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Getting An AR-15: At A Glance - Part 1

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Deciding What You Want

The beautiful thing about the AR-15 is how modular the platform is. It can often be hard to decide where to start. A few basic decisions can really narrow down the options in picking out the ideal AR-15 for you. Loving Arms Guns is glad to help you obtain your next AR-15.

Purpose Driven

Solidifying why you want an AR-15 can help you highlight the right parts and accessories. Try to narrow down why you want an AR-15 to one or two main reasons such as:

  • Self or Home Defense

  • Competitive Shooting

  • SHTF/ Emergency Situations

  • Duty Use

  • Nervous about Politics

  • Hunting

  • Celebrating Freedom

  • And much much more!

Build Or Buy?With very few required tools, anyone can easily assemble an AR-15 using a variety of online guides and tutorials. Building becomes advantageous as assembling parts yourself is often cheaper than purchasing a factory rifle. Furthermore, understanding the internals of the AR-15 allows you to easily upgrade your rifle in the future and specialize its purpose to suit your needs. This is not to say that factory rifles are inferior, the Primary Weapon Systems MK1 MOD-2M line of AR-15s are some of the most advanced rifles on the market. Buying a factory rifle often offers the added assurance of the quality of the gun and the tolerances of the parts. Depending on the manufacturer, factory rifles can be well rounded, well built, and convenient. Though one may source quality parts from a variety of manufacturers for their own custom builds, it is important to realize that every manufacturer is different and some parts may not be initially compatible. The AR-15 can accommodate a huge variety of calibers. Choosing the right caliber must reflect the intended purpose of the rifle. Some popular calibers are:

Standard Military Calibers

  • .223/5.56x45 (most common)

  • 5.45x39

  • 7.62x39

Long Range/Hunting

  • 6.5 Grendel

  • 6.8 SPC

  • .224 Valkyrie

  • .458 SOCOM

  • .450 Bushmaster

  • .50 Beowulf

Pistol Caliber Carbines

  • 9mm

  • 45 ACP

  • 40 S&W

  • 22 Long Rifle

Specialty Calibers

  • 300 Blackout

  • 50 BMG

The Cost

An AR-15's cost can vary anywhere from $399 - $10,000. The parts you put in it can improve both the cosmetics and performance of the firearm. Deciding how much to spend on each part is a personal preference. Generally, you will want to spend more money on the trigger, the bolt carrier group, barrel, and optics. We cannot stress enough the importance of buying good optics as your sight is the primary way that you interface with the gun. Putting a $20 airsoft quality scope on a $5,000 precision rifle will make it perform worse in your hands than a $600 AR-15 with an actual optic. Once again, a major factor in determining your budget is deciding on the purpose of your AR-15. If you're hunting, you may want to purchase a bipod for stability and an expensive high-powered scope. If you're purchasing for home defense, you may want a relatively less expensive reflex sight and a rail mounted flashlight. It is incredibly easy to power creep on the AR-15 platform, or rather spend hundreds of dollars for small incremental improvements that may not offer any tangible benefit to you as a shooter. Thus, acquiring an AR-15 is a purpose driven endeavor; once you decide on how you want to specialize your rifle and have an idea of what direction to proceed in, then you can start evaluating parts, the capabilities they offer, and their overall cost to benefit ratio depending on your budget. Now that you have a purpose in mind, it is time to move on to Part 2: Selecting Individual Components

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