Picking Your Favorite AR15 Barrel Profile By: News Desk

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When building or customizing an AR-15, the selection of the right AR15 barrel profile is essential. The profile, which determines the barrel’s shape and size, can significantly impact the weapon’s overall performance and functionality.

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Let’s take a look at the different AR-15 barrel profiles available and help you understand the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision. From heavier barrel profiles to lightweight pencil barrel profiles, we’ll cover it all.

Faxon Sentry 5.56 Rifle against a white background

Whether you’re a competitive shooter, a hunter, or just a hobbyist, this guide will help you choose the perfect barrel profile for your specific needs and goals.

AR Barrel Profiles Explained

The term “barrel profile” refers to the thickness of a barrel on an AR-15 style rifle, such as the Faxon Sentry 16” 5.56 Rifle. Different barrel profiles can impact the performance of the gun in various ways.

For instance, thinner barrels are lightweight and easy to handle, while thicker barrels provide more stability by adding weight to the front of the gun and can withstand more heat.

Faxon Sentry with an AR15 Barrel Profile

It’s essential to consider the trade-offs of different barrel options available in the market when making a choice.

Let’s now look at the different AR-15 barrel profiles to see what makes each one unique.

Gunner Profile

The Gunner profile is a blend of two of the best-performing profiles of all time, Gov’t and Pencil. 

Faxon’s Gunner profile combines the durability of the Gov’t profile with the weight savings and maneuverability of the Pencil profile.

The Gunner profile brings the rifle’s balance back towards the shooter’s body, limiting fatigue and allowing for shooting, training, or hunting all day long.

Faxon gunner barrel against a white backdrop

A SOCOM barrel for an AR-15 is designed differently from the standard M4/A2 barrel.

Instead of being consistently thick throughout, it has a thinner section past the gas block and a thicker section near the chamber. In addition, SOCOM barrels often have a slot for attaching a grenade launcher and provide a balance between strength and weight.

If you’re looking for a barrel that can handle sustained shooting while still being lightweight, a SOCOM profile barrel may be a good option for you.

Faxon's SOCOM barrel product photo

Pencil Profile

The pencil barrel is the original profile for the AR-15, typically measuring 0.625 inches in diameter.

It is known for being slim and lightweight, making it easy to carry and handle. However, due to its thinness, it may overheat more quickly during rapid firing, leading to elastic deformation or warping, which can affect reliability and accuracy.

Unlike run-of-the-mill pencil barrels, Faxon Firearms barrels are properly heat-treated and stress-relieved to improve heat resistance and longevity.

The durability of this AR15 barrel profile is ideal for shooters with a light or medium shooting schedule.

Pencil AR15 barrel profile by Faxon Firearms

AR Barrel Profiles: Finding Your Match

The barrel profile of an AR-15 rifle can greatly affect its overall performance and handling.

The three most common barrel profiles are the Gunner, Government, and Pencil. The Government/SOCOM profile is the thickest and heaviest option, providing the most stability and accuracy but also adding extra weight to the rifle.

The pencil profile is the thinnest and lightest option, making it easier to handle and carry, but sacrificing some stability and accuracy. The government profile is a balance between the two, offering a good compromise between weight and performance.

Ultimately, the choice of barrel profile will depend on the individual’s personal preferences and intended use of the rifle. Therefore, it is important to consider the trade-offs and choose the barrel profile that best suits your needs.


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