Best AR-15 Pistol Kits of 2020 – Complete Review

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If you’re looking for the best AR-15 pistol kit, you’ve come to the right place. Finding the right kit might be a challenge. But as long as you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, the search may not be as tough. Sometimes you’ll want to be up for the challenge to build your own pistol rather than buy one that is fully assembled. Plus, it’s proven to be a cheaper option.

 To get you started, we’ll be taking a look at three AR-15 pistol kits that are the best on the market. We’ll also be taking a look at three of the best parts that you’ll need to go along with the kit of your choice.

Before we get to our list, we’ll make a quick comparison between the AR-15 rifle and the AR-15 pistol. We’ll talk about how we ended up choosing these pistol kits that made the list and talk about why they are important to you.

Plus, if you want to make your own kit, check out the individual pieces we have listed below.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Pistol Kits

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Radical Firearms - AR-15 Upper Receiver Assembly 7.5" 5.56 Pistol

  • Best AR-15 pistol kits for the money.
  • Barrel measured at 7.5 inches in length.
  • Includes free-floating handguard for quick heat dissipation.
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Phase 5 Tactical - AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube

  • Made from high-quality aluminum.
  • Can handle extreme temperatures.
  • Includes buffer, spring, and buffer tube.
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PSA MOE EPT Pistol Lower Build Kit With SB Tactical PDW Brace

  • Includes buffer tube assembly for brace support.
  • Adjustable pistol brace with three different positions.
  • Includes trigger assembly and lower parts for the receiver.
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PSA AR-15 Complete Classic Pistol Lower - No Magazine

  • Includes an M4 stock.
  • Standard carbine buffer.
  • Parts made from high-quality aluminum.
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Radical Firearms - AR Pistol 10.5" 5.56 M4 Contour, 10" FGS

  • Best AR-15 pistol on the market.
  • Magazine has a 30-round capacity.
  • Free-floating handguard for quicker heat dissipation.
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What is the Difference Between an AR-15 Rifle and an AR-15 Pistol?

One of the major differences between an AR-15 rifle and an AR-15 pistol is the buttstock. An AR-15 pistol will not have a buttstock while an AR-15 will have one. At the same time, the measurements will be slightly different.

An AR-15 pistol will have an overall length of fewer than 26 inches and a barrel length of fewer than 16 inches. An AR-15 rifle will be much longer in length in both the barrel and the overall length.

What Are The Components of a Pistol Kit?

Knowing what’s inside a pistol kit is important. That’s because you need some vital parts to make sure that the AR-15 pistol is functional and ready to go. Without them, the pistol is rendered useless. Here is a brief list of some of the common parts that are found in most pistol kits:

Upper and Lower Receivers

The upper and lower receivers are two of the most important parts of your AR-15 pistol for so many good reasons. The upper receiver will contain parts like your barrel, your gas system, and even your handguards and rails. This half of your AR-15 pistol will allow you to customize to your advantage.

In other words, you can add on a scope or an optic to ensure better accuracy. Your gas system such as your gas block and tube will be included in this setup. Other parts like your BCG will likely be included (since it’s considered the engine of your AR-15 pistol).

Your lower receiver will include your trigger assembly and other components that will play a role in the firing function of your AR-15 pistol receiver.

Phase 5 Tactical - AR-15 Pistol Completion Kit

Pistol Brace

Since your AR-15 pistol will be absent of a buttstock, the closest thing you can get to one is a pistol brace. These are designed to give you better support so you can fire more accurate shots. You can be able to shoulder the pistol brace so you can use it as if you attached a stock to your pistol and make it look like a short barreled rifle.

Buffer Tube

Typically used to accommodate stocks on rifles, they are also used to help support the pistol braces that are attached to them. This will allow for easier shouldering and ability to use your shoulder as more of a cheek rest if you feel that shooting your AR-15 pistol that way is more comfortable.

