Being in the firearm industry, it’s truly amazing to see the amount of opinion based information out there. Usually those opinions are formed from that persons’ direct experience, as it should be, but those opinions can’t always be taken to heart. What one person experiences during the process of installing an AR-15 lower parts kit may be completely different than another person. There are plenty of factors that contribute to that opinion – the tools used, the process itself, the directions followed, and even the milling of the lower, can all make or break a successful installation.
Below you’ll find, what we consider to be, some of the most common myths when it comes to installing your AR-15 lower parts kit. Again, experiences differ so we’d love to hear feedback.
Myth 1) The Brand Makes A Difference
While in some instances the brand of a product can make a difference in the quality of the product. The reality of it, though, is that all brands can end up having a varying level of quality within a production batch of AR-15 lower parts kits. When a brand makes lower parts kits they either make it in-house or use a third party manufacturer and white-label the product to their own. If something has changed in the production it can have a direct impact on the quality of the product for that brand. The more consistent a brand or manufacturer can be during production, the better reputation they tend to have. We’ve seen brands produce high-quality batches of AR-15 lower parts kits and then turn around and produce a low-quality batch of kits. It’s more about consistency during the manufacturing process.
It’s also important to note that, while a brand may be known for producing a high-quality AR-15, they may not do as well with their lower parts kit. Don’t automatically assume that a well-known brand will be better than a brand with little or no reputation.
Myth 2) Installing An AR-15 Lower Parts Kit Is Quick and Easy
For people that work on AR-15s or have done a few AR-15 lower parts kit installs, sure, the overall process will be quick and easy for them. But for those of you who have never installed a lower parts kit, don’t expect to have it done it 20 minutes. You’ll want to take your time, follow the steps in order, and make sure you’re installing each lower part component correctly. Once you have a few under your belt then you’ll be able to breeze through them quicker and with more ease.
Myth 3) All AR-15 Lower Parts Kits Are The Same
There are many types of lower parts kits on the market. Pay close attention to what is included in each of them. For example, a Drop-In AR-15 Lower Parts Kit typically only has the core components of the lower parts kit and doesn’t include commonly upgraded parts such as the pistol grip or the AR-15 trigger. In contrast, an enhanced lower parts kit will consist of all the parts you need to fit in the lower including the pistol grip and trigger.
Another thing to note is that the buffer tube assembly and stock usually doesn’t come standard with the lower parts kit. You can find them packaged with some lower parts kit offers but they aren’t an actual component of the lower parts kit.
Myth 4) Only Gunsmiths Should Install An AR-15 Lower Parts Kit
We’ve seen this common misnomer a number of times, especially among the less experienced crowd. Yes, you can definitely send your AR-15 off to have the lower parts kit installed. Yes, you can be rest assured knowing that it was installed correctly. However, like anything else, you’ll quickly learn that you have to pay for that service. Don’t let installing the AR-15 lower parts kit be intimidating. As long as you have the patience, the correct tools, and the right guide to help you, you should be able to install it with the same level of quality that a gunsmith can.
While there are other mainstream opinions that we can consider to be myths, these are the top four that we quickly identified as being the most popular. Keep in mind that the way you install your lower parts kit may be different than the next person. That means that your experience is slightly altered compared to what theirs is. Don’t dwell on that. If something works, replicate it. If it doesn’t work, figure out why and don’t do it again on future kit builds!