Question of the Day: Are AR Modifications Addictive?

In the video below, NRA commentator Colion Noir gives us a loving look at his heavily modified HK MR556. A gun that somehow lacks a Cigar Minder Clip (not magazine). After justifying his many mods, the firearms fashionista — a man for whom The Robb Report was created — asks “Are these Heckler and Koch rifle upgrades worth it?” Rhetorically. “I am in love with this rifle,” he concludes. Which raises the question . . .

Is this AR-modification love a form of sickness? An obsessive, endless search for perfection that can never be satisfied? Or is it just a fun hobby that keeps rifle owners occupied and the American firearms industry happy and healthy?


  1. avatar CalGunsMD says:

    Is this one of them there “interventions”?

  2. avatar None says:

    I believe that depends on how much money you have.

  3. avatar Nigel the expat says:

    Building them from parts in various lego creations certainly is. Just ask my safe(s)…

  4. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

    Of course AR-15 add-ons are addictive what do you think AR stands for? Another receipt LOL.

  5. avatar Ironhead says:

    Nope. I can quit any time i want!

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      B.S. – you and me were both in the back of the meeting last week, crying in our coffee, both flipping through a Brownell’s catalog.

      1. avatar Ironhead says:

        Dude come on….. thats what the anonymous part is all about!

  6. avatar strych9 says:

    I think it depends on how you go about it.

    You can build out different rifles or just different uppers for different things you might want to do. That’s kind of the beauty of the platform. Will some people go “too far”? Eh, probably but if you’ve got the money, who cares what you do with it?

    To me the “problem” arises where people stick a bunch of shit they don’t need on their rifle just because they can and end up with a 17 pound monstrosity of really cool tech that they have no idea and no capability to use. I’ve seen people who don’t own any type of NODS throw a ton of money at a PEQ-2 type IR laser just because they want one on their rifle.

    Again, it’s their money but I just find that kind of thing silly.

    1. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

      Easy there cowboy one of my many AR-15s has a battery operated Bluetooth blender on it I use it as a boat gun and a margarita mixer LOL.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Sounds like my kind of range toy/party appliance.

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Pretty sure I remember Ted Cruz frying bacon on the barrel of an AR, no mods required, just wrap it in aluminum foil.

  7. avatar Noah says:

    Some people constantly upgrade their cars, I just do the same to my guns. But it’s only good if it’s functional. I highly doubt Colion wears night vision and fires his rifle so the PEQ/ATPIAL is useless. But, it’s his money.

  8. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Not ‘addictive’, but ‘deductive’. From your wallet.

    It seems every little doo-dad costs a ‘minimum’ of a hundred bucks (Some, like a nice can, *many* hundreds).

    In no time flat a base-model AR is pushing 3 *grand* reasonably kitted-out, and pushing 10 K with nice IR imaging gear on it.

    And it’s so damn *easy* to do little here, little there, and the next thing you know, you wonder where all your damn money went…

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Not ‘addictive’, but “addicted” – yeah, that’s the ticket, they just have to have me.

  9. avatar Tom in aoregon says:

    I laughed out loud at “tactical mall ninja, douchbag”

  10. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    all my extras are from the barter system, trade brass I get for free for parts, hell yea!

  11. avatar pwrserge says:

    $1000 IR light / laser + <$200 light. Come now. There's a reason why only surefires go on my guns. The V versions give you white / IR capability that also lets you save money and go with a simpler laser module.

    My AK is running my PEQ with a m300 scout, but my mk18 clone SBR is running a m300v with a simple IR / visible laser module. Saves a lot of bulk and weight. Plus the light and laser cost less than the PEQ.

  12. avatar Hank says:

    I’ve got a naked M16A4 style AR, with A1 handguards on it. How bout them apples.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Have you tried a BAD lever? or personalized dust cover? You could add a JP Silent captured buffer spring and nobody would have to know.

      Ha Ha ! Peer pressure!

