Best Ruger AR-556 Accessories of 2019 – Upgrade Your Build!

One of the top benefits of the modern sporting rifle or AR-15 is the customizability. The Ruger AR-556 offers you an excellent, rock-solid, and affordable base upon which you can build your dream rifle by swapping out components and adding accessories.

But which accessories will really give you an edge? Read on to find out.

Comparison of the Best Ruger AR-556 Accessories

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Emod Stock Assy Collapsible Commercial

  • Features Quick-Detach Sling Mounts on Both Sides
  • Adjustable Length of Pull From 11.5 Inches to 15 Inches
  • Waterproof Compartments for Spare Batteries for Sights or Other Accessories
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AR-15 M4a1 Socom Block Ii 5.56 Stripped Upper Receiver

  • Comes With a Cold Hammer Forged Chromoly Steel Barrel
  • Free Float Handguard With SOCOM-Style Rails on Four Sides
  • Features a High-Grade Steel, Low-Profile Direct Impingement Gas Block
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Diamond Pattern Free Float Handguards

  • Features Four T-Marked Full-Length Picatinny Rails
  • Built of Hard Coat Anodized Aircraft-Grade, Mil-Spec Aluminum
  • Functional Diamond-Shaped Vents for Exceptional Heat Dissipation and Grip
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Brownells - AR-15 Assembled Upper Receiver Keymod 5.56 Nato

  • Includes a Dust Cover and a Forward Assist
  • Barrel Features a Twist Rate Suitable for Most Bullet Weights
  • KeyMod Mounting System Also Provides Effective Cooling and Easy Grip
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Tactical High Performance Cantilever Dual Ring Scope Mount

  • Scope is Secured in the Rings With Six Bolts Each
  • Cantilevered Design Offers Two Inches of Extra Eye Relief
  • Lightweight Design Occupies Three Inches of Picatinny Rail
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Colt - AR-15 Le6960-ccu Upper Receiver 5.56 M-lok

  • Thirteen-Inch Low Profile Handguard is Well-Vented
  • Features a Mid-Length, Low-Profile Gas Block, Colt's First
  • Handguard Features M-LOK Mounting Slots on Three Surfaces
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Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope 3-9x/40mm

  • 3-9x Magnification Range is More or Less Ideal for an AR-556
  • BDC Ballistic Reticle Engineered Specifically for the 5.56 NATO Round
  • Covered by a Lifetime Warranty Against Defects in Material or Manufacture
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AR-15 5.56 16" Black Diamond Specter Upper Receiver

  • Comes With Proprietary Yankee Hill Backup Flip-Up Iron Sights
  • Includes All Internal Components Including the Charging Handle and BCG
  • Continuous Picatinny Rails Smoothly Transition From Receiver to Handguard
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Magpul PMAG 30 5.56x45mm Magazine

  • Simple Disassembly That Doesn't Require the Use of Tools
  • Textured Gripping Surface and Flared Floorplate for Positive Handling
  • Durability and Reliability Proven Through a Litany of Tactical Deployments
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PSA 16" Mid-length 5.56 Nato 1:7 Nitride Freedom Upper

  • Rigorous Mil-Spec Design Using High-Grade Steel and Aluminum
  • Bolt Carrier Group is Chrome-Lined Inside and Parkerized Outside
  • Includes Internal Components Such as the Charging Handle and BCG
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MAGPUL - AR-15 MOE+ GRIP

  • Wraparound Rubber Overmolding and Crackle Texturing for a Firm Grip
  • Easy to Install, Can Optionally Add a Storage Compartment
  • Curved Beavertail Provides Great Comfort and Protects Your Hand
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CVLIFE 6-9 Inches Tactical Rifle Bipod

  • Legs Fold Up With Strong But Loose and Silent Springs
  • Five Length Settings With a Range of Six to Nine Inches
  • Comes with a Picatinny Rail Adapter to Mount to Your Handguard
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ETS C.A.M. Mag Loader for Rifles

  • Satisfaction Guaranteed and Covered by a Lifetime Warranty
  • Will Not Damage Your Magazine, Especially Keeps Feed Lips Safe
  • Works With Almost Any Rifle Magazine, and Definitely on Any AR Mag
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Accessories Perfect for Your Ruger AR-556

There are options to switch out and improve upon practically every component of your AR-556. Every control from the charging handle to the mag release can be swapped out, though the handguard is probably the most common candidate for an upgrade. In terms of add-ons that can be attached to the various rail systems, the sky is also the limit, though optics, lights, lasers, and front grips predominante.

