Day: October 28, 2021

Matrix Arms presenting an upgrade for am AR-15

Top 5 Upgrades for Your AR-15

If you’ve ever held or fired a stock factory AR-15 from any number of manufacturers, regardless of the overall quality of their rifle, odds are that there were parts or components of the rifle that you didn’t like the feel. Whether it was the handguard, the optics, or maybe even the trigger, something about it didn’t suit your grip or your style. As with any tool or machine, you want a rifle that’s going to fit you and suit your needs and style, and that’s where the AR-15 shines through the rest of the catalog. Thanks to its highly customizable platform, the AR-15 is unlike any other rifle in the sense that you can design, build, and rebuild as your needs and preferences change.

Upgrading the AR-15 rifle

There are virtually endless applications for the AR-style rifle and lasting ways that you can personalize your rifle. Simply by upgrading certain components of your rifle, you can improve your accuracy by more than 50%, build the AR-15 that is best suited to your particular shooting style and preference, and modify it in a manner that will fit your intended use, whether it’s for sport shooting, hunting, or home protection, each type of component can be modified to more accurately assist you in your task.


The trigger is one of the most integral components in your rifle and is responsible for making sure your AR will always go bang. It’s definitely recommended that if your AR-15 is intended for critical use, such as home and self-defense, that you stick with the tried and true stock Mil-Spec (military specification) trigger and just let it smooth out with use. If your application is more so for performance, whether you’re involved in a competitive shooting or just want to outperform your peers at the range, you can always upgrade to better triggers that are crisper and have a lower trigger pull weight—and in these cases, you have to keep in mind that you’ll be toeing the line between performance and reliability.

Muzzle Brakes

Brakes, compensators, and hybrids are an incredibly easy upgrade you can add to your AR-15 to help reduce recoil and minimize the vertical movement of your firearm.


While there are a wide variety of handguards available on the market, we’ll focus on two of the main types of handguards— the drop-in and free-floating handguard. Drop-in handguards are when you have a delta ring on the receiver and a fixed front sight base, and the key drawback is that you are limited by the length from the receiver to the front sight base (FSB). Drop-in handguards also typically come in two pieces so they can fit without having to remove the barrel, delta ring, or the FSB—hence the term, drop-in, which is essentially how you install the handguard, by simply dropping it into place. With drop-in handguards, you also have to ensure you get the proper length that fits your AR-15’s gas system.

On the other hand, free-floating handguards, like our patented Matrix Arms Charlie and Lavi Handguards will only connect directly to the receiver and don’t come in contact with the barrel. This inherently increases accuracy since nothing is interfering with the barrel, such as the stock, grip, or other attachments. You can also have more freedom in selecting the length of your handguard, meaning you can sport a much longer one to accommodate an extended grip, and you’ll have the option to attach extra accessories as well. Just be sure to measure your barrel and muzzle device, so you order the right length handguard.
The latest trend for handguards is that manufacturers are moving towards including only Picatinny rails on the top instead of quad-rails (on all sides), just like we’ve done with our 5.56 15″ CHARLIE LIGHT HANDGUARD, which is being done in an effort to reduce weight. Then you still have the option to add on rails later when needed to accommodate additional accessories.


You can consider upgrading your barrel if your current profile or length isn’t cutting it for your purpose or if you’ve simply worn out your barrel with standard use. For tasks or activities that require greater accuracy, you might consider a heavier contour, which will make the barrel stiffer and more resistant against accuracy drop-offs due to heat or barrel whips.

If you’re looking for a greater overall range, you might consider a longer 18″ or 20″ barrel for that extra increase in velocity. Stainless steel barrels tend to be more accurate but at the expense of a shorter lifespan, which will end up costing you more in the long run as you replace them more frequently with use. If you’re looking for something lightweight and your range is limited to the median range, then you could go for a lightweight profile and drop to the standard Mil-Spec like our 16″ 5.56 NATO BARREL.