      1. avatar Hank says:

        You got me there. I might have to look into those…

      2. avatar Red in CO says:

        I simply don’t understand Bad levers. Why? I was shooting my boss’s AR a little while ago and he had a rather nice setup. Plus a Bad lever. He was trying to tell me how it makes it easier to maintain your sight picture while reloading, but come on. Unless you can reload with the hand that is simultaneously holding the grip, your thumb is already RIGHT FRIGGIN THERE when you pop in a fresh mag.

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          Whoa, I had trouble picturing all of that for a second.


          . . . to lock the bolt open when I rack the charging handle with my off side hand (Left-Hand Charging). Then, once loaded / unloaded, use the BAD lever with my trigger finger to release the bolt to send it home.

          It keeps you from having to change hands to ‘rack your weapon’. You can rack your weapon with your strong-side / shooting hand, but you’ll need your off hand to both support the weapon and hit the bolt hold-open lever, but it (IMHO) is better to keep your Right shooting hand on the pistol grip the whole time, and do the pinch-rack of your charging handle with your left [the BAD lever is more made for R/H shooters but can be made to work with your L/H] and engage the BAD lever to hold the bolt open with a slight movement of your trigger finger. Again, a slight tap of your trigger finger on the BAD lever sends the bolt home.

  13. avatar Norincojay says:

    He should use an AFG instead of that vertical grip based on his hold. So he needs to get another part.

    1. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

      Does anyone else see a problem in the repetitiveness of he or she should add Chechen more money in the aftermarket Market LOL. And I’m not making fun I’m one of you guys as well I have to actually have packages delivered when my wife is at work so she doesn’t see another box from Brownells show up. LOL yes I’m afraid it’s gotten that bad. It’s been less than 7 days since my last purchase of such illegal substance known as AR-15 extras. LOL all legal Parts just not legal in my house under my wife’s rules right now apparently she has been checking my Sporting Goods savings account and has noticed over $4,000 go bye bye in the last month. I’m just waiting for someone to come out with the 12-step program. LOL

  14. avatar Ed says:

    I bought a quality AR (left handed Stag + package) second scope I tried was a keeper, moe+ grip, acs stock, two point sling and a grip pod. Done. I have a 5.56 Ar pistol with a AFG and a red dot. Done. I dont get hanging 10 lbs of shit off an AR.
    Flashlight on a pistol I get, but flashlights and lasers hanging off a rifle is a bit much.
    I bet I added no more than 1 lb. to my rifle all in.

  15. avatar Joe R. says:

    Hi, my name’s Joe, I’m an addict to AR (and other weapons) modifications.

    I like my Spike’s Tactical HAVOC launcher, it makes my AR feel heavy enough and I like launching flare and lume rounds while I am shooting on an outdoor range, If you don’t need a standby fire extinguisher at the range you are doing it wrong. I like to modify my weapons by adding other weapons on to them.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Please forgive me, a Spike’s Tactical HAVOC launcher, is not even considered a weapon, it’s a safety device, and I would like to keep it that way, I don’t have much in the way of feelings, less that I would like to express here, but, if I were to have them, I would say that yes, maybe my Spike’s Tactical HAVOC launcher makes me feel safer in a 2nd Amendment or FU sort of way.

  16. avatar Joe R. says:

    If you are going to modify your AR with any addictive thing that has wires, I highly recommend MANTA gear.

    If you’re going to hang anything off of the end of your barrel, I highly recommend YHM.

  17. avatar Kaban says:

    Think Endless Opportunities And Unquestionable Usefulness of car modding.

  18. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    soon after acquiring one, i will determine the best surface on the ar for opening bottles. maybe someone has already done the research.
    then i will not have to hang one on mine. minimalist.

    it’s obvious on an ak.

    1. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

      I actually have a friend who is a machinist and he has just made some stainless steel bottle openers that will go on to M lock or key mod or picatinny rail sections so you can open a long neck adult beverage or if you can find them an old school Coca-Cola bottle or any bottle cap that requires a pop off type opener system. I believe he’s charging $12.99 plus shipping.

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        mmm…sounds like a good accessory for when I bust out a cooler full of Mexican Fantas, but on the other hand, that’s what the Makarov is for…

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      The 10, 2, 4 and 6 o’clock positions on many quad rails will pop off a bottle top…

      Not that I’ve ever done such a thing *shifty glances*.

