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AR-15 addons that make the gun better! (In All ways!)

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by .zerocool., Feb 5, 2011.

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  1. .zerocool.

    .zerocool. Active Member

    Well guys, I figured I'd make a list of some things I have come across lately to make the AR more ergonomic, reliable, and strong. I figured it was worth making a thread specifically to it because I'd like to see what others have found as well.

    The obvious addons. These are more ergonomic IMO.

    -Magpul AFG. (Angled foregrip). By looking at it, some maybe deterred because they are stuck on holding the rifle like a rifle, just like I was. Slap one one, I will guarantee almost everyone will like the improved handling, feel, and stability it will provide.

    -Thin profiled rail covers. After all, who of us has ape hands to support traditional rail covers. At 11-12$ each carbine length rail strip, you can easily down 50-100$ on just the covers depending on your rail's length. Just like the Magpul AFG, you will notice better ergonomics.

    -Egro grip for bare hands, tango down grip for gloves. (this is IMO about the gloves thing. I'm a taller guy and the tango down is too slim, but, it's profile and slant back provides more of a rifle feel than a traditional a2 grip. The ergo slants forward, which is opposite of the tango down. IMO is too big for gloves, but depends on your hands.

    Now, the real stuff. Not just snazzy addons, but stuff with major function.

    - Troy Arms Pro grade Sling Adapter. Yup, this is the one that you DON'T need to stake your castle nut with. Finally, a solid solution to leave the stake out. If your like me and own multiple stocks, it is pointless to stake the castle nut creating a PITA situation to remove it and change the buffer tube. For 49$, IMO this is the best buy for ANY Adjustable stock. (Won't work with the ACE stocks which is a given). The second pro about this, is it actually makes the buffer tube strong. The buffer on collapsable stocks is weak, due to leverage. Unlike ace skeleton stocks with the "block" attached to the receiver, there is that gap btw the buffer and baseplate/sling mount bottom. (search up a pic you will see how it makes it stronger. It reinforces the entire area). Like said, for the cost, it's a must have. It also takes no removal of the buffer tube or castle nut to install, and comes with the ability to change from left to right side for the sling. (note, you have to have a standard receiver end plate for it to work. A sling mount plate won't work with it).

    -Tetra Gun Grease. This stuff is top notch. I love the stuff and is ultra resiliant.

    Now what are some of the things fitting into both sections that you guys have found? Triggers etc. Basically anything to make the AR perform better. Sure not everyone should like all the stuff as we each have our own tastes, but somethings like the troy sling mount are so universal, taste is completely out of the game because it's just do darn effective.
  2. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Well-Known Member

    Nickel Boron BCG should increase reliability.


    It requires no lube (although the use of lube is still recommended).

    A quality optic such as an Aimpoint or an ACOG is an obvious improvement as well, and I also think a light is almost an essential upgrade.



    I like the CTR buttstock for carbines.

    Never underestimate the need for a quality sling, specifically a 2-Point Quick Adjust.

    Good mags, like PMAG's or Lancers which IMO are an upgrade over the standard AR15 USGI mags....

    A quality Phantom flash hider or A2X is a fairly cheap upgrade that will make a significant improvement to your flash hiding capabilities.

  3. .zerocool.

    .zerocool. Active Member

    Goood stuff on the bolt. Now were talkin' practical upgrades.

    I didn't even think of flash hiders. So I'll add a few myself.

    I saw the post about linking pictures, so I'll provide a link on where to buy the damn thing to avoid any flaming (after all, what company would argue against their product being linked to, especially if its a company you have personally spoken to the owner and several employees with)

    - PWS Compensator. The #1 compensator made IMO.
    http://riflegear.com/p-877-pws-compensators.aspx (a note... As I didn't ask the owner ahead of time to post this, I know he would say go for it.. just link to the store. Hes a great guy, and an awsome shop!)

    -I've seen a lot of people dig noveske stuff, but for me, I prefer to dump 200$ into BUIS sights than onto a flash/compensator, but if your wallet allows, the stuff is top notch.

    - the ar-57 flash hider. Sorry no pics or link on this one. This is something you will have to bug the AR-57 shop for, or an owner of an ar-57 like me who has swapped the FH out for a PWS.

