11 Best AR Pistols for $1000

Diamondback Firearms DB15 Pistol


11 Best AR Pistols under $1000

We all have a bit of a crush on AR pistols, assault pistols, call them what you will…

They are the ultimate home defense guns and you can opt for the 300 Blackout caliber that plays nice with a suppressor, subsonic ammo and a stabilizing brace. AAC blackout and a proper silencer is the closest you’re ever going to get to movie style supressor noise and it means you can fire off your gun without ear protection and have a good chance of keeping both eardrums.

That’s a technical step forward, but still the AR-15 pistols, firing 5.56 NATO, remain the undisputed kings of the civilian assault weapon world. 

So, what is the best AR-15 pistol for sale in 2018? We recently did the best $1000 AR-15 for sale, so you’d think this list would be a carbon copy. You would be wrong. There are some repeat stars here, but there are also some fresh faces and some notable absentees.

It’s easy to make a great AR-15 pistol if you can charge more and the likes of the Daniel Defense DDM4, Sig Sauer MPX, Bravo Company and more are waiting for you with open arms if you have more to spend. Turns out it isn’t easy to make a great AR-pistol for $1000, though, and entrants for this contest are pretty thin on the ground.

There are pistols out there, but there’s only so off brand we’re prepared to go here. We have included the best budget AR-15s and we’re not going to namecheck guns we don’t have any faith in. So this is going to be a short list, backed up by user reviews online that let you know you have one of the very best guns for sale on its way to you. Or it could be, in just a few minutes…

So here are our best AR pistols for sale in 2018, let us know what you think, and how stupid we are, in the comments below…

Ruger AR-556 Pistol for sale, a great starter long pistol

1. Ruger AR-556 Pistol

  • Price: $789.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 10.5 inch
  • Total Length: 23.5-27.9 inch
  • Weight: 6.2lb

If you want a solid, cost-effective , reliable and stable AR-15 5.56 Pistol and you have less than $1000, you really want a Ruger AR-556. You just might not know it yet…

There are others on this list that will serve you well, but if you want to simply play it safe and get the best AR pistol for $1,000 or less, then start right here.

The long barrel rifle version of this direct impingement workhorse is our favorite cheap AR-15 rifle for sale. Now the pistol, although it’s a little bit more, is the champion here too.

This is an honest, simple, straightforward NATO pistol that will last a good long while, send bullets where you tell it and keep doing that until you tell it to stop. There’s no magic at this price, but there is a very solid company selling very solid firearms.

The Wylde chamber opens up the possibility of cheaper ammunition with .223 Remington. How often you’ll take advantage of this dual caliber rifle’s USP is another matter, but you can and probably will, a bit.

Ruger’s 10.5 inch barrel means this long pistol can handle itself in the long range stuff and it’s also a compact, lightweight defensive pistol that can take care of the home and just about anything else.

A 9 inch free float handguard gives you plenty of room to get comfortable, as well as house your tactical gear. An M-Lok rail gives you all the attachment points you need, along with the Picatinny rail up top.

The bolt is 9130 hardened steel, you get polished M4 feed ramps, a forged 7075 T6 aluminum flat top receiver and matched lower receiver and more.

The Ruger AR-556 Pistol isn’t the prettiest here. It’s mass produced, it’s basic and it’s simple. There’s a lot to be said for that if you just want a general service weapons for all seasons and all scenarios.

You get an SB Tactical SBA3 brace on the Ruger AR-556, and a solid, versatile and reliable AR-15. At this price point, those are pretty attractive qualities.

ZEV Tech Core Pistol AR-15 for sale. An awesome AR pistol at a bargain price.

2. ZEV Tech Core Pistol

  • Price: $899.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO Pistol
  • Barrel: 10.5 inch
  • Weight: 5.68lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

If this sale price turns into an ongoing offer, then this AR pistol is going to displace the Ruger and become the new best AR pistol under $1000.

The ZEV Tech is really that good.

