When Major General William Rupertus famously said, “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine,” he was emphasizing an important point about the relationship a soldier must have to his weapon.
This Rifleman’s Creed illustrates the kind of bond one should have with their rifle. Despite the fact that AR-15s are unlikely to see combat, what the creed tells us is that every soldier needs to possess an intimate knowledge of their rifle, lest they mishandle it.
Once a soldier has a practical understanding of how to dismantle and reassemble their AR-15, the next thing they’re going to want to do is accessorize it.
Today, there is no shortage of ways to customize an AR-15. From red dots and lasers to stocks and grips, there are sundry tactical aftermarket accessories for military combat applications.
These add-ons are popular among soldiers because they afford a better field of view and some impressive firepower. There are advanced magazines available today that knock the socks off standard mil-spec magazines. And modern scopes afford soldiers clear magnification in the darkest and most rugged of conditions.
Special ops soldiers are a special class of soldiers, trained to approach everything with caution and precision. Their approach to AR-15 “furniture” is no exception. In the last 15+ years, spec ops units have developed numerous innovative parts for their assault rifles.
Special Forces vet Kyle Lamb has written extensively about the things he uses on his personal home defense AR-15 and why it’s on his rifle. The same applies to rifles used in the field. The vast majority of our boys are running items on their AR-15s that have been tested in competitive shooting tournaments.
This is a solid method for determining the value and functionality of an AR accessory as any item that holds up in extended competitive sessions will invariably hold up in a two-way showdown with the enemy.
There are several custom parts in use at the moment, each of which is a viable addition to the modern AR-15 rifle.
Silence is Golden
Soldiers can save their hearing and save their lives by utilizing a proper suppressor. Many people pair their MK-18 with a Surefire suppressor to cut down on noise, but any active duty military officer will tell you that it is still quite loud.
Any AR-15 chambered in 5.56 is never really quiet because of a number of variables. But the right suppressor can make a huge difference. It will enable you to attack without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.
To put it into perspective, the average 16-inch AR-15 firing standard ammo produces a decibel level of approximately 167 dB. The average decibel level of an AR-15 with a suppressor attached is about 136 dB. That is a substantial reduction in noise output.
Factors all soldiers need to consider when customizing their rifle is the volume of gas that suppressors trap and the amount of heat that a suppressor can kick up. After firing through a suppressor, heat can rise, obscuring one’s view of a target.
Gas blowback can be diminished by adding a suppressed bolt carrier group that vents the excess gas out the side of the unit. Several companies manufacture such bolt carrier groups, one of the most popular being Gemtech.
To avoid burns or other damage from suppressor-related heat, soldiers should always limit their strings of fire. 30-60 rounds should be the maximum amount of rounds attempted. Most suppressor manuals make it explicit that strings of 90 rounds or more are ill-advised.
Getting a Grip
The standard A2 pistol grip has never been favored by military personnel. It’s notorious for being extremely uncomfortable, rubbing away at a shooter’s middle finger with its rough plastic knot. Soldiers with larger hands have also lamented its thin profile.
Fortunately for today’s active duty soldier, custom grips with ergonomic designs are widely available from reputable outfits like Bravo Company, Magpul and more.
In December of 2017, Guns.com reported on Ergo’s new addition to its Suregrip line. The Camouflage Ergo 2 is a no-slip grip that is said to be impervious to oils and solvents. These kinds of customized grips feature an upper extension to support the web of a soldier’s hand.
Advanced magazines are a major consideration for most special ops soldiers due to the advancements in design and ability. Standard AR-15 magazines used to be limited to just 10 rounds, but now there are innumerable magazines with a 20 or 30-round capacity.
Fashionable mags include the Lancer L5 Advanced Warfighter .223 Rem/5.56 NATO Polymer Magazine and MAKO’s .223 Pentagon Coupler with five 10-round polymer magazines. But perhaps the most cutting edge is the KCI AR-15 .223/5.56mm 100-Round Clear Drum Magazine. This magazine provides maximum capacity with its dual drum and alternating feed system.
Scope it Out
Scopes are among the top tools that a soldier can use to neutralize the enemy. High end AR-15 scopes deliver precision optics in all environments. The best ones on the market feature anti-fog functionality.
Special ops soldiers rely on shockproof moisture-resistant scopes for long range shooting. Their lenses are coated to optimize clarity. Red dot sights are another option preferred by many. An ideal addition to any tactical kit, red dot sights are waterproof and have long battery life.
All of these accessories are integral to contemporary combat. They prepare one for all contingencies. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.