8 Cheapest AR-15 Rifles for $500. Prices Start at $350! – 2024

Radical Firearms SOCOM 556. View details of this awesome $500 AR-15 here and buy yours today!

Last updated March 15th 2024

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Cheap AR-15 Winners at a Glance

The Palmetto State Armory PA-15 is still the best cheap AR-15, but the competition is getting closer. There are cheaper rifles, there are better rifles for more money and there are new brands closing in. But the PSA is still the sweet spot when it comes to value.

Palmetto State Armory PA-15

Palmetto State Armory PA-15

  • Overall Winner
Best Price
Bear Creek Arsenal BA-15

Bear Creek Arsenal BA-15

  • Newcomer to the Budget War
Best Price
ATI Omni Hybrid

ATI Omni Hybrid

  • Best Plastic AR-15
Best Price
Radical Firearms RF-15

Radical Firearms RF-15

  • Cheapest Gun We Would Trust
Best Price
Rock River Arms RRage

Rock River Arms RRage

  • Worth the Extra Cash
Best Price


You don’t need to spend the Earth on an AR-15. The differences between a cheap AR-15 under $500 and something far more exotic are smaller than you think.

So start small. Then progressively talk yourself into more expensive weapons later…

Let’s get you on that glorious road to success right now, with a semi-auto rifle for less than $500 that does the job. And then we’ve included a few more expensive rifles, just for fun.

Cheap AR-15 Rifles in 2024

The PSA Freedom AR-15. It's a great starter AR-15 and a solid defensive rifle. This is a high spec, low price gun.

1. Palmetto State Armory PA-15 Freedom Rifle

  • Price: $499.99
  • Cal: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Perfect Balance of Price & Performance



  • ✓ Great rifle for the money
  • ✓ BLEM versions even cheaper
  • ✓ Customers tend to stay loyal
  • ✓ Great customer service


  • ✗ Fit and finish isn’t perfect
  • ✗ Badge snobs hate them

If you’re looking for a solid AR-15 at a budget price, you’re just not going to beat the Freedom AR-15 from PSA.

Sootch, Youtube

For years, if you wanted a budget AR-15 then your choice was a Palmetto State Armory PSA Freedom M4 black nitride carbine or a DPMS Oracle. We always preferred the PSA.

Now other contenders have come and largely gone, but the Palmetto State Armory black Nitride M4 Freedom Ordnance is still always right in the mix. And it’s the one I’d take every time because it has never let me down. It isn’t pretty, it wobbles slightly in my hands, but this is a super reliable gun.

The fit and finish on this black nitride M4 Carbine is deliberately rough and basic. But that’s part of the appeal and at this price, who’s complaining about that?

You can even buy firearms with blemishes in that Nitride finish for less money off the site. Look out for gun deals marked BLEM PSA, or the daily deals, and you can snag a seriously cheap gun. If you want the cheapest deal out there then try looking for BLEM Palmetto State Armory rifle kits. You need to do some self-assembly, but they can cost as little as $320.

I always thought the PSA was the safe bet. You might be able to save a couple of bucks and go off-brand, but this is a big company that knows its stuff and stands behind the product. If there’s a problem with yours, they’ll fix it, and PSA churns these rifles out by the thousand every year. I say that matters.

Bear Creek Arsenal BC-15, a new name in the low budget AR-15 world.

2. Bear Creek Arsenal BC-15

  • Price: $375.00+
  • Cal: 5.56mm
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 7lb

A New Budget Choice?



  • ✓ Amazing price
  • ✓ Solid Starter Rifle
  • ✓ Side charging rifle available


  • ✗ Fit and finish is a bit rough
  • ✗ Has emerged from the Moor’s Machine Company, which had iffy reputation

The Bear Creek Arsenal was a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. It didn’t just perform well, for the price point it was exceptional.

Honest Outlaw, Youtube Reviewer

Bear Creek Arsenal is a relatively new addition to the world, kind of. Before they changed the name this was the Moore’s Machine Company and that had less favorable reviews. But so far the name change seems to have done the world of good and QC might have improved along the way according to the latest reviews. I’m reserving judgement for the moment.