    3. avatar pwrserge says:

      The feed lips on a STANAG magazine will work just fine. Don’t ask me how I know.

    4. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      I have a tendency to lose bottle openers. I probably shouldn’t put one on a gun.

  19. avatar little horn says:

    not to people with self control.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Who are they ?

  20. avatar Ralph says:

    We’re not like a bunch of schoolgirls who all express their “individuality” by dressing alike, talking alike and thinking alike.

    Because the AR-15 is so commonplace and intentionally generic, it makes sense that a gun guy would prefer to customize his rifle in a way that says, “this gun is mine and there are none like it.”

    Modifying our rifles to be as different as we are is a fun (but expensive) exercise in individuality.

  21. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Don’t have an AR, don’t ever intend to have one, so no. Could not care less.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “Don’t have an AR, don’t ever intend to have one…”

      Many of us uttered those same words at some point.

      C’mon, Mama, you know you want one!

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        Set up a go-fund-me account Mamma, I’ll try to kick in a few bucks. Momma’s gotta have her an AR.

  22. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    I probably have enough stuff to just about build another AR15 with the leftovers from changing parts. I have mine pretty close to the way I want it, maybe a different barrel would be the only thing I would change but that’s expensive.

    1. avatar JackInAlabama says:

      This! I ended up building my fourth AR-based firearm JUST to use up all the take-offs/upgrades from the first three. That worked, because it was built as a gift(lure) to waylay an on-the-fence-about-ARs family member into the forest. It worked quite well, and now he has quite an impressive collection of his own take-offs/upgrades too!

  23. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Not for me. I can see how endless tinkering is a thing for some AR owners, but not me. I’ve certainly spent enough on AR’s, but once they get to the point where they fulfill their purpose (in terms of precision, cartridge or handiness), I’m done, I quit trying to make the wheel rounder.

    But I can see how it could become something of an obsession for some AR owners, and I’m all for that. Experiment away, as long as you’re safe and you’re realistic in what you’re expecting.

  24. avatar anonymoose says:

    It’s basically every platform. AR15s are just a gateway drug. Soon you’ll be adding stuff to .308 ARs, magnum ARs, bolt guns, and SCARs, stippling your Glocks and M&Ps, fitting things on AKs, SKSes, revolvers, and 1911s, etc…

  25. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    AR ownership is for people who can’t afford a Harley Davidson.

    Both get modified for the same reasons, i.e. “because I wanted to.”

  26. I’d rather shoot it than toy with it.
    Bought a good one. Added optics, a sling, a short forward grip, will get a light soon.
    That’s it. No desire to treat it like a Barbie doll.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      That makes me wonder what you do with your Barbie dolls.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        what leftover ballistic gelatin?

  27. avatar PeterK says:

    I can confirm that dreaming up your dream rifle is addictive. Not that I have money to actually purchase any of that kit currently. :p

  28. avatar Vincent says:

    Given the disposable funds many people will customize their guns. But few will ever seek training even if they had the money for it. At least Mr Noir admits that the customization is just his preferred tactical dress up for his rifle.

  29. avatar derfel cadarn says:

    To the point of insanity. There is more BS to glue to the outside of those popguns, it gets to the point that it’s a bad spoof

  30. avatar Darkman says:

    Not addicted to add on’s. Just a regular gunaholic. 1 is to many and 100 is not enough.

  31. avatar Nanashi says:

    Eh, I’m reasonably satified with just a sling plate, BUIS, a red dot, a flash light, a forward sling mount, a custom dust cover and new muzzle device. Unless prices on higher end red dots drop off a cliff, my next purchase will be more gear to carry mags.

  32. avatar Mike says:

    When you can’t see the actual rifle anymore it’s probably an addiction.

  33. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I am completely bored with AR’s
    I just bought a CZ Scorpion
    Now I need a laser, flashlight/red dot, folding stock, etc.
    I just saw that skeletonized angled foregrip…I want that, too!
    Sent in my form for the silencer
    This time it’s different!

  34. avatar Ricky Spanish says:

    As soon as I shot my first AK I got bored with ARs

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