OK, ok... no sexist comments about my being a female and wanting an AR. And I will go right ahead and admit that I really know very little, at this point, about brands, etc. I currently have a SubCompact XD 9mm from Springfield. My brother has an AR, but money is no object for him, so I don't even bother asking his advice. My dad has one (I have shot both... and I was in love with both) but he bought his used off of a former sheriff. I definitely need to take a class once I get it because if I'm not shooting with one of the guys, I have no clue how to work the thing myself. But... with the she > about to take office (still praying for a miracle, but I'm realistic, especially living in a blue state) and with my desire TO learn more about the AR and get better at using it, I want something that's decent but won't break the bank. Oh, it also doesn't hurt that Gander Mountain is having a gun sale this week to pique my interest...