30 Best AR-15s Under $1000 – Jan 2023

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


Update: Stock levels are up and down, together with pricing. So if you just want to know what everybody has in stock right now, here are live links.

Rock River Arms LAR-15, a great AR-15 for a great price.

Now, Back to the $1000 AR-15s

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, FN 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.

Under $1000 is Fierce Battle Ground

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. We also prioritized a tactical rifle you can actually buy at the height of the Covid madness.

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

1. Colt M4 Carbine CR6920

  • Price: $1,004.99
  • Barrel Length: 16.1 inch
  • Total Length: 32.5-35.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.9lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

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

It also means they’re a bit harder to find these days. But in these weird times they’re popping back up for sale. It might be the best option here and it really might be our last chance to buy a stock Colt M4 off the shelf.

Where to buy a Colt?

Various brokers are clearing the shelves and you’re going to have to dig through the listings. Or use our link that finds the best deal available right now on Guns.com. That can vary greatly, just so you know.

Get a stock black one and you’ll love it. There are many like her, but this is yours…

When you’re looking for a standard issue, stock black AR15 rifle, then you really have to try to look past the Colt M4 carbine.

With $1000 on your Amex card you used to be able to pick up this basic spec Colt Carbine anywhere. It’s basically the stock black classic military spec M4.

That goes to war with foot soldiers, LEOs, special forces and rebel forces around the world.

It is a tried and tested assault weapon. There are no surprises with the Colt LE6920 or Colt CR6920. That’s the point.

Colt Accessories are Everywhere

You can find a vast number of upgrades and custom parts & accessories, and you can build whatever you want, if you can pay. Or you can go with basic iron sights and basic Mil-Spec.

It’s a great all-rounder even in basic trim. This is a home defense expert, a hunting specialist and a tin can blaster if you’re that way inclined. You know that the bolt carrier group, receivers and barrel are all solid and when Colt says Mil-spec, it really means it.

There are pages and pages of Colt parts & accessories.  Whatever modification, custom part or military facsimile you want for your Colt LE6920, you can get out there. Parts supply, then, should never be an issue.

It was the undisputed champion under $1000. And it still kind of is. If only you could find one. Of course you could just build a Colt M4 clone from military surplus parts…

Battle Arms Development Workhorse rifle. A great patrol rifle for just about $1000.

2. Battle Arms Development Workhorse

  • Price: $921.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 36 inch
  • Total Weight: 7.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

The Battle Arms Development Workhorse might be the overall winner when the Colt is long gone.

This is just about the perfect rifle for this money and there’s no weird nostalgia trip or obvious cost cutting. There’s a free-floating M LOK handguard, black nitride barrel and the usual ‘aircraft grade’ alumnium forged receivers.

But it’s the other stuff we really like. The lessons learned from the time in the spares and accessories industry that BAD has put to great use in its signature line of rifles.

There’s the much more expensive Battle Arms Development Authority line if you want to spend more. But the Workhorse has a lot of the same touches, if not quite the same finish.

So the rifle comes pre-loaded with an extended magazine release and enhanced takedown pins, nickel Teflon coated trigger, billet trigger guard and more. That’s a pretty great start honestly.

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

3. Sig Sauer M400 Tread

  • Price: $849.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

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

The Sig Sauer 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 device through to the cerakote finish receivers.

Quality AR-15 in the Bargain Bin

This isn’t much more money than the bargain basement $500 AR-15s we covered recently, and this is a different league entirely. Especially at long range.

Just look at the pistol grip and the slimline shape. It’s an optics ready work of art, even within these tight parameters.

It’s an accurate, sturdy, solid AR-15 that you could technically depend on for decades. There’s no creep to the single stage trigger, it resets positively and it’s eager.

A 1: 7 twist rate to the barrel means it can stabilise heavier rounds and give you more options when it comes to your shooting and home firearms set-ups.

Cheap Sigs Don’t Happen Often

There is a flared magwell and a raft of other top touches that we would think should put this rifle into a higher range altogether.

As it is, a company that isn’t exactly known for undercharging, has made this a  bargain.

I would upgrade the muzzle brake in short order. Mount a red dot and you have got a weapon on your hands…

Rock River Arms RRAge rifle on sale. A lightweight AR-15 that has blown us away.

