Murdoc’s Poodle Shooter – DPMS Panther AP4 Carbine

Murdoc’s reward to himself for the recent publication of a feature article in Shooting Sports Retailer magazine:

It’s the DPMS Panther AP4 Carbine. Not pictured is the A2-style carry handle and rear sight.

Next reward will be forearm rails, possibly followed by a 6.8 SPC upper receiver for shooting larger dogs. I shot the 6.8 for the first time last week at the SHOT Show, and it seems to be a true “middle ground” round, shooting a lot like a 5.56 but hitting a bit like a 7.62. Any recommendations on rails?

Incidentally, my article in Shooting Sports Retailer is called “No Stranger to Danger” and covers private military and security contractors. As SSR is a trade magazine for independent retailers, I also have a few basic tips for selling to this growing market. The magazine is not available in stores, and unfortunately they do not re-publish articles online, so it might be tough to check it out. If you’re in the shooting trade, though, I recommend you take a look at the magazine if you get a chance. Lots of good stuff in every issue, particularly for store operators. I also write a regular column called “Battleground” in the mag which deals with tactical news and products, which SSR is making a concerted push into.

I will have more on the private military contractor issue in the near future here on MO.

In the meantime, I’m going to check out my new AR. Which way to the poodles?


  1. These are the ones I’ve just ordered along with the Eotech 511 sight. Now I’ve just got to decide on a light, I’m leaning toward Pentagon Lights.

  2. Thank God someone is thining down them poodle herds. I hope you never have to use that thing to repell boarders. And let’s all hope that the rottweilers don’t act up we will all be screwed.

  3. Good starter rifle. Once you master this toy and get tired of shooting poodles, you can graduate to a real rifle like an M1A1, M1 Garand, or a DSARMS FAL.

  4. Why go halfway, if you are going to a 6.x upper, go Grendel and get more projectile options (than 5.56 or 6.8), better range (than 5.56, 6.8, and maybe 7.62 NATO), same ammo capacity as the 6.8, a better track record (than the 6.8, and possibly the 5.56), and less recoil than the 7.62×51 battle rifles. Grendel:Phenominal Battle Rifle Power, itty bitty AR package (okay, I am exagerating a little, but it sounded good in my head)

  5. Rail choice is going to depend largely on whether or not you want to free-float it. For most shooting, rails like the ones Brass linked to above will do the trick. If you’re an accuracy hound and simply must have free float, but don’t want to remove the d-ring, the ARMS SIR system can do that. Not sure if you have to have a ‘smith remove the front sight to put them on and replace it once they’re on there, but I don’t think so. Finally, you can go whole hog and remove the front sight and d-ring, then put on a free-float, and either replace the gas block with a railed one and a bolt on sight (which will allow you to swap handguards easier) or put the fixed front sight back on. If you go this route, LaRue’s system is well recomended.

  6. Brass: I might want free float. Not sure. Will have to think about it and decide if it’s really worth it. Thanks for the tip. Jim: It’s not so much that I want to kill poodles. I just don’t know what else to do with it. Bram: Yeah, I knew this would get a lot of ‘toy’ comments. Not sure what my next major purchase would be, but the M1A is on the short list right now. Part of my problem is that I have very little real justification for assembling an arsenal. They’re fun to shoot and all, but the good stuff is so expensive. Coolhand77: I figured someone would bring up the Grendel, and I should have known it would be you. While almost everyone had 6.8 stuff at the SHOT Show, I don’t know that I saw any Grendel stuff at all this year. What I should do is get a Grendel upper AND a 6.8 upper and have an Official Murdoc Comparison Test. HL: I guess I’d like free float, but I’m not accurate enough in the first place to really NEED one. So, as I said above, I’ll have to see. I’ve also thought about the railed gas block solution, and I agree that LaRue looks good. Spent some time at their booth at the show. Part of what I figure to do with this weapon is to try out different toys (which is why I decided to get the flattop), so the removable front sight would be nice. Thanks for the tips and info, guys. Keep it coming. Murdoc’s never owned an AR before.

  7. A Garand is probably a cheaper alternative to an M1A1. Either private party used, through the CMP, or new from Springfield, they are a lot cheaper and usually shoot as well.

  8. MO, ‘Part of my problem is that I have very little real justification for assembling an arsenal.’ Once word, cousin: zombies. I just added a Mossberg Mariner (the 500/Persuader with the marinecote) to my tools I’ll need in the Afterworld. I’ll eventually lay hands on a 7.62 rifle and a S&W .44 (you know, for BIG zombies), and then I’ll breathe a little easier. Oh, and never overlook the machete. You…DO have a machete, nu?

  9. If you want fun to shoot at absolutely minimum cost, it’s hard to beat a Soviet surplus Mosin-Nagant rifle, either the M38 carbine, M44 carbine w/bayonet, or M91/30. $100 or less and you can have any of those. Surplus ammo is cheap (although corrosive). Just invest in a slip-on buttpad-the recoil is bruising after a while. The fireball from the carbines is great fun as it nears twilight. A Yugo SKS is more expensive ($200 or so), fun to shoot and semi-auto, plus a lot less punishing.