Are AR 15 Barrels Interchangeable?

If you don’t have a good guess about the answer to this blog title’s question, you probably haven’t been paying a ton of attention to our blogs. Or to the AR 15 community in general. For those of you who are new to the AR community or doing some research before you make your purchase, the Bootleg, Inc. team has you covered! In order to make the best AR15 accessories and parts, we have to know the ins and outs of every AR 15 component. The quick and easy answer is yes, the vast majority of AR 15 barrels are interchangeable. However, there are a few caveats here, so let us explain further.


Modular Means Customizable

The thing with the AR 15 is that it was designed to be modular, which means that it is supposed to be easy to swap out every component of the upper receiver. For those of you who are new to the AR world, allow us to clarify: the AR 15 is separated into two primary parts, the upper receiver and lower receivers. The lower receiver is the only component of the AR 15 that is technically considered the firearm, because that’s the portion of the AR that houses the fire control group, and therefore the only portion that needs to be serialized and purchased from a licensed dealer. All the parts of the AR 15 upper receiver can legally be purchased online or from local manufacturers. It’s this separation that has allowed manufacturers like Bootleg, Inc. to flourish. As long as it’s for the upper receiver, there are hoops to jump through to purchase a part, or to manufacture and sell AR 15 components. Ultimately, this means companies can design and produce one or two custom AR parts without all the restrictions that come with manufacturing full firearms. Because of its modular design, the AR 15 both helps small businesses flourish and allows for greater levels of customizability than most other firearms.


AR 15 Upper Receiver Components

As we mentioned above, the lower receiver is the portion of the AR 15 that houses the trigger, disconnector, hammer, and fire selector that comprise the fire control group. The lower receiver also houses the magazine well, pistol grip, and buttstock. Everything else is considered part of the upper receiver. This means that, as far as the Ar 15 is concerned, you can easily purchase and change out parts for every component of the upper receiver, which includes: the charging handle, fore stock, forward assist, barrel, bolt and bolt carrier, and even the gas operating system. This means that, if the bolt carrier group that comes standard with your upper assembly doesn’t work as smoothly as you’d prefer, you can easily find someone like Bootleg, Inc. who specializes in custom AR parts and swap for a new bolt carrier group. Or, if you want to have more options when it comes to your direct impingement system, swap out the gas block or try an adjustable carrier.

Changing Barrels

To make a long answer short, yes, you can swap out the barrel of your AR 15 for a new one. The caveat that we mentioned earlier is one that should go without saying for any experienced firearm owner: you will need to ensure that the caliber of the new barrel is the same as the rest of the components for your AR, both upper and lower. If your firearm is “mil spec,” or military standard—as a majority of AR 15s are—you should be able to swap out your existing barrel for another “mil spec” barrel easily. And, since the AR 15 was initially designed for use by the U.S. military, “mil spec” is the standard and most widespread option for most custom AR parts. If you’re unsure what caliber your firearm is set up for, or what a part is made for, your best bet will be to check with the manufacturer or dealer you purchased the part from.


Whether you want to use your AR for hunting or home defense, shop our upper assembly options online today to experience the difference an adjustable carrier or custom AR 15 handguard can make. If you’re looking for the best AR accessories and custom AR parts to make your firearm truly your own, shop Bootleg, Inc. online now!

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