    An upgrade brand (most have heard of the piston system upgrades but not this brand)

    - ADDAX uppers & piston kits. Pretty much the lowest price piston kits I have seen to date. Their uppers range from 6-1000$. Not bad considering most piston kits cost mega bucks, and for the price, the only brainsmart option is a full LMT kit (as LMT is unmatched in performance for the cost.... buuuut an ADDAX kit is close behind for 1/2 the cost)

    Scopes. (this one is a hairy one as it's pretty much down to opinion here)

    -NCstar. Many dislike. Many flame. Many bash. I've used multiple NCstar scopes in -20f snowy weather, up to 90+% humidity, with a # of different calibers. From 30-06, 458 LOTT, .223, 5.7, 7.62 etc. For the cost, these stay dialed in, don't fog or break. I have 0 bad things to say unlike others. I really reccommend NCstar over any other cheepy brand around bar none. If you want a good scope non ultra long range / hunting, get an ACOG, Aimpoint, Eotech, but if you are like me and don't feel like dumping 400-2k into an optic, and would rather dump that money into physical upgrades to the rifle such as custom bolts or barrels, check out NCstar.

    I'm going to have to check out that Nickel Boron BCG soon as I'll be building an upper for general purposes. But of course not before I pick up a monolithic LMT GPU :)

    To Add : PMAGS are AWSOME! Period. Speaking of which, in the following months, I'll be selling spring kits for them. As I gut the pmags and use them as brass catchers on my 5.7 upper. ($10 a piece!). Personally I've never seen a better mag than a pmag. Really, from spring to follower, they are made top notch. Magpul, you are not just "fashion" after all!!!)

    Some must haves :

    -DPMS Accu-Wedge AR15 - If you have upper/lower wobble like many of us that don't buy complete guns get... will certainly help, if not completely solve the issue. Now, take note, this might not take all the wobble out, but any gain in sturdiness is a major plus. I found I took more than 50% of wobble out (enough to make me like the feeling of the gun, vs the rattly pos it was before).

    -KNS Gen 2 Anti-Walk/Rotation trigger/hammer pin set. This is the #1 upgrade to ensure your lower will last a long long time. Seriously, if you have an AR and don't have this kit... your in the stoneage. Get this before your sorry. Well unless you have a nice enclosed 200$+ trigger kit, then your a-ok. But for anything else... like said, this is a must. The most overlooked kit around. In fact I don't know one person that's active military (and has a choice on weapon mods) and doesn't have this. Sandbox & Afghani proven. (Sandbox = iraq for those of you not in the know)

    -Magpul Enhanced Trigger Guard (for all of you glove users) and well, for people that like grasping the trigger from the very base like myself. There are a few other companies that make similar, but none which ergonomics are as good as this (not just opinion, fact. Other companies have a "v" pattern etc due to not being able to use magpuls patent/design" I myself don't want a sharp v point on my trigger guard as I find I will just end up shanking myself with it at one point or another).
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  4. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Well-Known Member

    A pallet of 10,000 rounds of ammunition, a couple credit cards begging to be maxed out, and Larry Vickers and Pat Rogers on speed dial.

    Really. Most of the stuff in this thread won't make any real difference in performance until the shooter has a certain level of proficiency in the first place. (And some of it becomes obviously irrelevant as skill level increases.)

    Only because they're mall ninja junk. For a range toy, they might be acceptable, but they have no place on a serious rifle.

    Not really. You can get on websites that cater to serious shooters (LF.net, M4C.net, etc) and therein it's hard to swing a dead cat without hitting a dozen threads that touch on how EOTechs aren't proven. Period.

    Now, having said that, I should note that I run one, and have run one for years. I like the EOTech much more than AimPoint (and prefer the ACOG to either), but I recognize the optic has had a spotty reputation for QC and has its limitations. And I won't run an EOTech on a 7.62x51 rifle since I've had the personal experience of ejecting brass catching the sight housing as it comes out of the gun and ringing the EOTech's bells so hard the hologram fuzzed out for a couple seconds. Repeatedly.
  5. Quentin

    Quentin Well-Known Member

    Really the only things a quality basic AR needs are plenty of magazines, plenty of ammo, a good sling, good irons and maybe a good RDS.

    Pretty much the same for an AK too.
  6. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    The only things that are common to every AR I have that is not built as a military clone is a MIAD and ambi selector.
  7. rjrivero

    rjrivero Well-Known Member

    An Ops Inc 12th or 16th model.
  8. JAV8000

    JAV8000 Well-Known Member

    The only really great upgrades for a combat M4/AR15 in my opinion is a quality optic, PEQ 15, three point sling, and some kind of flashlight. A vertical fore grip is also understandable, but only for CQC, for longer engagements it only hampers a good shooting position.
  9. .zerocool.