How We Chose These Pistol Kits

This is a list of how we chose these pistol kits that made the cut on our review list. It should also serve as a list for you on what you can look for while looking for a pistol kit of your own. There are certain kinds of qualities and features that you need to look for as the search progresses. Here’s what you need to keep an eye out for when choosing a pistol kit:

What’s Included?

The important question to ask is what’s included in your kit. Is it a complete assembly kit? Is it just an upper assembly kit? What lower assembly parts are included? Choosing a kit will depend on what exactly you’ll need for parts. If you’re a first-time buyer and builder, obviously your best option will be a full assembly kit that includes all kinds of parts including both the upper and lower receiver assemblies among other parts.

Price

If you’re a budget shopper, you’re obviously going to look at the price tag. Finding a kit that is affordable might be important to you. However, you’ll need to take a look at some of the other aspects like the overall quality. That’s because a low price tag will most likely equal low-quality and cheap looking parts. But high-quality, affordable parts do exist. The price might be higher but still affordable.

Ease of Installation

Obviously, not everyone is an expert gunsmith. However, we’ve chosen these kits because they mostly comprise of drop-in or easy to install parts. Most of them will include instructions on how to install them without any issue.

Once the AR-15 pistol is fully assembled, you’ll think you professionally assembled the thing yourself when all it took was taking your time and knowing where every little part was supposed to go. In short, you won’t need to rely on a gunsmith to build out a complete AR-15 pistol.

Make Your Own Pistol Kit

A “Make Your Own Pistol” kit is one of the best options for AR-15 owners and enthusiasts if they’re looking for a pistol that will best suit them as opposed to fully assembled pistols.

Plus, it’s an even cheaper road to go down if the idea of paying extra for a pistol is not appealing to you. These are also great if you see yourself as someone who might be up for the challenge for building something from the ground up.

Review of the Best AR-15 Pistol Kits

Below is a list of AR-15 pistols kits and the best individual parts that will best fit with most pistol kits. Altogether, there are six items that we’ll be reviewing in this writing. All of them are considered the best on the market for one certain category or another.

As you look through the list, you’ll want to take note of the important features and functions of each. This may give you the determination of whether or not they are worth the investment or not. With that said, let’s begin with our “best overall” choice for the best AR-15 pistol kit:

Pros

  • Easy to Install on Your AR-15 Build
  • Reduced Recoil Thanks to the A2 Flash Hider
  • No Failure or Malfunctions After 1000 Rounds

Cons

  • Pins and Screws May Need to be Ground Down Before Being Installed
  • Some of the Screws Tend to Come Loose After Some Extended Period of Firing Time

What Recent Buyers Report

A majority of users of this assembly are found appreciating it. The points of interest for buyers include value for money, build quality, aesthetics, easy installation and simple compatibility. However, several users reported that the receiver required some minor fitting. But no grievances were found for performance. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a complete drop-in AR-15 pistol receiver with mil-spec design and perfect aesthetics. The receiver is forged for durability and comes complete with forward assist and ejection port door. The accessory-ready, free-floating handguard adds to its function, while the chrome-moly barrel delivers exceptional accuracy. 

Included in this assembly is a barrel that’s measured at 7.5 inches in length. This is designed for pistols chambered to fire 5.56 NATO rounds. This also includes a free-floating handguard that will allow for not only quick heat dissipation but will protect your hands from getting burned due to accidentally touching a hot barrel. So it’s a win-win either way.

At the same time, this has a top rail that allows you to add on any sight or optic that you want to better your AR-15 pistol accuracy. If you hold accuracy to a high standard, obviously you’ll need to find a good optic or sight that will easily attach to your upper receiver’s rail.

Also included is an A2 flash hider - you don’t want to deal with night blindness caused by your pistol flash. This will put you in a dangerous situation, especially a home defense situation.

Who Will Use This Most

The receiver is perfect for practice and even competitions if needed. The melonite coated barrel delivers accuracy, while the handguard and rails make it tactically sound. It is perfect for people who don’t want to put the effort into gunsmithing and require a simple drop-in pistol upper. 

