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How to Customize Your Assault Rifle

How to Customize Your Assault Rifle

If you've been bit by the AR bug lately, you may be wondering how to get the kind of results you see on YouTube. Though an AR is a great gun to have, its popularity springs from how easily it can be customized in so many ways. This allows you to create a rifle that is built specifically to your body, shooting style, and similar needs, making it much easier to get the results you want. In this article, we'll discuss a variety of ways in which you can customize your AR-15.


If you've ever purchased an off-the-rack rifle in the past, you may have realized a number of issues right out of the box. The stock was too long. The grip was slippery. The barrel wasn't right for the range you wanted to shoot. By building your own gun, you can make a wide range of customizations and upgrades that will allow you to truly make it your own. Here's a look at some of the easiest ways you can customize your AR-15 to your specifications.

AR-15 Rifle Skins And Wraps

12 Ways to Customize Your AR

Whether you're looking at performance, appearance, handling, or tactical changes, these options will allow you to make some significant upgrades to your AR.

Skins or Decals

Skins improve camouflage or let your personality show. Updating your rifle with a vinyl wrap helps it retain its value, protects it from corrosion and scratches, and prevents damage from similar environmental hazards. A wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes makes it easy to get the look you're going for. Generally speaking, a skin will cover most of the surface, while decals provide partial coverage of higher-risk areas where it's more likely to take damage or simply provide personalization.

Custom Finish or Coating

A custom coating or finish tends to be permanent as compared to skins or decals. Hydro-dipping and Cerakote provide a permanent treatment. Skins or decals allow you to create an inexpensive appearance that will last for up to five years, with care. Cerakote provides a superior protective ceramic coating on your firearm but is often limited in terms of patterns. Hydro-dipping creates a protective coating on the surface which can include a wide range of colors and patterns.

The Grip

Having a grip that fits your hand and fingers can make a lot of difference in terms of the accuracy and comfort you'll get out of your assault rifle. That's one of the reasons why it's one of the first upgrades that many AR owners make. Take the time to find the perfect fit for your hand, preferably trying it on a frame that has your existing trigger to test the distance. If you find the perfect fit but the trigger no longer works well, consider that as your next upgrade.

Texture

Nothing is worse in a potential crisis than a slippery grip. Adding texture to your assault rifle makes it easier to keep a solid grip on your firearm when it matters most. As with grips, there are a number of different textures available, so take your time to find the perfect one that improves your grip without being uncomfortable. This can be added as a professional product, or something as simple as doing a wire wrap on your grip to increase texture.

Lights

Just as important as being able to hit what you're aiming for is being able to see what you're aiming at. Adding a rail light, night vision scope, laser, or similar function to improve your accuracy in poor lighting situations can make a big difference when you need it. Consider your situation and in what circumstances you'll be using the lighting. A rail light can blind attackers temporarily, a night vision scope allows you to keep surveillance without being spotted and lasers can help you improve accuracy.

Barrel

The length and type of barrel you use on your AR can make a big difference in your performance. You'll want to select a shorter length for a carbine setup for shorter-range shots, while a longer barrel delivers stronger accuracy at long ranges. But beyond length, you can change calibers, provided that you also change out the related parts in the receivers. You can even swap out the barrel to increase twist depending on which caliber round you’re looking to shoot. A higher twist works well for heavier grain bullets at longer ranges. Be willing to spend a little more on your barrel, because you don't want to make a cheap barrel upgrade that can literally blow up in your face.

Buttstock or Brace

Changing out the stock or brace is another common upgrade. This is mostly due to the many differences in physical shape and size of different shooters. If your firearm came with a stock that doesn't fit right or you're in the process of building a completely customized rifle, make sure that you're getting a stock that fits you well. Take the time to consider the cartridge you're going to be chambering — do you need something to absorb some of the recoil? Think about not only the length but how it fits into your shoulder and whether you need to find one that has a better angle.

Trigger

The only thing worse than an itchy trigger finger is having a trigger that doesn't fit your hand. When it matters most, you want to be able to quickly switch from having your finger clear of the trigger or securely on it. If you have the opportunity to try different triggers, find one that works well between your grip, providing you with a perfect reach. The trigger should be neither too close to the grip, where it slips past your finger and causes issues with accuracy, nor too far, where you have to stretch your finger to catch the trigger and may miss. Being able to find the trigger quickly and easily when it matters improves safety and accuracy.

Handguard

Changing out the handguard on your AR can seem frivolous, but it can actually improve performance. A free-floating handguard installs with a barrel nut, preventing tension on the barrel and gas system to improve accuracy. However, the type of rail you install may limit the accessories that you can add to it, so choose carefully with a thought to what accessories you'll want to use in the future. The three major brands that you'll want to consider for your AR-15 are M-Lok, Keymod, and Picatinny, the last of which has the longest reputation for exceptional performance.

Charging Handle

The charging handle on your AR operates the bolt, making it a very important but often overlooked upgrade. It's needed to clear jams, check that the firearm is empty or loaded and eject empty cartridges. Unlike many other rifles, the AR-15 charging handle is located at the rear of the receiver, making it more ambidextrous than most, but the mil-spec handle can be more useful for right-handed users. Upgrading the handle to an oversized or heavier-duty handle makes it easier to use your AR effectively.

Sights

Having solid sights on your AR-15 makes it much easier for you to hit what you're aiming for accurately. Whether you want flip-up iron sites for shorter-distance shooting, scope mounts for your favorite Nikon scope with 100+ yard range, or something more specialized, you can use this customization to improve your aim and accuracy. You'll want to consider the purpose for which you're using your firearm. If you're using it for tactical purposes at a short-range, a scope may be an expensive liability.

Slings

A sling helps you keep your hands free for other purposes while still keeping your rifle close at hand. As with many issues, the purpose you use your firearm for is important in making your decision. For tactical and defense purposes, a single-point sling with a latch plate can make it easy to go from keeping your rifle close at hand to the high-ready position in a matter of seconds. However, for longer treks and hunting, many individuals stick with a traditional two-point sling.

Best Assault Rifle to Customize

Though there are several assault rifles on the market, none are as easily customized as the AR-15. This is just one of the reasons why this particular rifle has been so popular since the 1950s. A wide range of features are customizable, beyond just what we've discussed in this article. However, the best rifle is the one that fits you properly, feels comfortable in your hands, and works well for you.


By customizing your AR-15 or other assault rifles, you can improve your performance while achieving a perfect fit for your body, shooting style, and preferences. Ready to customize the appearance of your handgun or rifle? MightySkins can provide you with completely customized vinyl skins and wraps to protect your firearms and make them look absolutely phenomenal. Why not take a few minutes to see what we have available and how we can personalize your firearm?
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