The AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle, but it might as well stand for America’s rifle. The weapon is most certainly America’s favorite. With tens of millions sold at every price point and dang near every caliber imaginable, the AR-15 dominates the American rifle market. Dominating a market means that you will most certainly have an expansive aftermarket.
To jump to a specific chapter, today we are taking a look at;
- Best AR-15 Pistol Grips
- Best AR-15 Stocks
- Best AR-15 Handguards
- Best AR-15 Slings
- Best AR-15 Foregrips
- Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices
- Best AR-15 Iron Sights
- Best AR-15 Magazines
Best AR-15 Pistol Grips
Our top AR-15 Pistol Grips are;
Magpul MOE K2
The modern AR 15 is a heckuva lot shorter than the standard M16. As such, a change in grip angle can aid in the weapon’s comfort and control. The K2 and new K2 XL provide a vertical grip in standard and big hand sizes. The grip positions the shooter’s hand closer to the shooter’s body and keeps things nice and tucked in.
The K2 comes with an angular scalloped cut around the rear of the grip that is super comfy and allows you to properly place your trigger finger on your rifle. Additionally, Magpul hits the K2 and K2 XL with a super aggressive grip texture that keeps your hand in place with or without gloves. Like most Magpul grips, you ever get the storage option for spare parts, lube cans, or skittles.
BCM Gunfighter Grip Mod 2
BCM designed the Gunfighter grips to work with modern shooting styles. Back in the day, the bladed stance was the norm for shooting M16-type rifles. As the platform and tactics evolved, the old bladed stance fell out of favor, and the swept-back A2 grip wasn’t up to par anymore. BCM’s Gunfighter grips come in various Mods from 0 to 3, and I think 2 is just right.
The Grip Mod 2 introduces modular backstraps that interchange to change the size of the grip based on your hand. These rear inserts also present three different beavertails as well. The back portion of the grip is trimmer and slimmer for a nice comfy grip on the gun. It’s more vertical than swept back, and storage is also an option. This is the grip I use on most of my rifles, and I adore it.
Hogue Modular Overmolded
Calling the AR-15 a modular rifle is a bit of an understatement. It goes well beyond modular, and you are a fan of modularity, then you’ll love the Hogue Modular Overmolded grips. These grips allow you to swap back and front straps to change how the grip feels and functions. The backstraps include a short model as well as a model with integrated beavertail. The front portion offers a finger groove grip as well as a straight grip.
Make it the grip you want it to be. Like other Hogue Overmolded products, the grip comes with a soft, grippy rubber layer that offers a comfy and functional grip. It’s a modern grip with a 17-degree angle that works best with shorter, more modern AR-15 setups. It’s perfect for carbines but might be too straight for any fixed stock A2 type builds.
Best AR-15 Stocks
Our Best AR-15 Stocks are;
Magpul MOE SL
Magpul’s SL Carbine stock and SL-K models provide a very robust and capable stock option for a carbine. The SL Carbine is the full-sized model, and the SL-K is a more compact design with a smaller footprint. Different strokes size-wise, but same functionality. The MOE SL stocks provide an excellent cheek weld that’s big and robust. It’s well beyond what most of us expect from a carbine stock.
With the advent and popularity of LPVOs on carbines, these stocks provide the cheek weld needed to squeeze out that precision fire. An ambidextrous level makes it easy to adjust the stock, and a variety of sling points make it easy to sling it up. The K does lack QD slots, but the full-sized variant does not. It’s a modern stock that locks up tight and provides the accuracy you want.
B5 Systems Enhanced SOPMOD Bravo
SOPMOD refers to the gear related to the Special Ops upgrades made to the M4 platform in the last few decades. Part of that kit includes the always awesome B5 Systems Bravo stock. This stock pioneered the tight-fitting cheek weld offering a design that allowed shooters to maximize their accuracy from a carbine. The B5 Systems Bravo stock is my personal favorite AR-15 stock and sits on my favorite rifles.
