10 Best AR-15 Rifles For $500 or Less

Diamondback AR-15, a $500 rifle!


AR-15s For $500: Low Budget AR-15s That Work

You don’t need to spend the Earth on an AR-15 rifle. You can buy a gun online for just $500 right now.

You should start with the cheap and cheerful, then progressively talk yourself into more expensive weapons and fights at home over just why you have to buy guns online at 3am.

That’s the American way and you can build up to the best AR-15 rifle for sale under $1000.

And when you have truly mastered hiding receipts, or sleeping on the couch and just don’t care anymore, you can progress to buying the best $2000 AR-15 for sale online.

Start With a Cheap AR-15, Then Go Designer Rifle Shopping

Let’s get you on that glorious road to success right now, with the cheap AR-15 rifles for $500 that do the job you want.

A basic, $500 AR-15 will likely be a perfect home defense weapon and it will be as accurate as you will ever need up to 100 yards.

After that, you might be able to tell the difference in a Pepsi Challenge with some of the best AR-15s for sale.

We kind of hope you can to be honest. Or the whole industry lives in a house of lies and we should all chop in our Daniel Defense AR-15 for a Palmetto State Armory AR-15 for sale.

But unless you’re going competitive shooting, in which case don’t cheap out on your equipment, you’ll do just fine with these low-budget AR-15s. So don’t be tempted by the total no-names in the gunbroker, get yourself a great, cheap AR-15.

Now, we had to stretch the budget to $550, just so we could give you some options.

$500 is right down the bottom end and you are getting in to the used market at that point and looking hopefully in the windows of your local gun stores. So we took a little leeway for a big-name rifle…

Here are the best cheapest AR-15 for $500 or less, or a little more, we can find…

Where to buy cheap AR-15 rifles online now

You should always check the sales, because you never know when an exceptional rifle is going to hit the clearance racks. But browsing the sites can be a pain, so we have done the searches for you.

Get the best AR-15 at the best price by simply clicking these links and going direct to the secret discount AR-15 sales pages.

Did you know Palmetto State Armory sells everything from an FN SCAR through to Sig Sauer CCWs at knockdown prices? You do now…

DMPS Oracle A3 - A Cheap AR-15 that works

1. DPMS Oracle A3

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16”
  • Total Length: 36.5”
  • Weight: 6.4lb

This is, hands down, the best low-budget AR-15 for sale right now. This is the best budget AR-15 we can find, it’s really that simple and yes, you really do get a dual caliber Wylde Chamber for this money.

If you’re going to buy a cheap Modern Sporting Rifle, buy this one. The gas block is straightforward, there are no tricks aside from the dual caliber AR-15 angle. It’s just solid engineering and the best AR15 for this money.

The flat-top A3 upper means you can mount any scope you want up top, although we would recommend a reflex sight and keeping it set-up as a close quarters weapon.

When it comes to value for money, this is the best AR-15 rifle here by a mile. If you buy guns online, you’ll already know about it we’re sure.

DPMS AR-15 Gets Incredible Online Reviews

It was the user reviews that swung the balance and made this the best $500 AR-15 for sale in 2018. It has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Brownells and that is basically impossible. There are far more celebrated and expensive AR-15s that don’t get this kind of feedback.

It is grouping shots within an inch at 50 yards in the hands of owners, it isn’t breaking down and it’s chewing through thousands of rounds of ammunition in happy customers’ hands. It can do the same for you.

The Oracle is a good, honest, basic AR-15 for less than $500. That’s why it constantly features in the online gun reviews and top 10 lists of the best AR-15s for sale in 2018.

There’s nothing to fault. For the money, this cheap AR-15 is a bargain. In terms of bang for buck, it might be the best AR15 you can buy right now and its a perfect starter rifle for novice shooters.

This gun looks like an old M4 clone because it more or less is. It’s a fine example, though.

Mil-Spec Parts On This AR-15 Rifle

You get a Mil-Spec upper receiver and both the upper and lower receivers are forged aluminum. The chrome moly steel barrel gets a 1 in 9 twist and all the basics are there. 

You will need to throw away the OEM mag, which is hardly a big deal, and you might want to switch out the furniture if you have got better things lying around. Don’t go looking for an adjustable gas block either, this is direct impingement all the way.