Bottom Line

This upper is both sumptuous and effective at the same time. The fully loaded receiver has room for accessory attachments due to the rails and QD compatible handguards. While the precision barrel delivers premium accuracy to a shooter. A versatile upper receiver delivering great value for money. 

If you’re looking to save time and money, then the Radical Firearms AR-15 upper receiver will likely be the one thing you’ll consider getting. Not only that, it gives you the shortcut you need to finish your build project much quicker. Why track down every individual part when you can have it all in one fully assembled package?

Pros

  • Installs with Ease
  • Fits Snugly with Most Braces
  • Very Durable and Almost Impossible to Damage

Cons

  • Spring Might Make a Little Noise While You’re Firing Your Pistol
  • Some Have Complained About the Castle Nut Being a Little Too Small

What Recent Buyers Report

It is the best pistol buffer tube on the market which is widely used and appreciated. Almost every user review for this tube is a five star. People like its quality construction, lightweight, durability, and aesthetics. It is priced perfectly and functions flawlessly under all conditions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The buffer tube assembly is a complete buffer package for an AR-15 pistol. This will come in handy when you’re looking to attach your pistol brace of choice to it. It has been machined from aluminum that is designed to be solid, sturdy, and will definitely hold your brace in place. The nitrile foam pad offers perfect cheek weld and is resistant to abrasion, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. It also works perfectly with subsonic or supersonic loads. 

 While it may not be a stock, it is something that will get you as close to one with the brace intact. This includes the assembly itself: the buffer, spring, and the tube. It also has nitrile padding that is resistant to corrosion and cleaning chemicals.

Best of all, this buffer tube will resist extreme temperatures. So if you’re out in the extreme cold or in the sweltering desert heat, this buffer tube will handle it all. This will handle temperatures as low as -20 degrees to as hot as 220 degrees Fahrenheit (although it probably won’t ever reach that high anywhere in the world).

This will accept any mil-spec carbine buffer or spring. So if you have any extras lying around, then you’ll have a replacement handy in case the buffer or spring somehow fails. If you’re looking for a buffer tube that will work to your advantage, then the Phase 5 Tactical pistol buffer tube will probably be your best option.

Who Will Use This Most

The buffer tube is perfect for competitive and tactical uses. It is recommended to use this tube on your AR-15 pistol build, regardless of the purpose it will be used for. It also serves the needs of people who are looking for a good alternative to those expensive buffer tubes on the market. 

Bottom Line

The Phase 5 Tactical buffer tube is a durable, effective and efficient addition for your AR pistol build. It features a mil-spec endplate and accepts mil-spec carbine buffer and spring. The nitrile foam is comfortable and virtually indestructible. Plus the tube accepts a brace perfectly. 

Pros

  • Easy to Assemble
  • Fits Perfectly on Most Builds
  • Trigger Pull is Crisp with no Creep to Speak of

Cons

  • Bolt Catch May Break After 500 Rounds
  • PDW is Not Collapsible for Storage or Transport

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost every user of this receiver assembly seems to praise it unconditionally. The components of this kit have exceptional build quality and a smooth trigger. Another impressive fact for the buyers is the inclusion of a stabilizing brace, and the low price of the kit. The buyers of the kit just seem to love it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The first impressive factor is the comprehensive design of this lower kit. It includes the trigger mechanism and all other components needed except for a stripped receiver block. The stabilizing brace is an amazing addition, especially at this price point. The trigger is also quite smooth and will save the buyer a substantial amount of money.

Included in this kit are your lower parts that will fit in a pistol’s lower receiver. This includes your trigger assembly that has a crisp and light pull, thus making you get your shots off a lot quicker (including follow-up shots).

The best part about this kit is the brace that is included. This has three adjustable positions that will make it fit almost any shooter. If you’re looking to build your AR-15 pistol with the intent of it being use able for anyone, then you’ll need to find a kit that includes one of these adjustable pistol braces. While you won’t have a stock to add on, this is as close as your going to get to it.

Regardless of how you use it, you’ll have even better control over your pistol as opposed to using it without the brace. If you’re looking for something that’s as close to a tactical style build, then this lower build kit by PSA might be something that’s worth a closer look.

Who Will Use This Most

First-time pistol builders and people looking for a budget deal will definitely like this kit. The stabilizing brace helps with accuracy and is telescopic for adjustment. This kit is also great for people who require a low budget option for building an AR-15 pistol. Given its quality and performance, the kit is perfect for all kinds of applications it can serve.

Bottom Line

The lower build kit offers exceptional value for money. The adjustable brace offers stability, while the super build quality and lightweight design add to the shooting experience.  The components are very easy to install and work with and the resulting pistol falls no short from ‘perfection’. 

Make Your Own Pistol Kit

Looking to make your own kit? Below are the top parts you'll need to so do:

Pros

  • Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Fits Best with PSA Brand Uppers
  • Tough as Nails. Won’t Damage Easily

Cons

  • The Trigger May be a Bit Gritty
  • Not Available to Residents of California
  • Buffer Tube May Stick out a Little Farther than it’s Supposed To

What Recent Buyers Report

The users appreciate the build quality and the perfect price of this complete lower. People have used it with almost every caliber compatible with AR-15’s and have found this functioning perfectly well. The finish is just amazing and the trigger and buffer tube included makes it a great deal for the money.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Now we’ll be taking a look at individual parts that you might need for a “Make Your Own Pistol” kit. Let’s begin with the best receiver that is on the market. This honor goes to the PSA AR-15 Complete Classic Pistol Lower.

It is a complete AR-15 pistol lower with amazing quality and a good trigger. The lower is a simple drop-in addition to your pistol build and doesn’t require any extra additions. It doesn’t compromise with accuracy or weight, plus the price makes it a very reasonable product for every budget. 

This is a lower receiver that does not have a magazine included, so if you need one you’ll need to buy it separately. This is a complete AR-15 lower receiver that has a buttstock included. So it’s important to remove that so you can be able to make it more compatible with your AR-15 pistol.

This will fit many calibers like your 5.56 NATO or a .300 Blackout. If you’re looking for a lower receiver that will be a worthy addition to your building project, the PSA AR-15 complete classic pistol lower might be exactly what you need.

Who Will Use This Most

The lower is perfect for people who want a simple drop-in solution to build their AR pistol. The lower is complete and great for people building a pistol for the first time. Additionally, the plain buffer tube offers room for customization, in case you need to add a brace. 

Bottom Line

It is an inexpensive lower for a budget AR-15 pistol build. This multi-caliber lower has an un-notched hammer compatible with 9mm use, which makes it even more versatile. The receiver has a sturdy build and is easy to work with. 

If you need a good upper receiver for your AR-15 pistol, get one from the same brand. This way, you won’t have to deal with any guesswork when it comes to trying to fit it with other upper receivers. You’ve got a project to finish up and no time to waste. Once this is all assembled, you want to give it a spin at the range.

Pros

  • All Parts are Easy to Install in Minutes
  • Very Accurate Shooting Once Fully Installed
  • Easy to Customize with the Right Accessories (Scopes, Optics, Flashlights, Etc)

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Probably the most used components for AR-15 pistol builds are brought by Phase 5 Tactical. People who have bought this kit appreciate its completeness and the perfect quality of its parts. While buyers appreciate the build and quality of the kit, the value this kit offers overshadows its price to a vast extent

Why it Stands Out to Us

Next on the docket, we’ll be taking a look at the Phase 5 Tactical AR-15 Pistol Completion Kit. If you’re looking for the total package pistol kit, then you’ll probably want to take a look at this one in particular.

The most enticing part about using the kit is its completeness. It includes everything you need to complete your AR-15 pistol build. It doesn’t have the lower receiver but has the necessary parts required to assimilate one. The slope nose quad rail is accessory-ready and the auto-style bolt carrier can handle long firing sessions. 

All the parts you get in this kit are all drop-in parts that are easy to install in a matter of minutes. You won’t need to rely on a gunsmith to get this down nor do you have to worry about your lack of skills.

 Also included are your gas block and tube, forward assist, and flash hider among all the other upper receiver parts. This also includes a lower receiver with all the lower parts you need to ensure that this puppy will function a lot smoother than normal.

Once you put it all together with a buffer tube assembly, you’ll be ready to go for an exciting session at the range with your newly built AR-15 pistol. If you’re looking for the best of the best, then the Phase 5 Tactical AR-15 Pistol Completion Kit might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Who Will Use This Most

This kit is perfect for people who are trying to build an AR-15 pistol for the first time. It is a comprehensive set of components and will easily allow you to build a pistol without requiring expert assistance. People who frequently switch between rifle and pistol builds will definitely find it useful in the long run. 

Bottom Line

The Phase 5 Tactical build kit includes every part you need to build an AR-15 pistol. Everything that’s included just drops right in and fully functions upon initial use. You won’t have to scour the market for any other component except for a lower receiver. The resulting pistol from this kit will be extremely tactical and ready to accept accessories. Plus the 1:7 twist rate is just perfect for accuracy. 

Pros

  • Easy to Install
  • Increase in Accuracy is Almost Instant
  • Very Lightweight. Does Not Add Any Unnecessary Weight to Your Pistol

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

The barrel is easy to install and works flawlessly according to most buyer reviews. The chrome-moly steel construction and button rifling add to the precision, while the M4 feed ramps provide reliable cycling. The quality, fit and finish of the barrel is also amazing and a point of satisfaction among the users. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Phase 5 manufactures this 7.5" barrel from chrome-moly steel which ensures durability and provides a smooth surface to assist with cleaning. It’s as tough as nails and won’t easily damage. The feed ramps make cycling flawless and the barrel is precision air gauged to ensure optimal quality. It also comes with a barrel extension installed for convenience. 

This has a twist ratio of 1:7, making it a barrel that will give you the best accurate shooting possible. If you’re looking to make accuracy your thing with an AR-15 build, then you’re looking at the best possible solution.

Who Will Use This Most

The barrel is great for general uses like target practice, hunting and defense. The mil-spec barrel delivers precision and can withstand hours of continuous shooting. The barrel has muzzle threads to allow you to add muzzle devices, making it suitable for indoor range use.

Bottom Line

This barrel is a simple, easy-to-install and inexpensive option to complete your AR-15 pistol build. It features durability, works flawlessly and assists with accuracy due to its twist rate. 

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

Before you plan on building your AR-15 pistol, there are certain important considerations to keep in mind. First of all, an AR pistol utilizes the same parts as the normal rifle, except for the buffer tube assembly and the barrel. In simpler terms, it is an AR-15 rifle which doesn’t have a stock, a barrel shorter than 16 inches and an overall length under 26 inches. 

An AR pistol is a good alternative to SBR(short-barreled rifle) since it doesn’t require you to go through the NFA process. 

While an AR pistol has the same lower as the regular rifle, you’ll need to convert the gas system to pistol length if you are modifying your regular upper receiver for compatibility. Another important fact is that you cannot convert your AR rifle into an AR pistol legally. However, the reverse is possible. Also, you cannot add a stock to keep the pistol legal. 

Another legal implication states that you cannot add a vertical foregrip to an AR-15 pistol. However, you can use an angled foregrip if you want. 

The best part of using an AR-15 pistol is that you can carry it legally as a pistol in your vehicle if you want that extra-firepower to be always with you. 

Conclusion

The best AR-15 pistol kit for you is out there. You may want a full assembly kit, a receiver kit, or if you want something that’s stripped down. Either way, there is nothing more exciting than building an AR-15 pistol from the ground up.

Especially if you’re doing it for the first time. While most of the parts are easy to install, you’ll feel like you’ve professionally installed every nook and cranny of the gun once you’ve completed the project. Be sure to check to see if everything is working properly before you give it a test drive at the range. 

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