AR-15 Trigger Selection For Your Custom AR-15

Buying the Right AR-15 Trigger For Your Custom Build

AR-15 Trigger Selection: The Basics

The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the United States. A driving force for its popularity is the availability of a variety of upgrades to customize the rifle to the specific needs of the shooter. One of the easiest and most significant of these upgrades to make is the fire control group, commonly known as the trigger. An upgraded trigger can greatly increase accuracy and the overall shooting experience for the gun owner. Here are the fundamentals of AR-15 trigger selection.

Two Primary Types of AR-15 Triggers

Single-Stage Triggers: Single-stage triggers provide consistent resistance from the time the shooter applies pressure to the point the sear activates the hammer and fires the rifle. A majority of AR-15s have a single-stage trigger. Single-stage triggers can lead to less than desirable shooting mechanics resulting in diminished accuracy. A seasoned gunsmith can smooth out the trigger component surfaces to improve functionality. We have found that this customization can decrease the lifespan of the trigger since the hardening coatings are removed or thinned. Single-stage triggers are common for those using their weapon in tactical situations due to the split-second faster response time.

Two-Stage Triggers: Two-stage triggers have two independent movements. The first stage is a spring-loaded, light pressure that provides resistance against the shooter until it stops at the second stage. As the shooter continues to apply pressure beyond this point, the trigger operates like a single-stage trigger. Many competitive shooters prefer two-stage trigger systems due to the feedback provided in the first stage of the firing process.

AR-15 Trigger Selection Tips

Trigger selection is truly a personal preference based on your use and shooting style. There are numerous triggers on the market made specifically for your intended use. There are also trigger systems to fit any budget, so the possibilities are virtually limitless.

Important Note: It is true that you get what you pay for. Adopt the philosophy of buy nice or buy twice! If you need help, check out our Build Your Own Rifle page, and we can walk you through the trigger selection process. This is especially true if you are on a budget. Safety is highly important, and the last thing you want is a rifle firing inadvertently if dropped or bumped due to a poorly designed, light trigger assembly.

Our AR-15 Trigger Selection Conclusion

A mil-spec, single-stage trigger is perfect for the majority of AR-15 gun owners. Just like all component upgrades and accessory additions, your use and needs should guide you in the decision-making process. If possible, before making an AR-15 trigger selection, test different options. Some gun ranges have different configurations that can be tested to see which you prefer.

Once you decide, be sure that you buy quality. Buying two that wear out after a few thousand rounds for the cost of one quality trigger that would last the lifetime of the firearm is a bad habit.

Need help selecting your AR-15 Trigger?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds with protective coatings. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.

 

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Custom-Built AR-15: Buy vs Built

Buy vs Built: Which is the Best Option for a Custom-Built AR-15

The AR-15 is one of the most popular firearms sold in the United States. This platform’s popularity and the ability to customize the platform have created a HUGE custom-built AR-15 market. Never before have there been more gun owners having their AR-15 built, and not buying a premade AR from a store.
So we have to answer the question is it worth it to have a custom-built AR-15, or buy a custom buy an AR-15?

Buying a Complete AR-15 Pros and Cons

When you purchase an AR-15, you are buying a design that has been used by the military for over 50 years. Buying a complete AR-15 usually comes with a warranty to cover any problems or defects. Premade AR-15s are readily available in many cases and can be purchased from brick-and-mortar retailers, or online. Within a short amount of time, you can be a gun owner and be headed to the range. Retail purchases of AR-15s provide a basic configuration made with compatible components. The manufacturer has designed the model with complementary parts that work right “out of the box.”

Premade AR-15s are not customized to the shooter or the use of the firearm. Features of the firearms are most basic in nature and may require an experienced gunsmith to replace or upgrade components to fit your personal shooting style or specific use. This can take your purchase from affordable to out of budget very quickly.

