At the recent Shooting Industry Masters award ceremony, Brownells won the award for “Accessory of the Year.”
This isn’t so surprising, except it wasn’t for anything available in their colossal catalog. Instead, Suzi Huntington of FMG Publications presented the award for the company’s new web site. AR15builder.com, which combines images of almost 1000 AR-15 components to let the user build their a customized rifle, see what it will look like, and then order it. Customers can create builds and save them for future purchase, or share them with their dealer who can order the components and assemble the gun for them.
“We were thrilled just see our name on the list of nominees,” said company CEO, Frank Brownell, “Our web group spent most of a year creating this incredible tool and it’s good to see that hard work recognized.”
The Builder helps choose, view and order accessories. The application is based on Ironbox, a front-end platform that enables a desktop-style Graphical User Interface (GUI) from a Brownells-hosted Web application and is entirely contained within and run by a standard browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) Thus, the user need not install any software. The site also links to over 50 short instructional videos on AR-15 building know-how.
Following the drop-down menus, users start with Lower Receiver options. Everything from stripped lowers to pre-assembled units are available. Hovering the mouse over any item will display a box with item number, price, stock status, etc. To select a part for your build, drag and drop it to the build area and a picture of the part is automatically indexed to the proper location. Every other component is selected in the same manner. Navigate through the remaining categories, selecting the parts until your gun is complete. This allows the user to see how the components will look when assembled. The Builder maintains a running price display showing the total cost of all selected parts. Once finished, all the selected parts can be sent to a Brownells.com shopping cart for immediate order. The user is notified of any out-of-stock items, which can be placed on back order or another part selected, and what parts require an FFL. A build can also be saved for later purchase or printed off.
As if the “Obama Bubble” hasn’t caused enough post-election interest in the AR-15 platform, Brownells makes ordering a complete, unique “rifle erector set” as easy as dragging a some pictures and a few mouse clicks! In all seriousness, this is a well-made, useful application. It’s even fun for a few minutes what-iffing a dream rifle. Perhaps the AR-15 doesn’t have the same panache of classic steel and wood rifles but they are popular for a reason. Kudos for taking their customer service to a new level.