We have put together this guide listing 15 best AR15 accessories to smooth out the trigger pull, enhance handling and control ergonomics...etc
We have tried a tons of AR15 accessories to upgrade factory rifles and also build custom AR from scratch. Some are very practical, some are okay, and some are just junks.
Here are what we consider are the most practical upgrades to get.
Disclosure: All products have affiliate links for earning commission to support the website when you purchase
Aimpoint Micro - Best Red Dot Sight
The Aimpoint Micro is the best red dot sight for AR15. This is the top tier red dot product with a durable body, long battery life and reliable aiming capability.
Precise Aiming - The precise 2 MOA dot reticle can be used to close range and long range shooting
Use All Types of Mounts - Tons of aftermarket optic mounts available
Very Rugged - Drop and recoil proof
Magpul Battery Assist Lever - Faster Reload Speed
This is by far one of the best AR15 accessories for a standard AR to increase the reload speed and to improve weapon manipulation and manual of arms that wasn't originally built in for the rifle.
Reload when you want to, NOT when you have to!
Cuts Reload Time, And Helps Clear Malfunctions
Added Ambi Control - The Magpul BAD (Battery Assist Device) extends the release paddle to the right side of the rifle, allowing the shooter to operate the bolt catch from the fire control / ready position for a right-handed shooter.
Simplified Mechanics - Lock the bolt to the rear effortlessly with support hand without leaving the firing hand off the pistol grip
Surefire M600DF - See In Low Light
Why Mount A Light? - The Surefire M600DF is by far the best long gun weapon light for low light target ID. Having a weapon light is a must for a home defense rifle.
Mil-Spec Durability - Survives drop, bump and every day rough handling
Wide Spill & Hot Center - Illuminates wide to see 9, 12 and 3 o' clock positions in the dark, and you won't miss a thing
Upgradeable Light Head - Try the MODLITE SYSTEM PLHv2 Head for 2.5X increased (54k candela) throw for focused long range illumination.
Tons Of Accessories - Configure the light in any ways you like with a ton of aftermarket support
Better low light target ID! Must Have For Home Defense
Surefire Muzzle Brake - Reduces Felt Recoil
Reduces felt recoil & fast follow up firing - Reduces muzzle climb reduction like magic, and enables faster follow-up shots.
Compatible With Most 556 Barrel Thread - Most muzzle brake made for the AR 15 had the standard 1/8-28 thread, and typically timing of the brake is required for proper installation.
Fireball - Muzzle fireball lovers will absolutely love this during the day and night
Included Timing Shims - Using included shim spacer to properly orient the brake on the barrel
Definitely make sure you put on some hearing protection.
Magpul D-60 - Best AR15 Drum Mag
The Magpul D60 solves problems typically associated with drum magazine designs from the past. This new design improves reliability, although it does make the magazine larger and heavier.
The Magpul D60 AR-15 Magazine is made for users to be able to service it themselves. Loading rounds, even the last one, is made fast and easy with the ratchet lever.
As per Magpul's suggestion, the drum should be cleaned and lightly oiled after firing 1000 rounds.
Match Grade Barrels - Improves Accuracy
The barrel is the most important component of the rifle that directly impacts the ballistic performance. Not every rifle performs the same after barrel swap.
Core Specs to pay attention to when shopping for a barrel:
- Length (Impacts accuracy and bullet velocity)
- Barrel profile (Gov. Or Pencil)
- Gas port size (Varies based on length & caliber)
- DI or Piston System
- Twist Rate (Impacts ballistic performance based on bullet weight)
- Caliber (5.56, 223, 224, 300BLK, 7.62)
It depends on your shooting style, and you can go as short as 7.5" thru 18". No matter which type of AR you are going to build, it's important to understand that the length of the barrel affects accuracy and velocity.
A cold hammer forged and chrome lined barrel (CHF) is stronger than button-cut barrel, and it is the best you can get on the market right now.
They are cost efficient during manufacturing processes, and the most important part of the cold forging process are:
- Make the bore's surface as smooth as possible, which increases barrel accuracy and service life
- Hammer rifling pattern inside the barrel using a spiral grooved mandrel
Learn more about CHF barrels here
Single Stage Trigger - Increase Trigger Reset Speed
Wanna shoot fast? The single-stage trigger is the answer. The best trigger pull weight for an AR15 is about 3.5 to 5.5 lbs for safe and reliable use. Trigger, BCG and buffer spring can be tweaked for the best performance.
Shorter Reset & Pre Travel - Just a hair, the trigger breaks right around 3-5 lbs. The spring assisted reset helps reset the trigger fast for the next shot
Note: Trigger pins (0.154") all fit mil-spec AR15/10 lower receiver
Lightning Fast Installation - Just drop-in trigger package in the receiver, punch in the 2 pins and you're all set! (No fitting, No adjusting required)
Check Out: Best AR15 Drop In Triggers
Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group - Improved Bolt Durability
The BCG is the beating heart of your AR-15 rifle, and it's among your rifle’s most critical components so you want this piece to be durable.
Full Auto Rated - Most BCG for AR now days are all M16 machine gun bolt with shallower cut toward the rear of the bolt, more mass & more reliable.
Note - This will not make your AR-15 full-auto without full auto trigger or sear.
For Competition Use - Pick Low-Mass BCG, Made of lightweight material, such as titanium, to increase the cycle-rate of an AR-15. Note, to function reliably it typically requires other upgrades.
