An AR-15 rifle is ridiculously customizable. This is great because you can make your AR-15 as comfortable or as cool looking as you want.
However, there are a ton of AR-15 mods out there. And it can be tough to know where to start.
So, we’ve put together a list of the best AR-15 mods for your rifle.
Now, there’s some debate over what is considered a “modification.” For the sake of simplicity, we’re not going to address optics, sights, or (most) rail accessories like vertical grips here. Those are accessories that don’t require you to modify your rifle. So we’ll leave them off the list here.
Additionally, all of these mods are related to improving the performance or durability of your rifle. Aesthetic mods are too subjective to make quality recommendations.
Lastly, you may already have some of these mods. This list assumes you have a bone-stock, mil-spec AR-15 rifle.
Our Best Choice
SPOILER—if you’re here for the answers, not the discussion, these are our top 3 AR-15 mods:
- Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Heavy Gunner Trigger Assembly.
- Magpul Industries MOE K2 Grip.
- Magpul Industries MOE Carbine Length AR-15/M4 M-LOK Handguard.
These AR-15 mods are relatively simple to install. And they’ll enhance the performance and utility of your rifle a lot.
Want to see the rest of our favorite AR-15 mods? Keep reading. We’ve got a whole bunch of them ready.
Top AR 15 Mods on the Market Today
The Best AR 15 Mods Reviews - Have it Your Way
Ordinarily we organize things in order of price. However, this one is organized in the order that it would be wise to add the mods to your rifle.
Priority AR-15 mods are first.
The less important mods are near the end.
Time to customize!
1. Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series Trigger Assembly - Overall Best AR-15 Mod
Say you get the most basic, barebones AR-15 you can find. Assuming you have sights, the first mod you’ll want to add is a trigger. Standard mil-spec triggers work. But there’s a LOT of room for improvement. So you don’t even need to spend a lot to get a huge trigger upgrade.
The Hiperfire AR-15 EDT Series Trigger Assembly is hands-down one of the best AR-15 triggers on the market. I think the Heavy Gunner model is the best. But any Hiperfire EDT trigger is great.
There’s very little travel. The break is super crisp. And you can set the pull weight at 4.5 or 5.5 pounds when you install your trigger.
Also, this trigger uses a mil-spec design. So it doesn’t come with any reliability caveats. It’s just a great trigger for the money.
If you need a more affordable trigger, get the Bravo Company MFG Trigger Point Assembly. It’s a huge improvement over a standard mil-spec trigger. But it’s much more affordable because it’s essentially just a mil-spec trigger that’s been finely polished to remove any stiffness or grit.
Your trigger is the most important part of the user interface on your rifle. And upgrading your trigger will upgrade your shooting (though you still need to train).
2. Bravo Company MFG End Plate with QD Socket - Sling Attachment AR-15 Mod
This is a simple, but valuable, AR-15 mod. The Bravo Company MFG End Plate with QD Socket gives you a sling attachment point on the rear end of your lower receiver. Why does this matter?
The rear end of your receiver is one of the best places to attach your sling, for almost any sling configuration. So having a QD socket there is super handy. And many AR-15s come with a plain end plate that has no sling attachment point.
This Bravo Company end plate gives you access to sling configurations that would otherwise be impossible with a standard end plate.
It’s an inexpensive upgrade that makes your rifle so much easier to carry and deploy in any context. However, you will need to remove your castle nut and buffer tube to install it.
3. Magpul Industries MOE K2 Grip - Ergonomic AR-15 Mod
The Magpul Industries MOE K2 Gun Grip has been my go-to pistol grip for quite a while now. I have one on almost all of my AR-15 rifles. It’s comfortable. And it looks great, which keeps you alive on the streets.
There are two main things I like about this grip:
- The reduced grip angle. This grip uses a 17 degree grip angle that puts your wrist in a nice natural position and helps keep you from chicken-winging. It’s much more comfortable than an A2 grip. And it makes it much easier to get good kinesthetic alignment with your rifle for faster, more precise shots.
- The fat beavertail. This grip has a really thick beavertail that takes up that extra space between your hand and the lower receiver. That way your trigger finger naturally rests in-line with the trigger. And better trigger control equals better shooting.
It’s an inexpensive upgrade. And this Magpul grip helps your shooting more than you might anticipate. It’s totally worth the money.
Unfortunately, it’s a rather popular grip. So it’s often out of stock. If you need an alternative to the K2 Grip, get the Bravo Company MFG BCMGUNFIGHTER Grip Mod 3.
It’s got most of the same benefits as the K2 Grip. It’s just shaped a little differently. And the beavertail isn’t quite as thick. But it’s still a super comfortable grip that makes shooting easy.
4. Magpul Industries MOE Carbine Length AR-15/M4 M-LOK Handguard - Utility AR-15 Mod
The Magpul Industries MOE Carbine Length AR-15/M4 M-LOK Handguard is one of the most useful AR-15 mods for those who have A2 handguards and a fixed front sight post. Here’s why:
A2 handguards have very limited capacity for adding attachments like weapon mounted lights and forend grips.
This handguard gives you M-LOK attachment points at the 10 and 2 o-clock positions, which are ideal places to put weapon mounted lights. And you can add an M-LOK grip if you want.
Additionally, this handguard has a finger stop at the front that works as an index point for consistent weak hand placement. The finger stop also prevents your hand from sliding up over your barrel.
Lastly, this handguard comes in a bunch of different colors.
