Are you looking for a new buffer for your 9mm AR? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Best Budget Pick: Armaspec Sound Mitigation AR9 Buffer
The Armaspec Sound Mitigation AR9 Buffer is primarily designed to make your AR9 as quiet and smooth as possible to shoot in terms of its operation. This is accomplished because the buffer spring is prevented from rubbing against the interior walls of the buffer tube.
Best Value Pick: Angstadt Arms AR-15 9mm Carbine Buffer Assembly Kit
Overall, the Angstadt Arms AR-15 9mm Carbine Buffer Assembly Kit is a solid pick for an AR9 buffer assembly kit. It’s very durable and lightweight, and should result in a noticeable reduction in recoil out of your AR9. The spring can be a little bit stiff out of the box, so fire a few magazines out of your AR9 in order to loosen it up.
Best Overall Pick: Kyntec Corporation AR-15 9mm Hydraulic Recoil Buffer
The Kyntec Corporation AR-15 9mm Hydraulic Recoil Buffer is our top choice for a recoil buffer because it uses a hydraulically dampened piston to help reduce shock and recoil, similar to the shock absorbers that may be present on your car in order to ensure a smoother ride. This design helps to reduce recoil, shock, and wear inflicted on moving parts. The durable and corrosion resistant stainless steel construction is another big selling point.
The buffer to an AR-15 is a metal piece located inside the buffer tube in the stock. It’s designed to absorb a lot of the recoil from an AR. Therefore, if you want to make your AR-15 easier to shoot and limit as much of the recoil as possible, adding a new buffer tube to your carbine or rifle is one of the best improvements that you can make.
In this guide, we will take a look at the merits of going with a 9mm AR-15, what the buffer tube is and how it works, what to look for in a buffer tube, and then our top three choices for a buffer tube for 2020.
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Why Go With A 9mm AR?
First, let’s answer this question: why should you even go with a 9mm AR in the first place?
There are several pros and cons to going with a 9mm AR, which is commonly referred to as an AR9 (or alternatively as a 9mm AR-15). The first and biggest advantage is that you can share the same ammunition, and sometimes even the same magazines, as your handgun.
For example, many 9mm AR9s are designed to function with Glock magazines. If you have your AR9 and a Glock 34, 17, or 19, you can use the same magazines across both weapons. This greatly simplifies your tactical setup.
Another advantage to an AR9 is that it produces a lot less recoil than an AR-15 that shoots rifle ammunition, which permits faster follow up shots and also lends itself to an overall easier shooting experience. Women or smaller statured people in particular should have a much easier time shooting an AR9.
Finally, an AR9 can also be a very effective home defense weapon. An AR9 pistol, for instance, is much more compact than a carbine that shoots centerfire ammunition, and will therefore be more nimble and agile in tight conditions. The 9mm round also creates less noise than rifle rounds such as the 5.56, which will be less disorienting in the tight confines of a home.
Another good use for an AR9 is as a truck gun, because again, it’s very compact and lighter weight. Depending on the AR9 that you choose, it’s even possible to stash it away in the backpack along with spare magazines and other tactical equipment. You can then keep the backpack under a car seat or in another compartment, and then when you need to evacuate your vehicle in an emergency scenario you can just take the backpack with you.
None of this is to say that an AR9 is without its cons. The 9mm round has drastically less range and power than a standard 5.56x45mm NATO round. Whereas the 5.56 can be used for hunting purposes for medium game as well, the 9mm is generally not well suited for this role. If you want an AR that can tap targets at longer ranges, the 9mm round is not the best caliber to choose.
But all in all, an AR9 can make an excellent addition to your gun collection. It serves a unique role as a short to mid range tactical weapon that can share the common magazines and ammunition as your handgun.
Even though an AR9 already produces minimal recoil, one of the best ways to reduce the recoil of your AR9 even further and to ensure an overall smoother operation will be to upgrade the buffer. But what is the buffer in the first place? That’s what we’re going to discuss next.
What Is An AR Buffer?