    .zerocool. Active Member

    "Really the only things a quality basic AR needs are plenty of magazines, plenty of ammo, a good sling, good irons and maybe a good RDS."

    tell that to our boys in the sand box or afghani.

    The AR as a base is filled with problems. From pin walking / rotation, to the excessive need to clean. I for one have had an AR jam many a times. Stocks break/shear off, castle nuts loosen, it takes a 3 handed operation (speaking of which, there is another part I'll add to the list).

    -Magpul BAD Lever (Battery Assist Device). This device basically allows you to release the bolt to the closed position without needing to take your hand off the grip, or use your other hand which should be holding the front of the rifle. Another must have fix for anyone needing speed and doesn't feel like fumbling with both hands!

    In the end, if it came down to my life, I wouldn't trust a stock AR like I would some other guns. You can get away with issues and hunting, after all if a Buck etc gets away there will be more, but if it's you that is being hunted persay, certain issues probably aren't the best. Especially things like castle nuts unwinding on you. Makes me think of the original m16 (pre m16a1) in vietnam which was resulting in dead soldiers. All the mags and ammo in the world won't do much for you if you can't get your gun to fire. Also, no matter the quality or cost, the AR is still prone to all the same issues, as well, that was just an after effect of the design. (Think a 2500$ piston based LMT rifle, will still have the same issues as a 500$ generic low end bushmaster minus the dirty old gas system the LMT replaced)

    to add : Yea, I hear a lot of people really like the modular magpul grips NY. I myself just can't seem to like the feeling of them for whatever reason. Nothing against the grip as it's pretty revolutionary with it's modular design. I guess it's the same reason I like my ergo grip without gloves but hate it with gloves, and same as me liking the tango down with gloves and not without. Something about ergonomics. I guess I like the rifle to feel good being held with one hand by the pistol grip (of course not when aiming, but more or less walking or holding). My buddy swears by the magpul grips though. He's the one who introduced me to the angled foregrip. I'll never have a rifle without one. Even if I need to tape the damn thing on to a 30-06.

    And pfffft you lucky one with the OPS silencer. I wish I lived in a state that allowed them. Then again, the PITA of properly purchasing one and getting it registerred is just as bad as buying a gun in california. Well unless you have one cool Judge with the right to arrest or sheriff in town. Then it's a-ok.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  10. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Ammo, mags and a 23&p.
  11. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    For a new poster who lists no experience or training, you are coming off as an airsofter with a Brownells catalog.

    FYI, at least two posters here have been in the sandbox and disagree with just about all that you've written. That would be "a clue".

    The NCStar comment was priceless. :barf:
  12. carbine85

    carbine85 Well-Known Member

    Unless your an operator, LEO, Military, or shoot in carbine courses the AR15 doesn't require much at all. My go to M4forgery has a Magpul MOE hand guard with 1 short rail to mount a small flashlight on,Magpul Pistol Grip, a good set of BUIS, and a home made single point point sling. It's short, light weight, streamline and reliable, no extra tacticool stuff.
  13. MMcfpd

    MMcfpd Well-Known Member

    Stocks, grips and handguards are all best fit to personal ergonomics. I prefer the A1 grip.

    Aimpoint Micros and Geissele nonadjustable triggers are my most common "upgrades" although I've tried all sorts of stuff.

    Good iron sights are also subject to personal preference. I like the YHM and Matech offerings and I don't like the MBUS.
  14. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    The best addition I can make to my rifle is to ensure I can hit where I am aiming. All the whiz bang bolt ons in the world don't mean a thing if you can't shoot.

    Anti walk pins are a great addition if you are a high volume shooter, say 5,000 rounds or more in a year. For your average plinker, target shooter they are a needless expense.

    I do not care for the Magpul AFG. I run LaRue Hand Stops on my AR and find I like the LaRue stops better.

    For a comp I run the Jerry Miculek Compensator. It is clocked to help offset recoil and allows me to stay on target better and pull off faster follow up shots. My AR is set up more for competition and as such a lot of the "tactical" add ons don't meet my needs as a competitive shooter.


    The Hand Stop is on backwards in this pic. I was experimenting with them at the time I took the picture.
  15. towboat_er

    towboat_er Well-Known Member

  16. Quentin

    Quentin Well-Known Member

    Well since you singled me out to "correct" please tell me more about your experience in the sandbox. Or are you talking about the one Brian Wilson has? Yeah by that remark you can tell I'm old, but I was in Vietnam so may know a thing or two. Have you served zerocool? Many of us have but most of us now are back as civilians and don't need/can't justify state of the art gear. But what we do have should meet a certain level of quality. That's what's important.

