10 Cheap AR-15 Rifles for $500 – May 2023

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

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

Start small. Then progressively talk yourself into more expensive weapons like the best AR-15 rifles for $1000.

That’s the American way.

Let’s get you on that glorious road to success right now, with the semi-auto rifle for $500 that does the job you want. Basic American defense.

We had to stretch the budget in these troubled times too for the best AR-15 rifles. It’s just life right now that some old favorites are more expensive.

So we started with $450 rifles, and then we included a few around the $550 mark, then $600.

We do have a $650 cut off, but then we carried on with a few more expensive recommendations.

We got carried away, is basically what we’re saying. But here are the best AR-15 rifles for less than $500, and more…


Cheap AR-15 Rifles For Sale in 2023
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: $519.99
  • Cal: 5.56mm
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 33 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

For years, if you wanted the best budget AR-15 then your choice was a Palmetto State Armory Freedom Rifle or a DPMS.

Now there are options, but after a full cycle, the black Nitride M4 Freedom Ordnance is still at the top of the cheap hill.

It’s a full shooting sports spec rifle for entry level money. On paper at least.

Good Basics, Minus The Polish

The optic ready PSA fit and black nitride M4 Carbine finish is deliberately rough. That’s the in-built compromise with cost-cutting.

Now you do hear murmurings about quality control on the forums for PSA’s 5.56 NATO Classic AR-15 rifle platform, especially the hard coat anodized finish.

That said, you can even buy firearms with blemishes for less money off the site. Look out for gun deals marked BLEM Palmetto State Armory and you’ll snag an even better deal on the best gun for the money.

After all this time, the PSA is still the best cheap AR-15 on the market.


Anderson Manufacturing AR-15. Low budget rifle with a big reputation. Buy your gun online today.

2. Anderson Manufacturing AM15 M4

  • Price: $408.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem
  • Barrel length: 16 inches
  • Rifle Length: 33″ Collapsed
  • Weight: 6.49lb

This is a legit carbine AR-15 that reviewers have consistently been surprised by, that used to be much less than $500.

It’s still a solid matte black starter for the money, with a following of devoted customers. This is the basic recipe, bang on budget, from the pistol grip through to the flash hider.

And that’s good enough right now.

The Kentucky firm has knocked it out the park with a simple package that is so suspiciously cheap, pretty much every review starts like: “We expected this to suck, and we’re quite happy it doesn’t…”


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

3. Radical Firearms RF-15

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

This is one of the the best AR-15 under $500 right now, when it is under $500. The price point is bouncing a little at the moment.

When about $450,, this popular rifle is a bargain and you should buy it immediately. At $600+, there are better options than the Radical Firearms.

It has M4 receivers, a SOCOM Chrome Moly Vanadium steel 16 incher up front, slimline M-LOK handguard and a free flat handguard with M-Lok rail. So you can doll up your Radical Firearms RF-15 with tacti-cool weapon lights and other shenanigans.

I mean this optic ready Radical Firearms SOCOM is not military grade really, but it is good. And it’s an AR 15 for sale, cheap, with a very solid reputation.


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.

4. American Tactical Imports Omni Hybrid Maxx RIA

  • Price: $449.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO/ .223 Rem
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5.65lb

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, optic ready ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx has polymer receivers. But the critics love this fresh take, and we kind of do too…

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

Lightweight and Easy, Not Just Cheap

That gives a final weight of 5.7lb for the entry-level semi-auto 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.

The money, though, is the real headline here.

This ATI Omni Hybrid polymer AR-15 rifle has clever tech. The trigger is also 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.


Del-Ton Echo 316. Buy a $500 AR-15 right now and get the best rifle that much money can buy.

6. Del-Ton Echo 316

  • RRP: $480.99
  • Round: .223 Remington/5.56x45mm
  • Barrel length: 16
  • Total: 32.6-36.4 inch
  • Weight: 6.4lb

This Del-Ton is a discount AR-15 for less than $500 in good times for gun deals, and slightly more in bad times.

The Echo is a solid effort with a mid-length system and no major surprises. But the parts and accessories are good.

A Wylde Chamber is always a good start. It’s a general sign of quality these days and you get the vibe this is punching above its weight.

Another Colt M4 Tribute Act

Inevitably this is a Colt M4 tribute act, right down to the flash suppressor and pistol grip.

The synthetic black stock is a six-position collapsible stock system. There’s a classic fixed front sight that will take you back to the old days, until you replace it with the best red dots. The rear sight set will go too.

