Building the Perfect AR-15 on a Budget
Trying to build a great AR rifle without overspending on the wrong gadgets can be a tricky thing if you haven’t tried and tested various AR-15 accessories by yourself. This is why in this article we’ll advise you on how to create an AR 15 that can both protect your life and be great on the shooting range as well, without you having to spend a fortune on it. There are plenty for great choices out there for people on a budget.
First of all comes the choice of AR15 rifle of course. This is a good place to spend a good chunk of your budget on. If you chose an AR15 rifle that is perfect for you, then you won’t need to spend as much on accessories. Some good purchases for most people would be: BCM, Daniel Defense, Spike’s Tactical and Colt. Each brand has its own upsides and little differences that make them all worthwhile to choose from.
You might choose to buy the whole weapon from these manufacturers and this is a pretty reliable way to get a good AR15 rifle in your hands. It can be much cheaper though if you simply buy the upper part from the manufacturer and build the lower part yourself with some high quality kit you’ll find on the market.
If you bought a great upper part and a good bolt carrier group, then you already have the most important parts that make a reliable AR15 rifle. 16” rifles tend to be the most popular for their sheer shootability and utility. Flat topped and a mid length gas system are features that do make your gun more versatile and easy to use. A decent AR15 will cost you 700-1000 dollars and there is no way around that.
Stick with your standard front sight base and don’t buy an extended handguard with front sight if you wish to save some serious money. The standard front sight base is certainly more reliable and durable, especially when you taper it down with taper pins. This way you also create a great gas seal by using those taper pins on the base.
Choose a fixed rear sight instead of a folding type one. You might fear for your visibility if you can’t fold your sight away, but a decent quality red dot sight from Aimpoint can do the trick just fine at a more reasonable price. These sights are also far more sturdy and rugged than folding sights, which break off easier.
If you want a folding rear sight you should choose something plastic like the Magpul MBUS. It might just be plastic, but it is just your rear sight and you don’t need to overspend on it to get most of its use out of it.
You should NOT be cheap when it comes to your optics. A bad optic will ruin everything you have done with your rifle so far. If you absolutely have to save money then buy an Aimpoint from secondary markets or choose one of the cheaper Aimpoint models. It is well worth to invest in one of the average priced Aimpoint optics if you want a decent rifle in your hands.
Streamlight Poly Tac LED line of lights are quite good for a reasonable price. The mount will cost more than the light itself if you choose this nifty little gadget. G2 and G2X lights are two other pretty affordable options to choose from. These lights are all very light and won’t bother you at all.
It is best to stick with the standard trigger that comes with your kit or the weapon you bought from the manufacturer. If you don’t need your rifle from high precision shooting then those triggers will be far more reliable and have strong sear geometry, a strong reset and reliable primer ignition. Match triggers are only necessary if you want to be great at shooting far distance targets in a range.
The Hand Guards
Some of the most expensive parts you can add to your rifle are the handguards. This is why you should be really careful and save yourself a lot of money when buying your handguards.
Handguards aren’t just for your to hold on to. You can add sling and lights on them, as well as vertical grips. A sling and a light is pretty much something you should have on your AR15 rifle.
You don’t really need a free float handguard for a defensive rifle. If you wanted to use your AR15 for precision marksmanship then you might care for free floating it, but as it is this will just be a waste of money for a rifle that is meant to protect you. Free float handguards cost a lot and there are much cheaper options out there.
Light mounts from Midwest Company can help you place a light to your front sight base and Blue Force Gear UWL or IWC QD Microsling MOUNT-N-SLOT can help you get a sling onto your rifle with very little money spent overall.
The Magpul MOE handguards are a perfect choice for someone who wants quality at a very cheap price. Match them with IWC products and you will have a dream combination for a small amount of money overall. With this combination you can also add a vertical grip if you want one. The Magpul MOE MVG or the IWC Weapon Control MOUNT-N-SLOT will do just fine for this occasion.
The standard A2 grip is a good thing to keep if you can make yourself like it enough. There are ways to enhance this part without having to spend any money on it. Just remove the finger groove and heat stipple the grip to improve traction. This usually turns the A2 grip into a very nice part.
Magpul MOE products have cheap alternatives if you really want to get another grip for a cheap price. Check out our other AR-15 Grips
Adding a new, fancy stock is usually a great temptation, but remember that you will most probably be very well off with the typical stock you got from the weapon’s manufacturer. Great stocks are usually very expensive and are only worth it if you have very specific needs, like when you are very tall or short.
If you bought a rifle from one of the brands I mentioned above, then you won’t need to buy a military specifications buffer tube. If you buy a cheaper rifle you might have to acquire this mil spec buffer tube yourself and it is well worth it. Make sure your buffer tube is the real deal, not only in size and looks, but in material as well. Flimsy aluminum tubes might cause you a lot of trouble as time passes.
The Muzzle Device Keeping your little A2 flash suppressor as a muzzle device can be a very wise move when building an AR15 on a budget. Most rifles will come with one from the manufacturer and it will do its job just fine. It is decent at suppressing flash, it does diminish muzzle climb a tiny bit and it doesn’t make too much noise. It might not be a fancy piece of equipment, but it will do its job.
There are plenty of good technology magazines out there that won’t burn your money away. Magpul P-MAG and Tango Down ARC magazines will work wonders for you at a very reasonable price. You can even get a cheaper alternative by buying Troy Battle Mags. Old aluminum GI mags are still the best you can get though. Aluminum mags with upgraded followers and springs come for as little as 8-10$. The advanced springs and followers make the aluminum mags worth their money by far.
Only buy things you need and know
You simply can’t just buy an extremely cheap AR15 and expect to be pleased with it. The AR15 that you will build through this guide will be a significant expense for you and should not be bought on a whim. By following this guide you ensure that you don’t overspend in areas of your rifle that you don’t really need to spend too much on.
Don’t buy anything you don’t really know what it does or why it would make your rifle better. If you can’t understand its use then it probably isn’t of much use anyway or you will find out later why you’d want it. Buy only those parts that you absolutely feel will improve your weapon. It is no shame to keep the parts from the manufacturer when you aren’t certain if a new part will be an improvement.