Do You Want To Know The 3 Most Popular AR-15 Build Styles?

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AR-15 Build Styles

One does not always have to purchase an AR-15 ready-made from a gun store. Some enthusiasts have developed a hobby where they assemble their own custom weapons. Contrary to how this may sound, it is quite simple! However, when one does not know much about the procedure, or the starting point, one needs to first do some research before embarking on this journey. Most enthusiasts find this hobby quite addictive, always experimenting with parts to see how far they can push their AR-15’s performance and precision.

There are so many different combinations that go into an AR-15, giving various options on how to build one. In fact, it is said that the AR-15 is popular because it is modular. It can be taken apart into a dozen pieces, which gives the owner discretion to select each part intricately, should they choose to assemble it themselves. With the many different AR-15 build styles, most users have a preference. There are three most widely accepted ways to build an AR-15. While all the different AR-15 build styles are viable styles one can adopt to build their gadget, they require different levels of engagement and prior skills in gun assembly.

Popular AR-15 Build Styles
Popular AR-15 Build Styles

Pre-built Lower Component Plus Pre-Built Upper Component

The first one is the pre-assembled lower component that is partnered with a pre-assembled upper component. Technically, this is described as building an AR-15 from a direct standpoint. This is because it bypasses the 10% International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) that is posted on the sale of a rifle that is already complete. For some, this is a perfectly reasonable form of a DIY. It is quite common too for one who is going for a mainstream result.

One also has the options of which components to use to mate and create the final composition. This makes it a bit limited to whatever options that the market provides. However, if one would like a high-end AR-15, this option is rarely available. This is because of the intricate performance-based features of high-end ARs that will be compromised if one was to mate different parts. Nevertheless, it is good to note that all uppers are able to mount to all lowers due to universal standards set for parts. This is assuming that they are quality parts, not from substandard manufacturers.

This option is the easiest one out there because one does not need to be licensed or a gunsmith to maneuver around this. One needs some basic knowledge of the two components, however, and the level of precision or performance standards that their amalgamation would provide. The specialized skill will only be required if one is milling parts of the lower receiver themselves.

Pre-built Upper or Lower Component Plus Accompanying Parts

The second style is a bit more hands-on and engaging than the first. It is an AR-15 building style where one either purchases a pre-built upper component or a pre-built lower component, after which they then take the laborious task of building the other half from different parts. Most users prefer this option when they come across a pre-built half that meets their requirements but are not satisfied with the other half. This pattern is widespread. Quite interesting to find, most prefer a pre-assembled upper that already matches what they’re looking for, then rebuilding the lower part. This is because pre-built uppers are usually less costly than pre-built lowers. Also, suppose an upper has a malfunction, the liability often is the manufacturer’s responsibility, not the purchaser’s. Another reason is that pre-assembled lowers do not often come with good quality triggers, so most users opt to build those themselves.

More often than not, most assemblers are likely to build the upper component bit by bit but not the lower receiver. This is because the lower component, which has the serial number, is the only one referred to as a firearm as per the law. Because it is taken through background checks and other regulations regarding guns, most single-weapon owners do not opt to go through the tiring process of changing this section. Once one has a lower receiver, he can assemble almost an infinite variety of weapons.

Combination Of Different Parts

The third category is the most rigorous, laborious style that requires prior experience and full knowledge of parts. True patrons know that this is the best AR-15 build style. It involves the purchase of different parts and assembly tools and building the AR-15 bit by bit. Gunsmiths would strongly advise against this on one’s first build. Also, suppose one decided to take this route, one should no use generic aftermarket brand components. These ones have a higher chance of not fulfilling specification requirements and create more issues after assembly. As a rookie builder, one is less likely to identify and understand an issue and could end up spending unnecessary money trying to amend the issue than if they had just purchased an assembled AR-15 in the first place.

For enthusiasts, the market for the AR-15 is very lucrative. Constantly, new accessories are being released, which feeds the desires of enthusiasts always to want to upgrade their weapons. Not all are machinists or gunsmiths, but the passion for enhancing their gun pushes them to learn these skills.


The configuration of these different parts has safety implications too. One should never forget to wear safety goggles since tiny objects such as springs and pins can bounce across the room and cause serious injury. An overall or apron is recommended too. One should use a clean and clear work surface that is well. To protect parts from damage or from rolling off the work surface, there are mats that one can use. The floor area should also be clear from debris since pins, springs and other small parts may still roll over to the floor. One critical aspect has a well-equipped toolbox. To do a professional job, one will need several tools which ultimately determine the quality of work done. All these measures are necessary regardless of whichever AR-15 building style that one chooses.

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