It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Aero Precision. We’ve been building our rifles with them for a very long time. We’ve owned other popular brands – Daniel Defense uppers, complete Sig Sauer rifles, and other bargain brand rifles. We love the value and quality from an Aero Precision upper, which really takes the cake compared to the others.
Value in building your AR15 upper receivers
We prefer to build our rifles – we feel it’s a better value. While we wouldn’t consider ourselves master gunsmiths – we do enjoy the challenge of building an Aero Precision rifle lower and Aero Precision upper receiver. We hope this guide gives you a great rundown of what an upper receiver is, what its parts are, what are the popular brands, and why you should buy one from Aero Precision.
What is an upper receiver?
The term upper receiver and upper is used to refer to an AR10 or AR15 upper receiver. This could mean a:
- Stripped upper – a forged upper, without handguards, barrel, buffer system, muzzle device, and upper receiver parts kit
- Upper receiver parts kit includes –
- Forward Assist (FA) Assembly
- FA Spring
- FA Roll Pin
- Ejection Port Door
- Ejection Port Cover Rod with c-clip
- Ejection Port Cover Spring
- Upper receiver parts kit includes –
- Assembled upper – a forged upper, with upper receiver parts kit, without handguards, barrel, buffer system, and muzzle device
- Complete upper – a forged upper, with upper receiver parts kit, handguards, barrel, buffer system, and muzzle device
As the terms above show – the complete upper is ready for the range with your lower receiver and other parts.
It’s important to note however that these configurations do not include a charging handle or bolt carrier group (BCG). If you purchased a complete rifle – it would include them. They are not included with Aero’s complete uppers.
They must be purchased separately. Some dealers however will cut you a deal – buy a complete upper and receive a discount on the BCG and/or the charging handle.
Who makes upper receivers?
While it serves us to tell you to only purchase Aero Precision’s upper receivers – it’s important to note that there are many other brands that manufacturer upper receivers in various configurations. Here’s a quick list of popular brands selling AR10 and AR15 upper receivers:
- Larue Tactical – Complete and stripped
- Daniel Defense – Complete
- Spike’s Tactical – Complete and stripped
I have to mention that Larue Tactical’s rifles were used at MARSOC. That’s all I can say – whether training, speculative assessment of their platforms, whatever. We saw the guys from Larue from time to time at my supply shop. If MARSOC can use them – so can you. These uppers include the charging handle and BCG. Expect to spend somewhere between $749 – $1,586 for a complete upper.
We’ve heard great things about Daniel Defense’s line of uppers and it seems the name is synonymous with quality. These uppers include the charging handle and BCG. Expect to spend between $1,156 – $1,838 for complete uppers with this brand.
Spike’s Tactical has a wide range of complete uppers configurations. As with most complete uppers – expect to spend less when the barrel length is shorter and more when longer. We do not have any experience with this brand but know it’s a mainstay of the AR15 community. These upper receivers range between $620 – $2,319.
Don’t limit yourself to a specific model or brand. Aero Precision lowers are built to specifications that will work with most AR15 upper receiver brands.
To Forward Assist or not to Forward Assist?
Some might call this the most important topic of all time. I feel like it’s not worth arguing too much about. It’s like the 9mm vs .45 argument for pistols – which is better? Depends. I get why the FA exists.
It’s meant to be a better way for the military to put a gun into battery when a bolt doesn’t go forward enough – improperly seating the round in the chamber. Instead of tap, rack, banging the gun into battery – a forward assist is an easy option to push that bolt forward a bit more and send lead downrange.
Buy Complete or Build?
Okay – so now we know the forward assist wasn’t the most important topic. The REAL important question is – should you buy complete or build?
Assemble and build your upper receiver
In the past I’ve worked to spread knowledge about Ballistic Advantage’s YouTube page that teaches you – from start to finish – how to build an AR15.
This situation is no different. They have videos for it.
Buy your upper receiver
While it gives you a ton of pride to build your own upper receiver – not every AR15 builder wants to deal with tuning the gas block.
Instead – buy a complete upper receiver from the companies above or from this site. This will quickly finish your build and get you to the ranger faster.
Do you need a FFL for upper receiver?
Some of you might wonder – do you need to ship the upper to a FFL? And the answer is … no. The ATF governs the lower receivers for AR15 and AR10 rifles. If you purchase an Aero upper receiver from Worth Firearms – it can ship directly to your home.
Are Aero uppers good?
We think so. Aero Precision’s quality and warranty guarantee is second to none.
We took one of their upper receivers out to the range at ETTS in Waxahachie, Texas and it was a load of fun. Even if all it had was iron sights (I think they’re actually plastic – does that count?) Worth Firearms sold my brother his lower receiver and we built out his first Aero Precision M4E1 together. I gave him some spare parts from other rifles I’d built – that’s why it has the FDE stock.
Matched with an upper receiver from Worth Firearms – the range day was a huge success.
Whether you decide to build your upper or buy it complete – you’ll find a lot of happiness and excitement in making these small decisions that will have a big impact on your shooting. Purchasing quality Aero Precision components from a store like Worth Firearms will make all the difference in your shopping and shooting adventures.