When it comes to building your AR, the number of choices is virtually limitless. The customization of the AR is probably its biggest appeal. You start with an upper and lower than plan your build out from there. Some parts (like retaining pins, some springs, grip screw, etc.) are pretty universal and just need to fit. To start your build, you'll need an upper and lower parts kit, including these standard parts, to get you going. If you are like me, you end up building your gun out to be as unique as possible with things like triggers, safety selectors, trigger guards, charging handles, flash hiders, and many other parts were replaced with after-market upgrades. What happens is you end up with a few bags full of spare stock parts lying around with no foreseeable use in the future. Manufacturers have begun to see this niche in the market and have started building up parts kits to suit these needs better. Here we are going to look at three good options for lower parts kits (LPK's) that are the best bang for your buck, while not having parts left over. To start my search, I looked at 3 of my go-to websites; Palmetto State Armory, Brownells, and Rainier Arms. These have always been dependable websites for great parts at a great price and have never steered me wrong.
Palmetto State Armory has a unique way to manufacture quality parts and combine them with other good quality manufacturers to package desirable builds at a great price. Their LPKs are no exception. The EPT MOE lower parts kit has a lot of parts you would want at a price of only $64.99 (which is about the cost of an average mil-spec kit). They start with mil-spec parts like pins, springs, safety, mag release, etc. then add their proprietary polished fire control group in nickel along with Magpul's MOE grip and trigger guard. Their trigger group gives a smoother single stage pull, which significantly improves the feel of the trigger over the standard mil-spec. The Magpul grip and trigger guard have been favorites among AR enthusiasts for years. The trigger guard gives you more room around the trigger for use with gloves, and the grip has a solid grip purchase while maintaining a lightweight and resilience you need. All while keeping the price down. If you want a simple upgrade over the standard parts without paying $100 or more you can't go wrong with this LPK.
Brownells has 41 options for LPKs to suit just about anyone's needs. Personally, when I upgrade, I like to do so with some high quality, name brand parts. The LPK with the Giessele trigger caught my attention. I have always liked Giessele triggers. Solid, smooth, and with a break around 3 to 4 pounds, it is ideal for my style of shooting. In the competition world, this is a common opinion. Giessele is proud of its products, for a good reason, and you will pay for them. Brownells starts with a standard DPMS LPK (retailing for $68.99) then adds two different options of Brownells exclusive Giessele triggers. The first is their 2 Stage Enhanced Trigger group (B-G2S-E). This reliable 2 stage trigger starts with a smooth 2.3 lb first stage pull then ends with a crisp 1.2 lb break. Helping with accuracy and still being strong and reliable; this is an excellent upgrade for a precision shooter. The second trigger is their exclusive Giessele Rapid Fire Trigger (B-GRF). Much like Giessele's Super Select Fire trigger developed for US Special Operation, the GRF trigger is a "glass smooth" single stage trigger with the option of being either a 3.2 lb or 4 lb pull. The pull is a single stage with a 2 stage like reset. This is a must-have for 3-gun competition shooters. Retailing for $229.98 to $248.99, depending on the trigger you choose, this would be the ultimate package built around an excellent trigger assembly.
Maybe you've picked out a trigger already and are looking for the rest of the components to finish off your build. You are spending anywhere from $100 to $300 on your trigger group and want quality upgraded parts to match the upgraded trigger. The Seeking Precision Enhanced Builders Kit is developed for that need. Upgraded bolt catch, ambidextrous safety, take down pins, mag release, and trigger guard is all included in this kit. All the parts and components are designed to be top quality and allow you to function your AR with top efficiency. Retailing for around $94.00 but selling for approximately $89 on Rainier Arms website, you'll spend a bit more than the standard LPK, but you'll get a whole lot more. Plus, it's a complete upgrade, meaning your rifle will be built to the highest standards.
You can buy a standard mil-spec LPK from several manufacturers for a price ranging from $40 to $70. It's a pretty significant price gap for a parts kit that all meet the same standards and have the same basic components. More than likely you are going to replace half the parts for upgrades, whether initially or later down the road. I like to do the most with my cash, as it is a limited supply. I look for a Lower Parts Kit that has all the parts I need and want, and none of the parts that I don't. Are there other options? Sure. That's why I suggest looking for yourself. However, before going to the local box store and buying a $65 LPK off the shelf, take some time to see what other options are out there. These three stuck out to me but see for yourself what best suits your needs.
Prices accurate at time of writing