The buffer is a part of the overall buffer tube assembly. The buffer itself is a small part that is located inside the buffer tube. The buffer can move around thanks to the presence of the buffer spring, which is also located inside the buffer tube. The buffer tube, meanwhile, is attached to the stock of your AR-15, at least in the case of carbines and rifles. AR-15 pistols do not have stocks as a result of current American Federal law.
The purpose of the buffer is to make your AR fire more effectively. It absorbs a lot of the recoil and shock when you fire the weapon, which delivers less of a kick into your shoulder. Without the buffer, the energy of the weapon firing would be too excessive for the spring located inside the buffer tube, and it would eventually break apart.
A standard buffer consists of an aluminum casing, which houses the weights of the buffer inside. The buffer weights are usually built out of steel, and are separated by rubber pads. This helps to reduce recoil and the shock of recoil energy that is transferred to the buffer tube by the bolt carrier group. The end of the buffer is usually built out of a durable and high impact plastic, and is held in place with a retaining pin.
It’s also important that your AR9 buffer is designed properly. A buffer that is too light will do little to nothing to lower recoil, and can also inflict greater wear on your 9mm AR lower receiver, parts kit, and the bolt. The bolt could even unlock early from a light buffer, which could result in a casing becoming stuck. On the other hand, a buffer that is too heavy can also run into problems, most notably including short strokes, jams, and feeding issues.
With this in mind, all AR buffers can be divided into the following weight classes:
Out of these six, Carbine, Heavy, and H2 buffers are by way and large the most common. A carbine buffer weighs around three ounces and consists of three steel weights, and is an ideal choice for a .223 or 5.56 AR carbine or mid-length gas system. Finally, the Heavy buffer (or H buffer) will normally weigh just under four ounces. The heavy buffer is likewise best used in a carbine or mid-length gas system shooting rifle rounds.
Finally, the H2 style of buffer is the heaviest, and weigh around 4.7 ounces. It should consist of four tungsten parts, and is an ideal choice for an AR pistol in either the 5.56 or 9mm rounds.
Buyer’s Guide For The Best 9mm AR Buffers
No two AR buffers are created equally. With that in mind, these are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new buffer for your 9mm AR:
The first thing to look for in a buffer for an AR is the build materials. Almost all buffers are built out of steel or aluminum, which is a good material for resisting recoil and absorbing the shock that comes along with it. Steel is tougher and more durable, but aluminum can hold up well on its own and is also much lighter in weight.
As noted, the internals of the buffer are usually built out of steel, and are separated by rubber pads to further mitigate the shock the recoil. The rubber also helps to reduce the wear inflicted on other parts.
When it comes to the buffer sprig, stainless steel is your best bet. It’s durable, long lasting, and very rust and corrosion resistant as well.
The cost will matter a lot to you if you’re on a budget. The good news is that most buffers are not terribly expensive, and you shouldn’t expect to have to pay more than around fifty dollars for one. That being said, the higher end buffers can cost well over a hundred dollars. The best strategy is to pre-determine what your budget is and then buy accordingly.
Does It Fit In Your Buffer Tube?
This is a big one. You absolutely must make sure that your buffer is designed to fit in your buffer tube. The best approach is to measure your buffer tube while looking for a good replacement buffer. If you do not yet have a buffer tube because you are building a new AR-9 from the ground up, the best strategy is to purchase the buffer tube and buffer together and confirm before you purchase that they can fit together.
Another option is to purchase a lower receiver assembly that comes with both the buffer and buffer tube. Then again, the whole point to purchasing a new buffer is to reduce shock and recoil from your AR-15 and to smooth out the operation, and the buffer that comes on your assembly may be a standard model. Again, you just have to make sure that your buffer and buffer tube of choice can fit together.
Pistol Gas System or Carbine Gas System?
This is also hugely important. Before you purchase a buffer, you need to find out if it is compatible with a carbine gas system or pistol gas system. Again, no buffers are created equally. Some are designed specifically for pistol gas systems and cannot handle a carbine, while vice versa others are designed for carbines but not for pistols. There are also other AR buffers that are designed to function in both. Research carefully before your purchase.
What Parts Does It Come With?
Are you just buying the buffer itself, or are you buying a buffer kit or a buffer assembly? Pay close attention to the parts that are listed as being included in the overall package. Any parts that are missing, you’ll then need to buy separately (assuming that you do not have them already).
