We all know how enjoyable and versatile an AR-15 is, from excellent tactical capabilities to providing precision like varminting shooting and effective self-defense to stop a home invasion. But what if I told you that AR-15 mods could even further enhance your precious ARs performance?
From red dots to muzzle brakes, there is an AR mod for every shooting use case. But finding the right mod can be daunting; after all, you want to enhance your ARs performance, not compromise it. Therefore, we went and tested the leading products for different types of AR-15 modifications to find the best modifications you can put on your AR-15.
Table of Contents
Why Should You Modify Your Ar-15?
When you modify your AR-15, you can customize your weapon to fit your personal preference and needs. Modifications like upgrading the bolt carrier group, trigger, or trigger guard can help improve your weapon’s accuracy and enhance functionality.
You can also add accessories such as a rail system for specific uses like mounting night vision clip-ons for varminting at night. Finally, if you have trouble aiming with your AR because of the rifle size, you can customize parts of the AR, like the buttstock, to provide a more comfortable aiming platform.
5 Best AR-15 Upgrades
Below is the best 5 AR-15 upgrades, targeting different aspects of your weapon, from improved aiming to a more efficient trigger mechanism. After testing numerous products, I concluded that these are the best products you should upgrade your AR-15 with.
- AR-15 Red Dot Sight – Trijicon MRO
- AR-15 Scope – Primary Arms SLx
- AR-15 Muzzle Brake – Precision Armament M4-72
- AR-15 Trigger Upgrade – Geissele Automatics AR-15 Trigger
- AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group – Bravo Company MFG BCM
1. Best AR-15 Red Dot Sight
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A red dot sight is an optic that allows you to acquire targets faster than the conventional iron sight. You can also maintain a wider field of view by aiming with both eyes open. Red dot sights also have much better accuracy than iron sights.
The Trijicon MRO 1×25 hands-down the best AR-15 red dot sight I’ve encountered. It is one of the most rugged and durable red dot sights, with impressive shock and waterproof capabilities. I especially like the wide field of view and the brightness adjustability of the dot – ensuring I can handle very poor and bright ambient light conditions.
Another reason why I think the Trijicon MRO 1×25 is the best red dot sight for an AR-15 is its user-friendliness – it has a low learning curve, so even novices can aim with easy, it can withstand almost any environment, and it won’t break the bank. Also, the sight has a very clear sight picture, and with my poor vision, I need something that can enhance my aiming capabilities, not compromise it.
2. Best AR-15 Scope
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If your shooting style prefers an optic with better range than a red dot sight, then the Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 SFP Rifle Scope is the perfect rifle scope for your AR-15. Unlike red dot sights, a rifle scope provides magnification and a more advanced reticle, allowing you to aim more precisely at longer ranges.
The Primary Arms Second Focal Plane scope features all kinds of bells and whistles to make shooting with your AR more enjoyable and accurate. First, we have the versatile zoom range, making it adept at tackling different shooting distances. The ACSS reticle is one of my favorites – providing the perfect balance between quick target acquisition rate and accurate compensation for wind and distance.
I’ve put my Primary Arms scope through intense tests; if I can be honest, I might have been a little harsh on it. Nonetheless, this rifle scope powered through and still gives me best-in-class optical clarity and accurate holdovers. If you want the best AR 15 with fixed front-sight rifle scope with insurmountable durability capabilities, then the Primary Arms SFP is the scope you should get!
3. Best AR-15 Muzzle Brake
A muzzle brake attaches to the muzzle of your AR-15 to redirect propellant gases, countering recoil, gas block, and unwanted muzzle rise.
Although an AR-15 does not have that much recoil, it can still leave you with a sore shoulder the next morning if you empty a couple of magazines. Therefore, I went out to find the best muzzle brake and concluded that the Precision Armament M4-72 is the best muzzle brake you can find.
This muzzle brake can reduce recoil by up to 75%, and you can really tell the difference in shooting when this muzzle brake is attached compared to other muzzle brakes. My follow-up shot speed and control of the firearm dramatically increased when using this muzzle device.
Additionally, it has a durable, lightweight construction, so you don’t have to worry about your AR 15 being unbalanced when attached. Plus, the Armament is very affordable and offers extremely good value for money.
4. Best AR-15 Trigger Upgrade
An AR-15 trigger is often overlooked but is pertinent to accurate and effective shooting. Primarily, you get two different triggers – single-stage triggers and two-stage triggers. You can further adjust these triggers to align better with your trigger finger, such as to lower trigger pull weight so that your trigger is more sensitive and making you less likely to flinch or “pull” the shot. Adding the best binary trigger can significantly improve comfort and performance.