It’s comfy, ambidextrous, and provides a multitude of sling points. The stock offers storage options for CR123A batteries and doesn’t rattle around. It’s a well-proven stock option and has seen its share of overseas use. Heck, the only real problem is the name. It’s too dang long to keep typing!
When it comes to precision-based AR-15 stocks, it’s tough to find a more modular and precision-oriented option than the Luth MBA-1 stock. It’s not cheap by any means, but if you want one of the best stocks out there, the Luth is tough to beat. It allows for independent adjustment for length of pull and cheek weld. These adjustments can be very precise and guided to make the stock fit the shooter.
Lockup is obviously critical, and it’s tight. It’s not going to shift, even fractionally between shots. Once the stock sits in place, it stays in place. This ensures your shot after shot performance remains consistent. This isn’t an uber fancy tactical stock made for clearing rooms, but for a true precision-based AR, and the design reflects that in size and weight.
Best AR-15 Handguards
The best AR-15 Hardguards are;
Magpul MOE SL
Simple is as simple does. If you need an affordable handguard option that won’t break or fail, then the MOE SL has you covered. This stock is not free-floating and works around FSB-type AR carbines. It’s remarkably affordable and provides the user with a rock-solid and ergonomic handguard.
It’s adorned with a ton of M-LOK slots for adding accessories and comes in a variety of lengths. It’s a simple polymer handguard that might not work well with zeroed IR lasers, but for a budget option, that likely isn’t a concern. Plus, Magpul makes them in every color you could ever want.
Daniel Defense RIS 2
Arguably one of the best rail systems ever adopted by the United States military is the Daniel Defense RIS 2 rail. This quad rail design is rigid, tough as nails, and designed to kick ass and take names for Democracy. It’s currently in use with a number of Special Operations units and comes in a number of lengths and designs. It can accommodate FSBs or slick barrels with ease.
Quad rails might be a little less cool with all the M-LOK options, but they still provide the most stable platform for accessory mounting. Shooters looking to invoke night vision and IR will appreciate their PEQ staying zeroed. The RIS 2 offers shooters a rock-solid rail option that will keep taking punishment without tapping out.
Geissele Super Modular Rails
What’s been kicking quad rails off of special ops rifles? Well, the Geissele Super Modular Rails have become the latest and greatest. These rails are lightweight and, as the name implies, supermodular. They have tons of M-LOK slots positioned at various angles to allow you to mount your goodies right where you want them.
These tough-as-nails rails are also rather lightweight but surprisingly solid. Geissele made their name with triggers, but they’ve rapidly become well known for this rail system. It’s become a favorite for a good reason. The Super Modular Rails are available in various sizes to stick on any AR rifle or pistol, as well as a wide variety of colors.
Best AR-15 Slings
The best AR-15 Slings are;
Simple is as simple does, and the Frank Proctor sling provides you with a super lightweight but highly functional sling at a rock bottom price. It’s minimalist in design and comes out of the ready for mounting. This tactical two-point works very well on carbines, SBRs, and even AR pistols. These simple slings have been seen with special operations, including Christian Craighead, the SAS Operator who famously stormed into a Nairobi mall to take down terrorists.
The triglid allows for rapid adjustment so the shooter can accomplish a variety of tasks. Frank Proctor designed a versatile and practical sling for AR-15 applications. It’s simple but reliable. There is no need to purchase attachment hardware which makes it even more budget-friendly.
Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling
Blue Force Gear teamed up with former Delta Operator Larry Vickers to design the Vickers Combat Applications Sling, aka the VCAS. The VCAS went on to arm the Untied States Marien Corps, as well as the Army and Airforce, with one of the best two-point slings on the planet.
The Vickers quick adjust pull tab allows you to instantly and easily loosen or tighten the sling. This makes it easy for you to go from walking comfortably to maximizing mobility. You can tighten it down to climb ladder walls, or just comfortably walk downrange and in a snap loosen it to be mobile and active. The VCAS slings are made to last and work exceptionally well in any environment. (Mine is over ten years old and still kicking.)
