Top 10 AR-15 Upgrades to Trick Out Your Rifle

Hot girl AR 15 babe
I was talking with Eric L. the other day at Brownells.com.

Eric has been shooting since he was 9 years old and is a certified AR-15 Armorer and a great source for inside info.

The question for him was “if you bought a stock AR-15 off the shelf

  • what would be the top 10 upgrade parts you would want to trick it out?”

Eric has access to every part known to man in the armory and here is a list to go by.

Rifle Ammo in Stock

First off realize that upgrading, adding accessories and tricking out your AR-15 is personal preference.

Go to the range and shoot and try out many combinations to help make your best choice.

Also please note I am not a weapons expert –

just a guy that likes to go out and shoot and get better at the game.

#1 BARREL

Get a good barrel.

There are many barrel options and the first will be what length will you need?

Do you want 16 inch or 18 inches?

You can’t go wrong with a Noveske and DPMS as they both make top notch barrels. I also really like FN America barrels as they just get the job done.

 

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#2 TRIGGER

One of the first things you might want to think about is a better trigger, or getting yours worked on by a gunsmith. A cleaner breaking trigger helps your accuracy.

There are many enhanced trigger systems that are much better than what comes stock out of the box. You can go wrong withi CMC, ALG Defense and the Super Tricon trigger by Geisselle automatics, and 2 stage RRA triggers. Most of these are drop-in, and require very little fine work.

Check price at Palmetto State Armory

We also like the Midwest Industries enhanced drop in curved trigger with a single stage 3.5 lb pull.

This is a really nice upgrade that you will be able to feel the instant you put it in. If you want to improve your accuracy having an upgraded trigger will do the trick.

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Question: Do you have a good AR-15 build kit that you can reccommend?

I personally like the Palmetto State Armory MagPul AR-15 lower build kit. You can pick one up for under $130. You can add an upper for about $1

You can then add a upper for about $300 and you have a nice rig that you put together yourself. Its not too hard you just have to use some patience.

Check price at Palmetto State Armory

We also like the at AIMSport AR-15 build kit Optics Planet

#3 SIGHTS

A red dot sight is very important in sub 100 meter shots. The Aimpoint t-1/h-1 or M4/M4S are considered some of the very best sights made.

Also – sights by EOTECH, Vortex StrikeFire and Primary Arms M3 red dot are top notch. KAC sights are very good. Burris also makes a great red dot sight that is cheaper with good value.

The Eotech Transverse XPS 3 Holo Sight is a compact and efficient optic for firearms. It’s the shortest model from EOTech, requiring just 2 3/4 inches of rail space. Unlike its larger counterparts, this sight runs on a single 123 battery, making it smaller, lighter, and providing a longer battery life of 1000 hours. With its streamlined design, the XPS3 allows more rail space, giving room for additional accessories like rear iron sights or a night vision mount. The sight features three reticle options, ensuring fast target acquisition for close-quarter engagements.

The specifications of the EOTech XPS3 Transverse Red Dot Sight highlight its quality construction. Made of aluminum with a matte finish, it’s both durable and sleek. The holographic illumination in red offers 20 brightness settings, making it adaptable to various lighting conditions. The sight has unlimited eye relief and utilizes MOA adjustments with a click value of 0.5 MOA. With submersible water resistance up to 10 meters and a temperature range of -4 to 122 Fahrenheit, this optic is designed to withstand challenging conditions. The package includes the sight, a quick-start guide, warranty card, CR123 battery, and a protective polymer hard case.

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#4 GRIPS

There are a lot of options with AR-15 grips.

Check out SOG armory graphite vertical grips are sweet.

Grips can make a big difference on your weapon, especially when you are doing tactical shooting.

Magpul has both vertical and MOE.

You can’t go wrong with Magpul. Hogue also makes good products.

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#5 RAILS


You will want to have a great rail system to attach your scope and grips to. The Daniel Defense rail system is a good bet.

We also like the Midwest Industries quad rail. Solid, mounts well, and great support from the manufacturer.


A tad heavy with non removable rails, but the advantages of a true free float far outweigh the disadvantages. If you’re worried about the weight, you can always go polymer, although it is less reliable.

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#6 LIGHT

There are a lot of options to go with for a flashlight. The SureFire Scout M300, M600 or Elzetta ZFL-M60 are perfect options.

We also like the Streamlight PolyTac LED Flashlight. We bought this weapons light for a shotgun, took off mount and used on AR. Light is perfect for indoors or night time, very bright. We bought another mount for this light for shotgun.

The mount is perfect for my AR15, puts thumb cap of light just in the right place without having to juggle the rifle to reach it. I used this set up on two different guns but they both worked perfectly; we are very pleased with products.

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#7 SLIDING STOCK

Tricking out your stock is the fun part and there are many options.

One of the go-to companies is Tapco and B5 Systems as they have many options at good value.

Magpul also makes some amazing stocks.

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#8 FLASH HIDER/MUZZLE BRAKE

A flash hider is easy on the wallet and easy to install yourself.

Check out the Noveske flash suppressor for an AR in .22 and your can’t go wrong.

There are many dozens of different suppressors so take your time picking one out.

We also like the Global Sportsman suppressor. I bought this mostly because I didn’t want another A2 bird cage. It looks better and I am very pleased. I ordered the brake at about midnight and it shipped by 9 am the next day.

I received it 2 days earlier than the estimated delivery date. I highly recommend Ultimate Arms Gear as a seller as well as the brake!

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#9 MAGAZINES

Image result for magazines AR-15

The one thing you will always want to have several extra 30 round mags to add to your collection before the liberals take them away. Magpul and Tapco are the go to resource.

The new magazines with a clear plastic window from Magpul are nice. You can see how many rounds you have left.

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#9.5 SLING ATTACHMENT

This sling attachment point by Magpul Industries is designed for easy use and durability. Made of sturdy steel with a black finish, it fits both mil-spec and commercial-spec carbine receiver extensions. Its ambidextrous design allows smooth weapon manipulation for shooters of any hand preference, with a wide range of motion.

Replacing the standard AR15/M16 carbine stock receiver end plate, it minimizes snagging and enables quick transitions between shoulders. Compatible with single-point slings featuring snap hook style attachments, such as the Magpul MS2 Sling, it has undergone stress tests proving its resilience against pressures exceeding 300 lb.

Check price at Palmetto State Armory

#10 SLING

Some say that this may be one of the top 3 must needs. Magpul, Blueforce Gear all make good slings.

You can add a sling adapter from Noveske, Doublestar, DPMS and Midwest industries.

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Extra AR-15 Upgrades

#1 .223 Ammo
Don’t buy cheap ammo. Buy in bulk and spend a lot of time at the range.
#2 Magpul B.A.D Lever 
Designed to considerably improve the speed and efficiency of the AR15/M16 bolt catch.

Question: What is the difference between an M4 and AR-15?

Answer: The AR-15 is the generic name for the 5.56 mm rifle invented by Eugene Stoner which was adopted as the M16A1 and all of it’s derivatives. The AR-15 name was trademarked by Colt and was used for its semi-auto versions. The M4 carbine is an AR-15/m16 rifle with a 14.5″ (in its military garb) with a cutout for mounting a grenade launcher. Basically a shortened version of the rifle. The AR-10 is similar to the AR-15 but in 7.62 NATO (.308) caliber.

Question: Where can I find out more about defending our gun rights?

Answer: Check out the National Rifle Association NRA here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.

His where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.

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