A while back, I decided I wanted to build a “tactical” AR-15. I had built an AR previously for my own personal use and to my own personal tastes at the moment, but this time I wanted something a little different, something better.
Also, admittedly and for the benefit of those readers who have not experienced this condition themselves, building ARs is slightly addicting. If I had the money, I’d have to buy another couple of safes just to store all the guns I’d like to see made and it apparently doesn’t take much for homebuilding to get in your blood. Without too much effort, I got a family friend hooked on building them but fortunately for him, he has the money to indulge in the habit. In the last several months, I think he and his sons have made a half dozen ARs and they keep buying parts!
Lucky dogs. Some of us have less financial resources, and there are of course other roadblocks to consider, for instance, convincing my wife that I need another AR.
For those married guys who say they wear the pants in the family, it’s wise for us all to admit that she picks out the colors. I like staying married so we compromise: she can keep buying what she needs and I will help support her wants (like furniture and jewelry) as well. And, on occasion, I get to buy some guns, ammo and tacti-cool gear.
Now, I’m no Daddy Warbucks. My wife and I have two fire teams of little commandos running around the house, tearing things up—and they’re expensive. Braces, doctor visits, and food bills are horrendous, so securing funding for this project was, like, two and a half years in the making. Here a little, there a little.
Although it’s not current anymore, I’m a certified armorer and I’ve had some wrench turning experience. I am, however, a far cry from “a tool guy.” In fact, I’ve jested in the past that I’m the AOTU (Armorer of the Universe). Yeah, I’m not very mechanical at all.
Thankfully, a former Marine who’s so old and experienced that he got a disciplinary Article 15 under the UCMJ for shooting buffalo out of his barracks window as a Private, has taught me a few things about shooting and working on guns. I still call him every so often and ask him questions.
I also refer to my M-16/M-4 manual. I don’t trust YouTubers, unless I can verify what they are saying comes from a very reliable source.
In the end, it was fun researching gear and buying parts a piece or two at a time and then assembling it myself. There is something more rewarding about the diligence and patience it took to slowly choose and build my AR and then finally having the completed product.
Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training. Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.