The M4 profile Chrome Moly Vanadium cold hammer forged barrel joins forces with a Carpenter 158 Stainless Steel bolt and a chrome-lined Bolt Carrier Group.

You get a threaded muzzle, a properly staked and sealed gas key for the gas block, a stainless steel cold hammer forged barrel and a number of other premium touches you see on the best AR-15s.


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

7. Diamondback Firearms Diamondback DB15

  • RRP: $517.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm
  • Barrel: 16
  • Total: 32.5” collapsed.
  • Weight: 6.8lb

Diamondback is another company making a name for itself in the affordable sector with aggressive designs and keen pricing. And the Diamondback Firearms DB15 is turning into a best-seller.

This Diamondback DB15 has an 8620 Bolt Carrier Group, aluminum receivers and a 16” free floating barrel produced from Chrome Moly Vanadium steel and then Melonite coated.

Solid, Basic, Cheap AR15 With Everything You Need

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

These semi-automatic rifles are serious high quality and we’re pretty sure you’ll be glad you spent the extra.


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

8. Rock River Arms RRage

  • Price: $579.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 33 inch
  • Weight: 5.75lb

The first time we saw this deal we wrote it off as an anomaly. But no, we’ve seen enough to know that this rifleis slipping towards the magic $500 mark.

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 a much lighter gun.

There is space for lights, lasers, optics and magnifiers and it’s great for for home defense.

So this is a sub 6lb AR-15 from the official supplier of LEOs around America at almost the right price point.

You’ll be surprised at what you can get and you may even choose to throw another couple hundred bucks at a Rock River Arms LAR-15. At these prices, you will never regret it.


DPMS DR-15.  Buy your rifle now at a discount.

9. DPMS DR-15 A3

  • RRP: $596.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Rifle Length: 36.5”
  • Weight: 6.4lb

The DPMS Oracle A3 flat top was our favorite AR-15 under $500 for a long time.

Now we have the optic ready DPMS DR-15 M4 semi-auto rifle, although it doesn’t get the same respect on its name as the old DPMS Oracle.


Stag Arms Stag-15. A simple AR-15 at a good price

10. Stag Arms Stag-15

  • Price: $714.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 32.5-35.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Stag Arms was nowhere to be found in this price bracket for a while, but it is starting to make a comeback.

Now the rifles are right on the edge of too expensive for this list, but they’re getting cheaper.


10 Cheap AR-15 Rifles for $500 – May 2023

10. Black Rain Ordnance Spec15

  • Price: $635.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 32.5-35.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Black Rain Ordnance normally make more expensive rifles. But this one is right near the price bracket and spending a little more on one of these seems fair.

These Black Rain Ordnance Spec series rifles aim to bring the bigger budget quality control and parts to the mass market.


From This Point, the Prices Get Higher

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.

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.

11. Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II

  • Price: $699.99
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Rifle length: 35 inch
  • Weight: 6.45lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

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 the plucky S&W M&P Sport anymore. But it is what it is.

The top rated Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport semi-automatic rifle has fallen down the order as a result, but we can’t bring ourselves to drop it entirely…

A Basic 5.56 NATO Classic AR-15 Rifle or Expensive Version?

The stock Smith & Wesson M&P 15 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 an M-LOK handguard. But it’s still good enough for most of us.

And the basic S&W M&P 15 Sport 5.56 NATO semi-auto rifle has all you need to get started.

There are State compliant versions of this hard coat anodized M&P15 Sport as well.

Solid Furniture for a Cheap S&W M&P 15 Sport

You get a decent flash suppressor, a Magpul folding sights, aluminum upper and lower receiver. The partial picatinny rail saves weight.

Add your own AR-15 parts & upgrades too at just about every major online broker. They include 300 Blackout uppers and conversion kits. You can even turn yours into a big bore hunter.

Quality is a Big Deal

There’s a perceived quality that goes with this badge in these price points. Plus all the customer service benefits that go with a household name 5.56 NATO semi-auto rifle. We totally get it.

Also, we think this is about as safe a bet as you’ll find during these troubled, weird times. Even if you have to pay a little more this is one of the best AR-15 rifles out there.


The Ruger AR-556, get a discount rifle and guns at the lowest prices. View details here.

