DIY Your 80 Lower With These Finishes and Ideas | JSD Supply

There are many reasons why building your own gun is an ideal way to improve your firearm knowledge. Do-it-yourself guns are perfect if you have concerns about privacy, want to improve your understanding of your gun, or simply like working with your hands.

DIY-ing your own 80% lower receiver firearm is especially gratifying when you can customize it to your precise specifications.

What is an 80% Lower Receiver?

An 80% lower receiver is, essentially, a lower receiver that hasn’t been fully machined. It is legally not a firearm, but rather is used as a piece to complete one.

Purchasing an 80% lower receiver does not require a background check or a Federal Firearm License (FFL). The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) does not regulate 80% lower receivers because they consider them to be raw materials.

This means purchasing and DIY-ing an 80% lower receiver is excellent for those with concerns about the privacy of their gun purchases.

You can turn an 80% lower receiver into the rifle or pistol of your dreams, with just a few tools. As always, check your local and state laws to ensure you’re in compliance as you build. If you need to learn how to finish your 80% lower receiver, check out our Youtube channel for guidance.

Ways to Customize Your Gun

There are all kinds of useful tactical items you can add to your gun, including DIY firearm finishes. Let’s take a look at some of these awesome additions. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on DIY-ing an 80% lower receiver for an AR-15.

Optics: Scopes, Red Dot Sights, and More

Red dot sights are a cool way to customize your rifle. They can improve your speed, either reducing your split times on the competition range or improving you and your family’s chances of safety in a home invasion when seconds count.

Choose the size, pattern, and even color of the reticle based on your personal preferences and shooting needs.

Holographic sights are similar to red dot sights While red dot sights project an LED at a lens that bounces the light back to your eyes, holographic sights transmit a laser hologram toward the target.

Rather than your eye attempting to focus on the red dot sight near you as well as the target, you’re focusing on the reticle and the target simultaneously, improving the speed.

If you’re a hunter, particularly of animals that are most active in the evening or night hours like hogs or raccoons, a night vision scope could be a valuable addition to your rifle. It could also give you an advantage in home defense.

person holding hunting rifle

When choosing a scope, it is imperative to make sure your state laws allow you to have one. California, for instance, restricts civilian use of night vision scopes.

Once you know you’re clear to purchase a scope, ensure you choose one that’s easy to attach and detach, so when you’ve finished DIY-ing your 80% lower receiver, you can switch between night and day easily. Make sure to check out the stats, like how much power it has and how far the range is, so you purchase the right scope for your needs.


When DIY-ing your 80% lower receiver, you can customize your handguard based on your usage of the gun. Most AR-15s come with the typical M4-style handguard, but you can change to a lighter carbon fiber guard or one that allows you to add lasers, forward grips, or lights.

Carbon fiber handguards are tough and durable, yet light and versatile. They stay cool to the touch, even with considerable firing. You can also customize the color or DIY the finish on the firearm.

Handguards with multiple mounting points allow you to customize your AR-15 even further. You can add a sling for easy carrying of your gun, attach a bipod to stabilize your shot, or install a vertical grip to help your rifle stay firmly seated on your shoulder.


DIY-ing the stock on your 80% lower receiver is, dependent on what you use the gun for. Collapsible stocks are useful if you need to change the length of pull on your rifle. For example, if you put on a thick coat and need to move the grip closer to you. Or, if your main purpose is home defense, you could utilize a collapsible stock to shorten your rifle for indoor use.

With precision stocks, you can adjust multiple points to fit the shooter more ergonomically, which can assist with long-range shooting. Low profile stocks can reduce the possibility of snagging on your clothing or other gear.

There are quite literally thousands of stocks on the market; zero in on the main function of your rifle, and choose one best suited to that need.

DIY Firearm Finishes

There are many unique options for putting a finish on your DIY’d 80% lower receiver. While most are more for aesthetics, some add to the functionality of your firearm.

man holding camouflage rifle


Duracoat is an affordable option that’s easy to apply at home. It’s similar to spray paint, although a lot tougher. It’s also easy to fix should it get chipped, and comes in a wide variety of colors. It provides corrosion and wear resistance, and can withstand temperatures up to 600℉.

Hydro Dip

Water transfer, or hydro-dip finishes, are also easy to apply to your DIY 80% lower receiver. In essence, you dip the parts into a floating “decal” on top of the water for a precise application of intricate designs, including camouflage. To ensure proper application, clean, scuff, and prime the parts before dipping.


One of the coolest new finishes is Kameleon Kamo. This one may be a little more difficult to DIY at home, but it uses a holographic pigment to reflect and redirect the light around your firearm. This finish helps your gun blend into the surrounding environment, helping you conceal the weapon in various lighting conditions.

Check out JSD Supply’s Parts and Kits

If you’re ready to dig into the world of customizing your own AR-15, JSD Supply’s parts and kits can’t be beaten. Whether you want to DIY your firearm’s finish or purchase your 80% lower receiver jig, our diverse product line has you covered.

Find out why JSD Supply is the expert in the field of DIY firearms and contact us today.

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