You buy direct from the manufacturer and they normally have a discount or some form of daily deals, so it’s always worth checking the site. And you can order a Bear Creek Arsenal BC-15 for less than $400 on a good day, which is kind of amazing.

The Bear Creek Arsenal name hasn’t got the same bulletproof rep as PSA just yet, but this company is making the right kind of waves. That is turning into sales

They can sell you a Bear Creek side charging rifle, if that’s your thing, and pretty much any spec for your new AR.

ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx P3. A plastic AR-15 at a bargain price. Get your polymer AR-15 and see what the fuss is about.

3. American Tactical Imports Omni Hybrid Maxx

  • Special Price: $449.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO/ .223 Rem
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5.65lb
  • Twist rate: 1:8

The Plastic Fantastic



  • ✓ Super lightweight polymer receivers
  • ✓Proven reliability for the short term


  • ✗ New tech isn’t trusted yet
  • ✗ Durability remains a question

The ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx P4 is one of the new arrivals on the low price AR-15 scene. And in a time of wildly fluctuating prices, this is one of a special few that has stayed around the $500 mark consistently.

So that’s how a plastic AR-15 is making a big splash. Yeah, about that…

This stock black ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx has polymer receivers. But the critics love this fresh take on the basic AR-15 recipe, and we kind of do too…

The optics ready American Tactical Imports complete upper and lower receivers can be bought separately from American Tactical, too, and there’s an AAC Blackout version at a similarly affordable price. Get a flat dark earth rifle, olive drab green rifle, black, complete rifles, whatever you want really.

Lightweight and Easy, Not Just Cheap

That gives a final weight of 5.7lb for this entry-level rifle, which is pretty stunning if we’re honest. it’s the USP that could tempt someone looking for a lightweight AR-15 into taking a gamble.

Inevitably there are pros and cons with plastics, but the pros are really impressive and you should be able to put thousands of rounds through these polymer ARs.

The money, though, is the real headline here.

This polymer AR-15 rifle has clever tech. Features include a trigger made from a self-lubricating composite and this isn’t just cheap price range shopping for those that don’t want to break the bank. It’s a really good long rifle with a Magpul MOE stock and solid build quality.

These are great options, for more than one reason.

Radical AR-15. One of the great cheap rifles here.

4. Radical Firearms SOCOM RF-15

  • Special Price: $499.99+
  • Round: .223 Rem/ 5.56 x 45 NATO Rifle
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.1lb

Low Budget Contender



  • ✓ Amazing price
  • ✓ Solid starter rifle


  • ✗ Charging handle and peripherals could be tougher
  • ✗ Doesn’t have a bulletproof rep for reliability

This is one of the the best AR-15s under $500 right now, although the price isn’t always consistent.

They can be less than $400, or more than $500, so we have to update this price more often than almost any other rifle. At the lower end, this popular rifle is a bargain and you should buy it immediately. At $600+, there are better options.

It has an aluminum upper and lower receiver, a SOCOM Chrome Moly steel 16 incher up front, slimline M-LOK handguard and a free float handguard with M-Lok rail.

So you can doll up yours with tacti-cool weapon lights and other shenanigans to go with the bird cage flash hider.

Del Ton Echo

5. Del Ton Echo

  • Regular Price: $469.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.85lb

Left Field Cheap Choice


Del Ton is a solid addition to the budget ranks, even though it’s really just competing on price. We like the Del Ton, but all the others above do their one thing that little bit better. There are cheaper rifles, there are better ones with a price premium, but this is a solid rifle for the money.

If you really don’t want a PSA or Bear Creek, and you have your reasons, then the Del Ton is an option.

Diamondback Firearms DB15 SSB for sale. A great low budget firearm to get you started with AR-15 ownership.

6. Diamondback Firearms Diamondback DB15

  • Regular Price: $517.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.8lb

Reviews are Good


Diamondback Firearms is another budget friendly company making a name for itself in the affordable sector with aggressive designs and keen pricing.

And the optic ready DB15 5.56 NATO is turning into a winner

Thi 5.56 NATO rifle has an 8620 Bolt Carrier Group, aluminum receivers and a 16” free floating barrel produced from Chrome Moly Vanadium steel and then Melonite coated. There’s a flat top upper receiver with a full length rail and a 3.5lb single stage trigger.

