The Best AR15 Upgrades

Posted by My Southern Tactical on 23rd Jun 2023

The Best AR15 Upgrades

The AR-15 platform is easily the most popular rifle in America. The reasons for this are many. First, these rifles have been the issued rifle of our military for about six decades now. This has created a lot of deep, institutional knowledge around these rifles, in both how to build and run them well. Next, the AR-15 is an incredibly user-friendly rifle for folks of all ages and statures and truly is an equalizer. It is a phenomenal defensive rifle and works exceptionally well for hunting a lot of different games.

One benefit of the AR-15 is its modular platform. Just about any part of the rifle can be swapped at will, even by those with limited training or gunsmithing knowledge. The AR is a customizer’s dream and the darling of the home builder. The upgrades you can apply to the AR are limitless – you can build your rifle literally any way you want it. In this article, we will look at some of the best AR-15 upgrades. First, let’s take a look at the components of the AR, and how they turn into a cohesive whole.

Parts of an AR15

Upper Receiver: The AR-15's upper receiver of the AR-15 is the aluminum chassis to which other parts of the AR-15 mate. It contains the charging handle, and bolt carrier group and provides the interface between it and the barrel. The upper receiver also has a carrying handle that functions as a rear sight, or a “flat top” Picatinny rail for the addition of sights or optics.

Sights: Traditional AR-15 sights are iron, aperture sights. Modern ARs can use just about every conceivable sighting system with most using some form of folding, backup iron sights (BUIS) in conjunction with a red dot optic or low-powered variable optic. The options are nearly limitless.

Barrel: The barrel is the tube through which the bullet is fired. It is rifled to impart spin onto the bullet, stabilizing it. AR barrels come in various types, from long, heavy barrels intended for maximum accuracy to thin, “pencil” barrels for the lightest weight possible. Shorter barrels are used for close-quarters battles, law enforcement patrol rifles, and home defense. They also come in various materials, including stainless steel. The barrel also bleeds off some of the gas from the fired cartridge, sending it back into the bolt carrier group to extract and eject the fired round.

Bolt Carrier Group: If the AR-15 had a heart, this would be it. The AR-15's BCG contains the bolt and the bolt carrier. These two parts function in tandem to lock the gun during firing, contain the tremendously high pressure, then unlock, extract, and eject the spent round. The buffer and buffer spring force the BCG back forward, feeding the next round and locking the action to begin the firing cycle again.

Handguard: The handguard mates to the upper receiver and fits over the barrel and gas tube. It functions to protect the hands from the hot barrel. In many cases, it also provides a very functional attachment point for accessories via Picatinny, M-LOK, or KeyMod slots. A free-floating handguard will not touch the AR-15 barrel and will offer better accuracy potential.

Lower Receiver: The lower receiver is the portion of the AR-15 that is serialized and legally considered a firearm. The lower receiver contains the trigger group, and the magazine well, and is the mounting point for the buffer tube and stock. The lower receiver mates with the upper receiver to form a complete rifle.

Stock: The stock is the interface between the shooter’s shoulder and the rifle. It provides stability through the third and fourth points of contact between the rifle and the shooter. Stocks can also serve different functions, with some being designed for precision and others optimized for compactness and lightweight. The stock is often a matter of personal preference and mounts to the buffer tube.

Buffer and Buffer Tube: The buffer tube is the frame of the AR-15 stock. It also contains a bugger and a buffer spring. The buffer is a weight that helps to control the recoil of the bolt carrier group.

Trigger Group: The trigger group contains the trigger, hammer, sear, pins to keep them all in place, and the springs to operate them. The trigger group also includes the rifle’s safety. The most common trigger is the mil-spec trigger, which is a single-stage trigger. Some long-range shooters prefer a two-stage trigger and drop-in triggers about in either single- or two-stage.

What accessories can I add to my AR-15?

The accessories you can add to an AR-15 are limited only by your imagination and budget. Let’s look at some of the most popular upgrades for your AR.

Sights: This is a big one – sights are one of the fastest, easiest, and most utilitarian upgrades you can make. The ability to hit targets is the rifle’s reason for being. Upgraded sights let you do so faster and more accurately. TheMagpul MBUS Front andRear Sights are a huge upgrade over traditional irons, or on rifles that lack sights from the factory. A red dot like theSig Romeo5 orRomeo5XDR will also tremendously improve the functionality of your rifle by speeding target acquisition, especially in close quarters.

