Buffer tubes, also known as receiver extension tubes, play a crucial role in the operation of AR-15 uppers and the entire AR-15 platform. While they may appear simple, buffer tubes have several essential functions that impact the function and performance of your AR-15. Here are the key roles that buffer tubes play in AR-15 uppers:
1. Buffer Retention:
- The buffer tube holds the buffer, a crucial component of the AR15 Complete Upper recoil management system. The buffer is responsible for absorbing the recoil energy generated during firing.
2. Buffer Spring Housing:
- The buffer tube contains the buffer spring, which helps to return the bolt carrier group (BCG) to its forward position after firing.
- The buffer spring provides the necessary tension to cycle the action reliably.
3. Recoil Management:
- The buffer tube, in conjunction with the buffer and buffer spring, helps manage the recoil of the AR-15.
- By absorbing and controlling recoil, the buffer tube contributes to the rifle’s overall comfort and controllability during firing.
4. Adjustable Stocks:
- Buffer tubes allow for the attachment of adjustable stocks, such as collapsible or telescoping stocks.
- These stocks provide shooters with the flexibility to customize the length of pull to suit their preferences and shooting conditions.
5. Storage Compartment:
- Some buffer tubes feature a storage compartment, typically accessed via a removable buttplate or end cap.
- This storage space can be used to store cleaning supplies, spare parts, or other small accessories.
- Buffer tubes come in various lengths and diameters to accommodate different AR-15 upper configurations, such as carbines, rifles, and pistol builds.
- It’s crucial to use the correct buffer tube for your specific upper receiver and lower receiver combination to ensure proper function.
7. Buffer Tube Types:
- There are two primary types of buffer tubes: mil-spec and commercial. They differ in diameter and threading.
- It’s essential to choose the right type to match your lower receiver for a secure fit.
8. Pistol Braces:
- Buffer tubes are also used to attach pistol braces in pistol and “firearm” configurations, providing additional support and stability to the shooter.
In summary, buffer tubes are a vital component of AR-15 uppers and contribute significantly to the firearm’s overall functionality and comfort. They play a central role in managing recoil, housing the buffer and spring, and facilitating the attachment of adjustable stocks or pistol braces. Choosing the right buffer tube for your AR-15 upper is crucial to ensure proper fit and reliable operation.