It’s the perfect start for a project AR-15, by the way. So if you want to slowly upgrade parts then the basics are good and you can add your own stock, AR-15 foregrip, rails, lasers, red dots and more over time.

Plenty of Law Enforcement officers carry this AR-15 as a back-up and some opt for simple iron sights or a full red dot set-up.

So, if you’re thinking of building an AR-15, but you’re scared, then start with the DPMS and just change parts when you’re ready. That makes this the perfect AR-15 for a novice, or a starter AR-15 for a project. You can break out the AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench and just go mad. This isn’t a gun you need to worry about the resale value on.

DPMS was founded in 1985 and the Huntsville, Alabama gunsmith has focused on value from the start. It’s a smart strategy.

At this price, this is the best AR-15 rifle we could find. So, yes, this is the best $500 AR-15 for sale in 2018. It is head and shoulders above the other complete rifles and it really does come down to this and the Aero Precision kit for the best low-cost AR-15 on the market.

Where to buy DPMS rifles

DPMS has an interesting range and basically follows the same recipe of giving you too much gun for the money in every price band. If you can live without badge snobbery, you’ll get a pretty sweet rifle from DPMS right through to about $1500.

DPMS does a solid range of AR-style 308 rifles and you generally only see insanely positive user reviews online on the best gun sites.

So where do you buy DPMS rifles? Here are our picks.

Aero Precision OEM X15 - A Bargain AR-15


2. Aero Precision OEM X15

  • Price: $489.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel length: 16”
  • Total Length: 32”
  • Weight: 6.25lb

It looks like we’re cheating. This rifle blows the budget, and you have to put your own furniture on it.

We could show you some Norinco-grade junk that looks the part, but we want to give you a rifle that’s actually worth having. Again, the user reviews of the this Aero Precision kit mean it’s worth the effort or expense of fitting some basic parts for a solid 5.56 NATO semi-auto rifle.

You may even have those parts lying around…

The whole point of the Aero Precision kit is that it gets the central core of the AR-15 right. It would be a pretty bad business if they didn’t, because that’s all they’re selling you.

You can buy a naked AR-15 rifle or  naked AR-15 pistol if you have the furniture sat around.

Basically, the Aero Precision set-up is a Mil-spec upper and lower receiver kit, a solid gas block and a good trigger. It’s all good, with room for improvement with aftermarket parts. The naked rifle is a great idea though.

It saves them having to charge you for third-party furniture that they have to fit and it means you get the AR-15 you want, with the furniture and set-up you’re already comfortable with.

This Aero Precision budget AR-15 is a mid-length gas and barrel system, which makes it ideal for lightweight, free floating handguards that will make your cheap AR-15 look way more expensive.

The receivers are Mil-Spec AR-15, forged from 7075 T6 Aluminum, and the gas system is exactly what you’d expect from a sub-$500 AR-15. The Aero Precision low profile upper receiver comes topped with a Picatinny rail for a reflex sight or something more substantial.

The barrel is threaded and you get an A2 flash hider in with the package, but more importantly you get a chrome moly Vanadium steel barrel with a 1 in 7 twist. The whole thing has been particle inspected to make sure the quality control is right up there with the best.

There’s a pistol version, too, which costs a little more. But it’s still an absolute bargain for an AR-15 pistol for sale.

Right now, with the rifle, you get a $50 gift card for Brownells in with the deal. That makes it even sweeter.

Aero Precision has carved out a stellar reputation for getting the basics right. Give them a shot and get ready to find out why.

Where to buy Aero Precision Rifles online

Aero Precision have a big range of these naked and semi-naked AR-15 pistols and rifles for you to finish off. They also sell some pretty competent rifles from AR-15s through to the bigger caliber hunting rifles.

They are known throughout the world for their barrels, which remains one of the best AR-15 upgrades most of us can do in a hurry. But check out their full range of rifles here:

The Ruger AR-556 For Sale, get a discount rifle and guns for sale

3. Ruger AR-556

  • Price: $549.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 34.4 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

OK this was $530 and now it’s crept up, which makes its place on this list a little dubious. But bear with us, we have kept it in because it’s still an absolutely great rifle for the money.

Of course we all know this game gets out of hand in a hurry, For just a little more, you can have a Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport, an Adams Arms, Stag Arms or even a bottom end Rock River Arms rifle. A little more again and you can have a Springfield Armory.

