First Time AR-15 Owners: Care and Feeding

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by David Bowman, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. David Bowman

    David Bowman
    Beaverton OR
    Archer Defense Concepts

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    We are going to be doing some rifle classes in the spring and summer, and I know that some of you are buying, building or getting one of these fine rifles for Christmas. So as my company's gift to everyone here on the forum, let me present an introduction to the AR-15 and what the care and feeding of your new found politically incorrect friend looks like for you, the new owner of an AR-15.

    In this age of the AR-15 becoming the symbol of all that is evil to the easily frightened soccer mom and minivan dad crowd, my cause du jour is not only ensuring that I bring everyone I can on board the gun owning pirate ship, but ensuring they know how to ensure it can reach its zenith of effectiveness by dispensing wisdom earned by carrying one of these rifles every day for the better part of a quarter of a century.

    The AR-15 is one of the most useable rifles for sporting purposes in the world. The uses run from varmint hunting to home defense. These rifles are easy to use, have little recoil and there are a ton of accessories.

    So in what is probably a sea of people telling you what to do, what to buy, and possibly using terms that you may not understand, let me sail my pirate ship up to you and invite you aboard and help out in what to do regarding the care and feeding of an essential tool of your new found liberty.

    Care and Cleaning:

    The AR-15 is a gorgeous piece of engineering, and now that you have one, you only have to give it what all machines require to give long years of trouble free service; care. Caring for your AR-15 is pretty easy and requires only a little time, but your AR-15 is like dating a supermodel; they will get dirty with you, but they have some rules, and the biggest one is that they get to get clean afterward.

    I will not go too in depth here, because about 3 percent of the internet is dedicated to the care and feeding of the AR-15, please use your Google Fu skills and have to look around in order to see the places that need to be lubed and scrubbed and the proper way to do this for your rifle to have a long life. There are at least 3 threads here as well that will have great advice from many owners on what works best and what doesn't.


    Your rifle will digest most NATO 5.56 and .223 caliber ammunition. Be aware though, it is always best to use NATO 5.56 ammunition because it is designed to be fired in your rifle. There are some minute differences in these cartridges, and you can shoot .223 in a NATO 5.56 rifle, but generally, unless marked or denoted by the manufacturer, you can’t fire NATO 5.56 in a rifle marked .223. The pressure of the rounds in military ammunition is generally higher and will wear the rifles components faster and can cause catastrophic failure of components; so ensure you know what you are feeding it.

    DO NOT buy fancy Delta Force/SEAL Team 6 super anti-terrorism bullets or competitive match grade rounds unless you are doing the same jobs as those fellas or are shooting competitive matches. These are for specific purposes and unless you are already one of those dudes, or you shoot long distance, you don’t need them. Buy military grade rounds and shoot them when you go to the range.

    Commanders Law: Never pass up an opportunity to resupply to your basic load. For those unfamiliar with this idea, what I am saying is you can’t ever have too many bullets. There is no such thing. If you are in the sporting goods store and see they have 200 round battle packs on sale; buy one. If you are cruising the interwebs and see that someone is selling something and throwing in the shipping cost (because lead is heavy), buy some.

    Always better to have more than less; and who knows, you may like shooting your rifle a lot, so you should have a lot of bullets around to shoot.


    There are going to be Mall Ninjas who are going to wax poetic to you about what kind of magazines are the best and which are not. I have shot my rifle with nearly every magazine made and they range in construction from steel to polymer and everyone of them has worked, every time I pressed the BOOM! Switch. Without fail. It doesn’t matter if you have cheap GI magazines or the latest and greatest from the pages of SWAT magazine. I have found they all work, every time. Maybe there is a bad magazine out there, but I haven't ran into one.

    Get enough that you can take to a course (discussed in just a minute) and make it so all you have to do is load magazines at the end of the day of training and don’t have to lose valuable training time loading magazines between shooting events. They don’t cost that much and the aggravation you save yourself is worth it, while you watch the amateurs try to keep up loading magazines and hurrying to get more shooting time.


    This is the area where people get into trouble. The AR-15 rifle is the most accessorized rifle in the free world, and the sky is literally the limit if your wallet is bottomless. You can buy every super duper, whiz bang, SEAL Team 6 approved watcha-ma- thingy in the all of the world and put it on your rifle; and after it is all said and done, with your wallet lighter and everything fastened to the quad rails; I can tell you exactly how much it will improve your shooting.

    Zero. Exactly Zero.

    It will make the rifle heavier, and as someone who has learned this lesson the hard way, ounces turn into pounds. Unless you have night vision goggles and your hobbies are taking out terrorists in mountain redoubts (a good hobby to have BTW), then you don’t need an infra-red laser, thermal scope or an infra-red flashlight. Most of the Tactical TEDs (Total Egotistical Dumbasses) that are wearing multicam camoflage pants at the range who have an additional 6 pounds of lights, lasers and cool guy rails are doing it because they saw it in Zero Dark Thirty and they thought that chicks would dig it. Chicks will not dig it. I promise. Chick dig six pack abs on Navy SEALs and witty banter over fine wine; not the six stupid things you ran up your credit card at last weekend’s gun show to buy and will never use that you have clamped on your AR-15.

    You need 4 things on a rifle to make it all the sporting and home defense you will ever need:
    (1) flashlight of some kind, (2) red dot sight/optical sight of some kind, (3) back up iron sights of some kind and (4) some kind of grip on the hand-guard that works for you (and this one is totally optional).


    The most important part of this is that now that you have chosen to be a gun owner, you need to get training, and yes, I know, it costs money. Anything worth something costs money and in order to learn how to shoot your new rifle safely and enjoyably, you need to invest the time and money to get some good quality training.

    Your new AR-15 is not a magic talisman that wards off evil. In order for it to work as designed, you have to know how to use it as designed.

    When you are looking for training, stay away from anyone who uses words in their training brochures like “operator” or “tactical.” This is not what you want until maybe you get some experience under your belt. Choose courses that will introduce you to this new world you are in and show you the competence needed to develop your skills.

    Not matter what class or trainer you choose, prepare to do things in class that put bruises and cuts on your body, raise your pulse, and clear your sweat glands. That is the kind of training that you will get the most out of.

    And train as much as you can. Seek out places to train where you can use the skills that you have learned in class and learn more.

    That is all there is to it, at least in the beginning. Merry Christmas, I hope you like your new rifle. See you on the range....
    Dyjital, xlsbob, notazombie and 2 others like this.
  2. 41Slinger

    Harrisburg Oregon
    Well-Known Member

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    Thank you and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
  3. Stomper

    Plata O Plomo....
    Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter Gold Supporter 2018 Volunteer

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    Good thing I didn't sleep through BRM & ARM "back in the day"! ;)

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