The AR-15 is the quintessential American rifle. For defensive purposes, it is a superior platform. Capable and suitable for both tactical use and competitive shooting, it is the symbol of American freedom and the right to bear arms.
Here are the best AR-15 rifles of all time:
Since their beginning, S&W has been known for their revolvers, but they also make capable pistols and rifles. S&W is famous for providing law enforcement sidearms, and many police departments also use M&P rifles.
The S&W AR-15s will hold their value and quality over time. The manufacturer has exceptional research and development and testing facilities, with employee longevity that indicates solid, professional business.
There is one upgrade that is unique to the M&P 15 Sport II that you won’t find in any of the other guns in this article. The M-LOK handguards from Magpul are a unique addition that really sets their rifle apart. The stock is a familiar six position model, and the gas block is railed.
This rifle excels with additional optics or sights for high-accuracy shooting, and this expense should be considered when comparing models.
SIG Sauer is already famous for quality guns, and they exceeded all expectations with the SIG Sauer M400 Elite. The baseline model is perfectly suitable for most needs but you can easily include a couple additions and customizations. Either way, you’re getting a great gun for a great price. The SIG Sauer German engineered quality guarantees its longevity and customer satisfaction..
The SIG Sauer M400 Elite was created to meet strict law-enforcement and military standards. Its reliability is top-of-the-line. The name of SIG Sauer is one of the most trusted in the global firearms market, and their guns have yet to disappoint.
The Enhanced SIG trigger features 5.5- to 9- pound adjustment, and the precision and accuracy that this gives you is a great touch. The basic M400 Elite does not have iron sights, so you can purchase SIG’s ROMEO5 red-dot sight for just a little extra. If you pair that with a red dot magnifier combo, you will consistently place rounds on target. You will be surprised at how gently the M400 Elite fires.
Left-handed shooters will be disappointed that the M400 does not feature ambidextrous controls. But the average right-handed user will love the features and the affordable price of the M400 Elite baseline model.
The M400 is a quality AR-15 that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It is built to perform, and M400 will deliver in any function without compromising. Gun owners around the world trust SIG and trust the M400.
Springfield Armory has just recently launched their AR-15 model in 2016 in anticipation of new gun legislation. Fortunately, that didn’t happen - but the Saint 5.56 is worth checking out anyway.
Springfield manufactures guns in three categories: 1911s, polymer pistols, and M-14 pattern rifles. You won’t find better customer service or more consistent quality among these items. They make up for their lack of diverse products in their inventory by supplying the kind of personal customer service that you would hope to get from a smaller company.
The Saint has some upgrades that need to be considered. Most of the design, including grips, trigger guards, stock and forend are produced by Bravo Company. Springfield has coated the trigger with nickel-boron, which makes the rifle much easier to clean, reducing the grit that often accumulates in most AR triggers. They modest recoil is mitigated even further by the modified buffer weight.
The Saint is a ready-to-fire weapon that doesn’t require heave modification, and that gives it its appeal to the casual gun owner.
Ruger makes superior rifles. Although their company has offices and factories across the U.S., they do most of their own manufacturing. Like Springfield, they are also new to the AR-15 market, and their AR product certainly attracted notice.
Ruger is a gun for the everyday working man, and their AR-556 demonstrates this. It may not have the frills of many competitor rifles at this price, but it is still effective and an option to consider. Their heat shields might seem somewhat generic, but they’re using branded furniture and sights rather than shelf stock.
This gun may not be glamorous, but it is reliable and consistent, with historic military roots. The bayonet tug will make your friends take notice of your authentically-styled rifle.
LWRC might make the best gas piston system in the world. Compared to a direct impingement rifle, these rifles run cleaner and more reliably. The LWRC Enhanced Individual Carbine is the latest version of their extremely popular M6 line of rifles.
The barrel immediately stands out on the LWRC rifle; it is 16 inches, with a 1-in-7 twist. The IC barrel is also fluted for faster cooling during heavy bursts of shooting, and features NiCorr surface conversion for superior barrel durability. According to specs, it will last for 20,000 rounds.
