Ruger AR-556 Bahde sneak peek lead
Sneak Peek: Hands On the New Direct-Impingement Ruger AR-556

The frenzy of AR buying has tapered considerably. With fears of bans waning, demand has lessened. Buyers are looking for something more, and preferably at a great price. When first introduced, the AR was a pretty good buy in a rifle, and it looks like that philosophy may be returning. Today’s AR buyers are more discerning and are looking for just what they need. Custom rifles certainly have their place, and expensive builds still abound, but most new shooters want a high-quality rifle with all the basics and at a fair price. Now Ruger has firmly planted its foot in this market with its new AR-556 rifle in 5.56mm NATO.

Ruger’s piston-operated SR-556 series is extremely popular among AR enthusiasts, but the MSRP for the standard variant is $1,995—out of reach for many. Piston-driven systems also add weight and some complexity to the design. There is just nothing like the simplicity of the original direct-impingement rifle. Ruger’s new AR-556 is an entry-level direct-impingement rifle with many features found on rifles that cost twice as much. While some companies remove parts to keep costs down, Ruger has maintained all the basics and added a few improvements—all in a rifle that retails for $749. The AR-556 features forged upper and lower receivers, a cold-hammer-forged, 16-inch barrel, a milled gas block, a chrome-plated bolt carrier and a properly staked gas key. This is a truly solid rifle with a fair price and everything you need in a simple AR. In short, it looks to be the most promising ARs to arrive on the market for quite some time.

Check out my short video as I run the AR-556 through a few drills and you’ll see what this rifle has to offer. Also keep you eyes open for full test and evaluation in an upcoming issue of SPECIAL WEAPONS FOR MILITARY & POLICE. To subscribe, visit

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