So you want an AR-15. You could just go and buy one…but why not build your own?
There have been many articles on this very subject, even a few complete web sites, even some kits to buy. Here are a few:
Ok, practically speaking, and from a lot of experience and conversations with friends, here is what I gotta say about it. If you only want one AR-15, just go buy one. Get what fits your budget and be done. But don’t shoot it much…because then you will want another one, a different one…and after that one you will be wondering why you didn’t build the first two. If you are lucky enough to stop at three then you haven’t quite paid for all the tools you should have for complete builds…keep going. But, if you want the investment in tools to stay low, then just build the lowers, attach stocks, optics, sights and what-have-you, buy a barreled upper-or two, etc.
What do I mean? Well, you can have a GI iron sight AR. You can have a heavy barrel varmint AR. You can have an M-4. You can have a AR Pistol. You can have…dang near anything you want. You could have a .223, a 5.56, a 9mm, a .300 Blackout. You could have one lower and many uppers. You could have a pistol lower, a match lower, a fixed stock, an adjustable stock. Iron sights, flat-top, picatinny rail, scoped, holographic, laser, flashlight, and the list never ends.
So where to start? First decision-is it going to be a rifle or a pistol? Some of the regulations and guidance on the FFL 4473-Firearms Transaction Record, has changed but wise sources reveal that the Form 4-Manufacture Declaration, has not. So make that decision first. The lower receiver-the base of the build isn’t just a part-it is either a rifle or a pistol, period. Order that first since it is the only part that you will need to sign off with an FFL. This is what we call the stripped receiver.
Now you will need an FFL to have this shipped to. If you are in the Walla Walla, WA area I highly recommend Lee Zimmerman of 123 Pawn at 1500 E. Isaacs, (509) 529-7296. Need a different choice, look here.
Want to avoid all of that…go to a gun show.
You will still need a stock before you can put the whole lower together. You probably also need to make some choices on furniture color. Some kits include the buffer tube, buffer and spring… others do not. Read carefully before choosing. Here are a couple of shopping links: Collapsible, Fixed, or Skeleton.
Now, you can build your own upper or buy a barreled upper. Your choice. I think there are enough links above to find everything, but just in case, here is on final section of links: AR15.COM, Auction Arms, Bravo Company, Brownells, Gun Broker, Guns America, J & S Gun Parts, JT Distributing, Midway USA, Model 1 Sales, Olympic Arms, Sportsmans Guide, and Surplus Arms.
Don’t worry, you’re not really done. There are still sights, scopes, bags, cases, slings, brass catchers, moderators, two stage triggers, and everything else. Really, you’re never done…at least not for long.
Enjoy your build, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.