There are few things in life that are certain. The cliché is that the only constants are death and taxes. I would like to add one more to that list. Once you purchase an AR15, you will modify it. There are few guns in our world that invite modifications like the AR15. From optics to grips, the market is full of options for the new and experienced gun owner. In that we have already agreed that you are going to add accessories, let’s look at what are some of the best options on the market.
We can break this down more simply by going from the front to the back. First up, let’s look at muzzle devices. Most rifles come with a standard A2 flash hider, but many people replace that with either a muzzle brake to reduce recoil, or a compensator to reduce muzzle rise. The choices in this arena are many. One of my favorites is the Triple Port from POF. It was designed in house to precisely complement their rifles, but I have seen them everywhere. The nitride heat treated muzzle brake controls muzzle impulse for ultimate accuracy and an unbelievably soft recoil. Comes complete with a nitride heat treated collar and five strike prongs. While many companies talk about the magic found in their devices, the POF Triple Port does a great job at keeping me on target!
Moving along the rifle we come to the Picatinny system designed to host support gear. The most popular add on in this group are weapon lights. From 1000 lumen portable suns to infrared units there is something for everyone in every price range. My choice for this category is the Streamlight 88059 ProTac. The light is lightweight, compact, and low profile, it features the latest in shock-proof power LED technology. The rail clamp is designed to rapidly and securely attach/detach from rifles, carbines and submachine guns with a MIL Standard 1913 Rail. This 625-lumen light featuring a dedicated fixed-mount for Picatinny rails. It uses either a remote switch with momentary/constant-on operation or a push-button tail switch. TEN-TAP Programming offers the choice of three operating modes: high/strobe, high only, and low/high. With a bright but not blinding 625 lumens you can easily illuminate and area without washing everything else, including your own vision out.
On the top of the gun we have a place for back up iron sights. In some cases, companies will include iron sights, but it is becoming more and more rare. Back up sights allow us to still shoot accurately should our optic go down. Speaking of optics, this category of “add ons” is by far the most popular. From simple 1x magnification red dot optics to variable powered scopes the choices can be almost overwhelming. As with any accessory, consider what your primary purpose for the rifle is and add on appropriately. If you are going to be using this as a home defense weapon, you probably don’t need a 10x powered scope. My choice for a good, all around optic for your rifle would be the Trijicon MRO. This great little optic is a sealed miniature reflex sight intended for use on rifles, carbines and shotguns to provide fast target acquisition. The large aperture and tapered light path maximizes the viewing area and allows for better situational awareness and fast target engagement – especially from non-standard shooting positions. Combine all this with the ambidextrous brightness controls, sub-flush adjusters, advanced lens coatings and the fully sealed, waterproof, hard anodized forged 7075-T6 housing and you have a great mini reflex sight. The most appealing aspect of the optic is its large field of view. Red dot style optics are intended to be run with both eyes open and the more glass we have to look though the better off we are!
As we continue to work back, we are now at the butt stock. Most rifle companies include a decent stock, but I have found many people replace the stock with one that fits their body and needs a little better. The collapsible stock still rules the roost and allows the shooter to better fit it to their unique build. Where else would we go other than the kings of all thing AR accessory wise – Magpul. I really like their Magpul MOE-S stock as a general use item. It is designed as a replacement buttstock for AR-15/M16 carbines is designed to withstand the rigors of heavy use. It features a sloping cheek weld for firm fit and improved user comfort. The dual side latch release provides easy adjustments and is set up out of the way to remain snag free. Internal anti-rattle feature provides a snug fit to minimize wobble on the receiver extension tube. Along with many other features it also has two sling mounts allow you to utilize different mounting options.
The last item I will touch on here is one of the most commonly tinkered with and or replaced on the gun. The trigger. Most modern stock guns have pretty good triggers in them yet many shooters will move to replace these with triggers that have either a lighter pull or cleaner break. Of the best I have run is the Timney Competition Trigger. This is a drop-in style trigger that provides smooth, crisp, creep-free single-stage trigger pull that feels more like a traditional bolt action than a combat rifle trigger. All of the components are captive in the lightweight, aluminum alloy housing. It installs using your rifle’s original hammer/trigger pins and a proprietary design eliminates pin walkout. I have shot them and had dozens of them in classes each with great performance.
Beyond these common accessories there are a plethora of other items such as lasers, bipods, foregrips and pistol grips. Few guns are as easily modified as the AR15 and people certainly take advantage of that. I would encourage you to shop around and get the best rifle possible to build off as well. Decide what you need and enjoy making your rifle truly a weapon customized to your personal needs!