The company earned its spurs with Glock parts & accessories, before moving into the world of boutique firearms. Now it has a stable of guns that includes the awesome ZEV Tech OZ9 handgun and a range of rifles and AR pistols that have won over the critics.

There are two basic flavors of ZEV AR-15: forged and billet. The guns with receivers machined from billet are simply out of this price bracket, but the forged weapons are right here and we have to say it’s an absolute bargain of a firearm.

ZEV Tech has focused on providing match grade firearms, first and foremost, using other people’s parts to complement its receivers and barrels. Inevitably ZEV will make all of its own parts in the end, but not yet.

So now you get ZEV hardware backed up with a H3 buffer tube and a KAK Shockwave Blade, which is a great combination for a lightweight pistol to be honest. The longer barrel means there’s some weight to this gun, but it should also be more accurate at the shooting range.

It isn’t heavy either. Lightweight, match spec guns are what ZEV Tech dopes, so it can hardly send out a dud with its first line of AR-15s. It hasn’t, like at all.

We will watch this price closely, and if the ZEV Tech Core pistol in 5.56 NATO spec stays at $899.99 or close when you click the link, then it’s the gun we think you should buy.

Primary Weapons Systems Mk111 Pro - One of the best AR-15 pistols for sale in 2019.

3. Primary Weapons Systems Mk111 Pro

  • Price: $994.99
  • Caliber: 223 Rem/5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 11.85 inch
  • Total: 31.5 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

If you are looking for the SBR experience, without the NFA paperwork, then the Primary Weapons Systems Mk111 Pro is for you.

That 11.85 inch barrel is deep in what used to be SBR territory, but that shoulder brace turns what looks for all the world like a military service weapon into a pistol Sweet…

That’s just the start of the good news. The Primary Weapons Systems Mk111 Pro is built around an adjustable gas system, as well as the company’s own forged receivers.

Add in a Bravo Company Manufacturing Pistol Grip and free float handguard, Raptor Charging Handle and a few other assorted goodies and you can see you have the makings of a very serious firearm.

Where you’d find the buttstock of a Short Barrel Rifle, you find an enhanced buffer tube, an endplate and not much else. That’s another way of getting round the pistol regs.

It also helps keep the weight of this long barrel AR pistol down to 6.5lb, and we have to say that is a seriously good result for a semi auto pistol that should basically deliver rifle accuracy and performance.

For this price, too. It’s not just hard to fault the gun, while I sit here looking at it the hardest thing to fathom is why it didn’t win. It might, soon. And if you buy this gun, I think you might have the real winner on your hands.

Springfield Armory Saint Pistol 5.56mm NATO pistol for sale. Buy guns online at the best prices here.


4. Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Price: $959.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 7.5 inch
  • Total Length: 26.5 inch
  • Weight: 5.8lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

I seriously love the Springfield Saint Victor AR-15 pistol and it has features on the page before, many times, but it was always a bridesmaid thanks to its budget price. Here, that’s the main thing, so it was always going to do well.

That $1000 caveat plays perfectly into the Springfield Armory Saint pistol’s hands. At that price, it’s arguably the best semi auto AR-15 pistol in the world. You could easily make a case that I would listen to for elevating this gun above the Ruger.

The Springfield Saint always faces down the heritage of the Colt M4 or the cut-price perfection of the POF Constable in the $1000 AR-15 rifle for sale class. Here, it gets a run at the gold medal.

Now personally, we’d go for the shorter 300 Blackout pistol Springfield Saint that comes with a 7,5 inch barrel. With the layout and the flash hider it looks like it’s running an integral suppressor, Sig Sauer Canebrake-style, but it isn’t.

The 300BLK Springfield Armory Saint is our personal favorite, because it opens up the chance to use subsonic ammo with a suppressor and finally ‘shoot whispers’. Not everybody loves AAC Blackout, though, and the 5.56 NATO is still the volume seller.

