Rifles and handguns require materials that are durable to get the best performance of a firearm. As such, metal components have been traditionally used. However, metal is naturally heavy so handling the firearm could become challenging.
Different types of firearms offer different level of performance to fit varying needs. Each firearm configuration changes to meet each demand. AR-15 rifles are conceptualized to be lightweight, magazine powered firearms. Originally designed for military use, AR-15 rifles are starting to become popular among civilian gun enthusiasts.
Due to the firearm requirement, designers mainly use aluminum to create AR-15 parts, most especially for the lower receiver as the base of the firearm. Aluminum is considered one of the lightest and toughest metals there is.
Over the years, gun manufacturers have employed several methods to develop an even lighter AR-15 design. They are looking for materials that provide comfort and ease when used even for beginners. The search for non-metallic materials that offer the same quality has led to the introduction of polymer lower receivers.
Currently, most gun parts are of polymer types although most of them are not pure polymers. Eighty percent polymer lower receivers for AR-15 rifles are most common in the market today. But, what makes polymer the most ideal material?
For starters, polymer weighs significantly lighter than metal. At the same time, using polymer instead of metal to manufacture gun parts is cheaper and more cost effective. This means that the manufacturers can offer polymer lowers at cheaper price for buyers.
However, the material may not seem as sturdy and as durable as metal. Earlier versions of polymer lowers have been noted to break easily upon use. This concerns many gun enthusiasts for very good reasons.
To fix this, gun parts manufacturers develop new method and introduced newer types of polymer receivers. With high quality polymers come better performance. On top of that, each product goes through rigorous testing to test its durability. Testing includes drop test, crush test and other pressure tests.
Polymer lower receivers may be the most popular types of lower receivers there is. However, it is yet to win the heart of gun enthusiasts who, in their search for quality, might settle for traditional metal builds due to its tried and tested quality. Being lightweight and cheap is its selling point but until the right kind of polymer type gets to compete head to head with the quality of metals, gun owners might stick to aluminum.