Posted on

Our Biggest Giveaway To Date!

Ok guys and gals. We have almost finalized our 1,000 YouTube subscriber giveaway. This will not be a one person take all giveaway, instead there will be no less than 5, YES 5, winners. Prizes will consist of, at least, a Q-Series LLC. holster, Forest City Tactical, Great lakes Tactical muzzle break, Pmags and more!

What do you need to do?
Subscribe to the YouTube channel (see link below).
You also need to share the channel, this post, or one of our videos to get the word out!

 Shield & Sword Academy YouTube

Posted on

What You Need To Build Your AR15 Lower

There are many options for those contemplating building their own AR15 or AR variant.

If you are trying to build the cheapest AR15 possible with milspec parts you can often complete a rifle for under $700.

You can also build a top of the line rifle but at much greater expense.  The choice is yours!

This post will detail what you need and a few popular spots to get what you need.


To start with you will need a lower.  The lower, or receiver, is the only part of the AR15 that is serialized.  This means that the lower is the portion that must be purchased through an FFL, if purchasing new.  Think of this as the gun.  The rest of the rifle is simply “parts”.  The next thing you will need is a lower parts kit or a lower build kit.  These are two separate things.  A lower parts kit will still require that you buy a buffer tube, buffer spring and stock.  A lower build kit includes everything necessary to build your AR15 lower.

Tools You Will Want/Need To Build Your AR Lower

Castle Nut Wrench (Necessary)

MidWest Industries – $5.25

Lower Receiver Vice Block (Recommended)

Palmetto State Armory – $9.99

Rollpin Punch Set (Recommended)

Wheeler Engineering – $15.99

Now lets begin with the parts necessary to build the cheapest AR15 lower possible.

AR15 Lower

Palmetto State Armory – $49.99

Choose Either Option A or B to Complete Your Lower:

Option A

AR15 Lower Parts Kit

Palmetto State Armory – $44.99

AR15 Stock Kit

Palmetto State Armory – $39.99

Option B

AR15 Lower Parts Build Kit

Palmetto State Armory – $79.99


Now lets begin with the parts necessary to build a moderately priced AR15 lower.


AR15 Lower (4 options)

Palmetto State Armory Gasden Flag – $99.99

Anderson Manufacturing – $49.99

Aero Precision – $69.99

Spikes Tactical – $89.99

AR15 Lower Parts Kit

Rock River – $70.00

Enhanced Grip

Magpul MOE – $22.99

Enhanced Trigger Guard

Magpul MOE – $7.99

AR15 Buffer Tube Assembly

Spikes Tactical – $69.99

AR15 Stock

Magpul MOE – $39.99


Lastly lets look at the parts necessary to build a high quality AR15 lower.


AR15 Lower (4 options)

MEGA Arms Billet – $196.00

MEGA Arms Forged – $114.00

Noveske Billet – $318.00

Noveske Forged – $183.15

AR15 Lower Parts Kit

Daniel Defense – $99.00

Enhanced Grip

BCM – $29.95

Enhanced Trigger Guard (Not required for Billet Uppers as they have built in trigger guards)

Magpul MOE – $7.99

AR15 Buffer Tube Kit

BCM – $99.50

AR15 Stock

SOPMOD – $58.00

AR15 Trigger Upgrade

CMC Single Stage – $164.95


A few notes to take from this list.

This list is not meant to be something that you have to follow without deviation.  This list of parts is meant to give an idea, or guide if you will to follow.  You should feel free to interchange items between lists.  These are some of the best prices available as of January 2015.  When looking at some of the items listed you should realize that as price goes down, generally so does quality.  However, if you are like me and on a budget, you must make certain sacrifices to afford the parts and equipment necessary.  This list reflects the cost that could be cut to lower the price of your rifle, but do realize that as that price goes down your quality could go down as well.  Even the cheapest parts listed on this post are considered adequate but they will have less polish and possibly less quality standards than the higher priced items listed.

A prime example would be the AR15 lower.  Many lowers are created by the same manufacturers but then sold with differing stamps.  While one lower might be $200 and another $75, they could come from the same manufacturer and the reason for the different pricing is finishing and name brand.  This does not mean that higher priced lowers are not worth the price.  After years of buying AR15 lowers I have noticed that I now tend to purchase lowers in the medium price range.  This generally allows me to get a high quality lower with a great finish and complete milspec dimensions.  I say this because I have purchased extremely cheap through rather expensive priced lowers and very often I find that very cheap lowers have dimension issues.  While I would say that is the exception and not the rule, it is still something that happens the lower the price you go.

