Category: Blog

Image of an AR-15 from Matrix Arms
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Top Reasons to Own an AR-15

Millions of Americans own at least one gun for protection. Many people prefer handguns or shotguns, but there are numerous reasons to own an AR-15. If you are a gun enthusiast, here are ten reasons you should consider adding an AR-15 to your collection of weapons.

The AR-15 Is a Semi-Automatic Rifle

Gun oppositionists have turned their focus to banning AR-15 weapons when the appeal to ban handguns failed in the 1970s. Disarmament activists argue that automatic weapons give shooters too much power, but it is important to note that the AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon. One of the biggest advantages of owning this type of gun is having the ability to discharge multiple rounds without needing to lower the weapon and reload manually. This ability makes the AR-15 ideal for self-defense and shooting competitions.

The AR-15 Is Completely Customizable

Every shooter has unique needs when it comes to guns. The AR-15 is the most customizable rifle in history, so you can easily choose one that meets your individual needs. They can be configured for various reasons, including:

  • Hunting
  • Recreational shooting
  • Fighting
  • Competing

You can also choose your stock length and select between fixed and adjustable stocks to meet your unique needs. The AR-15 has a universal design, so it can be swapped easily from the left hand to the right hand, depending upon the dexterity of the shooter.

A-15 Rifles Need To Be Common

The Supreme Court once incorrectly stated that the Constitution grants citizens the right to keep and bear arms that are “in common use.” This contingency means that AR-15 weapons need to be popular for the Supreme Court to continue to support them. The more Americans that own an AR-15, the more likely it is that the Supreme Court will continue to consider it a common weapon.

The AR-15 Is Commonly Used for Marksmanship Competitions

Marksmanship is important for a shooter. While competitions are not the best way to learn defensive shooting techniques, they can show you where you lack shooting skills so that you know what to work on. Participating in marksmanship competitions also allows you to become comfortable with your AR-15 and sharpen your overall shooting skills.

AR-15 Rifles Are Easy To Maintain

Compared to nearly any other gun model, except for the Glock, AR-15s are easy to maintain. Should the government succeed in banning AR-15 weapons, you could maintain and repair your gun with common parts without needing a gunsmith. If you have primers, magazines, and case necks, you are prepared to keep your AR-15 in good shape without needing professional assistance.

AR-15 Rifles Are Useful

Rifles are the most useful type of weapon because they have a wide variety of uses. While recreational shooting and hunting are the most common uses of AR-15 rifles, it’s important to remember that these weapons are invaluable when it comes to defense. These rifles are necessary for suppressing insurrections, defeating tyranny, and stopping invasions. This wide variety of uses makes the AR-15 an invaluable tool.

The AR-15 Is One of the Most Validated Rifles in History

Ar-15 rifles have been used for decades by millions of Americans. Civilians own more AR-15s than the military had M16s in its inventory. The versatility and the accuracy of the AR-15 make it a superior weapon with many uses. Throughout the last six decades, the AR-15 has continued to evolve to become the rifle it is today.

The AR-15 Is Commonly Used in Defensive Shooting Classes

Many people own a gun for protection. You may assume that you are a good defensive shooter because you know how to use a gun, but this is not always true. You will likely never need to use your gun for defense, but you need to be prepared for the possibility in case you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation. Taking a defensive shooting class from a certified instructor is the best way to prepare yourself. Almost all instructors use AR-15 rifles for defensive shooting classes.

You Can Use Your AR-15 To Prepare Young Americans for Military Service

Our military keeps our nation safe, and it takes a brave and selfless person to join the ranks of the military and risk his or her life for our freedom. If you want to support the military in a tangible way, you can work with young Americans and prepare them for training by helping them practice with your AR-15. However, it’s important t note that this is only a good idea if you are skilled with your AR-15. You need to be a good shooter with excellent marksmanship to mentor future military recruits.

It Is Your Right and Civic Duty To Be Armed

You have a Constitutional right to own a firearm. While handguns may be more beneficial for protecting yourself from common criminals, the AR-15 can also be good for protection. It is legal for you to own this type of gun, and because the firearm is so versatile and useful, it makes a great addition to any gun collection. The AR-15 is the better weapon for resisting the government should it infringe upon your constitutional rights, and this was the intention of our forefathers in creating the Second Amendment.