4. Rock River Arms LAR-15 RRage

  • Price: $799.05
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 36 inch
  • Total Weight: 7.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • Twist Rate: 1:9

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 these products in recent years and they’re sitting in gun safes around America. 

In 2018 the company set its sights on an affordable 3 Gun Competition rifle and the Rock River Arms LAR-15 RRage was born.

This Rock River Arms LAR-15 semi auto rifle is chambered for .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO. That Wylde chamber is a big deal if you want to flip between 5.56 NATO/223 Remington. And people do.

Limited Optics Choices For Lightweight Rifle

The receivers are forged aluminum effort, the 16″ barrel is Chrome Moly Vanadium steel and the black stock has the full six positions.

Now the carbine length handguard means you can’t really run irons, but it also helps the whole rifle weigh in at just 6.5lb. That makes it seriously attractive lightweight AR-15 for a defensive rifle too. Especially at this price, which makes arguably the best budget rifle on the market..

Read the user reviews and you will hear it’s accurate, it’s reliable and it isn’t overly complex. That’s why it’s in gun cases around the land and it’s our winner here.

Springfield Armory Saint

5. Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Price: $914.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32 inch
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • Weight: 6lb
  • Twist Rate: 1:8

If you’re looking for a budget tactical rifle that won’t let you down, then the consumer grade Springfield Armory 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. There isn’t any great military story, this isn’t the FBI rifle. It is just a really good AR-15 for about $1000. That’s the brief here.

Springfield Saint Victor is Perfect Starter

As it is basically the Springfield Saint Victor is basically the perfect all-round starter AR-15. This is a straightforward AR15 rifle if you want to spend reasonable money on a reliable, accurate and fun shooter.

It is high quality and sturdy, but not quite heavyweight and that helps you out with reduced felt recoil. More than a few teenagers have bought this as their first AR-15 and they got off to a good start.

Aircraft Grade Aluminum and CMV Barrel

The anodized aircraft-grade 7075 T6 aluminum forged upper receiver mates to a chrome moly vanadium barrel, a mid-length gas system to further reduce the recoil and a SA proprietary trigger group that is always going to be crisp, clean and near perfect.

The sights fold down out the way if you want something a little more high-tech and this ticks all the boxes.

It’s a tempting proposition, even on this list. Also, it’s a very safe bet in terms of back up and customer service. That big brand name can be useful, even…

Windham Weaponry MPC Rifle. A classically styled AR-15 with a Vietnam type front sight and carry handle.

6. Windham Weaponry MPC Rifle

  • Price: $929.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.85lb

Do you want a gas impingement system, a Vietnam vibe and a great rifle all in one package? Well do we have something for you…

Honestly it’s not us, Windham Weaponry has produced a properly cool homage to the original Colt M4. You get an A2 flash hider, 6 position buttstock, mid length gas, the usual really.

But it is perfectly proportioned and quality runs through to the aircraft grade aluminum forged receivers and high quality components produced largely in-house.

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

7. Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical

  • Price: $999.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 7lb

This is another company that takes a starring role thanks to decent availability, but Stag Arms has also built a hugely competent M4 carbine for a steal of a price. Then gone to work for the Tactical rifle.

You get a transferrable life time warranty from Stag Arms, 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.

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

8. Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II

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

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 is a basic, simple AR-15 to get you started and it just happens to be expensive right now. It’s also one of the few complete AR-15 rifles we can find in the current gun shortage. So that counts heavily in its favor.

If you want an all-rounder, and you want it now, get this one before it gets even more expensive.

Ruger AR-556 - the kind of cheap AR-15 Joe Exotic loves.
Ruger AR-556 for sale, a great budget AR-15

9. Ruger AR-556

  • Price: $749.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total: 34.4 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

Like the S&W, the 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 most popular rifle. It’s for a reason, and if you really need one then it’s worth every cent. This multi-purpose rifle covers most your home firearms needs. It’s also easy to upgrade with ready made parts kits.

Add a 9mm concealed carry pistol and you’re good to go. And for the best Ruger rifles for sale, go here.

ATI Omni Hybrid Max on Sale now. The plastic AR-15

10. ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx

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

This plastic AR-15 threatens to turn the industry on its head. That’s because the stock ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx is a cheap and super lightweight rifle that is so far proving reliable.

