“They took a light-weight carbine and stuck 10 pounds worth of crap on it,” said the grizzled military vet. He was referring to an M4 5.56mm carbine adorned with an optical sight, laser-targeting system, white tactical light and a vertical fore-grip.

I’m not here to fight the “over-accessorizing” battle, pro or con. There are innumerable items that, when added to the AR platform, give the shooter an added advantage over their enemy. A visible/IR targeting laser comes immediately to mind, as does a white light. Both have their place. But, are they absolutes? No. Conducting informal surveys, some folks feel as if they have to accessorize a black rifle once they’ve purchased it. They feel that in order to “keep up” with their range buddies they have to spend an extra thousand dollars on top of what they already have in the gun.
Another consideration is that not every black rifle owner or shooter is some kind of “special operator.” Most are simply folks looking for a quality, self-loading duty rifle. Keeping this in mind, I put together a set of parameters for building a “Basic Black” rifle.

Lower & Upper Receivers
There are dozens of companies offering lower receivers for the AR-15 platform these days. The lower for this rifle came from C3 Defense. This receiver is machined from a solid billet for strength and this process gives it a very symmetrical, squared shape. C3 Defense builds some unique features into their lowers. There is a tension adjustment screw at the base just below the buffer tube, allowing the shooter to reduce/eliminate the “play” between the upper and lower receiver. The magazine well is flared to ease loading and they have textured the front grip where many shooters prefer to hold the rifle.

In addition to the lower receiver C3 builds upper receivers, sound suppressors, and completed firearms. All of their aluminum receivers can be had in black, OD green, natural earth (light brown) or dark earth (coyote brown).
Keeping with the Basic Black principle, I decided to forgo the currently popular flattop receiver and stick with a traditional fixed carrying handle model. The completed upper receiver for this rifle is a Sabre Defence “Mid-Length Carbine” chambered for 5.56mm.

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“They took a light-weight carbine and stuck 10 pounds worth of crap on it,”…