If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding project, building your own AR-15 might be just what you need. The AR-15 is one of the most popular and versatile rifles in America, and you can customize it to suit your preferences and needs.
We’ll explain the essential components of the AR-15, how to choose the best parts for your build, and how to assemble them with the right tools and techniques. We’ll also give you some tips and tricks to make your build more accessible and enjoyable.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a complete AR-15 that you can be proud of. You’ll also better understand how your rifle works and how to maintain it. So let’s get started!
What is an AR Build for Beginners (AR-15)?
The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle that fires one round per trigger pull. It uses a detachable box magazine that typically holds 30 rounds of ammunition.
It is chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO or .223 Remington, which are interchangeable calibers.
The AR-15 is not an assault rifle, despite what some media outlets might tell you. “assault rifle” refers to a fully automatic or select-fire gun that can fire multiple rounds per trigger pull.
The AR-15 is not capable of doing that unless it is illegally modified.
The “AR” in AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle,” after the original design manufacturer. It does not mean “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”
The AR-15 is not a specific model or brand of the rifle but rather a generic term encompassing many variations and configurations.
Why Build an AR-15?
You might want to build your AR-15 instead of buying one off the shelf. Here are some of the benefits of building your own:
- Customization: You can choose every part and component of your rifle according to your preferences and needs. You can tailor your rifle to your intended purpose, whether hunting, target shooting, home defense, or anything else. You can also personalize your rifle with different colors, finishes, accessories, and engraving.
- Satisfaction: There’s nothing like the accomplishment and pride that comes from building something with your hands. Knowing you put it together, you’ll have a deeper connection and appreciation for your rifle. You’ll also have a unique rifle that no one else has.
- Education: Building your own AR-15 will teach you a lot about how your rifle works and how to maintain it. You’ll learn about your rifle's different parts and functions, how they interact, and how to troubleshoot any problems that might arise. You’ll also learn some valuable skills and techniques that will be useful for future projects.
- Cost: Depending on the parts and components you choose, building your own AR-15 can be cheaper than buying one pre-made. You can also save money by buying stakes in bulk or on sale or using coupons and discounts from online retailers. You can also avoid paying extra fees or taxes that might apply to buying a complete rifle.
What Parts Do You Need (AR Build for Beginners) ?
To build an AR-15, you’ll need two main assemblies: the upper receiver assembly and the lower receiver assembly. Each assembly has several parts and components that work together to make your rifle function.
The upper receiver assembly contains the barrel, bolt carrier group, gas system, handguard, muzzle device, charging handle, sights, and optics.
The lower receiver assembly includes the trigger group, buffer system, stock, grip, magazine release, safety selector, and pins.
You’ll also need tools and accessories to help you with your build, such as a vise, punches, hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, lubricants, cleaning supplies, magazines, ammo, and ear and eye protection.
Here’s a list of all the parts you’ll need to build your own AR-15, along with some links to in-depth guides for each part:
Upper Receiver Assembly
This metal housing holds the barrel, bolt carrier group, gas system, handguard, and other parts. It also has a rail that allows you to mount sights and optics.
You can choose between a stripped upper receiver, just the bare metal shell, or a complete upper receiver with all the pre-installed parts. For more information on upper receivers, click here.
This metal tube guides the bullet out of the rifle. It is one of the most essential parts of your rifle, as it affects your shots' accuracy, velocity, and range.
You can choose between different lengths, profiles, materials, finishes, twists, and chambers for your barrel. For more information on barrels, click here.
Bolt carrier group (BCG)
This part cycles the ammunition in and out of the chamber. It consists of the bolt, which locks and unlocks the chamber, the carrier, which moves back and forth inside the upper receiver; and the firing pin, which strikes the cartridge's primer.
You can choose different materials, finishes, and coatings for your BCG. For more information on BCGs, click here.
This part uses the gas from the fired cartridge to cycle the bolt carrier group. It consists of a gas block, which attaches to the barrel and regulates the gas flow, a gas tube, which connects the gas block to the upper receiver; and a gas key, which attaches to the bolt carrier and receives the gas from the tube.
You can choose between different lengths and types of gas systems for your rifle. For more information on gas systems, click here.
