Enhance Your AR15: The Complete Guide To Choosing The Best Attachments

Key Takeaways:

  • The AR15 is a popular semi-automatic rifle originally designed for military use and now widely used by civilians.
  • The AR15 has undergone various modifications and improvements, leading to different variants and models.
  • Understanding the key components of an AR15 is essential for selecting compatible attachments.
  • There are different optics and sights available for enhancing accuracy, such as red dot sights, holographic sights, and scopes.
  • The appropriate magnification for optics depends on shooting style and purpose, such as close-quarters, mid-range, or long-range shooting.
  • Reticle adjustments are measured in MOA or MIL units, which are important for zeroing the optic.
  • Tactical add-ons like flashlights, laser sights, grips, forends, suppressors, and muzzle devices can improve the functionality and performance of the AR15.
  • Personalizing the AR15 with stocks, handguards, and coatings allows for customization according to preferences.
  • Options for stock customization include fixed, collapsible, and adjustable stocks.
  • Handguards can be customized with KeyMod, M-Lok, or Picatinny rails for attaching accessories.
  • Coatings and finishes like DuraCoat, Cerakote, and Hydro-Dip can enhance the appearance of the AR15.

1. Understanding Your AR15: A Brief Overview

An AR15, also known as the Armalite Rifle 15, is a popular semi-automatic rifle that has become a staple in the firearm community. Its history and evolution can be traced back to the 1950s when Eugene Stoner designed the first prototype. Originally developed for military use, the AR15 has since found its way into the hands of civilians for various purposes like self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting.

1.1 The History of AR15 and its Evolution

The AR15 has a rich history that dates back to its inception in the 1950s. It was developed by Eugene Stoner for the company Armalite, hence the name. Initially designed as a lightweight and reliable rifle for the military, it soon gained popularity among civilian shooters due to its versatile nature.

Over the years, the AR15 went through several modifications and improvements, leading to various variants and models. One significant development was the adoption of the AR15 platform by the United States military, where it became known as the M16 rifle. This further solidified its reputation and contributed to its widespread use.

1.2 Key Components of an AR15 and How They Work

Understanding the key components of an AR15 is essential for selecting the best AR15 attachments. Here are the main parts:

  1. Upper Receiver: The upper receiver houses the barrel, bolt, and charging handle. It plays a crucial role in guiding the ammunition and ensuring proper cycling.
  2. Lower Receiver: The lower receiver contains the trigger, magazine well, and stock attachment point. It is the serialized part of the AR15 and is legally considered the firearm.
  3. Barrel: The barrel determines the accuracy and range of the AR15. It comes in different lengths and materials, such as stainless steel or chrome-lined.
  4. Stock: The stock provides stability and support for the shooter. It can be fixed, collapsible, or adjustable, depending on personal preference and shooting style.
  5. Handguard: The handguard protects the shooter’s hand from the heat generated by the barrel. It also offers attachment points for accessories like grips, lights, and lasers.

These components work together to ensure the proper functioning of the AR15, and understanding their roles is crucial for selecting compatible attachments.

1.3 Different AR15 Variants: Which One Is Right for You?

The AR15 comes in various variants, each with its own unique features and characteristics. Here are a few popular ones:

  1. M4 Carbine: This variant is commonly used by the military and law enforcement agencies. It features a shorter barrel and a collapsible stock, making it more maneuverable in close quarters.
  2. AR pistol: An AR pistol is a compact version of the AR15 that does not have a stock, making it legally classified as a pistol. It offers increased portability while retaining the firepower of the AR15 platform.
  3. Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR): The DMR variant is optimized for precision shooting at longer ranges. It often features a heavier barrel, adjustable stock, and enhanced optics.

Choosing the right AR15 variant depends on your intended use and personal preferences. Consider factors such as barrel length, stock type, and overall weight to determine the best fit for your needs.

2. Enhancing Accuracy: Optics and Sights for Your AR15

When it comes to enhancing accuracy, optics and sights play a crucial role. Here are some considerations for choosing the best attachments:

2.1 Exploring Different Optics: Red Dots, Holographic Sights, and Scopes

Optics come in various forms, each offering unique advantages for different shooting scenarios. Here are a few popular options:

  • Red Dot Sight: Red dot sights provide a simple and intuitive aiming solution. They have a single illuminated dot that helps shooters quickly acquire targets.
  • Holographic Sight: Holographic sights work similarly to red dot sights but use a laser-generated holographic reticle. They offer a larger field of view and are more forgiving with eye placement.
  • Scope: Scopes provide magnification and precise aiming points. They are ideal for long-range shooting and target identification.

