Build Your Own AR15 – BYO AR15


I spent the afternoon hanging out with a good friend of mine yesterday. One of our common interests is firearms. My friend mentioned that he is interested in getting his first AR-15. I say his first, because we all know that once you get one, you can’t stop there. I digress…

My friend is practical like I am and while we would both love to spend lots and lots of money on our hobbies, we also have other responsibilities in life and the idea of spending $1000 – $1500 on a new gun that is a “want”, not a “need” is a hard thing to convince yourself to do. Much less convincing your significant other that this is a good use of family finances. So my friend stated that the only thing holding him back is that AR15s are so expensive. “Don’t they cost like $600?” he asked in a semi rhetorical fashion.

My response was that you can get an AR15 for as little as $450 and as much as $3500. It just depended on what you wanted the gun for and how bare bones or crazy you wanted to get. I told him that if he made some educated decisions what he wanted for his first AR15, we could build him a fairly nice gun for around $600 and he would have an AR15 that was made from quality components and suited to his needs for a fun range gun and general SHTF all purpose weapon.

As we continued on the topic about barrel selection, sourcing quality components, deciding on the right balance between functional parts and cool upgraded parts, it appears that our sensibilities are very similar. So, I will be sharing what I know, learning more on the way and helping my friend to make educated decisions about how to purchase the parts to build his first AR15. While we are doing this, I will be chronicling our experience and sharing what I know so that you can follow along and do the same at home.

We will be shopping for deals on quality parts, so this process will not happen over night. We expect to accumulate the parts needed over the next four months. This will also allow my friend to spend between $100 and $200 a month on this AR15 instead of the whole amount up front. We are targeting an all in price of $600 without optics.

There are plenty of articles and videos that go into the actual assembly process, but we have found very few comprehensive sources of information that dive into the myriad of questions that come up for a new AR building when trying to decide which parts they should select for their build.

The format for these posts will be to pick a part for each post and discuss the range of options available. We will also discuss what is hype and what really affects quality, reliability, performance, durability, etc. We will share what we decide to purchase and how we came to that conclusion so that you can gain insight from our experience even if your values are different. You may come to a different purchase decision, but hopefully this process will help you to make your own informed decisions and hopefully you will learn a few things along the way.


Before we start discussing the individual components, we will talk about philosophy of use. The components you would select for a high end competition gun are going to be vey different then a gun you intend to throw in the back of the truck on your ranch.

Click here to read the article on BYO AR15 – Philosophy of Use

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