AR Build Customization: How to Create Your Own AR-15

AR Build Customization

June 12, 2023 / Comments (0)

AR Build

If you are looking for a way to customize your AR-15, you are not alone. Many gun enthusiasts enjoy building their AR-15 from scratch or upgrading their rifles with new parts and accessories.

AR-15 customization allows you to tailor your rifle to your needs, preferences, and style. You can choose from various barrels, handguards, stocks, magazines, and more options.

This article will explain some of the main aspects of AR build customization and how to do it yourself.

Understanding AR Build Customization

AR build customization involves modifying various components of an AR rifle to achieve the desired functionality, performance, and appearance.

Customization options include upgrading or replacing parts such as the upper receiver, handguard, barrel, trigger, stock, optics, and accessories.

Firearm enthusiasts can tailor their AR builds to their specific needs, preferences, and shooting goals by selecting specific components and configurations.

Benefits of AR Build Customization

Customizing your AR build offers several benefits:

  • Personalization: AR build customization allows you to create a firearm that reflects your unique style and shooting preferences.
  • Performance Optimization: By selecting high-quality components and optimizing the configuration, you can enhance the accuracy, reliability, and overall performance of your AR.
  • Ergonomics and Comfort: Customizing the stock, handguard, and grip can improve ergonomics and comfort, ensuring a better shooting experience.
  • Modular Design: The modular nature of AR rifles allows for easy customization and the ability to adapt the firearm for different shooting applications.
  • Value Retention: A well-customized AR build with quality components can retain its value and offer a higher resale value.

AR Build Customization: How to Create Your Own AR-15

These are some main aspects of AR build customization.


Barrels are a critical part of your AR build. With a custom barrel, you can decide what caliber ammo you prefer and the amount of twist.

barrel-on-handgun-threads-suppressor-white DIY-Threading-Barrels

The twist rate determines how fast the bullet spins as it leaves the barrel, which affects its stability and accuracy.

A common twist rate for AR-15 barrels is 1:9, which means the bullet makes one full rotation for every nine inches of barrel length.

However, you can also find barrels with different twist rates, such as 1:7 or 1:8, depending on the type and weight of the bullet you want to use.

Another factor to consider when choosing a barrel is the length.

The barrel's length affects the bullet's velocity and accuracy, as well as the overall weight and balance of the rifle.

The legal minimum length for a rifle barrel is 16 inches, but you can also find shorter barrels for pistol builds or SBRs (short-barreled rifles).

However, these require additional paperwork and fees from the ATF. The most common barrel lengths for AR-15s are 16, 18, and 20 inches.

Finally, you can also choose from different profiles and finishes for your barrel. The profile refers to the shape and thickness of the barrel along its length.

Some common profiles are M4, government, heavy, and pencil. The profile affects the weight and heat dissipation of the barrel.

The finish refers to the coating or treatment applied to the surface of the barrel to protect it from corrosion and wear. Some common finishes are chrome-lined, nitride, phosphate, and stainless steel.


Choosing the best-fit handguards for you is crucial to improving the function of your custom AR-15.

Handguards are the parts that cover the barrel and provide a place for you to grip and attach accessories to your rifle. There are two main types of handguards: drop-in and free-float.

Drop-in handguards are easy to install and remove without any special tools.

AR Build Customization

They consist of two pieces that snap together around the barrel and are held in place by a delta ring and a front sight post.

Drop-in handguards are usually made of plastic or polymer and have a standard shape and size. They may have some attachment points for accessories, such as Picatinny rails or M-Lok slots.

Free-float handguards are more advanced and require some tools and skills to install. They attach directly to the upper receiver or a barrel nut and do not touch the barrel.

This allows the barrel to vibrate freely without interference from the handguard, improving accuracy.

Free-float handguards are usually made of metal, such as aluminum or steel, and come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

They also have more options for attachment points for accessories, such as Picatinny rails, M-Lok slots, KeyMod slots, or QD sling mounts.


To improve the fit of your AR-15, purchase an adjustable stock.

Stocks are the parts that connect to the lower receiver and provide a place for you to rest your shoulder and cheek when shooting. Stocks can be fixed or adjustable in length.

AR Build Customization

Fixed stocks are rigid and do not move at all. They are usually made of wood or polymer and have a classic look.

Fixed stocks may be more durable and stable than adjustable ones, but they limit your ability to customize your rifle to your body size and shooting position.

Adjustable stocks are flexible and can be extended or collapsed along a buffer tube. They are usually made of polymer or metal and have a modern look.

Adjustable stocks allow you to adjust your rifle to your body size and shooting position, which improves comfort and accuracy. However, they may also be less durable and stable than fixed stocks.

80% Lower Receivers

If you want to build your own AR-15 from scratch, you will need a lower receiver.

The lower receiver is the part that houses the trigger group, magazine well, safety selector, bolt catch, and other components. It is also considered a firearm by law and requires a serial number and registration.

