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Smyth Busters: Is the AR-15’s Dust Cover Really Necessary?

Prepare yourself for the engaging exploration of a topic stirring up passionate debate in the esteemed world of firearms: the necessity of a dust cover on an AR-15. In this edition of ‘Smyth Busters’, brought to you by Brownells, Inc., we leave no stone unturned in scrutinizing the value and function of this frequently misunderstood component of the iconic firearm.

Be prepared to uncover insightful perspectives and hard facts as this thought-provoking debate unfolds. Whether you’re a seasoned firearm enthusiast or a novice seeking to learn more about the subject, this detailed examination is certain to let you draw informed conclusions about the need for an AR-15’s dust cover. With a thorough analysis grounded in years of experience and research, we aim to help you make confident choices about your weaponry.

Smyth Busters: Is the AR-15s Dust Cover Really Necessary?

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Table of Contents

Overview of the Dust Cover

Main function of the dust cover

the dust cover, as the name implies, is designed to shield the inner parts of the gun, specifically the bolt carrier group and chamber area, from dust and other elements when the gun is not in action. Its primary role is to keep away not just dust, but all kind of debris that could interfere with the proper functioning of the rifle.

Historical perspective of the dust cover

Delving into the history of the dust cover reveals its long-standing presence, stemming from the original AR-10 rifle with the top charging handle. It was designed to serve a fundamental purpose – to preserve the cleanliness of the internal components of the rifle when not in use, a feature that continues to be relevant to date.

Brief comparison with other rifle components

While each rifle component plays its unique role, the dust cover is often misunderstood or undervalued. Unlike a barrel or trigger, whose functions are overt, the dust cover can seem unnecessary until you’re in circumstances where external elements could compromise the operation of your firearm. The dust cover’s function can be likened to that of insurance, offering protection that may seem superfluous until needed.

New Concept: Slick Slide AR

Definition and description of slick slide AR

The slick slide AR is a version of the AR rifle that lacks a dust cover (and sometimes a forward assist). It has a simplistic design that presents a “clean” appearance (hence ‘slick slide’) and is ideal for environments or circumstances where exposure to damaging elements is minimal.

Increase in popularity and reasons behind it

The slick slide AR concept has gained traction recently, largely due to aesthetic reasons and the notion that dust covers might be unnecessary for shooters who operate in generally clean environments, or those who prioritize a streamlined look for their firearm.

Pros and cons of slick slide AR

While slick slide ARs score in terms of looks and perhaps lightness, they lag behind when it comes to protection. Despite the modern tendency to focus on aesthetics, the potential drawback that debris could compromise the reliability of the rifle cannot be dismissed.

Viewer’s Argument: Dust Cover Not Vital

Review of viewer’s claims

There’s a viewpoint in the firearm community suggesting that a dust cover is obsolete. The argument often centres around the idea that most environments in which average shooters use their firearms do not not necessitate a dust cover.

Lack of justification or reasons given

However, these arguments often lack substantiated reasoning. Statements claiming the dust cover’s redundancy are frequently thrown around, but they are rarely backed with concrete evidence or thorough investigation.

Discussion on internet arguments

As with many internet discussions, people often voice their opinions on forums without much justification. It’s crucial to note that everyone has a unique perspective that stems from personal experiences. Therefore, these must be examined critically and not simply adopted blindly.

Click to view the Smyth Busters: Is the AR-15s Dust Cover Really Necessary?.

Arguments for the Dust Cover

Protection from dust and debris

One cannot deny the primary benefit of the dust cover: the protection it provides from the entry of harmful elements. Whether you use your gun in a rainy woodland, a windy desert, or simply keep it in a drawer, the dust cover serves to maintain the cleanliness of your AR’s internals.

Usefulness in harsh environments

A dust cover’s necessity becomes apparent in harsh conditions like muddy or sandy environments, which can compromise the operational reliability of your firearm.

Reference to original AR-10 and its dust cover design

Returning to the roots of the original AR-10 and its dust cover design, it’s clear that its designers considered this protective feature essential. They reasoned this cover as vital for any situation that could risk the cleanliness and functionality of the gun.

Next Generation Battle Rifle

Key features of the next generation battle rifle

The next generation battle rifles, embodying the culmination of advancements in firearm technology, retain critical features such as the dust cover alongside additions like the forward assist.

Inclusion of the dust cover and forward assist

The inclusion of the dust cover and forward assist in contemporary battle rifles reasserts their importance in maintaining operational reliability and manual control over the firearm’s mechanisms.

Benefits of these features

Maintaining these safeguards, such as the dust cover, demonstrates their benefits in protecting from foreign elements and ensuring the longevity and reliability of the firearm.

Opposing Opinions: The Case Against Dust Covers

Arguments for not needing a dust cover

Some oppose the necessity of dust covers, arguing that most shooting conditions don’t require such a protective feature. This opinion stems from those who use their firearms primarily in controlled and clean environments where dust and debris are minimal.

How modern environments might not necessitate a dust cover

These detractors believe that the dust cover is a holdover from a time when firearms were used in more rugged conditions compared to today’s average use.

Comparison with other guns that lack dust cover

Those opposing the need for dust covers often point out many other gun types that function perfectly well without one, further questioning its essentialness.

Case Study: Cleaning a Shotgun After a Dove Season

Personal experience of cleaning a shotgun

Drawing from personal experiences, one would notice that a shotgun used thoroughly during a dove season would accumulate all manner of chaff and bugs, among other debris.

Presence of chaff and bugs in the shotgun

These foreign particles found during cleaning highlight the potential harm external elements could pose to the firearm’s operation.

Hypothetical benefits of having a dust cover in this scenario

A dust cover in such circumstances would be advantageous, preventing the plethora of debris from entering the firearm in the first place, thus saving cleaning effort and potential internal damage.

Conclusion: Slick Slide or Dust Cover?

The importance of maintainability

When deciding between a slick slide AR and a standard AR with a dust cover, you should prioritize maintainability and consider your typical operating environment.

Purpose of a dust cover beyond dust protection

Remember, the dust cover plays a broader role than just defending against dust; it protects the internal mechanisms from a variety of debris that could affect your firearm’s performance.

Why a dust cover is essential on a combat rifle

Ensuring the reliability of your firearm is paramount, especially in the context of a combat rifle. Thus, having a dust cover is vital, as it serves as an insurance against elements that could compromise your weapon’s operation.

Need for Continuous Discussions and Debates

Discussion on differing viewpoints

Diverse viewpoints are inevitable in any community, including that of firearms. It is through these discussions that perceptions are challenged and insights gained.

Importance of active discussions in firearm community

Active debates foster a culture of continuous learning and mutual growth in the firearm community. They encourage fact-checking, research, and critical thinking, which ultimately leads to more informed decisions on the range orfield.

Encouragement for readers to share their opinions

Therefore, it’s important for you to participate in these discussions. You’re encouraged to share your opinions, experiences, and knowledge to contribute to the collective wisdom of the community.


Reiteration of the importance of dust covers

In summary, the value of dust covers on AR-type rifles remains sound. They serve to shield critical components from external elements, thus playing a huge role in the optimal performance of the firearm.

Significance of personal preference in gun customization

However, it’s equally critical to recognize the role of personal preferences and situations in gun customization. What works in one scenario may not necessarily be the best choice in another. Each firearm user should, therefore, make educated decisions based on their own needs and circumstances.

Final verdict on the myth

Based on the presented arguments and considerations, the notion of dust covers being obsolete seems misguided. Thus, the myth surrounding the redundancy of dust covers is, in fact, busted.

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