AR-15 Upgrades: 5 Can’t Miss Accessories

AR15 OpticsExclusive for AR15.com newsletter subscribers! Enter your e-mail in the box below for a free digital book on AR-15 barrels. You’ll also receive e-newsletters from Gun Digest and partners full of more great information.


Whether you need a gun for hunting or tactical applications, you can configure the ultra-adaptable AR to your needs. It doesn’t hurt that all the accessories also make your rifle look cooler.

Whether you need a gun for hunting or tactical applications, you can configure the ultra-adaptable AR to your needs. It doesn’t hurt that all the accessories also make your rifle look cooler.

The two best things about owning an AR-style rifle: Shooting it and customizing it. Here are 5 accessory ideas to upgrade yours.

AR-15 Vertical Foregrips

Vertical foregrips: Foregrips attach under the barrel and provide added stability and rifle control. Some versions are simply a grip; others come with flashlights or lasers mounted within the body.

I’ve used ARs with vertical foregrips in hunting stands. Although I initially thought they were took bulky for stands, I discovered that when you hook the foregrip over a window sill, ledge or rail, you have a rock-solid shooting platform.

AR-15 Bipods

Bipod: Especially if you plan on longer-range shooting, a collapsible bipod that attaches under the front of the barrel — on a rail or a sling swivel post — can be a real help. There are many models of bipods on the market. Adjustable legs are common on bipods and, depending on the model, can adjust from a couple of inches long to a foot or better. Some bipods even allow you to swivel your rifle.

AR-15 BUIS (Back Up Iron Sights)

AR-15 Rail CoversBUIS: That’s back-up iron sights, and they come in darned handy when you accidently drop your rifle and your optic goes smash again a rock or stump. The rear sights attach to the back of the rail along the receiver top and (usually) fold down when not in use. You will need a front post, too. The A-1/A-2-style front post is very popular, and a host of others are made to attach to the top of the gas block.

AR-15 Flash-Hiders

Flash-hiders: Most ARs come with some sort of flash suppressor attached to the end of the barrel, often the common A-1 flash suppressor or an AR-15/M-16-style three-prong unit. Many are threaded onto the end of the barrel, but some are pinned.

The flash-hider is an important tool for the modern hog or bear hunter who will be hunting in low light or at night. Flash reduction helps save a shooter’s night vision. It can also help reduce the “bloom,” the cloud of light that can appear in your optic when you shoot at night, causing temporary night blindness.

AR-15 Rail Covers

AR-15 Flash-Hider.Rail covers: The Picatinny rails on your AR do a great job of letting you attach accessories galore. However, when not in use, those rails can catch on clothing and other surfaces, and are magnets for dirt and dust. Some of the sharper-edged rails can be hard on your hands. Solution? Rail covers.

Available in a multitude of colors and surfaces, these covers usually snap onto the rail. Some can be cut to fit, too

You can go whole hog and replace your AR handguard with a quad-rail system. You can attach a three-sided rail system on a flattop AR, which is especially handy for installing optics, or go with a clamp-on style rail that sits up a bit higher and lets you see through to use your iron sights.

There are long, medium and short rails you can attach to your existing handguards. There are even bayonet lug accessory rails.

Modern Hunter Magazine.Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Brian McCombie’s “Cool Customizing for Your AR,” an article appearing in the 2013 issue of the new magazine Modern Hunter. Look for it on your local newstands.

Click Here for Recommended AR-15 Resources

One thought on “AR-15 Upgrades: 5 Can’t Miss Accessories

  1. rb

    I don’t pretend to know everything, but to save me, I can’t understand why companies will make a high-end AR-15, with all the bells and whistles, but then put that cheap, uncomfortable, hard plastic PISTOL GRIP to top it all off! A few companies are going to something softer like a Houge, but most stick with the plastic GI type. I got the CAA pistol grip, with inserts frt/rear. Love it! FIts like a glove, and I have 300% more control. Didn’t cost much. There are less expensive grips too, but few that just exude “hold me”.

COMMENT