Our mission is simple: to aid you, our customers, in designing your Custom Built AR with parts that provide you with what we call a “Total Value” purchase. At any given moment there are thousands of parts available for the AR. But with so many options at your fingertips, where do you begin? With us and our commitment to providing you with your Total Value Custom built AR. With very few exceptions, the way we evaluate a part for our Total Value signature is by inspecting, viewing, and testing the product.  We then relate this information to you through our recommendations as we guide you through the design your Custom Built AR.  In this way, you are designing the very best AR possible for your budget. The parts you want, the price you can afford, and the service you can count on. This what you can expect from a Total Value purchase with 3rd Degree Armaments!

But where did it all begin?

For me, it began with several years of Active Duty service in the US Army. There I grew my affinity for all things shooting. In the Army, we were limited with our choice of weapon and relegated to use what was given to us. I wanted to change this, at least for the average citizen who desired a rifle all of their own. In order to do this, I began researching all that I could find regarding the customization of the AR. This required reading.  A lot of reading! I poured over articles, blogs and threads, all in the process of considering an upgrade or accessory for my rifle. This ‘research’ sometimes spread over several days, and even weeks.  Eventually, I would make a purchase, wait to receive my new part, and install the upgraded part. From there I had to decide if the upgrade was indeed worth the cost and the wait. This is where I developed the concept of Total Value.

Sometimes I would be very happy with the purchase. It made a noticeable improvement in the function of the rifle over the standard part it replaced. At other times I would try to be happy with the purchase. The research I had done told me that I should be happy with it!  And on a few occasions, I would not be happy with the purchase. Most importantly: I couldn’t find a tangible benefit or Total Value element over the standard part that was replaced!

The parts I was happy with were kept and promoted. The parts that felt “lukewarm”, I usually kept, though some I traded. The parts I was unhappy or indifferent with, were sold. Except now it was a ‘used’ item, which made it difficult to recoup expenses.  This process grew tiresome.

I developed a set of criteria to help me decide if an “upgrade” was really an upgrade:
Is the function noticeably smoother?

  • Did the part add to the performance of the AR?
  • Did the part improve the shooting experience?

How does the part affect weight?

  • Did the weight change improve the function of the AR?
  • Is the AR balanced and steady throughout the shot?

Is the part priced appropriately?

  • Am I paying for the name or the function?
  • Will a less expensive part perform just as good?

Does the part look better?

  • Did the part add to the atheistic appeal of the AR?
  • If the part is for “show”, does it get in the way of the function of the AR?


These are all questions that you should ask yourself, and me, when making the decision to purchase a Custom Built AR with 3rd Degree Armaments.

Admittedly: Some of the parts didn’t offer a noticeable benefit, but looked a lot better! (There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a part the makes your AR look “BA”, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the performance of the rifle!)

This is why I decided to start 3rd Degree Armaments. So I can help people design a custom rifle, optimized for their intended uses, choosing right parts that are based on those principles. No extraneous parts added; each choice weighed for its Total Value!

Justin Burns
CEO, 3rd Degree Armaments LLC