Beginners Guide to Building Your First AR Build Kit

Welcome to CBC Industries!! Whether you’re a novice gun owner or a first-time builder, this guide is your one-stop resource for embarking on the journey of assembling your very own AR rifle. The process can be incredibly rewarding, offering not only a deeper understanding of firearm mechanics but also a personalized weapon tailored to your specific needs and preferences. So, let’s dive in and demystify the process of building your AR from the ground up, focusing on the essentials of AR Build Kits.

Understanding the Basics

Before we get our hands dirty, let’s cover some groundwork. AR-style rifles, known for their modularity and versatility, can be customized in countless ways to suit a variety of purposes, from hunting to home defense. However, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the legal and safety aspects of gun ownership and assembly.

The Legal Framework

Each country, and often each state within a country, has its own laws regarding gun ownership and assembly. Make sure you’re well-versed in the regulations of your region to ensure your build is compliant. Ignorance isn’t bliss in this case; it can lead to serious legal repercussions. If you’re unsure of what your states laws are regarding laws, be sure to check out this awesome resource for everything you need to know!

Safety First

The paramount importance of safety cannot be overstated. Always follow best practices for gun safety, including handling your AR with care, keeping it unloaded when not in use, and storing it securely away from unauthorized users.

Choosing Your AR Build Kit

The heart of your project is the AR Build Kit. These kits vary widely in terms of components, quality, and price, so choosing the right one is crucial to your build’s success.

AR-15 vs. AR-10 Platforms

Your first decision will be between the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. The AR-15 is lighter, with less recoil, suitable for smaller calibers. The AR-10, however, is designed for larger calibers, offering more power at the expense of increased weight and recoil. Consider what you’ll use your AR for when making this choice.

Key Components to Look For

A quality build kit should include all the necessary parts: a lower receiver, upper receiver, barrel, trigger assembly, and so forth. Pay special attention to the quality of these components, as they significantly affect your rifle’s performance and reliability. The smallest ding, in one of the parts could result in an unsafe firearm. Be sure to check every piece that comes in once you’ve received your AR kit. 


Stick with reputable manufacturers and suppliers. Brands like CBC Industries, Aero Precision, Palmetto State Armory, and BCM are known for their quality and reliability. Do your homework and read reviews from other builders to find the best fit for your project.

Tools and Workspace Preparation

Building your AR requires some basic tools and a dedicated workspace. You don’t need a full-blown workshop, but a clean, organized space will make the process smoother and more enjoyable. 

Essential Tools

A good set of gunsmithing tools, including screwdrivers, wrenches, and punches, is indispensable. Also, invest in a quality armorer’s wrench and vise; they will be your best friends during the build. If you’re interested in getting a set check out the link here! We are not affiliated with any of these recommendations, so please see which one works best for you!

Setting Up Your Workspace

Keep your workspace tidy and well-lit. Organize your tools and components so everything is within easy reach. This not only speeds up the process but also helps prevent losing small parts. A magnetic tray is a lifesaver for keeping those tiny pins and springs from disappearing into the abyss. One small thing that has made a world of difference for me personally has been a simple Gun Smithing Mat. They are super affordable and help keep your table, or workspace clean of gun oils and whatnot.

Step-by-Step Assembly Guide

Now, for the fun part: putting it all together. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your AR assembled in no time. This is pretty standard across all build kits, but be sure to pay close attention to your specific build kits instructions when putting the firearm together!

Preparing the Lower Receiver

Start with the lower receiver, which houses the trigger assembly, safety selector, and magazine catch. This part can be tricky, so take your time. Remember, patience is a virtue, especially when dealing with small, fiddly parts.

Assembling the Upper Receiver

Next, move on to the upper receiver, where you’ll attach the barrel, gas block, and handguard. Alignment is key here; everything must be straight and secure to ensure proper functionality.

Joining the Upper and Lower Receivers

With both halves completed, it’s time to join the upper and lower receivers. This step is straightforward but satisfying, as you’ll finally see your AR taking shape.

Installing the Stock and Final Checks

Finish off by installing the stock and conducting a final inspection of your work. Make sure all parts are secure and that there are no loose screws or misalignments.

Safety Checks

Start with a visual inspection. Check each part for proper installation, ensuring that pins are fully seated, screws are tightened to the correct specifications, and there are no obvious defects or misalignments.