12. Ruger AR-556

  • Price: $726.99
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch barrel
  • Rifle Length: 34.4 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Back in the good old days the Ruger AR-556 black NItride M4 Carbine cost $500-$530, consistently. It was our undisputed champion in this category for two straight years.

Then the supply chain fell apart, Rugers were going for $1000+ and it hasn’t recovered yet. But it’s getting there. So that’s why the Ruger is languishing all the way down here. And that’s why we can’t bring ourselves to cut it entirely.

Because the Ruger was the perfect solution for 95% of you looking for a $500 AR-15 for defensive duties and basic sport shooting. The charging handles, receivers, everything is good enough and not too much.

It’s one of America’s most popular rifles for a reason even though it is not that cheap anymore.

It’s the engineering touches and a reputation for reliability that mark it apart and we do like those flip up sights at the rear. If you’re a newcomer to the AR-15 world and looking for a safe bet, this is basically it.


Eagle Arms Armalite AR-15 ORC. Armalite introduces an entry-level AR-15 for $500, or close.
13. Armalite M15
  • RRP: $714.99
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO/ .223 Rem
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 32.5-35.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

The Armalite was the first AR-15 in the 1950s and AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle. ArmaLite sold the design to Colt, which went on to make a killing with the iconic Colt M4, but there was a brief time when Armalite made unequivocally the best AR-15 rifles.

It used to be around $500, too, but then so did a lot of things.

Simple, Clean, Cheap. If Only Everything Worked Like This.

This is a complete AR-15, nothing less and not much more. It’s a direct impingement that is an ideal novice firearm. At 6.5lb it’s a lightweight, too, although that has more to do with cost-cutting rather than exotic materials. Black Nitride coating is about as high end as this gets.




Bushmaster XM-15. A cheap Colt M4 clone from the Vietnam war, with all the modern conveniences
14. Bushmaster XM-15 M43 A3
  • RRP: $814.
  • Cal: 5.56mm
  • Barrel: 16 inch barrel
  • Rifle Length: 35 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 20+1

Again the price has spiraled beyond reason, but it’s dropping again. So you never know the future.

The Bushmaster XM-15 M43 comes in a number of different specs, but we love the Vietnam war tribute model classic rifle with a six position collapsible stock.

Aside from the fixed sight and the carry handle and integral rear sight, it’s business as usual. But damn that retro chic furniture looks cool.


Sig Sauer M400 Tread. A great rifle
15. Sig Sauer M400 Tread
  • Price: $849.00

The SIg Sauer 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 Sig is a star on our AR-15s under $1000 list, though, and you might want to consider spending the extra.

It’s that close, and it’s that much better. You can even get a Flat Dark Earth Cerakote finished M400 Tread Snakebite for not much more money.


Springfield Armory Saint rifle , a greast mid range rifle.
16. Springfield Armory Saint Victor
  • Price: $1,032.99

The Springfield Armory Saint Victor is about as mid-range as it gets and in many ways it has become a standard bearer because of that.

Now the Springfield Saint Victor is an honest rifle not much more and not much less. But the Springfield Saint rifle is one of the best sellers, consistently.

It 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, it is all ‘good enough’.


10 Cheap AR-15 Rifles for $500 – May 2023
17. Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4 The Legacy
  • Price: $1,125.99

Sons of Liberty Gun Works have created a classic AR-15 rifle at a lower price point than their usual wares.

It’s still expensive in this context. But we do like Sons of liberty Gun Works. So yeah…


BCM Recce, a great basic battle rifle designed for military, by military.
18. Bravo Company Manufacturing Recce
  • Price: $1,855.99

For about a year these rifles have sat at the foot of the list as availability was non existent, but we knew they’d be back.

That’s because BCM make some of the best parts, rifles, pistols and more for military applications.

Now you can buy BCM parts, from bolt carrier groups and an upper receiver to stocks and muzzle devices.

But this direct impingement Bravo Company Manufacturing Recce rifle is an absolute peach, according to literally all the gun reviews. Get yours here.


Daniel Defense AR-15. Get yours here
19. Daniel Defense DDM4
  • Price: $1,832

This is one of the legends of the firearms industry and the Daniel Defense DDM4 has been one of the best AR-15s on sale at any price for years.

For shooting sports, home defense and everything else, the Daniel Defense is arguably the benchmark rifle for high quality. Especially with the best red dot sight, we highly recommend them.

You can opt for other brands, for a number of reasons. But for most of us, Daniel Defense is the industry yardstick by which all other rifles are measured. The 308 Win Mag rifles too honestly.


