If you’re considering upgrading your AR-15 rifle, welcome to the club. The AR-15 is one of the most personalizable and customizable rifles on the market today. Not only is the rifle insanely effective and reliable, but it also offers you the ability to build one that’s 100 percent custom to your needs and wants.
As a top-of-mind rifle in our culture, the AR-15 has become something more than a gun. Wired Magazine entitled one of their articles “The AR-15 Is More Than A Gun. It’s A Gadget” to send the point home. If you’re able to overlook the slight tone toward gun phobia, the article is relatively educational on the history and current state of the AR-15.
What’s more, the VP of sales at Daniel Defense, Jay Duncan, makes the point in the Wired article that, “It’s something mechanical; it’s modular in fashion,” and that “because it’s so modular you can build the firearm the way you want it… It’s about personalization.” What that really tells us is that your AR-15 is a swathe of potential just waiting for you to customize it.
In this guide, Rail Scales will answer the looming question: should you buy or build? We will also share the nine basic components that you can upgrade on the AR-15.
As a new rifle owner, go ahead and buy your stock AR-15 rifle first. That way you can get familiar with it, as well as learn the basics of how the gun functions. What’s more, you have a lot to learn about upgrades, components, and accessories. It’s best to have a good foundation on which to upgrade as opposed to the struggle of understanding how a rifle functions, which could add a few months to a year onto your learning curve.
If you’re familiar with rifles and the AR-15 in particular, build your rifle. The more you can purchase individual components and accessories for your rifle setup, the more customized it will be, separating it from anyone else’s rifle. Not only is your AR-15 reliable and durable, but you can customize to precisely fit your needs.
One of the most important accessories you can consider upgrading is your magazine. You can never go wrong with having extra ammunition available. There are a number of manufacturers that offer larger magazines for you to choose from.
Many rifle owners forget about a sling or sling mount due to their infrequent use of their rifle. In most cases, their rifles are carried at the owner’s side in a rifle case. But what happens when you go on a hunting trip, or you’re spending an extended amount of time at the range? You need a sling and sling mount to ensure that your hands, arms, and shoulders do not tire from carrying your rifle around all day.
What’s more, the best sling and sling mount for you is the one that keeps your rifle in the perfect position for your needs. You want a setup that allows you access without causing a delay. Should the need for immediate access to your weapon arise, you do not want to fight with fatigue.
A stock, otherwise called a buttstock or a shoulder stock, is a great component to consider upgrading. Not only does it offer you more control over your rifle, but it also helps fight recoil, since the energy of the shot is transferred into your body mass instead of your arms. Some stocks are engineered to absorb some of the recoil, as well as transfer it.
You may find that your stock rifle comes with a one-size-fits-all stock, but you know that this isn’t as effective as a custom stock could be. That’s the point of upgrading your stock; to make it fit you and your needs. You will find solid stocks, collapsible stocks, and even customizable stocks online.
As simple as a charging handle may seem, it actually offers a wide variety of benefits when added to your AR-15. It performs similarly to a slide on a pistol. Here is a brief list of how a charging handle assists you:
Eject spent shell casing
Load round by hand or through a magazine
Clear jam, stoppage, double feed, stove pipe, or misfire
Verify weapon chamber is clear
Move bolt into battery
Release bolt after firing last round
You know what a trigger does on a rifle. It allows you to fire a round. What you may not know is that a stock trigger, is at best, average for performance. You want a trigger that enhances your shooting, and that means upgrading your stock trigger to fit your needs. An upgraded trigger can provide better reliability, performance, accuracy, and comfort, making your rifle more enjoyable to use.
As a type of muzzle brake, a silencer or suppressor transforms the loud “bang” of a rifle firing into a squishy noise so that it’s less noticeable and harder to identify as a round being fired. Also, the silencer and suppressor act as a muzzle brake, reducing the recoil of the gun.