In 2020, a study found that around 32% of Americans personally own a gun. Gun ownership hasn’t really changed since 2007, so we can expect numbers to be similar today.
It’s possible that you’ve had a newfound interest in guns, or you already used and owned them before. Regardless, it can be highly rewarding to build an AR, as it’ll be truly something unique that you can be proud of.
If you’d like to embark on such a DIY project, then keep reading. Here are the AR-15 parts you need to know about.
First off, is it even legal to build your own AR-15?
The answer is yes, as it’s 100% legal to build most guns at home. However, they must be for personal use, and if you’re making a short-barreled rifle, you’ll need to fill out special paperwork. But this won’t be necessary for an AR-15.
Also, if you’re using an 80% lower receiver, you usually won’t need to fill out paperwork and get a background check. However, there are some states where you need to (such as California), so it’s always a good idea to read up on the law before you start buying parts and assembling an AR-15.
On that note, you won’t need to give your AR-15 a serial number if you’re using an 80% lower receiver. But some states require that you get a serial number for all homemade firearms, so again, you’ll need to do some reading up to make sure.
Before you start ordering parts, you should make sure you have the proper equipment first. While you can technically use standard hammers and wrenches to build your firearm, it’s not recommended since you can damage its parts.
Some tools and equipment you should have include:
- Bench vise
- Torque wrench of 30-150 lbs
- Armorer’s wrench
- Hex wrench set
- Complete punch set
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Torx bit set and handle
- Non-marring brass/nylon hammer
If you’ve got extra equipment, then great! Those will come in handy when putting together the various parts of your gun.
Now we’ll give you a thorough AR-15 parts guide.
Lower Parts Kit
You might feel like buying an AR-15 parts kit is cheating, but trust us, it’ll make your life much easier. Not only will it come with a lower receiver, but it’ll have all the springs, pins, detents, and necessary hardware to put it together.
In fact, there are even kits that come with triggers if you want to make your life even easier. But that’s up to you, of course.
This brings us to the next part you need to buy: the trigger. If you haven’t chosen a kit that includes a trigger, then put a good amount of your budget here.
As you may already know, your trigger will highly affect your accuracy. So it’s worth it to spend a little more here, as it’ll make or break your accuracy when shooting.
Another kit that’s worth your money is a buffer kit. This will include not only the buffer, but also the tube, retainer, and retainer spring.
Spending extra money here can be worth it too, since the buffer system is responsible for recoil management and cycling.
The stock is what rests on your shoulder when shooting. Needless to say, you want to make sure it’s a comfortable one; otherwise, you won’t have a fun time. You’ll also want to choose one that looks nice, as it’ll be a very noticeable part of your firearm.
Do note that if you want a collapsible stock, it’ll have more parts. But the good news is, you can either buy a complete kit or pick and choose components to your liking.
The same advice for choosing your stock goes for picking out your pistol grip. You’ll want to get one that not only looks nice, but feels comfortable in your hand.
Grips will come with their own lock washer and screw so you can assemble your firearm properly.
Assembled vs Stripped vs Complete Upper
To save some time, you can purchase a complete upper. This includes everything, such as the hand guard, barrel, gas tube and block, bolt carrier group, etc. It takes a lot of work out, but your AR-15 won’t be as customized.
A stripped upper is the complete opposite; all you get is the upper. It can be daunting to put together all the individual parts yourself, but it can be a fun challenge where you can be proud of the results.
In between is an assembled upper. You’ll get the forward assist and dust/ejection port cover.
You might’ve heard from others that building your own upper is difficult and can make your gun unsafe. But so long as you use quality products like Magpul AR-15 parts, it shouldn’t be an impossible and hazardous job.
So for a rewarding experience, we’d suggest getting a stripped or assembled upper. To be safe, you can always get a No-Go or headspace gauge, which will make things easier.
Get These AR-15 Parts
With the right AR-15 parts, you’ll be able to build a firearm that’s really your own. Not only will it be fun, but it’ll also be a challenge. As a result, every time you look at your AR-15, you’ll feel proud of what you’ve achieved.
So whether you’re a new or old gun user, there’s no doubt that knowing how to build an AR-15 will be worth it. You’ll have a life skill that not many people can say they have!
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