Gun Kits: Customizing Your AR for Recoil Mitigation

Gun Kits: Customizing Your AR for Recoil Mitigation

Mar 23rd 2024

The AR-15 has been called America’s Rifle not only because of its popularity but because of its versatility. You can make an AR into a long-range platform, a self defense rifle, or a hunting rifle. You can use them for competitive shooting disciplines, too.

The AR has likely not been called America’s Rifle because of how modular it is, but that remains a fact nonetheless. You can swap out parts on an AR or MSR painlessly and with minimal effort.

This makes it possible to customize these platforms in a wide variety of aspects that impact performance.

This includes recoil mitigation, and there’s a lot you can do on this front. Let’s talk about some changes you can make if you’re starting with a gun kit for an AR-15 style platform.

What a Gun Kit Includes (and Doesn’t)

Before we can talk about recoil reduction, we need to see what comes with a gun kit like an AR-15 kit (as well as what doesn’t).

As a jumping off point, let’s take a look at one of the AR15 kits we offer here. These AR15 kits are fairly comprehensive and contain everything you need except for the lower receiver (they also don’t come with slings or magazines, but other than that are fairly complete).

But, there are some parts you might want to swap out if your goal is recoil reduction, which, when done properly, can yield a rifle that shoots so smoothly you’ll barely feel it at all.

                    gun kits

A Threaded Barrel (and Compensator)

These AR-15 gun kits do come with a barrel that has a flash hider installed, but if your purpose here is to slash recoil, you’re going to want to swap that or the barrel or both.

If you swap the barrel, make sure you get another with a threaded muzzle. That way you can add a compensator, which is a special muzzle device that can cut felt recoil by as much as 50%, in some cases, more, without adversely affecting shot power.

The value of a compensator here cannot be understated, as they also strongly combat muzzle flip, keeping your sights on target, enabling you to make faster, more accurate follow-up shots.

A Bolt Carrier Group with an Advanced Coating

As you can see from the included picture, these AR15 kits do come with a bolt carrier group, but not the kind you want if you’re looking to eliminate recoil.

For that, you will want a new bolt carrier group with an advanced modern coating like a nitrided finish, or a nickel boron or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating. Even a hard chrome BCG would be better.

Now, admittedly, this is one of the least impactful changes you can make if the purpose is to cut out recoil, but it’s better than nothing.

It’s like this: the more permanent dry lubricity the bolt carrier group exhibits, the smoother the cycling will be, and the smoother the cycling, the less felt recoil there will be. A small change, but a change nonetheless.

A Heavier Buffer Weight

Our AR15 kits come with a buffer tube that’s ready to install, but if you’re finding recoil a bit too punishing, then one quick thing you can do without making any other adjustments to the platform is to swap it out for a heavier buffer weight.

Throwing a heavier buffer weight into the buffer tube increases the reciprocating mass of the rifle. That is, the first thing the BCG has to do before any of the forces or recoil can be diverted into your shoulder is overcome the stationary resistance of the buffer weight’s mass.

That alone helps absorb some of the felt recoil, without needing to make any other changes to the rifle. Just be aware that if you make the weight too heavy it can cause cycling problems, so it’s something you might need to experiment with. 

Adjusting the Gas System

Last but not least you can also make some adjustments to the gas system. Here’s the thing, most AR-15 rifles are a little bit overgassed to begin with. This makes them stiffer, harder shooting and makes them produce more felt recoil.

You can install an adjustable gas block to change the pressure of the gasses used to cycle the bolt carrier group, but be aware of this - undergassing a rifle will cause jams, as the BCG will not fully extract or reset if there isn’t enough gas pressure.

It’s a delicate balance and one that’s best undertaken by a gunsmith. Here are our two cents: install a compensator and a heavier buffer weight before you mess with the gas system. 

                  gun kits

Starting the Project with a Quality AR Gun Kit

Gearing up for a home build project? Start with a gun kit from SARCO, Inc. We carry the other parts you’ll need to customize the build, too. Get them here and if you don’t see what you’re looking for get in touch with us at 610-250-3960.