However, there is a way to avoid the hassle of buying a lower receiver from a licensed dealer and submitting to a background check.

You can buy an 80% lower receiver, which is a partially finished lower receiver that requires some additional machining to be completed.

An 80% lower receiver is not legally considered a firearm and does not require a serial number or registration.

To finish an 80% lower receiver, you will need some tools and skills, such as a drill press, a jig, and some drill bits.

You will need to drill out the fire control group cavity, the hammer pinhole, the trigger pinhole, and the safety selector hole.

You must also mill out the rear shelf and the trigger slot. Once you finish your 80% lower receiver, you can assemble it with the rest of the parts and enjoy your custom AR-15.


Magazines are the parts that hold and feed the ammunition into your AR-15. Magazines can vary in capacity, material, and design.

The standard capacity for an AR-15 magazine is 30 rounds, but you can also find magazines with different capacities, such as 10, 20, 40, or even 100 rounds.

However, some states have laws that limit the capacity of magazines you can own or use.

AR Build Customization

Magazines can also be made of different materials, such as steel, aluminum, or polymer. Steel magazines are durable and reliable but also heavy and prone to rust.

Aluminum magazines are lightweight and corrosion-resistant but also fragile and prone to denting. Polymer magazines are flexible, resilient, and susceptible to heat and UV damage.

Magazines can also have different designs, such as curved or straight, ribbed or smooth, windowed or solid. These features may affect the performance and aesthetics of your magazines.

For example, curved magazines may feed more reliably than straight magazines, ribbed magazines may provide more grip than smooth magazines and windowed magazines may allow you to see how many rounds are left in your magazine.

Steps to Building and Customizing an AR

Building and customizing an AR involves several key steps. These steps will help you create a reliable, functional firearm that meets your needs.

Research and Planning

Before starting your customization journey, research thoroughly to understand the options available. Consider factors such as intended use, budget, and local laws. Planning will save you time, money, and potential legal complications.

Selecting Components

Choose components that align with your customization goals. Consider factors such as quality, compatibility, and performance. Opt for reputable manufacturers and consult online resources, forums, or experts for recommendations.

Assembly and Installation

Once you have all the necessary components, you can assemble your AR. Follow detailed instructions provided by the manufacturer or seek assistance from a knowledgeable individual if needed. Take your time to ensure each component is installed correctly.

Fine-tuning and Testing

After assembly, it's essential to fine-tune your AR for optimal performance. Adjust components such as the trigger, gas system, or optic zeroing. Once fine-tuning is complete, thoroughly test your firearm in a safe and controlled environment.

Popular AR Build Customization Options

When customizing an AR, you have a wide range of options. Here are some popular customization options:

black rifle with scope on brown soil Springfield Armory Edge Evac

Barrels and Calibers

Choosing the right barrel length and caliber can significantly impact AR performance and versatility.

Longer barrels provide better accuracy for long-range shooting, while shorter barrels offer maneuverability in close-quarters scenarios.

Stocks and Grips

Selecting the appropriate stock and grip can significantly affect ergonomics and comfort. Choose a stock that suits your shooting style and body type.

Grips come in various shapes and textures, allowing you to find the one that provides the best grip and control.

Triggers and Trigger Systems

Upgrading your trigger can enhance the firearm's accuracy and shooting experience. Different trigger systems offer various trigger pull weights, reset characteristics, and customization options. Choose a trigger that suits your shooting preferences.

Optics and Sights

Optics and sights are crucial for acquiring targets quickly and accurately. Options include red dot sights, holographic sights, magnified scopes, and iron sights. Consider your shooting style and intended use when selecting optics.

AR build customization - AGA

Tips for AR Build Customization

Consider the following tips to make your AR build customization journey smoother and more rewarding:

Seek Professional Advice

If you're new to AR builds or have limited experience, seek guidance from professionals or experienced builders. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations and ensure your build is safe and compliant.

Start with a Basic Build

If it's your first time customizing an AR, consider starting with a basic build and gradually adding components or upgrades. This approach lets you understand the platform better and make informed decisions based on your shooting needs.

Take Safety Precautions

Safety should be a top priority throughout the customization process. Always follow safe firearm handling practices, wear appropriate protective gear, and work in a well-ventilated area. If you're unsure about any step, consult an expert.

Upgrade Gradually

Customization doesn't have to be done all at once. Take your time to assess the performance and suitability of each added component before moving on to the next upgrade. This approach allows you to fine-tune your AR and make informed decisions.

AR build customization is a fun and rewarding hobby allowing you to create your AR-15 according to your needs, preferences, and style.

You can choose from various barrels, handguards, stocks, magazines, and more options. You can also build your AR-15 from scratch using an 80% lower receiver.

However, before you start your AR build customization project, ensure you are familiar with the laws and regulations in your state and local area regarding firearms ownership and use.

Read More

Follow us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Disclaimer: All content on this site is for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *