The AR 15 is the semi-automatic version of the military’s ubiquitous M 16 automatic assault weapon. It usually comes in two detachable parts: the upper which contains the barrel that fires the weapon and the lower which contains the trigger mechanism. This article will examine the AR 15 lower in greater detail.
The AR 15 lower is the only piece of an AR 15 that currently is subject to federal firearms regulation in the United States. As a result, each manufacturer puts a prominent serial number on these devices, and one is required to go through a licensed dealer when making a new purchase or buying a used lower across state lines. Double D Armory LTD carries a very slick AR-15 lower on their website.
The good news about this fact is that one can buy many different uppers to complement the lower, essentially having numerous different firearms with different barrel lengths and calibers while only having to fill out one set of paperwork. You can do target practice with cheap 22 caliber ammunition to warm up, then switch the upper to a standard 223 for longer distance shooting, and then switch to a 50 caliber Beowulf upper if you want to tear into some heavy metal.
The AR 15 contains the trigger mechanism of the gun and also is where the magazines are loaded. For people who like to customize their AR 15, many install special multistage triggers, the most famous being the Jewel 2 stage. These are used by target shooters providing variable resistance depending on how far back it is pulled. These allow a sniper to pull back until they meet a customized level of resistance, make sure the shot is set, and with a little additional push let the round fly.
An AR 15 can also easily be converted to the equivalent of an M 16 automatic weapon. One simply needs to change the hammer mechanism, dropping in what is referred to as an autosear. The autosear allows the machine to reset on each firing, so that if the trigger is still pulled, the weapon continues to fire. These types of modifications are generally considered illegal in the United States.
The other prominent part that is commonly modified on an AR 15 lower is the buttstock. One can get a standard plastic buttstock, or one can get a collapsible one that makes the weapon more portable to carry. There are even stocks available that allow customized chin rests for those who do a considerable amount of target shooting.
The AR 15 remains the most popular assault weapon in the United States, and has come to represent the “evil black gun” that many in Washington, D.C. love to demonize. So if you are interested in buying an AR 15 lower and pairing it with one of many uppers, you might want to buy one while you still can.