It’s as specced out as AR-15 pistols reasonably can be and most of the science went on materials and coatings. We like that.

Obviously the Springfield Saint pistol is a chopped down version of the similarly cheap rifle that features on our list of best AR-15 for sale for $1000. But the pistol is a different thing and is one of the best-looking AR pistols on the market. In this price range it wins the style war by a mile.

The buttstock has been replaced by an SB Tactical SBX-K tactical brace. As pistol braces go, they’re up there with the best. The 416R stainless steel barrel has been treated with Melonite, which is better than a chrome-lined barrel in terms of durability and accuracy.

The 1:7 twist in the barrel will help, but it’s a short barrel and the Springfield Saint isn’t designed as a long-distance sniper rifle. AR pistols never are, but with a red dot you’ll be able to hit roughly the same spot at 100 yards pretty consistently and that’s good enough for most self-defense situations.

Could you hunt with the Springfield Armory Saint pistol? You could, definitely in AAC 300 Blackout specification…

Inevitably the AR-15 pistol is a direct impingement set-up and the gas system runs the entire length of the pistol. It’s a low profile gas pinned block, the upper and lower receivers are forged from Type III Hard Coat Anodized 7075 TC Aluminum and a proprietary trigger set-up that is coated in Nickel Boron.

The Enhanced M16 bolt carrier gets lashings of Melonite and is then Magnetic Particle tested to make sure it’s fault free. A Carbine ‘H’ heavy tungsten buffer is present and correct as well.  

It’s basic tech, taken to another level. I like that, and it should be a recipe for a reliable weapon and a great semi-automatic pistol. Most of the user reviews online are deliriously happy. Is this the best AR pistol for sale for $1000? Yes, we think so.

It’s no Daniel Defense DDM4, but that’s why the Springfield Saint is half the price and we think it’s much more than half the AR-pistol.

ATI Omni Hybrid Max P4 Pistol for sale. A great budget AR-15, with plastic receivers. Really...

5. ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx P4 Pistol

  • Price: $379.99
  • Barrel: 7.5 inch
  • Total: 25 inch
  • Weight: 5.11lb
  • Capacity: 30+1

That price is not a typo. The ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx P4 is a sub-$400 semi automatic pistol with one small catch: the receivers are made of polymer.

Fiber reinforced polymer to be precise, which ATI has proven in the field by driving a forklift truck over its gun, and firing 2000 rounds through several of them as a public endurance test to prove the concept.

Material science is heading that way, plastics have to leave metal behind at some point and American Tactical says that point is now.

The only time you should really be aware of the polymer origin story of your rifle’s receivers, should be when you’re carrying a super lightweight gun. Or when you buy an AR-15 pistol and you get change out of $400.

When you’re getting down to business, the American Tactical semi auto pistol looks and feels like any other AR pistol with forged aluminum receivers with an anodized hardcoat. Or something. It works as you’d expect, which is pretty cool for a lightweight gun made from thoroughly modern materials.

It might just be time to join this cheap, lightweight AR pistol revolution and buy your ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx now.

CZ Scorpion Evo 3 9mm



6. CZ Scorpion 3

  • Price: $849.99
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel: 7.72 inch
  • Total Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5lb
  • Capacity: 20+1

The CZ Scorpion has become a legend and rightly so. This semi-automatic 9mm doesn’t just win the price war by a fair distance, it’s a reliable, accurate and compact firearm that has found its way all round the world in the hands of special forces through to private security teams.

It’s almost a concealed carry AR pistol and that can be a big deal. Some military applications need the subtler impact of 9mm, too, vs a full AR-15 pistol, and home security is one of those situations where you might prefer it.

9mm is easy to handle for everybody in the house and this is a great AR-15 pistol that anybody can pick up and not feel intimidated by. With a stablizing brace, a child could handle the recoil and firearms training for the family is another great reason to get this faithful, simple servant of a carbine.