Honestly a multi-purpose rifle that weighs this much normally features on our lists for custom complete AR-15 rifles or specialist lightweight AR15 rifles. And they normally come with another zero on the end of the price tag.

Using polymer receivers, American Tactical Inc has potentially changed the game with the Omni Hybrid and we think there’s a lot more to come from this tech.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with a plastic rifle, or you just want a lightweight gun without the big bucks price tag, this might be for you. It gives you money left over for a new concealed carry as well.

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

11. Anderson Manufacturing AM15 M4

  • Price: $549.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.3lb

The Anderson Manufacturing AM15 M4 is one of many basic AR-15s on this list.

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, even though it really is one of the crowd.

Armalite M15 Light Carbine rifle. Buy one today.

12. Armalite M15 Light Carbine

  • Price: $639.99+
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32-35.3 inch
  • Weight: 6lb

The Armalite was the one that started it all. It was the first AR-15, but some casual fans don’t even know that the pioneer is still going strong and selling great firearms like the Armalite M-15 Light Tactical Carbine.

A multi-caliber Wylde Chamber is a solid start. The optic ready, full length Mil-STD 1913 rail is a nice touch and the forged receivers are made from 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.

Armalite Makes Most the Parts

The Key-Mod handguard is Armalite’s own work, the barrel is CMV steel and all the main components on are present and correct. It’s a solid entry with its own form of brand cache.

The Armalite is not the be all and end all anymore and plenty more have joined the party. But the original is still flying the flag.

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?

13. Radical Firearms RF-15

  • Price: $500.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.7

Radical has become a mainstay in the cheap AR-15 category and is arguably the best budget gun you can buy right now. This is a slightly more expensive version with better peripherals. So is this hunk of American Defense worth the bump?

Well Radical has brought the window dressing and this gets a proper FCR free float rail and handguard.

Radical Firearms has generated a lot of noise with these entry level 5.56s. We hope this one makes as big an impact here as the Radical Firearms SOCOM version did in the lower bracket.

The USP isn’t quite as powerful and Radical Firearms is swimming with sharks in this bracket. And you might want to upgrade the charging handles, gas blocks, free floating handguard and other small peripherals. But it’s still a great rifle and clear value for money.

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

14. Savage Arms MSR 15 Recon 2

  • RRP: $862.99
  • Barrel: 16.1 inch
  • Total Length: 32.5-35.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

The 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 Savage MSR 15 Recon. There is a multi-caliber Wylde chamber, you get precision 5R rifling and a Melonite finish. But not much more…

The fixed front sight and fold down rear sights are pretty basic, but that can be useful in target shooting sports. The free-floating rail and front end set-up is a set of the best red dot sights away from ready.

An Axiom Carbine stock joins forces with a Blackhawk Knoxx AR pistol grip. It’s all fairly solid, and light enough to shoulder with ease.

ZRO Delta Base rifle. A solid low price AR-15. A new contender has arrived and you can buy yours today.

15. ZRO Delta Base Rifle

  • Price: $676.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 7.1lb

This company has made its name with precision rifles, sport handguns and high-end AR15s. Now it brings you the entry level rifle that could help to pay for all that R&D.

You get a Mission First stock, a sleek, low profile handguard, low profile gas block and an optics ready partial rail system that helps cut weight for this entry level flat-top weapon.

It’s a cost-effective gun that benefits from some trickle down tech and quality workmanship that goes into the custom guns. Does that make it better than the rest here? You could easily make a case for this direct impingement system…

Spikes Tactical ST-15 AR-15 For Sale. Get your Spike's Tactical AR-15 right now when you buy guns online.

16. Spike’s Tactical ST-15 M4 LE

  • Price: $949.99
  • Barrel: 16
  • Total Length: 32.5-35.75 inch 
  • Weight: 6.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

Spikes Tactical always gets serious love in the gun reviews and forums, and this should be higher up this list.

You can also choose a cheaper Spike’s Tactical. There are some great semi-automatic rifles and you can score a bargain if you hit the right day.

Spike’s are High Spec, Low Cost

These are awesome, overspecced in almost every area. It’s still direct impingement, but the mid-length gas system is as slick as you’ll find in the sector.

The upper receiver and lower receivers are 075 T6 aluminum, it has full Magpul furniture and folding sights that give way to a much more serious optic.