Find an AR-15 at Matrix Arms

An AR-15 is an excellent addition to any gun collection for all of these reasons. It is always important to stay up to date on current gun laws and make sure that you are comfortable handling any weapons you own. If you do these two things, you can feel comfortable adding an AR-15 to your gun collection.

If you’re in the market for an AR15, Matrix Arms has a huge inventory of weapons for you to choose from. Our expert staff members are here to help you choose the right gun for you. Our shop is located on River Road in New Hampshire, just a short distance from the Connecticut River and the Vermont state line. Contact us today to ask about our inventory, or stop in today to browse our selection of AR-15 weapons.

 

Image Source: Michael Coddington / Shutterstock

9mm 9x19 Luger Caliber Live Ammunition With Golden Cartridges
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Glock™ Lower Parts

Buying your first handgun is an unparalleled experience. But are you building one at home? That’s even better. Fortunately, constructing a custom pistol at home isn’t as complicated as you think. You can create a Glock™-compatible handgun with the correct parts, such as the new Glock™ lower frame. 

Pistol Anatomy 101

No matter what style of pistol you plan to build, custom-built versions will contain the same basic parts. Let’s start with the lower receiver, which houses the triggering system and magazine well. The lower is its own unique assembly that consists of several components:

  • Trigger bar, housing, guard, and connector
  • Magazine catch and spring
  • Pins securing the gun
  • Locking block
  • Slide stop with lever and spring
  • Pistol grip

When building a custom pistol, you also need an upper receiver. The upper includes the barrel plus several other components: spring load bearings, a slide cover plate, front and rear sighting mechanisms, and a recoil spring assembly. There’s also the extractor with its chamber indicator, plus the depressor plunger and spring. In Glock™ handguns, the firing pin and spring are accompanied by a firing pin channel liner that inhibits excess wear in the weapons slider. Finally, the slide cover plate connects the firing pin and extractor depressor plunger. 

Benefits of Building a Custom Pistol

Suppose you’re new to the idea of constructing a custom pistol with Glock™-compatible parts. In that case, you may wonder why people do this when one can go buy a gun—but building something yourself involves learning new skills plus the personal pride of knowing that you built the pistols you use. Whether you’re a shooting range enthusiast, part of a shooting club, interested in self-defense, or all of the above, custom building offers flexibility and convenience.

Building a custom pistol involves putting the upper and lower receivers together. Like other 80% lowers and frames, an 80% Glock™ lower assembly can be shipped. Why? Because an 80% lower isn’t functional, thus it’s not considered a finished firearm under Federal Firearms License laws. 

Ordering individual components allows you to assemble at home, plus you have the freedom to choose OEM or high-quality aftermarket parts when completing your firearm. You will need some specific tools to finish assembling the pistol. These include drilling and cutting equipment. Alternatively, you can complete assembly without machine tools. There’s no shortage of instructional resources that can help you construct your pistol at home. 

Glock™ pistols have a unique advantage over other brands. This isn’t to say that other firearms are less worthy. But what sets the Glock™ apart is its CNC machine-friendly design. Thanks to this design plus its polymer frame, Glock™s can be produced quickly with no hand fitting required. 

Legal Points To Remember

If you want to build your own firearms, you should be mindful of state laws that can impact your purchases. Purchasing 80% lowers is legal in most states, but you can only build for personal use. You cannot sell your finished products unless you have an ATF manufacturer’s license and pay the appropriate taxes and fees. Your completed gun builds must also meet state and local requirements. 

Certain jurisdictions have statutes concerning registration and serialization. You can still order 80% lowers in those states, but you’ll have to comply with their laws carefully. A few, such as New Jersey, have completely prohibited the sale and possession of 80% lowers.

Precision-Manufactured Components

Matrix Arms combines engineering expertise with skilled technicians and efficient production techniques to create a wide range of firearms components that meet or exceed our clients’: uppers, lowers, handguards, and more. Got a question about the Glock™ lower or our products? Just complete our contact form, and one of our reps will get in touch.

 

Image Source: PRO Visual Solutions / Shutterstock

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Buying your First AR-15

The AR-15 is one of the most iconic rifles on the market. Derived from the classic AR-15 design, these firearms are ideal for a range of applications, including hunting, self-defense, and recreation. Its popularity proves this — about 8 million AR-15s and similar models are estimated to be in circulation. If you’re considering joining this number but aren’t sure where to start, you likely have a few questions, like how much is an AR-15, what manufacturer makes the best AR-15 rifle, and where do I find an affordable AR-15? Find the answers to these questions and more in the following guide.

