It's no secret the AR-15 might be the most customizable rifle platform ever created. The majority of the questions we get from a potential new user is should, I buy a factory ready rifle and customize it or should I start from scratch and build it myself. I'll discuss the pros and cons of both scenarios and you can decide which is right for you. There is no one size fits all answer here, just like the AR-15 itself, deciding to build or buy is unique to you and your goals.


 Buying a complete AR-15


1. Compatibility - You do not need to have anxiety over the fact that your parts might not work well together. If it is a complete rifle it has been tested to work out of the box.

2. Brand Loyalty - Some of us sleep better at night knowing a manufacturer made and tested this exact rifle.

3.Purchasing - When you purchase a factory ready rifle, all you need to do is buy ammo, maybe an optic, and you're good to go.


1. Not custom to your needs - Even though the rifle may be ready to go after purchase, it is not customized to what you will use it for.

2. Comfortability - You want to be comfortable when shooting (Duh) and if a rifle turns out not to be so, you will have to pay to upgrade certain parts of it. Which will beg the question, why you didn't customize it in the first place.

3. Replacement Parts - When you buy a cheap rifle, chances are you will have to replace parts over time. This is true with custom rifles as well but in that case, you can opt for higher quality parts where it counts. In this scenario you get what you pay for.    


Building a Custom AR-15


1. Money - You think this would be a con but it is a pro for me. You can build your rifle over time instead of having to buy the entire thing at once. This is good for people who like to save a little at a time.

2. Satisfaction - Have you ever learned something new? It sucks at first and can be frustrating but in the process of learning and failing, you grow as a person and become an expert at what you're doing.

3. FREEDOM - This nation is built on freedom and customization. When you build your own rifle you can pick anything you want and make something that is truly unique to you. We all like to feel like we are special : )

4. The Internet has your back - With all the forums on the internet and instructional videos on Youtube, you can pretty figure out anything when it comes to buying parts and assembling your rifle.

5. Carryover - If you learn how an AR-15 operates and how to assemble and disassemble it, other firearms platforms will be easy for you.


1. Lazy - If you are lazy and don't want to spend the time assembling anything this might not be fun for you.

2. Learning - Do you not like learning new things? Do you enjoy staying in your lane and never doing anything new? Then this sport might not be for you.

3. Truth - Do you get where I'm going here? 


If you have made it this far down, I think you understand my opinion on here. If this is your first rifle I think you should build it from scratch. Another route you could take would be buying a complete upper or lower receiver and doing the rest yourself. But I think you'd still be cheating yourself out of an experience you will be able to draw off of in other areas of your life.

The reason I am so passionate about my opinion on customizing and building your first rifle from scratch is that I did not do that when I started shooting AR-15's. I bought a factory rifle and ended up learning nothing. I couldn't tell you much about the platform and had no idea what parts did what and how to disassemble it. It was a cheap piece of poo rifle.

Make the smart choice not the lazy choice. If you disagree with me write me a comment below. If you agree with me, well, also write a comment below.