We wrote this blog for all our customers who went out and bought an AR-15 but don’t really want to waste time trying to deck it out. Spend 5 minutes reading below and you’ll see how easy it is.
AR-15s are one of the most adaptable weapon platforms on the planet. This means that, in general, you can switch out accessories as you deem necessary. If you have a 5.56mm/.223 cal AR-15 then almost any part of your weapon can be swapped out for an upgraded part.
Seeing that we are in the custom coating business, most of our customers don’t just upgrade one part (as it would look strange to have a black AR with only a multicam’d pistol grip). The list below details the parts that our standard customer grabs to deck out their weapon with instructions on fit and installation for each.
This is meant as rough guide. Since ARs are so popular there are a wide assortment of different models on the market. Most weapons will follow the rules below. Some weapons (i.e. those with gas blocks, or cheaper versions with welded pistol grips/trigger guards/missing forward assists, etc) may not follow all these suggestions. If you are building a weapon from scratch this is probably not for you. If you just bought a complete off the shelf AR this is probably for you. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions. We also offer a 60 day no hassle return policy if things don’t work out.
Your AR pistol grip is attached with 1 screw. You can remove it in less than a minute. That screw is inside the grip. If you have a 5.56/.223 AR then you can use any AR pistol grip on the market. If you have a 7.62/.308 AR, you may require an additional part (such as the Magpul grip wedge).
Besides the screw (which all pistol grips come with) there is no other installation. It pops off and you pop the new one on, presto.
The trigger guard is the piece of metal beneath the trigger guard that attaches between the magazine well and the pistol grip. It keeps you from accidently discharging your weapon as you carry it around. Most are removeable. If there is a small pin in your trigger guard (if it isn’t welded shut or just one solid piece) then you can replace it. All parts are included with any trigger guard. The trigger guard rounds out the coated weapon – all the way to a coated magazine.
Magazines are simple. For ARs we carry 5.56mm/.223 cal and 7.62mm/.308 cal magazines. They come in 20 or 30 round sizes. Get the one that fits your weapons caliber and abides by your state’s regulations (restrictions are listed on the product pages.) A full combat load of magazines is 7 (210 rounds). Non-military folk average about 3 per order.
Now you need to determine if your weapon is MILSPEC (military spec) or Commercial. Luckily, we’ve already written a blog on this subject. Click this link to open a new window with that blog. This is only applicable for collapsible stock weapons – fixed stock weapons (i.e. M16s) need some additional parts. If you have a collapsible stock, and you’ve determined which type of weapon you have (MILSPEC or Commercial) just buy the correct stock, slide off your current one, and slide on the new one. That’s it.
Rails & Handguards
We’re going to simplify this terribly as it applies to 95% of weapons. Unless you have a very expensive AR or custom built one, or just fall into that 5%, the following is true.
You have one of 3 sizes of weapon: carbine length, midlength, or rifle length. Most AR owners have carbine length weapons. The easiest way to tell is to pull out a ruler and measure your current hand guard (the thing that encases your barrel that you may hold when shooting).
Carbine Length = About 7″.
Midlength = About 9″.
Rifle Length = About 12″.
Once you’ve done the measuring you can get the hand or rail system. These install by snapping the old one off and snapping the new one on. Takes a bit of muscle and about 2 minutes.
Now, the hand guard is generally where most folks mount all their widgets. There are too many things out there to get into it, but besides a few Magpul items specifically designed to mount directly to the MOE handguards, you will need a Picatinny rail to attach widgets to your hand guard. Click here to see rails that easily attach to the handguards above (all pieces included). Once you have the Picatinny rail section you can mount:
Many people put sling attachments on their handguards.
We don’t carry anything other than standard back up iron sights. If you’re AR already has a front sight post (triangle thing with sight in the middle of it) you don’t need another front sight post. If it has a carrying handle that is welded to the weapon with a rear sight embedded in it then you don’t need a rear sight. If you have neither, or one or the other, then you’ll need sights. Both of these mount on Picatinny Rail sections (see above under handguards). If you can remove your carrying handle there is usually a Picatinny Rail section under it which you can use to mount your rear sight. For your front sight you can purchase a small Picatinny Rail section and mount it directly to the front of your handguard.
Ass & Trash
There are many other accessories for your AR. And many of the items above carry their own accessories. Below we’ve highlighted just a few that are easily installed and some customers find useful. We do not coat these items due to their material or size.
Rear Sling Adapters. These allow you to hook your sling onto your weapon. It attaches directly below the charging handle on the buffer tube. There are many styles. The easiest to mount, in our opinion, is the Troy Professional Sling Adapter. It just slides over your buffer tube and snaps into place. We carry the Magpul ASAP one too.
That’s about it. Let us know if you have any questions.