As you will note, if you are looking at building one of the cheapest, yet quality, AR15 lowers palmetto state armory is where you are going to buy your parts.  As stated in the above paragraph though, you will find that you might get a parts kit that is not to spec.  Before the gun and ammo craze a few couple of years back I purchased 3 lower parts kits from Palmetto State Armory to build a few rifles.  After hours of not being able to get my kit to work I sent it to a certified armorer and immediately he recognized that it was not his lower that was out of spec (as I originally thought) but instead the lower parts kit.  He swapped out the out of spec part and to my surprise the rifle worked without issue.  Out of 3 kits that I bought that day, only 1 had issues.  Now while that is 33.33% of the kits having errors, I have purchased no less than 5 other kits from Palmetto State Armory with zero issues.  I also know a large amount of fellow shooters that buy lower build or parts kits from Palmetto State Armory with the majority having no issues.

When we look at entering the mid-range AR15 market you will notice that Magpul is a big contender.  Magpul makes extremely high quality parts at very reasonable prices.  Their grips, stocks and trigger guards are some of the best in the mid range market and their prices are very competitive.

When we enter the high end AR15 market the first name that comes to most AR15 enthusiasts or professional users is Bravo Company Manufacturing USA, or BCM.  While their prices are generally higher than others, their quality cannot be beat.  I have never purchased an AR lower, part, upper or anything for that matter from BCM that did not exceed my expectations.  These parts are meant for the user that will run their gun and run it hard.

A company I want to promote that makes fantastic rifles and parts is 2Vets Arms.  One of the first rifles I built had an out of spec parts kits and while I am sure the the guys at 2Vets Arms wanted to tear me a new one, they calmly explained that the parts kit I sent was out of spec and that they replaced the out of spec parts and put the lower together properly for me.  This showed me that the company was looking to more than just make money.  They were invested in their customers.  I was able to hangout with one of the guys and his wife from 2VetsArms at the 2014 NRA AM.  I did not explain to him who I was or what I had done for him but I did buy him a beer.  I can definitely say he was an interesting guy and knows his stuff and gets a little crazy.  Either way this is a company to source what parts you can.


Let me know what what you think and your experiences with the parts listed or parts that were not listed.

What would you add to this list or remove?  Let us know.

Posted on

Incog Holster Review

Like many, I purchased a strong side hip holster for concealed carry after getting my license. I was satisfied with my holster; however, after taking a class that required drawing from multiple positions I recognized the efficiency that appendix holsters offer. Soon after that class I purchased an Incog holster from G-Code.

When I received the Incog the first thing I noticed was how different it was in comparison to traditional hybrid holsters that I was used to and it was not just the MagCaddy that made it different.  With traditional hybrid holsters a piece of leather is between the firearm and your skin. This layer of leather is supposed to make it more comfortable to wear the handgun all day.  The Incog on the other hand is made entirely of a polymer material and the outside is covered in “Tactical Fuzz” as G-Code calls it.  The“Tactical Fuzz” as it’s called is a soft material like you would find on a child’s blanket.  The “Tactical Fuzz” is so thin that it appears it would have little to no affect on the comfort of the wearer; however, it makes the Incog extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

After a wearing the Incog daily for over six months I signed up for Combat Focus Shooting with Safety Solutions Academy.  I ran the Incog for the eight hour 500 round course.  When the dust settled and the class was over I found Incog still in one piece with no wear, cracks, or damage.  The only complaint I noticed after the day was over was that occasionally the slide would come in contact with my boxers and I could feel how hot the slide was.  Not to the point that it burned me but I noticed the firearm.  More importantly, after the eight hour class in 85-95 degree Ohio summer with high humidity the Incog was still extremely comfortable to wear. The hybrid holsters that I was used to would eventually become hot and sticky at the point the leather comes in contact to the body.  I did not have this with the “Tactical Fuzz”on the Incog.

One of the leading reasons I bought the Incog played a great role during the Combat Focus Shooting course, the MagCaddy.  The Incog comes with an optional MagCaddy that attaches to the Incog and allows your holster to hold a magazine for your handgun next to your handgun.  My every day outfit requires a button up and tucked in dress shirt and makes carrying an additional magazine anywhere other than my pocket very hard.  The MagCaddy allows me to carry an additional 17 rounds at the ready in the same position every day.  During the Combat Focus Shooting this was a lifesaver, as we constantly performed speed reloads from the high compressed ready.  When a speed reload is required, drawing a magazine from you pocket is not ideal to say the least.

In conclusion I would give the Incog five stars.  The comfort, ease of use, weight, style and MagCaddy make the Incog the leading concealed carry holster if you are looking for an appendix carry style holster.  The only downside I really have seen with the Incog is that G-Code came out with Kryptek colors and the Blood Stripe after I purchase mine in black.

Yes I know that no one will see the holster unless I am drawing the firearm to protect my life or the life of a loved one but I am a bit vain it would seem.