If you’re looking for a softer shooting experience for your AR-15, you could look into a longer gas length, such as changing to a mid-length from a carbine. The extra length gives added space and time for gas pressure to lower before cycling back.


What you need is to find an optic that not only complements your AR’s specific design but also satisfies your requirements regarding zoom ratio, magnification range, dimensions, and cost. Some of today’s most popular AR-15 optics are the variable-­power riflescope, the dot-­style (reflex) sight, and some more categorically unique options. The most popular options for AR-15 rifles, whether you’re hunting, sport shooting, or just pinging targets at the range, would be the variable-power riflescopes. Some examples are 3-9×40 PRIMUS RIFLESCOPE, 3-9×44 ORIANA RIFLESCOPE (30MM), and the 5-20×50 MAGNUS RIFLESCOPE.


The result of upgrading your AR-15 will be a more accurate and more optimal shooting experience for you, and the best part about the AR is that you don’t even have to take your rifle to a local gunsmith to install most AR-15 upgrades. At Matrix Arms, we proudly carry a full lineup of the latest innovations and AR-15 mods, so you’ll have no problem finding the customizations you need to take your AR-15 to that next level.


Find your ideal AR-15 parts and components, or choose from a variety of features by contacting Matrix Arms for full inventory options.

Featured Image: Anatoly Vartanov/Shutterstock

Matrix Arms presenting an an AR-15 in Claremont, NH

Building vs. Buying an AR-15

The AR-15 Rifle is one the most recognizable and most popular rifles on the market today, and given the effective history of this rifle, it’s no wonder how this happened. The AR-15 is among the most versatile and customizable rifle systems available. The AR platform, what is often referred to as the AR-15, is the modern version of any modular rifle. With its modular design, the AR-15 is suited for many calibers and can host a variety of different modifications and attachments. Its main advantages are ease of use, commonality of design, lower cost, reduced recoil, and consequently better accuracy. While the AR-15 Rifle can also be considered a beginner’s rifle, it’s also a beloved platform for any experienced gunsmith who is looking for a reliable firearm that can run the gauntlet from everyday use, hunting, home security, or even deployment in combat scenarios—the AR-15 truly is the rifle of the people. The true nature of the AR-15 is the ability to have thousands of options for every type of attachment and part swap that your heart desires. Often times, on other platforms like .308, mixing products made by different manufacturers can be a disaster. The beauty of the AR-15 is just the opposite – all manufacturers come together for the common good of creating the most customizable and badass guns on the planet!

To Buy or To Build? That is the Question

The beauty of this albeit tough question is that no matter which direction you choose to go, you’ll most likely come out the other end of that decision with a fully functional, fully customizable AR-15, that will suit whatever your needs are. The difficult part of that question is deciding which way to go that works best for your individual needs. And don’t worry; no matter which choice you make, Matrix Arms has a solution for you! What if you purchase an expensive rifle and determine all of its features are not for you? Thankfully, due to the enormous aftermarket parts market there is revolving around AR-15s, you could consider almost anything AR-15-related to be a worthwhile investment!

What is the Average Cost of An AR-15 Complete Rifle?

Many factors can influence the cost of the average complete AR-15, including the brand, the packages included, and the oft-politicization of the AR. Your average fully-assembled AR-15 could cost you anywhere from $500-$2,000, depending on your needs or which brands you decide to go with. Pricing can always fluctuate and can depend on if you are purchasing high-end vs. low-end or a complete build vs. components to assemble yourself.

Buying A Complete AR-15 Rifle

When you purchase a complete AR-15, rest assured you’ll be receiving a reliable, high-quality rifle no matter which manufacturer, build-out, or assembly you’ve chosen. Just like the M16 and M4, predecessors to the modern AR platform, it’s been used by the United States military for over 60 years. In the past 60 years, there have been many improvements made with the AR platform, and at the end of the day, a lower-end model is still an AR-15, which is a reliable, high-quality firearm. What do you get besides reliability when purchasing a complete AR-15?