The Most Important Things to Consider When Buying Your First AR-15

When you’re shopping for your first AR-15, there are many factors to take into account. Of course, you want to find a rifle that’s suited for a first-time user, as well as one that’s reliable and affordable. These criteria are some of the most important to consider, but many other important factors are too. In addition to cost and user-friendliness, you should determine what purpose you primarily intend to use your rifle for, as well as how powerful it will need to be. With these criteria in mind, you can find the best AR-15 rifle for your needs.

Cost

The cost of an AR-15 can vary widely, but generally speaking, they are an affordable model for new gun owners. With prices reportedly starting as low as $500 and reaching as high as $2,000, there’s an option for every budget. Searching for a model at the lower end of this spectrum may be advisable for rifle hobbyists new to the AR-15 club. Buying a partial build model is a great way to save money while taking advantage of the ability to customize your rifle.

Application

The intended application of your rifle is yet another factor to consider. There are practically endless applications for an AR-15. In addition to the long-range precision, these rifles are ideal for shooting range plinking. You should narrow down how you plan to use your rifle to find the one that’s best suited to your use, and if you plan to find a partial build, assess the accessibility and cost of the customizations your model will need.

Caliber

When you shop for a gun, you should shop for the right ammunition, too. An AR-15 can be configured to fire several different calibers, including the following:

  • .223
  • .308
  • 9mm
  • 5 Grendel
  • 300 Blackout
  • 56×45mm

These options for ammunition highlight the incredible versatility of the AR-15. Configuration for different calibers can be achieved by changing out a few key components, including the barrel of the rifle. Choosing the right ammunition is key to having the intended impact when you use your AR-15.

Accessories

Finally, you need to find the right accessories for your AR-15. There are many different add-ons you can use to amp up your rifle’s impact, including the following:

  • Handgrips
  • Slings
  • Bipods
  • Lights
  • Collapsible stocks
  • Sights and optics

These accessories can be added to an AR-15 to improve its performance, make your rifle more accurate, and increase comfort during handling and firing.

Should You Build or Buy Your First AR-15?

When you’ve decided to invest in a rifle, another question remains — will you build your first AR-15, or will you buy a manufactured model? Manufactured models come ready to use upon arrival, while buildable models include only the parts of the rifle, and the owner can then assemble it. A third option available that may be ideal for first-time AR-15 buyers — a partial build model that offers the best of both worlds. Matrix Arms, for example, offers 80% built lower receivers so that buyers can build and customize the remaining 20%.

What Configuration Should I Buy?

When you’re selecting a configuration, you’ll have a few options to choose from. One of these configurations is the gas system length, which typically comes in three options:

  • Carbine length
  • Mid-length
  • Rifle length

Each of these options offers its own benefits to users, but your selection depends largely on the size of your barrel, and it will ultimately determine how quickly your rifle can extract a shell upon firing.

The Carbine-Length System

Many rifle owners favor the carbine length configuration for its early timing. Its extraction process allows for quick firing due to the pressure placed on the brass case. This pressure seals it against the chamber’s wall, and the carbine overcomes this pressure to extract the shell. It is most commonly used in rifles with 10 to 16-inch barrels.

The Mid-Length System

A mid-length system is optimal for a 16 to 18-inch barrel. In this configuration, gas becomes trapped further into the barrel, thus making for a longer extraction time. The longer extraction time can be attributed to this decrease in pressure. Some firearm enthusiasts also prefer the mid-length system because it offers the bullet more time to pass the gas tube while exiting the rifle. This allows for better dwell time and an ideally pressurized shot.

The Rifle-Length Gas System

Finally, a rifle length configuration is typically used for 18 to 20-inch barrels, and it offers the lowest case pressure of the three options as well as the longest extraction time. Many AR-15 professionals cite this system as the easiest to use because it delays extraction longer than the mid-length and carbine systems. It also allows case pressure to plummet, which makes ejection of the spent case easier to achieve.

