From buying to building: Why AR-15 fans are DIYing
By Jacki Billings
The AR-15’s modular design allows consumers to swap parts and tailor the gun to suit specific goals. (Photo: Peninsula Guns and Tactical)
With its modularity and ability to conform to user needs, the AR-15 is easily considered America’s preferred rifle. Though many gun owners chose to head down to their local gun shop to grab a factory built AR from the shelf, some dedicated fans are circumventing the gun store in favor of building their own, custom gun. But why are shooters forgoing stock guns in favor of time consuming builds? The answer, AR aficionados say, comes down to customization, cash and control.
The AR-15 developed its iconic name from ArmaLite who designed the first AR or ArmaLite Rifle. In 1959, the company sold the rights to Colt, who modified the rifle by relocating the charging handle from under the carrying handle to the rear of the receiver. The redesigned rifle was repackaged and marketed by the United States military as the fully automatic M16. Not to be limited to just one clientele, Colt soon created a semi-automatic civilian version known as the AR-15.
The AR-15 soared in popularity among gun owners who found it to be a versatile platform. Transitioning from hunting