Wilson Combat Protector Carbine.
20. Wilson Combat Protector Carbine 5.56 NATO
  • Price: $2,099

The Wilson Combat Protector Carbine 5.56 NATO is basically a guarantee of quality. Unfortunately, that’s one of the reasons it costs so much.

But if you’re looking for quality and the last word in precision for shooting sports or recreational shooting, well it’s hard to fault the Wilson Combat.

Honorable Mentions

Like Captain America we could do this all day, but we kind of have. So there’s always more we’d like to include, and can’t quite fit them in this time round.

They include Battle Arms Developments, Adams Arms, Primary Weapons Systems, Spike’s Tactical and Strike Industries are some of our favorite newcomers to this high-quality sector and best sellers for a reason.

Geissele Automatics make a great two stage trigger, and complete rifles. So check Geissele Automatics out too.

Just read the rifle reviews.

Christensen Arms is doing some crazy stuff with lightweight materials, too. Check out the lightweight AR-15 post here to see more of the Christensen Arms kind of gun. They also do some wild precision rifles.

We couldn’t justify keeping them in this time, but maybe next time…

Mid Length Gas System vs Carbine Length Gas System

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.

So that’s the answer, get the mid-length system where you can and steer clear of a carbine length system unless the deal is amazing.

Naked Rifle Kits Are an Option

5.56 NATO Semi automatic rifle kits from the likes of Aero Precision have also disappeared. After starting out around the $500 mark and making the list repeatedly, that build kit has faded from memory.

Aero Precision has now decided to focus on gun parts for the classic Eugene Stoner design, from replacement AR-15 barrels to muzzle devices.

But we miss the Aero Precision build kits. The Colt OEM2 is a build kit option, but not for $500…

And Where to Bulk Buy 5.56 Bullets

If there’s one thing we have learned in the great ammunition shortage, it’s that it runs out fast. You can try these places and whenever you can, bulk purchase, right now. You might not get another chance…

As for rifle ammo deals, and handgun ammo deals, yes we can hook you up. If you want bulk ammo deals?


Can We Interest You in Rifles AND pistols? While You’re Here?

If you’re after a concealed carry, then you’ll struggle here. You might want to try these posts instead if you are searching for a 9mm pistol and handgun ammo.

Cheap Glass For an AR-15

Chances are if you’re spending $500 on your AR-15, then you don’t have big money to spend on high price, high spec AR-15 rifle scopes, optics, iron sights, range gear or the best red dot sights on your Ruger Mini 30.

You might have enough for lights, lasers, holographic sights, laser sights etc, but it’s weird to spend more than the price of the gun on red dot sights, right?.

That’s life, but you really should upgrade the front sight base and rear from basic irons and flip up sights on the Picatinny rails. A budget red dot sight is often the cheapest solution if you buy budget and they’re great for close range defensive work.

So the budget scopes include the likes of the entry-level Vortex Crossfire, which is a solid choice for long range shooting with solid build quality. And there are good deals around to put something better on your front sight base.

For budget red dot sights for a cheap AR or bolt action rifle, a lot of owners have turned to the Holosun Micro Sight, Bushnell First Strike, Vortex Optics, Sparc or the Sig Romeo line. It’s affordable hunting gear and works defensively.

For cheap deals, check these easy links:

Can you Still Buy Full Autos?

Technically you can still buy a full auto machine gun, but good luck getting an assault rifle for $500 at your local store. A full auto requires a Class 3 firearms license.

It’s also an expensive process and so the cost of all that AR-15 ammo you’re spitting out will pale into insignificance next to the price of admission. Fully automatic weapons are expensive as Hell.

So really think if you want a full auto machine gun. Because most of you don’t when you really think about it. Fully automatic rifles really are a niche thing for a reason and a semi automatic rifle is fine for most of us.

A Mil Spec Trigger from CMMG.
What is a Mil Spec Trigger

A Mil-Spec trigger really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just a trigger assembly designed to meet certain U.S. military specs.

So a Mil-Spec trigger or Mil-Spec handguard, bolt carrier groups etc should be rugged, reliable, and consistent tactical gear. But don’t think it will immediately outperform others when it comes to the trigger pull thanks to that military endorsement.

A mil spec trigger should basically perform, but most consumer grade triggers will match them. A full competition spec trigger coated in Nickel Boron is a much more advanced piece of kit, but they can cost a lot more than Mil-Spec.


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