You’re smart. You sure don’t need us to tell you that there are many simpler projects in the world than installing your own AR-15 lower parts kit. After all, have you SEEN the pile of parts in that box? Each tiny piece requires perfect placement to ensure your rifle will work. Drop a roll pin, and you’ll be searching for it for an hour. Release pressure at the wrong time, and springs and detents can launch into oblivion. Yeah, there are about a million reasons to doubt your abilities when it comes to installing your own lower parts kit.
We’re going to be honest with you – not everyone is cut out for the job. Think about that for a minute. Do you consider it to be a challenge? Does it ignite your drive to conquer your building project all the more? If so, you just may be a worthy lower parts kit installation adversary.
What You DON’T Need
Let’s refute three common misconceptions right away. First of all, people often think they essentially need to be an armorer or gunsmith in order to build a lower receiver. While a little education is never a bad thing, you certainly don’t need to be a firearm guru in order to carry out this task. As long as you are able to follow and replicate written or demonstrated instructions, you can assemble your lower receiver parts.
Secondly, people tend to believe that if they aren’t mechanically inclined, they won’t be able to install a lower parts kit. It doesn’t matter if you have never built a single thing in your life. If you can grasp the concept of how a hammer operates, you are mechanically capable of working on your lower receiver.
Lastly, people often assume they need to own every tool known to man in order to install a lower parts kit. In actuality, this project requires very few tools, only two of which are AR-15 specific. Check out our cheat sheet and 9 must-have items for your armorer’s kit to find out just how easy it can be to ensure you have everything you need for all of your AR-15 projects.
The Keys to Success
It’s really not a lack of technical ability that has the power to kill your drive to finish this project. If you are going to fail, it will likely be due to an absence (or underdevelopment) of the personality traits needed to carry out such a detail-oriented task. Don’t worry – this isn’t a psychology course. Here’s what you need in order to succeed:
- Curiosity and the Desire to Learn – A willingness to explore new tasks and to figure out how things work is essential for successful AR-15 builds, especially in the case of beginners. For example, if you are defensive about the fact that you have never installed a lower parts kit before, you may disregard step-by-step instructions (or other references) and opt to figure it out on your own. Maybe you will be successful, and maybe you won’t. Either way, you probably made the process much harder on yourself than it needed to be. Embrace the fact that you are learning something new and take the opportunity to soak up knowledge.
- Determination and Patience – As the old adage goes, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” If success is your only option, all that’s left to do is to figure out how to achieve your end goal. The problem with determination is that it sometimes wants instant results during projects which require time and attention to detail. You can’t reign in that drive without a little patience. Patience requires you to maintain flexibility and to possess a willingness to examine problems from different angles, both of which are invaluable abilities when working on an AR-15 build. It’s also important to recognize when you need a break from your project in order to regroup. Walking away for a while doesn’t mean you’re giving up – it means you work smart.
- Pride and Purpose – Before you even consider installing your lower parts kit, take the time to identify the personal motives you have for building your own rifle. Maybe you are passionate about the Second Amendment and view your build as an expression of your beliefs and patriotism. Perhaps you enjoy hunting or target shooting and want to experiment with the options the AR-15 platform affords. It could be that you feel energized by creating something of value, or maybe your plan is to craft a family heirloom.
Regardless of what your specific motives may be, they are the very things that provide you with both pride and purpose. As a result, your curiosity and desire to learn increase, and you become all the more determined to achieve your end goal.
It All Comes Down to You
As you can see, the contents of your toolbox are only part of the recipe for a successful AR-15 build. You control the rest of the ingredients, so hone your these personality traits! All of a sudden, you’ll find you are definitely cut out for installing your own lower parts kit –and probably a lot of other things, as well.