Find the Right AR-15 for Your Unique Needs

Shopping for your first AR-15 can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Equipped with the right knowledge and a firm understanding of what you want, you can buy confidently. With over a decade of experience in firearms manufacturing, Matrix Arms is the go-to source for experienced and first-time rifle buyers alike. We carry the top brands in the gun industry, allowing customers to shop from a selection of high-quality, precisely manufactured, and expertly engineered options. Choose from AR-15 upper and lower receivers machined from 7075 aluminum forgings. Call us at (603) 665-0232 or reach out online for more information.

Image Source: Eugene Berman / Shutterstock

Matrix Arms customer shooting a rifle
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How to Improve Your Rifle Shooting Skills

Rifles in modern times serve many purposes: hunting, self-defense, warfare, and competitive shooting sports, just to name a few. Accuracy is key with any class of firearm, but rifles are specifically designed for precision shooting. Learning how to shoot a rifle is a valuable skill, opening doors to recreational and practical pursuits. And because rifle shooting is a precision art, proper training is essential. With continued practice and help from this primer, you can improve your rifle shooting techniques.

Five Fundamentals of Rifle Shooting

The first critical step in bettering your rifle shooting techniques is understanding basic practices. In shooting circles, you may have heard about the five firing fundamentals of rifle shooting. These fundamentals are often expressed in five key terms:

  • Aiming
  • Breath control
  • Holding your aim
  • Squeezing the trigger
  • Following through

You may see these points in shorthand with the acronym “BRASS”: breathe, relax, aim, squeeze the trigger, and squeeze more for follow-through. Specific practices with each point are vital to your technique and accuracy.

Aim

Precise aim is important — so important that it’s among the first steps. You start by aligning your sights with your chosen target. Make sure both eyes are open to help you focus and cut back on eye strain. Also, your aiming time should be relatively short. Precision is critical, but taking too long to aim can compromise accuracy.

Breath Control

You need to breathe to stay alive, but a lack of control can also compromise your aim. Deliberate breathing can counteract this common problem. When you’re prepared to fire, inhale deeply and exhale about half of your breath intake. Hold your breath while squeezing the trigger, but don’t hold it for too long — this can inadvertently speed up your heart rate and mess up your accuracy. Staying relaxed is essential to this breath control.

Holding Your Aim

Steady aim is crucial to accuracy, but trying to perfectly stay still can actually ruin your shot. Instead, focus your necessary movement on the target. Minimizing the area of movement can also cut down on your chances of missing the target.

Squeezing the Trigger

Your grasp should be firm but not too tight when pulling your rifle’s trigger. Be sure to grasp the wrist of the stock firmly and comfortably position your fingertip on the trigger. When ready to shoot, the trigger should fall between your finger’s first joint and tip. Squeeze slowly with steady pressure when firing your rifle.

Follow Through

When learning how to shoot a rifle, don’t stop short when you’ve pressed the trigger. Once the bullet leaves the firearm and heads to its target, continue squeezing the trigger until it stops. Lack of follow-through can cause the rifle to jerk, which throws off your aim. Don’t raise your head after making your shot, and keep the trigger pressed for one full second afterward.

Improving Your Shooting Proficiency

Practice is vital to both continued proficiency and further honing your skill. As you become more familiar with shooting a rifle, you can follow some other good practices. You already know that flinching can mess up a perfectly good shot, so the key here is to minimize this tendency. But flinching happens when you anticipate your rifle’s recoil. It can also result from expecting each shot’s report — in other words, hearing the shot before visually perceiving it.

Fortunately, you can correct this tendency with help from another experienced shooter. Ask this person to secretly insert a dummy round, or “snap cap,” into your rifle’s magazine. You shouldn’t see this take place. Then when you resume shooting, have your friend watch you. This individual can observe and tell you if you have a flinching problem.

Once you’re aware that you’re flinching, you can approach the problem in a couple of different ways. Dry firing is a great way to practice and perfect your technique. Practice firing with snap caps to avoid running through ammunition. You may also want to consider using lighter weight rounds, a smaller caliber rifle, or installing a moderator or muzzle brake to cut down on recoil.

Rifle Firing Practice Tips

Regular practice improves your rifle shooting techniques. But as mentioned earlier, using live ammo during practice can sometimes be a bit of a waste. Thankfully, you can work on your skills without ammo.