This part covers the barrel and gas system and provides a place to grip and mount accessories. It also helps to protect your hands from the heat of the barrel.
You can choose between different lengths, styles, materials, and mounting systems for your handguard. For more information on handguards, click here.
This part attaches to the end of the barrel and affects your rifle's recoil, flash, noise, and accuracy.
You can choose between different types of muzzle devices for your rifle, such as flash hiders, compensators, brakes, or suppressors. For more information on muzzle devices, click here.
This part lets you manually pull back the bolt carrier group to load or unload a round.
You can choose different sizes, shapes, and materials for your charging handle. For more information on charging handles, click here.
These parts help you aim your rifle at your target. You can choose between iron sights or optical sights for your rifle. Iron sights are simple metal devices that align with your eye and target.
Optical sights are devices that use lenses or electronics to magnify or project an image of your target. For more information on sights, click here.
These devices use lenses or electronics to magnify or project an image of your target. They are usually mounted on top of your upper receiver or handguard rail.
You can choose different types of optics for your rifle, such as red dot sights, holographic sights, scopes, or night vision devices. For more information on optics, click here.
Lower Receiver Assembly
This metal housing holds the trigger group, buffer system, stock, grip, and other parts. It also has a magazine well that accepts the detachable box magazine.
You can choose between a stripped lower receiver, just the bare metal shell, or a complete lower receiver with all the pre-installed parts. For more information on lower receivers, click here.
This part allows you to fire the rifle by pulling the trigger. It consists of the trigger, which is the lever that you press with your finger, the hammer, which is the part that strikes the firing pin when the trigger is pulled; and the sear, which is the part that holds the hammer in place until the trigger is pulled.
You can choose between triggers for your rifle, such as single-stage, two-stage, or drop-in triggers. For more information on triggers, click here.
This part absorbs the recoil energy from the bolt carrier group and returns it to its forward position.
It consists of the buffer tube, which is the metal cylinder that extends from the lower receiver into the stock, the buffer spring, which is the coil spring that fits inside the buffer tube; and the buffer weight, which
How to Build an AR-15 (AR Build for Beginners)?
Now that you know what parts you need to build an AR-15, it’s time to assemble them.
Building an AR-15 is not very difficult if you follow some basic steps and use some simple tools.
You’ll need a vise to hold your upper or lower receiver. At the same time, you work on it, some punches and a hammer to drive in or out some pins, some wrenches, and screwdrivers to tighten or loosen some nuts and screws.
Some lubricant to prevent friction and corrosion, some cleaning supplies to remove any dirt or grease from your parts, and some ear and eye protection to avoid any injuries.
You’ll also need some magazines and ammo to test fire your rifle once it’s done, but make sure you do that in a safe and legal location.
Here are the general steps to build an AR-15 from scratch:
Assemble the Lower Receiver
The lower receiver is where most of the assembly work takes place. You must install the trigger group, buffer system, stock, grip, magazine release, safety selector, and pins into the lower receiver.
You’ll also need to mate the lower receiver with the upper receiver using the takedown pins.
For a detailed guide on how to assemble the lower receiver, click here.
The upper receiver is where most of the pre-assembled parts go. You’ll need to install the barrel, bolt carrier group, gas system, handguard, muzzle device, charging handle, sights, and optics into the upper receiver.
You’ll also need to align the gas block with the gas port on the barrel and torque the barrel nut to the proper specification.
For a detailed guide on how to assemble the upper receiver, click here.
Test Fire Your Rifle
The final step is to test-fire your rifle and make sure everything works as it should. You’ll need to load some magazines with ammo, insert them into your rifle, and fire some rounds at a safe and legal target.
You’ll also need to check for malfunctions, such as failure to feed, fire, extract, or eject. You’ll also need to adjust your sights or optics to zero them in at your desired distance.
For a detailed guide on how to test fire your rifle, click here.
Building your AR-15 is a rewarding and enjoyable experience that anyone can do with patience and guidance. You’ll learn a lot about your rifle and how to maintain it, and you’ll have a unique and customized rifle that suits your needs and preferences.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the basics of building an AR-15 from scratch. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
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