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My AR-15 RECCE Build [Aero Precision Base]

Want to build your own RECCE rifle? I cover what makes a great RECCE AR-15 and the all parts I chose from Aero Precision and other manufacturers.

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you have been afflicted with the constant need to build another AR.

It may have started off innocent enough, but now you are eating Ramen noodles, selling blood plasma, or like me, writing part-time to get your next fix.

Aero RECCE Complete
Aero RECCE Complete

I am an enabler.

I recommend leaning into it.

Don’t fight it. You won’t win.

The good news is that I can help with some suggestions, and that is what this article will be about.


If you are thinking about building your next jack of all trades RECCE Rifle, keep reading! I will go over my choices for my build and what I recommend!

Table of Contents


Best Rifle in Its Class

The RECCE Rifle, pronounced “RECKY”, is one of the best working rifles for several situations.

Typically barrel length is 16”, but some people prefer an 18”. More people are using 13.7-14.5” barrels as well, but the 16” with a mid-length gas system typically gives the best compromise between velocity, maneuverability, and felt recoil.

Aero RECCE on grass
Author’s home-rolled RECCE build.

Optics usually consist of a 1-6X low-powered variable optic (LPVO). You can go higher, or lower to a 1-4X depending on how far you plan to shoot targets.

A solid LPVO can make a RECCE Rifle shine with true 1X magnification which makes getting on target fast.

RECCE Meme 2
AR-15 Builder’s reaction to a new build (us included)

The best part about the RECCE Rifle is that you can make it your own. That is precisely why they are fun to build.

For more information on the RECCE Rifle, and quality built rifles, check out our Best RECCE Rifles.

My Barrel

FN USA makes great barrels. I went with FN’s 16” CHF, Chrome-Lined, Mid-Length gassed barrel. This barrel is amazing quality. It is also more than accurate for a chrome-lined barrel.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The chrome-lining is double the thickness of typical government contract M4 carbine barrels and are the M249 SAW spec for lining.

For a semi-automatic AR15, this barrel will last and deal with heat very well. The MIL-B11595E steel used is the same material used for their machine gun barrels.

I opted to pin my gas block myself for utmost reliability.

Aero RECCE Grouping
Typical accuracy with IMI 77 grain OTM loads at 100 yards.

They are expensive compared to other brands, but you do honestly get what you pay for.

Accuracy is typically .75 MOA to 1.5 MOA depending on what loads I put down the pipe, but with its 1:7 twist rate, it is fond of Mk262 loads, and other 77 grain OTM loads from IMI, or Magtech.

My Bolt

My bolt carrier group (BCG) is a model sold by Brownells. For its price, it is one of the better BCGs on the market right now. They offer a budget-minded model, and a harder-use model which is the model I own.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

My BCG is phosphated and chrome-lined internally in the carrier. The bolt is 158 Carpenter steel, but above all else, it is INDIVIDUALLY high-pressure tested (HPT), and magnetic particle inspected (MPI).

Most other companies only BATCH test their bolts which is why they are less expensive.

If you want to dive down what exactly that means, take a look at the Best Bolt Carrier Groups article we have!

Great quality, and the staking is overkill!

After the HPT and MPI, the bolt is heat-treated and shot-peened. The gas key is properly staked and uses Grade 8 hardware per Colt TDP.

This BCG rocks and on occasion can be found for under $100 on sale. Keep an eye out and check the Daily Deals so you don’t miss sales.

The Receivers

Both upper and lower receivers are Aero Precision. They are the older, typical forged receivers made of T6 7075 aluminum.

For the price, Aero Precision is one of my favorite companies to use for receivers due to the quality and affordable pricing.

Editor's Pick (Forged)
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The fit between both the upper and the lower is good with little to no wobble. The tensioning screw wasn’t needed even though it came with one.

The lower parts kit that I used is a complete CMMG kit, and is one of my favorite kits for the price.

Aero RECCE side
Author’s favorite receivers from Aero Precision

One of the best features with the CMMG kit is the standard mil-spec trigger that comes with. The trigger uses standard springs, and by no means is it match grade.

But the trigger is smooth, with no grit, and the reset is fantastic. I have used this trigger in multiple builds, and I can shoot sub-MOA with it, if the load and barrel can make it happen.

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Handguard

The handguard that I chose is the Daniel Defense MFR XS in a 15” with MLOK.

It has everything that you might expect from a handguard with its price range. It is very solid, robust, but also relatively lightweight. The MLOK pattern is at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock around the entire handguard.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Installation is one of the easier designs, and it doesn’t require timing the barrel nut for the gas tube. The locking mechanism is robust, and similar in design to the RIS system from previous designs.

Attached to the handguard is a Magpul MLOK hand-stop, which is comfortable for thumb-over-bore shooting.

