14 Best AR-15s Under $1000 – Jan 2024

AR-15s under $1000. Get the best rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO here.

Last Updated January 14th 2023

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Winners at a Glance

The S&W M&P15 Sport is the best AR-15 under $1000 for us. But we have some alternatives for you, for a little more money, or with the odd compromise.

ImageProductDetailPrice
S&W M&P15 Sport

S&W M&P15 Sport

  • Overall Winner
Best Price
Sig Sauer M400 Tread

Sig Sauer M400 Tread

  • A Close Second
Best Price
Rock River LAR-15

Rock River LAR-15

  • Best Tactical Rifle
Best Price
Springfield Saint Victor

Springfield Saint Victor

  • Almost the perfect middle ground.
Best Price
Colt LE6920

Colt LE6920

  • The original AR-15, to a price point.
Best Price
PSA Freedom

PSA Freedom

  • Best cheap rifle.
Best Price

Intro

A $1000 AR-15 isn’t pushing the boat out too far, but it’s not cheaping out either. This is effectively the mid-range sedan, the Toyota Camry class, beneath the piston-operated Ferraris and Porsches.

We all know the premium manufacturers. Knights Armament, Daniel Defense and more are waiting to take your money if you have more of it to spend. But the standard class is probably more important to the firearms world as a whole.

There’s lots of competition and this is a warzone. That’s good for you, the consumer.

So what are the champion $1000 rifles in 2023? Some of our picks might shock you, we’ve gone seriously off-brand here with some plain odd items.

But we have found real value, some old favorites and some left field tactical rifle options.

So what is the best AR-15 under $1000?

Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport 5.56 for sale. Get the best guns at the right prices, even now with the Covid problems.

1. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport

  • Price: $689.99
  • Caliber: Rifle 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 35 inch
  • Weight: 6.45lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

Best Overall

PriceAccuracyReliabilityWeightPrestige
3/53.5/54/54/53/5

This tactical rifle was a star in our $500 rifles category under normal circumstances. But times aren’t normal and now the entry-level Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II is much more expensive.

This S&W M&P15 Sport is a basic, simple AR-15 for home defense and recreational shooting. It isn’t the best for target shooting, but it’s good enough in this price range.

If you want an all-rounder, at the right price, it’s hard to fault the Smith and Wesson.


Sig M400 Tread. Is this the best AR-15 for the money? it's close.

2. Sig M400 Tread

  • Price: $849.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem
  • Weight: 7lb

Best High End Choice

PriceAccuracyReliabilityWeightPrestige
2.5/53.5/54/53/54/5

Did you know you could get a Sig AR-15 for less than $1000? Well you can and it’s brilliant.

The top rated Sig M400 is built to the company’s legendary standards and is a razor-sharp AR-15 for sale.

It isn’t the lightest in this company, but there is a feeling of quality from the muzzle brake through to the cerakote finish receivers and the typical mid length gas system and gas tube.

These semi automatic rifles are solid, reliable and accurate. That’s a good start.


Rock River Arms LAR-15. A solid rifle for $1000.

3. Rock River Arms LAR-15

  • Price: $925.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Total Weight: 7.5lb
  • Twist Rate Barrel: 1:9

Best Tactical Rifle

PriceAccuracyReliabilityWeightPrestige
2/53.5/54/52.5/54/5

Rock River has loudly kicked ass of late with a series of pro rifles and consumer grade options for home defense.

The FBI, DEA and more have adopted Rock River Arms products in recent years and they’re sitting in gun safes around America. 

This is the best sellerwith the fixed front sight and one of the finest rifles here. And you can find more of their wares here:


Springfield Armory Saint

4. Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Price: $892.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6lb
  • Twist Rate: 1:8

Middle of the Road. A Safe Bet.

PriceAccuracyReliabilityWeightPrestige
2/53/53/54.5/53/5

If you’re looking for a budget tactical rifle that won’t let you down, then the consumer grade Springfield Armory Saint Victor might just be the rifle you’re looking for.

The Springfield Saint Victor is a five star gun for the money and a lot of the reviews online agree with me. It even comes with a flip up front sight and rear.

It is just a really good AR-15 for about $1000. And that’s what this list of the best guns is all about.


Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical at the best price now. Get your discount rifle sales at America's favorite gun dealer.

5. Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical

  • Price: $1,099.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 7lb

This is a hugely competent M4 carbine for a steal of a price that largely slips under the radar.

You get a transferrable life time warranty, as well as an optics ready gun that most armies in the 1970s would literally have killed for.

Now this Stag Arms ST-15 is a solid consumer grade tactical AR-15 at the right price. It’s a great overall package with iron sights or red dots.

If you have more money to spend, the company has some top tier firarms.


Colt M4 Carbine. The classic Colt M4 AR-15 and you can still buy one.

6. Colt M4 Carbine LE6920/CR6920

  • Price: $1,002.99
  • Barrel Length: 16.1 inch
  • Weight: 6.9lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

Colt’s decision to pull out of the market only makes the original Colt LE6920, or close relatives, even more desirable.