    And why does your AR jam? I said "quality basic AR" then you said "The AR as a base is filled with problems. From pin walking / rotation, to the excessive need to clean. I for one have had an AR jam many a times. Stocks break/shear off, castle nuts loosen". Can you clarify that, I sure don't see those issues in a quality AR. And as far as "excessive need to clean", have you read about Pat Rogers' Filthy 14"?

    Anyway, first buy a quality AR configured to your specs. Then add on quality components you need. Don't slap on junk.
  17. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    Most of what is sold in furniture is overpriced bling. A quad rail, not needed, even KAC, who supplies them to Colt for the M4, is in print saying most don't need it. It's an institutional compromise to accommodate a large user base.

    As said, what is needed is good ammo, good magazines, and a good optic. The weapon is a 500m MAX line of sight shooter used against opposing soldiers. So far, what's been listed is a bunch of CQB specific addons, or long range precision, both are designed to enhance their specific functions, but detract from the other.

    NOBODY in service has major problems with pins, cleaning, or stocks falling off, Colt provides a quality product. Anyone suffering those ills is, bluntly, either unrealistic about how they abuse their primary weapon, or buying junk.

    Real improvements, like those actually listed in the Improved Carbine trial: A suppressor, performing parts replacement at scheduled round counts, and weekly practice.

    Plenty of PROFESSIONALS simply use the issue M4 with little else and serve multiple tours. It's the ignorati who load it down with Brand Names like Nike, Addidas, and UnderArmor who need to justify their gun jewelry.

    I'm building an AR, A1 stock, A2 rifle handguards, the only concession I've made is a TD Battlegrip because nobody makes an A1 in Foliage. Since real combat weapons aren't black, there was nothing smaller that fit. One concession.

    Well, ok, it's in 6.8SPC, and nobody even mentioned that yet. I guess 40% more power isn't really a closet queen parts addon. :evil:

    Not planning to really shoot live targets much? Maybe the whole point is being missed. It's a combat weapon. Take it hunting.
  18. onebigelf

    onebigelf Well-Known Member

    Some interesting input here.

    I'm not a big fan of the AR-15 largely because I'm not a big fan of the caliber. Many of the issues that caused the military to select the M-16 in the first place don't apply to civilians. Many of the reasons that the military STAYS with the platform, likewise. I like a more powerful cartridge.

    That said, I've rarely had problems with any of my AR-15s and most of those were peripheral related rather than the weapon itself. Really, how many of us likely to experience the issues of long patrols, extended combat deployments, and talcum powder sand? For most of us, any problem that requires the use of our rifles is going to come to us, or nearly so. It reminds me very much of the civilian (and LEO) adoption of the 9mm 147gr round a few years back. The 147 was used by the military SF community and so everybody HAD to have it as the BEST round available. Which wasn't why it was used by anyone in the military. The military used it in suppressed weapons because it was sub-sonic, not for terminal performance. For everything else, they use 115gr or 124 gr. None the less, pretty much everybody glommed on the 147gr bandwagon. Not that military is the ultimate arbiters of what works best. Their tactics are dictated by a combination of "it's what we've always done", equipment that is available to them most of us don't have (Superior body armor, full-auto, artillery support, air support, fire teams, etc), limitations we don't have (FMJ comes to mind, limited choice of weapons, patrol requirements to name a few).

    I like some of the comments that have been posted because they examine equipment available based on what works without any other concerns. Sometimes we have to look at whether the basis for our decisions is correct, not just at our decisions themselves. Keep it up.

    And that's one of the things I would like to see commented on in the equipment reviews and recommendations posted. Not just "what is good gear", but why is the addition of that gear good? Putting a forward grip on carbine, angled or vertical, what purpose does it serve? What need does it address? As well as, which ones are good. Lights. Why? Tactical advantages and disadvantages? Alternatives? There is a TON of gear to be hung on rails. What makes any of it a good idea, as well as what is good gear? I know people who tout the AR-15 for it's light weight and patrol portability, yet they have so much gear hung on their 6 1/2lb carbine, or carried in pouches to go on "at need" that they have converted the weapon to something that weighs more than the BAR my granddad carried in the Pacific and Korea.

    Lets go deeper into the recommendations. What gear is good as well as what is good gear.

  19. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Well-Known Member

    As somebody who has a plain-jane stock A2-style AR15, all you tacticool kids can get off my lawn.
  20. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    What an AR really needs is a shooter who knows what he's doing.

    1000 rounds in a 3 day carbine class is the best upgrade you can buy.
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