You know, I am constantly reading lot of discussions on the inter-webs about how to properly build-out a lightweight AR-15… Most of the write-ups tend to center around the idea of K.I.S.S. which is indeed a very valid approach to a rifle setup. Other discussions center around “mission-specific” lightweight AR-15 builds especially for things like for 3-gun competition. In fact, I just so happened to run across such a build-out discussion today over at Team-WON in which Michelle shares with us her lightweight 3-gun rig that weighs in at 6.5 pounds without optics.
I also want to point out as just a bit of a side note, that we are starting to see a big push in the R&D section of the industry to bring out crazy lightweight AR-15s that I believe will make this whole discussion mute in probably a year or two. Can you say sub 5-pound rifle, boys and girls? Sure, I knew you could.
But here is my thing… everyone who talks about lightweight AR-15 builds always talk about 6 to 6.5 pounds as being that magical benchmark number for “lightweight”. So here is a pro tip for ya: How about you just go out and buy a Daniel Defense rifle. You know, those “Lighter. Stronger. Better.” guys down in Georgia, USA. They really are lighter… They are touting off the shelf weights of 6.3 pounds for their standard carbine with rail.
Heck, my Daniel Defense rifle in its current configuration is 6.5 pounds without optics and I could probably drop that down to an even 6 pounds just by finding some seriously light weight furniture and losing the rail.
My point here is that if you are seriously intent on “building” a lightweight AR-15, then do yourself a favor and go DD from the start and then figure out how to shave ounces from there. If you do then you are going to be starting off with a heck of a good rifle that is very lightweight from the jump. Its going to make the job of going lightweight much less of a headache. Still do your research and figure out the best way to go as light as possible with your setup, but dont overlook your starting point (as so many people do). Aftermarket components are certainly not the only way to get a lightweight AR-15.