I didn’t realize how much I missed instructional books until last month when a copy of The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide (Vol.2) by Walt Kuleck and Clint McKee arrived at my doorstep with the inaugural parts of my latest project, the FAR-15 rifle.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve become quite accustomed to digital dialogue and diagrams, and I’m not complaining either. But there’s just something nice about a real book in your hands. Maybe because it’s as much of a tool as any other on the workbench or how the act of writing notes in ink solidifies them on the pages for the remainder of its existence?
Whatever the reason, I was looking forward to a refresher in the basics and most excited to (hopefully) learn a new trick or two.
The Guide’s authors, Walk Kuleck and Clint McKee, both began their love of firearms at a young age and share the same passion for U.S. gas operated service rifles. Their knowledge is expansive and I’ll be quite fortunate if I am able to amass the level of insight they have before my brain bails on me.
What’s more, each copy is autographed by the authoring duo, a neat touch and simple show of pride in their works.
And in fact, there are a surprising number of books available by Mr. Kuleck and Mr. McKee, including Complete Assembly Guides for the M1 Garand, M14, and M1911, with accompanying author Drake Oldham. A litany of other guides and manuals can be found in the books section of the Fulton Armory website.
Tracing the roots of how I ended up with The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide (“The Guide“), we quickly arrive at The Device MK I Mod 0. The Device is a machined aluminum tool used to secure AR platform upper receivers for assembly, maintenance, and disassembly.
Given The Device has features specific to A2 variants, building and disassembling a USGI A2 upper was realistically the best way to test it. While picking out the upper receiver and parts kits on Fulton Armory’s website, I came across the book.
The Guide is extremely well-written, providing concise and easy to understand steps. Assembly is split into sensible chapters, each following the same format and including a full list of required parts and tools.
The steps are written-out in paragraph form and then immediately followed by the same steps in photographic form with captions. Pitfalls are called-out and tips, notes, and testing procedures are also detailed.
The photography in the book is top-notch guide photography, clearly showing all parts and pieces required, specific steps and techniques for assembly, completed portions of the process, and tools. All photos and images are also captioned, outlined, or otherwise referenced in the written instructions.
While assembling the Fulton Armory A2 USGI upper on The Device I referenced each step outlined in The Guide. The two things I appreciated the most were how clearly and specifically The Guide conveyed information, and how the photos were well-positioned near the relevant text.
The Tests, Tips, and Pitfalls throughout the book provide the type of insight most people would expect to gain from an in-shop conversation with a highly-qualified gunsmith.
After reading The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide in its entirety and following the suggested methods while completing a straight-forward USGI A2 upper receiver assembly, I believe it to be an excellent resource. I will surely be referencing it throughout the reminder of my FAR-15 build.
With the overwhelming incorporation of electronics in most everyday items, we’ve become accustomed to re-buying instead of repairing. If you own a firearm, it would behoove you to know how to fully assemble and disassemble it and books like The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide by Walt Kuleck and Clint McKee are the perfect electricity-less resource for all levels of experience.
Specifications: The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide (Vol. 2)
Price as reviewed: $21.95
Overall: * * * * *
The AR-15 Complete Assembly Guide is a concise, yet very adequately-detailed reference guide for assembling any and all parts of most AR-15 platform rifles, although the rifle used in the examples is a USGI A2 clone. The photos are very helpful and extremely clear and the tips, tricks, and pitfalls, including when to (and not to) use which types of grease and oil, will be invaluable to beginners. I highly recommend all AR platform rifle and pistol owners keep a copy handy.