First AR: Buy or Build? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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NewGlocker28
12-26-2010, 14:50
Hey guys.

Hoping to get my first AR sometime in 2011. To be honest I don't know a ton about them but will probably be looking to acquire a "mid level" rifle.

In theory I like the idea of building my AR. I like that I can space out the cost and order parts here and there until I have everything and then really understand the rifle inside and out by putting it together myself. Sounds pretty good right? Unfortunately I'm not much of a handyman and didn't earn an "A" in shop class. I have very few tools and no garage or workbench, vice grips, etc.

So my question to you guys is, what would I need tool wise to build an AR and how difficult is it? Or am I better off just buying a fully assembled rifle from one of the mid level companies (Stag, Bushmaster, etc). I know there's the option of buying a complete lower and complete upper and putting those together.

Also, if I decided to go with something prebuilt, how easy it is to change things such as the buttstock, handguards, pitsol grib. Basically if I get bored with all black and want to throw some OD Green on, is that a fairly easy process.

I know there's a lot in this post and thanks for reading. Appreciate any and all comments and suggestions as I look to get more knowledgable on the AR this year.

Thanks.

boomhower
12-26-2010, 14:55
Building a lower isn't rocket science and just takes a few handtools. Take a look at some videos on youtube and see if it's something your interested in. Building an upper is a whole different ballgame and not likely something you want to jump into right away.

I'm lazy and just bought a complete upper and lower, both DD. It was cheaper than just buying the rifle in whole.

raven11
12-26-2010, 14:56
I would buy your first AR, something backed with a lifetime warranty. most people that live in my area they end up tricking out their one AR then realize a year later that they have enough parts to build their own AR

it is not hard to build one but if you aren't very mechanically adapt or already have some experience with them then I would buy my first rifle just to see how everything works

mac66
12-26-2010, 14:59
Good time to build IMO. Prices are pretty favorable right now.

A build generally involves putting together a lower receiver and then connecting an already assembled upper to the lower. Lower receivers are easy to assemble. All parts pretty much just fall into place. Swapping parts, stocks, hand guards etc it equally easy.

I say, go for it. Be warned however that once you do it is addicting. I've put 8 rifles together and just itch to build more.

NeverMore1701
12-26-2010, 15:00
For your first, I'd say buy a complete upper and lower and put them together. Save a little that way, but don't have to worry about messing anything up. Get to know the system, and build your next one if you want to.

Alcoy
12-26-2010, 15:02
Building a lower isn't rocket science and just takes a few handtools. Take a look at some videos on youtube and see if it's something your interested in. Building an upper is a whole different ballgame and not likely something you want to jump into right away.

I'm lazy and just bought a complete upper and lower, both DD. It was cheaper than just buying the rifle in whole.

^^^ This. Check del-ton.com.

FatBoy
12-26-2010, 15:05
Buy a complete upper and build the lower if you want, or just buy a complete lower. Lowers are easy to build w/ tools you prob have at home.

Here is a link to a vid of the task...
http://www.lifelibertyetc.com/Home/RangeBag/AR15StrippedLower

FB

TedG
12-26-2010, 15:26
If you want to save a lot of time, there's a brand new BCM mid-length for less than a grand on GB. You'll want one eventually, so you might as well do it now. Good luck.

:wavey:

AFPD118
12-26-2010, 15:31
Take a good look at Stag Arms, very good ARs and parts incl complete uppers and lowers for the money.

nastytrigger
12-26-2010, 15:40
Build. Or just assemble. Assembling a stripped lower is pretty easy. Buy the upper of your choice and your good-to-go. That's the easiest way. It's how I did my Bushmaster/LMT/BCM SBR.

cowboy1964
12-26-2010, 17:46
No way I would attempt to build my first. Without any experience at all with ARs I really didn't know what I wanted. Now that I've owned one I have some better ideas of what I really want long-term.

alexanderg23
12-26-2010, 17:53
Del-ton.com Get a complete lower and complete upper from them if you think you like them you can get the upper anyway you want it.

VZ1600
12-26-2010, 18:59
Being I am new to the AR world, I bought my first AR. A S&W M&P15TS.

http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u286/guinea72/picture0082-1.jpg

Although now that I have become familiar with the AR platform, I will certainly built my next AR.

boomhower
12-26-2010, 20:04
Forgot a suggestion.

Go to smartgunner.com and order 16" Lightweight midlength upper with your choice of Lite or Omega X rail, add a BCG, CH, and rear site. Next go to bravocompanyusa.com and order a blem lower. Top flight AR for midtier money.

dlupini
12-26-2010, 20:57
Take a good look at Stag Arms, very good ARs and parts incl complete uppers and lowers for the money.

Buy a complete upper and build the lower.

this is what I did:
http://ar15sa.fatcow.com/store/page2.html

I got the Stag 2H Rifle Kit Less Stripped Lower and bought a stripped lower at the local shop. (BTW if you mention that your are an AR15.com member you will get a discount)

Glocken-spiel
12-27-2010, 09:05
to echo some of what's been said, i'd buy an upper and build the lower. i got all my parts and watched the videos and built my lower -- disappointingly easy. the upper however has some tricky things to adjust/fit correctly. if you have all the tools and someone to call on it's not that hard, but for the first shot out of the box i'd by the upper.

cost was a big consideration for me, so i bought a good barrel and Bolt Carrier Group (i bought a Bravo Company BCG). All said and done it turned out very well, but i could have bought cheaper if i had the money for a complete upper at the time.

