The Best AR-15 Rifles in 2024

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

Last updated May 20th 2024

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What is the best AR-15 for sale in 2024? Man that’s a complicated question, but that’s why we’re here to help you.

Your choice will depend on how much you want to spend, what you’ll be using your rifle for and your own personal preferences. For this list we’ve canvassed our team of writers, thousands of our readers and the industry experts to come up with a simple list of the best AR-15 rifles at different price points for you now.

Daniel Defense AR-15. Get yours here

1. Daniel Defense DDM4 V7

  • Price: $1,700
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs

Best AR-15 Overall

Pros

  • Top quality proprietary parts
  • Legendary quality control and reliability
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Grip angle is quirky
  • Replacement parts cost more

The Daniel Defense DDM4 has become the benchmark by which all other AR-15s are measured. It doesn’t matter if you;re a new shooter, an old hand or a military sniper, the Daniel Defense DDM4 is just about the perfect AR-15.

That’s why the Daniel Defense is our go-to rifle for home defense and recreational shooting, despite a number of options. The DDM4 just gets more miles than the rest, and has become a performance bargain in the process. Especially as gun deals are more frequent now, and Euro Optic can give you a Daniel Defense rifle for just over $1,700.

Opt for the 16 inch cold hammer forged barrel length and you’ve got the best tactical rifle that will serve you for a lifetime with the proper maintenance. You get a lifetime guarantee for the major components and this rifle is battle proven in full auto form. Military units and law enforcement agencies have given this Daniel Defense rifle the seal of approval with constant orders, which might count more than first place on this list.

You can go for a Daniel Defense SBR with a shorter 11.5 inch barrel length, or the longer 18 inch barrel that comes with an upgraded Geissele match grade trigger too. So if you want a DMR, or you spend most your time bench shooting, consider the longer barrel and small weight penalty that goes with it.

Now the only real criticism we have for the Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 is that the pistol grip angle is a little shallow. alot of gun owners switch out the grip for something more vertical, but that’s pretty much the only downside with the Daniel Defense DDM4.

It is a classic AR-15 with a free float handguard, but numerous proprietary parts and the highest quality control standards with outside suppliers mean it has refined the concept. So yes it’s a direct impingement AR15 rifle that follows the Eugene Stoner classic recipe. But it just does it better…

Get the full hands on review of the Daniel Defense here and why we think it is the best AR-15.


BCM Recce, a great basic battle rifle designed for military, by military.

2. Bravo Company Manufacturing Recce

  • Price: $1,670.00
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 6.1 lbs

Best AR-15 Battle Rifle

Pros

  • Military background
  • Proprietary parts & accessories
  • Ultra lightweight rifle

Cons

  • Quite often sold out

The Bravo Company Manufacturing Recce is another AR-15 rifle with law enforcement & military history in fully automatic form. The semi automatic rifle for civilians is almost as good, if you can live without the select fire switch. And most of us have to…

Ignore that, and the fact the BMC Recce used to be quite a bit cheaper, and this is a high-quality direct impingement system with a mid-length gas system that is accurate, reliable, ultra lightweight and yet shouldn’t let you down. Ever.

Bravo Company Manufacturing made its name with AR-15 parts & accessories based on the owners’ collective military experience. Reliability and longevity are the priorities with the BCM Recce, rather than an elegant finish.

So the BCM Mil Spec Bolt Carrier Group and BCM ambi charging handle, are top quality, the BCM Gunfighter stock and grip are near unbreakable and the aluminum flat top upper receiver and lower receiver are Manganese Phosphate coated.Even the flash hider looks like a basic A2 birdcage, but it’s designed in house and is way more advanced.

The MCMR free float handguard is a great option and these rifles are more than the sum of their parts. You get a near invincible rifle that just works, and there is no wobble or play anywhere in the system.

You can go for a 14 inch barrel length or a Designated Marksman Rifle with 18 inches up front for long range shooting, as well as the 16″ Government profile, chrome lined barrel that should be good for 10-15,000 rounds. Whichever you choose, your BCM Recce should be a rifle for life. And more popular firearms celebrities than me say it’s their best AR-15 and the best modern interpretation of the classic Eugene Stoner design.

It quite often comes down to Daniel Defense vs BCM in these polls and gun reviews. And while we’re sticking with Daniel Defense, we totally get you if you’re in the BCM Recce camp.


Sig Sauer M400 Tread. A great rifle

3. Sig Sauer M400 Tread

  • Price: $849.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 7 lbs

Best Mid Range Starter Rifle

If you’re looking for a solid mid-range rifle with no surprises that should serve you well for home defense, target practice and general use, the Sig Sauer M400 Tread is a great rifle for the money.

You also get a basic, user-friendly design with a Direct Impingement gas operating system for reliability. A full-length Picatinny rail and M-LOK free float handguard for optics and easy-to-use controls enhance the shooting experience for newcomers and seasoned shooters alike.

