Finding the best AR-15 upper parts kit can be a challenge. But if you need all kinds of parts for your upper receiver, then obviously, a kit is what you’ll want. The question is: what exactly do you need? Do you want something that’s fully assembled? Or do you already have a stripped upper receiver and you simply need the parts?
Either way, there’s something out there for you. To start, we’ll be taking a look at the best AR-15 kits currently on the market. We’ve hand-picked five for our review. These are considered to be the best and stand head and shoulders over the low quality, cheap kits that are overall disappointing.
Before we get to our list, we’ll be discussing what an AR-15 upper receiver consists of. We’ll solve the mystery as to whether or not all kits are the same or if they’re different in some unique ways. Finally, we’ll give you a brief guide on how to choose the upper parts kit that best fits you personally.
Comparison of the Best AR-15 Upper Parts Kits
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What are the Components of an Upper?
An upper receiver has several components which each serve some kind of purpose. Without these parts, your upper receiver won’t be as effective in giving your AR-15 the best quality performance you are looking for. The following are a few components that every upper receiver should have:
Obviously, a barrel will be included in most upper receivers. A barrel plays a role in providing your AR-15 accuracy with every shot you fire. Most specifically, the barrel twist rate of a rifle will also determine the accuracy of the rifle itself. Most twist rates will be about 1:7 for rounds weighing at around 55 grains and up.
Rails and Handguards
Some rails and handguards can also help increase your accuracy game. For example, a good free-floating handguard or rail has been proven to improve the accuracy of an AR-15 rifle. Speaking of accuracy, there are also different rails you can use to fully customize your rifle.
For example, a good scope or optic can be attached to an M-LOK or a Picatinny rail. Either way, they are capable of accommodating all kinds of accessories you’ll need in order to get a more accurate and precise shot, regardless of application.
Are All Upper Parts Kits The Same?
The short answer is yes, and no. Let’s further explain this. They’re not all the same because they either are fully assembled or may come only with specific parts. For example, some uppers include parts like a rail or handguard, while others won’t. At the same time, the quality of the parts does differ among upper parts kits.
However, there are some upper receiver parts that may be interchangeable. For example, parts like the barrel or the rail/handguard of an AR-15 will most likely fit an AR-10 rifle, and vice versa. Not every part for each rifle will have this ability, though.
How to Choose an Upper Parts Kit
The smart thing to do is to know the distinction between a great upper parts kit from one considered cheap and crappy in quality. At the same time, you don’t want to grab an upper parts kit without knowing what’s included. You wouldn’t want to put it all together and suddenly find out something is missing.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll want to take a closer look at the following so you know exactly what to look for. Here are a few things that will help you choose the best kit:
Not every kit is created equal, so you should know what you need for your upper receiver. If what you need is included in the kit, it is obviously a good starting point. If you find an upper parts kit that includes parts you don’t need, you can always keep them around as spares in case of a malfunction. It’s good to have extras, just to be on the safe side.
On top of that, it saves you a lot of money. Not to mention, finding a kit that includes the parts you need saves money because you won’t have to buy them separately.
If you’re someone on a budget, the price will obviously play a role in how you choose your upper parts kit. The important thing to look for in a budget kit is if the parts included are high in quality. A low price tag will often be tied to low-quality parts that will easily break. However, there are affordable upper parts kits that do have high-quality parts. Finding the best upper parts kit you can afford is the rule of thumb here.
Most gun manufacturers in the United States hold quality to a high standard. In fact, they have strict standards and rules on how upper receiver parts are made. The United States has a reputation for creating high-quality guns and accessories, especially for an AR-15.
Some of the key materials to look for in the upper receiver parts are as follows: steel, aluminum, or polymer. All three are proven to withstand all kinds of punishment or damage. Polymer is also the go-to material used for AR-15 buttstocks. That’s because this is proven to resist water, oils, cleaning solvents, and even extreme weather conditions.
Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Upper Parts Kits
These are our recommendations for the best AR-15 upper parts kits:
Review of the Best AR-15 Upper Parts Kits
The following is a list of the five best AR-15 upper parts kits currently on the market. As you go through each of these, be sure to read them carefully so you know what’s included in each kit. You might be in search of a kit with only some of the parts you need.
Even if you get a kit with some parts you don’t necessarily need, it may be a good idea to keep those parts as spares. Things do happen where a spare part may be needed.
This list may also come in handy if you’re looking to either upgrade from your current upper receiver or if you’re currently building an AR-15 from scratch. With that said, let’s start with our choice for the “best overall” AR-15 upper parts kit:
First, we’ll be taking a look at the PSA Upper Build Kit and Classic Lower Parts Kit Combo. First off, you’ll notice that this is the total package. PSA has literally included both their upper build kit and their classic lower parts kit as one mega option that will have the AR-15 builders salivating.
If you have a building project planned out and need a place to start, this kit might be the best one to go with. So what’s included? Let’s dig in. First, let’s start with the upper build half. This includes your springs, clips, pins, and nuts. Also included is the forward assist with the pins and nuts that hold it all together.
Your lower parts kit includes the entire trigger assembly, plus other parts like your magazine catch and a pistol grip for better control over your AR-15. If you’re looking for something that will include all the parts you need for both your upper and lower receivers, this is the kit you’ll want. Even better is if you have both receivers completely stripped. All you have to do is install these with the right kind of tools and you’ll be in business.
This kit is perfect for those who want to start off their AR-15 building project with a bang (no pun intended). All the included parts will give you a pretty good head start. Plus, it saves you a lot of time and money. You won’t have to track down any of the parts separately, nor do you have to pay a ridiculous price for any of them.
