The Del-Ton® Alpha 220H™: Full-Size AR-15 Advantage

The Del-Ton® Alpha 220H™: Full-Size AR-15 Advantage

We all know that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. Specifically, it’s the 16-inch barreled M4 Carbine with its collapsible stock that is actually making the AR-15 so popular. The original AR-15/M16 rifle with the 20-inch barrel in A2 (fixed carry handle) or A3 (removable carry handle) has fallen on hard times in the popularity contest.

Why? Primarily, I think it is due to three reasons. First, the transition of the U.S. military to the M4 carbine. Second, the handiness of the M4 with its shorter barrel, adjustable stock and lighter weight. Third, the “cool factor.” (The latest iterations of the M4 from various companies just look so 21st Century compared to the dated looks of the AR rifle.) But, do these reasons justify the carbine over the rifle for every use or user? I don’t think so.

The 5.56mm caliber adopted by the military for the original M16 was optimized for use from 20-inch barrels. Velocity is nominally 3200fps with the 55-grain bullet. The standard quoted muzzle velocity for a 55-grain bullet from a 16-inch M4 barrel is in the range of 2900fps. If you are shooting an M4 that has a 14-inch barrel with a permanently mounted flash hider, then the velocity loss may be greater. Clearly, a 20-inch barrel maximizes the ballistic potential of the 5.56.

If you have never fired an AR rifle, or have been using M4’s for a while, you will notice a big difference in blast and activity when shooting the rifle. The M4 has a more abrupt firing cycle. The tube that brings gas back to cycle the bolt carrier is shorter than the rifle-length tube. The gas blasting into the bolt carrier is hotter, with more unburnt carbon in it, which makes the carbine dirtier to shoot than the rifle. The rifle also feels smoother to shoot due to it having a bit more weight and less muzzle blast—the muzzle is farther from your face and most of the powder is burnt within the barrel, not outside it. When using iron sights, I can wring a bit more accuracy from the rifle due to the increased distance of the sighting plane.

So, where does the AR-15 rifle fit into the overall scheme of things? The Del-Ton Alpha 220H is the rifle I carry secured in my truck for emergency use or call outs. It is of A2 configuration with standard round military handguards. No extras are hung on it, and 20 round magazines (for compactness) fuel it. Its iron sights give me the ability to hit most targets near and far, with a bit more authority than a similarly equipped M4. The stock is fixed, guaranteeing quick action, and it contains the standard military cleaning kit—or anything else you need to stow. The Alpha 220H is a ranch/trunk do-anything gun that you won’t be afraid to bang up, and the fixed carry handle provides carry flexibility if you trek with it over a long distance.

While the M4 wins the beauty and popularity contests, there is much to commend the original AR-15 rifle, especially if you don’t need it as a room-clearing gun (although it does work for that). The Del-Ton Alpha 220H has a beautiful price tag though: $780 MSRP. When combined with the advantages over the carbine, an AR-15 rifle may better meet your needs.

Learn more at

Explore Related Topics:

15 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. I succumbed to the A4 siren’s song a couple of months ago and now I find myself changing uppers so I can use them on my older fixed stock lower. Much more stable and for me, much more accurate. Great article.

  2. Would this be considered a service rifle for high power type matches ?

  3. I have always preferred the A2 version of the M-16. It is what I used in Vietnam and it always worked for me. The shorter versions may look neater, but they are not as accurate, and the shooter will tend to fire full auto bursts instead of aiming and taking one good shot.

    1. The military did not adopt the A2 until 1983… Never used in the Vietnam war.

  4. I live in Florida and have resided in my home since1980. I was speaking to a county deputy sheriff about the confusion of this states concelled weapon laws with ot a permit. I was told It must take two physical actions to fire a concealed weapon. Unfortunatly the neigborhood I live in has been overrun with drug dealers and shootings. I am looking for a hand gun that is recomended for my two daughters to use. One is 28 the other 24. I am disabled and have two intelligent well trained Pit bulls with 10 different commands for control and defense. However after witnessing a shooting in my neighborhood @ 3:00 daytime I Find myself looking for a small caliber semiautomatic to protect myself. All the deputies here wear bullet proof vest when working in this neighborhood. I hunted alot of different types of game animals when I was younger. I feel it’s time to arm myself with a handgun. Mike Preble