The front sight is the classic stand-up affair, while the rear is a nicely engineered Magpul folding rear sight that really gets out the way.

Space Age Coating for Spike’s Rifle

The barrel gets a 1:7 twist and pretty much everything gets a space-age coating. The M16 bolt carrier group comes covered in lashings of Phosphate and the upper and lower receiver can be matte black or Cerakote finished in Flat Dark Earth.

Bird Dog Arms BD-15. A solid starter rifle that costs just about $1000 and is an optimized AR-15.

17. Bird Dog Arms BD-15

  • Price: $989.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32 inch
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • Weight: 6lb

Bird Dog Arms took the basic AR-15 recipe and refined it to create a true contender that could climb the order based on your feedback. Is this a potential winner? Maybe…

A cerakoted barrel is a serious touch in this price range. The BCG goes through a salt bath before it gets Nitride coated and there’s an Ambi-safety.

There’s always more you can do. But Bird Dog has taken the basic Direct Impingmenet design and given you more or less the best off the peg rifle you can find for $1000. Only a lack of heritage is keeping this from the podium, and that will come.

Faxon Firearms Ascent for just $688.75. This entry level rifle from the lightweight AR-15 and custom AR-15 specialists looks a steal.

18. Faxon Firearms Ascent

  • RRP: $759.05
  • Barrel: 16″
  • Weight: 6.12lb

Faxon Firearms has made an impact on us of late. The parts were always good, but the company now has a range of lightweight AR-15s and custom AR15s that are phenomenal.

The Faxon Firearms Ascent is a completely new, low budget offering.

The company makes no bones about it. This is affordable, cheap even. That’s the point, not lightweight parts, titanium flash hiders and skeletonized BCG here.

So you get a pretty basic AR-15 with everything you would expect and nothing you wouldn’t. But that’s not a bad deal at all you know.

It’s a direct impingement system done well and this is a solid looking starter.

We will wait and see what the owner reviews turn out like. But we like the company and we’ve got high hopes.

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

19. Diamondback Firearms DB15

  • Price: $629.99
  • Weight: 7.2lb

In the good old days, pre-Covid happy times, the Diamondback FIrearms DB15 was a big hitter in the $500 AR-15 class. It still is, but finding one of the base level rifles at the right price is more of a challenge.

The optics ready Diamondback DB15 is easily worth the price of admission relative to the competition, though.

Choose from a range of muzzle devices, barrel lengths and just about every other finish you want. At its core, this is a great AR15 for home defense and a great semi automatic rifle for this price range.

Mossberg MMR Tactical for sale. A great AR-15 for $1000 that does everything you want your Modern Sporting Rifle to handle.

20. Mossberg MMR

  • Price: $877.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16.3 inch
  • Total Length: 33 inch
  • Weight: 7lb

Mossberg has produced a contender for America’s most popular rifle that works for defense, hunting and most other basics.

The Mossberg MMR Tactical doesn’t excel at any one thing. But it is durable, simple and reliable. It’s everything you would expect from Mossberg then.

The trigger is a JM Pro Drop-In Match trigger with a clean 4lb break that Jerry Miculek supposedly had a hand in. The M-LOK rail forend is a 13 inch, slim line unit over the Phosphate coated barrel with a 1:8 twist. It’s a fluted barrel too that can exploit great rifle scopes up top in shooting sports.

An A2 flash hider, an ejection port cover and a rail on that flat top are all good ingredients for an all-rounder of an AR-15. The Bolt Carrier Group and charging handle right up there too.

Magpul Furniture on This Discount AR-15

A Magpul MOE grip and trigger guard join forces with a Magpul six-position stock.

It’s an honest, safe and solid alternative.

PSA Rifle with MLOK handguard. The best budget guns.

21. Palmetto State Armory PA-15

  • Price: $599.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 33 inch
  • Weight: 6.8lb

Palmetto State Armory 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 ready, that normally comes with a ludicrous spec sheet for the money.

Here you get a carbine-length gas system, Chrome Moly barrel. And you get that classic polymer handguard that gives it a vaguely military look. You can upgrade that to a free floating handguard, natch.

Palmetto State Armory rifle kits and cheap AR-15s have given many Americans an introduction to firearms generally. For that, we salute them.

They are also reliable, if a little rough round the edges, and a good cheap rifle. The Palmetto State Armory rifle kits can teach you a lot about building your own guns, too.