This is quite the combo. And it’s well deserving of our “best overall” nod. If you’re looking for an upper parts kit that includes all the parts you need and then some, this PSA option might be exactly what you’re looking for.
This is an AR-15 builder’s dream and it shaves off a lot of time in terms of the building project as a whole. If you’re looking to save time and money for your building project, then this product should be one of the top choices on your short list.
Best For The Money:
Aero Precision - Upper Parts Kit
Now, we’ll be taking a look at the upper parts kit from the Aero Precision brand. If you’re looking for the best upper parts kit that will fit most budgets, then you’re probably going to take a look at this kit, in particular.
This includes the forward assist assembly with the spring and roll pin, the ejection port assembly that includes a cover door, cover spring, and a cover rod with a C-clip. If you’re looking for an upper parts kit that includes some of the most vital things to keep an AR-15 rifle functioning, this kit might be the solution.
All parts are made from high-quality materials designed to last you a long time and will also be tough to wear down. If you’re looking for parts that will hold its own after you’ve fired off hundreds of AR-15 rounds, this might be the best of the bunch. Especially when you don’t want to break the bank.
If you’re looking for some much-needed parts at an affordable price, the Aero Precision AR-15 Upper Parts Kit could be what you’re looking for. An ejection port assembly is great to have (plus it’s obviously needed) for faster ejection of your discarded rounds.
If you rely on a forward assist, then the assembly won’t steer your wrong, especially when you’re looking for something that will give you a reliable feed. If you’re looking for a simple to install upper parts kit, but on a budget, go with the Aero Precision brand.
Next, we’ll be taking a look at the Rise Armament Upper Parts Kit. If you’re looking for a brand that a lot of AR-15 owners are raving about these days, the Rise Armament is one that you’ll need to pay attention to. That’s because they create high-quality, dependable parts for an AR-15.
They even have an excellent upper parts kit that might be worth the buy. So what’s included in this? This comes with your forward assist assembly with the springs and pins. Also included is the ejector port door with a pin, door spring, and a C-clip. You get all the parts you’ll need to rely on in a simple to assemble and easy to install kit.
The Rise Armament brand is committed to manufacturing high-quality parts. And they prove that by constructing these parts using high-quality materials for superior durability. If durability and longevity are two things you hold to a high standard, the upper parts kit from Rise Armament might be the best product you’ll ever invest in.
The Rise Armament brand upper parts kit basically consists of both the forward assist assembly and the ejector port. So this is the product you’ll want if reliability is a high priority for your AR-15 rifle. Whether you’re building a rifle or looking for an upgrade for your current rifle, you can expect the reliability to be much better than your ordinary, stock ejector port or forward assist.
For the last upper parts kit on our list, we’ll be taking a look at the DPMS brand AR-15/M16 product. If you’re looking for a setup for an upper receiver that does not have a free-floating rail, this is the kit you’ll probably want.
This is available for different kinds of gas systems, so if you have a carbine gas system or a rifle gas system, there is a kit for it. Included is the stripped upper receiver, gas block, gas tube, barrel, bolt carrier group, handguard, and more.
This is the complete package if you’re looking to fully put together an AR-15 upper assembly. Of course, let’s not forget the all-important pins and springs designed to hold it all together. Also included is the ejector port assembly, flash hider, and forward assist assembly, among others.
This is one of the best upper receiver kits you might get. Not only do you get the much-needed parts, but you also have a kit that will fit the gas system you use. Before choosing this kit, double check to make sure which gas system your AR-15 rifle uses.
The DPMS brand product includes a good chunk of what you’ll need. The impressive thing is that it is available for every gas system. If you need a carbine gas system, there’s a kit for that, too. Rifle length? Yup, it’s there. Some people don’t like the idea of having a free-floating rail included on their rifle, which is fine if you’re one of them.
We won’t judge. But beyond that, if you’re looking for a nice stripped upper receiver with all the parts you need to make your AR-15 building project a success, the DPMS upper parts kit might be your best bet.
Next, we’ll be taking a look at the upper build kit from Brownells. This is a simple upper parts kit that includes a stripped upper receiver, a charging handle, forward assist assembly, ejection port cover assembly, BCG, and a whole lot more.
Forged from high-quality 7075-T6 aluminum and with M4 feed cuts that make sure your feeding is reliable every time you use your AR-15 rifle, this upper setup will fit the bill for many users. These parts are simple to assemble and easy to install. If you’re looking for something that you can put together with the greatest of ease, then this Brownells offering might be the best possible option for you.
This product comes in two different types: a tactical or premium upper kit. The difference between the two is that the premium has a Bravo BCM Gunfighter charging handle and the BCG is a Brownwells’ brand. No matter which you choose, you’ll get all the parts needed to ensure your AR-15 is fully functional with all the right parts.
The Brownells brand is one of the most reliable brands on the market. If you’re missing some parts, they’ll send them over to you as quick as possible. They have the most helpful and responsive customer service team around.
Aside from that, they also have an upper receiver kit that is high in quality, easy to assemble and install, and will work head over shoulders above stock upper receivers. Whether you’re looking for an upgrade or an addition to your AR-15 building project, the Brownells’ kit might be something worth a closer look.
The best AR-15 upper parts kit is out there. The question is: which one of these will fit you best? You’ll have all the parts you need and then some with several of these kits. It’s important to look at your current situation right now.
For example, do you have a stripped upper receiver? If so, get some of the parts that are missing. If you don’t have an upper receiver yet, some of these kits have them. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal needs. Find a great kit with all the parts you want and make your AR-15 rifle building project a complete success.