Solid, Basic, Cheap AR15 Rifle

The Diamondback Firearms DB15 works for personal defense, basic hunting and improving your shooting technique at the range. Get some accessories, upgrades, lights, lasers, Magpul furniture and more on there and you’ll love it.

We’re pretty sure you’ll be glad you spent the extra on the Diamondback DB15.

Rock River RRage. In 2023, this is the best AR-15 you can buy for $500, or very close.

7. Rock River Arms RRage

  • Special Price: $594.99
  • Weight: 5.75lb
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Twist Rate: 1:9

The first time we saw this deal we wrote it off as an anomaly. But no, we’ve seen enough to know that this rifle is slipping towards the magic $500 mark. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes the Rock River Arms is much closer to $500 and it climbs and drops down the list accordingly.

I mean this is one of the top brands out there and this is too cheap. OK it’s the shorter handguard and aluminum receivers, but that means it’s much lighter.

There is space for lights, lasers, etc on that M-LOK Rail and it’s great for home defense & hunting.

So this is a sub 6lb AR-15 with a proper 16 inch barrel from the official supplier of LEOs around the United States of America at almost the right price point.

The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is a cheap AR-15, and it's also one of the best discount rifles in USA gun stores.

8. Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II

  • Regular price: $669.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO/223 Rem
  • NATO 16 inch Barrel
  • Weight: 6.45lb
  • Finish: Black

The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is one of the benchmarks. As with Ruger, the RRP has crept up to the point that we almost don’t recognize it anymore. But it is what it is.

The top rated S&W M&P 15 Sport has fallen down the order as a result, but we can’t bring ourselves to drop it entirely…

A Basic 5.56 NATO Classic

The stock Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is the entry-level, for sure and you might want to switch out that retro sight set and fit full length Picatinny rails or go for a free float handguard around the steel barrel. But that simple front site base iand polymer guard around the cold hammer forged barrel is still good enough for most of us.

And the basic S&W M&P 15 Sport 5.56 NATO semi-automatic rifle with a 16 inch barrel has all you need to get started.

Sure the Mil Spec trigger is a little on the grainy side, and the handguard gets hot in a hurry. But these are the only real issues with this solid starter rifle.

You Want to Spend More?

We got carried away and kept going, when the rules of the competition say we should really stop at this point.

But if you want to see what a little more money can buy you, or a lot more money, well we have a quick summary of some the mid-range and custom AR-15s here.

Sig Sauer M400 Tread. A great rifle

8. Sig Sauer M400 Tread

  • Special Price: $849.99
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch

The M400 Tread is one of the few rifles coming down in price. And if it keeps going it might well make the list soon.

The M-Lok rail system, adjustable stock and grips are all high quality and this is a solid rifle for basic defensive duties.

Springfield Armory Saint rifle , a greast mid range rifle.

9. Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Special Price: $1,043.99

The Springfield Armory Saint Victor 5.56x45mm NATO is about as mid-range as it gets. In many ways this classic rifle has become a standard bearer because of that.

Now this is an honest rifle with a free float rail, M-LOK Handguard and NATO 16 inch barrel, not much more and not much less. But it is one of the best sellers, consistently.

This is a complete rifle you don’t have to mod or upgrade and can just shoot. From the grip and stock through to the muzzle brake and included flip up iron sights, it is all ‘good enough’, on the Springfield Armory Saint Victor semi automatic rifles.

It is also lightweight and easy to shoot.

Daniel Defense AR-15. Get yours here

10. Daniel Defense DDM4

  • Special Price: $1,964.99

The Daniel Defense DDM4 is one of the legends of the firearms industry and the DDM4 has been one of the best AR15s on sale at any price for years.

For recreational shooting, home defense and everything else, this Daniel Defense rifle is the benchmark for high quality, and my personal home firearms favorite. Get good optics/red dot sights/scopes, and this is fantastic.

The 308 Win Mag rifles too honestly, and we can find a special price from time to time.

Mid Length Gas System vs Carbine Length

Basically the carbine length gas system was designed for shorter barrel lengths, like the 14.5 inch Colt M4. Now longer barrels work better with a mid length gas system for the most part on a 5.56 NATO rifle, not the carbine length gas system.