Now, if you don’t have a fixed front sight post, and your rifle is compatible with free float handguards, get the Aero Precision M5 ATLAS S-ONE M-LOK Handguard.
It’s a durable and affordable handguard that gives you M-LOK attachment points that you can use for lights and other forend accessories.
Forend accessories can greatly increase the utility and capability of your AR-15. So adding a handguard that’s capable of accepting accessories makes your rifle a much better tool.
5. VG6 Precision Gamma 556 High Performance Muzzle Brake - AR-15 Mod for Recoil Reduction
An AR-15 doesn’t have tremendous recoil. But, less recoil makes it easier to shoot faster, with better precision. And the VG6 Precision Gamma 556 High Performance Muzzle Brake is one of the best recoil reducing muzzle devices on the market.
If you have an A2 compensator and are worried about controlling muzzle rise, this muzzle brake also has vertical ports that give you compensation as well. So it reduces recoil and mitigates muzzle rise, which makes it easier to keep your shots on target.
This muzzle device also has the standard A2 muzzle attachment slots, in case you need to attach something that requires an A2 muzzle device like a blank firing adaptor.
The only catch with muzzle brakes is that they’re much louder than a standard flash hider or compensator. So be prepared for that.
But, the improved control makes the added muzzle blast more than worth it. And this muzzle brake gives you that added control without sacrificing any utility you might get from an A2 muzzle device.
6. Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety Selector - Ambidextrous AR-15 Mod
The Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety Selector is the best safety selector you can get, right now. At least I think so.
There are a few key things that make this safety selector awesome:
First, it’s ambidextrous. I’m left-handed. So I appreciate this. And all the left-handed people out there will probably appreciate it, too. However, everybody can benefit from an ambidextrous safety selector. Here’s why:
Many people find it easier to turn their safety back with the knuckle of their index finger rather than their thumb. If your safety selector isn’t ambidextrous, you can’t do that. You have to use your thumb for turning the safety on and off, if you’re right handed.
So the ambidextrous safety levers make everyone’s rifle more user friendly.
For durability, this safety selector uses pins to secure the safety levers to the barrel, rather than screws. So this safety selector is just as durable as a cast safety selector. And your selector lever will never come loose.
Lastly, the selector levers on this Radian Weapons safety selector are ridiculously easy to reach. There’s never any issue with getting your safety engaged or disengaged, even in unorthodox shooting positions.
The only thing about this selector is that there’s a bit of a break-in period. It might feel a tad stiff when you first install it. It will loosen up once you’ve actuated it several times. But I usually put a dab of grease on the safety selector detent just to make it a bit smoother while it’s breaking in.
But it’s a small thing. This selector looks rad on almost any rifle. And the operation is outstanding.
7. Bravo Company MFG Stock Mod 0 - Comfort Enhancing AR-15 Mod
Many people consider a stock to be a more important upgrade than I do. But, really, a good stock mostly just improves the comfort of your rifle. Anyone can shoot just as well with a mil-spec M4 stock as they do with an awesome stock. It just won’t be as comfortable.
But, when it’s time to make your AR-15 more comfortable, the Bravo Company MFG Stock Mod 0 will do the trick.
The main thing about this stock is the recoil pad. It’s remarkably thick and makes shooting really comfortable, even if you’re shooting an AR-10.
But this stock also has a nice angled body that’s not too wide or bulky. But it gives you a good cheek weld for faster sight acquisition when you shoulder the rifle .
Additionally, the bottom of the recoil pad has a slight angle at the bottom for easier presentation from the ready.
My only gripe about this stock is the QD sling swivel socket. It’s an anti-rotation socket. I prefer a rotating socket if I’m going to attach my sling at the rear of the stock.
But that’s not really a big deal. You’ll probably want to attach your sling to the rear of your lower receiver, anyway.
So this stock performs its primary function: it’s far more comfortable than a mil-spec M4 stock. And it’s got a few added features that make your shooting life easier.
8. Aero Precision AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group - Durability Enhancing AR-15 Mod
The mil-spec, phosphate coated bolt carrier group that comes in many base-model AR-15 rifles works. And it lasts long enough that most shooters will never NEED to replace it. However, the Aero Precision AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group lasts just as long. And it reduces the maintenance needs of your rifle.
This bolt carrier is made of the same tough steel that your standard bolt carrier is made of. The bolt is Carpenter 158 steel. And the bolt carrier is 8620 steel. It’s just as durable as a mil-spec bolt, if not more durable.
However, this bolt is coated in black nitride rather than phosphate. The finish lasts a bit longer than a phosphate finish. But it also reduces friction. That way you don’t have to slather so much oil on your bolt.
Also, the Aero precision logo looks classy. It’s a nice aesthetic touch.
And, if you get this Aero Precision bolt carrier, you can make your mil-spec bolt carrier your backup. It’s always good to have a backup bolt.
This isn’t such a mandatory mod as it is a nice upgrade that will help your rifle last longer, which gets you more value from the money you spent on your rifle.
A completely bare-bones AR-15 is a capable rifle. But a few key AR-15 mods can make your rifle much easier to shoot and handle in any context.
If you’re a bit blown away by all the potential AR-15 mods, start with these three mods:
These mods add a lot of utility and performance to your AR-15. And you can get all three of them without taking out a loan.
If you’re still blasting with that bone-stock AR-15, it’s time to start modding. And start shooting better.