Things You Should Consider Before Building Your AR-15

Simple Steps To Follow for Building Your AR-15

With the increased demand and attention towards the AR-15s or the so-called “American Rifle,” many people are building AR-15s. It’s an enjoyable process that allows you to build a gun that suits your needs and preference. 

However, there are things to consider before building your AR-15. Paying attention to some of these details will be of significance as you build a reliable and quality AR-15 style gun of your choice. 

Let’s get started.

Purpose of your AR-15

After you build your AR-15, how do you intend to use it? Is it for hunting, self-defense, or competition? Building an AR-15 with a particular purpose is very vital. 

Building a firearm for hunting differ from building one for tactical shooting. Despite AR-15s having common parts, there are a few things you can customize to enhance its practicality in either hunting, self-defense, or competitions. Also, you will have the exact specifications of an AR-15 gun you look forward to building. 


When you embark on building an AR-15 with a clear purpose of how you want to use it, your budget, on the other hand, will determine the quality of the firearm you will build. The AR-15 has a large stake in the civilian gun market; thus, their parts and accessories are readily available and affordable. 

You must have a budget on how much you wish to spend on buying your parts and tools to build your AR-15. Remember that quality parts will give you a quality and reliable gun. Have a reasonable estimate of how much you want to invest in your gun. 

It does not necessarily mean you go for the most expensive parts in the market. However, going cheap might cost you more than expected, or you might not finish up your project. 

Finally, consider different sellers or gun shops and take advantage of discounts and offers available. Also, some may offer prices within your budget. 

Skills and Knowledge 

If you are a beginner in the AR-15 platform, things might be challenging for the first several days. However, the only way to get yourself comfortable before building your AR-15 is by gaining knowledge and skills. 

Knowledge comes first! Consider joining a local forum of AR-15 enthusiasts. Such groups give you exposure on how to handle an AR-15, parts of an AR-15, the process of building an AR-15, etc.  You may also talk to AR-15 individual builders near you since they have a lot of knowledge you can acquire from them.

Do you have the skills to handle and shoot the AR-15 you want to build? If “NOT,” you may first consider basic training and practice. 


How long do you wish to spend building your AR-15? Depending on your availability and other commitments that need your time, they affect your project’s timeframe. You can set aside certain hours in a week to build your AR-15. By doing so, you will have consistency and progress of your project.

However, other elements, such as your proficiency with AR-15s and the availability of parts, may affect the time you take to build your AR-15. 

You may decide to kick off the project once you have all the parts or build gradually by buying individual parts weekly or monthly. 

Barrel Options 

Barrels are very significant in any gun. A barrel does not only determine your AR-15 gun’s accuracy but also determine the gas system you will install in your AR-15. Additionally, it determines the size of the ammunition you intend to use. 

For instance, depending on your barrel’s length, you can choose between carbine, rifle, and mid-length systems. A 16-inch barrel is mostly for carbines, 18-inch barrels takes mid-length gas system, while barrels with a length of 20 inches and above are for rifles. 

Also, barrels with a 1:9 ratio twist function better with lighter ammunition, while a 1:7 ratio is better with heavier ammunition. 

Selecting your appropriate barrel is dependent on the first factor, i.e., knowing the purpose of your AR-15. Different barrels perform better on varying applications. 


The federal law provides that it’s legal to build your gun for personal use, yet there are other guidelines you need to follow to avoid a random visit by the ATF officers. Also, state laws and local regulation widely differ on the topic of building your AR-15

While building an AR-15, you do not need to undertake background checks. However, the ATF requires individuals who purchase a lower receiver with a serial number to follow the Federal Firearm License (FFL) transfer procedure. Conversely, you can avoid such issues by going for the 80% lower receiver since it’s not subject to regulations. 

Adding some of the parts and customization features on your AR-15 may lead you to prison or extra taxation. Also, your AR-15 might be classified as “Any Other Weapon” (AOW).  For instance, an AR-15 pistol should have no buttstock, but a brace is acceptable. Also, it should not have a vertical grip, but an angled grip is permitted. 

Among other issues to look into from a legal approach include the barrel length, type of magazines, and overall length of the AR-15. 

Finally, you may seek legal advice from a competent attorney near you. 


The above things are critical to both beginners and seasoned AR-15 builders. However, building an AR-15 is not a complicated process when you have the right tools, parts, and information about AR-15s. 

Enjoy building your AR-15!

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