Arbor Arms Dual Adjust Sling
The spiritual successor to the VCAS has to be the Arbor Arms Dual Adjust Rifle Sling. This setup comes from a Recon Marine who wanted to build the best sling possible. This tactical two-point features a quick-adjust pull tab upfront as well as a cam to allow for over tightening when you have to go hands-free.
The Dual adjust portion comes in from the rear of the sling and has the ability to make adjustments quickly to the back of the sling. This way, you can adjust the sling to fit the shooter and the weapon. AR 15s come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and this sling will fit them all. Plus, it’s tough, built to last, and can even be fitted with an optional pad.
Best AR-15 Foregrips
The Best AR-15 Foregrips are;
Magpul M-LOK AFG
Magpul pioneered the Angled Foregrip and the latest being the direct attach M-LOK AFG. Angled foregrips often allow for the use of the famed Magpul C-Clamp grip, as well as making it easy to use modern lights, ulcers, and their remote button devices. It’s minimalist, comfy, and very easy to grip, pull rearward with, and aid in controlling your weapon.
BCM Gunfighter Vertical Grip Mod 3
The BCM Gunfighter Vertical Grip Mod 3 is not your traditional vertical grip. It’s a thin, stubby grip designed to be used with an angled grip on the handguard and the grip. This slightly more vertical design allows you to pull rearward on the gun and to maintain total control of that point of contact. This modern variant comes ready to direct attack to M-LOK slots as well.
The Ergo Mini-Max is a short vertical grip, but it’s not so short that you can’t grip it and use it as a vertical grip. It’s not obnoxiously long either. The Mini-Max can be used in an angled style or gripped and ripped as a vertical grip. Ergo made them from metal, so they are tough and nails and machined very well. Ergo makes options to directly attach the grip to M-LOK, Keymod, and Picatinny rails.
Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices
The best AR-15 Muzzle Devices are;
Silencer Central Banish 223
The best muzzle device you can get for any weapon is a suppressor! One of the best for the AR 15, in particular in the Banish 223 from Silencer Central. The Banish 223 provides a direct thread mounting system that’s fairly lightweight and keeps your rifle nice and balanced. At only 9 ounces and 7 inches long, it’s perfect for keeping your weapon light and easy to use. The Banish 223 reduces sound by 38 decibels to make your AR-15 a real comfy shooter.
Suppressors do require some hurdles to leap, paperwork to file, and tax stamps to pay but are often well worth it. The Banish 223’s specific size helps ensure it reduces noise as much as possible while also maintaining a lower weight and length. If you want something more modular, then the Banish 30 might be worth a peek.
Ultradyne Apollo Max
If you want your AR-15 to barely move between shots, and don’t mind a little extra length, then the Apollo Max from Ultradyne is the muzzle device of choice. It’s long at 2.94 inches, but it offers unbeatable performance. It’s competition orientated and does a fantastic job of reducing both recoil and muzzle rise.
The Apollo Max is a show-stopping muzzle device that makes your AR-15 a kitten. Installation is a breeze with Ultradyne’s unique, crush washer-free installation, and performance is unmatched. Price-wise it’s not a budget item, but it’s not budget performance either.
VG6 Gamma 5.56
If you want an affordable muzzle device that does a great job of reducing muzzle rise and recoil, look no further than the VG6 Precision Gamma 5.56. It’s the same length as an A2 flash hider but performs miles above it. The device blends side and top ports to reduce recoil and aid in muzzle rise reduction. It’s made to last and is rather affordable, all things considered. For tactical applications, it’s simple but effective.
Best AR-15 Iron Sights
The best AR-15 Iron Sights are;
Magpul Pro BUIS
Magpul mastered the BUIS, and the Pro series brings that same flip-up awesomeness to a set of metal sights. Polymer’s great, but metal reigns supreme for toughness. The MBUS Pro sights provide steel construction with a Melonite QPQ finish for a rugged design and nature.
