So you are new to the gun world and want one of those fancy AR-15s. Tricking out your combat gun is something that most owners of the famed black rifle pride themselves on. There is no doubt that you can spend more on accessories than you can on the rifle itself. Once you purchase an AR, there are a million choices for accessories on any budget. If you are looking for the must-have accessories, read ahead and figure out what you are getting in to. It isn’t difficult and it can be tons of fun!
A railed forend is a handguard that is made of MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail. It encompasses the barrel and acts as the platform for sticking all your goodies on your rifle. The rail comprises a series of ridges with a T-shaped cross-section interspersed with flat spacing slots. Shooters can mount accessories either by sliding them on from one end or the other; by means of a Weaver mount, which clamps to the rail with bolts, thumbscrews, or levers; or onto the slots between the raised sections. When you pick up a railed rifle, you may notice that the rails themselves are a bit sharp to the touch. Some feel the action of shooting the gun would create a “cheese grater” effect on your hands. Many brands manufacture rail covers that give you a more comfortable grip. They are inexpensive and I think that as long as you have room, they’re a must-have.
I remember many years ago learning to shoot an M16 in basic training. I remember thinking the iron sights on the weapon were strong, precise, and relatively fast. When I first got my hands on a red dot sight however, my opinion changed. This thing was very fast, reliable, and tremendously precise. I could engage targets at a much greater speed, almost without thinking about it. Red dot sights come in all types of sizes and builds. Manufacturers make sights to fit just about any budget, but believe me when I say that you get what you pay for. Buy the best sight you can possibly afford. It will last you forever, and they make aiming an AR effortless. It is a good idea to plant some backup iron sights on your weapon however, should your fancy red dot take a hit from a 7.62 projectile, you will be glad you have them there. Don’t forget to practice with the iron sights just as much as you practice with your red dot too.
Here is a personal preference choice. Vertical or angled grips definitely make your rifle look cool. I personally don’t use them, but that doesn’t mean I’m right. I learned to shoot without one, so that’s what I’m more comfortable with. Some grips contain storage compartments for batteries or other small items. They can be a good idea if having that grip is in line with your style of shooting. I will say that the Magpul Industries AFG1 Angled Foregrip is quite comfortable, and does not alter my shooting style as much as a vertical one.
I love me a bipod. It is way easier to lug around a bipod than a couple of sandbags. For precise shooting over a distance, a bipod is a very nice thing to have. Shooters can attach railed items quickly and easily, so you can keep your bipod in your pack until you are about to use it. Bipods come in all budgets, but again, you get what you pay for. Keep in mind however, I’ve broken both entry-level and high-end bipods, so be careful with them.
Perhaps one of the most important accessories on your rig, the white lights are a must-have. Good lights run around 100 bucks, and they last forever. This should be the first accessory you purchase after your sights.
Let us know what you are running on your rifle. I’ve seen laser sights, can openers, chainsaws, and one guy even had a garage door opener. The choices are endless. Maybe you can think of something that nobody else has thought of.