Do you need rifle accessories on your AR-15? Maybe not, but they’re pretty fun to look at and use. We understand everyone will have different types of accessories on their AR-15 based on what it’s going to be used for like competition, professional duty use, hunting, or self-defense…
So here are the basics we’ve compiled to help you get on your way to decking out your AR-15 rifle.
Let’s start here to decide what you’ll be aiming with. There are so many to choose from but they all excel in different areas of use and distances.
For static targets below 150 yards:
- Iron sights (Magpul MBUS sights are made out of polymer) – These can be fixed in their position or can be flipped up for use and down to be stowed away as a backup.
- Red Dot Sights – Optics that use a red dot to aim and point at targets.
- Holographic Sights – Instead of a red dot, these optics have a larger shaped spherical reticle that helps some people aim better. (It’s all preference)
For static targets above 150 yards or specialized use:
- Variable Zoom Scopes– These are optics that have adjustable magnification so you can change how close you zoom into your target.
- LPVO: Low Power Variable Optic – A popular option today for a variety of uses that refers to optics that start their lowest setting at 1x magnification, or close to it.
- Night Vision – There are actually some companies out there now that sell pretty budget friendly scope that have night vision, thermal, and even infrared capabilities that can help you see your target more clearly in the dark or bad weather.
Do you have a good grip on your rifle? Without performance parts they can sometimes have a good amount of muzzle flip that makes aiming less easy and consistent. Before we get to those, ergonomic is really the name of the game. Whatever makes you more comfortable is going to make you be able to manipulate your AR-15 more efficiently. Here are some common accessories that can help accomplish that:
- Pistol grip – Choosing a pistol grip that suits your hand size or preference will help you hold your rifle more comfortably over a longer period of time and not irritate your hand while shooting.
- Vertical fore grip – Illegal in some states like CA, (unless the Assault Weapon Ban gets overturned) but great maneuvering your rifle around tight corners.
- Angled fore grip – An alternative to vertical fore grips for shooters who like to grip their rifle’s handguard or rail with the “C-clamp” style.
- Handstop kits – Another alternative to vertical fore grips that many shooters have opted for as some products can be likened to a thinner and even more ergonomic version of an angled grip.
- Adjustable rifle stock – There are a lot of companies that make great adjustable rifle stocks. These can be really helpful because everyone has different arm length spans. Those with shorter arms will like stocks that make their rifle length as short as possible so the weight of the gun can be more manageable.
- Rifle sling – Let’s say you need to switch to a sidearm or you need to climb an obstacle using both hands… having a sling would come in handy then. T-Rex Arms has a great AR-15 rifle sling that can act as a two point and single point sling.
- Rail covers – After pulling off several consecutive shots on your AR-15, you might notice the rail get pretty hot. Rail covers can help keep you focused and your hand on the rail. Another simple solution here would be to wear shooting gloves.
- Ambidextrous charging handle – Mil-spec or stock charging handles that come with your AR-15 will work but they don’t have a lot of material to grab onto. Having a larger ambidextrous charging handle will make it easier to rack the gun and you can do it with either arm.
To keep this guide simple so for this section we’ll focus on muzzle devices and tactical lights. While a tac light isn’t a performance part, it will certainly enhance your performance in the dark or at night. (Since most of us can’t afford night vision) You can attach it on to your rifle’s handguard in a number of ways depending on what you buy so figuring out your style and preference for that is a fun experience as well.
In terms of muzzle devices they are great for two different purposes. Reducing muzzle flash and reducing muzzle flip or perceived recoil felt when firing. If you can get your hands on a silencer/suppressor Reduction of all these factors will help you shoot faster, more accurately, and consistently. Some have hybrid capabilities as well which we’ve listed below…
Our favorite tac lights and muzzle devices include the following:
- Surefire Scout M600DF
- Surefire Scout M300C Mini Scout
- Modlite PLHv2
- Modlite OKW
- Lantac Dragon Muzzle Brake
- Surefire Warcomp
Why Accessorize Your AR-15
You aren’t required to accessorize your AR-15. No one has to. But it’s a unique and fun opportunity to make this tool really your own in planning for its designated use through upgraded parts you select or even the color scheme!
No one will really say otherwise for running a stock AR-15 at the range as it is your preference and right to choose that. But if you decide to add any of the aforementioned accessories to your rifle, you get to:
- Improve accuracy.
- Increase personal comfort with ergonomic parts.
- Expand your functional capabilities with your AR-15.
- Look cool.