By Key Stone Scout
This past Christmas I wanted to get my two LEO brothers a gift and not blow the bank. Mostly because I love them but also to fill up the good will bucket in case my foot feels too heavy. After scouring through the all-knowing internetsmachine I found a set of three consecutive Spikes Tactical lowers and scooped them up. I thought it would be fun for each of us to build a sword from the ground up. As luck would have it one of the lowers matched one of their badge numbers so that made it feel even more like a home run . . .
For my build I immediately got impatient and started buying components daily (“No honey I swear this was on back order from a while ago – and yes of course I’m concurrently saving for Junior’s college fund!”). As the parts came in I got even more excited. “What a year,” I thought, “making a baby and making my first firearm”.
Once all components came in I ended up with is a rifle that will give me some serious utility. Certainly this weapon lacks “top end” components. It lacks precision tuning by a skilled gunsmith. It lacks prestige because I don’t want to show it off to anyone, especially my gunsmith who might want to beat me senseless with it. It also is downright ugly as sin. But let’s get into the reasons why you too should build an AR-15 regardless of your skill level…
1. I made it. There are few like it and this is mine. A pride issue involved after assembly and then punching accurate consistent holes at 150 yards. It also has never hiccupped once and this is after nearly 2,000 rounds through the thing. All of this stuff builds confidence and swells the nether regions.
2. Customized is the way to go. This firearm platform is so ubiquitous that there are many quality manufacturers of components out there so it is a great first gun build. Also, being that I shoot most comfortably as a southpaw I ensured it was fully ambidextrous. Topped off with a little JV rattle can action this weapon turned into my truck gun ready for any situation good or bad. At first I was hesitant to spray paint my AR. But I weighted the options (black rifles stick out like a sore thumb) and went for it. I was also comforted to know how easily the spray paint can come off. Even with the presence of Rem Oil it begins to wipe away.
3. You will learn a lot. I like many readers of this blog am a life-long learner. It was a good experience to look up many articles and how to videos. You will learn about the laws. You will learn about what’s important to you personally for attributes and usage. You will also learn how deep your passion for self-defense and/or shooting sports can go. Even if you end up buying a complete upper as I did, you inevitably will be researching things such as length laws and pistol vs. carbine compliance. When I think about it more, I would even go out on a limb and say building an AR-15 is the responsible thing to do.
4. You’ll save some money. Get the parts you want and leave the rest of the junk out. I realized that I had five ARs in the brief time I’ve been a Second Amendment enthusiast. Every single one I owned and sold had been slightly customized by yours truly. These were always small changes but the costs added up. I ended up selling each of them because they just weren’t quite right. I will keep this one. Lowers are still fairly cost effective. Even if you don’t have the means to build the whole thing right now, you should buy that lower and stash it in the back of your safe for when the time is right. You can start your build slowly. Next time you go to the gun shop buy two boxes of ammo instead of five. Now you probably have funds for that upgraded grip.
5. The times in which we find ourselves make this a valuable piece of equipment for your kit. Let’s face it this is an important piece of hardware to have at hand as an option no matter what the situation. Especially since there are insidious mongrels out there intent on doing us harm simply for being Americans. My LEO brothers couldn’t agree more. We have had conversations where they acknowledge where if there was a truly concerted attack, our police would be ill equipped. Local and even most state forces are trained (and staffed) to deescalate rather than fight and defend. What would they do if there are 10, 20, maybe even 30 attackers at once? If the time comes, it will be readers of this blog and the like who pick up to defend their neighborhoods and loved ones.
My next goal with this gun doesn’t have anything to do with hardware. Instead, I want to select a quality training outfit and take a carbine training course. It’s been some great fun building America’s rifle. It’s yet another piece of equipment in my inventory that my father-in-law could possibly ridicule. Then again, he won’t be seeing this little guy any time soon.