As a Marine Corps veteran, Aaron wanted his first gun to be something that was both functional and connected him back to his time in service. He also wanted something that he could really make his own on a budget.

That made an AR-15 rifle the perfect choice. He was already trained on the platform in the military, and it had a sentimental connection back to his experiences as a Marine. At the same time, ARs offered a wealth of options for customization that wouldn’t break the bank.

Palmetto State Armory PA-15
As a Marine veteran, Aaron chose a rifle similar to what he used during his service.
(Photo: Don Summers/



“This is the gun that I was trained on in the Marine Corps,” he said. “We had our thing that we said, ‘This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.’”

After some searching, he settled on a Palmetto State Armory PA-15, though the rifle looks very different today than it did when he first got it. He added his own optics, handguard, buffer spring, a bipod, and some other accessories. For a personal touch, the rifle also bears the Marine Corps’ emblem – the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Palmetto State Armory PA-15
Aaron added the Marine Corps' emblem – the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor – to his rifle. (Photo: Don Summers/

Aaron started with a basic AR-15 model that was affordable. He then slowly customized his gun over time. In the end, he had his first firearm. Better still, it was one that was completely unique to him. 

Since picking up his first gun, Aaron has dug deeper into the firearm’s world and explored various handguns and AK models. But he’s held onto his first rifle. “The gun world is fun,” he reflected. “There’s a lot of options. You can go and kind of make it your own.”

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