Alright folks! It’s time for my first weaponry blog! This entry will serve to show you readers my exact custom AR-15 Pistol build from start to finish.
When I decided to build an AR-15 pistol, I wanted something small and compact, yet effective at short distance engagements! I tossed around the idea of a very short 7.5″ pistol build and remembered that my large build and clumsy man hands would be more apt to injury with such a short weapon. After consulting some friends, I decided a 10.5″ build would suit my needs for both operation and safety! Next I am going to lay out the parts piece by piece and provide you with some credible sources to see the action for yourself.
First off, we will start with the barrel. My personal barrel of choice is through Faxon Firearms. Their barrels are VERY affordable and honestly, quite beautiful pieces of work. They offer a variety of barrels in both 4150 steel and 416-R stainless. Their website offers a great detail of information relating to their very special Quench Polish Quench (QPQ) process and why it’s so great! Check out Faxon’s FAQ’s for great quality information! Moving on, I purchased my barrel from Faxon in a 10.5″ govt/socom profile in 5.56NATO for right around $155.00. Trust me folks this barrel will NOT disappoint. Now to the upper receiver….
I purchased an assembled upper receiver with the bolt, receiver, charging handle, and receiver parts. Yes, I know this was a side step to individually purchasing each part! The receiver I chose, because this was SUPPOSED to be a budget build, is an Anderson Arms forged complete receiver with the Anderson Arms bolt carrier group (BCG), and charging handle. This took half of the work of piecing a build together out at an affordable price! All the moving parts in this receiver are RF85 treated and cosmetically appealing in a dark black steel color. Now we can move on to the handguard I chose to slap on this puppy!
The handguard has always been a CRUCIAL piece of the puzzle for me when it comes to custom builds. Why you ask? Because that is the part of the weapon you hold for support the majority of the time. This means it needs to be COMFORTABLE! I am very pleased with Midwest Industries freeoating handguards. These handguards are not only perfectly pleasing to the eye, but they are LIGHT and COMFORTABLE. Fully capable of the keymod additions, this rail has proven to out perform and I’ve tested to date. So for this build I chose the 10.5″ Midwest Industries G3 series rail and accompanied it with the Magpul MLOK handstop. I couldn’t be happier with it! Let’s move on to the gas system.
For this gas system, I went with a base model carbine length gas tube, and a Midwest Industries low profile gas block! These are parts that may seem a little commonplace for one to worry about so much, but when it comes down to it, quality is key. Think about it….the gas system is essentially the vitals of operation in an AR-15. No gas, improper has, or cheap parts leads to very frustrating malfunctions. I would recommend steel gas blocks from a supplier that has some credibility such as Midwest Industries, or BCM who have both earned a quality reputation. What next now? Ohhh yeah! Let’s start putting the finishing touches on our upper receiver assembly! On to the muzzle devices!
When choosing a muzzle device, looks seem to be the initial component on people’s minds. The issue there is that the muzzle device actually does serve a purpose. Whether it is a break, hider, or compensator, find out what it is YOU need to best suit your build. They all serve different purposes. For this build I was turned on to Strike Industries King Comp. This line of theirs resembles chess pieces, but they are sexy! This compensator combines the function of a break and a hider to perform for a variety of weapons. For me, this pistol needed the break for blast and “recoil reduction” even though there are skeptics about whether it works…I notice a difference. I have also had great luck with Yankee Hill’s Phantom series! These muzzle devices range from $28-$60 and up! Here is a photo of mine before we head to sights which is a dead giveaway below!
For my sights, I wasn’t planning on mounting an optic such as a red dot or holographic. I wanted something fast and accurate in terms of iron sights. All roads pointed to the Troy Industries Battle Sights. These sights offer a diamond shape peep for clear and precise target acquisition. Very fast to engagement and quite accurate. You also won’t have to worry about damaging the super strength aircraft aluminum makeup either. While these sights proved to be of my preference, I have also had excellent luck with Magpul MBUS sights! They are very durable and accurate as well for a more affordable set!