Before you know it, you can have a Daniel Defense rifle in your hands. But we’re trying to stick to a budget here, or at least pretend to, and the Smith & Wesson is where it starts to get silly. The Ruger just about slips under the bar.

Ruger feels like a heavyweight name in this sector, because it is. This Ruger rifle is on sale, down from $650, and we’re not sure how long it is going to last.

While the deal is on, this is actually the best rifle here by a fair margin. OK, the DPMS ORacle is in first place on pure merit, but the price cut turns this one into a left-field world-beater of an AR rifle for $500. Almost…

It comes with a cold hammer-forged barrel that has a stunning reputation for accuracy in the sub-$1000 price range, let alone nibbling at the $500 AR-15 sector. 

The low-glare gas block is positioned at carbine-length for better balance, and it’s the engineering touches like this that normally carry the Ruger away from the budget rifle buyer. 

An elevation adjustable front sight and a rapid deploy folding rear sight mean you can rely the old iron sights, but most people would want a red dot up top these days.

This Ruger AR-556 is direct impingement, it’s the Ruger SR-556 that is piston driven. If you find one of those for near $500, let us know…

Where to buy Ruger rifles online at the best prices

America was brought up on Ruger rifles, from the 10/22 right through to the big-game options. So buying Ruger rifles online isn’t particularly hard, but getting a discount Ruger rifle is still a skill.

It’s a skill we can teach. Just use these links and you’ll go through to Ruger rifles on sale at some of the biggest online gunbroker sites. We have done the searches, so you don’t have to.

Radical Firearms AR-15 Pistol

4. Radical Firearms AR M4 Contour 7.5

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 7.5”
  • Total Length: 15″
  • Weight: 5.5lb

This is a dirt cheap AR pistol for sale that actually punches well above its weight. We know we said rifles only, but sue us. This is cool.

Radical Firearms has done pretty, well, radical shit in recent years. It has forged a reputation for reliable 50 Beuwolf AR uppers that just slot straight on a Mil-Spec AR-15, and then it has produced some really cheap rifles, too.

An AR-15 pistol was an inevitability, but this gun really isn’t an afterthought. Look closely and you’ll see the floating circular handguard is perfect, and a long way from the hot zone.

It’s a proprietary 7” Forward Guard Shield, designed and built in-house, which could be better than much more expensive hand guards out there right now. We like the flash hider too.

Basically, we like Radical Firearms. They make those fringe guns that everybody looks at with a knowing smile, like they’re going to be badly built and blow up in your hands, but OK. The thing is they don’t. They function pretty well.

A Great AR-15 Pistol For $500

Considering the insane loads that Radical Firearms builds its guns for, a cheap AR-15 is nothing. So we fully expect this gun to be reliable, and it’s definitely a compact skirmish gun that could be the first one your grab when you hear a bump in the night.

User reviews online bear it out, actual owners love this gun. It tends to be the start of a project for the home tuners, and that’s cool too. The upper receiver, lower receiver, barrel and bolt are all solid. You can tinker with the AR-15 parts & accessories to your heart’s content.

You get a rail, so you can add a red dot, it’s ready for a new pistol stabilizing brace and this really is a solid little weapon for about a quarter of the money you’ll spend on a Sig Sauer Rattler. That’s a better gun, but this is a much better value AR-15 pistol.

The lower receiver is Mil-spec, as is the charging handle, and it’s a solid gun. The barrel is 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium steel, which is the preferred alloy for stainless steel these days.

Like Palmetto State Armory, Radical Firearms has an impressive spec sheet on more or less every weapon 

Radical Firearms tends to overengineer, if anything, so this might turn out to be the most reliable AR-15 in your collection, as well as the cheapest. You will need to add a pistol brace to that buffer tube, but a simple Shockwave Blade or any one of these best AR pistol braces will do the job. Inevitably, it’s optics ready and you’ll need your own iron sights or red dot.

