Build or Buy--Life's biggest challenge

6 Comments

Build or Buy--Life's biggest challenge

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

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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

Pros:

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.

Cons: 

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.


6 Responses

Jeremy
Jeremy

August 27, 2018

Started my first build about 3 yrs ago. Having never owned or fired one, I relied heavily on a great gun store that specializes in the platform. Took about a year of asking questions and about $1500 later to have a complete build. Won a couple of ar’s that required no assembly and have bought parts and pieces for 3 new builds since. I learned so much about the platform by being hands on with every part and better understand how every part affects the functionality. You may pay more by building one, but you get the end result that you want the first time. First timers, find a shop you can trust, ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Research your parts and read or watch how to’s if you get stuck.

Paul A. Woolsey
Paul A. Woolsey

August 27, 2018

I built my first AR 15 about 5 years back. The most trill I got was the first shot after I check and rechecked to make sure I had it right. I am still using that AR. I build my daughter one and my grand-daughter one. Built my son-in-outlaw a AR 10 7.62 liked it so much built one for my self. Yes I have also bought a AR 15. My first AR 15 is still a work in progress, replaced pistol grip (Tyrant) and stock, many other parts. Problems pop up and we can start working to find the issue and get back to sending lead down range. There is nothing like work on your own guns. Still learning!!
Building a AR 15 set up just for longer range. Just started this project (buying parts)

James Rea
James Rea

August 27, 2018

Since 2004, I have been building ARs and have built just over 80 of them. During that same time period, I have bought several ARs as well. Those that I bought were factory ARs and something I wanted. When I want a particular AR to do a particular task and have certain accessories, I build it. It is hard to find any factory AR that has exactly what I want. Another thing to note is that you can often come out cheaper on a build, but that depends on the quality of products used. I have spent as little as $1600 on a premium build and as much as $3800. This does include some of my clone builds. To a new AR enthusiast, they really need to do their homework and determine what type of AR is best for them before deciding to buy or build. Building is the best way to learn about the Ins and Outs of the platform. Unfortunately, not everyone has the skillset to build their own AR. That is when buying is the better option. The important thing there is to KNOW what they are buying. Buy from reputable and established vendors and manufacturers. I see a lot of guys buying the cheapest AR they can find and then start throwing a lot of cheap Chinese-made junk on them. Not the right way to go about it. Again, KNOW what you are buying. That goes for complete ARs, accessories, and AR parts.

Stanley Bates
Stanley Bates

August 27, 2018

I agree with Anthony! What you gain by building your own Rifle goes beyond just learning something new.
Take your time doing it and have the correct tools. Nothing makes me more happy than shooting something
I built from box of parts! If you can? buy quality parts. ie: barrels,triggers, lower parts etc. But check multiple
vendors for prices. And most of all have fun!

James
James

August 27, 2018

So, never having built one, how do I know what parts I need? Can you direct me to complete list??? Or THE YouTube video to watch?

Anthony Willingham
Anthony Willingham

August 27, 2018

I agree 100%, as a former army scout we spent countless hours learning the different platforms before ever sending a round down range. The knowledge you gain building your own will instill confidence in your weapon so you can focus on the task at hand. In the event you do have a malfunction you’ll know what to do and not be " that guy/girl". Great article, I read them all and still try to learn something new every day.
Complacency kills

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