The AR-15 is the most popular gun in the United States for good reason.
It’s one of the simplest guns to master, and it gives you an accurate shot almost every time. It works for both hunting and self-defense, and is even used in competitive shooting events.
It’s also an excellent rifle for those who enjoy customizing their guns and adding new accessories.
Purchasing AR-15 rifles is always a smart move.
Of course, there are a few things you need to take into consideration, especially if you’re a first-time gun owner.
That’s why we’ve written this AR-15 buyer’s guide.
Whether you want to pose for the perfect photo with your rifle, or if you’re buying it for self-defense, getting the right weapon makes all the difference.
Read on to learn everything you need to know when you’re ready to shop for an AR-15.
Master the Big Three
We’ve already spoken a little bit about the top reasons for buying an AR-15.
But what are the most important elements to keep your eye out for when you’re ready to shop?
Make sure you’re buying from a company that provides superior customer service, has expert quality control, and that has high standards for the rifles they create. We know this might sound a bit obvious at first.
But the truth is that people get so wrapped up in the finer details of purchasing AR-15 rifles, that they forget about the basics.
Make sure that you’re buying from a gun manufacturer with a proven track record of excellence. Do your research when it comes to how they test for defects. What are the specifications of each rifle they crate?
If a company claims that it offers a Mil-Spec rifle, how do you verify these higher standards of quality?
If you do run into a problem, what steps will the company take to correct it? Is there any sort of a warranty associated with your rifle?
Once you’ve ensured you’re buying from a company that has great customer service, high standards of production, and that tests their rifles for problems ahead of time?
You know you’re off to a great start.
Now, let’s talk about the three main barrel types you will encounter when shopping for your AR-15.
The AR-15 Guide to Barrel Types
We know that you’re also curious about the different barrel types that you can choose from when shopping for your first AR-15.
There are a few things to take into consideration here. First of all, think about the overall length of your gun.
If you’re planning on using your gun to fire at longer distances, then you should likely opt for a longer barrel. This will help you to improve your overall accuracy.
However, if you’re primarily using your weapon for self-defense? Go with a shorter barrel, as your attacker is likely right in front of you.
Also take into consideration the overall profile, or the weight, of the barrel itself. You can choose from three different profile classes: heavy, government, and lightweight.
The heavier the profile you choose, the more resistance that it can offer against heat. Heavier barrels are a bit more expensive. However, they also offer you the longest lifespan possible.
Most people go with the government barrel. If you’re a beginner, this is probably the best option for you.
A Word About Lining
You also need to think about the kind of lining that you’d like on your barrel.
In most cases, you’ll be choosing between either a chrome lining or a stainless steel option.
If you know that you’re going to be taking your weapon out into the elements, then we strongly suggest going with a chrome option. This is built to resist corrosion, rust, and damage from moisture. Plus, it’s also incredibly easier to clean.
However, if accuracy is the name of your game?
You might not want to go with a chrome option. At least, not if you’re planning on shooting at some seriously long-distance targets.
In your case, a stainless steel barrel might be the better choice. They’re the favorites among professionals and those who compete. However, these are the best to use in competition settings only. This is because they’re not as able to stand up to rust and the elements as the chrome liners are.
Understanding AR-15 Accessories
We know you want to understand the different accessories you can get for your AR-15.
When you’re buying your first AR-15, make sure that you invest in high-quality AR-15 parts from a trusted manufacturer. With that being said, let’s take a look at a few must-have accessories.
We know you take home security seriously. You have the right tools and protection to keep out intruders.
This includes your firearms.
However, without optics, you won’t be able to see an intruder as clearly as you’d like. Look for red-dot optics or reflex options. Aim for an option that lets you see about 300 yards out at a minimum.
Lights and Slings
Plan on using your AR-15 at night?
If so, then make sure you invest in a light with a long range. Always look for a model that you can mount on top of your gun.
When you’re shopping for a sling — or a strap for your gun — comfort is the name of the game. We suggest shopping for either a paracord model or a neoprene rifle sling.
These will allow you to carry even heavier AR-15s with ease.
Do you want to know what to look for when buying an AR-15 accessory that will totally up your game?
If so, then make sure you invest in charging handles. You may also have heard these referred as “cocking handles” in the past. We know what you’re thinking: won’t these just add a ton of weight to my firearm?
Luckily, gone are the days of having to deal with heavy charging handles. Most models today can be put into place with just a light touch of the palm.
Essentially, these allow you to get your gun into place much more quickly — and to fire with greater accuracy.
Once you operate the charging handle, you’ll actually pull the hammer into your ready position. You’ll also be able to pull the bolt of your AR-15 rifle all the way to the back.
This will allow you to keep recoil at a minimum.
A Lock Box
This is far and away the most important accessory that you’ll buy for your gun.
It’s your responsibility to ensure you do everything in your power to ensure that your rifle never falls into the wrong hands. First of all, when you do store your gun, you should always ensure that the chamber is completely empty.
We even suggest storing your ammo separate from the firearm itself.
When you’re shopping for a lockbox, look for one that has a combination. Make sure that you never share your combination with anyone. You should also consider investing in a locking device that you put on the firearm itself.
When in Doubt, Ask a Pro
The final section in our AR-15 buyers guide?
If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you’re just not sure about the quality of the rifle you’re buying, ask someone who does. When buying ammo, always try to get bulk 5.56 ammo from a trusted source.
Trust us when we tell you that members of a local shooting club would love to give you advice on how to find the right AR-15 rifle. The same goes for employees at a shooting range.
Internet forums dedicated to gun buying are an excellent place to start, as well. We even suggest that you read a few online reviews of the models you’re deciding between.
This will help you to make the best possible decision when it comes to what to look for in an AR-15. Plus, you’ll learn a lot in the process.
The AR-15 Buyer’s Guide: Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this AR-15 buyer’s guide has made you feel much more confident about the process of buying your first rifle.
Remember that safety is important above all else.
Looking for more advice on all things self-defense? Want to learn how to lower your stress levels when you’re not able to make it to the firing range?
Interested in picking up a new hobby altogether?
No matter what you want to learn, we can help you to do it the right way. Keep checking back with our blog to make sure you never miss out on the advice and tips we have to offer.