A Step Up From the Palmetto State Armory Freedom

The $500 Palmetto State Armory Freedom is one of our favorite cheap AR-15 rifles and we also think Palmetto State Armory has one of the best gun stores online right.

Smith & Wesson M&P15T Tactical AR-15 for sale. A great all-round starter AR-15 for $1000, or very close.

22. S&W M&P15 T M-LOK Handguard

  • Price: $949.99
  • Caliber: 5.56mm NATO/223 Rem
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32 inch
  • Weight: 6.7lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

Some folks would put the M&P15 T higher up the list, especially above the cheaper versions that do start from just over $600.

This is a higher spec, with Milspec M-LOK handguard in the form of a 10.5 inch quad rail up front. You also get Smith & Wesson quality control and customer service.

You get Magpul MBUS flip-up iron sights, 5R rifling and a 1:8 twist rate in that cold hammer forged barrel. There’s nothing groundbreaking, but S&W has done the basics well and we like everything from the charging handle to the quad rail and muzzle device.

The Bushmaster XM-15 M4. A classic Colt M4 clone AR-15, complete with Vietnam era carry handle, and a modern quad rail.

23. Bushmaster XM-15 M4

  • Price: $899.99
  • Weight: 6.7lb

The Bushmaster XM-15 has wedged itself firmly into any debate about cheap guns in the modern age.

Now they aren’t that cheap at the moment. After starring in the sub-$500 category, Bushmaster has steadily moved upmarket with XM-15 variants thanks to touches like the quad rail.

The M4 clone is a tried and trusted recipe, but if that’s exactly what you’re looking for then this is a great stock black rifle with a mid-length gas system. Not much more, certainly nothing less.

F-1 Firearms FU King AR-15 on sale here - Buy your rifle now from the USA Gun Shop and Rainier Arms.

24. F-1 Firearms FU King F15

  • Price: $831.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length:
  • Weight: 6.1lb

F1-Firearms made its name in custom gun parts for the AR-15 and now it has brought us a budget offering with a comedy name. These new arrivals are going to sell like hot cakes.

The F-1 FU King F15 is basic, but F-1 Firearms are also lightweight AR15 rifles, which we like a lot. This new semi auto rifle tips the scales at 6.1lb and when we start to get the feedback and user reviews, which matter way more than site reviews, this could well climb the ranks.

Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts?

It’s a forged FU King F15 forged receiver set that comes off-the-peg, together with most of the other parts. That’s F-1 Firearms’ main business, and they focus on lightweight and largely skeletonized parts.

This one comes with basic and yet totally functional furniture. It’s an F-1 Firearms 15″ M-LOK free-float handguard over a barrel capped with an A2 muzzle device and dust cover. It’s a Nickel Boron Nitride-coated barrel, which isn’t the most advanced finish but it should prove durable.

F-1 Firearms are now within reach for the average customer. And the company’s reputation in the AR-15 aftermarket spares and accessories sector means it has to deliver. They did, and this is getting 5 star reviews online.

Ruger AR-556 MPR. A great AR-15 under $1,000 that will serve you well as a defensive rifle, range plinker and all-rounder.

25. Ruger AR-556 MPR

  • Price: $819.99
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel: 18 inch
  • Total Length: 35-38.25 inch
  • Weight: 6.8lb

We have 3 Rugers on this list now, but they are that ubiquitous so it seems only fair. The long range MMR is a legend, too, espcially in Pro form.

It’s a relative bargain, too, if you want a DMR target shooting specialist with a longer barrel for range shooting.

Ruger AR-556 MPR, the Long Range NATO Semi Auto

The Ruger AR-556 MPR offers a cold hammer forged barrel with precise button rifling for improved accuracy. There’s a carbine-length gas block with a low glare finish, chrome-lined barrel and BCG and properly staked gas key.

The MPR version has significant upgrades that is, essentially, a starting point for your AR-15 modding life. Start with red dots and a muzzle brake, end with silencers and bipods.

The longer barrel comes with an integral radial muzzle brake that is great for range shooting. The free-float handguard comes with an M-LOK rail system. That free-floating handguard is virtually skeletonized, too, with a series of additional cuts.

Primary Weapons Systems Mk116 Pro For Sale - A Great AR-15 under $1000.

