To build an AR-15 or buy one? That is the question. One may seem substantially easier than the other. But that may not be the case

With AR-15 (Armalite Rifle Model 15, NOT Assault Rifle!) gaining popularity in the past years, numerous manufacturers have popped up. They all profess why their rifle dominates the others. There are almost as many rifle manufacturers as McDonald’s and people with shitty attitudes. Buying and building can both be an overwhelming task.


Benefits: When you purchase a rifle that is pre-built from a manufacturer, it’s over. It is complete. No assembly needed, saving you a lot of time. Plus, most manufacturers offer great warranties. Buying a complete AR-15 gives you one point of contact for all warranty work.

Downfalls: In our opinion (opinion, not fact), there are very few rifles worth buying from a manufacturer, since you’ll almost always change parts on any rifle you buy. Most people will put an additional $600 – $1,000 dollars into every rifle they own, excluding optics. Even if you buy a $500 rifle, you’ll compensate with $1,000 worth of addons. Your cost quickly inflated to $1,500.

Additionally, most “manufacturers” are not actual manufacturers. The majority of companies don’t make their own parts, they outsource. This can prove problematic when trying to get to the source of an issue.


Benefits: The biggest benefit in building your own AR-15 is customizeability. You can choose every part by yourself. With careful selection, you can generally build a one-of-a-kind rifle for $1,500.

The Armory offers free installation help on any part purchased here. Great gun shops will often do something similar — why shouldn’t they? We have the tools and the know-how. It seems like a no-brainer.

Downfalls: The parts are not made by the same company. While they are designed to work together, the minor differences can cause some issues. Some companies take the Mac route and create proprietary parts that only work with their manufactured pieces. Generally these issues can be worked around, with some knowledge and grit.

We’re a little biased to DIY. There are only a few manufacturers we trust. We don’t bash companies, we only tell the truth. Call us with any questions about manufacturers.

But don’t be afraid to build your own rifle. There are plenty of resources to help you along the way — we’re one of them.