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How to build an AR

Frontier Justice’s Guide to How to Build an AR-15

How to build an AR-15

The AR platform is an incredibly useful tool that has benefited firearms owners in America for more than half a century. There are many great manufacturers of ARs to choose from, but building your own AR is also an option!

At Frontier Justice, we are passionate about educating our community about their firearm options. With that goal in mind, we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to build an AR. 

Related: What is an AR-15?

First, why build your own AR-15?

When you’ve built your own tool, you know the inner workings. You understand how to disassemble the firearm and can make any adjustments necessary. And, if there were any malfunction, you understand how to look for the problem and that typically leads to an easier fix. 

Your first AR build is likely going to take some time, but as you put the pieces together you pick things up. Then your second and third builds, if you turn it into a hobby, become easier and you continue gaining knowledge of your tool. 

How to build an AR-15

It might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never built your own firearm before, but building your own AR is actually an easier process than it seems! Here’s a breakdown of everything you need, and what you need to know, to build your own AR. 

The lower receiver

When building an AR, you start from the ground up. Your first part should be the lower receiver, which suits above the grip, houses the trigger and the hammer, and has a slot for the magazine. For all intents and purposes, this is the actual firearm and the only serialized item in your AR-15 build. 

The lower receiver is your foundation for a quality AR-15 build. It’s the same requirements to purchase a lower receiver as it is a handgun; you have to undergo a background check before receiving the part. You can purchase everything else for your AR-15 build over the counter or online and shipped directly to you. 

A lower receiver can be turned into either a pistol or a rifle, depending on barrel length. Any barrel under 16 inches is considered a pistol, and those over 16 inches are considered rifles. 

Once you have your lower receiver, the customization of your AR-15 build can truly begin. 

Lower parts

When purchasing the lower parts for your AR-15, you can either buy a lower parts kit or purchase each of these parts separately. 

Our lower parts kits at Frontier Justice have all of the pieces you need to assemble the lower receiver, minus the trigger. 

If you’re purchasing the lower parts separately for yourself, here is what you will need:

  • Trigger spring
  • Trigger pin
  • Hammer spring
  • Hammer pin
  • Disconnector and spring
  • Bolt catch
  • Bolt catch plunger
  • Bolt catch spring
  • Bolt catch roll pin
  • Selector
  • Selector detent
  • Selector detent spring
  • Takedown detents and springs
  • Pivot pin
  • Rear takedown pin
  • Buffer retainer and spring
  • Magazine catch
  • Button and spring
  • Screw and washer
  • Trigger guard assembly

Aside from these parts that come in lower parts kits, you also need to purchase a buffer tube and a stock. Depending on the lower parts kit purchased, you may also need to purchase your grip, as many of our LPK’s include a pistol grip and fire control unit.

For more advanced builds, you can purchase enhanced parts to help manipulate your firearm faster and easier. There are many parts you can get that are ambidextrous as well for shooting left or right handed.

Upper receiver

With the bottom half of your AR-15 assembled, it’s now time to focus on the top half, known as the upper receiver. Just like with lower parts, there are upper parts kits that contain various useful parts to assemble your upper receiver. The Rise Armament Upper Parts Kit carried at Frontier Justice includes: 

  • Forward assist
  • Forward assist spring
  • Forward assist retaining roll pin
  • Dust cover
  • Dust cover spring
  • Dust cover rod (with C clamp installed)

The other main components of the upper receiver group includes the barrel, handguard, bolt carrier group, charging handle, muzzle device, gas tube, gas block, and of course the stripped upper receiver itself. 


Having the right parts to assemble your AR-15 is nothing if you don’t have the correct tools. Fortunately, Frontier Justice carries all the tools you may need, from barrel wrenches and fix-it sticks to smart mats and bench blocks to make the building process hassle free.

Frontier Justice has what you need for the perfect AR build

Our firearms experts can answer any and all questions you have about how to build an AR. Not only that, we have the right tools and parts to help you create your perfect firearm. 

We are proud to serve our community through quality equipment and firearms education. Learn more about what makes Frontier Justice different by reaching out to us, signing up for our membership club, or scheduling a class. You can also always simply stop by to check out our store, boutique, and range for yourself!

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