Grips: an upgraded pistol grip can make your gun more ergonomic. This obviously makes it more comfortable but also improves your ability to hang onto the gun during certain one-handed manipulations like reloads and malfunction clearances. TheMagpul MIAD Grip is one of the most versatile AR-15 pistol grips on the planet. You can customize it’s size and feel, and use the grip for storage of small items, like a bottle of lube to keep your AR running.

Rails: Another big upgrade for rifles without them is a railed handguard. Using Picatinny, M-LOK, or KeyMod slots, these all you to mount all sorts of accessories like lights, lasers, IR/night-vision devices,Angled Fore Grips, and more.

Light: When it comes to a defensive rifle, light is an absolute must-have upgrade. A white light allows you to positively identify your target. Not positively identifying targets has led to some serious tragedies, underscoring the importance of light. A weapon-mounted light can also disorient an opponent and is useful for clearing your house – especially at night when a crime is most likely to occur.

Stock: The stock is another meaningful upgrade. If you have an older, M16-style fixed stock, a modern, telescoping stock can lighten your rifle significantly. It can also allow you to make it small for storage, and customize it to your body, and for special circumstances, like wearing body armor. TheMagpul CTR Carbine Stock and theMagpul SL Carbine stock are two of the most popular AR stocks available today.

Muzzle Devices: Flash hiders and muzzle brakes are another set of very popular upgrades to ARs. Flash hiders dissipate gases escaping from the muzzle, cutting down on visible flash. Muzzle brakes redirect these gasses upward or rearward to minimize muzzle flips and recoil. Other muzzle devices allow the quick attachment and removal of sound suppressors – one of the ultimate AR-15 accessories.

Magazines: The magazine is the rifle’s feeding device, and they should be considered expendable. Magazines break and wear out, and a bad magazine can seriously compromise reliability. One of the single, biggest upgrades you can make to your AR-15, and any future ARs you happen to build or buy is magazines. Magazines can be extremely price sensitive and difficult to find, and now is the perfect time to lay in a good supply – not when they are going for five- and six-times current prices. MST carries the gold standard, the 30-roundGen M3 PMAG, as well as40-round PMAGs, and theMagpul 60-round drum.

Slings: A sling is a rifle what a holster is to a pistol – a way to put the rifle down, yet keep it secure and within arm’s reach when you need your hands for other tasks. A good two-point sling like theMagpul MS-1 will keep the weapon secure, you accommodate loosening for rapid deployment. The Magpul Dual QD MS4 functions as both a single point for maximum flexibility around barricades and in close quarters, but is quickly and easily convertible to two-point for secure carry. Oh, and don’t forgetQD swivels,end plates, Magpul’s totally uniqueASAP end plate, orM-LOK QD mounts.

Personalizing your AR15

Of course, upgrading your AR-15 is also a great opportunity to personalize your rifle and make it yours. One fun way to do that is with custom magazines and ejection port covers from My Southern Tactical. These accessories let your rifle make a bold statement in a fun way!

Custom ejection port dust covers are available in both steel and polymer. They are customizable with all sorts of images and phrases, from simple ones like “5.56 NATO” and “.300 BLK” to those making more of a philosophical statement like “Join or Die.” There are also meme dust covers like “No Step On Snek” and for the Marines out there – acrayon on one side and “OOH-RAH” on the other!

MST also carries some very cool custom magazines. Express yourstate pride, and yourpolitical beliefs, or justmake your buddies laugh at the range with these magazines. If you don’t find anything you like? No problem – you can make a custom AR-15 magazine with a scene from your favorite TV show, a picture of your dog, or a personal statement. Finishes on magazines will not fade or chip for years to come unless the magazine itself is damaged.

Why My Southern Tactical

The AR-15 platform is a modular design, and at My Southern Tactical, we believe it should be a personalized one, too. MST carries a full line of customized parts for your AR-15 rifle. But that’s not all! We also offer customized parts for your AR pistol, Glock pistols, AR-10s, and AKs, all at a reasonable price. If you want to put some personal pride in your bland, utilitarian rifle, turn to My Southern Tactical – we got you covered.

to top
Online Presence By: Benson Design