This video is pretty cool and this is the first time I have ever seen anybody actually use the forearm brace as, you know, a forearm brace…

Check out these other great posts when you’re done here:

11 Best $1000 AR-15s for sale

9 Best 300 Blackout Pistols For Sale

23 of the Best AR Pistols For Sale Online

Special Forces Service Weapons You Can Buy

Anderson Carbine M4 - A cheap AR-15 deal


5. Anderson Carbine

  • Price: $479.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inches
  • Total Length: 33″ Collapsed
  • Weight: 6.49lb

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

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…”

Here’s one…

It’s a direct impingement mid-length gas system, built for 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington ammunition. That’s a solid 16-inch barrel up front and the accuracy is meant to be on-point. 

Other highlights include a forged 7075 T6 receiver, 1 in 8 twist on the barrel, an A2 handguard and flash hider and a Mil-spec buffer tube.

The AR-15 stock is collapsible and has six positions, so this really is a good, budget AR-15 for sale.

We prefer the DPMS, but this is another one of the best AR-15 rifles for sale in 2019 in this price bracket.

10 Best AR-15 Rifles For $500 or Less 1

6. Bushmaster XM-15 QRC 5.56 NATO

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 35 inch
  • Weight: 5.18lb
  • Capacity: 20+1

If you are looking for a lightweight AR-15 for sale and you don’t want to spend crazy money, then this is a rifle that could serve you well. It’s just over 5lb, which is basically as light as an AR 15 for sale can reasonably get.

The fact this 5lb AR-15 is less than $500 is pretty much a minor miracle.

What does that say about the longevity?

I wouldn’t like to speculate, but even if this rifle is a short-term investment, rather than a decades long love affair, it could prove useful when you have to shoulder your semi-automatic rifle all day.

It’s a CMV steel barrel with Melonite coating and the upper and lower receiver both get a Hard Coat Anodized finish, so there are no obvious signs of cutting corners. Lightweight AR-15 furniture helps, but the stock still has six positions.

QRC stands for Quick Response Carbine and this semi-automatic rifle for sale does have a place in most collections.

If you’re taking a rifle just in case, you know you’re going to be on your feet or you just don’t want to carry a heavier weapon, then you can throw this on your shoulder and basically forget it.

You could look into AR pistols or the more advanced 300 Blackout pistols if you want to take that concept to the next level. But if you just want a cheap AR-15 rifle that won’t tax you physically, Bushmaster Firearms has the answer.

Windham AR-15, a cheap AR-15

7 Windham Weaponry R16M4

  • Price: $594.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel length: 16”
  • Total Length: 37”
  • Weight: 5.75lb

Update: The cheaper rifle is sold out and the price of entry at WIndham seems to be creeping upwards. We decided to keep the rifle for now, in case the price drops back down. We’ll keep you posted….

When Bushmaster was sold and split into pieces, a core group of the factory line workers decided to make a stand and make their own weapons, under a different name, and sell a cheap AR-15 and other low cost rifles to the budget conscious Bushmaster crowd.

The only real surprise is that this is a complete rifle that weighs in at 5.85lb, with the furniture.

That is good and the irony is that you’ll have to go right through the mid-range and spend thousands to get a rifle this light again, and they’ll tell you how awesome their R&D is each and every minute of the day.

Windham Weaponry has achieved that lightweight finish by removing the bullshit, sticking to the cheaper third-party stock and foregrip and getting rid of anything that really wasn’t essential.

That’s a recipe for a low cost AR-15 that is just as effective as a much more expensive firearm.

It’s not quite Mil-Spec, it’s not quite the best in any single department. But it is a solid AR-15, and it is cheap. What more do you want for $500?

It’s a Colt M4 clone with a collapsible stock, a mid-length gas system and a surprisingly decent pistol grip. Apart from that, yeah it’s a cheap AR-15.

Some Law Enforcement Officers carry this low budget AR-15 rifle for sale, so it must be reliable, solid and reasonably accurate. At this price point, those are the important things.

You can fit iron sights, or a red dot. That particular choice is yours and this Modern Sporting Rifle is optics ready rather than complete with sights.

PSA Freedom Rifle MOE, Palmetto State Armoryu rifles for sale



8. Palmetto State Armory PSA M4 Freedom Rifle

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 33 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

You either get Palmetto State Armory or you don’t. The truth is, for this price, the spec list on this PSA M4 Freedom Ordnance rifle is absolutely insane.

It isn’t higher up the list because you do hear murmurings about quality control on the forums without digging too hard.