Building a Custom-Built AR-15 Pros and Cons

Quality and satisfaction are the major benefits of building a custom AR-15. Creating a custom build means that you can tailor-make a weapon specific to the shooter and the use. Each component can be chosen to get exactly what the gun owner desires. From the right stock to fit your shoulder, handguards, trigger options, components that control recoil, optics, all the way down to color options, you can customize every detail.

Working with a gunsmith to create a custom AR-15 allows you to get to know your rifle extremely well as you walk through the design and build process.  A hand-designed and assembled AR-15 provides the gunsmith to review every detail to ensure perfection.

Building a custom product of any type comes with a cost. However, in our experience gun buyers are always shocked at the cost of a high-end, custom-built AR-15. If you do the math over time, you generally spend more money buying a cheaper mass-produced gun and slowly upgrading it than buying a custom-built AR-15.

 

Top 5 Suppressor Buying Tips

Suppressor Buying Guide

Suppressors are growing in popularity among hunters and sport shooting enthusiasts. We often are asked for recommendations for which silencer is “best,” so we thought we would provide an overview on what to look for when buying a suppressor.

The Buying Process

We want to provide product features and benefits to allow you to make the most educated decision when purchasing a suppressor. Since there are both federal and state regulations for these products, we are not going to address questions like; how long does it take, what paperwork is required, costs or other questions about the buying process. Each purchase is different and there is not always one answer to these questions, so we will leave the research up to you.

Top 5 Suppressor Buying Tips

1 What is your Suppressor’s Purpose

Determining how you will use your suppressor plays a major part in which product you purchase. If you are a hunter, an avid pistol shooter, or want the silencer for home protection, how you use the silencer will guide your buying decision. Your suppressor’s use will also guide your decision on which caliber(s) you are going to suppress, and which gun(s) the silencer can be attached to.

2 Set Realistic Expectations

Hollywood has done a disservice to silencers. Theatrics has portrayed suppressors to render even the highest caliber firearms virtually “silent.” This is inaccurate.

The slower the bullet travels, the quieter a suppressed firearm will perform. Calibers that travel under the sound barrier will yield a quieter result. An example that is easy to understand would be airplanes. A jet flying at Mach 1 is louder than a single-engine prop plane. The slower, the quieter the suppressed firearm.

There are many other factors that affect the amount effectiveness of the device such as bullet grain, barrel length, and ambient temperature to name a few.

3 Calibers and Guns

Most suppressors can be used on multiple guns in multiple calibers. Threaded barrels and thread adapters allow you to transfer your suppressor from one gun to another with little to no effort. When selecting one silencer for multiple guns there are two components to consider: caliber size and attachment system.

If you are buying one silencer for multiple guns, buy a model designed for the largest caliber you intend to shoot. Shooting a smaller caliber through a larger diameter tube works much better than the opposite. The downside to this multi-caliber, silencer option is that the sound suppression will not be as efficient when shooting smaller calibers since the diameter of the silencer is larger than the round exiting.

The good news is, that the actual difference is only a few decibels generally. So, in actuality, you’re really not compromising much by getting a suppressor that’s .30 caliber for example so you can shoot both .223/5.56 and also 300 Blackout through it.

There are two main types of attachment systems. Direct thread means that the silencer has female threads that accept the male threads of the firearm barrel. Quick detachment systems use a quick-release collar that threads onto the firearm which is permanently in place.

As you move the suppressor from one gun to another, one quick twist releases the silencer for transfer. Depending on the use and need to transfer the silencer from one firearm to another, you can select the best option for your use.

The One Exception: The one exception to the one suppressor multiple gun scenario is .22 LR. You do not want to run .22LR through a suppressor that is non-serviceable. If you cannot clean the silencer, don’t shoot .22LR through it. If you want to silence a .22LR, we recommend that you buy a dedicated can for that caliber.

Game-Changing Red Dot Sight and Holographic Sights

Red Dot Sight and Holographic Sights 101

The first red dot sight was first marketed in 1975, but it was not until the early 2000s that the United States military began to use them regularly. Red dot and holographic sites are excellent tools during close-quarter combat situations and home defense.