25. Primary Weapons Systems Mk116 Pro

  • Price: $1,349.99
  • Caliber: .223 Remington/556 NATO
  • Action: Gas piston
  • Barrel: 16.1 inch
  • Total Length: 32.75-36 inch
  • Weight: 7lb

Idaho-based Primary Weapons Systems has based its reputation on CNC machining almost every part from billet.

This used to be the best AR-15 under $1000, for our money, but obviously now it costs substantially more. So that’s our dilemma, but we hope the price drops and we’re keeping it down the tail end with some other rifles with their own particular issues. The gun reviews pretty much unanimously love this thing and it might be the best gun here if you can pay more.

It also makes AR-15 upgrades. So this is a shop window, a marketing tool, as much as a profit center.

So they have to be amazing and reliable for home defense.

The Top AR-15 For the Money?

It would be so easy to give you a shopping list of Mossberg vs S&W vs Ruger, and they’re all on this list. But we wanted to find real value and actually earn our keep.

With the Primary Weapons Systems AR-15, we think we’ve done it. It gets absolutely stellar reviews and they all say the same: this stock black AR-15 for sale outperforms much more expensive and exalted hardware.

The Dark Horse of the Competition?

So if you’re here looking for the dark horse, the secret bargain, this is it. There are limited numbers from these new arrivals, though, so if you see it then just buy it.

You get a Wylde chamber that handles the 5.56 NATO/223 Remington. Whether you end up using that feature or not, it’s generally a hallmark of quality. It should be, as this is a forged PWS Mk1 MOD 1-M lower receiver produced from finest aircraft aluminum. The upper receiver is a PWS Proprietary Piston unit. It’s good.

So is the 416 stainless steel barrel, with a 1:8 twist for optimum accuracy. This is all high-end gear,

DPMS Panther. A more expensive Oracle, but is it better? Find out here.

26. DPMS Panther AP4 Carbine

  • RRP: $1,019.97
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32 inch
  • Weight: 8.5lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

DPMS earned its place on this list with its $500 DPMS Oracle, which is a legend.

So what happens when you give the company more money? Well you get the DPMS Panther AP4 AR-15. Does it replicate the success of the Oracle? Not quite, but it’s close.

In the Biz Since 1986

This is a company that has been in the AR-15 business since 1986 and it knows what its doing. But suddenly it’s going into battle with Sig and other industry monsters. That’s a much trickier fight.

You get a solid M4 clone. top of the line Magpul furniture. You get a top quality muzzle device and everything looks to be top quality. Even the collapsible stock is solid as a rock.

The stretched out look is no accident. It’s designed for the longest possible sight radius. That’s the USP here and the company has billed this as a 3-Gun AR-15 that makes better use of irons than the competition. We guess, but we think there are better options.

Barrel Comes With a Twist

It comes with a 1 in 9 inch twist barrel and there is actually a unique tech touch here that we like. Even the muzzle devices are a beefed up unit designed to handle 300 AAC Blackout ammunition.

It’s a full-length carbine gas system. It’s a premium touch that most others on the list avoided like the plague.

Could this be the USP? The front of the system finishes just a few inches shy of the flash hider and it’s something new at least.

Low Felt Recoil is One Surprise Benefit

In theory, this should offer softer recoil than a lot of the others on this list, but recoil is a subjective thing and it’s all about the feel. It isn’t really that big a deal on an AR-15 either, at least a well screwed together one like, well, all of these.

You also get a few nice extras, like the folding rear sight and fixed front.

Indeed, on a purely technical level, the DPMS is a close match for most and possibly even had the edge. It’s just you can have a Sig for the same money. That makes it a tougher call.

Cheap AR-15 Maker Goes Upmarket

To go back to the car analogy, Kia does awesome business in the economy sector. But this feels like its mid-range offerings.

Absolutely specced to the limit, it offers more than other rivals in its class. But it never sells in big numbers, because prestige, heritage and cache really start to matter.

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.

28. Aero Precision M4 Carbine

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

If you’re looking for a solid Colt M4 replica, rather than an original, for some reason, then this Aero Precision M4A1 is a pretty good start. Or it was, as new ones are decidedly thin on the ground these days.

Aero Precision made its name in precision barrels and then with its innovative naked guns that you can dress up with your own furniture. Also specialist muzzle devices and that iconic front sight are available from Aero Precision.

