Four Under $40

By Woody published on in AR-15, Buyers Guide, Chronicle, Firearm Accessories, Firearms, General, Gizmos & Gadgets, Magazines, Rifles

Editor’s Note: Prices noted in this article are as of July 26, 2013, and subject to change without notice.

Aftermarket options for the AR-15 and its variants are legion. I don’t think it’s possible for a single human being to scratch the surface of all the available handguards, optics, mounts, suppressors, and other geegaws out there, some of which can be quite spendy. However, I’ve recently bought a handful of inexpensive items for my AR that have delivered a lot of bang for the buck. Some have been mentioned in previous posts, but they’re worth a few more words to explain why you might consider them for your own rifle.

Magpul Ladder Rail Protector (6-1028458, $9.16)

Magpul’s AR-15 Ladder Rail Protector makes handling quad rails a little more comfortable.

Magpul’s AR-15 Ladder Rail Protector makes handling quad rails a little more comfortable.

Quad rails are great, but they’re not always comfortable to handle without gloves. Magpul’s AR-15 Ladder Rail Protector offers a low-profile, no-slip grip surface that you can tailor to your accessories package with a pair of scissors. I have the OD Green ones on my Rock River Operator, but they come in several colors. We have ‘em in black.

GG&G 45-Degree Offset Accessory Rail (2-GGG1526, $30.99)

This GG&G offset rail allows accessories to be mounted at a 45-degree offset, as shown with the Bushnell First Strike Reflex Red Dot Sight.

This GG&G offset rail allows accessories to be mounted at a 45-degree offset, as shown with the Bushnell First Strike Reflex Red Dot Sight.

This handy little rail allows the shooter to install micro red-dot optics, flashlights, lasers, and other items to be mounted at a 45-degree offset. I use it to move a Bushnell First Strike Reflex Red Dot Sight off the top rail to the right side when I want to install a riflescope on top of the rifle. It takes about a minute to put the offset rail on, and another minute to move the First Strike for closer targets. I put the rail on the right side so I can go from scope to dot with a quick counter-clockwise turn of the rifle, and without having to change my head position. The unit is ambidextrous, so if you want to cant clockwise, that’s easy, too. The offset piece mounts to a MIL-STD 1913 rail and offers five cross-slot mounting locations. It is 2.5 inches long, but only uses 1 inch of the top rail for mounting. It weighs 1.45 ounces.

ProMag AR-15 Flat-Top Scope Riser (2-PM066, $26.04)

The ProMag PM066 scope riser raises optics 3/4-inch above a rail. Because the riser is quick detachable with Picatinny rails, a scope mounted on the riser stays reasonably close to zero when it’s installed on the same gun at the same T Mark.

The ProMag PM066 scope riser raises optics 3/4-inch above a rail. Because the riser is quick detachable with Picatinny rails, a scope mounted on the riser stays reasonably close to zero when it’s installed on the same gun at the same T Mark.

Personally, I don’t like a hard cheekweld on my AR stock when I’m shooting a long time or when I’m trying to shoot a scoped rifle for accuracy, such as when I’m lot-testing ammo. I have a harder time regulating my cheek pressure on the gun the more firmly I press, so being able to back off how hard I press helps me shoot better. The ProMag PM066 scope riser allows optics to be raised 3/4-inch above a flat-top rail. Because the riser is quick detachable with Picatinny rails, I usually keep a scope mounted on the riser, and the whole unit goes on with the twist of two thumb screws and gives me the proper scope height without having to use extra-high rings. A full-length spring-loaded locking bar seats firmly on the top rail and helps the unit stay reasonably zeroed when I take the scope/rail unit on and off at the same T-mark.

10- and 20-Round Magazines (about $20)

When shooting off a bench, you may notice your AR’s grip length and magazine length can make it awkward to settle the rifle into a stable position. There’s not much you can do about the grip length, but you can make the gun’s overall height a little shorter by using 10- and 20-round magazines rather than 30-rounders, which are longer than the grip.

10- and 20-round magazines can be handy for bench shooting.

10- and 20-round magazines can be handy for bench shooting.

I own three of these shorter magazines, and my favorite is an aluminum-body 20-rounder made by Adventure Line, Mfg., which Cheaper Than Dirt! doesn’t carry. I have also used Windham Weaponry’s 20-round magazine (9-102143, $19.11) and like it as well as the Adventure Line.

Please comment below and tell everyone what inexpensive AR items you have that deliver a lot of utility for not a lot of money.

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Comments (7)

  • Wayne

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    I just got and installed a Defense Group ambi safety. The high quality kit cost $30.00 plus about $2.00 shipping. I installed it in minutes and it works great. These should be standard equipment on all AR’s. Great buy for way cheap.

    Reply

  • AR shooter

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    I am with you on magazine capacity ! just because you can load 30 rounds there is not a law saying you MUST USE MAXIMUM CAPACITY MAGAZINES , HELL THEY MAKE A 75 ROUND DRUM MAGAZINE WHY NOT USE THOSE ha ha ha . PERSONALLY I LOVE 20 ROUND MAGAZINES , LIKE 12 OF THEM . I WILL ADMIT I DO HAVE 6 OF THE 30 ROUNDERS BUT HAVE ONLY USED ONE OR TWO OF THEM THE REST ARE FOR THE INVASION ! ! ! ! !

    Reply

  • DB Cooper

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    A 10 round mag fits nicely in a pocket too.

    Reply

  • Jerry Smith

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    I have a Colt AR15 HBAR NM rifle, I have a 4x scope on it. I use 20 round mags. I don’t go with all of the extras, because I know how well the rifle shoots now and it is a really great rifle, took it to Camp Perry a few times.

    Reply

  • JJM

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    Have a BushMaster Carbon 15 with single rail, red dot, no iron sights. Desire to keep red dot but also add iron sights. Any suggestion of best way to achieve this? 45 degree mount of red dot or iron sight? Clamp on front sight, won’t this be tricky to properly align?

    Reply

  • Awesome

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    JJM, it’s even easier than that! With a red-dot sight, there is no magnification, so you can install flip-up iron sights inline with the red-dot and you’ll be shooting with either set of sights! No need for a 45 degree mount with the setup you are describing. Just get a flip-up iron sight set.

    Reply

  • JJM

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    Awesome – Thanks for opening my eyes as to what I can see thru my red-dot. The flip ups are the way to go AND the already sighted in red-dot will make it that much easier to properly align a clamp-on front rail.

    Reply

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