You also hear about a company that ships out replacement parts before you’ve had a chance to return the faulty unit, so we have to give them credit as well. Your rifle will work reliably, it just might take a bit of fettling.

It has to be said a lot of the problems are with self-builds, too, and we can safely attribute quite a lot of those failures to user error. That’s an important point that often gets overlooked with the PSA Freedom Ordnance and other spinoff models that feature Magpul MOE furniture and Flat Dark Earth kits that you might well use on other rifles when you finally upgrade your AR-15.

You can buy a DIY kit from anybody and screw it up royally, but the bitterness and anger with those kits does seem to cast a slight shadow over the complete rifles.

Ignore that, get this off the shelf AR-15 and you’ll have a seriously good gun for not that much money.

The highlights include a forged 7075 T6 Aluminum upper and lower receiver, a Nitride-finished barrel that’s made from Chrome Moly Vanadium Steel, a Carpenter 158 bolt coated in Phosphate, a chrome-lined bolt carrier in 8620 steel and the spec list just keeps going.

Magpul sights and stock join forces with a decent looking handguard up front that gives you options with your tactical gear.  You will seriously end up stripping your PSA rifle and keeping some of this stuff when you upgrade your receivers and move up the AR-15 sales charts to the more familiar names.

Palmetto State Armory Owners love their guns and if you buy one, at this price, you probably will too. It’s a beater truck gun, a hunting rifle, a range plinking tool and a solid base to build out your first AR-15, rather than build from scratch, to learn about the process as you go.

It won’t be the last rifle you own, but it could be a perfect starter AR-15 for you. And in years to come, you’ll back with fondness on that little cheap little plinker that just wouldn’t quit.

Diamondback AR-15, a $500 rifle!



9. Diamondback DB15 CCB A2

  • Price: $505.09
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel length: 16”
  • Total length: 32.5” collapsed.
  • Weight: 6.8lb

It’s a Mil-spec 8620 bolt carrier, a forged aluminum upper and lower receiver and a 16” barrel produced from Chrome Moly steel and then Melonite coated to create a finish that really isn’t that much far behind a more expensive Cerakote-finished rifle.

Is it as good as the DPMS? On paper, yes, but it hasn’t got quite the same love the Oracle has in the online gun reviews. This is a gut feeling then, which leads us to the DPMS, but you might well be happy with your Diamondback AR-15.

It is certainly one of the better cheap AR-15 rifles for sale online and it’s optics ready, although you have to supply your own red dot.

AN almost built Anderson A2 carbine AR-15

10. Anderson Manufacturing A2 Carbine AR-15 OEM 16″ With Front Sight

  • Price: $399
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16″
  • Total length: 32″
  • Weight: 6.5lb

If this wasn’t so cheap it wouldn’t really make any sense, but this is the vast majority of an AR-15 for just $399 for sale online now.

I mean you could take this to the range and fire it. It would look weird, but you could. A few basic AR-15 parts & accessories, though, and you’ve got a complete long rifle.

In essence you get aircraft aluminum grade receivers, a gun chambered for 5.56 NATO or .223 Rem. You also get an A2 barrel nut, M4 handguard cap and more already installed.

Mil-spec tubes, a trigger and hammer, charging handle, safety and sling mount are all present and correct. You just need to add some basic furniture and you’re there. Well, you have to oil it too…

It’s almost built, it’s optic ready and Anderson Manufacturing managed to find a significant saving giving the long rifle to you like this. We’re looking for cheap AR-15 rifles here, and this counts.

Ready to spend a little more on your AR-15 Rifle?

You might well be tempted to go up a class when you see just how much rifle you get for your your money these days. If you’re willing to part with $700 or even $1000, then you can access some pretty serious firepower.

Suddenly the Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport, Springfield Armory Saint Edge and Rock River Arms LAR-15 are within your grasp. The Stag Arms Stag 15 M4 is yours for just the wrong side of $600 and you really don’t have to spend much more money to get a great rifle rather than a cheap one.

If you get there in time, the Springfield Armory Saint Edge is down to just $1099.99 right now and that is about as cheap as it gets. We love that rifle, but you might have your heart set on a Stag Arms, a Smith & Wesson with Magpul MOE furniture, an Adams Arms or something else.

So if you’re ready to spend a little more when you buy guns online, then check out these two features:

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