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What Parts Are Interchangeable Between AR-15 & AR-10?

What Parts Are Interchangeable Between AR-15 & AR-10?

AR-10 and AR-15 have traditionally been two of the most popular rifles for military use, sporting and target shooting. Contrary to popular belief, the AR does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” It actually is an abbreviation for Armalite Rifle, the firearms manufacturer that first developed the AR platform in the mid-1950s. While they look similar, the AR-10 and AR-15 are different in several important aspects.

AR-10 is a specific weapon model that made by Armalite. Nowadays when people say AR-10, they don’t necessary refer to the Armalite AR-10. The term “AR-10” has became the general name for AR-15 style rifles that chamber in .308 caliber. To avoid confusions, in this article, we will refer all .308 AR platform rifles “AR-10”.

Unlike AR-15, some AR-10 parts are not interchangeable between brands. In today’s market, Armalite style and DPMS style are the two most popular specification that manufacturers use when making AR-10s. These two AR-10 platforms are not the only .308 AR platforms available but they do dominate the market. When choosing parts for your AR-10, you should first find out which AR-10 style it is so you don’t have to stuck with the wrong part.

In this post, we’ll provide an AR-10 vs. AR-15 comparison, including which parts are and are not interchangeable.

AR-10 Basics

One of the first things you’ll notice when you pick up an AR-10 for the first time is its surprisingly light weight compared to other .308 semi-auto rifles. This is due to its direct impingement design instead of the piston-driven design that’s found on most other .308 semi-auto rifles. Depending on the model, it will weigh from 7.25 to 8.9 pounds without the magazine. AR-10 features include the ability to accept detachable magazine, an adjustable front sight for accuracy at elevation, an adjustable rear sight for windage, an aluminum alloy receiver, in-line stock and pistol grip. The top picatinny rail on the AR platform offers a perfect mounting solution for variety of scope, red dot or holographic sights.

AR-15 Basics

The AR-15 is essentially a modified version of the AR-10 that was developed in the late 1950s. The AR-15 is even lighter than the AR-10, with models weighing from 5.5 to 8.5 pounds. Since the AR-15 is lighter, it allows shooters to maneuver quicker. However, the benefits of a lighter weight stop at the rifle itself. The AR-15 is chambered in 5.56 NATO / .223 Rem, and the small size of this cartridge gives you the ability to carry more rounds on a person or rifle compared when to the .308 WIN, which is bigger and heavier. There are numerous magazine manufacturers making magazines capacities up to 100+ rounds for the AR-15. Another noteworthy difference between the AR-10 and AR-15 is its softer recoil, which leads to quicker and more accurate follow-up shots.

What’s the Difference Between AR-15 and AR-10

One of the most obvious differences between the AR-10 and the AR-15 is the caliber. The AR-10 utilizes the .308/7.62×51, while the AR-15 uses the .223/5.56 x 45 cartridge. The lower receiver and other key components on the AR-10 are also somewhat larger than on the AR-15, which accounts for the slightly heavier weight. With the AR-10, there is more space between the pistol grip and the edge of the lower receiver. The AR-10’s magazine walls are also larger to accommodate the larger rounds.

AR-15/AR-10 Compatibility

Because of their similar design, there are some interchangeable AR-15/AR-10 parts. However, the size and caliber difference makes certain parts incompatible. To complicate the issue, the AR-10 and AR-15 are now made by numerous manufacturers including Armalite, Black Rain Ordinance, Seekins Precision and others, with each company producing its own unique versions. This makes direct comparisons somewhat challenging. For instance, certain companies make the original Armalite-style AR-10 rifle, while others use the DPMS format.