Stocks

Replacing your stock can provide improved durability and build quality, but the main reason shooters update their stocks is probably for fit. One major key to shooting well is the ability to whip your firearm up into the optimum shooting position in an instant. This requires the right length of pull and cheek weld. Different users prefer different shapes of buttplates and different softnesses of the buttpad. It all comes down to fit and personal preference.

Pros

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Three Waterproof Compartments for Extra Batteries
  • Mil-Spec Quick-Detach Sling Swivel Mounts on Both Sides

Cons

  • Not the Cheapest Option

Vltor was established in 2001 in Idaho. Its Emod stock has become something of a classic. It has a unique clubfoot style, meaning the angle from the bottom of the buttplate to the receiver forms a dogleg shape. The toe is also unique, slightly wider and longer than that of a regular M4 stock.

It has an obvious negative pitch, which makes the transition from the ready position feel more natural. The five-position adjustable length of pull has a range of 11.5 inches to 15 inches. It includes a carbine spring and buffer kit, a proprietary lock plate, and a proprietary lock nut. It also comes with a rubber buttpad and a strike plate.

The stock features standard mil-spec quick detach swivel sockets on both sides. It is constructed of impact and temperature-resistant polymer and is available in black, tan, or green, all with a matte finish. Overall weight comes in at 14 ounces.

A unique feature is the inclusion of three waterproof battery compartments for backup power for something like a reflex sight. The two compartments under the cheek weld each hold four CR123 batteries or three AA batteries. The waterproof compartment in the clubfoot can hold two double As.

Bottom Line

The aesthetics of this stock are great, it looks unique and a bit mean. The top features are the little things, the compartments, the QD mounts, and the adjustable length of pull. It's a great option if you want something a bit unique.

Handguards

Handguards both perform various key functions and add a lot of character to your AR. They should be comfortable in the hand, protect the gas block, diffuse heat, and allow for easy mounting of accessories.

Of course, they should also look mean as hell. Options abound here, divided first into drop-in and free float. Both have their benefits, though free float handguards tend to be higher-grade and more costly, as they do not affect barrel harmonics and thereby accuracy. For rails, you usually have a Picatinny or universal rail up top, and often on three other sides as well, although KeyMod and M-LOK are taking over in this arena.

Pros

  • All Four Full-Length Picatinny Rails are T-Marked
  • Made in the U.S.A. and Covered By a Lifetime Warranty
  • The Overhanging Top Rail is Flush With the Receiver Rail
  • Manufactured Using High-Grade 6061 T6 Aluminum and Mil-Spec Hard Coat Anodization
  • Strong Yet Wide Diamond-Shaped Vents Look Mean and Keep the Barrel and Your Hand Cool

Cons

  • Installation Requires the Yankee Hill Nut Wrench

This free float handguard from Yankee Hill is outstandingly functional and attractive. No surprise, as Yankee Hill is one of the giants of the modern sporting rifle field. Yankee Hill started establishing its enviable reputation in the 60s with a military contract for M16 cleaning rods.

This free float handguard pushes the envelope of both aesthetics and practicality. The four full-length rails give you maximum versatility in mounting third-party components. Between those rails, this handguard has diamond-shaped vents that not only look really sleek, but also provide excellent ergonomics. Of course, this vent design also cuts down on heat better than many competing handguard designs.

The hard coat anodized aluminum is aircraft-grade, meeting military specifications. This handguard is available in three lengths, seven, nine, and twelve inches. It will fit over any low-profile gas block. It ships with all the mounting hardware necessary, including a jam nut, barrel nut, and anti-rotation screws.

Yankee Hill end caps are available separately. The top rail extends over the barrel nut to provide a seamless transition from the receiver rail. The slots on all four rails are alphanumerically T-marked to guaranty consistent remounting.