  • Visual Inspection: Examine the firearm for any signs of improper assembly or damaged components.
  • Physical Inspection: Manually check the fit and function of moving parts. Ensure the trigger and safety selector operate smoothly and correctly.
  • Magazine Fit and Release: Insert a magazine to check for proper fit and release. It should lock into place securely and eject smoothly when the release is pressed.

Function Test

A function test simulates the firing process without live ammunition, allowing you to verify the mechanical operation of your AR.

  • Check the Safety: With the firearm pointed in a safe direction, and no magazine inserted, attempt to pull the trigger in each safety position. The hammer should not fall when the safety is engaged.
  • Trigger Function Test: With the safety off, and an empty magazine,  pull the trigger while the firearm is pointed in a safe direction. You should hear and feel the hammer fall. Keeping the trigger depressed, cycle the charging handle to reset the hammer. Slowly release the trigger; you should feel the reset click.
  • Check the Bolt Catch: Insert an empty magazine, and pull the charging handle back. The bolt should lock back automatically. Press the bolt release to ensure it moves freely and releases the bolt properly.

Seeking Expert Advice

Despite following these steps, if anything feels off or doesn’t operate as expected, it’s crucial to seek advice. This could range from consulting the build instructions or reaching out to online forums for quick troubleshooting tips. However, for any persistent issues or doubts about the firearm’s safety and functionality, consulting a professional gunsmith is highly recommended. A gunsmith can offer expert insights, conduct a detailed inspection, and perform any necessary adjustments or repairs to ensure your AR is safe and reliable.

Remember, the goal of these tests isn’t just to confirm that your AR works but to ensure it operates safely under all conditions. Skipping these steps or rushing through them can have serious consequences, so take your time and be thorough. The peace of mind knowing your firearm is safe and reliable is well worth the effort.

Maintenance and Upgrades

Maintaining your AR is essential for its longevity and reliability. Regular cleaning and inspection will keep it in top condition. As you become more familiar with your rifle, you may want to explore upgrades, such as a new trigger or optics, to enhance its performance and suit your needs better.


Building your first AR is an immensely rewarding experience that deepens your understanding of firearms and allows you to customize a rifle to your exact specifications. Remember, the key to a successful build is patience, research, and attention to detail. So, take your time, enjoy the process, and welcome to the world of AR builders!

FAQs on Getting Started with a AR-15 Build Kit

1. What’s the difference between an AR-15 and an AR-10?

Answer: The main difference lies in size and caliber. The AR-15 is smaller and typically chambered in .223/5.56 NATO, making it lighter and with less recoil, ideal for precision shooting and home defense. The AR-10 is larger, chambered in .308 Winchester or 7.62 NATO, offering more power and range at the expense of increased weight and recoil. Your choice should depend on your intended use, such as hunting, target shooting, or self-defense.

2. Do I need a license to build my own AR-style rifle?

Answer: Licensing requirements vary by country and region. In the United States, for example, you do not need a license to build a rifle for personal use. However, it’s essential to be aware of and comply with all federal, state, and local laws regarding firearm manufacture and ownership. Always check the latest regulations in your area before starting your build.

3. What are the essential tools for assembling an AR?

Answer: At a minimum, you’ll need a set of gunsmithing screwdrivers, a hammer, a set of punches, a torque wrench, and an armorer’s wrench. An upper receiver vise block and a lower receiver vise block can also be very helpful for holding parts securely while you work. High-quality tools can make the assembly process smoother and help avoid damaging your components.

4. Can I use any AR build kit for my project?

Answer: While many AR build kits are compatible with standard AR-15 or AR-10 platforms, not all kits are created equal. It’s crucial to choose a kit that matches the specifications of the rifle you want to build and comes from a reputable manufacturer. Quality varies, and opting for a well-reviewed kit from a known brand can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

5. How do I ensure my AR build is legal?

Answer: To ensure your AR build is legal, you must familiarize yourself with the laws in your jurisdiction regarding firearm assembly, ownership, and registration. This may include restrictions on certain features, magazine capacity, and the need to serialize your lower receiver. When in doubt, consult a legal expert or your local law enforcement agency.

6. What should I do if I encounter problems during my AR build?

Answer: If you run into issues during your build, don’t hesitate to seek help. Many online forums and communities are filled with experienced builders who can offer advice and solutions. Additionally, consider consulting with a professional gunsmith, especially for complex problems. It’s better to get expert help than to risk assembling your firearm incorrectly.