It's that time of the year. Christmas music is on the radio, the lamp posts down main street get decorations, and the stores become crowded and insane. Years of retail made me very jaded to this joyous holiday, and I find myself dreading it. Most of my shopping these days is done online to avoid the pain of retail stores. For those of you like me, online shopping is a Godsend. If you have a gun enthusiast in your life or maybe you're making a list for loved ones, here is a great way to get started. I'll be featuring a new article each week for a different type of firearm, which means no matter which discipline you have passion for, you should find something on one of these articles. For this first article, we are going to feature a favorite of mine, the AR platform.
Optics on ARs are very popular. The effective range of the 5.56 can reach out well past 300 yards, so some time of optic help is needed. However, optics have limitations, and having a good set of back up iron sights (BUIS) is smart. Magpul came out with their polymer-based iron sights several years ago and have been very popular. They are as durable as their mags and very lightweight. Because they are polymer, they are also priced well. These sights are spring-loaded, flip-up with the push of a button, and fold down to lock in place when not in use. They are low profile, rail height, and smooth-edged for ease of use. Brownells currently offers this sight set in black for $82.39and $74.99, for OD green, grey, and flat dark earth. One note, these sights are meant to be mounted on a flat top rail or handguard, not a gas block. The Magpul sights are a great accessory and necessity for any avid AR shooter.
If you are an AR enthusiast or a gunsmith, a stripped lower is a great gift idea. It's the beginning of a new build, which for us gun enthusiasts is always a happy day. Aero Precision is a growing AR company that has high standards in manufacturing. Forged from 7075 Aluminum and cut to all the mil-spec standards, this lower is a great place to start a new build. This lower comes ready to build with a standard lower parts kit like the one from Strike Industries available at Optics Planet for $47.95. While your kids are playing with their new Lego set, your gun enthusiasts will be playing with theirs. Together this combo comes out to $95.94 and will give you a great start to your next favorite rifle.
I like Strike Industries' parts, and the reviews say I'm not the only one. Maybe your gun enthusiast already has a lower and lower parts kit but needs to continue their build. These receiver extension tubes are an excellent idea. They are solid and reliable in their design to remove any wobble you may feel from your favorite stock. They have been made from 7075 Aluminum and have been distinctively scalloped to reduce friction and weight. This scalloping also adds strength, which makes it a solid addition to any build. They are also seven-position adjustable, which gives the shooter a finer adjustment ability. Available from Optics Planet in 4 different colors and running around $44.95 to $46.95. This not only gives you a great addition to a new build but allows you to change the look a bit to better fit your style and desires.
I did an article a while back about ambidextrous charging handles, and the one that stood out was Radian Weapons Raptor-LT. These things are solid built, lightweight, and last. They are machined from 7075 Aluminum then wrapped with high-strength, the fiberglass-reinforced polymer, which gives them their strength and lighter weight. They are known for being reliable due to their patented ambidextrous release system. Charging handles are a great way to upgrade your upper and are considered a weak point in the AR system. Available from Optics Plante for $57.99 to $70.99, depending on which of the three colors you choose.
Rails and handguards are one of the most frequently changed parts on the AR 15. They are what we hold on to while firing and what we use to attach needed accessories like sights, foregrips, lights, etc. Rainier Arms has a great deal, right now, for a great handguard from Stern Defense. This is a 15" 6061 Aluminum handguard that is cut to reduce weight and retain rigidity. It is also cut to accept Keymod attachments while smooth on three sides. This keeps its feel and ergonomics comfortable while allowing you to attach your favorite parts. Regularly $107.99, it's currently on Rainier Arms website for $67.99. This is an excellent deal for a quality product.
"These are just a few of my favorite things." It's not just a line in a Christmas song. It's also a few ideas for those you know with a passion for ARs. Every year I ask my wife for a gun, and every year I hear no. She can get lost on what to get me because she doesn't know this world. If you are in the same boat or giving ideas to someone who is, then I hope this helps.
* The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Guns & Tactics Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Prices accurate at time of writing