And Where to Bulk Buy 5.56 Bullets for Your Cheap AR-15

If there’s one thing we have learned in the great ammunition shortage, it’s that rifle ammo runs out fast in the United States of America. You can try these places and whenever you can, bulk purchase, right now.

You should have a healthy range of rimfire ammo,handgun ammo, shotgun ammo, both slugs and buckshot, and a lot of other calibers. Stock up on bulk ammo deals when you can and you should have enough rimfire ammo, shotgun ammo and AR ammo to survive the nuclear winter.

We can hook you up with gun ammo for your pistols & revolvers. If you want cheap ammo/bulk ammo deals and a shotgun ammo shop? Yes we can!

Consider Ammo Storage

If you’re bulk buying ammo by caliber, or handgun ammo by brand for your handguns, rifles & shotguns, you should invest in proper ammo storage. Get ammo cans & gun cases that will protect your hunting gear and range gear for years to come.

You can have all the gear, you can have attachments, bipods, slings, tripods, monopods, all that jazz. without bullets, you’re SOL.

So next time you do a bulk ammo shop, make sure you invest in storage.

While you’re there take a look at the cleaning kits. Proper firearm maintenance is just as important as the ammo you choose and the gun you buy in the first place. So invest in proper cleaining kits.

A Mil Spec Trigger from CMMG.

What is a Mil Spec Trigger?

A Mil spec trigger is just an OEM or drop in trigger assembly designed to meet certain U.S. military specs.

So a Mil-Spec charging handle, trigger, etc should be rugged, reliable, consistent tactical gear that is easy to install, easier to clean. But don’t think they will outperform others when it comes to the trigger pull thanks to that military endorsement.

Don’t go looking for Mil Spec in the modern age then, it really doesn’t mean that much. Check out these if you want the top triggers and other AR-15 parts & accessories.


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

    View all posts

50 thoughts on “8 Cheapest AR-15 Rifles for $500. Prices Start at $350! – 2024”

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  16. You should check out the DPMS LCAR! Better than the DPMS listed above in specs and practical accuracy as well as other factors. It’s new for 2019 in their product catalog but DPMS really hit it out of the park with the LCAR!!! Hopefully you ( and everyone else) will check it out. I’d love to see it take the #1 spot because it has earned it imho! I’d also like to see you do a review of it for everyone to read. Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading more of your articles.

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  30. What the hell is wrong with this site!!!! Why does it constantly keep moving, non fucking stop!!!! You can’t even read the articles because it keeps jumping lol

    1. It’s called lazy load, and it means the site loads faster, but the pictures then roll in one by one. It can look clumsy on some browsers and connection speeds, but overall it’s a good thing for the user experience. So I’m told! Sorry that doesn’t seem to be the case for you!

    2. I hate when pages do that but this one worked smooth as can be for me. Older samsung. And nick thanks for the info for new buyers like myself. I cant say enough how helpful this is for me

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    1. All the guns come with links to buy them direct from the best place we can find. Click the button or the image and go through to the buy it now page!

      I’m not going to lie, some stocks are just gone at the moment. We’re doing our best to find live links and options, but there are only so many rabbits left in the hat 🙂

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  36. This is a very helpful article. Really appreciated it!
    …but these rifles are all more than $500 — $10-$300 dollars more than $500.
    Great article, but mislead by the name/title.

  37. I totally get that, the prices have skyrocketed during Covid and we decided to flex the price limit rather than delete lots of rifles people might still want to buy no matter what the sticker price. Things are slowly getting back to close to normal, but we’re not there yet. Hence the price differences. In pre Covid times, most of these rifles were $500.

  38. I just came across this article and something in it disturbed me when talking about a semi-auto AR15 (Armalite). It was described as a semi auto Assault Rifle, which is an inaccurate statement, as they are not Assault Rifles. Could the description be changed

    1. I know what you’re saying, but I can let you into a little internet secret if you like. If I didn’t have it in there, you might never have come across the article. Google wants that inaccurate phrase. Without it, I might not be in the top 10. it’s weird, but it’s true, and enough people mention it that maybe it needs a note to explain!

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