Often times in the Rifle World, the upper receiver gets all of the cool stuff when it comes to
accessories: lights, optics, handguards, grips, the list goes on. But the working parts of the AR15 live
mostly in the lower. Thus, we’re taking the time today to outline ten accessories that we think are
awesome for making your AR15 lower receiver work better for you.
Magpul BAD Lever
The Battery Assist Device, also known as the BAD lever, is a clever easy to install part that allows you to
press the bolt release button on your AR with your right-hand trigger finger, making it both substantially
faster than normal, as well as more friendly to ambidextrous use. This is a great place to start modifying
your lower receiver with a low budget and just a few tools.
An upgraded Trigger
A little bit more involved than installing the BAD lever, a lot of folks find the mil-spec trigger from their
AR15 to be a little bit lacking in terms of crispness and reset. With that said, there’s a massive market of
excellent triggers out there, and in that large market there’s almost certainly something that you’d like
better than the trigger that came with your gun.
A Binary Trigger
Machine guns are expensive to own, and you have to do a ton of government paperwork in order to buy
one. Luckily, binary triggers do not count as machine gun parts, as only one round is fired each time you
press or release the trigger. The benefit here is that you’ll be able to expend ammunition much, much
faster than with a normal trigger. The downside is that you can expend your ammunition budget twice
as quickly with a binary trigger when compared with a standard type of trigger. Still, this is a fun upgrade
for those without budget concerns.
Were you born left-handed? Well, sadly, most gun designs were made to spit hot brass in your face or
generally be difficult for you to use. To make the AR15 a lot more usable for left-handed folks, an
ambidextrous safety goes a long way. With this one, you might have to check to make sure that it’s
compatible with your specific lower receiver, but generally these are reasonably easy to install and can
make shooting a lot more accessible to left-handed folks, which is something that we fully support.
You’ll still catch brass in your face, though. Win some, lose some we suppose.
A Flared Magazine Well
Inserting a loaded magazine into an AR is easy. Well, it’s easy in the daytime, at the range, when you can
look down to make sure you’re getting it lined up correctly. This is less true in the dark, in the middle of
the night, in the midst of a home invasion. Whether you’re using your AR for self-defense or
competition, we think getting a new mag into the gun quickly is important, and thus upgrading your
lower receiver with a magazine well, usually by way of a piece that’s attached to an aftermarket trigger
guard, is an awesome idea.
Sling Mount End Plate
You want your sling to be in a fixed, stable, known location. Most AR stocks have an excellent spot for a
Folding Buffer Castle Nut
sling…that moves every time you adjust the stock. Thus, we like the idea of having an endplate on the
receiver that has a sling loop or quick detach mount, so that you can make your sling sit more
consistently on the rifle. These are common for one-point sling setups, though lately we’ve been running
one of these with a short two-point sling to good effect in terms of stowing the rifle.
The AR15 was designed so that a folding stock was more or less impossible given Eugene Stoner’s
designs in the 1950s. With that said, some clever folks have figured out how to make folding stock
setups, usually involving an expanded castle nut and a hinge. We think that these are interesting ideas,
especially for folks who want to stash an AR in their car or backpack and have space as a serious
concern. With an SBR, this could mean a super concealable package.
A Fun Dust Cover
A while ago, we saw a guy at the range who had “Born to Kill” from Apocalypse Now lasered on the
inside of his dust cover. While we normally shy away from novelty products, we have also seen the pin
that holds dust covers walk out of place on an AR, meaning that you get home from a training session
and realize your dust cover is gone. If you do have to replace your dust cover on the ejection port, you
may as well have some fun with it and explore interesting designs.
A Better Pistol Grip
My AR came with a standard A2 style pistol grip with that annoying bump that’s in the wrong place for
everyone. Being clever and crafty, I hastily rectified this with a hacksaw and some sandpaper for a
solution that’s ugly, but effective, and free. In retrospect, I should have been much less cheap and
simply bought a better pistol grip that didn’t have the bump on it, like one of Magpul’s several
reasonably priced offerings. Learn from my mistake, take the few dollars and several minutes of install
to get a professional solution on this one.
Upgraded Trigger Guard
Some lower receivers do not come with integral trigger guards, leaving you with the ability to upgrade it on your own. Depending on things like whether or not you need to wear gloves while shooting, or if you
want an interesting accent color, this is a great opportunity to explore some options and get a trigger
guard that works well with the specific mission you have in mind for your firearm.
As you can see, there are a lot of interesting choices when it comes to adding accessories to your AR15
lower receiver, and we imagine you’ll find something you like from this list of ideas.