AR15 Accessories: Here’s A Complete Beginner’s Guide
So you are new to the world of guns and would like to get yourself a fancy AR15 rifle?
There are literally hundreds of accessories across a wide budget range that you can purchase to upgrade your weapon.
This post serves as a beginner’s guide for AR15 owners to set up their weapon fun, practicality and even self-defense. We’ll list all of the accessories that will help boost the performance of your rifle.
Let’s do this:
Rails and forends
It is important to ensure that your AR15 rifle is compatible before purchasing any accessories. You will need a keymod, Picatinny rail or M-LOK accessibility to attach any accessories to the gun.
Forends are categorized into two depending on installation i.e. free floating or drop-in. While easier to install, cheaper and lightweight than free floating forends, many consumers still don’t opt for drop-in forends.
So why are free floating forends held in such a high regard?
They provide better accuracy and attachment points for bipods, lasers, lights etc. The added accuracy is due to the fact that the free floating forend isn’t in contact with the barrel. This is unlike drop-in forends that are sometimes attached to the barrel.
Forend rails provide more real estate for you to attach accessories, hence ease of customization. The quad rail is one of the most popular forend rails that allows you to attach accessories to four sides of the forend using a Picatinny rail system.
Not all AR15s come with iron sights and as such, there is need to build or purchase sights. It is important that you practice until you become comfortable and improve your accuracy before moving on to more sophisticated options.
Iron sights ensure that you have a reliable, accurate backup in case your optic fails. They also allow you more time to figure out what you want from an optic i.e. long range accuracy, fast close range reaction shooting or adjustable all round performance.
You will need to decide on a preferred style once you are ready to upgrade your optics. This means that you have to choose between having and not having magnification. Keep in mind that a magnified optic may have the ability to make adjustments.
Comfort is an extremely important factor when choosing grips for your AR15. Features to look for include rubberized grips, texture, palm swells, and finger grooves. We recommend testing the grips before purchase.
Another factor to consider is what grip angle is right for you. Reduced angle grips offer a more natural feel as compared to vertical grip. However, the choice between is mostly a matter of personal preference.
Durability is also important when it comes to grips. Casual shooters who frequent the shooting range should focus on comfort while those who compete often should go for a rugged grip. Remember that you may have to sacrifice comfort for practicality and durability.
Magnification scopes come in many varieties, with the most common being magnified red dots. Thermal, ACOGS and classic style scopes also fall in this category. Magnification is particularly beneficial if you want to shoot further distances. It also fixes your troubles if you are having problems picking targets.
There are endless stock options for AR15s and regardless of the function or style, you can be sure to find what you need. Stocks are generally classified into two i.e. fixed and collapsible.
A fixed stock has a singular length of pull and often requires charging of the tube and components. It is a good option for hunting or long range shooting.
You can opt for a minimalist stock that doesn’t require change of the buffer tube or doubles as a buffer tube. Such a stock is pretty lightweight, affordable and a great option for someone who wants a tactical look while eliminating the moving parts.
Adjustable stocks are very popular in shooting ranges and come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, prices and uses. They offer users ease of installation, many lengths of pull and unlimited options to suit different needs.
Lights and lasers
These are some of the easiest accessories to mount onto a rifle and completely optional. They are not practical for everyday use, but will come handy for home defense weapons. We recommend choosing the light if you have make a choice between the two.
A good light will improve visibility, navigate dark environments and identify the enemy. It will also provide an aiming point if it’s a high power light.
Lasers are more precise when it comes to providing an aiming point. A rifle-mounted laser, particularly one that’s zeroed, places a laser dot where the bullet will hit the target. This makes it easier for you to fire accurate shots from awkward positions or while on the move.
A laser isn’t as effective as a light when it comes to lighting up a room and improving visibility in low-light conditions.
This is another optional accessory for your AR15. Investing in one isn’t necessary if you prefer stationary shooting. They are a good investment for competitive shooting. The main purpose of a sling is to allow you to free up a hand when navigating obstacles or prevent damage to your weapon when it falls.
There are three main variations of slings i.e. one-point, two-point and three point slings. One-point slings are good for maneuverability and make it easy to access all parts of the rifle.
The main downside is that it may cause you to slip if you allow it to hang from the sling while on the move without your hands on the gun.
Two-point slings are the go to if you want increased versatility. They also offer more maneuverability than three-point slings.
Unfortunately, they have a higher tendency to snag on surrounding or gear than one-point slings.
Three-point slings offer the best stability for your rifle compared to other slings. Swinging isn’t an issue but they have a high tendency to snag on the firearm and surroundings.
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