RailScales® est. 2014

Misfires and More: When Is it Time to Replace AR 15 Parts?

Misfires and More: When Is it Time to Replace AR 15 Parts?

June 20, 2017

Before ever stepping foot in a lane at a firing range, new firearm owners always start at the same place: the components, care, and safety precautions of that firearm—and safety precautions for shooting and firearm ownership as a whole, of course. Every firearm owner should recognize that, while their gun is a finely crafted piece of engineering, it is also a powerful and potentially dangerous tool and needs to be treated accordingly. Of course, gun safety rules like “always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use it” and “ always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction,” may seem like common sense rules to most of us—but for safety’s sake, those reminders never hurt. However, for all the good gun safety practices many of us stick to, misfires do still happen. In order to keep misfires from happening from a mechanical standpoint, there are a few things you can do to keep your AR 15 in top condition.

Clean Regularly

Any experienced AR owner probably took one look at this first heading and thought, “Yeah, no kidding.” But seriously folks, it bears repeating. Clean your firearms regularly. It’s such a basic step, but we know how it goes; it can be easy to tell yourself you’ll do it later and skip over when you’re running late and need to get to another task. But don’t forget to come back to your gun and get to that cleaning! According to some estimates, failure to clean a firearm regularly may account for 80 to 90 percent of all mechanical function problems! With rates that high, and considering this is something well within your control, keeping your firearm clean, lubricated, and well-maintained should be a top priority to help avoid misfires and malfunctions. As an added level of safety precaution, regular and thorough cleaning will ensure you’re taking the time to check over every part of your AR. If you’re checking over all parts regularly, you’re more likely to catch any potential problems before they become malfunctions, so when you’re installing your new KeyMod handstop, take a minute to inspect the rest of your AR to better avoid misfires and mishaps.

Keep Everything In Good Repair

While regular and meticulous cleaning will go miles toward keeping your AR in good repair, wear does happen and, over time, can not only affect your firearm’s accuracy, it can lead to dangerous misfires. There are a few components more likely to cause issues, so here’s what to keep a close eye on:

  • Gas Key - Your gas key should be tight. Seriously tight. No wiggle or movement tight. If you can grab your gas key and push or pull and it moves, even a little bit, you’re probably heading for a malfunction. One way to help is to ensure your gas key is staked, but if your gas key won’t tighten to the point of immobility, it may be time to replace it.
  • Extractor - There should be a small rubber ring around the spring of your extractor. If there isn’t, your extractor could give you problems. Fortunately, these are usually pretty inexpensive to replace.



  • Hammer and Trigger Springs - These springs are notoriously easy to install incorrectly after a cleaning. For some of us, we need to pull up a picture or trust to a mnemonic to remember how to get the springs in there and be sure they’re installed correctly. Whatever it takes, be sure you’ve got your springs in there correctly and the tensile strength is holding up, or you could be looking at imminent issues.
  • Chambering - The AR 15 is a great firearm for those who want to customize a great majority of the components (or even just one or two things). However, with some changes, you’ll need to ensure you’re using compatible parts to make the change. For example, it’s possible to switch an AR from chambering .223 rounds to 5.56 rounds. However, you’ll want to be sure everything is compatible, down to the barrel rifling and the feed ramps. Before you make the change, double check that every part is actually made for the caliber you want and will work with your AR, as even the best AR accessories and parts may not match well enough.

Again, and we can’t emphasize this enough: the first step to keep your AR in good repair and avoid misfires is to clean and maintain it regularly, especially if you fire it frequently. Shop Rail Scales online today for our specialized KeyMod hand stop options and more!