Bottom Line

This is a top-quality handguard bringing the most in functionality and looks. The top features are the diamond venting design and the smooth transition from receiver rail to handguard rail.

Scope Mounts

This is one area where you don't want to economize. Scope mounts guarantee that your optic holds zero no matter how much punishment you subject it to. Not everyone keeps back-up sights on their rig, meaning that scope mount reliability could be a matter of life and death. They come in fixed or quick detach varieties. The latter can be instantly removed with the flick of a lever or two, perhaps to switch to an alternative sighting option. Mounts with vertically split rings are superior in alignment and grip, but a bit harder to mount.

Monstrum Offset Cantilever Dual Ring Scope Mount | 1 inch Diameter (Black)

Pros

  • Attaches to Three Inches of Picatinny Rail With Two Thumb Bolts
  • Six Bolts Secure the Scope to Each Ring With Six Bolts, Ensuring the Greatest Security
  • The Two-Inch, Off-Set Design Increases Your Eye-Relief and Decreases Target Acquisition Time

Cons

  • Not the Smoothest Finish

Monstrum started in 2008 in SoCal. They've come a long way in ten years, building a nice little reputation for themselves. A solid scope mount is vital, and you can rest easy knowing that this mount has all the features necessary to hold zero no matter what you throw at it. This scope mount works only with standard one-inch scopes.

The single-piece construction ensures perfect alignment, negating the need to bother with lapping the rings. It is guaranteed not to tweak or damage your scope straight out of the box, unlike separate rings. The cantilevered design gives you a greater range of options for eye relief, potentially giving you a wider field of view and quicker target acquisition.

Each ring is secured with six bolts, about the maximum you can get, to guarantee that it holds zero in rough situations. It mounts to the standard top rail on your AR-556, but could easily be switched out temporarily to any weapon with a spare three inches of Picatinny rail. The mount is made of lightweight but tough 6061 aluminum alloy and weighs a mere nine ounces. It is covered by a 100% risk-free lifetime warranty.

Bottom Line

This is an excellent scope mount, especially for the price. The top features are the cantilever and six-bolt design. This model really punches above its weight.

Scope

Reflex sights are all the rage on modern sporting rifles, but if you really want to reach out and touch something over about 150 or 200 yards, a scope makes all the difference in the world. Options abound and it can be very hard to know what to pick.

Modern AR-style rifles are designed mostly for the sub-400 yard ranges that the military mostly experienced in places like Iraq. This makes something like a 1-4x magnification popular for an AR-556.

It gives you a wide field of view at short range while providing adequate magnification at farther distances. A fixed 3x magnification can also be great, but the best all-around option with good long-range reach is probably a 3-9x.

Best Ruger AR-556 Scope:
Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x/40mm

Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets and Side Parallax, Matte Black, 3-9x/40mm

Pros

  • Backed Up by a Lifetime Warranty
  • Features a BDC Ballistic Reticle with Aim Points Calibrated Specifically for the 5.56 NATO Round
  • The 3-9x Magnification Range Gets the Most Out of Your AR-556 at Longer Distances With Minimal Sacrifices in Close Range Field of View

Cons

  • Somewhat Heavy
  • Will Not Fit Most Low Scope Rings

Bushnell is a well-respected American optics manufacturer out of Kansas. This model is their construction of an ideal scope for the AR platform, and it's safe to say that it is a success.

The magnification range of three-nine times is optimal for squeezing the complete benefit out of the 5.56 NATO's effective range without sacrificing a lot of field of view at close range. This scope has a BDC ballistic reticle engineered specifically for 5.56 NATO cartridges that contain bullets with weights between 55 and 62 grains.

The crosshair is dead on at 100 yards and the reticle boasts further aiming points up to 500 yards. The lenses are fully multi-coated and O-ring sealed as you would expect.

To prevent fogging, the anodized aluminum tube is nitrogen purged. The target turrets are thick and tactile and adjust a quarter MOA per click. The scope boasts side parallax adjustment and a fast focus eyepiece. Eye relief is quite typical, if a little short at 3.5 inches.

The assembly for the erector cap is located beneath the control housing and may prevent you from using low scope rings, depending on the standards of the scope ring brand. At 19 ounces, this unit is rather on the heavy side.