Speaking of kits, if you are looking into converting an existing rifle into an AR-9, check out our article on AR-15 9mm conversion kits.
The ideal weight for a buffer for a carbine will be around three ounces, and slightly more for pistol buffers (H2 buffers typically weigh around four to five ounces). A heavy buffer, on the other hand, will weigh around four ounces.
The Best 9mm AR Buffers
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade your 9mm AR buffers, here are our top three choices for what you can buy today:
Armaspec Sound Mitigation AR9 Buffer
The Armaspec Sound Mitigation AR9 Buffer is an excellent choice for a buffer if you want your AR9 to be as quiet as possible in terms of its operation. The cycling of your AR9 should be much smoother after installation. This is accomplished because the buffer spring is prevented from rubbing against the inside of the buffer tube.
It’s also very easy and straightforward to install thanks to its drop-in design, and the fact that the buffer and the spring are already assembled. The Armaspec is also solidly built and designed to withstand several thousand rounds, with the company specifically marketing it towards competition shooters who fire thousands of rounds a year.
All in all, the Armaspec Sound Mitigation AR-9 buffer will result in your AR-15 having a very quiet operation. It’s also tough and easy to install as a result of its drop-in design.
- Has a very quiet operation
- Easy to install thanks to its drop-in design
- Very smooth
- Very durable build quality
Angstadt Arms AR-15 9mm Carbine Buffer Assembly Kit
The Angstadt Arms AR-15 9mm Carbine Buffer Assembly Kit is designed to reduce recoil for your AR and also make the operation much smoother. This is also a very lightweight unit that will not add very much weight to your carbine, although it is also a bit longer than other buffers and springs on the market.
Besides working with AR9 carbines, the Angstadt Arms can also work well with AR-15 pistols, including those that are designed to function with Colt and Glock magazines.
Something to take note of is that the spring can be a little stiff to move initially out of the box, and you will need to shoot a few magazines before it begins to loosen up a bit.
Overall, the Angstadt is a solid choice for a buffer for your AR9. It’s very durable and designed to withstand lots of shock, and the spacer helps to enable a smoother function as well. Just make sure that you fire a few rounds in order to loosen up the spring and ensure a smooth action.
- Buffer is very durable and designed to absorb a lot of shock
- Spacer helps enable nicer function
- Installation is easy
- Very lightweight
- Designed to function with both AR9 carbines and pistols
- Movement can be a little stiff upon initial use; needs to be broken in
Kyntec Corporation AR-15 9mm Hydraulic Recoil Buffer
The Kyntec Corporation AR-15 9mm Hydraulic Recoil Buffer is one of the more unique buffers for an AR9 out on the market. Believe it or not, but it actually uses the same designed as the shock absorbs in vehicles in order to reduce recoil. That’s because the buffer utilizes a hydraulically dampened piston that helps to absorb the shock from the bolt carrier traveling to the rear when you fire the weapon.
This results in less THUMP being delivered into your shoulder, and also reduces the bounce of the bolt when a new round is transported from the magazine into the chamber. This hydraulic recoil design also helps to reduce the spring noise when you fire the carbine, and reduces the amount of wear that is inflicted on the internal parts of your AR, which should extend the service life. This also results in smoother cycling.
As an added bonus, the Kyntec is built out of very durable stainless steel, which further helps to extend its overall service life as well. It is more expensive than most other AR9 buffers out on the market, but at the same time you get what you pay for.
The Kyntec Corporation Hydraulic Buffer utilizes a hydraulically dampened piston to help reduce recoil, ensure smoother cycling, and reduce wear inflicted on the rest of the internal buffer tube parts. It may be expensive for an AR buffer, but this proven design along with the stainless steel construction justifies the higher price.
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Hydraulic dampened design reduces recoil, shock, and wear on internal parts
- Very smooth cycling
- Very expensive for an AR buffer
And that concludes our list of the top three best 9mm AR buffers for 2020!
Any one of the buffers that we have covered here today will be a solid choice for your AR9, or alternatively, you can follow the buyer’s guide that we listed before to help you select another buffer as well.