Your First AR Build

Share the details of your first AR build. What got you into the game?

Inspired by @Long8888’s Introduction thread


My first build was a few years before discovering Aero Precision. I bought a lower from a well established local company at a gun show on a whim.
They had just entered the AR manufacturing game and I was one of their first 50 or so customers -based on my lower’s SN. I thought that really cool to support a local business just getting up and running. It was expensive and my purchase ill advised, but a decent quality piece for which I have no complaints to this day.

I had a bit of a leg up going in. I knew a lot about small arms (specifically the M16 and M9) from both my Dad and later my own time in the military. Despite that, I knew jack about the laws, regulations, and parts specifications relative to building my own civilian AR-15 variant. So after buying my first stripped lower, I spent hours on end reading up and learning on my own (note I’ve never been a big social media guy so my getting smart was done the old fashioned way: at the library and talking to those more knowledgeable than me at gun shows). Anyway, it was months before I had acquired the remaining parts and built up the courage to tackle just the lower build. I’d estimate I spent an hour setting up my work area and gathering tools just to spend less than a half hour or twenty minutes assembling the thing. :flushed: I then set about to acquire all the parts for the upper. By the time I was ready to put that together I had at least two barrels, three handguards, and a couple stocks. Lol, decisions decisions… all were decided by just buying more than one option -combined with changing my mind on what I wanted a time or two.

But alas, my first AR build was completely done. And it was ugly as sin! :astonished: Nothing had gone wrong in any way. I just didn’t like the color of the lower and stock. FDE was all the rage when I got started, but my lower was more of a sand color than any FDE part I’d bought. Hence, lesson #1 learned: just buy black parts. There’s a reason it’s called the black rifle. Stay away from colors unless you plan to have some Cerakote or other finish applied when you’re done. Not all colors match even when they are all called the same thing. On the contrary, most variations of black parts look aesthetically pleasing together.

So began my downward spiral into the rabbit hole. :hole: I’d unknowingly swallowed the red pill and have forever been stuck in AR Wonderland.

So welcome @Long8888. Welcome to Wonderland. Let us all show you around.


After the 1994 AWB ended in 2004, I bought a stripped lower at a gun show, then started collecting parts.

A2 upper receiver
10.25" 5.56 barrel
carbine handguards
A2 pistol grip
ACE pistol buffer tube assembly

The rest was just standard AR parts (though I don’t remember if I used an A1 or A2 flash hider).


Well, I’m just getting my feet wet, swapping out an upper. I guess the “build” part comes because I’m converting a California-legal single shot pistol into a California-legal semi-auto locked mag pistol.

I’m starting with the an 8.5” black nitride BCG and upper from Surplus Ammunition, since that’s what arrived first. I’m upgrading the charging handle to ambi.

Then, when the base pistol arrives, I’m swapping the pins out for ones designed to release and swing with a push button, so that I can change the mag quickly on the field, despite locking it in when fully assembled. Then I’m taking off the buffer tube and adding a folder and an arm brace.

When I escape the Communists, I might keep the button to open the action. That will be part of the gun’s story. But I’ll definitely look forward to unlocking the mag release and getting a bunch of Full30 mags.


I bet we all start similar,

Don’t recall my first or how involved it was but do know the priciest was
this Black Guns Matter at about 2k

The side charge upper was 500 I believe, it had the second gen binary trigger which was 300ish, short (for the time) buffer tube, 1911 grip style which I love compared to stock AR angle, I’ve built with a few, there are metal and plastic versions, and the lower from Gun Point is a super high quality billet, an easy recommendation

And of course the custom made hand guard


After hours of research, I decided on the following:

Aero Precision M4E1 lower and lower parts kit.
PSA Premium upper with FN barrel (cold hammer forged and chrome-lined).
Bravo Company BCG, charging handle, and Mod 3 pistol grip.
Geissele Super 42 buffer and spring
Magpul MOE SL buttstock
Velocity 4.0 lb single stage trigger
Vortex Sparc AR red dot with 3x magnifier
JP Enterprises MicroFit takedown pins

It was everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t. I got the upper on sale for under $350 (maybe $329???), so it didn’t break the bank either.

:+1: It has been a fun ride for sure.

Movie quote: “These are great days we’re living, bros. We are jolly green giants walking the Earth with guns.” Name the movie for a :beer:


Aero Precision M5 receivers all Aero lower parts kit recoil buffer and tube. Luth-Ar MBA-1 RIFLE BUTTSTOCk. JP Enterprises .308 heavy match grade barrel with blended muzzle brake and matched bolt, JP bolt carrier group and titanium firing pin not sure why it seemed the thing to do at the time.
Basically all Aero down low and all JP up high. I went all out on my first build because i don’t think I’ll ever do another ar10. I want to do an AR in 450 bushmaster or 458 socom and one in 6.5 grendal. Right know though i have 3 projects in the works so no AR’s for now.


Oh, that one! I had to look it up :flushed: so will leave the prize to someone with more scruples.


Full Metal Jacket


You Sir win a damn :beer: !


First one I bought was a PSA in 308 their 16” carbine model. Picked it up at a gun show, the guy had a stack of them for like 800.00 a piece. I couldn’t believe my great fortune this was an ar in 308 for that price. Hahahahaha This was the gen 1 for them and had a bunch of problems that would come to light after awhile. So it gave me a opportunity to learn while being pissed at what a pita I had bought. So that learning experience lead me to get a stripped lower and 2 uppers Anderson and put together a 5.56 and 300bo.

And like the rest of you I just keep building more. :smiley:


I never had any desire to own an AR15, much less build one. I guess I was a bit of a Fudd and liked only the beautiful grain of wood stocked rifles, the simplicity of bolt actions and the character of old milsurps, even though I didn’t own any of them - they were just what I wanted to collect. But after 2016, I saw the price of ARs drop, supply increase, and specifically how much more affordable and plentiful .223 and 5.56 ammo was on the shelves. Man, how times have changed since then, but I digress.

I figured I’d get one just to see what all the fuss was about, even though I didn’t know much about them. I didn’t even know you could build one out of parts you could order online until my friend told me. I figured if I could drop transmissions, crack open diiferentials, swap out axles and suspensions, then how hard could it be? I found out it was easier and way more fun than I thought it could be.

The LGS had a stripped Stag lower. So I bought it and thought I’d keep it all Stag parts. I know Stag Arms isn’t a high end brand, but at the time I didn’t know any better. I didn’t even realize the significance of the 1:7 barrel twist until afterwards. The only thing I splurged on was a BCM lower parts kit and trigger. Youtube videos helped a lot. After several months of ordering all the parts I had it all done. It’s fun to shoot, and I even made a couple 600 yard gong hits with it using 72 gr Hornadys.

I now want to build a Vietnam-era retro with the 20” long barrel. I’m still not sure where to look for parts for something like that although I see Brownell’s sells complete repros, or at least they used to until all the panic buying. But that’ll all have to wait til later, though.


PSA 2 or 3 parts and then figured out how they go together… BCG, upper, lower, mags - went the easy route but have sorta learned some along the way. I did some serious parts pricing and they were the best for what I wanted and cheap build.

This year… or maybe end of last year I got a 300blk upper to put on it from time to time


:+1: :beer:


Don’t remember the first AR build exactly. I think it was a 223 AR pistol many years ago.