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5 Reasons To Build Your First AR, & 4 Reasons Not To

Knowledge is power

5 years ago, I was pretty new to firearms. I owned a couple pistols, and had my concealed handgun permit. I didn’t know a lot about rifles, and I made big mistake. I went to a big chain outdoors-y store and bought an AR-15 off the shelf. It was a quality piece, by a reputable brand. But, I didn’t know enough about the AR platform to know what I wanted from an AR platform.  I spent nearly $1,000 and as time went on, I came to realize there were a lot of things about it I didn’t like. Don’t be me 5 years ago. Get the right gun the first time. Or maybe at least the second time.

The AR-15 is like a lego set for adults. There are thousands of options out there, and you can painstakingly research each individual piece of it, if you care to. Inevitably, most AR owners buy a gun off the shelf and then spend hundreds or even thousands making changes to it. You end up throwing away parts that you didn’t like. Wouldn’t it have been better to have just started with those parts the first time? You also get the flexibility to buy parts of your gun over a period of time. Think of  it like a payment plan, but you decide the terms, and there’s no interest!

On the other hand, your first build can be confusing and frustrating. You need to buy the right parts, you need to buy ALL the parts. How do you know where to start? We exist to arm you with the knowledge you need to get what you want out of this versatile, popular rifle.

5 Reasons to Build:

  1. You’re the “custom” type of person. You like options. You like choice. Building gives you control over that process. You get to choose the color, the look, the feel, the features.
  2. You’re budget conscious. It can be possible to save a bit of money by building; or any least get a much better gun at the same price as an off-the-shelf rifle. Here are the best gun deal sites to help you save.
  3. You want to own something unique. Perhaps you don’t want your gun to look like every other black rifle out there. You want unique color, or exotic materials.
  4. You have a very specific purpose in mind for your gun. Perhaps you want to shoot competitively, defend your home against intruders, or hunt game like wild hogs or coyotes.
  5. You like projects. You are the DIY’er, the guy/girl who changes their own oil, mounts their own TV, or builds their own gaming computer. If this sounds like you, you’ll definitely feel rewarded and accomplished by home-brewing.

4 Reasons to Buy:

  1. You’re not picky about aesthetics. What the gun looks like matters little to you, you just need/want one.
  2. You’re not really mechanically inclined. It takes a bit of skill with hand tools and a fair amount of patience to assemble your own gun. If that’s not you, that’s ok.
  3. You like convenience. Maybe you have a family and put in 60 hour weeks and don’t have the time to slave over a workbench. That’s ok. You want a new range toy, and you want it now!
  4. You like bargains. While it’s possible to save money by building, there are some very solid entry level guns already assembled and ready to buy and take home starting at less than $500. It can be tricky to source parts for a build for less than that, especially when you factor in shipping costs, and FFL transfer fees etc.

There you have it. 5 reasons to build, and 4 reasons to buy. We have your back regardless of which one you choose. You’ll want to check out our buyer’s guides, builder’s guides, and accessory reviews regardless of which route you take.

Have more questions? Leave us a comment below.

Written by Evan Hartman

Evan lives in the Midwest with his wife, son, and Siberian Husky. He is passionate about assisting others in exercising their Second Amendment rights. He has been active in shooting and collecting firearms for nearly a decade. When not working, shooting, or building, you might find him playing guitar or sipping bourbon.

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