They are still readily available, is the thing, but at some point it really must be our last chance to buy a stock Colt M4 off the shelf. We’re just not sure when that point will actually come, so buy no to be safe…

You can get the classic Vietnam stock black look or any number of configurations of the LE6920 or the newer CR920. Get a fixed front sight, a grab handle, or a red dot sight on those Picatinny rails and the bird cage muzzle device on the end of the cold hammer forged barrels. And that’s just the start of the options.

There are many like her, but this high quality carbine length special is yours. So go nuts with the upgrades and be happy, even though you don’t get the full military fully automatic spec.


Ruger AR-556 - the kind of cheap AR-15 Joe Exotic loves.

7. Ruger AR-556

  • Price: $799.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 34.4 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Like the S&W, the best selling Ruger AR-556 used to be a cheap AR-15. Compare it to the competition, though, and this is a still a good value AR-15. That’s about as good as it gets in 2023…

This is a great rifle, possibly America’s best selling rifle in the sector for good reason.

It’s a multi-purpose rifle that covers most your home firearms needs. It’s also easy to upgrade with ready made parts kits and the built quality is great, from the upper receiver and pistol grip and stock to the flash hider and Magpul MBUs rear sight. That’s the value of a big brand modern sporting rifle.

With the Ruger AR556, you get exceptional quality control, an excellent stainless steel barrel, 6 position adjustable stock and a light weight rifle that will serve you well. Gun owners seem to love theirs anyway, which makes it one of the best rifle options here.

You can go for the Ruger AR-556 MPR with the 18 inch cold hammer forged barrel if you want a DMR type rifle with a longer barrel. You might want to get rid of the Magpul MBUS irons sights and fixed front sight then too and opt for something bold and precise.


Faxon Ascent. A quality rifle for the right price.

8. Faxon Firearms Ascent

  • Price: $744.99
  • Weight: 6.12lb

The Faxon Firearms Ascent is a great gun to start with, if you want an all rounder for home defense and basic range work.

While firmly aimed at the bottom end of the price range, this is a great rifle that comes with forged receivers, a Nitride coated BCG, a Mil Spec charging handle and design cues from the more expensive rifles.

The company does some pretty sweet high end rifles, which you can see here on its website. You can buy direct, too, which is generally good for customer service. Check out the custom shop Glocks, too, which are pretty tricked out handguns.


Anderson Manufacturing AM15. A great option for your next AR15 rifle. Buy yours today.

9. Anderson Manufacturing AM15

  • Price: $512.99
  • Weight: 6.3lb

The Anderson Manufacturing AM15 M4 is one of many budget AR-15s on the market.

So why is this semi automatic rifle here? Price, mainly.

Anderson Manufacturing has built its reputation on a cost effective semi-auto rifle and this one should do you proud.

It’s a good choice, right down to the Magpul MOE stock and free float handguard, even though it really is one of the crowd of basic Eugene Stoner tributes.


Radical Firearms RF-15 PA Exclusive for sale. A slightly more expensive version of the smash hit $500 AR-15. But is it as good?

10. Radical Firearms RF-15

  • Price: $504.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.7

Radical Firearms has become a mainstay in the cheap AR-15 category and is arguably the best budget gun you can buy right now.

All the basics are in place and you get a proper free float rail and M Lok handguard. We hear murmurings about things like the charging handles, but that’s an easy fix. The upper receiver, lower, barrel and furniture are all high quality and we like the mid-length gas system.

With some quality iron sights, or preferably a budget red dot, these are nice low budget Modern Sporting Rifles.

Radical Firearms has generated a lot of noise with this entry level 5.56 and it more than deserves its place on this list of the best AR15s on sale.


Savage Arms MSR-15 Recon 2. Get yours today at a low price.

11. Savage Arms MSR 15 Recon 2

  • RRP: $873.99
  • Weight: 6.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

The best selling Savage Axis is one of the most loved low-budget rifles in the world because the barrel is so damned good.

Now Savage Arms has brought that expertise to the world of American defense with the mid tier optics ready Savage MSR 15 Recon semi automatic rifles. There is a Wylde chamber with a flat top, you get precision 5R rifling, a Melonite finish and decent flash hider. But not much more…

The free-floating rail and front end set-up is a set of the best red dot sights away from ready. There’s a full length Picatinny rail and an Axiom Carbine stock joins forces with a Blackhawk Knoxx AR grip amd quality buffer system. It’s all fairly solid, and light enough to shoulder with ease.

These are complete rifles, ready for the range or your gun safe for when things go bump in the night, and we love all rounders like this with a simple mid length gas system and 16 inch barrel.


PSA Rifle with MLOK handguard. The best budget guns.

12. Palmetto State Armory PA-15

  • Price: $479.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Weight: 6.8lb

Palmetto State Armory PSA might be known for the cheaper than dirt rifle kits that give you the basic tools for a DIY AR-15 project.

