, I will place links to all the websites that you can find items for this build.

Thanks for Reading

What do you think of this build? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this rant, hit that subscribe button, and tag a friend. If you have any suggestions, ideas, or comments. Please feel free to drop a comment. Be Humble. Be Savage.


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