I’ve tested different trigger systems, but the best one I’ve come across is the Geissele Automatics Super Semi-Automatic AR-15 Enhanced Trigger 05-160. You can also check out our ar 15 triggers comparison to learn even more about the different trigger groups. This trigger is designed for speed, precision, and reliability, providing a clean and crisp break with a very short reset. This trigger is highly regarded for performance and robustness in various shooting applications, making it my personal favorite.
5. Best AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group
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- Different Colors Available
- Very Easy To Clean
- Very High Quality BCG
- Only 1 Finish Available
Last on our list, we have a bolt carrier group (BCG) that cycles ammunition, ejects spent cartridges, and chambers a new round. Therefore, having a reliable BCG is crucial for the proper function of your AR-15.
The Bravo Company MFG Bcm is the perfect BCG for the job. It is a rock-solid choice featuring high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship for maximum durability and reliability. In my experience, this BCG’s performance and reliability are unmatched by any other AR-15 BCG on the market.
Which AR-15 Modification Is Best For you?
The best AR-15 modification depends on your intended use, personal preferences, and legal constraints. However, I always advise gun owners to first improve accuracy, which is done by getting a red dot or rifle scope. Next, I would look to recoil improvement by using a muzzle brake, which is especially helpful for new shooters. Finally, I would look to responsiveness by upgrading my trigger and BCG.
Does Your Use Case Affect Which Upgrade Is Best?
Yes, your use case significantly affects which upgrade is best. For instance, I am a hunter, so I always prioritize a high-quality scope for long-distance accuracy. This differs from someone who wants the Best AR-15 for home defense and might prioritize a good flashlight, laser, or red dot sight.
Which AR-15 Upgrade Is Best For Hunters?
If you are a hunter, I would advise you to first go with the Primary Arms Rifle scope. This ensures you achieve accurate shots at longer distances. Hunters should also know how to clean AR-15 as well. If you don’t dirt & debris will build up that negatively impacts the performance of your rife and optic.
Which AR-15 Upgrade Is Best For Self-Defense?
The Trijicon red dot will be the best upgrade for self-defense, especially in home defense situations with low light.
Which AR-15 Upgrade Is Best For Tactical Situations?
For tactical situations, I would prioritize upgrading the upper receiver or AR-15 lower receiver. I will first enhance the accuracy by mounting the Trijicon red dot sight, followed by the Bravo Company bolt carrier group.
Which AR-15 Upgrade Is Best For Competition Shooting?
Assuming you already have a long-range rifle scope mounted on your AR-15, I will upgrade the trigger next. Upgrading the trigger’s responsiveness can improve your accuracy and speed – both key components in competitive shooting. Most competition shooters also equip their AR with one of the Best AR15 Handguards as well.
What Type Of Optic Should Be Used On An AR-15
The type of optic you use on your AR-15 depends on your use case. If you are going to shoot at close to medium ranges and in situations that require fast target acquisition, then I would go with a red dot sight.
However, if you want something for precision medium to long-range shooting, you should get an LPVO or rifle scope. Finally, if you use your AR-15 for varminting, a night-vision-compatible scope will be your best option.
Should You Use A Red Dot Sight Or Iron Sights On Your AR?
Choosing between an iron sight and red dot sight is a very important decision. However, when you start to compare their benefits against each other, it is evident that a red dot sight reigns supreme.
A red dot sight provides a faster and more accurate aiming platform and is better for use in low-light conditions. In comparison, iron sights are most likely already mounted on your AR-15, so you don’t have to struggle with the rail system and compatibility. Additionally, an iron sight is also the most budget-friendly route you can go with regard to weapon sights.
Ultimately, an iron sight is better if you do not want to invest money into your AR-15. But if you want a more reliable aiming platform, you should get a red dot sight.
Should You Use A Red Dot Sight Or Scope On Your AR?
Basically, it comes down to your use case when deciding between a red dot and scope. If you are shooting mostly short-range and need a fast target acquisition rate with incredible durability, go for the red dot optic. However, if you need an optical device for medium to long-range shooting, a scope is definitely the better option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Worth It To Modify Your AR-15?
Which AR-15 Modification Should You Do First?
Is It Legal To Modify Your AR-15?
The Bottom Line
Modifying your AR-15 is a great way to boost its performance and make it more adept at tackling your specific use case. The first modification you get depends on your preference, but I always prioritize optics above all else. Remember that some modifications can compromise your AR’s performance and damage the weapon. Always consult a gunsmith and local law enforcement on the legality of the modification before applying it. Happy shooting!