Author: Vic Fayard, GunBroker.com Contributor
Whether making a new AR-15 build or upgrading an existing one, there are so many great new AR parts floating around these days that it can be easy to have some gems slip past under the radar. That’s where we come in with this list of some new products and ideas, along with some that have been around that you may have missed. You can also check out this page to find more gun parts for your AR needs.
Yes, you can buy all of the parts to do your own AR-15 build without a gunsmith instead of buying a complete AR-15 from a store. Since the AR-15 rifle is America’s most popular and has a modular design, you can easily swap out any and all parts to make your own custom gun. Not counting iron sights, optics, Picatinny rails and the many other attachments and accessories available, these are the basic parts of an AR-15 rifle:
Parts can be purchased individually, or you can buy build kits with all of the parts for specific components. For example, you can buy an AR-15 lower parts kit or a rifle kit that includes everything but the stripped lower receiver.
This is really a matter of personal preference. One of the first AR parts to get swapped out is the factory trigger. Drop-in triggers are easy to find and the investment pays off in spades. Charging handles are another easy and inexpensive upgrade, and handguards come in a huge variety of configurations and materials depending on what sort of attachments you want to add.
Since they’re so modular, AR-15 barrels are a common upgrade. This allows you to quickly swap to a shorter carbine barrel from a mid-length, for example. A lot of people also will get a complete upper that can be quickly swapped using the same lower receiver and change the caliber in a snap.
Without a doubt one of the most popular names in AR builds is Aero Precision of Tacoma, Wash.. Their new Aero Taper Lock Attachment System, or ATLAS, series handguards hit all the high points where it counts. They run a 1.3-inch internal diameter to give the barrel room to breathe while still having a slim 1.5-inch outer profile for fantastic ergonomics. They also have integrated QD sling sockets, a reduced top rail section to save weight and keep things trim, and a front Pic rail section so you can mount irons. Oh, yeah, and they are covered with M-LOK slots. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, they are available in 7.3-, 9.3-, 10.3-, 12.7-, 15-, and even a 16.6-inch format. Available in seven colorways from black through FDE, Bronze and Kodiak Brown, they MSRP $170- $230.
Although they are located “behind the lines” so to speak in Burlingame, Calif., Armaspec continues to be one of the outsized players in the AR parts game. This year they brought their new 3rd generation Stealth Recoil System out to play at SHOT Show. A self-contained multi-stage drop-in replacement for your standard buffer and spring, the SRS has been popular for years for those looking to dial back that felt recoil and quiet down the operational noise of their action. To eliminate any potential failure points, the bottom screw has been replaced on the new Gen 4 SRS with a roll pin across the plastic end piece and the cap is now machined on the rod. Plus, it is tunable so that the user can tweak the weights to run anything from a large format pistol to a full-length rifle system. Brilliant! MSRP is $84.99, while variants with extra weights will be in the $99 range. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
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With a revamped core that is a lot cleaner than past models, the ambidextrous Armaspec Fulcrum selector allows for a much shorter 45-degree throw rather than a full mil-spec style 90-degree rotation to disengage the safety. This allows the user to easily flick the lever to disengage from safety–especially if using oversized grips or single points that may limit the range of motion. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
While there are scores of AR muzzle devices out there, Armaspec’s Rifter is a little different. A linear muzzle brake, it uses a blast shield that has varying initial chambers. Why? Well, it allows combustion gases to travel inside the chamber for a longer period, thus greatly reducing felt recoil and directing the sound forward and away from the shooter. Think of a suppressor, but with the opposite result when it comes to noise. Armaspec reps say the blast shield reduces the gas pattern at the muzzle, which is helpful when shooting close to others or in a prone position. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
Everyone who has used a suppressor on their AR that, in trying for some quiet time, knows they suck hot gasses to the face. Enter the concept of a suppressor-friendly charging handle that helps divert that gas away from the user. Armaspec’s Victory has been doing that for a while due to gas channel ports that press the gas down and away from the user. Their newest version, on hand for SHOT Show, has a smaller footprint with shorter “ears” that help avoid catching on MOLLE gear or plate carriers. Also, it is available in bronze! MSRP is $79.99. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
American Tactical Inc has been marketing a variety of increasingly polymer ARs over the past several years– check into their Alpha and Omni series if curious. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that they came to SHOT Show this year with a new line of polymer AR rails. While not yet listed on their site, we got the inside scoop. Using a carbon fiber-infused long glass polymer with overmolded metal inserts and a steel QD sling cup, they mount easily in the place of most handguard systems and will be available in 7-, 9-, 11-, and 13-inch lengths, all with M-LOK pattern accessory rails. MSRP $69 to $99 and, yes, they are super light. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
