Building Vs. Buying Your AR15: What Are the Pros and Cons?

The AR15 is without a doubt the most popular firearm in the country. Because of this, along with the ease of building and assembling these weapons, there is a huge market for parts and kits to be able to build your own AR15. Now more than ever before, many gun owners are turning to building their guns instead of buying them off of the shelf at the gun store.

But is it worth it to build your own AR15 or should you buy one that is complete in order to save yourself the time and headache? What are some of the pros and cons of building or buying one? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages so that you can make the right decision for you!

Building an AR15

Building your own AR15 is much easier than building other types of firearms. Because these guns are very standardized and their parts are compatible among all manufacturers and brands, you can build your gun exactly how you want it without needing too many special tools or equipment. There are two main ways of building an AR15: buying the lower receiver (the actual firearm component) and assembling it, or fabricating the receiver and actual firearm from scratch and then assembling it.

If you want to fabricate the receiver yourself, you can pick something like an 80% completed lower and finish milling it in order to use it. But no matter what route you go, once you have a working ar lower receiver the rest of the build is fairly straightforward. Many of the upper receivers and components are already assembled, leaving you with a lower parts kit and trigger. This is a very quick and easy way to “build” your own AR15.

Buying an AR15

Buying an AR15 is just like buying any other firearm in a store or online. Once you have the weapon picked out, you must fill out the Form 4473 which is the ATF’s transaction record, wait for your background to clear, and then pay for the gun. Once this is all complete, you are now the proud new owner of the AR15 you picked out. Of course, some states have added extra steps and may require a few more fees, forms, or other hoops to jump through in addition to this.

Some places will require you to wait a few days or even weeks in order to pick up your firearm, or you may even have to go through a firearm class or exam. When buying an AR15 online, you will need to have it shipped to a local dealer who has their FFL so that they can arrange for your background check to be done and any fees to be paid.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

So is buying or building better? This is going to depend on the person. Every gun owner has different budgets, needs, timelines, and other factors that will determine which is the better route. There are also a few other things to think about when it comes to your decision! Here are a few different aspects that you should think about before making a decision:


The first and one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new gun is the price tag. What is your new AR15 going to cost, and is there any way to bring this price down? This is where building your new gun could help reduce the cost. It is usually less expensive than buying an assembled rifle because of added costs to the assembly and sale of the firearms. They also need to be test fired and inspected before getting sold, and all of this costs more money. If you build your own rifle, you can avoid some of these inflated costs by doing the work yourself. You should remember that building your own rifle will require some special jigs and tools, which could add to the cost as well. It will all depend on how much you want to spend and your own personal goals.

Quality and Performance

When it comes to the firearm quality and performance, you will usually see the exact same out of a store-bought gun and one that is built out of similar parts. Many shooters, however, will build their rifles so that they can use higher quality and custom parts in order to improve their gun’s performance. When you buy a rifle off of the shelf, you are limited to what comes with it. When you build your own gun, you can pick and choose custom gear and parts to improve the performance and overall quality of your firearm. Pre-built guns can have a great fit and finish however, as they are using all parts made from the same manufacturer while a home-built gun might be using parts from various brands and companies.


It is no secret that buying a rifle is much quicker and more convenient than building one yourself. If you want a gun to shoot as soon as possible, then buying one will probably seem more attractive. If you can wait a little longer and want to spend the time to build and assemble one yourself, then building a rifle might be more of your speed. You must also remember that buying a rifle will require background checks and other fees, while building could get you around many of these things especially if you are building a rifle from an 80% lower receiver.

Final Thoughts

Both buying and building your own AR15 are great, and each person will have their own preferences on what is best for them. From costs, time, and quality, there are many different things to consider when trying to make this decision. Take the time to think about you, your preferences, and what you want out of your AR15. Whether you decide to build your own firearm or buy one from the shelf at a gun store, just remember to get plenty of practice in and be safe!

Also Read: Tools and Equipment You Need to Build Your Own AR-15

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