For Home Defense & Range Use - Pick M16 bolt coated with Nickel-Boron for reliable & smooth action
Geissele Braided Buffer Spring - Enhanced Cycling Service Life
Why Geissele Super 42? We recommend the Geissele Super 42 Braided Spring with H1 or H2 buffer for longer service life without the spring losing length over time.
Increased Cycle Life - Operating ONLY at around ~35% of its maximum stress load compared to a standard spring. The springs flex separately from each other like a harmonic damper and energy absorber to displace excess energy to prevent spring failure.
Braided Wire Improved Reliability - Increases bolt return force to ensure proper round chambering when dealing with a dirt or steel case ammo
No More Spring Twang Sound - The braided wire spring eliminates the annoying twang sound and preserves spring harmonics inside the buffer tube.
Fact: Higher-end / high rate of fire guns like belt fed machine guns use braided recoil spring for longevity
Raptor Charging Handle - Better Grip Leverage
More leverage & positive contact is what we want - Ditch the small latch charging handle for a large size one! A large size ambi charging handle is one of the best AR15 add ons to improve BCG operation & malfunctions troubleshooting.
- Larger surface area to grab without slipping
- Better leverge to pull, great for clearing nasty jams & malfunctions
More Room To Grip - The larger latch sticks out more, and it's easier to grip with or without gloves!
Works For Lefties - Use your left to charge the bolt just like with the right!
A charging handle doesn't fundamentally affect how the gun shoot, but it's definitely a must-have ergonomics upgrade, for any serious AR15 shooters who practice and take training classes.
Ambi Safety Selector - For Lefties & Righties
Why we like short throw ambi safety selector - Operate the safety selector from both hand is a great ergonomic feature added to the weapon system.
Huge ergonomics upgrade - Short throw fire selector eliminates the need to break the grip when flicking it with your thumb.
Easier Thumb Reach - Operate the ambi-switch fast from Pre-positioned angle without a full 90 degree rotation or break the pistol grip
Positive Feedback - Rock solid detent makes the safety switch very responsive and positive even when wearing gloves.
Durable Modular Handguard - Enable Attachments
Why Get Modular Handguard System ? Mount any accessories you like, and take it off when not needed!
- Weapon light
- IR / Laser device
- Offset mount
- Sling attachment points
- Backup iron sights
- Vertical grip
- Front Thermal / NV optic attachments
Add Whatever You Want - Add rail sections as needed to dramatically smooth out the handguard and reduce weight.
The top 4 we like are BCM, Daniel Defense, Giessele and Aero Precision. As we slowly evolve from full length picatinny rail hardguard to modular handguard, more options will be available.
A good quality AR15 modular handguard has to have 6 more features:
- High strength to weight ratio (keep it as light as possible
- Heat resistent
- Either full picatinny, MLOK or KeyMod
- Long cantilever style barrel nut, keeping the mounting & torque point durable and beefy
- Pick the right length
- Free float, for increased accuracy
Check Out: Best Lightweight Modular AR15 Rail Handguard
Scalarworks Optic Mount - Retains Zero
A durable optic mounts keep your optic securely mounted on the rifle, and holds zero against sharp recoil.
The Scalarworks LEAP mounts are high strength to weight ratio optic mount to provide a rock solid attachment to the firearm.
The built-in recoil lugs fits in between the rail section to prevent shifts during recoil to increase accuracy.
Unity Tactical FAST Optic Mount - Red Dot & Magnifier
The Unity Tactical Aimpoint mount along with the FTC magnifier mount is the most unique red dot magnifier setup on the market. The raised optic height provides the shooter with much better cheekweld on most AR15 rifles, and it clears night vision goggles.
The FTC magnifier mount tucks the magnifier down instead of flipped to the side. This is a super cool setup for hardcore AR15 users. (Works for Aimpoint & EOTech G33)
Get FTC Omni to work with Vortex, Trijicon magnifier
Magpul UBR Stock - Improved Rifle Shouldering
This is a rock solid aftermarket stock from Magpul. It's by far the best AR15 furniture out there to eliminate wobble associated with factory stock.
All Installation Kit Included- New buffer tube included in the box is very easy to install
Built In QD Socket - Attach a sling to on the rear end of the stock or on the buffer tube plate
Included Storage Pocket - Store notes and battery inside the stock or remove the two access door
Before you purchase any stock, be sure to check your buffer tube sizes. There are commerical (1.148" diameter) and Mil-Spec (1.168" diameter)
Note: Some rifles have longer buffer tube assembly for DI guns.
Large Magazine Release - Better Finger Reach
A Larger button to press - Have you ever felt clumspy when practicing reload drills and miss hitting the small magazine release?
Many people have, and it slows people down. It slows people down even more in situation where adrenaline is pumping.
An extended large magazine release button is all about improving the AR15 platform with minor tweaks. This is one of them.
If you're configuring your AR15 for just home defense purposes, please check out our separately written accessory guide below:
- Always ensure your firearm is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction when installing or adjusting optic riser mounts.
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper installation and torque specifications to prevent damage to your optic or firearm.
- Regularly check the mount's tightness and stability, as recoil and regular use may cause it to loosen over time.
- Be aware that changing the height of your optic may affect your original zero and require re-zeroing your firearm.
As the content creator of badassoptic.com, My background in the firearms industry and shooting sports gives me the experience to recommend tried and true products and keep away subpar ones.