A customer wrote in to us asking about the compatibility between carbine-length gas systems, stocks and buffers wondering whether he could mix and match some with full or rifle-length parts. Our engineer Dave responded:
Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: In days long past, the AR basically came in 2 flavors: “rifle” and “carbine.” The rifle had a 20” barrel with a long gas tube and a long buttstock and buffer. The carbine had a 12.5” or shorter barrel with a short gas tube and a shorter buffer and buttstock. Hence, the gas systems and buffers took on the names “rifle” and “carbine.” There’s actually no problem mixing the two up. It just didn’t happen much at the time.
The goal of the carbine buffer and spring was as a means of shortening up the stock, and the shorter gas system was likewise just a means of making a shorter barrel work. A rifle upper can be used on a carbine lower or vice versa with no problems at all. For years, the 16” barrels used t...
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