Lightweight AR Parts

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

Shooting Illustrated:

Modern Sporting Rifles also have the largest volume of light components suitable for retrofitting existing guns. Most makers of steel barrels and AR bolt carriers offer lightweight options alongside their regular products. Skeletonized, extruded-aluminum or carbon-fiber freefloat fore-ends further drop weight at the front of the rifle, while trimmed-down polymer furniture shaves weight at the tail. DS Arms, V-Seven2A Armament and Brownells offer lightweight aluminum and titanium small parts that replace original AR steel. Small pins, grip screws and even muzzle devices can be had in materials that shave a tangible amount of weight after a full retrofit. A small number of titanium parts and accessories specifically designed for SCAR, M1A and FAL rifles are also available in the aftermarket.

While the author didn’t go to the trouble to give you links to actual parts rather than the company URL, I’ve tried to do better.  Here they are: 2A-Arms, VSeven, Brownells, and Daniel Defense.  Those links will get you to rails/handguards, or thereabouts.  Of course, those aren’t the only lightweight AR parts being manufactured.

I’m sure there are many others.  I welcome reader feedback in the comments.  I’m actually interested in strong, lightweight AR-15 rails and lightweight AR-10 rails (longer, about 17″).


Comments

  1. On April 23, 2019 at 10:32 pm, Jack said:

    I have the Daniel Defense M4v7LW lightweight M4 clone

    Advantages: a little over 7 lbs with the Trijicon ACOG. Pencil profile barrel still more accurate than I can shoot. The (possibly discontinued) handguard is a lightweight round aluminum tube with slots. Small section of pic rail can be mounted to each slot location for maximum flexibility, comfort, and weight reduction. I only have a pic rail in one spot to mount the sling.

    Disadvantages: pencil barrel gets hot very quickly. Never been too hot to hold, but definitely noticeable.

    Other thoughts: I acquired this rifle with for 3gun competitions (although I have yet to compete). If I was going to be in combat, I’d want a heavier profile barrel. For home defense, competition, hunting, or play, it’s great.

    I still don’t understand why folks weigh down their rifles with lights, multiple sight systems, bipods, and forward grips. I get that folks do tactical, but all that extra weight makes it harder to hold, slower to transition, and less accurate.

  2. On April 24, 2019 at 6:28 am, DAN III said:

    ALCON,

    If looking for lightweight I would stay away from piston type AR-malites. My LWRC piston weapons are substantially more heavy than DI AR-malites.

    Jack@2232: re: Forward grips. I have transitioned to the MAGPUL angled fore grip on most of my carbine platforms; couple uppers still have short vertical fore grips.Reason I started using the AFG is the angle is much more comfortable than a standard, horizontal handguard. Various skeletal issues in my arms, shoulders, etc., disrupt my ability to comfortably and thus accurately, shoot and control longarms. That is why I use a angled fore fore grip. The few ounces of extra “weight” is minimal.

  3. On April 24, 2019 at 10:19 am, Jack said:

    @DAN III

    I haven’t used an AFG but understand the body mechanics involved and will be trying one when I get back to rifle practice (along with a stock with a cheek riser).

    The comment was more regarding tacticool and having all – vertical grip, flashlight, optical sight, backup mechanical sight, and bipod attached to the rifle, all of which put weight on the far end of the lever arm, making it harder to handhold and adding inertia, slowing down transitions.

    I am all about body mechanics. The Weaver pistol stance was advocated because Weaver injured his shoulder, not because it’s the correct way to shoot. The correct way to shoot is whatever works best for your particular body to hold the firearm steady, control recoil, and transition quickly.

    I originally held a rifle the way I do a camera with a telephoto lens – support hand as a cup under the end of the barrel. The competition shooters are now moving to the thumb-over-the-top c-clamp grip which both controls recoil and guides the barrel during transition. If i recall correctly, Herschel has commented on thumb-over-the-top technique as well.