Red dot and holographic sights continue to dominate the many AR platforms. It is rumored that this segment of the electronic sight market outnumbers all of the other scope types combined.

Countless red dot and holographic sights are equipped by law enforcement, military, competitive shooters, hunters, and target shooters across the United States, and the world. This popularity has grown due to the advances in optical quality and clarity as well as battery life.

Before you purchase your next electronic firearm sight, let’s educate you on a few features and brands that you need to consider.

What is a Red Dot Sight or Holographic Sight and how do they work?

We thought we would start by defining some of the basics. These electronic sights are pretty simple to operate and understand. As you can guess, the dot is the sight used to and is designed for close to moderate ranges. Holographic and red dot sights are only a 1X magnification and do not have magnification.

A red dot sight creates a reticle by reflecting light at the focal point of a lens that appears steadily before the shooter’s eye that is focused at an infinite distance. You can adjust your view within a large area behind the reticle, and if you can see the reticle in the sight window and place it over your target, you will have reasonable accuracy.

Why You Need a Red Dot or Holographic Sight

The success of this weapon site is simplicity. Although the design may be complex, everything else is relatively simple. Red dot optics are easy to use, easy to acquire, and relatively easy to stay on target.

This electronic firearm sight is a great option for younger or new shooters. Once the sight is zeroed, it is easy for an inexperienced shooter to acquire their target; set the dot on the target and pull the trigger.

Another reason red dot sights are highly popular among AR platform gun owners is speed. Target acquisition with a red dot sight is extremely fast. No matter your angle, if you are shooting in a rush and you can see the dot, you can hit your target.

These weapon sights are extremely versatile. A red dot sight can be easily mounted on an AR, a shotgun, or a handgun making them ideal for sports shooting, competitive shooting, and home defense.

Top 7 Benefits of a Red Dot Sights:

Allows the user to shoot with both eyes open

Versatile use: hunt, compete, target, self-defense, CQB

Quick target acquisition for better accuracy

Great for those with poor eyesight

Unlimited field of view (FOV)

Great in low light conditions

Can be mounted on various firearms: rifles, shotguns, and pistols

Best Red Dot Sight Brands to Consider

Trijicon Red Dot Optics

Trijicon Optics stems from the combination of two words: “Tritium” the key element in the company’s innovative illumination technology, and “icon” meaning a picture or image. The “j” was added to combine both words to form Trijicon.

Additionally, the “iji” in Trijicon mimics the “three-dot” design of the Bright & Tough™ Night Sights being manufactured. The most notable red dot sight is the Trijicon ACOG.

The Trijicon ACOG was launched in 1987 and has been the go-to red dot scope for the military for the last four decades. It’s no secret as to why we chose this exact sight for our Rooftop Arms RECON model rifle.

To this day, Trijicon continues to produce some of the most innovative electronic firearm sights on the market. The ACOG is still a formable leader making transitions to the public sector.

Newer models like the RMR Reflex sight are stellar options for handguns and are widely used for self-defense, military, law enforcement, target, and competitive shooting.

The Trijicon MOR (miniature rifle optic) is a sealed, miniature reflex sight used primarily on rifles, carbines, and shotguns. This sight is used on the Rooftop Arms RUBY model rifle.

Sig Sauer Red Dot Optics

Dating back to 1864, Sig Sauer has been producing quality firearms and came to the United States in the 1980s. Although new to the optics market, launching fully into the optics, ammo, and suppressor market in 2015, Sig Sauer is an industry leader in electronic firearms sights.

Sig Sauer uses its world-class firearms knowledge and unparalleled design expertise to produce some of the highest quality red dot sights in the industry.

Vibrant and crystal clear, Sig Sauer has developed a large selection of precision red dot sights and micro red dot sight options. The Romeo series offers a wide variety of red dot sights to make you fast and accurate for close range due to their compact and lightweight size.

A new addition to the Sig Sauer red dot sight line-up is the Juliet Micro Combo. The Juliet3 is an ultra-compact and lightweight magnifier to the extremely accurate Romeo Series of red dot sights.

