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Monday, April 8, 2019
AR-15 Buffer Tubes: Commercial vs. Mil-spec
Whether you're looking to learn more about your weapon, make some changes, or just brush up on your facts, it's important to know the difference between AR-15 buffer tubes. Today we'll take a look at the two basic types--commercial and mil-spec--and help you feel confident identifying the difference.
 
What is a Buffer Tube?
 
When it comes to AR-15 parts, you always want to know what you're dealing with. The buffer tube is an important piece and is responsible for making the rest of the rifle functional and reliable. Also known as the receiver extension, the buffer tube is the piece of metal sticking off the back of the gun; it's where the rifle's buttstock can be attached--and inside, you'll find the recoil spring and buffer mechanism.
 
Because commercial and mil-spec buffer tubes are not always interchangeable, it's helpful to be able to identify each unique type and understand what sets them apart.  This will also help you to choose the correct stock to fit your tube.
 
Commercial Buffer Tubes
 
The big thing to remember about commercial buffer tubes is that they have a larger diameter than their mil-spec counterpart. A micrometer will measure the diameter of commercial buffer tubes at about 1.168". They're technically the less expensive type, but that's only related to manufacturing costs and doesn't necessarily reflect performance or overall value.
 
Mil-spec Buffer Tubes
 
The mil-spec buffer tube was originally the only design. Its diameter measures at about 1.148", making it two-hundredths of an inch smaller--which means it's not interchangeable with the commercial variety. Generally, mil-spec is recommended when it comes to buffer tubes, despite being slightly more expensive.
 
There's a lot to know about AR-15 parts like buffer tubes. Contact us today if you have any more questions about what buffer tubes you are looking for.

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