A quad rail without all the quad, LaRue’s SAT is an ultra-lightweight version of the company’s bomb-proof Stealth Handguard. The free-float handguard is available in five lengths between 9- and 13.2 inches, each featuring slab sides and bottoms, and three CNC machined-in 2.5-inch Mil-Std 1913 rails for accessories along with a top rail for optics and whatnot. They also have a heat sink to help draw heat away from the chamber and integral QD sling-swivel cups at the base of each side for mounting those 2-point slings. MSRP ranges from $111 to $162. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
Besides barrels, rails, rifles and triggers, LaRue Tactical also has one of the best AR grips on the market and it hardly gets any love. Their A-PEG series is available in both coarse and smooth textures, for both AR-15s and AR-10s, and in no less than seven colors ranging from the standard black, Foliage, FDE, UDE, and Olive Drab green to Blaze Orange and Pink. In our experience, the unique “flats” on the front and back of the grip just melt perfectly in the geometry of the hand’s structure, while the flat front allows for quick indexing to help level and square the firearm on target. MSRP is $11.95. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
Well, folks, the good news is that an ambidextrous version of the highly popular Chubby Grip from Luth-AR has finally entered the atmosphere and splashed down. Now, those seeking a full palm swell for either left or right-hand AR grips have something to rejoice about, the Wing Grip (AKA the Super Chubby). According to company reps, the Wing’s thumb rest and palm shelf work together to “lock” the hand in place, while the raised trigger finger surface forces the user to have a proper curved position for better trigger control and comfort. MSRP is $28.95. Buy Now On GunBroker.com
Luth came to SHOT Show with a new 308 Widebody Hand Guard. Made of 6061-T6 Aluminum, the profile ends up fitting the larger AR-10-style rifles better and is a low-drag style to fit all the uppers. Plus it is filled with M-LOK slots and has a full-length top Pic rail, which is great by all accounts. Weight is just 19 ounces. MSRP is $104.95. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
The new Lightweight Palm Handguard from Randy Luth and the hard-working crew over at Luth-AR is designed to provide a comfortable and secure grip for the user, while also reducing weight and improving airflow to the barrel. Constructed from a high-quality 6061-T6 aluminum extrusion with a durable hard coat anodized finish, it features a unique Palm Swell design that conforms to the shape of the shooter’s hand for a more natural and comfortable grip, with a flat bottom for shooting off a rest. Running three rows of M-LOK accessory slots– including along the bottom for use with bipods– it also runs a top Pic rail. It is in 15-inch format, and only weighs 11.85 ounces. MSRP is $94.95. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
For those yearning to turn their AR into more of a precision rifle, besides learning the voodoo behind 77-grain projectiles and corresponding barrel twists, you are going to want a good stock. Luth has you covered with the MBA system. Offered in at least 12 assorted flavors across 5.56 and 7.62 carbines and in both Mil-Spec and Commercial buffer assemblies, they run from the simple to the fully adjustable across the pull and comb height length on the cheek rest. The cost runs from $97 to $249 depending on what you choose. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
In semi-related news, while not an AR part, Luth also introduced a great new 10/22 lightweight 6061 aluminum/steel chassis at SHOT that has an ambidextrous goose-neck style pistol grip with palm swell and click-adjustable cheekpiece. The MCA-22 just screams NRL22 and Practical Rimfire Challenge matches and MSRP is $189. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
The Magpul Enhanced Selector Kit is a modular, ambidextrous selector switch kit designed for AR platforms that include three levers: full, short and hybrid, a selector pin, and a reversible, corrosion-resistant steel selector axle with both short-throw 60-degree and standard 90-degree options. Because it is Magpul, it is a hybrid design that uses both steel and polymer. MSRP is $49.95. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
Promising the sort of technology that seems only one step removed from a Sci-Fi movie, Magpul and Maztech Industries have paired up over the past few years to develop a fire control system for black rifles that offers almost unheard-of capabilities. Pairing a 30mm LPVO scope with an AR, this is an integrated auto-calculated ballistics mount that provides real-time ballistic calculations using temperature, pressure, humidity, altitude, pitch, roll and heading that appears in the viewfinder of the optic. Further, it runs an as-you-fire round counter that Magpul showed off at their booth at SHOT Show. It can even connect to wireless devices via low-energy Bluetooth. The company says it will be available later this year at a cost that is TBD. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
A rugged and simple barricade stop made for octagonal M-LOK slots by the folks that invented M-LOK, Magpul’s handy little hand stop allows shooters to brace off barricades or shooting rests to create a more stable platform, which in turn aids in accuracy. While it looks all plastic, it runs a replaceable nitrocarburized steel plate insert surrounded inside a polymer body. The cost is $24.95 and will be available in both black and FDE. Buy Now On GunBroker.com.
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