The AR Platform For Dummies

Here’s a nice two part article on the basics of the AR platform. All too often we assume that everybody else knows what we know about a particular subject and that just ain’t so, particularly when it comes to the AR, one of the most heavily customized and accessorized weapons of all times. It can get downright confusing – just ask anybody that’s piecing a rifle together for the first time.
There ain’t nothing wrong with being ignorant about a subject, but we all have a problem asking what we think might be a stupid question. This might help.

These 2 articles break everything down and gives you a basic explanation of how everything works. With this information, a build by somebody that’s never done it before doesn’t seem so daunting.

Part I: A brief history of the AR, Explaining the upper receiver

Part II: Explaining the lower receiver, Ammo for the AR

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10 Responses to The AR Platform For Dummies

  1. rocketguy says:

    I’ve been into the AR thing for about 5 years and have built three. Recently, I’ve been having a ball walking a coworker through his first build. It has given me a chance to go full circle from building to explaining why I did what I did…along with giving tips on what I’d do different if I had the opportunity/budget. It’s also interesting to see and address a lot of the misconceptions people bring the the “assault rifle” thing.

  2. Mike S. says:

    I can provide plenty of sources, but this is not true:

    “While they are very similar, the 5.56 is assembled differently and there is enough of a difference that a rifle chambered for .223 cannot safely chamber and fire a 5.56 round.”

    The SAAMI pressure is the same for the two (most people cite the old CUP standard for 5.56, which can’t be compared with the SAAMI method the .223 has always used), and while there are in fact different dimensions for the chamber reamers, they’re so minor that it doesn’t matter. did a nice .223 vs 5.56 test where they actually drilled holes and used a piezo pressure sensor to compare them.

    The military has a new testing method that puts pressure testing in line with SAAMI. Since adopting the standard, the 5.56 pressure spec is identical to SAAMI’s spec for the .223.

  3. rocketguy says:

    Heh – I’ve been staring at that pile of take-off parts, thinking about building a cheap carbine. One that, in case of SHTF, could be handed to a neighbor.

    My most recent build is a 300 Blackout pistol. I used to roll my eyes at the AR pistol thing but…decent firepower and familiar controls in a package that will fit in a small backpack when split in half? Potentially useful.

  4. Tennessee Budd says:

    Thanks, Kenny!
    I was USN, so I never handled an AR-platform rifle until I bought my first last year; I’ll have more than one as money permits. Hell, you can get an entry-level AR for a little over $500 in this area, and change out whatever you don’t like; I’m already considering what I want different on my next one.
    I did a lot if research first, so I’m acquainted with nomenclature, etc., but I really like the pic of the lower kit. If nothing else, I can send this to other newbies who ask me about ARs.

  5. MM says:

    That is great info dude, thank you. I am gearing up to do my first build, inspired by you I might add.

    • Wirecutter says:

      You need any help or advice, email me. If I can’t answer I’ll post the question and I guarantee you you’ll get tons of help from experienced riflemen.

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