  • Warranty — Most manufacturers, dealers, and brands offer warranties for their rifles, so if there’s a problem with your AR-15 you’ll typically have the option to return it within that window of warranty.
  • Assembly — No assembly required; you can buy a complete AR-15 from a local gun store or online, and as soon as it’s in your hands you’ll be able to head to the range to test it out.
  • Accuracy — Even basic complete models with only the iron sights are accurate AR-15s. You probably won’t take first prize in any shooting competitions, but your rifle will be ready to defend your home out of the box.
  • Compatibility — If you purchase a complete AR-15, you won’t have to worry whether the components you ordered are compatible. As with anything technical, some brands are incompatible. For example, if you buy our Matrix Arms 16″ 5.56 NATO BARREL, you’ll have to make sure you purchase a gas tube that’s the right length to fit with it. Luckily, The staff at Matrix Arms are ready to assist with any technical questions you may have regarding your Custom AR-15 Build.

Building A Rifle That Works for You

You can take pride in knowing that your rifle was built with the utmost care and consideration, knowing that you were there at its birth is a feeling only those who’ve built their own rifles can sympathize with. Like many other hobbyists, building your own rifle comes with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve built the finest weapon available on the market, but not only this, there are also more practical benefits as well.

  • Get exactly what you want from the right Upper Receiver to the right Bolt Carrier Group (BCG), pistol grip, or handguard; from ensuring your entire AR-15 has all Mil-Spec parts, to going off the rails (no pun intended)—you can ensure that every piece of your AR-15 Assembly fits right, feels right, and works exactly how you need it to because you’re at the helm.
  • This is my rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine Since you’ve built your AR-15 from the ground-up, you’ll have a much better understanding of how it functions as opposed to just simply purchasing a Complete AR-15 and reading a manual. This could inevitably save you a trip to the gunsmith if, in the rare event, your weapon malfunctions. When you build a Custom AR-15 you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride unlike purchasing a generic brand name rifle.
  • You can build at your own pace Depending on your budget or available free time, you can decide to purchase only what you can afford, or what you’re willing to assemble on an as-needed basis. Rome Wasn’t built in a day, and your custom AR-15 doesn’t have to be either!
  • Assembly made easy With all the technological innovations and advancements in the manufacturing of AR-15s, much of the assembly has been made easy with proprietary tools and fixings that make assembly much easier than in the past. Most assembling nowadays simply require a few hand tools and an early morning start, meaning you could have your rifle assembled and ready to hit the range that day!
  • You can keep it simple or take the road less traveled you can opt for assembling each and every component, from torquing the bolt carrier key screws to install your BCG, or you can simply opt for a fully assembled Complete Upper or Lower and focus on the more customizable attachments and components; the possibilities are endless.
  • Building your AR-15 will teach you indispensable skills Not all firearms are the same, and building your first AR-15 won’t make you a gunsmith, but it can help to teach you the essential skills required to fix or replace common components on your rifle and other similar ARs.

Only You Can Decide What Works for You

As with the decision to purchase a firearm, the decision to build or buy a complete rifle is a personal one that no one can make except for yourself. The market is full of various Complete AR-15s, many of which advertise the same features and guarantees you’ve come to expect with the AR Platform—however, none of those rifles might be the perfect fit for your needs. If the pursuit of perfection and building the perfect AR-15 doesn’t invigorate you, then you might be fine with only purchasing a basic Complete AR-15 and upgrading specific parts as your needs and experience grow.

Whether you buy or build an AR-15, you can’t really go wrong, because either way it’s guaranteed to be a reliable weapon system. Building an AR-15 allows you to fully customize the weapon to your liking, while also saving you money. It does Require some basic Knowledge, but the Friendly staff At Matrix Arms are happy to answer any questions that may arise.

If you’re looking for your ideal AR-15, want to try your hand at building your own, or simply have questions, feel free to contact Matrix Arms for full inventory options.

Featured Image: Militarist/Shutterstock