8th Jul 2020
The AR-15 is the civilian legal version of the M4 — a weapon used by many U.S. military units, including the elite operators who belong to SOCOM (Special Operations Command). Since the introduction of the M4 in 1994, Navy SEAL teams, including SEAL Team 6 (DEVGRU) assault teams, have taken these rifles on operations across the globe. While the M4 is reserved for military and government use, you can set up your AR-15 to create a close replica of the weapon used by our nation's best military forces.
Creating a Special Forces AR Setup
Since these rifles are modular you can add parts and accessories for a configuration that works best for you just like special forces. Ownership laws for AR-15s and their components vary by state, and for some accessories, you will need to apply for a Class III Tax Stamp from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for permission to own.
Setting Up the Upper Receiver
Starting with the upper receiver, the easiest way to set your AR-15 up like a Navy SEAL is to buy a stripped upper receiver you can customize from the start, but if you already have your rifle, you can still swap most of your parts for the build you want. The upper receiver contains multiple components, including:
- The barrel: Shorter barrels allow for better control in close quarters combat. Without a Class III tax stamp, the lowest length you can go is 14.5 inches, and only if your muzzle brake brings the total length to 16 inches (measured from the bolt face) and has been pinned and welded in place for a permanent installation.
- The bolt carrier group: The SEALs put lots of rounds through their weapons in some of the most punishing climates. If you want the same performance under fire, upgrade your bolt carrier group and components.
- The charging handle: Standard charging handles are great for range use. In an active environment, you need an enhanced one you can quickly access — even with gloves on — to clear a jam or seat a fresh round.
- Sight and optics: If your AR-15 has a detachable carrying handle, or you are building out a completely new upper, be sure to include the right optics and a backup set of iron sights you can switch to if needed.
- Rails and attachments: With a compatible handguard, you can attach accessories including forward grips to minimize recoil, flashlights for illumination, other attachments and your choice of rail covers.
Setting Up the Lower Receiver
To balance out your upper, you will want to modify your lower receiver with improvements similar to those used in SEAL team armories. Upgrades you can install on your AR include:
- Pistol grips: Upgrade to an ergonomic pistol grip for faster trigger acquisition and improved control.
- Collapsible stocks: Switch to a collapsible stock to reduce the weapon's profile and compensate for gear.
- Trigger groups: Install a new trigger group for reduced pull weight and a faster reset.
Whether you have short-barreled personal defense weapon (PDW), a long barrel AR-15 for target shooting or another custom configuration, the right accessories are necessary to complete your build. Adding accessories can offer a variety of advantages, including improved performance, handling and weapons retention. To give your AR-15 the same look and versatility as those used by the SEALs, consider adding:
- A bipod or monopod
- Upgraded magazines
- A sling and sling adapter
Get the Parts and Accessories You Need to Set Your AR-15 Up Like the SEALs
To set your AR-15 up like a SEAL, visit Wing Tactical and choose from a wide selection of upgrades you can use to create the perfect build. At Wing Tactical, we are veteran-owned and we are shooters too — we only sell products we would use ourselves. For help putting together your build, please message us online.