About 40% of Americans report owning a firearm. Whether you’re a casual or avid shooter, you’ve heard of the AR-15.

AR-15 parts differ from other guns. If you own one, you should be familiar with the parts and how they work. You’ll be able to buy the right replacements when necessary.

Read on so you can make an informed decision when purchasing new AR-15 parts.

AR-15 Charging Handle

Types of AR-15

The AR-15 charging handle is used to pull the bolt back to load a round. A common misconception is that it also pulls the bolt open, but that’s actually done by the extractor claw.

The charging handle is on the side of your rifle’s receiver. It discharges spent rounds and cocks your hammer when pushed forward during firing. If you’re using an AR-15 variant with a gas piston, this can also reset your gas system function as well.

AR-15 Lower Parts Kit

The lower AR-15 parts and components are a set. The plastic, molded piece at the butt end of your gun’s body, is called a lower receiver. It houses the bolt assembly and fire control group.

The fire control group consists of five principal components:

  • Trigger
  • Hammer
  • Disconnector
  • Safety selector
  • Bolt catch

Each of these pieces has its own role in making sure you can operate your weapon.

The trigger is what allows you to pull back on it before releasing it forward. This releases the hammer into motion. The hammer can then strike against your ammunition, causing it to explode outwards toward its target.

AR-15 Pistol Grip

The pistol grip is one of the most important parts of an AR-15 rifle. It’s what you hold, and it’s how you control the firearm. This part is within the lower receiver.

AR-15 Barrel

The barrel of a gun is the tube that ammunition travels through when you fire the weapon.

There are a variety of different barrel types available for the AR-15. The most common is the standard 16-inch, which is long enough to handle most tasks with ease.

There are also longer variants that you can use for hunting or competition shooting. 18-inch and 20-inch barrels are an example of these variants.

AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group

The bolt carrier group is responsible for performing semiautomatic fire. It will cycle the action of the firearm to chamber each round.

Your BCG has two major pieces: the bolt assembly and the cam pin. The bolt assembly contains the extractor and firing pin. The cam pin locks into place in order to keep everything secure as you fire your weapon.

It’s essential to clean your bolt carrier group regularly so it doesn’t jam during use.

AR-15 Handguard

A handguard is a component of the AR-15 that protects the shooter’s hands. It prevents the barrel from overheating. Handguards are often made of polymer or aluminum.

AR-15 Sights and Optics

AR-15 Sights

AR-15 sights and optics are important for accuracy. There are many AR-15 sights and optics, including:

  • Fixed scope
  • Red dot scopes
  • Night-vision scope
  • Tactical scope
  • Sniper scope

These types of AR-15 parts make your gun easier to shoot

If you don’t have a scope on your AR-15, then you can use the iron sights. These are two pieces of metal that sit on top of the barrel and align with the shooter’s eye. They allow for quick aiming in close quarters.

AR-15 Stock

The AR-15 stock is the part of the rifle that you hold and rest against your shoulder when firing. You can adjust the stock to fit different body sizes and shooting styles. Any modification made to the stock needs to be done with legality in mind.

Bump stocks are not legal modifications for your rifle. A bump stock is an aftermarket product that you can attach to a semi-automatic rifle, such as the AR-15. It allows the gun to fire like a fully automatic weapon.

The device causes rapid back-and-forth movement of the gun against your shoulder. It also harnesses recoil energy, so each shot will feel less impactful than normal.

AR-15 Gas Tube

When you fire your AR-15, some gasses are blown back. They’re trapped by a small valve mechanism inside. The gas tube is a vital part of your AR-15 that helps to control the direction of the gas.

It keeps carbon and other debris out of the gun.

The gas tube also serves to cool down the bolt carrier group. This allows it to cycle back into the upper receiver after firing each bullet. This keeps your bolt carrier group clean.

AR-15 Gas Block

The gas block is a metal tube that connects the barrel to the gas system. The gas block controls the flow of gases from the barrel through the gas tube.

This part releases pressure through an opening so you can cycle your rifle’s action. The excess gasses are vented out through holes in or around your AR-15’s handguard.

AR-15 Magazine

AR-15 Magazine

The magazine is the part of your rifle that holds the ammunition. It’s usually inserted into the magazine well at the bottom of your AR-15’s stock. You can use a detachable magazine, which allows you to carry extra ammunition without increasing the weight of your gun.

Learn More AR-15 Parts and Gun Components

The AR-15 weapon system is modular. You can swap out the various AR-15 parts with others.

For instance, if you’re looking for an AR-15 rifle with more power than usual, upgrade your bolt carrier group. For better accuracy, improve the sights and optics of your rifle.

The AR-15 isn’t the only type of customizable gun there is. There are many others, such as the AK-47.

We explore unique weapons in our outdoor gear section. Read a few to learn more about the customizable hunting gear.

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