Tag Archives: AR-15

Customizing Your AR-15 With A Purpose


The AR-15 has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the past decade, and many gun owners own at least one of these firearms. Along with being available at many different price points, what makes this style of rifle so useful is the amazing amount of customization that the platform allows for. While there are countless accessories available for a wide variety of uses, we’ve broken down the most effective customization for the most common uses.728x90ees

Home Defense
Chambering: 5.56×45
Barrel: 14.5” with flash suppressor
Sights: Holographic Sight

There are a number of considerations to make when choosing a weapon for home defense, including the proximity of nearby homes, maneuverability of the weapon through close quarters, and most importantly, who else is in the home. For these reasons, we chose an AR that features the shortest barrel that is legally allowed, providing optimal maneuverability. Along with this, the 5.56 round carries less energy than some of the larger chamberings that are available, helping to reduce the risk of accidental injuries caused by over-penetration. While not listed, it should also be noted that soft point bullets should be used in a home defense situation, as they will cause more damage to any threat, while reducing the risk of over-penetration, both through walls and through the threat. While any bullet can penetrate walls, these considerations help to reduce the risk somewhat.

For a sight, we chose a holographic sight that will allow for an extremely quick sight picture. Along with this, we also added a foregrip to give us increased control and a flashlight that can illuminate a potentially dark home.

Screenshot 2015-01-19 12.48.55

Hog Hunting
Chambering: 7.62×39
Barrel: 20”
Sights: 3-9×40 Scope & offset Red Dot Sight
-Adjustable Stock

While the 5.56 round can be effective at killing smaller hogs and, with proper shot placement, larger hogs, we opted for the 7.62 round to ensure a quick and clean kill. The 20” barrel does increase the weight some over the more traditional 16” barrel, but the increased accuracy for longer range shots is worth it. However, it should be noted that this was chosen with hunting in areas like Texas where the hogs are plentiful and longer range shots over open terrain are not uncommon. Should you be hunting in thick woods, such as the swamps of Florida, the shorter 16” or even 14.5” barrel would be more appropriate as maneuverability becomes more of a concern than long range accuracy. To help us with taking accurate shots over a variety of distances, we opted for an adjustable 3-9x scope. However, the offset red dot sight also comes in handy should a number of close range shots be necessary.

For accessories, the sling allows us to keep the rifle on our body while keeping our hands free. The foregrip is important to increase our control over the rifle and the adjustable stock allows us to keep the rifle in a comfortable position when shouldered at all times.

Chambering: .300AAC Blackout or 5.56×45
Barrel: 16”
Sights: Holographic Sight & 3x Scope with flip to side mount
-Adjustable Stock

For this customization, we wanted to create a rifle that would be as versatile as possible. The chambering in .300AAC is a nice compromise between the 5.56 and 7.62, allowing us to use the rifle for essentially anything. However, we’ve also included the 5.56 chambering as if you intend to create a rifle for a survival situation, the 5.56 round will be much more commonly found. The standard 16” barrel gives us quality accuracy without sacrificing maneuverability or weight. Having both a holographic sight and a low magnification scope that is capable of being flipped to the side means we have the capability for close quarters shooting, as well as being able to identify and engage targets at medium to long range.

Our accessories include a foregrip to give us better control, a sling to allow us to easily carry the rifle while keeping our hands free, and an adjustable stock to ensure proper fit, especially if the rifle will be shared by several members of the family. The flashlight can be handy for any number of uses and is an easy accessory to maintain, while the silencer helps reduce the noise any shooting makes to a more ear friendly decibel, as well as increases accuracy and ensures better position concealment.

Chambering: .22lr
Barrel: 16”
Sights: Iron

This is a pretty simple setup and doesn’t require much explanation. Plinking is a great way to practice your shooting and rifle skills very cheaply. If you don’t have an AR in .22 then a .22 conversion kit is a cheap and easy way to start. Keep things simple. Standard barrel length, iron sights, and a foregrip is all you need to practice your shooting cheaply.

Screenshot 2015-01-19 12.53.51

Long Range Shooting
Chambering: 7.62×51
Barrel: 20”
Sights: 8-32×56 Scope

While the AR-15 is not as inherently accurate as bolt-action rifles, they can still be setup to shoot at long ranges rather effectively. For this style of shooting, we’ll keep things simple. The 7.62 round is a much better long distance round than the 5.56 due to the increased weight and energy. The 20” barrel gives us more accuracy than the shorter versions. We’ll throw a quality 8-32x scope on the rifle to allow us to see our targets several hundred yards down range. The only accessory to add to the rifle is a bipod so we can create a stable shooting base, something that is extremely important when shooting long distances as even small mistakes are amplified into big problems when such long distances are at play.

