Among the trends in gun customizations popular nowadays is growing interest in skeletonized AR-15 parts.
Just as there is interest in technologically advanced, high-performance BCG coatings that offer permanent dry lubricity, and in Cerakote and nitride coatings, so to is there interest in shedding ounces, everywhere possible.
This is the main draw of skeletonized AR-15 parts. Let’s take a look at all the reasons it might make sense to upgrade with some skeletonized parts, as well as some potential drawbacks.
Advantages of Skeletonized AR-15 Parts
If you’re considering adding some skeletonized AR-15 parts to your build, here are some of the best reasons to do so.
- Weight savings: Far and away, the most important benefit of using skeletonized AR-15 parts is the potential for weight reduction. These are heavy platforms, and an AR can weigh close to 7 pounds before you add additional furniture and attachments. Skeletonizing select parts like the stock, grip, buffer tube, and even handguard and bolt carrier group can significantly lower weight, by several ounces if not by pounds. This will of course depend on what parts you replace and how extensive your skeletonization is. Lightening the rifle will make it easier for you to carry and handle it for greater lengths of time, with less fatigue.
- Strength: The whole point of skeletonizing a rifle, whether it’s an AR platform or otherwise, is to do so without compromising strength. In many cases, a skeletonized AR-15 will be every bit as strong and durable as a rifle made with solid aluminum (or steel) components). This makes a strong argument for skeletonizing as, if you can lighten weight without adversely affecting strength and durability, there just is little reason not to.
- Speed: One of the unique benefits of skeletonizing specific parts, such as the bolt carrier group, is that it will make the rifle faster. There are some instances in which skeletonizing the bolt carrier group can cause feed issues, but if your gas system and buffer tube system are properly calibrated, skeletonizing the BCG (which will lighten it) will enable the action to cycle faster. This will potentially enable higher rates of fire. Moreover, the lighter BCG, which will carry less reciprocating mass, will also help combat the effects of felt recoil.
- Greater versatility: One of the great things about the AR-15 is that the system is modular and versatile, whether you skeletonize parts or not. However, cutting down on overall weight by skeletonizing will give you greater versatility with respect to barrel options. If you save a few ounces in the stock, you can put them, for instance, in the barrel. Longer and heavier barrels can be better for long-range and precision shooting, so if that’s your main discipline with your AR, skeletonizing may offer significant benefits.
- Accuracy (a consistent cheek weld): While the vast majority of AR-15 stocks are adjustable or collapsible, many skeletonized stocks take adjustability to the next level. Some give you the option to adjust not only for length of pull but also for comb height, which influences both fit and eye relief. This heightened level of adjustability can give you the flexibility to optimize your cheek weld, which can help you deliver more accurate (and faster shots) even at extended ranges. This is a benefit for competitive shooters not only at close ranges but at long distances, too.
- Personalization: One final advantage to skeletonizing your AR-15 has nothing at all to do with handling or performance, and only to do with the fun of owning and shooting such a modular platform. Skeletonizing various external parts of your rifle is an easy, effective, and oftentimes affordable way to personalize it, especially since many skeletonized parts are available in a wide range of colors.
Disadvantages of Skeletonized AR-15 Parts
While there are plenty of legitimate reasons that skeletonized AR-15 parts may be able to improve the performance of your rifle, it’s not all positive. There are several distinct, unique drawbacks.
- Extra work: You don’t need to skeletonize AR-15 parts. It’s just an extra project and if you don’t care about weight reduction, there’s no real reason for you to put time, effort, and money into it.
- Expense: If your rifle didn’t come with skeletonized AR-15 parts, swapping them out is just going to add an extra expense onto your regularly scheduled firearm maintenance. Then again, there is away to look at this as an advantage and not a drawback; if you skeletonize one part and have to remove something in the process, you will always have at least one spare of what you replaced: the original part. With that said, it is an extra expense you don’t actually need to make, especially if your purpose is not to lighten the rifle, and there are other ways to do that anyway.
- They’re harder to keep clean: This is one of the most salient issues associated with skeletonizing AR-15 parts and is presumably the reason that the military does not use them. If you install skeletonized parts, you will be massively increasing the surface area of the rifle and also opening up a whole bunch of ingress points for moisture, oil, sand, dirt, fouling, and other scum. This not only makes it much harder to keep an AR with skeletonized parts clean, but presents a higher risk of accelerated failure and parts wear. If you use your rifle in environments where there is a real threat of damage to the rifle, don’t skeletonize parts. This mainly applies to hunters. The weight savings just probably aren’t worth it.
Quality Skeletonized AR-15 Parts at Competitive Prices
Interested in exploring options in skeletonized AR-15 parts? Take a look through our collection to see what’s available. We offer skeletonized grips, trigger guards, charging handles, braces, stocks, buffer tubes, and more, in a wide range of finishes (including anodized aluminum) and in many colors.
Personalizing your AR or skeletonizing parts to improve performance and handling is easier than it’s ever been. Check out our full collection of AR-15 skeletonized parts and get in touch with us at Sales@MCSGearup.com if you have any questions.