In the past, affordable AR-15 rifles were a mixed bag. All too often, an inexpensive price meant cheap parts and poor-quality assembly. In recent years, however, this has substantially changed. Good quality rifles with budget-minded prices have become much more common.
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The beauty of AR-15 rifles is how they can be upgraded to your personal preferences which means you can turn any sub-$1,000 AR-15 into a device worth well beyond that. Below is our list of AR-15 rifles that won’t break the bank.
Alex Pro Firearms Midnight Warrior 5.56 NATO – MSRP $995.95
The APF Midnight Warrior is a tactical carbine that has a sleek Midnight Bronze Cerakote finishing and is equipped with a black Magpul MOE Stock and MOE grip for the rugged functionality that shooters need. While just a shade under $1,000, this rifle makes the cut in our book.
Anderson Manufacturing Optic-Ready 5.56 – MSRP $558.09
The Optic-Ready 5.56 from Anderson Manufacturing has a lower and upper receiver forged from 7075 T6 aluminum – both have been treated with type III hard anodization and are multi-caliber. Here you’ll get an A2 flash hider, a carbine-length high-rise gas system fitted with a top rail (front sight capable), and the A2 plastic clamshell handguards with inset aluminum heat shields. Not bad for being under $600!
Armalite M-15 Defensive Sporting Rifle – MSRP $899
It may be inexpensive, but the Defensive Sporting Rifle 15 from Armalite is not cheap. The rifle has a 16″, 1-in-7″ twist chromium molybdenum, black nitride barrel that is threaded and topped with an A2-style flash suppressor. It is ready for the sighting system of your choice and is fitted with an adjustable stock. The rifle weighs less than 6.5 pounds and ships with a 30-round Magpul PMAG.
Del-Ton Alpha 220H – MSRP $917.81
Equipped with a heavy 20″ barrel as well as an A2 upper and buttstock, the Alpha 220H has a classic AR-15 look. The longer barrel maximizes the potential velocity of the ammo, while the iron sights allow you to get it on the range immediately.
Del-Ton DT Sport – MSRP $697.44
The Del-Ton DT Sport has a 16″ lightweight barrel with 1×9 twist, a 6-position M4 stock, CAR handguards with single heat shields, and A2 flash hider. While it’s a no-frills rifle, it’s a perfect price point to start at before accessorizing to your heart’s content.
DPMS DR-15 16″ M4 5.56 NATO 1/7 PHOS B5 with MBUS Rear Sight – MSRP $749.99
The M4 5.56 NATO 1/7 PHOS B5 from DPMS has a phosphate-coated chrome-moly steel barrel and is finished off with a standard handguard, an F-Marked front sight base, and an A2 flash hider. The upper is forged 7075-T6 A3 AR and is machined to MIL-SPECS and hard coat anodized for added durability. Upper also includes a forward assist and dust cover and B5 M-Lok Slim Profile drop-in handguard. The lower is made using 7075-T6 aluminum and is also hard coat anodized. Mil-spec diameter 7075-T6 buffer tube is hard coat anodized as well and has 6 adjustment positions. Lastly, the M4 5.56 is fitted with a B5 Bravo Carbine Stock.
DPMS DR-15 16″ 350 Legend Nitride 13.5″ M-LOK MOE with MBUS Sight Set – MSRP $899.99
The 350 Legend Nitride 13.5″ M-LOK MOE has a 4150 chrome-moly vanadium steel barrel with a 1:16 twist rate, a carbine gas system, a low-profile gas block, and an A2 flash hider. The upper is made with forged 7075-T6 A3 that is mil-spec and hard coat anodized. The lower is made from 7075-T6 aluminum with a hard-coat anodized finish. Mil-spec diameter 7075-T6 buffer tube is hard-coat anodized with 6 adjustment positions and is fitted with a MOE Carbine Stock, Magpul grip, and Panther Polished Trigger (PPT).
DSArms AR15 ZM4 WarZ Series 16″ Combat Companion 5.56 Rifle – MSRP $864.95
The DS Arms AR15 ZM4 16″ 5.56 Rifle is part of DSA’s WarZ Series. WarZ Series rifles showcase premium match barrels machined from 416-R Stainless Steel or 4150-11595 Mil-Spec Steel. Additional WarZ features include upgraded fire control groups, ambidextrous selector switches, WarZ trigger guards, bolt catches, and charging handles.
Ruger AR-556 – MSRP $989
We’re actually surprised that the Ruger AR-556 manages to come in at just under $1,000 as there is so much to be said about this AR. The AR-556 is machined out of 7075-T6 hard-coat anodized aluminum forgings has a shot-peened and proof-tested 9310 steel bolt, and an 8620 steel bolt carrier. The inside diameter of the carrier and gas key are chrome plated and the key is staked for long-term use. The AR-556 comes with the Ruger Rapid Deploy folding rear sight provides windage adjustability and pairs with the A2-style, F-height, elevation-adjustable front sight for a solid, reliable aiming system. Shooters will appreciate the enlarged trigger guard to accommodate gloved shooting. The medium contour, cold hammer-forged alloy barrel with 1:8″ twist rifling offers spot-on accuracy with bullets from 35 to 77 grains. Lastly, the barrel and 1/2″-28 Ruger flash suppressor have a matte black oxide finish to reduce glare and provide corrosion resistance.
Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II – MSRP $812
The M&P15 Sport II uses aluminum receivers and has a 16″ barrel with a 1-in-9″ twist rate. Both the gas key and bolt carrier are chromed for long-term use while the barrel sports a rugged Armornite® barrel finish. Sighting is handled with an adjustable A2-type front post and Magpul MBUS rear sight. The six-position-adjustable buttstock comes standard. The M&P15 Sport II is compatible with most components for AR-15 rifles so you can accessorize as you see fit.