What To Look For When Buying an AR-15
During the past few decades, the AR-15 has become a staple of America’s firearm and self-defense culture. If you are looking for an AR-15, then there are a few important points that you should keep in mind.
Think About the Purpose
The AR platform is one of the most diverse categories of firearms in history. As a result, there are countless options available and each choice appeals to a specific type of user. Therefore, you need to choose an AR-15 that meets your particular needs. A few examples include:
- If you are looking for an AR-15 to go hunting, then think about the .300 Blackout, 458 SOCOM, or .224 Valkyrie.
- If you are looking for an AR-15 for target practice, think about a heavy-barreled gun at least 20 inches in length
- If you need a general-purpose, sporting AR-15, consider an entry-level option with a 16-inch barrel Thinking about the purpose of your AR-15 is a good starting place.
The Length of the Barrel
Once you are clear on the reason why you are looking for an AR-15, the next step is to consider the barrel. The longer the length of the barrel on your firearm, the longer the propellant is going to burn. This increases the velocity behind your round. Therefore, longer barrels lead to higher performance. Barrels longer than 24 inches lead to diminishing returns, meaning that there is not much of a difference at lengths over this height, for most calibers.
On the other hand, barrels shorter than 14 inches lead to less performance. Therefore, barrels around 16 to 18 inches in length are a great place to start. Barrel lengths in the 20s lead to great performance for sport and target rifles.
The Twist Rate of the Barrel
As the bullet travels down the barrel, it twists. This is the definition of rifling. The more times a bullet twists in the barrel, the faster and tighter it is going to spin. When the bullet turns, it cuts through the air, making it more accurate.
As you look for an AR-15, look at the twist rate. Bullets that are lighter tend to do better with a looser twist rate. In contrast, heavier bullets tend to fly straighter, farther, and more accurately with a higher twist rate.
The Trigger Platform
Finally, you also need to take a look at the trigger platform. Trigger weights are usually defined as pounds. The heavier the trigger, the more force you will need to exert to fire the weapon. If you are new to firearms, then you will want a lighter trigger weight to make the gun easier to fire. On the other hand, keep in mind that a trigger weight that is too light might make it easier for the gun to go off accidentally.