Anti-Rust Treatment for CMV Chrome-Lined Barrel

Under the skin it’s that solid engineering that has made Aero Precision famous. The 4150 CMV steel barrel with a mid-length gas system gets a hard-wearing QPQ corrosion resistant finish.

The M16 BCG is made from 8620 steel and phosphate-finished, with a chrome lining for additional durability.

The major parts are pressure tested and go through Magnetic Particle Inspection, too, and it’s all good.


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.

29. Ruger Mini-14

  • Price: $949.00
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel length: 16.12 inch
  • Total length:
  • 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 rail up top, box magazine and pistol grip are all very AR-style. The design may differ, but in spirit they are pretty close.

So you might prefer to ignore the modern classics and stick with the best-selling Ruger Mini-14 and it’s hokey look, right down to the slightly weird OEM muzzle devices on the stainless steel barrel.

Is it as good as the leaders? Well that’s a different question, and the answer is no. Modern AR15 rifles have largely rendered this obsolete, but it’s still fun.

Kel-Tec RDB 5.56 NATO is an AR-15 alternative that is winning friends and influencing people

30. Kel-Tec RDB 5.56 NATO

  • Price: $1,007.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56×45 NATO
  • Barrel length: 17 inch barrel
  • Total Length: 27.4 inch
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

We know, we know, it’s not strictly an AR. But the bullpup design from Kel-Tec has a lot going for it and all the gun reviews seem to love it, so hear us out…

Now the big news is that it fixes the age-old issue of bullpups firing spent casings into your face. It’s not a big issue, but this is evolution.

This rifle ejects the shells downwards after sending them on a diversion over the top of the mag, which is quite clever. But the Kel Tec really shouldn’t be grabbing the headlines like it has, or threatening the America’s most popular rifle billboard charts.

It’s the cherry on the cake of what is a sensational rifle for this kind of money. It’s basically the same length as an AR pistol, but much more accurate and you can lighten the single stage triggers with aftermarket parts too. This Kel-Tec is hot…

A Proper Gas System

The Kel-Tec is a compact 5.56 NATO semi-auto rifle and it comes with an adjustable gas block to tailor the rifle for a suppressor or different kinds of ammunition. That’s a serious mid-length gas system, even in this company.

We like the stock black finish, but these come in FDE and Olive Drab green too. Olive Drab green, is the worst.

Whatever the color, you normally have to choose between direct impingement semi-auto rifle and a big bill.

Number 1 Bullpup in America

The flat top receiver and barrel sub-assembly is all steel and the actual long rifle gets a polymer frame to save weight. It is accessories, optics ready and you get a standard A2 flash suppressor. This is a complete rifle with Nickel Boron Nitride protection on the stainless steel barrel.

You Could Spend a Little More, Couldn’t You?

Of course, you know the game by now. Start out with a simple best-selling Smith & wesson m&p 15 Sport II in your online basket and know you have the best for the price point…

Suddenly you have a high price, high spec Daniel Defense in your hands, some Mil-spec Bravo Company parts, the best red dots and a big bill. Maybe a Seekins Precision, Rise Armament or Black Rain Ordnance? It happens, you don’t need to explain it to us…

Well you know that quality does cost and the likes of Wilson Combat, Daniel Defense and Bravo Company have earned their reputations. Their items are always going to cost more, when they are in stock.

The Daniel Defense DDM4 has spent years near the top of our AR-15 list and we gave the Daniel Defense DDM4 Pro a place on our custom AR-15 list. Just because.

Big names are coming through all the time as well. We particularly like ZEV Technologies, Strike Industries, Black Rain Ordnance and more.

If you want to step into the world of gas pistons with a pixie dust coated bolt carrier group, then prepare to spend a little more money and feast your eyes on these items: Wilson Combat is just the start.

Predictably, the Daniel Defense DDM4 is one of our picks at any budget and the Daniel Defense DDM4 Pro and Daniel Defense Delta Pro sniper rifle. But we do have some you might actually prefer in the same range.

Spend Less on Your AR-15

Of course you can spend less on your semi-auto rifle, AR-15 rifles, pistols and all that stuff. Start here with this great post on $500 AR-15s here if the price point is your big thing.