EO Tech Optics

EO Tech is considered to be the “gold standard” of red dot sights by so many. Since 1996, EOTECH Holographic Weapon Sights (HWS) have been designed, developed, and manufactured in the US. EOTECH is defined by the quality of high-performance red dot sights and world-class service.

The U.S. Special Operations (USSOCOM), select elite Army units and the US Marine Corps use the EOTECH HWS as the preferred close-quarter combat optic of choice. The EO Tech optic is also used on the Rooftop Arms COMPETITION model rifle.

EO Tech produces a variety of red dot sights and magnifiers that reach beyond military and law enforcement uses. EO Tech red dot sights are ideal for custom AR builds offering an easy-to-use, high-quality, weapon sight that will greatly enhance the accuracy and dependability of your weapon.

How We Help Customers Choose the Best Red Dot or Holographic Sight

At Rooftop Arms, we believe that optics should never be an afterthought when building a custom firearm. In most cases, we believe the optics should be discussed before the conversation about the features of the firearm.

We help you walk through the purpose of the gun build, pick a great optic, and then begin selecting firearm components. You can build a great gun, but if you choose lesser quality optics, the performance of the gun diminishes significantly.

Interested in learning more?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds with protective coatings. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.

 

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Lightweight AR-15 Build Guide

A Guide to the Perfect Lightweight AR-15 Build

The AR-15 is considered to be one of the most versatile weapons on the market. The accessories, configurations, and caliber options make this weapon limited only by the gun owner’s imagination. One popular modification feature of this platform is weight.

Lightweight AR Builds are highly desirable and becoming more and more popular among AR-15 enthusiasts. There is something to be said about a lightweight AR-15 build that is under three pounds that can still be accurate out to over a quarter-mile.

Before we discuss the components that we recommend for a lightweight AR-15 build, we need to discuss the difference between a lightweight AR-15, and the lightest AR-15 build possible. There are tens of thousands of AR-15 parts available on the market. The average AR-15 weighs roughly about six to seven pounds without optics mounted.

A lightweight build is considered anything under four pounds without optics mounted. There are basically two ways to reduce the overall weight. You can choose between buying lightweight parts for assembly, or custom trimming, snipping, and shaving each part to achieve the lightest weight result.

Benefits and Uses of a Lightweight AR-15

The most obvious benefit is the weight. Reducing the weight makes the weapon more comfortable to carry and many times adds to the ergonomics. Many lighter-weight builds are also more compact, making transport easier and less cumbersome in close quarters.

That is why a trimmed-down AR-15 is a great choice to train appropriate aged family members to use for home and self-defense. It is a great gun for hunting also, especially for those avid stalk and hunt situations where hiking long distances can be a challenge with a heavy rifle.

Lightweight AR-15 Build Components to Consider

High-tech Alloys and Polymers – Pros and Cons

Materials like titanium, lithium-aluminum, and magnesium are becoming more commonplace in lightweight gun builds. The material can reduce weight considerably, and are very strong, they also come with considerable costs.

Carbon fiber and polymers are also becoming prevalent with gun builders looking to trim down the weight of their AR-15. These metal alternatives are becoming more durable to lay to rest the worry of lifespan and are able to handle the high round count put through them by avid users. Some of these components can reduce the weight by 30-40% when compared to most mil-spec parts.

Lightweight Barrels

The barrels is going to be one of the heaviest components of your lightweight AR-15 build. The average AR-15 can have up to one-third of its weight in the barrel. Pencil barrels wrapped in carbon fiber are one of the best choices on the market currently and can weigh as little as 1.2 pounds.

Lower Receivers

There are many lightweight lower receiver options, many of which are 100% polymer. All parts that can be polymer; trigger, hammer, take-down pins, and disconnector. Metal components are limited to spring and other parts surrounding the buffer tube.

Upper Receivers

Here you have three main options: polymer, milled/skeletonized, and specialty alloy. These options can be as light as just over five ounces.

