So, you want to build your own AR-15. Maybe you’re on the fence about taking on the project of buying and building your own 80 percent lower. Why not just buy a complete lower, and slap the right parts on to hit the range? Below we’ll detail why you should buy an 80% lower versus a complete AR-15 lower.
Buying an 80% Lower is More Affordable!
The biggest advantage in buying an 80% lower – besides the fun and pride of building your own lower from scratch – is the cost savings. Most completed AR-15 lowers start at $150, and easily climb up to $250, $350, even $400 off the shelf.
Our 80% lowers – even our premium lowers – are much less expensive! This is because the 80% lower is not considered a firearm. The costs of selling firearms is high, and so gun shops and dealers must offset that cost by raising prices. We don’t have to.
That means you get to spend less! And what’s more, you can buy an 80% lower and 80% jig combo kit and still save much more than buying a lower receiver off the shelf.
Buying an 80% Lower Requires NO Paperwork!
That’s right – an 80% lower is not legally considered a firearm by any local, state, or federal law. It’s a hunk of aluminum! Until you complete the lower and make it functional, the ATF considers it nothing more than a block of metal.
And machining your 80% lower is completely legal without any paperwork, too. Certain states require completed lowers meet serialization requirements, so you should read your local and state laws first, but you do not need to conduct a PICS check or visit any FFL to complete your lower. If you can legally own a gun in your state, the 80% lower is for you.
Buying and Building an 80% Lower is Fun
Trust us, it really is. The AR-15 is made to be tinkered with, adjusted, customized, and made your own. The best way to do that is to start from the ground up, building an 80% lower in the caliber and configuration you desire, and picking out the buffer system, buttstock, gas system, and upper of your choice.
Mastering the process of machining an 80% lower is fun, too! It’s a proud moment to say at the range, “Yeah, I built this AR from scratch”. Learning how to operate your 80% lower jig is easy, and we provide tons of tutorials and easy-to-follow instructions.
Most of our 80% lower jigs even measure your drill depths and they even guide your handheld router while your machine, so there’s little to no guesswork!
Buying a Complete AR-15 Lower
We admit, there is some immediate gratification when you purchase a complete AR-15 lower at the local gun store. All you need to do is go home, slap on your upper of choice, tack on the buffer and buttstock (if not included) and hit the range.
However, you will likely pay a premium for that store-bought firearm, and you’ll end up paying fees, waiting around for that PICS check, and possibly waiting days before you can even claim your prize. We strongly recommend giving the 80% lower a shot. You’ll be surprised at how professional your results will be – and it’ll all be your own, true gunsmithing.
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.