But they also will sell you a complete rifle, 5.56 NATO semi automatic rifle, that normally comes with a ludicrous spec sheet for the money and are best sellers.

Here you get a Chrome Moly 16 inch barrel. And you can get that classic polymer hand guard that gives it a vaguely military look and also makes it one of the cheapest AR-15s you can buy.

You can upgrade that to a free floating hand guard with M-Lok rail, natch in the PSA spares department, as well as a MAGPUL MOE stock and other goodies.


Aero Precision M4 Carbine for sale. It's as close as you'll find to a replacement for the Colt M4, now Colt has pulled out the AR-15 game.

13. Aero Precision M4E1 Carbine

  • Price: $1,049.99
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32 inch
  • Weight: 6.6lb

If you’re looking for a solid direct impingement Colt M4 replica, rather than an original, for some reason, then this Aero Precision M4E1 is a pretty good start.

Or it was, as new ones are decidedly thin on the ground these days. But you can still build a rifle with a 16 inch barrel.

Seriously buy an Aero Precision flat top upper receiver, lower receiver, bolt carrier group, charging handle, chrome lined stainless steel barrel, muzzle devices, low profile gas block, fixed front sight base etc. You can choose between classic plastic or a free flat handguard then.

Then build your own extremely accurate Aero Precision semi automatic rifle from scratch. Make it look like a modern star with a low profile gas block, quad rail and flip up sights, or a 1970s United States Marine Corps special that could grace the best gun safes…

It’s a tribute to the fully automatic M16, and it’s a great gun, but you can build a precision shooting platform for bench work.


Two Wildcard Entries You May Not Have Considered…

Ruger Mini-14 Tactical. It's a left-field AR-15 alternative if you want a different way to shoot your 5.56 NATO.

14. Ruger Mini-14

  • Price: $1,185.00
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 16.12 inch barrels
  • Weight: 7.2lb
  • Capacity: 20+1

Yeah, I mean we know. But the Ruger Mini-14 Tactical is awfully close to an AR and does indeed get listed with them on many an online store.

The folding ATI stock, Picatinny rails up top, box magazine, cold hammer forged barrels, dust cover and pistol grips are all the same as AR-style rifles. As is the 1:7 twist barrel, ambidextrous safety, bolt carrier group BCG, flip up rear sight, mid-length gas system and the muzzle device on the end of the 16.12 inch barrel.

The design may differ, but in spirit they are pretty close as pro 2A advocates are fond of pointing out. And in these anti AR15 times, it might be the best choice here.


Where to Buy Ammo

We did a whole piece on the best AR-15 ammo here. But we have a few quick and dirty recommendations for you now. If you want to bulk buy ammo, then PSA, Sportsman’s Guide and Lucky Gunner are the ones we’d recommend.

With that in mind, stock up on ammo, Handgun ammo, rifle ammo, pump action shotgun ammo, a barrel, 30 rounds mags, more shotgun ammo, 9mm Luger for pistol caliber carbines, handgun parts, shotgun parts. Just about everything.

You Could Spend a Little More, Right?

Of course, you know the game by now. Start out with a simple best-selling rifles in your online basket and know you have the best for the price point, then you start to dream…

Suddenly you have a high price, high spec Daniel Defense DDM4V7 Pro with an 18 inch barrel and adjustable gas block for long range shooting in your hands.

Daniel Defense DDM4 Pro - our number one.

1. Daniel Defense DDM4

  • Price: $1,799.99+

You can find some killer deals for the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 Pro and standard models at Euro Optic. Is it worth the extra money? Hell Yes…

You can find the standard 16 inch barrel Daniel Defense Modern Sporting Rifles for around $1,600 on that link. And have a look at the Daniel Defense Delta 5 Pro, too, which is an almighty precision shooting rifle.

What is Mil Spec?

Don’t get too excited about a mil spec single stage trigger etc, it really doesn’t mean much in the modern world. It’s just a set of requirements for military and law enforcement rifles, mainly focused on durability.

An actual mil-spec trigger is pretty gritty, basic garbage. Most commercial rifles are better, it’s that simple.

What to Find Accessories Online?

Looking for a two stage trigger? Nickel boron coated Bolt Carrier Groups? Muzzle devices? A quad rail for a weapons light, red dot sight and all the other tactical gear? Maybe a Strike Eagle scope? Yes we can help with the best AR-15 accessories and upgrades

Caliber conversion kits are also popular right now, with everything from 300 Blackout uppers through to 50Cal AR-15 uppers. Try them at your peril…

Night Vision is Increasingly Popular Rifles Accessory

This is coming down in price and you get these brilliant accessories here.


30 thoughts on “14 Best AR-15s Under $1000 – Jan 2024”

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    1. Yeah it has been said before. But I still think it’s a great gun for just around the budget. We try to be a bit different and give you some guns you might not have thought of, but of course it’s up to you which one you buy!

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