The 101 on Firearms Attachments: Avoiding Overkill on Rifle Setups

With modern weapons systems, it is so easy to add on almost anything you want onto a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. Many systems do not require any permanent modification to the accessory or the weapon to be added. This is awesome when the budget is limited as you can take the light or scope off of one rifle and move it over to the one you want to take to the range today with nothing more than fifteen seconds of effort. On top of the ease of adding and removing items, there is a wide selection of items to choose from. There are lights, scopes, forward grips, bipods, iron sights, lasers, and a whole slew of other options. Just like anything, however, there is a balance to be maintained and you can add too much “awesome” to a firearm pretty fast.

AR15 BuildOne of the big attractions to the AR-15 line of rifles is the fact that you can have a semi-automatic rifle capable of holding 30 rounds and it weighs less than 8 pounds loaded. The other selling point is the ease of adding accessories and/or modifying the weapon. But, here is the balance portion. By adding a bipod, a light, a scope, a forward grip, a laser, and a larger-than-standard muzzle device, your rifle can now weigh in at 12-15 pounds, negating the original light weight of the system. If you need to hump over rough terrain for several miles at a time on little rest, that 12 pound rifle is going to quickly weigh 1,000 pounds. On top of the weight, if you need this rifle for any real fighting, it is going to be unwieldy and cumbersome.

Let’s look at how we can reduce the weight of the rifle, get all the functionality that we need, and make life easier. To do that, we need to ask a few questions. Once we ask those questions, we look at what works for those situations and build the weapons system according to that.

  • What is the weapon for? Home defense, long range shooting, SHTF, etc…?
  • Can you find an attachment that does multiple jobs? Forward grips can be makeshift monopods, while some have bipods built into them.
  • Will the weapon be used day, night, or both?

Now that we have answered those questions, we look at what items are used for what situation.

  • Home Defense (close quarters combat):
    • Light weight- We need to limit the amount of attachments
    • Optics that pick up targets quickly, day or night – Low powered optic that can be used with or without battery power
    • An easy to control light
    • Maneuverability – A forward grip that allows access to the light and helps control the weapon
  • Long Range:
    • Stability – this can be a bipod or a lightweight shooting bag
    • Long range optics
  • SHTF (if there is only one long gun)
    • Light to medium weight – Again, we need to limit the amount of attachments
    • Adjustable optics that can be used for close to medium range targets
    • An easy to control light
    • Maneuverability – A forward grip that can be used as a monopod (or one with a bipod built in) that provides easy access to the weapons light

If looked at this way, there is little reason to have a bipod and a forward grip on the same weapon. Likewise, with the ease in which attachments can be added and removed, there is little reason to have tons of items on the gun. Instead, decide what the weapon will be used for ahead of time and set things up accordingly. By planning things out, you can keep your rifle very functional and lightweight. Besides, too much stuff on a gun does not make you look cooler at the range.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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