Bolt Carrier Group

The lightest bolt carrier group (BCG) that we have found is aluminum and weighs only four ounces. The BCG component is responsible for performing semiautomatic firing. Reducing the weight may result in custom gunsmithing to fine-tune the part based on ammo for it to perform at its best.

Gas Block and Tube, and Barrel Nut

Although these three do not add much weight, there are options to reduce the overall weight. We suggest investigating a titanium gas block and an aluminum barrel nut. The gas tube can be any of your likings. Combined these three parts should weigh in at about two ounces.

Handguards

Choosing the lightest weight handguard will strip down its functionality to just be a hand rest. Carbon fiber is the best handguard material option. The length of the handguard is also a consideration and there are many options available. The shorter results in the lighter weight. You can find carbon fiber handguards that weigh as little as three to four ounces.

If you require a handguard to attach accessories, you will have to choose an option with a usable rail, which will increase the weight.

Captured Buffers

Reducing the weight of an AR-15 can sometimes make the gun feel unbalanced or “flimsy.” One component that is a part of every custom gun build is a captured buffer. Although this is not always a lightweight feature, it provides smoother shooting and reduced recoil. There is nothing more annoying than feeling the recoil in your jaw and ear protection every time you pull the trigger.

Stocks

The options for lightweight stocks are almost too numerous to count. The good news is that there are many options that are around six ounces. Unlike other components, polymer stocks allow the shooter to retain functionalities like adjustability, sling mounts, and many color options.

Summary of Lightweight AR-15 Build Best Practices

There are many reasons for lightweight AR-15 builds that range from competition, self-defense, hunting, and even bragging rights. The AR platform has seen many design changes since it was introduced in the late 1950s. Lightweight builds are a growing trend that pushes innovation and technology to its limits.

At the beginning of our discussion, we talked about the difference between building a lightweight AR-15, and the lightest AR-15 build possible. Rooftop Arms has built countless custom-made ARs for customers around the USA. We pride ourselves on uncompromised quality on the parts that we use in our custom AR builds.

Rooftop Arms is the perfect company to help you come up with the perfect blend of premium parts while still focusing on creating a lightweight gun that functions well and feels good to shoot. We would love the opportunity to build your next AR-15 from the highest quality, lightweight components on the market.

Interested in learning more about Lightweight AR-15 Builds?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds with protective coatings. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.

 

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Lightweight AR-15 Build Guide

Cerakote: What is it and Why Do You Need It

Cerakote is an ultra-thin, extremely durable polymer-based coating that has been protecting firearms from wear and tear and being outside in the weather for many years. In addition to the durability factor, Cerakote can be applied in patterns and colors that are only limited by your imagination.

This versatile add-on to firearms has become an art form in many cases allowing gun owners and gun makers to create firearms that are truly a work of art.

What Is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a polymer-ceramic composite coating that can be applied to metals, plastics, polymers, and wood—the components of just about every firearm ever manufactured. And yes, it even works on carbon fiber. Top benefits:

    • – Corrosion resistance

 

    • – Impact-resistant

 

    • – Wear and abrasion resistance

 

    • – Chemical resistance

 

    • – Hardening benefits
    • – Hydrophobic to resist water and mud

Put It to the Test

Our friends at Cerakote thought they would put their product to the test. Two identical bolt-action rifles were left out in the elements for fifteen months. One coated with traditional blueing, the other with Cerakote. Here are the results:

One of the coating’s distinguishing factors is that this high-performance, durable protective coating is applied in thin layers, about 0.001 inch thick layers. The thinness allows firearms to remain accurate and not add to the weight of your firearm.

Rooftop Arms offers finishes on rifles and handguns in many different colors, FDE, gray, OD green. In addition, various camouflage finishes are available, and if you have a completely custom design, we are happy to assist.

Interested in learning more?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds with protective coatings. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.

 

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5 Ammo Storage and Organization Best Practices

Ammo storage is crucial for gun owners. Keeping your ammo stored properly and organized is important to every gun owner. Reducing corrosion and misfiring ammunition, increasing the lifespan, and saving time when going to the range or on a hunt are just a few reasons it is beneficial to keep your ammo organized.