The gas piston system is another great aspect of the IC. LWRC designed this system to vent gases from near the front sight, away from the shooter, preventing gas from being blown back into the bolt carrier group. This gives it extremely clean operation, and excellent reliability.
The trademark clean-running gas piston system, LWRC’s nickel-boron coating on the bolt carrier group gives it more reliability and smoother operation. The IC will reliably fire any ammunition you feed it.
The customizable forend has rail sections that can be modded anywhere the shooter likes. The pistol grip is rubberized and more comfortable, and the adjustable stock is angled for a better cheek weld. The IC is comfortable to operate in both tactical, mobile shooting situations and also for long-range, fixed position firing.
Left-handed shooters will want this rifle, since it comes standard with a completely ambidextrous lower receiver, for comfortable and easy manipulation of all the controls without removing your firing hand.
The LWRC IC is at the top of the class with their next generation model AR-15 rifle. The gas system is shown to be the most reliable and sustainable on the market. It requires very little maintenance or cleaning, which is a huge bonus selling point. It is reliable and affordable and any shooter should be looking out for the LWRC IC.
The Rock River Arms LAR-15 Entry Tactical is a great AR-15 for a first-time purchaser. The base model is ideally configured, but the LAR-15 has great options for customization as well.
The LAR-15 is somewhat more expensive than expected, compared to the other AR-15s in this article. Regardless, the Rock River Arms LAR-15 Entry Tactical is an excellent choice for the spender who values quality over bargain discounts. The small company name has been growing in popularity and prestige since 1993, and will soon become synonymous with S&W or Sig Sauer.
The base model price begins at $1000, but the custom options for this rifle really set it apart. If you have owned AR-15s before and are familiar with their usage, take the extra time to create the rifle that best suits your needs and exact specifications.
The LAR-15 gets extra accuracy and reliability from its hogue grip, A2 flash hider, and RRA two-stage trigger. Even without customization, the LAR-15 is an excellent weapon, ready for the range or for hunting.
There are many social and legal reasons to consider a budget model for a defensive gun purchase. If the gun is fired in self-defensive, the weapon will likely be confiscated and impounded until a judge ruling or even a court case. In many situations, the gun is never returned to the owner. In this situation, having an affordable yet reliable weapon is a considerable advantage for home defense.
Armalite is the original manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle. Their history and reputation precede the quality of their guns.
For civilians who want an M-16 equivalent for home defense, the Armalite M-15 Defensive Sporting Rifle is Armalite’s answer. At an affordable cost, the gun will be easily replaceable if the owner needs to give up the gun to law enforcement.
The 16-inch barrel is standard on the M-15, with a 1-in-7 twist. The 1-in-7 twist is versatile enough for both long-range ammunition and light, home-defense ammunition.
The internals are all anodized, which increases their reliability. The exterior of the upper and lower receiver are also anodized, giving the weapon corrosion resistance in accordance with military specs.
The furniture is also military specification, allowing hassle-free operation and handling. Unfortunately, this weapon is not ambidextrous, so left-handed shooters may want to modify the rifle with an ambidextrous safety selector.
If you are looking for a mid-level AR-15, the Windham Armory R16M4FT is an excellent choice. It performs accurately at 100 yards and has solid build construction at a low price. It’s also a great AR-15 for beginners, with indicator markings on the receiver.
The low price is a big selling point for the Windham Armory R16M4FT. Without compromising quality, it fires smoothly and beautifully with every pull of the trigger. You won’t have any complaints with the accuracy when you are shooting small shot groups. The construction components are solid and high-quality, similar to what you would find in a gun twice its price.
The R16 has a gorgeous finish and lightweight. It will perform excellently at 100 yards, with a mild, comfortable recoil every time, and although it’s more expensive than some of the low-end AR-15s, it’s one of the best mid-level AR-15s on the market, and perfect for first-time AR-15 buyers.