Building your own AR-15 from an 80% lower and a jig kit? There’s nothing like creating a functional machine from scratch, from start to finish. Building your own AR-15 from an 80% lower and a jig kit? There’s nothing like creating a functional machine from scratch, from start to finish.
Once the project is done, here are 7 accessories for you to add to your rifle to improve your shooting experience.
1. Fight muzzle flip with a muzzle brake.
Some build kits or assembled uppers come with muzzle devices. A majority of the time, that muzzle device is a flash hider.
Are you building an AR to head into an active combat zone or are you building a sporterized platform? From whom do you need to hide your muzzle flashes?
Ditch that device, get a muzzle brake. Muzzle brakes solve a problem everyone faces, which is muzzle flip. Flash hiders just lack that sort of utility.
2. Combo red dot/scope
Decisions, decisions: do you choose an optic that has decided advantages at long ranges or one that is better up close for making rapid shots in succession?
Obviously, the best option would be not to choose, but to get both. Unfortunately, you can’t mount both a red dot sight and a scope to your rail.
Except, you sort of can, with a combo model. There are some combo red dot/scopes out there that give you the best of both worlds.
3. Flip-up backup iron sights
Note, that you covered up your iron sights when you mounted that last accessory to your AR.
But that does not on any grounds mean that you should give up the utility of iron sights. They are waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, fog proof, rustproof, sunlight-proof, and a ton more. You name it. Iron sights also don’t need batteries, so they’ll never “die.” They literally work in all conditions.
Get a set of flip-up iron sights, preferably offset iron sights, and mount these to your rifle. You’ll be glad you did.
4. A casing catcher
Casing catchers are not cool or exciting AR-15 accessories. No, they’re not going to win any popularity contests. Yes, you should have one.
Just do yourself a favor and avoid the casing catchers and brass traps that have mesh bags and wire frames with hook and loop closures.
These are host to more issues than we have space for in this article.
Instead, get a better AR-15 brass catcher like a Brass Goat, a casing catcher that, well, works.
The Brass Goat and compatible hopper are extremely effective at catching spent brass, quickly attach to mil-spec AR-15 magwells, keep your picatinny rail free, and don’t jam, melt, catch fire, or obstruct your sight picture. Visit BrassGoat.com for more details and thank us later.
5. A better BCG
If your build kit came with a phosphate-coated BCG, maybe it’s a better idea to upgrade. You are building this rifle, you can do whatever you want with it.
There are way better BCGs out there with far better permanent dry lubricity than phosphate. One of the main reasons phosphate coatings are so popular is their low reflectivity, but let us invoke the same reasoning we did above with the flash hider argument.
Cycling time and lesser use of lubricating oil are probably more valuable to you than a non-reflective BCG coating, we think.
If not, keep the phosphate BCG. Just don’t say you didn’t see a valid counterargument.
6. A more ergonomic charging handle
Reaching for and manipulating the charging handle can be a pain if it’s really cold, dark, or you’re wearing thick, heavy gloves.
Fortunately, there are plenty of larger, ambidextrous charging handles with superior ergonomics that are easier to manipulate instinctually. Forget the mil-spec handle and get one of these.
7. A WML
There is a saying, “what you don’t see can kill you.” it’s true, too.
Get a WML and drop that on your rail, preferable one that offers multiple settings, is easy to engage (and cut), is properly optically focused for both raw output and focus (lumens and candela, respectively), and is weatherproof, waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and corrosion-resistant.
There you have it. Make these adjustments as you need while you’re building your rifle and enjoy the experience that a truly custom build offers. Plus, you’ll be able to see in the dark, have multiple options for target engagement and acquisition, have a faster-cycling rifle, and be better equipped to fight muzzle jump.
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