Brownells has teamed up with three major players in the AR industry, Aero Precision, Anderson Manufacturing and Bravo Company Manufacturing to offer three cool half-built DIY AR kits. These are perfect for anyone looking to own a semi-custom AR without having to start from scratch with stripped receivers.
By selling incomplete rifles Brownells can list these guns at lower price points, passing the savings to buyers. That way if you’re completing one of these kits you don’t have to purchase a bunch of accessories that you’re just going to remove and discard. All three kits are 16-inch carbines chambered for 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington but they all sport different features to the table that makes them each worth looking into.
Aero Precision’s DIY AR
The Aero Precision exclusive kit is built using enhanced receivers including Aero’s Gen 2 lower receiver. The kit is constructed with MIL-SPEC parts and materials, including 7075-T6 hard-anodized aluminum receivers, semi-automatic fire control group, full-auto-rated, phosphate-finished 8620 steel bolt carrier group and Carpenter 158 bolt.
The upper is complete with a government-profile barrel with a mid-length gas system, low-profile gas block, A2-style 1/2×28 birdcage flash hider and standard charging handle.
The Gen 2 lower incorporates a nylon-tipped tensioning screw that can be used to tighten the upper and lower receivers in order to eliminate wobble. It also has a slightly enlarged, flared magwell for fast, easy reloads.
Aero’s kit is intended for use with free-floating handguards that clamp to the barrel nut. Other components needed to complete the Aero kit include a stock–a 6-position carbine buffer system comes pre-installed–and iron sights or optics.
The Aero kit is priced in the middle of the pack–although it’s currently on sale for $559–driving a hard bargain that almost makes budget rifles seem expensive for what they offer compared to this.
Anderson Manufacturing’s DIY AR
Anderson Manufacturing is rolling out a pair of M4-pattern DIY AR kits for Brownells, one with a low-profile gas block and the other with a standard fixed front sight with accessory lug and sling loop. Both come with delta ring assemblies installed for use with fixed carbine-length handguards.
The 16-inch barrel has an M4 profile but a slightly longer 1-in-8 twist to accept a wide range of bullet weights from heavy hunting and self-defense loads to inexpensive, light plinking ammo. Anderson’s kits ship without muzzle giving buyers a little more freedom to customize their build.
They ship with full-auto bolt carrier groups with 8620 steel carriers and 9130 steel bolts. What’s left for the user to install includes a complete furniture set, pistol grip, stock and handguard, and rear sight or optic depending on the model.
The receivers are standard MIL-SPEC, 7076-T6 aluminum with a hard-anodized finish, matching 7075-T6 buffer tube and charging handle and match-grade 17-4 stainless steel fire control group. The buffer assembly includes an enhanced end plate for use with single-point slings.
The low-profile kit is very affordable at $479 and the standard A2 kit only runs a little more at $519.
Bravo Company’s DIY AR
Rounding out the high end is Bravo Company Manufacturing’s premium DIY AR kit. Also built using a mid-length gas system, the OEM BCM kit features a lightweight 16-inch barrel with a standard 1-in-7 twist.
The BCM kit is, of course, assembled using MIL-SPEC or better components. Like Aero and Anderson, the receivers are 7075-T6 hard-anodized aluminum and the 8620 steel bolt carrier is full-auto-rated. But it wouldn’t be BCM without a few of their select in-house upgrades.
These upgrades include their BCM Mod 4 charging handle, BCM Mod 3 pistol grip, quick-detach sling swivel end plate, BCM trigger guard and BCM PNT trigger. The PNT trigger starts out as a standard cast military-style semi-automatic trigger but then is hand-polished, fit, then treated with a slick, corrosion- and grime-resistant nickel-teflon finish. In addition to running reliably when dirty, the trigger offers a better, more predictable and crisp break. Every part of the PNT trigger system is nickel-teflon treated including the trigger pins.
Another nice detail is the low-shelf lower receiver for use with registered drop-in auto sears, or more likely, Accu-Wedge receiver inserts. To complete the OEM BCM rifle builders will want to add a free-floating handguard, carbine stock and iron sights or an optic.
The BCM kit is the most expensive, but compared to their complete rifles, still a solid deal. Brownells has it for $999, and it’s a solid start for a higher-end rifle.
These kits offer shooters a lot of value and leave options open for those who prefer to tweak and customize their guns. Whether you’re on a budget or just looking to get the best bang for your buck these kits provide a blank slate for anyone interested in taking on a quick and easy AR-15 project.