Dummy Round Drills

We’ve already seen how dummy round practice can help you work on reducing your flinching. If you can’t access dummy rounds, spent cases are a useful alternative. Either way, you can use them to perfect your sight alignment and trigger control skills. If you’re not quite adept at clearing your rifle, this approach can also help you improve in that area. After all, you must kick out the dummy round to continue firing.

Dry Fire Practice

If you’ve never done dry firing, you may find that it’s a helpful way to better learn how to shoot a rifle. Besides conserving ammo, it makes regular practice easier and more convenient. Most experts recommend two to three sessions each week to continue maintaining and bettering your skills. Dry firing is also versatile, allowing you to work through everything from drills to other essentials such as reloading and drawing.

Even when you’re doing dry fire practice, safety is a vital part of shooting. Check both your firearm and magazines to ensure there are no bullets inside either one. In fact, you should triple-check just to be safer. To remove any uncertainty, place your ammunition in another separate room. This eliminates the possibility that you’ve inadvertently kept live rounds inside your rifle.

Low-Round Count Drills

We’ve mentioned dry firing and snap caps, but some other approaches can be helpful. Practicing multiple shooting fundamentals at the same time helps conserve ammunition. Low-round count drills are an ideal solution. How? Well, there’s the popular Dot Torture Drill, which uses a precise pattern printed on a simple 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper. It’s a sequence of firing and drawing with your dominant and weaker hands. The Dot Torture Drill also helps you with accuracy by practicing trigger control.

Designing a Range Practice Regimen

Practicing is great, but focused practice is even better. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to draw up a practice plan before visiting your favorite shooting range. You don’t need to be super meticulous, but you should map out a schedule that includes specific skills with drills to help you work on them. With said plan, you can get the most out of your shooting time and avoid wasting ammo.

The Matrix Arms Difference

Matrix Arms’ legacy includes crafting products for notable clients such as Lockheed Martin, Barnes Aerospace, and General Dynamics. Exactitude, proficiency, and cutting-edge approaches inform every stage of product creation, from initial design to our CNC manufacturing processes. With our extensive experience in the firearms industry, we consistently meet and exceed customer expectations.

We offer value through both our products and expertise, including this guide on rifle shooting tips. We’re happy to help clients find the arms, accessories, and information they need. Reach out to us through our online contact form or call our New Hampshire headquarters at (603) 504-3790.

Featured Image: Jury Mustafaev/Shutterstock

Matrix Arms showing the safety on an Ar-15
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Gun safety rules every owner must learn

Doing your homework is vital if you’re to become a responsible owner of firearms. If you searched, “What do I need to own a gun?” you’re already one step in the right direction. But there’s a lot to responsible ownership and handling — gun safety, proper storage, and both state and federal laws, to name a few. If you’re new to firearms, this may seem like a lot of information to take in at once. Where do you even start? Fortunately, this useful guide explains some key essentials to help you educate yourself.

The Four Rules of Firearms Safety

Safety is crucial in handling firearms. Observing safe practices ensures that you can enjoy shooting as a hobby for years to come. Not only that, but you’re also thoughtfully and deliberately ready to protect yourself and others should the need arise. As a gun owner, you must understand and follow the four universal laws of gun safety.

All Guns Are Loaded

Treat your gun as if it’s loaded at all times. No matter where or when you’re carrying your firearm, you should behave as if it contains live ammunition.

Don’t Point Your Gun at Non-Targets

Never point your gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy. The muzzle should be pointed in a safe direction at all times.

Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger

Do not place your finger on your firearm’s trigger until your sights are on target. Until you have deliberately decided to shoot, your trigger finger should rest alongside the frame of the gun and outside of the trigger guard.

Know Your Target and What’s Beyond It

First and foremost, you should be absolutely certain of your target. But it’s also critical to know what lies just beyond the target. Avoid shooting at hard flat surfaces or water. Also, do not fire if there are people behind the target or if you cannot see past the target.

Other Gun Safety Practices

Now that you’ve read about the four cardinal rules of gun safety, there are a few other things you should know. Getting to know your firearm is a vital first step. This knowledge includes how it works plus its essential parts. You should also know how to open and close the action and how to remove ammunition. You can take classes or private instruction to learn these basics.