The front sight has an adjustable fingertip knob that allows you to make corrections without the need for a front sight tool. Shooters can pick between two front sight post widths, with the smaller Match option being more precise and the Standard being wider and faster to acquire. The rear sight has a wide and precision sight aperture for quick or precise engagements. Bot hare standard height AR sights and fold down and pop up with ease.
Ultradyne C4 Sights
I hesitate to call the Ultradyne C4 sights back up sights because they are absolutely fantastic. They are a unique set of flip-up sights that uses concentric apertures as aiming tools. You don’t have a traditional front sight post, but a front sight post that uses another smaller hole. You palace your target inside that hole, and bang, you’ll hit it.
This design is entirely different from any other iron sights I’ve ever used. They are extremely precise and capable at both long and close range. At longer ranges, you can actually see your threat without the front sight covering them up. At closer ranges, you can aim effectively while maintaining a target focus. These are fantastic irons for any AR and my all-time favorite option.
XS Sights Troy CSAT Sights
XS and Troy teamed together to bring a night sight option to Troy’s Flip-up irons. The CSAT front and rear sight upgrades take Troy’s sights to the next level. The Front post features a high visibility white post with a tritium lamp insert for ease of use regardless of the lighting conditions. The rear sight features three different apertures.
We have the standard-sized small and large holes for CQB and long-distance iron sight shots. Additionally, we have a third option that comes in the form of an open pistol sight across the top. This open sight allows you to snap from the smaller aperture to a huge open sight for CQB engagements. These are very versatile and well-made irons that give you a 24/7 option for backup irons.
Best AR-15 Magazines
The best AR-15 Magazines are;
Magpul PMAG GEN M3
PMAGs might not have been the first polymer AR-15 magazines, but they set the standard. Magpul is currently in the third generation of their famous magazines, and they’ve only gotten more reliable. The PMAG GEN M3 magazines are made from a new, stronger polymer that’s made to last. They work in ARs, as well as HK 416s, NATO Augs, Scars, and more.
Magpul pioneered the anti-tilt follower and distinctive shape that ensures smooth feeding and long service life. These magazines come with or without windows, a dot matrix, and hard to beat grip design. They’ve become the de facto standard for AR-15 magazines. In fact, they are the choice of the United States Marine Corps.
Lancer’s own L5AWM often gets stuck in the shadow of PMAGs, but they offer a few advantages. They utilize a mostly polymer design that incorporates a variety of colors and options. This includes clear, a smokey clear, and an FDE transparent. They are aggressively textured for a sure grip and feature a non-tilt follower for enhanced reliability.
The real magic comes from the feed lips. Polymer feed lips are prone to breakage when dropped, especially when stuffed full or partially full of ammo. Lancer recognized that and installed a set of metal feed lips. This creates a hybrid design that incorporates the best of both worlds in a single magazine design.
Brownells USGI Style Mags
Last but not least is the classic USGI aluminum style magazines. They are simple but robust and well designed. They’ve always been a winner and have stuck around for a long time for a reason. Brownells produces aluminum magazines with Magpul anti-tilt followers to give that Magpul reliability in an old-school layout.
These magazines are downright a steal for their price point. They are ultra-reliable, can take serious abuse, and won’t break the bank. You might not get a fancy window or polymer design, but you rock-solid, reliable magazines.
All the Accessories?
Good lord, this was tough to write. There are so many great accessories out there for the AR-15. Enough that I could do a single article on every category here if I wanted to. It was tough to pick just three for each category.
The AR-15’s popularity has driven it to the forefront of modularity and design. It’s unlikely to ever be matched by another firearm, at least in my lifetime. If you have an AR 15 and are looking to accessorize and customize it, any items from the above list will serve you well. Nothing worse than a stock AR, so get out there and start making that AR your AR.
June 8, 2022
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