Five Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Service Rifle For Competition

For both CMP and NRA high-power competitions, you’ll need a serious upgrade. An upgrade refers to a competition-legal modification to your basic service rifle that makes it more precise and accurate, as well as more comfortable to use ergonomically.

From AR-10 optics to triggers and barrels, this guide will inform you on how to upgrade your service rifle according to the rules and standards. However, before you go ahead and perform an upgrade on your service rifle, you must first look at some of the rules that explain what you can and can’t do.

The internal changes you perform can’t include anything out of the order that might interfere with or impact the rifle’s handling or safe firing. Nowadays, some companies deal with competition upgrades that are in the legal range. Here are five easy and competition-legal ways to upgrade your service rifle.

Alternate the Twist

The first thing you should do is replace a whippy, maximum tolerance, or throat-eroded pencil barrel with a new match-grade barrel. This is probably one of the most important upgrades you can do to any rifle.

If you’re not a rifle professional, replacing a barrel can turn out to be a bit complex but don’t let that discourage you. For most AR-10 and AR-15 gunsmiths, this task takes less than an hour. Changing a barrel requires specialized tools, and since a match-grade barrel comes with a faster twist rate, it allows you to shoot higher-BC, heavier rounds for the 600-yard stage.

Ditch the Hider

Since we’re talking about upgrading your service rifle for competition, you won’t be needing that A2 flash hider twisted onto the end of the barrel. The majority of competitions have rules that don’t require the hider either. The flash hider is useful in certain situations and environments.

However, since it tends to loosen, it can become a nuisance and distraction when you need to act fast at the speed of the moment. The competition doesn’t require you to protect your muzzle crown, leaving the hider without a useful purpose. Therefore, ditch it.

Up-Stage the Trigger

Certain high-power competitions, such as CMP and NRA, have some regulations regarding service rifles. In particular, one rule refers to a service rifle trigger pull weight – it has to be at least 4.5 pounds.

However, this is a problem since putting this much weight on a service rifle’s single-stage trigger will limit your conductive power and result in losing that fine trigger control, primarily if you practice shooting offhand.

To mitigate the loss, you can perform an upgrade on a trigger by installing one that puts half of the weight on the first stage, leaving the second stage to take the rest of the weight. This will result in a more balanced trigger and precise feel.

Note that this upgrade will require some time to get used to it. If you’re into practicing the range or focused dry-firing, it will take some acclimatization to your new setup.


When it comes to upgrading your service rifle for competition, it’s crucial to clearly see and visualize your target as something more than a shapeless dark dot. You’ll need a proper scope, such as a rimfire rifle scope, to help you focus on the front sight. You can check online stores like TX Fowlers for more scopes. Choose the one best suits.

Some rules don’t allow installing a rear sight assembly that adds a corrective lens to your scope. Optical sights are also a solution, but they are a bit outdated. Fortunately, there is a wide range of the latest, cutting-edge optics designed by the latest rigors of military-grade service rifles.

These optics are permitted on competition service rifles and are what you need to achieve a considerable advantage in across-the-course target shooting. If you’re using the AR 10, you’ll need a proper scope to give your precision and accuracy a serious boost.

Make Your Service Rifle as Ergonomic as Possible

When it comes to upgrading your rifle to give you the most of its potential, the last thing you should do is making your rifle as ergonomic as possible. However, this is quite a challenge since different competitions have different high power rulebooks regarding what’s permitted and what isn’t.

If you’re using the AR-10 or AR-15, there are a couple of things you can do, such as mount a collapsible stock, use an adjustable length-of-pull, utilize standard A2 or A1 style pistol grip, and more.


While these are all useful tips, this is just the beginning of what you can do to make your service rifle fully upgraded for competition. We recommend that you research the rules of the most crucial service rifle high-power competitions before you start upgrading your weapon. Just one mistake could get you disqualified, so we advise you to take things slowly.

What’s more, if you are a person who reloads, then you should know the importance of reloading die and how to clean reloading dies. It is crucial not only for your safety but also for the effectiveness and accuracy of the bullet.