Building an 80 lower is a fun process and a big step taken in owning an AR-15 – but it’s just the beginning. Most lowers look, feel, and function the same. You’ll need to customize that lower and truly make it your own with the right accessories. Which accessories, though? Some are user-specific, but some are simply must-haves. Let’s figure out what you should be considering for your 80 lower and your AR-15 project:
- Adjustable Carbine Stock & Buffer Tube
This one’s a “Duh!” moment, but we have to throw it in there. Your new 80% lower will serve you well as long as you can size up that rifle to your liking – and to do that, you need a quality, comfortable adjustable buttstock and buffer tube assembly.
Keep it simple. There’s a reason why the barbecue still uses fire, and there’s a reason the wheel is still round. There’s equally good reason for investing in the classic six-position M4 carbine buttstock. This thing is indestructible, lightweight, low-profile, and comfortable. It even includes the lock ring, castle nut, latch plate, and buffer with spring – everything you need to shoulder that lower.
- AR-15 Roll Pin Punch Set
We talked about this recently in our “must-have tools for building an 80 lower” piece and we’re mentioning them again because they’re true life- and headache-savers. Seriously, we’ve built a lot of lowers and we can’t overstate how important these little punches are. They will save your roll pins from flying away into oblivion. You don’t want a tiny, earring-sized piece of metal becoming lost forever in that old carpet, ruining your entire 80% lower build. These punches will ensure that doesn’t happen.
- AR-15 Sling
We know you’ll want to cuddle that rifle of yours for hours after you finish building it – but eventually, you’ll want to hang it up and carry it around like a normal adult. For that, you’ll want a simple lower-affixed sling. These simple but comfortable slings attach directly to the sling plate on your buffer tube and they make it easy to transition from a chill stance with a dangling rifle to the high-ready.
- Drop-in Trigger Assembly
Lower parts kits are wonderful if you want to build a standard, reliable, mil-spec AR-15 lower out of that 80% lower. But if you want to up your game, enjoy some wildly improved ergonomics, and generally enjoy better shot groups, then a drop-in trigger assembly (like the RA-140 or RA-535) should be at the top of your list.
These drop-in triggers install in a few minutes and they’re compatible with any 80 lower build! Triggers like these have a short, crisp pull with little creep, no take-up, and little to no over-travel. They really do improve the shooting experience by leaps and bounds.
- Quick-Release AR-15 Takedown Pin
We’re pretty certain you don’t want to scratch up your freshly minted 80% lower’s finish. We also know how meticulous you probably clean that bad boy after a range day. If you’ve ever owned an AR-15, then you know that popping those retaining pins for the lower and upper receivers can be a pain. So, make it easy! Buy a quick-release takedown pin. This little guy costs a couple of bucks but it makes breaking down your black rifle so simple, no tools required. No more hammering out that pin with a screwdriver or shell casing, messing up your finish in the process!DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY AR-15 building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. We are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.