    I am attending a 5-day CAR (center axis relock) pistol course/instructors course at the beginning of May. CAR is about using body mechanics to protect the pistol, the shooter, and to present and shoot the pistol quickly and accurately. From what I have researched, CAR should work well for me due to my left eye dominance, left shoulder weakness, etc.

    I hope to be able to instruct others in CAR (and the body mechanics in shooting) in the near future.

  4. On April 24, 2019 at 10:28 am, Jack said:

    Not necessarily longer, but Springfield Armory’s Saint Victor AR10 with a 16″ lightweight profile barrel weighs only 7.8lbs with BCM furniture and flip-up sights.

  5. On April 24, 2019 at 11:43 am, moe mensale said:

    I don’t understand the fascination with “lightweight” AR15-type weapons and/or components. Yeah, maybe it’s the thrill of seeing what you can come up with. I can understand that. But there’s a cost – sometimes not unsubstantial – involved with knocking off those “excess” 2-3 lbs. And realistically these aren’t heavy weapons to begin with.

    Colt M4 Carbine – 6.9 lbs unloaded
    DD M4V7LW Carbine – 6.1 lbs unloaded

    Colt AR15A4 Rifle – 7.7 lbs unloaded
    FN FN15 Military Rifle – 8.2 lbs unloaded

    Colt CM762 Carbine – 8.8 lbs unloaded
    SA Saint Victor AR10 – 7.8 lbs unloaded

    Maybe spend some more time with the kettlebells?

  6. On April 24, 2019 at 2:12 pm, DAN III said:

    MOE@1143,

    I am not so sure there is a “fascination” with lightweight AR type components/weapons. Myself, I am at that age of physical issues compromising physical abilities. Thus, heavier is a concern. Several of my 5.56mm weapons are heavier than I care for. I have a 10.5″ heavy barrel, Noveske 5.56mm that is substantially heavier than my 16″ Bravo Company AR. Then, depending on what optic with mount one may use, there is even more weight. Ultimately, unnecessary weight can be a PITA. However, most shooters are not traveling any further with their “heavy” AR-malite than from their vehicle to the shooting bench. In that regard a “heavy” AR is of little consequence.

    The detriment of a lighter weight long arm is increased recoil. The “fascination” of lighter weight ARs appears to me to be more a marketing ploy than anything of substantial value to the shooter. For me, just as a weapon can be too heavy it can also be too light.

    I suppose it boils down to whatever an individual wants and chooses to pay for.

  7. On April 25, 2019 at 2:25 pm, moe mensale said:

    Far be it from me to tell anyone what to spend their money on. That said, this “lightweight” fad could very well be a marketing ploy, especially with the increased costs in acquiring those special parts. Somebody came up with a great moneymaker!

    But there also seems to be a rather sizeable bunch of shooters – particularly on that primary AR15 site – who really complain about the weight of these firearms. These appear to be adult males in their 20s, 30s & 40s. What are they gonna do when they turn 71 like me? I’m not “Ahhnold” by any stretch of the imagination but I lift weights 4-5 days a week and do quite a bit of outdoor manual labor. That’s who my kettlebell comment was directed at. I should have been clearer about that.

  8. On April 26, 2019 at 9:47 am, Jack said:

    @moe mensale

    Like everything else, it’s a tradeoff.

    Less mass means more recoil. And also quicker, more accurate, and easier transitions between targets, which can be critical in competition shooting.

    For those humping their rifles long distances, less mass in the rifle means they can carry more ammo – note that this was and remains to this day a key justification of 5.56 over .308 in the military.

    The internet commando may want a LW rifle so they can continue to hang additional pounds of tacticool on the front without having to go to the gym.

    Me, I have shoulder problems – I do weight lifting 2-3 times a week, but having a LW rifle means less wear and tear on my body overall.

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You are currently reading "Lightweight AR Parts", entry #21063 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Firearms,Guns and was published April 23rd, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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