View Full Version : AR-15 Build vs Buy

March 31, 2011, 02:22 PM
I didn't write this one but I found it to be pretty informational for me ... I am not an AR owner but plan to be, if anyone could expand on this a little for me it would be great.

AR-15 Build VS Buy (http://gunpoints.org/blog/?p=44)

Like would anyone recommend a certain upper or certain lower? Or does it not really matter that much

March 31, 2011, 02:28 PM
Sorry I did not read the article,
But,, the AR15 is a modular gun, you first need to define what job this gun is to perform?
If it is a gun for everything,, build it as a 3 Gun Rifle, in IMHO the best tool for most shooting jobs,

March 31, 2011, 02:46 PM
I am on my 1st build and I had the same question and posted that question on different forums.
It is a divided camp more or less.

Some say build and get what you want the 1st time and other say buy and add as you go.

I spent a week on the internet pricing pieces and parts VS. full built guns.

I lean to the build it once, just like you want it and not have a bunch of left over parts you will probably never use.

March 31, 2011, 02:49 PM
Edit: ******The following is not intended to dissuade people from visiting gunpoints.org. I knew the (a?) founding member was also a member here, and intended for this post to be constructive criticism - not a rant about product quality. It's a new site, just getting on its feet, and I was trying to help.******

I'm really starting to wonder who writes for gunpoints.org. None of the articles really cite any sources, provide costs of any project, have titles that relate to the body of the article, or provide anything but unsupported personal opinion.

This "Build vs Buy" article falls right into the same hole.
The title does not fit. This is not a 'build vs buy' discussion. It's a "build the thing" sort of how-to. They tell you it can be cheaper, but provide no examples. They tell you the tools you'll need to purchase will be very useful in the future, but don't explain why. They tell you to function check during ever step of assembly, but provide no examples (or reasons why you should).

I understand the AR platform quite well, and don't, personally, need answers to those questions. However, the audience that piece should have been directed at will be left wondering... and they're the ones that need the information the most!

A well-rounded piece will not leave a reader with more questions than when they started; will properly present the piece to an appropriate audience; will not leave a reader disappointed, because the article does not match the title; will provide ways for the reader to further explore the topic (such as how to research the build process further); and will not cause a reader to move on to something else, because they realized half way through the article, that there was no "meat" to the article - just an unsupported opinion, that the reader is supposed to accept without question.

Come on guys! Put a little more thought and effort into your writing, and you'll do better in the long run.

March 31, 2011, 02:57 PM
perhaps you should start writing for gunpoints

March 31, 2011, 03:14 PM
FrankenMauser you bring up some good points. I just read it and am left wondering if most people will have more questions than before they even knew that article existed. lol I need none of that information for myself, however the "noob" will surely be scratching his head afterward. Kinda pointless really.

March 31, 2011, 03:29 PM
Its funny, not being an AR junky It did make me wonder where the hell I should look for all the stuff that he was talking about in the post ...

ahh well they can't all be winners.

Shawn Thompson
March 31, 2011, 03:33 PM

Do you already have any extensive experience with the platform?

If not, "Build vs. Buy" can be a tough one. In that case my recommendation is to not build something from ground up that you are not yet familiar with; otherwise, how do you know how one is supposed to perform; what you would like about it; what you would change or improve. In essence, how would you really know how you want one built?

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great resources for information out there, as well as a lot of experienced "builders". But unless you have someone that has offered to share their knowledge and expertise (i.e. some addition input on what NOT to do first time around), I would try to buy a complete, quality AR to start with - shoot it... a lot - and see what modifications that you might like to make based on that attained experience.

On the other hand; if you do have previous experience with the platform, or previous experience building or working on guns... Knock yourself smooth out !!!!!

Jusy my 2c

April 1, 2011, 09:21 AM
You can spend more money than you planned on either way.

With patience and effort, you can spend a lot less and get a better gun - either way.

What build vs buy does get you is the opportunity to build something you can't buy already assembled. What buying gets you is something assembled that might seem to be more difficult than you trust yourself to do.

If you can change the oil and rotate your tires, you likely have enough skill to put together an AR. It's that dirt simple. And lots of lube shops prove some don't or won't even attempt it.

First, figure out what type gun you want, then if it's available. If it's not that unusual, and you have the cash, buy it. If, however, you have BRD badly enough to know a $79 stripped lower, $48 blem upper, and a great barrel and bolt combination will actually be superior to a simple $600 M4gery, well, good luck with that.

For $900, I think mine is, and that right there shows what happens.

April 1, 2011, 01:44 PM
I'm firmly in the camp of "build it" and did build my first AR. You can argue whether it's a build or not but like most people I bought a stripped lower receiver and finished it with an LPK and receiver extension/stock kit. Then topped it with a factory assembled upper.

You don't get a comprehensive warranty this way but if you put in your research and build it right you do get a superior rifle for the money that shouldn't need warranty work anyway. I will admit I had small issues with both my AR builds but solved all of them without much trouble or expense. I'd much rather fix things myself than ship off the gun to the factory.

Building the lower and buying the upper is the best of both worlds because you can choose just about every part that goes into your build yet have the upper/barrel/gas block/FSB done without having to buy extra tools. As far as the lower, the tools in my garage were sufficient.

My recent build has a Daniel Defense 16" CHF LW midlength upper with DD BCG/charging handle, MOE handguards, S&W lower/Stag LPK/BCM receiver extension/M4 stock kit/H buffer, sling, PMAG and iron sights for about $850. For that price you just can't buy something of that quality (especially with the hammer forged barrel) as a complete rifle.

April 1, 2011, 02:59 PM
If your desire is a rifle/carbine configured exactly like those in mass production, then buying is cheaper.

But once you start adding custom options (sights, triggers, forend rails, grips, stocks) it is cheaper to build.

April 1, 2011, 03:47 PM
As I see it (others will see differently) there really is no good answer to your question. You can save some money (not a lot) by using the less expensive parts (Some say cheaper). Others have been very happy with their builds using the less expensive parts. A lot will use the more expensive parts and the build will cost them more than a good S&W M&P-15 that will serve most people. Prices vary on AR's from $649.00 on sale all the way up to over $2,500 for a custom build.

If your going to build your own, I would say on the major parts (Barrel, Upper receiver, lower receiver and bolt carrier group) go with one of the better known products like BMC, DD or Colt, on the funiture (hand gaurds, stock, quad rail, sights, etc...) you could go with the cheaper parts and upgrade at a latter date, if at all.

Just my 5 and 1/2 cents.

April 1, 2011, 03:48 PM
I would recommend a compromise (sort of): buy an upper and a lower separately. The upper and lower are held together with two pins and you snap them together. Simple as can be. For about $800 (depending on your tastes) you can build a rifle that is completely mil-spec, assembled and "timed" correctly, and uses parts that are thoroughly tested and inspected before assembly. I only wish I'd have done it this way myself with my first AR...

You get a properly inspected bolt, mil-spec diameter buffer tube, upgraded ejector spring, parkerizing under the front sight base, properly drilled gas port holes, M4 feed ramps, anodization to the proper depth, etc.

I paid about $1200 for my RRA and while it's a great rifle and shoots quite well, I learned a lot of things that make me regret the extra cash I spent, not to mention the $ I've spent upgrading certain aspects to make it more like the Bravo would have been.

Buy your upper from Bravo Company: http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/AR15-Upper-Receiver-Groups-s/1.htm

Buy your complete lower from Spikes or Bravo Company:

Best of luck!