7 Do’s & Don’t of Buying an AR-15 Rifle
Gregg F. Swift
Do your homework before buying an AR platform weapon. An AR-15 purchase represents a significant investment in anyones personal collection so follow just a few simple suggestions to ensure that your collection of firearms is fully functional and doesn’t come up lacking at the wrong time – the time when you need it.
Don’t buy a used AR unless you know the service history of the weapon and the previous owner. Many people will purchase an AR-15 from someone or at a gun show just because they think it is a steal or at least a good price. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve known over the years who have said about their broken gun that they will just get rid of it at a gun show. Used AR-15′s, like any gun must be examined by someone familiar with them in order to guarantee that the gun is functional and does not represent a danger when firing. I cannot tell you the number of people over the years who have insisted that they had some working knowledge of AR-15 platform weapons, many of them armorers, who in actuality weren’t nearly as familiar as they thought and consequently ended up giving their customers horrible advice about minor issues which could have easily been corrected on an AR-15 platform weapon. The simple fact is that manufacturers of AR-15′s are generally going to have a better working knowledge of the functionality of AR-15′s. They understand firsthand the concepts like, heat treating, tolerances, HP and MPI testing, tool wear and the like. Sure, many people know what these terms mean, but unless they have worked in the industry these are just concepts they have read about and not experienced. As a rule, don’t buy a used AR-15 without knowing the service history of the weapon.
Don’t buy an AR at a gun show from anyone other than a licensed dealer or licensed manufacturer (Federal Firearms License). Private dealers do not conduct background checks and are partially responsible for gunshow firearms ending up in the hands of criminals. A private dealer has no way of verifying that a purchaser does not have a criminal record. If we want to help ensure that our Second Amendment freedoms continue it is important to participate in the process by limiting sales of firearms from private dealers at gun shows who don’t spend the money to obtain a proper FFL license, who don’t obtain insurance, who don’t get city and county occupational licenses, who don’t pay state and federal taxes. The bona fide dealers do these things, the non-FFL dealers sell AR-15 rifles and other firearms and discount prices and don’t pay taxes. Do you really want to buy a firearm from a guy that sells at gun shows who either doesn’t want or can’t get an FFL? Why doesn’t he have a license? He can’t buy guns from a reputable manufacturer and he can’t buy them wholesale from a distributor because he has no license. So where does he get his guns – from the crap being sold by people walking through the gun show trying to get rid of their defective guns?
Don’t buy an AR-15 upper receiver at a gun show from anyone other than a licensed dealer or manufacturer. Upper receivers can be assembled by anyone, however, without an FFL, as a dealer or manufacturer, quality parts and components cannot be obtained. Reputable manufacturers will not sell AR-15 rifles or other firearms, components or parts to individuals or companies without the appropriate licenses. You cannot ensure that you have quality parts on your AR-15 or on your upper receiver unless you buy it from a reputable dealer or manufacturer.
Do compare the components of the AR-15 before buying (bolt, carrier, upper receiver, lower receiver, barrel & barrel extension). The bolt and barrel extension are two of the most critical parts of the AR-15 platform weapon. Name brands selling AR-15′s are not what they used to be. You have to compare the components and parts to ensure that the weapon that you are about to purchase is a quality weapon.
Don’t buy an AR that does not have a warranty. AR-15′s are fine tuned weapons and require tweaking from time to time. AR-15′s are also particular about the ammunition used in them. Over 90% of issues involving “jamming” are related to “dirty” or “inferior” ammunition. With a proper warranty, in the event that your weapon falls into the other 10%, a reputable manufacturer will fix your weapon, if it is a warranty problem, without question. A lifetime warranty from the original purchaser is a big plus when buying an AR-15.
Don’t buy an AR from anyone, including dealers, who state their AR is a MilSpec AR without them explaining what a MilSpec AR truly is. Civilians cannot own a MilSpec AR and there is no such thing as a MilSpec AR-15. An excellent article entitled, What is a “Mil-Spec” AR-15? can be found athttp://twsarms.com/what-is-a-mil-spec-rifle/. Remember some of the do’s and don’ts or buying an AR-15 and you will find that the AR-15 weapons on your collection will work when you need them to.
Gregg Swift, J.D., IACSP is the Director of Operations for Tactical Weapons Solutions, an AR-15 manufacturer. Mr. Swift graduated from Barry Law School in 2001 and has written numerous articles relating to the manufacturing and selling of high quality AR-15 parts, components, rifles, 2nd Amendment rights, the political environment relating to guns, and survival related topics. Visit Tactical Weapons Solutions at http://twsarms.com/. For more on MilSpec parts and high quality AR-15 rifles and to enter a monthly drawing for a FREE AR-15 at http://twsarms.com/ar-15-monthly-drawing/.
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