Written by: Dieter Heren
To learn more about this author visit www.saltwaterandgunpowder.com

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The strange, strange, face of AR-15s in legislatively limited areas

Let us face it, not every state and country is lucky enough to be able to legally own a functional AR-15 style modern sporting rifle. And please note, if you ever put the term AR-15 and ‘assault rifle’ in the same sentence we will chase you down and throw rocks at you unless they are separated by the word ‘isn’t.’ With that being said, some places classify your tried and true AR as something that is prohibited by law. However, that doesn’t mean that these guns don’t legally exist in these neo-communist areas.

They just look different.

Will you show me the bullet button please?

California has, since 1989, had a hang up with semi-automatic rifles that have a detachable magazine. Unless you had a grandfathered gun, about the only way to get around this projection of foolishness is to make your magazine semi-permanent into the gun. This is done with a device called a bullet button.

Stick with us here.

The bullet button...

The bullet button…

The way these work is that they fix the magazine into the magazine well, attaching in place of the normal release button. Once you click the loaded mag in and the bullet button is installed– that bad boy is fixed and isn’t going anywhere without a set of tools. http://www.ehow.com/info_7853912_laws-bullet-buttons-california.html   Now manufacturers are out there who make these in all sorts of flavors that allow a simple hand-tool or even the head of a 5.56 cartridge to be used as a release, but it still slows down a reload of these guns.

California also has an issue with pistol grips on rifles. On the West Coast, these grips are evil and must be stopped.

California also has an issue with pistol grips on rifles. On the West Coast, these grips are evil and must be stopped.

Further, some jurisdictions such as Sunnyvale and San Francisco have local ordinances that outlaw all magazines over 10-rounds, even so-called pre-ban ones. Even with a bullet button.

The SAFE Act complaint rifles

New York has jumped into the ‘assault rifle’ hysteria with both feet. With passage of the NY SAFE Act in 2013, the Empire State mandated that a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine was a deadly ‘assault weapon’ if it had any of these ten different things:

  • Folding or Telescoping stock.
  • Thumbhole stock.
  • Second handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by non-shooting hand.
  • Protruding pistol grip.
  • Bayonet mount.
  • Flash suppressor.
  • Muzzle brake.
  • Muzzle compensator.
  • Threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle brake or compensator.
  • Grenade launcher.

If you had one of the above, you had to register by April 15, 2014 or live as a lawbreaker. Many in the state burned their registration forms. Others changed their guns so they would be complaint. In the end, Gov. Cuomo and the gang smiled with satisfaction that no more evil AR-15s could be sold in New York.

Except for complaint ones.

The TAR-15, All-NY compliant!. Photo credit: The Arms Room.

The TAR-15, All-NY compliant!. Photo credit: The Arms Room.

You see, no sooner had the ink dried then good old-fashioned American ingenuity kicked in and gun shops started to make SAFE guns. A good example of these is the Occupied Zone TAR-15 rifles made by the Arms Room have a California style bullet button so it’s no longer a detachable magazine, have a strait stock that doesn’t fold or have a pistol grip, cannot accept a muzzle accessory, and has no bayonet lug or grenade launcher attachment (seriously?)

Let freedom ring!

Pump it on up

Not to be outdone, Troy Defense recently introduced the PAR or “Pump Action Rifle.” Forget piston or gas-impingement, this AR-style rifle uses a manually operated Alpha-style hand guard with a full top-rail with integrated pump action. Cha-chunk goes the 5.56!  We aren’t making this up.

Yes, this is a pump-action AR. Photo by Troy Defense.

Yes, this is a pump-action AR. Photo by Troy Defense.

Finally, let us talk about the mythical…


If you think you have it bad in New York or California, you should try living in the good old UK for a bit. Great Britain largely banned all semi-automatic rifles in 1988 after an incident with a crazed gunman. As always, after a shooting the government’s answer is to take guns away from the people who *didn’t* have anything to do with it. Now all you can have in merry old England are century-old antiques, lever action, bolt-action, and single-shot rifles. Even these require registration and permits, etc. This makes the prospect of the British AR in civilian hands something of a… well, unicorn.

The SGC "Unicorn." Take note of the lever action bar along the top of the lower.

The SGC “Unicorn.” Take note of the lever action bar along the top of the lower.

Well a UK-based company called the Southern Gun Company produces an entire series of *lever-action* ARs that include guns chambered in .30 Caliber Carbine, 9x19mm Luger, .22LR, 308 WIN, .243 Win, 6.5mm-08 (260 Win ), 7mm-08, well you get the idea. The way these guns work is that after each round, the bolt locks back and leaves the gun out of battery until the lever attached to the bolt carrier is pushed back into action. With a little practice, it can be worked fairly rapidly.

Hey, it’s not a semi-auto.

Moreover, did you notice that even the Brits are cool with pistol grips and muzzle accessories? They had better be careful; New York may ask to become a colony again.