Unorganized ammo can also be dangerous, or life-threatening. An example of a catastrophic mishap would be mixing a .357 magnum round with a .38 special.

Here are five best practices to help with your ammo storage and organization.

Ammo Cans

Ammo cans are by far the most common ammo storage, transportation, and organization method among gun owners. Ammo cans have watertight sealing gaskets, padlock tab closures, and carry handles to make them a favorite for storage and transportation to and from hunting or the range.

Ammo cans are made from either metal or plastic, and there each gun owner has their own preference. There are positives and negatives about both and even may differ in their use.

Plastic Ammo Cans

Plastic Ammo cans are affordable, lightweight, and store easily. Most are discreet and can easily be confused with a fishing tackle box. Plastic can dry out and become brittle as it ages and weathers and can flex due to the weight of ammunition. Keeping your ammo in a humidity/temperature control location, plastic ammo boxes can increase the lifespan of the ammo significantly. There are many storage trays and larger crates options to further your ammo organization.

Metal Ammo Cans

Metal ammo cans provide a durable, airtight, and watertight ammo storage solution. The military has used metal ammo cans for decades because they provide excellent protection when traveling through various climates and storing ammo for an extended period of time.

Metal ammo cans have many great attributes, they are heavier, louder to move, and more difficult to stack.

Conclusion: Rooftop Arms recommend that it is a good idea to keep both metal and plastic ammo cans on hand. Having both types allows you to be prepared for any situation that may arise.

Ammo Boxes

Reloaders want ammo organization above the average shooting enthusiast. Carrying heavy, loaded ammo cans to and from the range or a hunting location is not what they consider efficient or fun. Ammo boxes allow the shooter to keep an accurate count of rounds spent.

Plastic ammo boxes are affordable and lightweight, so ordering online will reduce shipping costs.

Labeling Your Ammo Storage Containers

Labeling your storage containers is crucial in keeping different calibers and grain weights safely stored. Labels or decals make it easy to select the correct ammo when heading to the range or heading out to hunt for the weekend.

Ammo Storage and Organization Final Thoughts

Choose an ammo storage and organization method that fits your needs and use crucial. Putting thought into your decision will save you money, increase your ammo’s lifespan, save you time, and keep you safer. As ammo prices seem to steadily increase, keeping your ammo safe is key. If you do not have an ammo storage and organization system in place, we highly recommend researching the option that is best for you.

How Can We Help?

Rooftop Arms specializes in custom gun builds. Call us today at (360) 559-6210 or visit our custom gun build tool for additional information.

 

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Weaver Rails vs. Picatinny Rails

The two main rail systems when installing a scope on your rifle are the Weaver and the Picatinny (MIL-STD-1913). Although very different, the two rail systems can be used interchangeably in most cases.

Weaver Rail System or Picatinny Rail System Comparison


What’s the Difference Between Weaver vs. Picatinny

The main difference between these two rail systems is the size of the slot spacing and cross slots. Weaver rails have a slot width of 0.180″ (4.572 mm) but are not necessarily consistent in the spacing of slot centers. The Picatinny rail has a slot width of 0.206″ (5.232 mm) and the spacing of slot centers is always 0.394″ (10.008 mm).

These measurements all Weaver devices to fit on Picatinny rails, but not all Picatinny devices will fit on Weaver rails.

Rule of Thumb: If your scope came with Weaver-style rings, it will most likely work on both rail systems. If the scope came with Picatinny-style rings, it will most likely only work on a Picatinny mount.

Weaver Rail System 101

Weaver Optics was founded in 1930, by William Ralph Weaver, which designed the Weaver rail mounting system for his scopes. The first Weaver rails were two-piece mounts, one attached in front of the receiver, the second attached to the rear for mounting the scope.

The two-piece mount allowed for bolt-action rifles to operate freely, and allow cartridges to be loaded quickly. It was also easy for stripper clip loading that was commonly used in the military.