Choosing the right optics depends on your shooting style, intended use, and budget. Consider factors such as magnification, reticle type, and durability to make an informed decision.

2.2 Selecting the Right Magnification for Your Shooting Style and Purpose

The magnification level of your optic greatly influences your shooting capabilities. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the appropriate magnification:

  • Close-Quarters: For close-quarters engagement, a low to medium magnification, such as 1x to 4x, is recommended. This allows for quick target acquisition and enhanced situational awareness.
  • Mid-Range: If you primarily engage targets at medium distances, a medium to high magnification, such as 4x to 8x, is suitable. This provides enough magnification for precise shots without sacrificing too much field of view.
  • Long-Range: For long-range precision shooting, a high magnification scope, typically 10x and above, is necessary. This allows for accurate target identification and engagement at extended distances.

Consider your shooting style, typical engagement distances, and the balance between magnification and field of view when selecting the right magnification for your AR15.

2.3 Understanding MOA and MIL: Decoding Reticle Adjustments

Reticle adjustments are essential for zeroing your optic and making accurate shots. Two common units of measurement for reticle adjustments are MOA (Minute of Angle) and MIL (Milliradian). Here’s a brief overview of each:

  • MOA: MOA is an angular measurement that allows for precise adjustments. One MOA represents 1.047 inches at 100 yards. It is commonly used in the United States.
  • MIL: MIL is another angular measurement commonly used globally. One MIL represents 3.6 inches at 100 yards. MIL-based reticles offer quick and precise adjustments in the metric system.

Understanding MOA and MIL is essential for adjusting your optic’s reticle to compensate for bullet drop and windage. Consider the system you’re comfortable with and the availability of ammunition with compatible ballistic charts when choosing the reticle adjustments for your AR15.

3. Tactical Add-Ons: Must-Have Accessories for Your AR15

In addition to optics and sights, there are several tactical add-ons that can enhance the functionality and performance of your AR15. Here are some must-have accessories:

3.1 Flashlights and Laser Sights: Illuminating Your Targets

Adding a flashlight or laser sight to your AR15 can greatly improve your ability to identify and engage targets in low-light situations. Here are some considerations when selecting these accessories:

  • Flashlights: Look for flashlights with high lumens and durable construction. Consider factors like mounting options, throw distance, and different light modes.
  • Laser Sights: Laser sights offer quick target acquisition and enhanced accuracy. Choose a laser sight that is compatible with your AR15’s rail system and provides adjustable settings for windage and elevation.

When equipping your AR15 with a flashlight or laser sight, ensure they are reliable, easy to use, and suitable for your intended applications.

3.2 Grips and Forends: Enhancing Weapon Handling and Control

Grips and forends can significantly improve your weapon handling and control. They provide a more ergonomic and comfortable grip, reducing fatigue and increasing shooting accuracy. Here are some options to consider:

  • Pistol Grips: Pistol grips come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different hand sizes and shooting styles. Look for textures and materials that provide a secure grip.
  • Foregrips: Foregrips enhance stability and control during rapid fire. Angled foregrips and vertical foregrips are popular choices, with each offering unique advantages.

Experiment with different grip options to find the one that suits your shooting style and provides the most comfort and control.

3.3 Suppressors and Muzzle Devices: Reducing Recoil and Muzzle Rise

Suppressors and muzzle devices are popular accessories for reducing recoil and muzzle rise, improving overall shooting experience. Here are some options worth considering:

  • Suppressors: Suppressors, also known as silencers, reduce the noise and muzzle blast produced by firing. They can greatly enhance shooting comfort, especially during extended range sessions.
  • Muzzle Brakes: Muzzle brakes redirect gasses to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. They can improve follow-up shot accuracy and make shooting more pleasant.
  • Compensators: Compensators are muzzle devices designed to counteract muzzle rise. They redirect gasses to keep the barrel more stable during rapid fire.

Before purchasing suppressors or muzzle devices, familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding their ownership and usage.

4. Personalizing Your AR15: Stocks, Handguards, and Colors

Personalizing your AR15 allows you to make it unique and tailored to your preferences. Here are some options for customization:

4.1 Exploring Different Stock Options: Fixed, Collapsible, and Adjustable

The stock of your AR15 impacts both comfort and shooting performance. Consider these stock options when personalizing your rifle:

  • Fixed Stock: Fixed stocks offer stability and are commonly found on traditional rifle platforms. They provide a solid cheek weld and consistent shooting position.
  • Collapsible Stock: Collapsible stocks allow for length of pull adjustment, making them versatile and suitable for various shooter sizes and shooting positions.
  • Adjustable Stock: Adjustable stocks provide the most flexibility, allowing for both length of pull and cheek height adjustments. They offer a customizable fit for optimal shooting comfort.

