How Much Does An AR15 Weigh? The Pounds Behind Each Component

A rifle together with an army's backpack on the ground

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Coined 'America's Rifle', the AR15 is a lightweight, semi-automatic rifle named for ArmaLite, the company that developed it. Originally manufactured for hunting and the military, these rifles have found their home in the commercial marketplace as a modern sporting rifle. With various demands for hunting, military, sporting and recreation, the AR15 rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold today! But even an experienced shooter will have occasion to ask how much does an AR15 weigh?

The weight of a rifle, including its accessories, is crucial to know if you want to capitalize on the functions of the firearm and improve your shooting experience. Rifle manufacturers are consistently making improvements to their designs to offer hunters and rifle enthusiasts reliable equipment. So do not worry, we have gathered everything you need to know!

How Much Does an AR15 Weigh?

black themed armed person aiming his ar15 to something

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Figuring out how much does an AR15 weigh is not as simple as you might think. The AR-15 is known as America's rifle and is one of the most customizable rifles on the planet, so coming up with an exact weight completely depends upon what attachments or accessories you do or do not have.

The Basic Gun

However, as a starting point, the average unloaded AR-15, complete with a 16” barrel and your standard iron sights, stock and handguard, weighs approximately 6.5 lb (3 kg). When the AR-15 is loaded with a 30-round magazine of .223/5.56 bullets, this will add an additional 1 pound (0.5 kg).

So, all in all, your stock standard AR-15, with no extra attachments or accessories, and loaded with a 30-round magazine of .223/5.56, will weigh approximately 7 lb (3.5 kg).

This is by no means an absolute figure and should only be taken as a rough estimation. There are so many additional options for configurations and accessories that you can customize an AR-15 to be ultra-light, weighing under 4 lb (1.8 kg) or to be a long-range rifle that can weigh in over 10 lb (4.5 kg). The possibilities are limitless, but if you're after an exact figure of weight for the accessories or attachments you have on your AR-15 then continue reading for an extensive list.

The Weights of AR15 Accessories

As briefly mentioned, the list of accessories and attachments available on the market for an AR-15 number in the thousands.

​Researching all of these options would take a long time, but we've compiled a list of some averages for the most popular attachments:

  • Red Dot Sight: 0.3 lb (0.14 kg)
  • Scope (3-9x): 0.9 lb (0.41 kg)
  • Magnifier: 0.8 lb (0.34 kg)
  • Foregrip: 0.2 lb (0.1 kg)
  • Tactical Light: 0.3 lb (0.14 kg)
  • Bipods: 0.5 lb (0.22 kg)

If you happen to have an AR-15 equipped with all the above listed attachments and accessories, you can expect your rifle, loaded with 30-round magazine of .223/5.56, to weigh close to approximately 10 lb (4.5 kg).

 

We hope that we have helped you to answer the question, ‘how much does an AR15 weigh?' Now, let's get into some weight saving tips that will help you improve your overall performance.

 

Weight Saving Tips for an AR15

The main reason why you're probably asking yourself, ‘how much does an AR15 weigh', is because you're looking for ways to reduce the overall weight of your own AR15. Since we've already covered the weight of the AR15's basic components, the next and best places to start trimming unnecessary weight would be from the heaviest. Read on to look at a few handy tips.

​Swap Out Your Barrel

The best place to start trimming weight from your AR15 is at the barrel. Generally, barrels can be some of the heaviest components, so finding the right customization and fit can yield efficient and effective results. There are two main methods to reduce weight at the barrel of an AR15: shortening or fluting.

Shortening

The easiest method of the three is to shorten the barrel. Obviously, you must make sure you are abiding by local laws when it comes to altering the length of your barrel, but switching to a slimmer profile or having it shortened is one of the most effective AR15 weight loss tips.

Fluting

Fluting is another effective option which entails purchasing a barrel that is ‘fluted'. Other than having a pleasing aesthetic, fluted barrels, which have the distinct exterior spiral grooves, are used competitively by a rifleman to reduce the weight of their rifles in sports.

