The odd thing about Korea is that the South, ruled by first the armed forces and later democratizing in the name of Chae-bol/old-boy network capitalists, Japanese collaborators, and utterly, implacably hostile to communism is now one of the leading world economies, fully integrated into the East Asian/Pacific Rim second wave globalization… Meanwhile, the North, in the name of “socialist internationalist” ideology has created the most grimly totalitarian neo-Confucianist hermit kingdom, utterly inward looking and all about “Juche” or self-reliance, . a garrison state in which the state and the army appear inseparable.
A group of us transferred from Fort Knox to Fort Holabird after basic training in 1956. Most of us were draftees and were taking the Counter Intelligence Course for typists as it could be done in the 2 years we would spend in the army. I remember ‘marching’ my group to the mess hall before we found what a heaven Fort Holabird was. Though I thought we would go to Korea, most of my group went to Europe. I was very lucky to be sent to France where I spent my time at a field office in civilian clothes! I have fond memories of Fort Holabird.
It can be done for $400 but you’re not only going to be waiting for good sales you’re also going to be using a lot of basic parts like the stock grip that comes with most lower parts kits, a basic stock, probably an old style M4 handguard, etc. It would be a very no frills AR but it would work and you could always upgrade over time with little to no effort; the only tricky part to change out would the handguard since you’d have to remove the hardware that holds it in place, but that’s if you want to with a free floating one, a Magpul handguard might not require it but don’t quote me on that.