Proper cleaning and storage are also essential to gun ownership. Besides keeping them in good condition and preserving their value, regular cleaning also ensures that they function correctly. Best practices include cleaning your gun every time you use it, plus whenever you remove it from long-term storage. Before you clean, make sure the firearm is unloaded and the action is open. Also, your firearms should never be in easy reach. A dedicated storage option such as a locking steel cabinet or gun safe keeps unauthorized persons from accessing these weapons.

Understanding Gun Laws

State and federal laws governing gun ownership can be complex. Still, it’s your responsibility to understand and follow these statutes. They specify key details such as who may legally buy firearms plus waiting periods, where you can carry firearms and more.

Purchasing a Firearm

If you haven’t yet purchased your first gun, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, seek out licensed firearms dealers. They have been issued a Federal Firearms License by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to legally engage in buying, selling, or making firearms.

Depending on the state, the minimum age to buy a gun is either 18 or 21. Some states specify different minimum ages for different types of firearms. Individual jurisdictions have their own rules for purchase and ownership. Federal law on becoming a gun owner also requires that you undergo background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Those new to gun ownership may find terms like “open carry” and “concealed carry” a little confusing. But it may be helpful to remember a few things. Basically, open carry means that you’re carrying a firearm in open view. Waistband holsters are usually preferred, but you may also see people open carry in chest rigs or leg holsters. Concealed carry means that your gun is not in plain sight.

Concealed carry laws vary by state. Some allow permitless concealed carry, while others grant concealed carry weapons licenses according to certain criteria. In some states or counties, it’s up to the local authorities whether or not to grant CCW permits. Some governments do not issue CCW permits at all. There are also reciprocity agreements between states. That means CCW permits issued in some states are honored by others, allowing permit holders to conceal carry in those locations as well. You should check your jurisdiction’s laws for further information.

Practice and Proficiency

Practice makes perfect, right? Well, that adage especially rings true when it comes to firearms proficiency. Most shooting ranges offer group classes at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. These include gun safety basics plus specific courses on pistols, rifles, and other types of firearms. There are also courses that cover important fundamentals such as reloading, muzzleloading, and rifle carry positions. You can also find private one-on-one instruction at some ranges.

Practicing at the range helps reinforce what you learn in class. Scheduling regular practice sessions ensure that you don’t get rusty and improve your skills. There’s also “dry fire” practice in which you use your gun without live ammunition. This training lets you perfect your technique without firing any shots.

Meeting Other Hobbyists

Recreational shooting can help you skill up in precision, speed, and accuracy. Shooting as a hobby can be done individually, but joining a gun club has some great benefits. You meet like-minded gun owners who share your enthusiasm. If you’re a new owner, a club affords the opportunity to learn from experienced shooters.

Like with any other passion, finding community is valuable. With so many kinds of weapons and shooting styles, you’re sure to find a club that meets your needs. You can also find your niche where you can use your developing skills — hunting and competitive sports disciplines such as skeet, field, and bullseye shooting.

Innovation, Precision, and Perfection

Whether you’re a brand-new owner or you’re experienced with firearms, you assume a big responsibility. Practicing gun safety is important, as well as learning how to properly handle your firearms. Since laws covering gun ownership and carrying weapons vary from state to state, it’s critical to know these laws and stay up-to-date on any changes.

Thanks for reading this guide on important things that gun owners need to know. Matrix Arms is a CNC manufacturer of firearms with a keen focus on innovation, precision, and perfection. With engineering expertise, automation, and lean manufacturing practices, we craft products that meet or exceed customer expectations. Experience world-class service from our professionals—contact us through our online form or call (603) 504-3790.

Featured Image: Ambrosia Studios/Shutterstock

Matrix Arms showcasing their AR-15
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Beginners Guide to Building an AR-15

On the off chance that you’ve never plunged into the AR-15 world, you’re in for amazement. There is a bewildering cluster of classification, abbreviations (LPK, AFG, BCG, and so on), and alternatives for your new gun. Things being what they are, where in the world do you begin?

Before you even begin spending, you need to start thinking (or, even better, learning).