There you’ll find the likes of the Del-Ton Echo, the cheapest Smith & Wesson M&P Sport and one or two examples of generic matte black American tactical gear. Get a cheap red dot sight up there and you’re golden.

The Del-Ton Echo 316 in particular is gaining a rep and Troy Industries is one of the 2022 up and comers.

There was a time when you could get a Patriot Ordnance Factory for $1000. Not so much these days…

You might need a lightweight, straightforward, Modern Sporting Rifle, though. In that case, cheap can be great. But there are AR15 rifles that punch above their weight in that price bracket too.

Of course you can get semi-auto rifle parts kits from Palmetto State Armory, which would be our preference over Bear Creek Arsenal and other budget brands. Bear Creek Arsenal in particular seems to have issues. If you just Google the name you can see it.

What to Find Ammo & Accessories Online?

For the best AR-15 ammo, check this post.

2 Stage triggers, Hiperfire triggers, Patriot Ordnance Factory everything, Aero Precision and now ZEV Tech are absolutely top drawer items in stock. We can also do you a Vietnam style fixed front sight, or maybe a high quality scope or red dot sight.

Geissele has been knocked off the top spot by Hyperfire of late, but its competition triggers are still more than solid. All these items are worthy of consideration.

Barrels, Triggers, Weapon Lights, Gas Blocks, Dust Cover Etc

Grey Goose Competition, Franklin Armory, Bear Creek Arsenal, Aero Precision, Wilson Combat and more are waiting. They want to sell you an upgraded barrel, bolt carrier group, gas system, charging handle flash suppressor, pistol grip, long rifle scopes, mag release and everything else.

You’ll basically never run out of ammo, parts, accessories, optics and more to buy online. Brownells alone has thousands of items in stock, Primary Arms probably has the same.

Both stock triggers from the likes of Geissele Automatics and Talon Armament too, and Primary Arms has some serious gear in stock at all times. Bravo Company Manufacturing too.

Will all of these items be actual upgrades? That’s another question, and the answer is no. But you know you want a heavy barrel and a Geissele Automatics trigger group and better charging handles at some stage right?

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…

What are the alternatives?

We’d like to start with an honorable mention for the likes of Adams Arms, that offer decent alternatives. Alex Pro Firearms also do some stellar work for precision shooters.

But you don’t have to stick with just the standard AR-style layout, or even a 5.56 NATO semi-auto rifle. Or listen to us talk about Adams Arms and Alex Pro Firearms, like at all. You could opt for an AAC blackout pistol, for instance.

A Different Kind of 5.56 Ready Rifle?

You could go with a bolt-action rifle, single shot rifles, lever action rifles, semi-automatic rifle with an 18 inch barrel coated with Nickel Boron Nitride, short barrel rifles competition ready rifle with a 12 inch barrel, and more in stock. We got all kinds of items in stock for you. What about a side-by-side, single shot?

We found an AR with a bird’s head grip not so long ago. A single-action revolver? We can fix you up and you can buy a gun online right now.

300 AAC Blackout pistols and rifles are also a real option you might want to look at. Also check out our shotguns, pump and semi-auto, here. Freedom Ordnance and the like have also impressed in the 9mm carbine class.

What About a Plain Color Black Powder Gun? While You’re Here…

We got single shot black powder rifles if that was makes you happy. In fact they might be the only thing left if the Covid crisis keeps going and deer hunting becomes a matter of life and death.

So get a muzzle-loader 50 cal rifle and get ready to meet ‘protestors’ on the battle field, old school style. Get gun cleaning supplies, knives, tools, parts, rifle barrels, optics, ammo, parts, accessories and more.

Or, before you have to rely on black powder, or a lever action 22LR, you might want to invest now. No pressure, but firearms, rifles and pistol caliber carbines are all under threat from the Left…

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. Just about everything.

Check here for quick links to the best places to bulk buy handgun ammo, rifle ammo, bolt action rifles and more. You want 308 Win Mag rifles? 7mm Rem Mag? Pistol braces?

Remember to sort by price, these are strange times. Also look at the return policy, because you might find a better price tomorrow. A tough return policy might mean you’re stuck.

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  1. Pingback: The Bullpup AR-15 Sci-Fi Gun | USA Gun Shop January 25, 2019
  2. Alfred Lopez July 6, 2020
    • Nick July 9, 2020
  3. JUAN GONZALEZ July 4, 2022

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