Bolt Carrier Group (BCG)

This is another reasonably heavy component of a rifle. The BCG is often referred to as the heart of the AR15, as it's responsible for loading a new round into the chamber, firing, extracting and ejecting the spent casing, as well as cocking the hammer.

There are makes and models of BCG's available on the market that can trim weight down off your AR15 when compared to stock standard components.

Buttstock

This is also a handy component to customize or swap out that can save a decent amount of weight. Depending on what you're using your AR15 for, whether it's for recreational shooting at the range or for competitions, swapping out your buttstock can give you faster transitions of target to target.

Lighter Rail

There are many options for different lightweight rails, so your only limit is your budget. If you have limited accessories on you AR15, then you'll be wasting weight with big quad rails. Taking a closer look at the attachments you want on your AR15 will inform you of what kind of rail you need, thus helping you make efficient use of weight.

Optics

Once again, this depends on what task you will be using your rifle for, whether it will be close quarters or long range. Customizing your rifle to suit your needs when you're using it can help you to obtain an effective weight for your AR15. Large optics can be heavy and cumbersome, so if you're not using your rifle at long range, it would be best to swap them out.

Lights

Lights can be extremely bulky and unnecessary in most civilian situations. However, there are many lightweight options available on the market, so just look at your needs and the task, and then customize from there.

 

The ergonomic design of the AR15 makes the charging handle, selector (safety) switch, magazine release, and bolt catch assembly easy to access. Its accessories play an important part in the overall weight of the AR15, just like its additional features.

 

What Are Some Features of an AR15?

AR 15 rifle on top of black cloth with ammo

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In addition to the accessories on an AR15, it is important to know the various features that also contribute to the rifle's weight and functionality.

​The most notable features include:

  • Lightweight, small caliber, high-velocity rounds (.223/5.56x45mm)
  • Various optical aiming devices
  • Magazine capacity ranges from 10 to 30 rounds or more
  • Machinable, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight aircraft grade forged 7075-T6 aluminum receiver
  • Synthetic pistol grip and butt stock which won't swell or splinter in harsh conditions or weather (regulated in some states)
  • Adjustable front sight for elevation (some models also feature adjustable rear sight for elevation)
  • Adjustable rear sight for windage
  • Short or long stroke gas piston for the direct impingement gas system or the direct blowback operating systems
  • Reduced muzzle climb which eliminates the fulcrum created by traditional bent stocks
  • MILSPEC standard of 4 MOA Accuracy

It is also worth noting that most modular designs can be easily adapted to fire numerous other rounds and can be enhanced to allow for the use of after market sights, vertical forward grips, lighting systems, night vision devices, laser-targeting devices, muzzle brakes/flash hiders, sound suppressors, bipods, etc, all of which makes repair easier. These will also change the weight of your rifle in one direction or another.

History of the AR15

Before the US National Shooting Sports Foundation recognised the AR15 as a modern sporting rifle, it existed in heavily modified military form in the M14 rifle, which was difficult to control, significantly heavy, and outmatched by the AK-47. The M14 was then developed into the M16, which would eventually replace the M14 rifle in the Vietnam War. Eventually, a civilian version was made by ArmaLite: one without automatic features and with a few other changes. This was the AR15.

 

The patents for the AR15 were later sold to Colt's Manufacturing Company and remain trademarked to America's father of firearms, Samuel Colt. In 1964, an improved semi-automatic design emerged as the Colt AR-15. Today various companies produce versions of the AR15, which means that weights may change significantly from weapon to weapon.

Conclusion

Understanding the components and accessories of this modern sporting rifle will ultimately improve your overall target success when shooting and improve your confidence when handling an AR15. So take time to familiarise yourself with your rifle and then practice with a target! We hope this article has provided you with the information you need to answer how much does an AR15 weigh!

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