I've thought, for no more than I know, that the length might be the sweet spot. Guess it just bothers me that I can't have one without the ATF BS.
Besides the ATF restrictions, would the 14.5" be a popular choice for many?
I've got a couple of 14.5". Both have pinned/welded compensators to make them legally 16". I like the length.
I also have four 16" barreled uppers. The difference is not much, but I do appreciate the slightly shorter 14.5".
I've got a 14.5 but it has a permanently attached AK brake, the long one, plus it's an H-bar, so I don't really get the advantage of reduced length or weight.
Just thread protectors on a couple of 16's & do enjoy the decreased OAL.
Also have gone to a thread protector only on my 20" V Match w/scope & can't recall loosing sight pictures since I removed the cage. If I do go back to a muzzle device on this one, it will be a full blown brake to assure getting to see all impacts.
So many variations, I seem to ponder on them a lot.