It has been said often that the best AR you can get is the one you custom build yourself, the one you build specifically with the parts you want. Custom building your rifle is good, but at the same time, there are a lot of respectable brands producing the AR-15 rifle in the market.
There is no easy way to rate and rank the different brands of the AR-15 rifle available in the market, as all is subject to taste, preference and plain old school bias. But below are 10 of the best AR-15 rifles available in the market
Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM)
The BCM MIL-SPEC black AR-15 rifle is manufactured by the company started back in 2005 by a veteran. The company manufactures military specification (mil-spec) rifles. The core aim of the company is to build a dependable machine that would not jam and disappoint the owner.
The BCM comes with barrel options of either a SS310 chrome lined stainless steel barrel or a MIL-SPEC 11595E barrel steel (CMV). The two barrel options are inspected for Magnetic Particles and M197 high-pressure tested.
The BCM rifles boast of shot peened bolts and have chrome lined chamber and bore with M4 feed ramps. They have hardened, properly staked, chrome lined gas key. The price for a standard length rifle starts from $1,200.
Noveske Rifleworks was founded by another veteran back in 2001. Late John Noveske pioneered stainless barrels for the AR rifle. He developed a method of making the rifle barrel more durable by adding a chrome-lined layer that is extra thick.
The result of this is a barrel that is way more durable than the other options available in the market. The Noveske AR rifle barrel is hand chambered and it exceeds the MIL-SPECS standards, carrying 416 stainless steel hardness of 32 RC.
The Noveske Gen 1 RECCE Basic rifle carries a staked carrier key and a MP tested, shot peened bolt. The price for this rifle starts from $1,700
KAC started more than 3 decades ago and has become of the high hitters in the small arms manufacturing industry in the USA. Known for the improvements and innovations it made to the original AR 15 rifle design, KAC latest rifles come with E3 Enhanced proprietary bolt carrier group.
KAC ARs come with chrome lined, hammer forged barrels. The United States military uses the railed forend manufactured by KAC for their M162 and M4 rifles. KAC rifles are on the expensive end of the spectrum with prices starting from around $2,500.
Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT)
LMT has been around for a very long time, they have been in the industry since 1980. They are popular for the single piece MIL-SPEC upper receiver with an integral forend, the President Karl Lewis’ Monolithic Rail Platform.
The system was a pioneer in allowing quick swapping of caliber and barrel. This innovation gives the users the allowance to swap barrels while maintaining point of aim. When switching calibers, the process is as simple as using a tool to remove the rifle’s upper.
With prices starting at $1,400, the barrels are cryogenically treated and chrome lined. LMT also has options for rifles with stainless barrels.
Daniel Defense is one of the only five companies in the whole world that manufacture barrels that are cold hammer forged. Daniel Defense AR 15 rifles come with chrome lined barrels. The company also produces pistols and carbines.
Their AR 15s have shot peened bolt carrier group with a salt bath nitride finish gas system. The bolt carrier group is HPI and MIL-SPEC MPI tested. Daniel Defense produces the stocks, flash suppressors and other parts used on the rifles in house. The price for their M4V11 rifle is $1,500.
LWRC is a company renowned for its dedication to the development of their patented short stroke gas piston system for AR 15s. They manufacture their rifles to the United States Army Individual Carbine requirement standards.
They produce their own barrels using NiCorr treated 41V5 steel alloy. This treatment removes the need of chrome lining their barrels. They innovated their bolt carrier group, coating it with Nickel Boron, providing a permanent lubricant for the rifle. Prices for their rifles start from $1,600.
Colt is a household name in the guns industry that needs absolutely no introduction. They produce the nearest thing to the standard military M4 commercially available, the Colt LE6920.
They make use of the same parts used for the Colt M4 for their AR 15s. With chrome lined barrels, the rifles are MP inspected and HP tested. The rifles’ bolt groups are also Magnetic Particle inspected. With all these standards conformity, the Colt rifles are remarkably low cost with prices starting from less than $1,000
Another giant in the guns industry is H&K. The company started up as the weapons manufacturers for Germany military back in 1956. They have some of the most reliable and world famous assault rifles worldwide.
The company pioneered the polygonal rifling that has become a rifling standard. The company also has a prioprietary gas system that sets their rifles apart from other AR-15s available in the market. They make use of pusher rods instead of the common gas tubes.
Their rifle barrels are also not chrome lined, instead they make use of cold hammer forged cannon grade steel. The H&K AR-15 rifle is quite expensive, with prices starting from $2,500.
The Midwest Industries AR-15 makes use of FN chrome lined, hammer forged barrels with M4 feed ramps, MPI bolt and staked castle nut. The company started off with the machining of high grade AR parts but made their own rifle in 2014. Their rifle prices start from $900.
Barrett is a company of firsts. The company was founded in 1982 when Ronnie Barrett made the first shoulder fired 50 caliber BMG Rifle. Barrett introduced the first piston driven AR 15 rifle to the market in 2007, the Barrett REC7 rifle.
The REC7’s bolt carrier is Nickel Teflon coated and tooled from a single piece of steel. With prices starting around $3,000, the Barrett REC7 is one of the most expensive AR 15s in town.