Choose a stock that aligns with your shooting style and preferences for a personalized shooting experience.

4.2 Customizing Handguards: KeyMod, M-Lok, and Picatinny Rails

Handguards not only protect your hand from the heat generated by the barrel but also provide attachment points for accessories. Here are some popular handguard options:

  • KeyMod: KeyMod handguards utilize a keyhole-shaped mounting system, allowing for quick and easy attachment of various accessories.
  • M-Lok: M-Lok handguards feature a rectangular mounting system, providing a wider range of attachment options compared to KeyMod.
  • Picatinny Rails: Picatinny rails are the most common attachment system, offering compatibility with a wide range of accessories. They provide a stable and secure mounting solution.

Consider the accessories you plan to attach and choose a handguard that offers the necessary attachment options while maintaining the desired aesthetics.

4.3 DuraCoat, Cerakote, and Hydro-Dip: Enhancing the Look of Your AR15

If you want to take customization to the next level, various coatings and finishes can transform the look of your AR15. Here are a few options:

  • DuraCoat: DuraCoat is a spray-on finish that provides excellent durability and customization options. It comes in multiple colors and patterns, allowing you to create a unique look for your rifle.
  • Cerakote: Cerakote is a ceramic-based coating that offers superior protection against wear and corrosion. It is available in a wide range of colors and finishes.
  • Hydro-Dip: Hydro-Dip is a water transfer printing method that allows for intricate patterns and designs. It provides a durable and eye-catching finish.

When customizing the appearance of your AR15, choose a coating or finish that suits your style and ensures long-lasting durability.

By understanding the history, components, and variants of the AR15, as well as exploring different attachments in optics and sights, tactical add-ons, and customization options, you can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your AR15 to fit your shooting needs and personal preferences. Remember to research and consult local laws and regulations when making modifications to your firearm.


Question: Where can I legally use an AR15? – The legality of using an AR15 depends on your local laws and regulations. It is important to research and understand the laws in your area regarding the use and ownership of firearms.

Question: Are there any restrictions on customizing an AR15? – Certain modifications to an AR15 may be restricted or regulated by local laws. It is important to consult and adhere to applicable laws and regulations when customizing your firearm.

Question: Can I attach a suppressor to my AR15? – The use and ownership of suppressors are regulated by federal and state laws. Before attaching a suppressor to your AR15, make sure to comply with all applicable laws and obtain the necessary permits or licenses.

Question: What are the advantages of using a red dot sight versus a scope? – Red dot sights provide a simple and intuitive aiming solution, allowing for quick target acquisition. Scopes, on the other hand, offer magnification and precise aiming points, making them ideal for long-range shooting. Choose the option that best suits your shooting style and intended use.

Question: Can I customize the color of my AR15? – Yes, there are various coatings and finishes available, such as DuraCoat, Cerakote, and Hydro-Dip, that can be applied to customize the appearance of your AR15. These coatings provide durability and allow for unique colors and patterns.

Question: What is the purpose of a foregrip? – Foregrips enhance stability and control during rapid fire. They come in different styles, such as angled foregrips and vertical foregrips, and offer improved weapon handling and control.

Question: What are the benefits of an adjustable stock? – Adjustable stocks allow for both length of pull and cheek height adjustments, providing a customizable fit for optimal shooting comfort. They offer flexibility and versatility to accommodate different shooter sizes and shooting positions.

Question: Can I use an AR15 for hunting? – AR15 rifles can be used for hunting, depending on the applicable hunting regulations in your area. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific hunting laws and restrictions for the game you intend to hunt.

Useful Resources

  • Armalite – The official website of Armalite, the original manufacturer of the AR15.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – Visit the ATF’s website for information on laws and regulations regarding firearms ownership and modifications.
  • National Rifle Association (NRA) – The NRA’s website offers resources on firearm education, training, and legal matters.
  • OpticsPlanet – A popular online retailer for optics, sights, and other AR15 accessories.
  • Brownells – Brownells is a well-known firearms supplier that offers a wide range of AR15 components and accessories.
  • Magpul Industries – Magpul is a manufacturer of AR15 accessories, including stocks, grips, and rail systems.
  • 5.11 Tactical – 5.11 Tactical offers a variety of gear and apparel suitable for firearms enthusiasts and professionals.
  • Primary Arms – Primary Arms is an online retailer specializing in optics, sights, and other accessories for firearms.