There are thousands and thousands of AR-15 parts that are available in the market today. The AR-15 platform is popular because it is so universal and able to customize. The idea of having the ability to customize your AR rifle or AR pistol to your liking is very appealing to many people. There are about 300 million firearms owned in the United States. And only about 5 to 10 million of those are of the AR platform in various calibers and configurations. The customization of the AR platform rifles has even evolved into building the firearms from scratch. It is possible to purchase a stripped lower receiver and a stripped upper receiver to begin a custom build of your own. This is very exciting for a number of reasons. The pride that comes from making your own firearm and then being able to use and depend on it is very rewarding. Most people believe that if they put it together then they know they can depend on it. There is usually no need for any machining or working of the parts as they normally just go together. The Mil-Spec nature of the AR series makes it so parts can be made by many manufacturers that will fit on all AR platform rifles and pistols. This is why there are so many parts and pieces that can be purchased for the AR-15 platform.
The design of some of the parts actually make it safer to operate and fire than traditional rifles. For example, the buffer tube assembly that has the buffer spring and buffer inside of it, is designed to reduce recoil and aid in cyclic function. Reducing recoil means that you have more control over the firearm and are less likely to fire a shot way off course from where you are attempting to aim.
The buffer tube assembly is used to allow the bolt carrier group to cycle and function. There are many manufacturers of bolt carrier groups. This is one of the key components of an AR-15. Mil-Spec standards are followed during manufacturing for the most part for this AR-15 part. The bolt carrier group is machined from 8620 aircraft quality steel and heat treated to 60 – 61 RC. The carrier interior is usually chrome lined. The gas key is usually 4130 steel and is chrome lined. The gas key is held on by Grade 8 screws and torqued to 58 inch pounds per Mil Spec. The bolt is either made of Carpenter 158 or the newer and slightly stronger 9310 steel.
The bolt carrier groups move rapidly and usually get fairly dirty. This bolt carrier shown has a special coating called SP4. The SP4 coating is #1 in Hardness, #1 in Low Coefficient of Friction, and #1 in Flexibility and Elasticity. This Rankin Industries bolt carrier group are made in the USA and are backed by a lifetime warranty. The SP4 coating changes things greatly for the maintenance and care of the bolt carrier group. No oil is used when the SP4 coated carrier is used. To clean the bolt carrier group, simply remove and wipe down with a dry cloth. The carbon and fouling just wipe off the super slick surface. This is a game changer for long term use and care of an AR-15.
There are other items that can have the best coating available today. Another great part to have with SP4 is a trigger group. This is a standard trigger group that is used in the majority of AR-15 rifles. However, it is coated with SP4 to make it super slick and smooth. Most people that purchase the SP4 trigger group, claim there is no need for a super expensive trigger if this is an option. Again, Rankin Industries makes an incredible SP4 coated Trigger Group for the AR-15.
Charging handles have evolved greatly over the past several years. The most popular style of charging handles make it easier to grab and operate the firearm. Machining this part to look fantastic and make it to operate the way that it does, is simply a work of art. This is an AR15 part that many people purchase to upgrade their basic charging handle.
For those that wish to build their own AR15, there are upper and lower receiver sets available to begin the project. This upper and lower set starts the project off with a bang. There are two different ways that these upper and lower receivers are manufactured. There are forged sets that are hammered into forging dies. This gets them into a shape that can then be machined a little bit to finish it up. This process saves time and money. They are usually less cost for these sets. The other way that they are made is by beginning with a solid block of aluminum billet and machining the whole lower and upper. This is the more preferred method for manufacture of the upper and lower. Most believe that the billet machined sets are stronger and have tighter tolerances and fit together much better when purchased as a set.
The barrel of the AR-15 is considered to be one of the top reasons that it will be a great firearm or just mediocre. One of the manufacturers that is very popular is Faxon Firearms. Faxon has teamed up with Rankin Industries to manufacture a special barrel. They make a 16 inch Government SOCOM 5.56 Nato Mid-Length 4150 QPQ Barrel that is outstanding. This is one of the best choices for 16″ barrels on the market today. The following is what the manufacturer has to say about the barrel. Manufactured 100% in-house from cradle-to-grave, these barrels are fully stress relieved, air-gauge tested, and 11 degree target crowned to ensure superior accuracy. This barrel has a NP3 Nickel Teflon extension. This allows for smooth insertion and easy to clean surfaces for the portion that inserts into the upper receiver. Quality is imbued into our barrels from the start. We start with the best materials, either certified 4150 Mil-Spec steel or 416-R Stainless. From there, each barrel goes through a battery of tests at each operation until finished in Nitride and final inspected. All barrels are individually checked for headspace by precision custom hardened gauges. Barrel Material: 4150 Barrel Type: Button Rifled Barrel Caliber: 5.56 NATO Barrel Twist: 1:8 Barrel Length: 16″ Barrel Profile: Gov’t/SOCOM Barrel Gas System: Mid Length Inside Finish: QPQ Nitride Outside Finish: QPQ Nitride Muzzle Thread: 1/2-28 TPI (Threads Per Inch) Gas Block Diameter: .750″ Gas Block Journal Length: 1.9″ Barrel Extension: M4 Weight: 1.65 lbs Magnetic Particle Inspected! 11-degree Target Crown
These are some of the more important parts required to build an AR-15. Finding the parts to put together your dream rifle or pistol is part of the fun. There are blogs and videos out there that offer every opinion under the sun for what is the best for you. The key is to dive in to the sport head first. Parts can be moved from one AR platform rifle over to another with relative ease. You can even give an older part to a buddy that may need that part for his build. The community that has grown over time has come together to offer great information about making your own AR-15. We wish you the best of luck in your future builds.