    1. Bruce Andrews, I am a retired law enforcement The last 18 1/2 years as a detective. I was in special operations in Vietnam. I carried a combat custom Kimber 1911 A1 45ACP for those years and for two years after. I now carry the Ruger SR9c. I find this gun to be much more comfortable to carry. I use the Foxx holsters little fox. This gun when loaded with the new ballistic tipped bullets is very capable of any protection needs. Plus it has a 10+1 clip that is quite concealable and a 17+1 clip that has a lot of fire power. The Sr9c is capable of 3″ groups at 25′ when fired in the quick fire stance. My 23 year old daughter fires it with even better (2 1?2″ groups) she carries my old back up Walter pp 32 ACP which is another good choice for woman.
      I hope this helps

    2. try a LC380 or for more power LC9 Ruger

    3. I recently purchased the Beretta PX- 4 9 mm for myself and the Bursa 380 thunder for my wife. Both of them are excellent weapons. The Bursa works great for my wife, it does not have the heavy recoil, however it hits hard. It is small enough to slide into her purse.

  5. Thank you for that. Although they do look cool, what is gained in form, you lose in function. I am in the market for a good “rifle” that is not going to break the bank. I am an avid hunter and I carry concealed as well. I have a Mossberg JIC conveniently placed as well but nothing like that in the arsenal. Just hunting rifles. So thanks for your assessment of the Del-Ton Alpha 220H. I’ll be sure to check this one out.

    Brad O’Brien, Orlando, FL

  6. >Its iron sights give me the ability to hit most targets near and far, with a bit more authority than a similarly equipped M4.

    Dunno about "authority", especially beyond 200m. The 55g projectile shucks more than half its energy by 240m. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see what looked just like my current build project displayed here. The reason I like the 20" bbl? Sighted in at 200m, the bullet strike is essentially "point-blank" out to 250m.

  7. Unfortunately I live in the socialist state of California. Would love to purchase the rifle. It,s a shame that Obummer has refused to allow us to purchase the M-1,s that are stored in korea.

  8. Dear Mike;
    You did not say how you were disabled, reason for my question is the size and wt. of the gun important? Is concealment important? Are you in a wheelchair, etc.?

    Your first question about a weapon for your daughters, (I have two) a little older so I understand. I have had a CW permit for almost 40 years in three different states, I now live in Florida also. After carrying a Glock 33 for several years, I traded several of my older guns for a SW-340 Airlite PD .357 with CPC grips, because the Glock became too heavy for me to carry. (I found my right pants cuff was worn out on most of my pants) The SW is without a doubt the best carry gun I have ever owned (albeit expensive). Yes it is only 5 shot, I don’t expect to need more than one. I paid several dollars per round for custom SWAT loads, I only purchased 8 of them because I don’t plan to target shoot with them, they are for one purpose only, self defense, and within 15 to 30 feet with a lazier sight, 5 shots should be more than enough. It is a wonderful light weight weapon that your daughters could carry and conceal very easy.

    I would recommend looking at the Glock 33 – .357 SIG for your use – lots of stopping power, 9 shot, and I have a friend that I helped pick one out who is in a wheelchair that was easy to conceal, easy to fire (no extra safety – easier for perhaps a disability).
    Lot’s of opinions out there, but at 70+, living in FL, having had a disability (unable to walk after a broken back for several years) I felt touched by your story and questions.
    Hope additional information may have helped.
    Have a blessed day.

  9. Gimme the Nam-era triangular handguard too!

    1. The triangular handguards are left and right side specific. The advantage of the round ones is that they are the same for top and bottom. If one gets broken, you don’t have to worry about finding the correct one to replace it with.

  10. Great article and summary! Looking for the ‘right’ AR 15 has been driving me crazy. Seems the Del Ton 20″ is what I’m looking for, based on these and comments from other sites.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Get a Gravatar! Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

All comments will be reviewed by the Delta Defense team before posting. If your comment is in poor taste, or contains profanity or racial slurs, it will not be posted.