None of what I write here is new or groundbreaking. I did not come up with any of it.
It’s just a distillation of the basics, the items you should buy if you’re on a budget and have an AR-15. Even if you have a fat wad of cash, this is where you need to start. Before you buy any items such as optics or flashlights, you should buy what I’ve listed here.
If you click on the pictures, you’ll be taken to the item in Brownells’ online catalog. Some of the prices are higher or lower than elsewhere, but you’ll save on shipping if you buy from one place.
My intent here is to direct you to specific items, based on dollar amounts, that you should buy.
I’ll start off with the most basic item. If you’re scraping the bottom of your checking account to pick up that AR-15 with one beat up mag and no rear sight along with one box of A-Merc ammo, and you now get to choose between buying food and gun stuff, buy this:
Or maybe this:
Both are in the $5-10 range. Really, anything is better than nothing, even if it’s an ancient bottle of Rem Oil or Hoppes that your grandfather used to clean the Arisaka he took off Tojo. Alternately, you could buy a quart of motor oil. Or wheel bearing grease. I’d rather have gun oil, but something to keep dry metal from rubbing against dry metal, that’s the learning objective here.
Let’s say you have a little more money:
You buy the lube mentioned above, and you need to buy this:
It’s an extractor spring. That link will take you to a 3-pack, though you’ll probably only need one until you hit the 10,000 round mark and beyond. Alternately, you could buy the upgrade kit from Bravo Company that comes with an o-ring to install around the spring; I find that the o-ring is in most cases unnecessary.
Your paycheck just came in, and since you quit smoking last year, you have a little extra money. Now’s the time to spend it.
$50 or $100
Doesn’t really matter, your next few purchases should be magazines, whether that’s 2 or 10. Or 20. I prefer to have, at a minimum, 5 serviceable 30 round magazines. There are plenty that I’d recommend, but since this is a budget oriented writeup:
Brownells doesn’t have the best price – companies like Bravo Company and DSG Arms, among others, are selling them cheaper, but again, the point was to consolidate everything so you’d only have to pay shipping once. DSG Arms has a special, “while supplies last”, 10 PMags shipped for $90. They’re the old style, but the old PMags didn’t stop working with the introduction of the M-Rev. Alternately, the best price on USGI aluminum type magazines can be found at Bravo – $10 apiece for the Brownells brand magazines. Brownells has them, but for $18 apiece, and with green followers. Buy the ones with Magpul anti-tilt followers.
Now, the last bit: ammunition. You can buy a little or a lot. Steel cased, brass cased. There are many good options, but for factory ammo, I like Prvi Partisan. I buy the 75gr BTHP Match from Wideners – it’s reasonably accurate, reasonably fast, and pretty effective against soft targets. It’s also just pennies more than cheap 55gr ammo like PMC Bronze, American Eagle or factory rejects such as XM193 (and in some cases, it’s actually cheaper). If you want more information on ammunition, check out the Ammunition Review & Reference on AR15.com.