P.S. i'm a fan of Plum Crazy (polymer) complete lower. i have three now, one is a dedicated .22lr AR. they are a great way to get started and save, and you can upgrade as you feel the need (and have the funds). go to "upstatearmorygroup.com" and check out their price.

BBJones
12-27-2010, 09:09
Forgot a suggestion.

Go to smartgunner.com and order 16" Lightweight midlength upper with your choice of Lite or Omega X rail, add a BCG, CH, and rear site. Next go to bravocompanyusa.com and order a blem lower. Top flight AR for midtier money.

+1. Get quality for your first build and these are great parts for great prices. smartgunner.com's deal on DD uppers is outstanding.

Only things you need to decide is:
gas system - I recommend mid-length over carbine
rail length - depends on your use and if you get a FSB
FSB - yes or no
barrel profile
sight setup - if you get a FSB only need a rear. If you go lo-pro gas block, need both front and rear.

1811guy
12-27-2010, 09:39
Buy. Preferably a Colt or other high quality AR. It will make your first shooting experience very positive. After shooting and handling one for a while you will get a better idea of what you would want for a custom build and can get one. Assembling an AR is a piece of cake provided you use quality parts and the proper tools.

1811guy
12-27-2010, 09:40
Yes I said it, buy a COLT. They really are that damned good. Those who say otherwise obviously do not own one.:supergrin:

screaminbeagle
12-27-2010, 20:45
build the lower.....i thought it would be a fun challenge but i was wrong.....it's so easy a blind caveman can do it......it was fun,though....don't forget the disconnector spring...

NewGlocker28
12-28-2010, 09:16
Thanks for the advice guys on building the lower. Sounds fun. When I build a lower can I set it up for a lefty? Meaning can I have the safety and mag release on the left side of the gun?

NeverMore1701
12-28-2010, 09:25
Nope.

1811guy
12-28-2010, 15:24
Nope.

Yes he can.

Norgon ambi catch or Troy ambidextrous mag release
Bolt catch is already inuitively set up for a lefty
Ambidextrous safties are available from several manufacturers (you will actually want the safety on the right hand side if you are shooting left handed).

NewGlocker28
12-28-2010, 16:24
Yes he can.

Norgon ambi catch or Troy ambidextrous mag release
Bolt catch is already inuitively set up for a lefty
Ambidextrous safties are available from several manufacturers (you will actually want the safety on the right hand side if you are shooting left handed).

Absolutely correct. Nice catch.

AFPD118
12-28-2010, 16:52
Which do we love more our Glocks or our ARs? Do we have to choose? :rofl:

MrMurphy
12-28-2010, 17:30
Buy.

It's easy to jack up a Frankengun. And if you have no experience with ARs...bad way to start.

NeverMore1701
12-28-2010, 17:55
Yes he can.

Norgon ambi catch or Troy ambidextrous mag release
Bolt catch is already inuitively set up for a lefty
Ambidextrous safties are available from several manufacturers (you will actually want the safety on the right hand side if you are shooting left handed).

True, I was thinking standard LPK. My bad.

1811guy
12-28-2010, 22:10
Buy.

It's easy to jack up a Frankengun. And if you have no experience with ARs...bad way to start.

This here.

Again, buy a Colt and quality ammo. Your first experience with an AR will be positive that way. You can always do a build later when you learn more.'

My first AR was a Colt 6520. It is still one of my favorite AR's. It is hard to go wrong with a Colt.

RMTactical
12-28-2010, 22:16
My first AR15 was a "build". Very educational. I prefer building my rifles.

SNoB
12-29-2010, 10:31
build the lower.....i thought it would be a fun challenge but i was wrong.....it's so easy a blind caveman can do it......it was fun,though....don't forget the disconnector spring...


I totally agree. I decided to build my first lower. I am glad I did, building it helped me learn a lot about the function of the rifle. This also let me put in all the parts I wanted rather than having to change them out later.

If you order a LPK from G and R tactical all the tricky springs come installed on the parts. I think this makes it even easier

moeman
12-29-2010, 11:40
Stag's lifetime warranty and value makes buying a good deal.

MaximaDrvr
12-29-2010, 14:48
I built my first AR rifle.
http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww83/MaximaDrvr/DSC05205.jpg

I borrowed a few thing tool wise, but still ended up with stuff I doubt I will use again.
I ended up spending about $1400 to build it the way I wanted. I know you can buy a mid level rifle for that or less, but this one is perfect for me. In the end, I probably could have just ordered exactly what I wanted from BCM or DD and saved on the time, but this let me learn and spread the cost out over three months (said I would do it over a year). Now I want to do a light weight build, but that will have to wait a couple years.

In the end, if you want to deal with the frustration of slipping and marring your lower when putting it together, and not having any warranty if something doesn't work, and that doesn't bother you, then build it yourself. There are plenty of videos on youtube that walk you through it.

If you want to open the box and be ready to go, for the same amount of money, then just buy one.