Aero RECCE Forend
While there are various foregrips out there, the Magpul hand-stop is one of the author’s favorite

The iron sights mounted are the basic Magpul polymer iron sights and at some point, will be upgraded to a more robust design.

At their price point, the basic Magpul iron sights are great, especially if they are last resort back-up irons. Luckily, the rear sight while folded will clear underneath my optic.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Stock

The stock that I chose for this RECCE build was the Magpul UBR Gen2. This stock is built like a rock and is about as heavy as one.

Luckily, it does well in balancing my rifle out. I can not overstate how absolutely rock solid this design is.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

I wanted something solid like an A2 rifle stock, but I also wanted adjustability if the need arose. That is why I made the decision to go with the UBR.

Once adjusted, there is ZERO wobble. The stock locks into place and is practically bomb-proof.

Aero RECCE Angled Complete
If you can find a heavier duty, more solid stock, please let me know.

The buffer and spring are from VLTOR. It is their A5 system that uses an H2 weighted buffer. The spring is a standard rifle spring.

Along with a good muzzle brake, this system is superior to a typical carbine weighted and sized buffer and recoil spring. It really tames felt recoil, and keeps the weapon shooting flat.

The Optic

A RECCE Rifle is only as good as the optic that runs on it. I am a huge proponent of using an LPVO on a RECCE Rifle, and preferably of a rugged design that will last.

I chose the Trijicon 1-4x Accupower. It is a very solid middle of the road optic.

at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Its illumination is not as bright as a Vortex Razor 1-6x, but the reticle is a smart design. The circle dot reticle works well at close range or pushing out to moderate ranges of 400-500 yards.

Above all, the scope is rugged and can take a beating. This optic has yet to give me a hiccup.

Aero RECCE Optic
The Trijicon 1-4x Accupower in a 30mm BOBRO QD mount

An optic is only as good as the mount it resides in though. That is why I use my Trijicon in a BOBRO QD mount.

It is one of the more solid QD mounts, and quick-disconnect may or may not be important to you. It is for me and that is the only way to quickly get to back-up irons if an optic should die.

Parting Shots

RECCE Rifles can be done up in any sort of way. The great thing about them is that they are not like the Mk18 or Mk12.

It’s not a clone, and you can go ham on whatever parts you like. It is a versatile ideology of a rifle, and it’s hard to go wrong!

Have you built a RECCE Rifle? What parts did you use? What is your rifle’s main purpose?If you’re looking to upgrade your optics, take a look at the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics!

Best 1-6x Scopes
The Tested Best 1-6x Scopes

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7 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Patrick Bruyn

    I love the RECCE rifle concept! I just finished tuning up my HK MR556 into my version of a RECCE rifle. Swapped out the stock for a Magpul MOE SL-S, BCM grips, BCM NiB trigger, Radian ambi-safety, Radian charging handle, Geissele 14.5" rail, Streamlight HLX with Cloud Defensive mount, Surefire Warcomp, and topped if off with the Accupower 1-8. Every dang time I take a carbine class, I find something to improve or change. The last class was a CQB focus and they wrapped up my glass to simulate an optics failure. It took way too long to deploy the inline BUIS, which I never tested or considered, so now I'll be grabbing a set of the Dueck offset sights for safe measure. I love the RECCE concept and it's fluidity, especially for where I am, and I think everyone should have one.

    August 29, 2019 1:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    What kind of light and mount is that? Looking for one to put on mine.

    August 28, 2019 9:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ken Whitmore

      Sorry it took so long. It's a Primary Arms model. So far it has taken a beating and works well. The tape switch is no where near as well designed as something like Surefire or Streamlight though so long term reliability may be an issue.

      The mount is a UTG. It is surprisingly durable, but it is overly heavy for what it is.

      October 10, 2019 3:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I actually have a Recce build I’m picking up tomorrow on a “pre-ban” lower (Colt SP1) since I’m in Connecticut. Was between the Trijicon Accupower 1-4X and the Steiner P4Xi 1-4X. How do you like the Accupower?

    August 28, 2019 6:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Scott C.

      I have an Accupower 1-8 on one of my builds (yes, I cry when I look at the receipt lol) but it is by a wide margin the best LVPO I have ever looked through and I’d include Nightforce in that.

      August 28, 2019 10:09 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Would you recommend the 1-4x Accupower over a Primary Arms 1-6x or 1-8x for a sub-MOA Recce Rifle build even though it has less magnification?

        September 22, 2019 8:06 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Ken Whitmore

          I love the Accupower in the 1-4x. Clarity is good and edge distortion is minimal. Less than the PA Silver. But as far as rugged dependability, Trijicon would be the best choice compared to the Silver line.

          Steiner P4xi has better glass IMO and will also dominate. Its singular illuminated dot is far brighter than the Accupower as well.

          October 10, 2019 3:40 pm
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