There are multiple types of “AR” lowers on the market, but they all essentially do the same thing–they allow a shooter to attach a rifle stock and grip to a firearm receiver. So, no, all AR lowers are not necessarily the same.
Some AR lowers are made from polymer plastic while others are made from aluminum alloy. And within those categories there are different grades and types of materials. So it depends on what you’re looking for in terms of features and quality. Do some research and find the lower that best suits your needs.
We also recommend watching an interesting video about AR-15 Lower Receiver
- Full lowers have a pistol grip, a buttstock, and all the fire control parts installed.
- Partial lowers have a pistol grip and some of the fire control parts are installed but do not have a buttstock.
- Skeleton lowers do not have any of the fire control parts installed.
Each type of lower has its advantages and disadvantages:
- Full lowers are the most sturdy but also the heaviest.
- Partial lowers are the lightest but also the least sturdy.
- Skeleton lowers are in between in terms of weight and sturdiness.
- Commercial. Commercial receivers are made to tighter tolerances than mil-spec receivers and are generally considered to be of higher quality.
- Mil-spec. Mil-spec receivers are built to military specifications and tend to be more rugged than commercial receivers.
- Law enforcement/civilian. Law enforcement/civilian receivers are a hybrid of the two, falling in between commercial and mil-spec receivers in terms of quality and durability.
So, all AR-15 lowers are not created equal. It’s important to know what type of receiver you’re buying and what it’s compatible with. For example, a mil-spec lower will not work with a commercial upper, and vice versa.
All lower must be made to the same specifications and dimensions for them to be compatible with each other. This is why you can buy an upper receiver from one manufacturer and a lower receiver from another and they will still fit together. The only exception to this rule is when someone makes a “516” receiver, which is not to specifications and will not fit with a standard AR-15 upper receiver.
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