A lifetime warranty ensures you won’t receive a shoddy piece of workmanship and that if you experience problems, they will take care of any issues.

Bottom Line

The BDC reticle and the magnification range are the top features that make this the best scope for your Ruger AR-556.

Magazines

The key things to look for in magazines are durability and reliability. Obviously, there are various capacity options available based on preference and local laws, with 30-rounds being standard. Polymer technology has come a long way and offers the benefit of being both robust and light. They can also come translucent or offer round counter windows to index how many rounds remain.

Aluminum and steel are also great options, the latter being the heaviest. Two key components of the magazine are the feed lips and the follower. Feed lips should be metal, ideally steel, to prevent wear. Damaged feed lips make a magazine useless. The follower should be anti-tilt for reliable feeding.

Pros

  • Easy to Disassemble Without Tools
  • Anti-Tilt and Self-Lubricating Floorplate
  • Simple Handling and Effective Extraction Using the Textured Surface and Flared Floorplate
  • Wildly Popular With military and Law Enforcement, Reliability Proven in Real-World Deployment

Cons

  • Does Not Have the Additional Features of the Gen-3, but is More Affordable

Magpul was founded in 1999. Its first product was a run-of-the-mill magazine reloading helper. Since then, Magpul has risen to dominate the AR-style rifle accessories field. PMAGs have helped to cement that domination in the magazine market. A 30-round, Gen-2 PMAG is a classic, bomb-proof, and inexpensive option.

These mags are made of a high-tech impact and crush-resistant polymer. The internal geometry is characterized by a constant curve to ensure smooth feeding. The follower design sets the PMAG above most of its competitors. It has been designed to have anti-tilt and self-lubricating properties for the utmost reliability.

Underneath it, you find a stainless steel corrosion-resistant spring that also works in military issue magazines. In terms of handiness, the PMAG has a textured gripping surface and a flared floorplate for positive handling and magazine extraction. Disassembly is simple and doesn't require the use of any tools. These mags have more than proved themselves in a plethora of military and law enforcement use cases over the decades.

Bottom Line

The Magpul Gen-2, 30-round PMAG is a classic choice; you can't go wrong with it. Taken into action with confidence by the boys in green and blue, this is a legendary mag that is perfect for a Ruger AR-556.

The main features of the Gen-M2 PMAG are the anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower, the flared floorplate, and the simple disassembly. The lower price than the Gen-M3 version will be attractive to many.

Grips

Replacement grips offer better ergonomics. Again, this is a matter of fit and personal preference. Things to consider are your hand size and which grip angle, standard or reduced, is most comfortable for you. Some shooters prefer palm swells, beavertails, or finger grooves. You have options in texture as well, rubberized versus hard finish and smooth versus aggressive texturing.

Best Ruger AR-556 Grip:
MAGPUL - AR-15 MOE+ Grip

Pros

  • Easy to Install
  • Optional Storage Compartment
  • Tough, High-End One-Piece Polymer Construction
  • Features Crackle Texturing and Wraparound Rubber Overmolding
  • Curved Beavertail Protects the Web of Your Thumb and Offers Comfort

Cons

  • Beavertail Fit is a Bit Loose
  • Storage Door is Hard to Open

Magpul is the 800-pound gorilla of the modern sporting rifle accessories market. You can spend thousands of hours with range rats and real-world tactical operators and never hear a harsh word said about Magpul.

Although choosing the right grip is a matter of fit and preference, this Magpul MOE+ is a great place to start. It is constructed of a single piece of high-tech, impact-proof polymer and features wrap-around rubber overmolding. There is a crackle texture on the sides and deep horizontal grooves on both the backstrap and the front strap. The height is 4 inches and the thickness maxes out at 1.2 inches.

The grip angle is a standard 25 degrees. The feel is very similar to a standard medium-sized, military-issue MIAD grip. A curved beavertail, similar to the one on the MIAD B2 insert, gives good comfort and protection to the web of your thumb. The hard polymer bottom edge reduces snags and fumbles.

Optional storage cores are available to turn the bottom into a storage hatch. The MOE+ is available in black, tan, grey, or green and is easy to install. Overall weight with hardware is a mere 3.4 ounces. Like all Magpul products, it is made in the U.S.A.