Parts that are typically compatible between the AR-15 and AR-10 at a glance

  • Buttstock assemblies
  • Triggers and trigger springs
  • Bolt catch roll pin (Armalite Style only)
  • Hammers and hammer springs
  • Pistol grips (a spacer may be needed for certain models)
  • Receiver extension (Buffer Tube)
  • Disconnector and disconnector spring
  • Buffer detent
  • Magazine release buttons and springs
  • Safety selectors



Complete list of compatibility between the AR-15 and AR-10 parts

Mil-Spec AR-15 Upper Receiver Parts DPMS Style .308 AR Armalite Style .308 AR
Upper Receivers NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Charging Handle NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Ejection Port Cover Assembly NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Forward Assist Assembly YES YES
Detachable Front Sight YES YES
Detachable Rear Sight YES YES
Barrel NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Barrel Nut NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Handguard NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Gas Tube YES YES
Gas Block YES YES
Gas Tube Roll Pin YES YES
Muzzle Device NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Muzzle Timing Device (i.e. Crush Washer, Lock Nut…) NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Bolt Assembly NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Bolt Carrier NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Mil-Spec AR-15 Lower Receiver Parts DPMS Style .308 AR Armalite Style .308 AR
Lower Receiver NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Trigger YES YES
Hammer YES YES
Trigger and Hammer Springs YES YES
Trigger and Hammer Pins YES YES
Disconnect YES YES
Disconnect Spring YES YES
Bolt Catch NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Bolt Catch Roll Pin NOT Compatible YES
Bolt Catch Spring and Plunger YES YES
Magazine NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Magazine Catch YES NOT Compatible
Magazine Release Button YES YES
Magazine Release Spring YES YES
Pistol Grip YES YES
Pistol Grip Screw and Washer YES YES
Pivot Pin NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Takedown Pin NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Takedown and Pivot Pin Spring YES YES
Takedown and Pivot Pin Detent YES YES
Safety Selector (a.k.a. Fire Control Selector) YES YES
Safety Selector Spring and Detent YES YES
Trigger Guard Assembly YES YES
Buffer Tube (a.k.a. Receiver Extension Tube) YES YES
Buffer NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Buffer Retainer YES YES
Buffer Retainer Spring YES YES
Buffer Spring (a.k.a. Action Spring) NOT Compatible NOT Compatible
Receiver End Plate YES YES
Castle Nut (a.k.a. Receiver Extension Nut) YES YES
Buttstock YES YES

Parts that are typically not compatible between the AR-15 and AR-10:

  • Rifle Buffers: Most rifle buffers on the AR-10 are shorter and heavier than the AR-15 to accommodate the longer .308 bolt carrier group and the force from a larger round. This means they cannot be interchanged. However, the buffer tubes are the same length, making them compatible with either rifle. It should be noted that the buffer tube for the Armalite style AR-10 collapsible stock carbine features a unique length and only works with this model.
  • Barrels: Because the AR-10 and AR-15 are chambered in two different calibers, the barrels are not interchangeable. The barrels threads and barrel nut extensions are also not interchangeable.
  • Handguards and rail systems: Because of the barrel nut size difference between the AR-10 and AR-15, the handguards and rail systems are not interchangeable.
  • Bolt catch: An AR-15 bolt catch is not compatible with most AR-10 lowers.
  • Lower parts kit: A standard lower parts kit for an AR-15 will normally not work with an AR-10. This is due to the differences in the takedown pin, bolt catch and other lower receiver pins.
  • Magazine catch: The magazine catch in the Armalite AR-10 features a unique design that makes it incompatible with the AR-15 or any other AR model. (Standard AR-15 magazine catch will fit DPMS style AR-10)
  • Muzzle device: Since AR-10 and AR-15 are chambered in different calibers, most muzzle devices are not interchangeable, except if your AR-15 is chambered in 300 Blackout, then you might be able to use AR-10 muzzle devices.

You’ll Find the AR-10/AR-15 Parts You Need at AFW.

AFW is your source for a wide range of AR-10 and AR-15 parts, including interchangeable parts such as pistol grips, trigger springs, safety selectors and many others. All parts come from top firearms manufacturers to ensure the highest possible quality. We only sell brand-new products, never used or refurbished items. You also enjoy peace of mind knowing that we don’t sell any product we wouldn’t use ourselves.

You can also count on AFW to deliver world-class customer service. Take advantage of our same day shipping to get your AR-10/AR-15 part as quickly as possible. You can place your order quickly and securely right here on our website. And if you’re not completely happy with your part,  simply return it to us within 30 days for a full refund.

Check our inventory of interchangeable AR-15/AR-10 parts, and give yourself an edge!