13 Useful AR15 Upgrades & Accessories [Very Practical]

Best useful ar 15 upgrades

Whether you have a custom build or a factory rifle, these upgrades will make your AR look super sick and performs great!

We have put together this guide listing 13 best AR15 upgrades and accessories to smooth out the trigger pull, enhance handling and control ergonomics...etc

Let's check them out.

13 Best AR15 Upgrades & Accessories

Magpul Battery Assist Lever - Increases Reload Speed & Added Ambi Capability

Why Get This Upgrade? - This is by far the best AR15 add ons 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!

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 

Cuts Reload Time, And Helps Clear Malfunctions

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

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LA Police Gear

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.

surefire muzzle brake in action

Almost no muzzle shift

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...check out our ear pro guide.

Match Grade Barrels - Accuracy Depends On It

AR15 barrel

The barrel is the most important component of the rifle that directly impacts the ballistic performance.

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

Timney Trigger (Buy on Brownells)

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)

If you want to see more, we've picked out some Top AR15 Drop In Triggers to check out here.

Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group - Improved Bolt Durability

nickel boron bolt carrier group

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

Geissele Super 42 Braided Buffer Spring (Buy on Brownells)

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: Any higher-end / high rate of fire guns like MG42, HK, FN M249, Sig MCX all have braided recoil spring for a reason...that is for durability!

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SB Tactical SBA3 - Stabilizes AR Pistol

SB tactical sba3 brace

Why Get The SBA3 - You can now legally own or build a short barrel rifle “pistol” legally without a $200 tax stamp.

For any MK18 pistol owners, this is an must-have after market accessory.

Before you get too excited, Please read the ATF letter below: 

[Updated 2020] Read More: New ATF Rule On AR Pistol Braces

You Can Should It! - Legally own a "less-than-16-inches" barrel rifle without any NFA paperwork. Yes you can shoulder it.

Adjustable Position - Adjust the length of pull on a regular mil-spec AR15 buffer tube. This is so unique that isn't available for other pistol braces on the market.

Best Looking Brace - The SBA3 is by far the best-looking pistol brace that assembles the look of a Magpul MOE stock, and it feels pretty solid to shoulder and maneuver.

Build A Pistol, No ATF Wait, Save Money

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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.

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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.

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Durable Modular Handguard - Enable Attachments


DD MK18 RIS II Rail (Buy on Brownells)

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

Durable Optic Mount - Retains Optic Zero

Scalarworks Low Drag Aimpoint Micro Mount

Scalarworks LEAP

Durable optic mounts keep your optic securely mounted on the rifle, and hold 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.

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.

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Large Magazine Release - Improved Index Finger Reach

Large button to press, you wont miss it - Have you ever felt clumspy and fumble 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.

The solution is easy!... get a large size magazine release like the BAD Modular Mag Release, with better reach and larger contact surface, so the shooter doesn't have to change or adjust grip position, to release the magazine.

An extended large magazine release button is all about adding more ergonomics and combat efficiency to the already amazing AR15 weapon platform, as little as just increasing the size.

Also check out this super simple ambi mag release upgrade.

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Additional Resources

If you're configuring your AR15 for just home defense purposes, please check out our separately written accessory guide below:

Best Accessories For A Home Defense AR15

Best Red Dot Sights For AR15 & Other Carbines