A well-accessorized AR is only as good as its internal parts—such as an upgraded buffer.

The ArmaLite rifle designed by Eugene Stoner was, in many ways, a “space age” gun, with Stoner having cut his teeth in the ultra-modern aviation industry. Among the design’s many advanced parts is an innocuous-looking round piece of metal that rides inside a tube in the stock of the rifle. The buffer, buffer tube, and buffer spring reside in an area most shooters don’t even bother to clean, much less think about, but its role is essential.

The Heavy Buffers unit has a nipple that prevents the bolt carrier from damaging the buffer tube.

When the action cycles, the bolt carrier is pushed back against the buffer and partially into the buffer tube, with the buffer spring then pushing the buffer and bolt carrier forward, back into battery. The role of the buffer is to slow down the movement of the bolt carrier, cushion its movement back and provide additional mass in its forward movement to firmly chamber a round and close the bolt.

The right buffer can take a top-tier tactical AR to the next level for the LE officer going into harm’s way. Photo courtesy Heavy Buffers

Here is where the weight and design of the buffer comes in and why there are so many variations and designs. Most standard buffers in semi-auto rifles tend to be fairly lightweight. A lighter buffer can be more forgiving and allow the action to cycle more reliably with a wider range of ammunition, especially lighter loads, or if some parts are not entirely up to spec.

Spike’s Tactical buffers use powdered tungsten making for a smooth cycling rifle. Photo courtesy Spike’s Tactical

Up Next


A well-accessorized AR is only as good as its internal parts—such as an upgraded…