Bottom Line

Magpul is always a safe choice no matter what accessory you need. The best feature of this grip is the comfortable geometry, especially with the beavertail.

Bipods

A bipod can be crucial for longer range accuracy. Bipods usually telescope, offering a variety of height ranges depending on your needs, with 6-9 inches offering a happy medium. As shooting terrain is rarely smooth and predictable, the ability of a bipod to tilt or rotate comes in very handy. Also, different bipods will mount to different rail systems or sling swivel mounts, so it's important to match it to what you have available.

CVLIFE 6-9 Inches Tactical Rifle Bipod Adjustable Spring Return with Adapter

Pros

  • Picatinny Rail Adapter Included
  • Features a Quick Detach Sling Swivel Mount
  • Silent Springs are Strong But Loose, Allowing You to Fold Up the Legs Silently
  • Legs are Adjustable to Five Height Settings Within a Range of Six to Nine Inches
  • Rugged Construction Featuring Aircraft-Grade 7075 Aluminum and Hardened Steel

Cons

  • Rubber Feet are Not Very Durable
  • Overall Build Quality Leaves Something to be Desired

CVLIFE is a bit of an enigma. The best I can judge is that it is not based in the U.S.A., but somewhere like China. The kitten memes on their Twitter feed aren't exactly something you see with H&K or Magpul. Despite basically being a low-brand-recognition company, CVLIFE's bipods are a resounding success in the shooting community, probably because they get the job done reliably for a very affordable price.

At ten ounces, it is also reasonably light. Nevertheless, the construction uses quality hardened steel and aircraft-grade 7075 anodized aluminum. The silent (more accurately, 'not loud') springs allow you to deploy the bipod legs without betraying your presence and location.

The six to nine-inch leg length range includes five length settings to let you adjust to just the right height to make your shot. Underneath, there is a quick detach swivel stud. It also comes with detachable rubber foot pads. It attaches to your Ruger AR-556 with an included Picatinny rail adapter.

Bottom Line

CVLIFE may be an unknown entity, but they seem to employ some pretty sharp engineers. The best features of this bipod are the included Picatinny mount adapter and the QD sling swivel mount.

Speed Loader

Loading a mag by hand is a boring waste of time. Modern sporting rifles like the Ruger AR-556 may not be stripper clip compatible, but the next best thing is a speed loader. Given the savings in time and the affordability of the average speed loader, the cost-benefit ratio is an absolute no-brainer. When choosing one, look for durable materials and a reputable manufacturer.

Best Ruger AR-556 Speed Loader:
​ETS Speed Loader

Pros

  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Rugged and Portable
  • Backed By a Lifetime Warranty
  • Easy to Use, a Great Time-Saver
  • Works Best With Common 20-Round Ammo Trays
  • Compatible With Almost Any Rifle Magazine and Certainly With Any AR Magazine

Cons

  • Requires Lubrication

This is basically a stripper clip that you can fit on any rifle magazine and use the same way. Plus, it lets you easily scoop rounds from an ammo tray and smoothly feed them into your mags. Besides scooping up rounds, the loader works well with 20-round boxes of ammo or simply with loose rounds. Not only does this save a lot of time, but it also saves you from experiencing the bane of any shooter, mag thumb.  

It is constructed of a durable polymer and, crucially, will not damage the feed lips on any of your mags. It is small, portable, and easy to keep in a range bag or somewhere like a glove compartment or bug-out kit. It is covered by a lifetime warranty and is made in the U.S.A.

Bottom Line

If you have used stripper clips on something like an old M1A, you will be right at home with this device. Life is short, why waste it loading mags one-by-one, especially if you have followed our guide on the best AR-556 mags and stocked up with dozens? The best features of this speed loader are the universal compatibility, the feed lip-safe design, and the fact that it's made in the U.S.A. The lifetime warranty is nice to sweeten the pot, too.

Conclusion

The Ruger AR-556 gives you endless possibilities for customization. After shooting it for a while in different scenarios you should get an idea about what the most important upgrades for your physique and preferences are. We're sure you can find some of the best options on our list.

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