Basic Break Down

It’s Not Hard Once You’ve Done It A Few Times.

This is basic stuff. Basics matter. Sometimes we, and certainly I, tend to forget having learned what we know. Well, I have to watch for that. In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of locals call me after purchasing their new AR-15 wanting to know, “What now…?”  They can’t be alone.

Here’s how to disassemble and reassemble an AR-style firearm for routine cleaning. It’s not at all difficult, if you know a couple “rules.” Nothing is what I would call a “force-fit.” There’s virtually no effort involved in either removing or putting the parts back to a whole. Make sure you lube the parts on first disassembly, by the way.

First step is to make sure the firearm is unloaded. That doesn’t mean just dropping its magazine. That means dropping its magazine, using the charging handle to retract the bolt carrier assembly, and then looking into the barrel chamber. Retract the bolt carrier fully so the hammer cocks back. Set the safety switch to “SAFE.” This may not seem fully necessary but it eliminates any worry about inadvertently tripping the trigger so the hammer can fall against the lower receiver—and crack the lower. Yikes!

Push the takedown pin (rear pin) through from left to right far enough to get hold of the head on the right side of the firearm. Get your left hand underneath supporting the fore-end. Pull the takedown pin fully out (it’s restrained by a detent so can’t come entirely out of the lower). Let the rear of the upper receiver move up, pivoting the fore-end downward so the rear of the upper receiver is up and away from the lower.

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