Every AR-15 owner needs to be familiar with the construction and components that make up their gun. While most won’t be giving a lecture or demonstration, it behooves the self-respecting gun owner to know about their firearm in some detail. The AR-15 is a highly customizable weapon, so you may want to upgrade or replace a part occasionally. If and when that happens, it would serve well to have an idea of your gun’s basic parts, and not just the firearm accessories you are going to need.
Upper Receiver Group
- Upper Receiver: Among AR-15 parts, this is the one that contains the charging handle and bolt carrier group. Also attached to this are the forend and the barrel of the gun.
- Barrel: This part comes in many lengths and heavily influences firing accuracy. Your options are contingent on the model you go with, as well as the length of the gas system.
- Gas Tube and Gas Block: A gas pressure-operated rifle needs the pressure to force the bolt carrier group up inside the buffer tube, after which the used round is replaced. Gas tubes can be rifle-length, carbine-length, mid-length, or pistol-length.
- Bolt Carrier Group: This assembly comprises the bolt, firing pin, extractor, cam pin, and gas key, and is responsible for the loading of the rifle, and for ensuring that bullet firing and round ejection are kept in sync.
- Charging Handle: This part of your AR-15 pulls bolt carrier groups towards the rear when a round needs to be chambered, or a malfunction is dealt with. Pulling on it releases any faulty shell and loads a new one.
- Forward Assist: This enhances the reliability of the rifle, and offers little other functionality. Many gun owners prefer it for the dependability enhancement.
- Handguard and Rail System: This part protects you hands when the barrel gets too hot after a round of firing on the range.
- Ejection Port Cover: This component ensures proper functioning of your AR-15 by keeping out dirt, dust and debris. It can stay open or close, which is simple enough, but very useful practically.
- Compensators: These help stop muzzle climb, which means your shots stay more accurate. Gases are vented upward and outward from the barrel, so that the rifle is able to hold a straight position.
- Muzzle Brakes: Rapid firing can cause muzzle climb from all that recoil. Accurate shooting can be ensured if you have the right muzzle brakes, which can cut recoil by up to half.
- Flash Hiders: Gunpowder combustion can cause a light flash and give you away. Flash hiders keep that from happening, which means you see better while staying more well hidden.