The Sig Sauer Tread’s modular design and wide array of high quality Tread-branded accessories allow for extensive customization, making it a highly versatile option for those looking to tailor their rifle to specific needs. Put a fixed front sight

A Cerakote finished version costs a little more, but does look more like a designer AR, if that’s your thing. We like the cheaper version, though, because any more money and it starts to run into some dangerous competition. At this price point, it’s a great balance of bang for your buck and is one of the best AR-15s for $1000.


Springfield Armory Saint rifle on sale now.

4. Springfield Saint Victor

  • Price: $999.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 6.9 lbs

Solid Mid-Range AR-15

The Springfield Saint Victor is a mid-range AR-15 with premium performance features and add ons from BCM. The end result is a relatively low budget AR-15 that punches above its weight.

Accu-Tite tension bonding for the upper receiver and lower receiver helps reduce play. The Nickel Boron coated single stage trigger gets a lot of love in the gun reviews too.

The Melonite coated Bolt Carrier Group, receivers, barrel and low profile pinned gas block really do feel like they can take abuse out in the field. And it’s a standard mid length gas system, which is the best one for a novice to go for really.

You get a long free float handguard that runs out just before that twin port muzzle brake that really does soften the shooting experience. Now you can tell a lot about a gun by the Bolt Carrier Group, and the Springfield Armory Mil Spec M16 bolt is as good as much more expensive rifles.

You get M-Lok rail attachments all the way down that chrome Moly Vanadium steel barrel and this is a rifle you can set up exactly how you want.

That long rail also gives you options with your shooting position and tactics. The fit and finish of the BCM 6 position stock is top tier and you also get a BCM pistol grip, trigger guard and a GI charging handle. You even get flip-up iron sights thrown in with this insane package deal with the Springfield Armory Saint.

These are a top tier parts and Springfield Armory has the buying power to give them to you sort of cheap. It’s the high quality accessories that mark the Springfield Saint Victor apart at this price point, as wel as the attention to detail with the core rifle.


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.

5. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport

  • Price Range: $670-$700
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 6.45 lbs

Best Entry Level AR-15

The Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is the new King of entry level AR-15 rifles. It’s cheap, reliable and accurate enough for home defense. With red dot sights up top, it’s good enough for tactical use and anything up to about 50 meters.

Beyond that, you’ll really want one of the best AR-15s on this list, not one of the cheapest. Because this is a good starter rifle, but long range shooting will show up its weaknesses and that’s why Law Enforcement tends to use a better version of the S&W Military & Police line….

But that covers most people’s needs pretty well, and money is a thing these days for most of us. So if you just want a basic AR-15, maybe your first AR-15, and you don’t want to break the bank, this is a great choice.

You get a mid length gas system, collapsible stock, partial Picatinny rail and a basic polymer handguard that you can switch out for a free float handguard in short order.

This is a solid rifle you can just pick up and shoot. You will hit the parts & accessories store, and you will upgrade to a better rifle if you really get into it. But to get going, the entry-level Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport is the best AR-15 to start with.


Palmetto State Armory PA-15 rifle. A modern day military style rifle.

6. Palmetto State Armory PSA-15

  • Price: $530.00+
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem
  • Weight:

Palmetto State Armory’s PSA-15 is renowned for making the best budget AR-15 with any option you want. So you can build the rifle you want at an affordable price, from an old school Vietnam War tribute through to a modern, minimalist rifle.

PSA has achieved icon status for bringing AR-15s to the masses with a cheap and effective rifle. This is our best cheap AR-15 and has been for a looooong time. And you can get blemished BLEM PSA rifles for even less, and rifle kits that you build at home. We have even seen BLEM Palmetoo State Armory rifle kits for as little as $320.

You can spend much more and the Palmetto State Armory Custom rifles are about $1,000 and Palmetto State Armory Sabre is even more.. But honestly if you’re spending that much then you should go for the Sig M400 or Springfield Saint Victor.

The Palmetto State Armory is the best AR-15 on a budget, though, and it comes with a carbine length gas system that is a relative rarity.

This is the rifle that made Palmetto State Armory famous. Now it has branched out and can sell you a a top tier AK-47 and the 9mm PSA Dagger 9mm pistol, as well as a higher class of AR-15. But we kind of love this original recipe, the Palmetto State Armory poverty tier rifle that started it all.

Bear Creek Arsenal is starting to make an impression and is snapping at their heels, but we still think Palmetto State Armory has the edge.


Aero Precision rifle

7. Aero Precision M4E1

  • Price: $800
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Weight: 6.3 lbs

Aero Precision M4E1 rifles were the flagbearer of the mid range division for years, but you’ll struggle to find a complete rifle these days. No matter, you can buy a complete lower and flat top upper receiver from Primary Arms. In a minute you’ll have your gun, it’s the best way to buy an Aero Precision rifle at the moment.

The company focuses on parts supply these days, rather than complete rifles. Why? I have no idea…

But the good part is you can tailor your Aero Precision rifle. If you want an 18 inch barrel, a full muzzle brake and a sporter stock, so be it. And the same goes for an SBR with asimple flash hider, Magpul MOE collapsible stock and a mid-length gas system.

If you want to run a fixed front sight and Magpul MBUs at the rear, you can. If you want to put a red dot sight on that partial rail, that works better.


Author

  • Nick Hall

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

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