HAVE A GOAL IN MIND

The AR-15 Rifle has become the most recognizable and most popular rifle on the market, and, good or bad, it’s not surprising why. The AR-15 is among the most versatile, customizable systems available to proud second amendment-toting Americans since the first iterations arrived during the late 50s and early 60s. The AR platform 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 use with any caliber 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 better accuracy. If you’re looking for a reliable firearm that can function with precision in everyday use, home protection, hunting, or even deployment in combat scenarios, the AR-15 truly is the rifle of the people and is the best beginners rifle if you’re planning to start building one.
Probably the most integral part of the entire process of building your own AR-15 is considering what type of rifle you want or need. We’ve already covered a variety of different applications that the AR-style rifle is more than capable of handling, so now you have to consider what type of AR will work best for you. If you’ve never owned an AR-15 Rifle before, maybe you’ve never even held one before you’ve sat down to start researching how to build one. If that’s the case, you might want to keep things simple for your first build. Either way, before you even start looking at components and shopping around to see which brand or what type of rifle will suit your needs, come up with a budget and configuration that works for you, and make sure you stick to it. This will save you a lot of time and frustration down the line as you get to the actual building portion of your project.

STICK TO YOUR BUDGET

In recent years, the AR-15 market has been quite volatile due to a number of gun control threats looming on the horizon. This, combined with a burgeoning firearms economy, has caused the market to be flooded with AR-15-related accessories and components. Luckily, this tumultuous market will work out in your favor, as parts and accessories are mostly affordable, and your options are plentiful. When considering how much you’re able to spend, the adage you get what you pay for rings true for firearm components as well. You could even make the case that it’s more important that you don’t sacrifice quality for cost because a firearm malfunction will have many dire results than any other tool or hobby. One of the key reasons that building a firearm is more rewarding and better, in the long run, is that you can span out your purchases by component—meaning, if you only have a $200/month budget, you could save up for a few months and then buy a fully assembled AR-15 straight off the assembly line, or you could buy better components at a higher price-point, piece-by-piece each month until you have everything you need to put it together. Either way, make sure you stick to your guns and hold true to your budget; that way, you’re not wasting time, frustration, and your money on components that may be problematic to fit or that may need some custom machine-work in order to fit them together better.

SPEAK TO AN EXPERT

An AR-15 consists of two main parts, the upper receiver, and the lower receiver. You can buy both in various stages of construction, from a complete upper or lower receiver to an 80% finished, meaning that you’ll need to do some of the millings and drilling yourself in order to complete the assembly—all the way to Stripped uppers and lowers, that allow you the opportunity to pick and source the rest of the necessary components on your own terms.

Below is a complete list of AR-15 upper and lower receiver parts that you may want to consider:

Upper Receiver Components:

  • Stripped upper receiver
  • Barrel
  • Handguard
  • Charging handle
  • Bolt carrier group (BCG)
  • Gas tube
  • Gas block

Lower Receiver Components:

  • Stripped lower receiver/80% lower
  • Fire control group (trigger)
  • Safety
  • Mag release
  • Buffer
  • Buffer tube
  • Buffer spring
  • Buttstock
  • Lower parts kit

Navigating the waters when it comes to selecting what parts you’ll need, which components are guaranteed to fit together, and what personal machine-work you’ll be required to perform yourself are sometimes not for the faint of heart. If you find yourself in a position where you’re not sure about your assembly, or if you’re looking for some general advice on how to proceed with your build, consider consulting an expert to glean some much-needed advice or recommendations. You can contact us if you’d like to get some expert advice or if you’re interested in learning more about our full inventory options.

CONSIDER A FULLY ASSEMBLED UPPER RECEIVER

When building a rifle, you can purchase a fully assembled Complete Upper Receiver, or you can choose to assemble one on your own by purchasing and assembling the individual components separately. Matrix Arms offers a wide variety of Complete Uppers, which gives you the option of building or converting your AR-15 into whatever ammunition caliber type that you prefer without worrying about compatibility or assembly issues. All components included in our Matrix Arms Complete Uppers are designed to fit perfectly, are built using the highest quality materials and innovative design, and ensures your AR-15 not only performs with precision in high-pressure situations but also continues functioning reliably for many years to come.

PURCHASE YOUR IDEAL AR-15 COMPONENTS

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 us for full inventory options.

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Matrix Arms presenting an upgrade for am AR-15
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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.

Triggers

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.

Handguards

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.

BARRELS

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.

Scopes

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.

NO GUNSMITH NECESSARY

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.

PURCHASE YOUR IDEAL AR-15 PARTS AND COMPONENTS

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
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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.

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