Finally, we have reached the starting point for the lower receiver. For this “budget” build (even though it’s far from that), I chose to match up the Anderson Upper with an Anderson Arms Lower. For this piece, I bought a stripped forged lower at about $65 from my local shop. The price of an FFL transfer fee was not worth it to me to shop around, and these operate flawlessly! Now that we have the plain Jane stripped lower, let’s get into parts.
The Lower Parts Kit (LPK) I chose for this build was an RGuns nickel boron parts kit. I’m not providing a link because I don’t recommend the kit. The parts are “okay”. The takedown pins for this kit were way oversized which to me is a HUGE turn-off. I ended up replacing them with a mil spec set I had laying around. I will give props to the mil spec trigger it came with because it is very crisp and clean breaking. Go find a quality parts kit. The ONLY reason I got this kit was because I was in a hurry and could not find a LPK in stock ANYWHERE; on a budget that is! Notice I covered the trigger within this LPK? That is because I always run Milspec triggers for ease of use and muscle memory comfort. I don’t shoot precision so it’s not an issue for me! Moving on to another vital piece of this build, the pistol tube/brace.
After gathering all the parts for your build, there is one VERY important part of a pistol that ensures it is in fact a pistol and not a NFA regulated SBR or short barreled rifle! PLEASE READ ALL LOCAL AND FEDERAL LAW REGARDING AR PISTOLS IN YOUR AREA. I chose to run a KAK Industries Shockwave Blade kit. For a very reasonable price, this brace comes with the pistol tube, buffer spring and buffer. Bear in mind this is NOT to be shouldered. However, the NFA has ruled that it may be brought to the cheek for stabilization. **WARNING check weild at your own risk** Moving on to the final piece, the grip!
I usually always run Hogue brand grips. However, this time I went with a Magpul Grip that feels quite nice! There are a variety of grips out there to fit several hand types test some out at a local dealer next time you go in!
Well, you now have read my entire most recent AR-15 Pistol build! Yeah, it is a nut of a firearm, but it performs flawlessly. Please take some time to comment, like, and share what you liked or what you’d like to see next! Thank you for reading!
May 20, 2016 at 2:06 am
First off nice gun and explanation of build. Only 2 things I would criticize, first of whereas your muzzle device looks cool and all the problem with a short barrel is all that sound and percussion comes back closer to your ears, on my 10.5 pistol I went with a conical shaped flaming pig style device for the simple fact I built my gun as a SHTF gun and if I grab in a hurry I’m not gonna put plugs in my ears. Food for thought. My second criticism which is more a FYI but, people like to refer to Anderson Arms products as cheap and budget but this couldn’t be further from the truth, the reason Anderson usually comes in cheaper than all others is because they forge their own uppers and lowers and supply forgings to other makers that then slap their name on said parts. Anderson has been around for close to 85 years and not only did they create the RF85 treatment, that is applied to every individual and crew served weapon in the U.S. Arsenal but they got their start developing the nuclear bombs in Oakridge, Tennessee. You know the ones that brought WW2 to a swift end… I used to think I had to have all the expensive receiver parts until I did a little research and found that 9 out of 10 manufactures that claim to make their own receivers actually buy them from the Anderson forge in good ol Hebron, kentucky. I just love it when someone tells me my guns are cheap because they have Anderson on the side of them, when in reality they just paid $50 or more for a little bit of laser etching. But I digress, great article and keep up the good work Oak tree
May 20, 2016 at 2:10 am
Great information Nick! Thanks for the heads up on Anderson Arms. I know they are considered “Cheap” but I stand by them for every rifle i have built with Anderson parts has far surpassed any of my expectations. I will continue using their parts for a lifetime! As far as the muzzle device, that is one of the reasons I chose the King Comp, because it not only, breaks the blast but directs it more forward easing just a bit on the ears! Who needs “cool” laser etching anyway? Thanks again for the info!