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By Jordan McDowell
As many people may not know, AR stands for Armalite rifle and not assault rifle or automatic rifle. The AR was first developed in the late 1950s as a military rifle, and has made significant advancements since then. While there are different AR guns, the most popular is the AR-15. The AR is a fantastic piece of machinery, but regardless of your shooting goals, there are some add-ons and kits that can benefit your AR and your wallet, and these added essentials are still legal!
How the rifle feels in your hands is vital because it will impact the level of comfort when you’re shooting. Your primary focus should be on the target and not your hands. Therefore, having proper grips is number one on your add-on list.
AR grips are a must-have and one of the most common upgrades, especially for the AR-15. There are many things to consider when purchasing grips.
● The feel – The feel could be smooth or rigid, depending on your preference.
● The material – The material could be rubber or polymer.
● The grip model – This aspect could include being angled or having vertical foregrips or pistol grips.
The proper grips will also reduce added stress on your wrists, allowing more relaxation while shooting.
The charging handle is another must-have add-on mostly because it makes the gun functional for shooting. There are also other essential functions of the charging handle.
● Ejecting unfired rounds and emptied shells
● Checks for any obstructions and rounds
● Clears any blockages and releases bolts that have rear-locked
Since some people are right or left-handed, ambidextrous charging handles allow the shooter to charge from either side. Also, some of the higher-level ambidextrous charging handles are designed to increase the surface area and provide maximum grip.
Adding optics to your AR is essential for optimum accuracy when shooting. Seeing your target clearly and precisely allows for a bullseye every time, but there are different optics available, and choosing the right one can make a huge difference in your end game.
● Scopes – Scopes allow your targets to be closer to you, making shooting much more manageable.
● Red dot sights – Red dot sites are more common than holographic and come in two styles:
○ Heads-up – These weigh less than the tube body and can be mounted farther down the rifle, resulting in less bulk.
○ Tube-body – The tube-body is different because it is more robust and sturdier than the heads-up style.
● Holographic sights – These sights utilize a laser and are smaller and lighter than red dot sights, but they also have a heads-up style which has advantages, such as:
○ Larger field of view
○ Less sight obstruction
● Hybrid sights – The hybrid sights contain both refractive and diffractive surfaces to manipulate light.
● This type of optic allows shooters to switch between magnified and non-magnified views quickly.
Upgrading with muzzle devices such as muzzle brakes and muzzle compensators can make a huge difference when shooting. These devices help in reducing recoil and maintaining vertical stability.
● Muzzle brakes – This device is essential to keep the barrel steady by drastically reducing recoil. Muzzle brakes redirect the gas out of the barrel following the bullet by pushing it through the vents on the side, which is vital to accuracy and speed.
● Muzzle compensators – The muzzle compensator is similar to the muzzle brake as it vents gas up toward the muzzle, which helps push it downward. This process allows for more vertical stability.
Handguards and Rail Systems
Handguards and rail systems provide more than just a place to grip; they also assist as ventilation points, so heat does not build up. There are different varieties of these AR add-ons.
● Free-floating handguard – This handguard is often heavier because it has to support its weight and any other added accessories.
● Drop-in handguard – The lighter-designed drop-in handguard makes contact with the barrel on both ends, allowing it to affect accuracy by transferring its minimal movement to the barrel.
● Rail systems – Rail systems allow for the mounting of other essential accessories, including lasers, flashlights, and more. This AR add-on gives an extra edge and an element of safety, especially in tactical settings.
Having stocks helps absorb any unwanted kickback from the AR. Choosing the right stock depends on your shooting goals, such as competition, home defense, or tactical shooting.
● Competition – Finding an adjustable stock is critical to allow you to choose the length of pull for the ideal height and fit for the cheek-rest area. Having a more natural and accurate feel guarantees the shooter first place in any competition.
● Home defense – A home defense rifle needs to be available to whoever needs to use it at a moment’s notice. For this reason, the stock should be ambidextrous, allowing right or left-handed individuals quick access.
● Tactical shooting – Adapting to any environment is imperative in tactical shooting, and having short and collapsible stocks bring high functionality at close range. If the need to add ammunition quickly is necessary, a stock merged with a magazine carrier is the best choice.
The above are just a few of the legal add-ons available. All add-on accessories will enhance the shooting performance while minimizing any undue stress or potential injury to the AR user.
Besides AR add-ons being available, there is also a wide range of AR build kits to choose from, and they supply everything needed for you to put together an AR from beginning to end.
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There are AR kits for all branches of the AR, including AR-15, AR-47, AR-9, and AR-10. When you put together and build your AR, you gain new knowledge about the parts and how they work together. This knowledge will save you money when the AR needs repairs because you will know how to fix what isn’t working instead of paying a gunsmith, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
Regardless, when you build an AR, you ultimately have the most control over your money because you decide how much you want to spend on each part.
Building your AR will also give you a feeling of accomplishment because you made it yourself, and you can customize it to fit your specific shooting needs.
AR kits for your AR-15
As far as the legality of building an AR-15 is concerned, yes, it is 100% legal to make your own in the United States. However, different states have varying laws and regulations regarding building or buying an AR-15. Some states, such as New York, New Jersey, and California, have certain restrictions, so check your state laws before purchasing any build kits for an AR-15.
The AR-15 usually comes with a 16″ barrel and a 5.56 NATO chamber, equivalent to a .223 Remington. There are also build kits for other AR-15 lengths, such as 7.5″ and 10.5″.
The AR-15 20” sniper rifle build kit is another outstanding choice for precision and long-range uses.
AR kits for your AR-47
The caliber for an AR-47 is typically 7.62×39 and is not as accurate as the AR-15, but still an excellent choice for home defense purposes. The magazines for an AR-47 have a distinctive curve that allows for smoother ammunition feeds.
The effective range for a fully automatic AR-47 is approximately 330 yards and for a semi-automatic AR-47 is around 440 yards.
AR kits for your AR-9
The AR-9 is a combination of an AR carbine with a pistol-caliber bullet. A short and compact style and its shorter barrel, lighter lower receiver, and lighter ammunition make the AR-9 build kit one of the best home defense gun options available.
Another benefit to the AR-9 is the extremely minimal recoil, and this gun can be built large or small depending on the owner’s needs.
AR kits for your AR-10
The AR-10 is ideal for long-range target shooting and is also effective for hunting large game like bison due to its larger bullets.
Unlike the AR-9, the AR-10 is not built for home defense due to its .308 caliber round, making it too big for home defense purposes. It would be too easy to pass through walls and other barriers.
The AR-10 build kit contains everything you need to make an accurate, reliable gun that is incredibly easy to add accessories to, and on top of that, it has minimal recoil.
Make your gun yours with AR add-ons.
Adding on to your AR can be exciting because you must decide on the parts you want to include, making it your unique creation. You can also utilize build kits that provide everything you need without picking and choosing.
Making additions can also increase your knowledge of the parts themselves, which can save you money when necessary repairs are needed.
Owning an AR and using it safely is essential, so learning all about the federal gun laws (and state/local laws) is mandatory to keep all AR purchases legal.
AR add-ons and building kits are both available and legal. A responsible gun owner will take the time to train and learn everything they need to know for everybody’s safety and well-being. Fortunately, many places offer complete instructions on carrying and transporting firearms safely and legally.
What do you think of these kits and add-ons? Have you used any of them in the past? Are there any you’re hoping to acquire? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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About Jordan McDowell
Jordan McDowell is a writer and second amendment rights advocate. As a proud advocate for responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting as well as the latest developments in state and national legislation. Check out his work at https://swordsofnorthshire.com/