I am purposely leaving out the make and model of this particular AR because I want the focus of this to not be on the gun itself, but rather the potential modifications you can make to it without breaking the bank. I think that nearly all of the readers here will agree that we are NOT made of money, and as someone who recently purchased a house, I am on a budget. The paint job was a combination of some rattle can Krylon and a mesh camo net, but Hawkeye just did an excellent piece on paint your weapon here.
I started off with a Primary Arms 1-6x with ACSS reticle. Having several of their other optics (the 3x Prism, the 2.5x Prism, and the 1x Cyclops), it was a no brainer for me. My original goal was a 1-8x with ACSS, but I found the 1-6x for literally half the cost and decided to forego the extra magnification. When spray painting the optic, I used painter’s tape to cover up the dials so that the numbers stayed legible and the knobs actually spin. I had covered up too much on the back end, so I just spray painted some duct tape and wrapped it around the optic. For the mount, I went with a Burris Optics P,E,P,R 30mm Scope Mount.
NOTE: If you can’t already tell, I don’t give a fuck about how it looks. My only concern is how it functions and how it will perform in the real world.
Even though the optic acts as a red dot on the 1x magnification level, I decided that I might want to add a canted red dot at some point. So, I purchased a Truglo Offset Picatinny Riser Mount and added it to the optic.
Bipod + Rail
I bought a cheap Harris style Chinesium bipod (the XAegis Carbon Fiber Rifle Bipod) for the front of the gun and attached it with a Magpul MLOK Bipod Mount attachment. I also attached a UTG Pro MLOK QD Sling Swivel Adapter and Braudel Sling Swivel Mount for the sling. Every weapon you own should absolutely have a sling on it. Normally I run a VTAC (like on my other AR with the 3x), but I went basic with a Kaylle 2-Point Sling (this will probably get replaced at some point).
I kept the stock hand guard, but I wanted to add some picatinny rail in front of the optic so I could potentially mount a J-Arm for a PVS-14 night vision monocular. I could only find one particular MLOK mount that would fit the uniqueness of this hand guard, the Viakey Offset Rail Mount (it has a sort of ridge down the middle on top with no MLOK slot), but most people with a standard MLOK hand guard could get away with these.
I kept the default stock on the gun, but wanted to add some height to the cheek weld. Unfortunately, I could not find a riser that would fit this stock, so I did it ghetto style. I bought a very cheap foam yoga mat, cut a piece, and duct taped it onto the stock. I have also heard of people using old foam sleeping pads for this as well. I added another quick detach swivel for the sling, which the stock had an attachment point for already.
The only other upgrade I did was change out the basic charging handle for a Strike Industries ARCH AR-15 Charging Handle Extended Latch. Running a few classes at NC Scout’s G Camp made me realize they were not a gimmick and absolutely essential.
Of course, don’t forget some Blue Loctite to secure all of your gear into place!
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas on how to upgrade your rifle without breaking the bank. Sound off in the comments what you would have done differently! Happy hunting.