The CZ Scorpion Evo 3 A1 is the actual full automatic machine gun that everybody from the Kenyan police to the Polish special forces take into action. You will probably be fine with the consumer-grade AR pistol.

It has been with us since 2000, when CZ took the Slovak prototype Laugo sub-machine gun. Since then it has become one of the world’s favorite 9mm long pistols and if you put a red dot on the top then you have a potent weapon in your hands.

Our partner has consistently great prices, ranging from $720-$750. It’s a rare time when we don’t give a fixed price, because this is just the best we can find and it seems to come with occasional fluctuations.

This is a simple, 9mm blowback handgun, packaged to near perfection and wrapped in tough polymer with a simple gas system. It isn’t pretty, in fact there’s a touch of evil about the design that I kind of dig, and it is oh so effective.

This is a five star gun pretty much everywhere, including the user reviews online that say it’s a fun gun to shoot, great at the range, reliable and there are a vast number of pistol parts and accessories available online. Start with a folding stock and a pistol grip, then go from there…

With a little work, this is every bit as good a gun as the much more expensive Sig Sauer MCX 9mm carbine that features in pretty much every movie in the world along with the HK SP5. You can also get a range of military colors, from light grey through to Flat Dark Earth.

You can turn your CZ Scorpion 3 into an SBR, fit a pistol brace and you can work on the internals if you’re that way inclined. There are plenty of parts out there and a dedicated CZ Scorpion pistol build community that will can help you turn a one of the best budget guns for sale into an absolute world beater.

For a start, and a bit of fun, check eBay for CZ Scorpion parts and accessories here.

If you want to get a little bit more advanced, check out Brownell’s range of CZ Scorpion parts and accessories.

In the stock semi auto gun you get a cold hammer-forged barrel and a removable flash suppressor, an 11 inch Picatinny rail up top for a laser, which works better than a reflex until you fit a tactical brace, and you can hang a light, or an AR-15 chainsaw attachment (jokes) from the 4 inch Picatinny rail down below.

This 9mm is an absolute icon, one of the best guns on sale in North America in any class and one of the most popular when it comes to the gun reviews online. Get one, you need one, it’s really that simple.

Arsenal SAM7K-R Semi Auto pistol

7. Arsenal SAM7K-01R

  • Price: $985.00
  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm AK-47
  • Barrel Length: 10.5
  • Total Length: 20″
  • Weight: 8lb (Without Magazine)
  • Capacity: 30+1

The Arsenal SAM7K-01R is a pattern AK-47 with some AK-74 touches. It is a hybrid of the two, then, but basically it’s decades old pig-iron engineering in combat clothing.

That can be great fun and this semi-automatic pistol emerged on top of our recent battle of the best modern AK-47 rifles and pistols for sale.

You can get a simpler version for less money, the SAM7K-01, but this just dips in under $1000 and it’s just about the best AK-47 on the market if you don’t want to spend crazy money. It’s a vicious little assault pistol with a short barrel and that brutal kick that goes with the 7.62x39mm ammunition.

Here is the simpler version, without the fancy rails, in action.

The barrel is chrome-lined and hammer forged and was built in conjunction with Steyr, which makes some of the world’s finest machine guns and is known for pinpoint accuracy.

Four-groove rifling with a 1:9.44 twist helps stabilize the heavier ammo, but you won’t find too many people claiming that a short barrel AK is the last word in long-distance accuracy.

As a truck gun, or weapon of urban warfare, there isn’t much that can touch it. But when it gets much beyond 20 yards, you might be happier with an AR-15 for sale.

You get a one-piece front sight/ gas block assembly, a Krinkov-style flash suppressor, that squared off buffer tube and the compact frame that means this controlled chaos handgun, which emits a fearsome flash and a bang, as well as the round, measure just 20 inches in total.

You also get a traditional solid double hook trigger and you can use pretty much any AK mag you have lying round the house.

Yes, that means you can get a 50-round drum mag and that certainly adds to the gun’s mystique. You can almost certainly make a golden gun, ‘like the movies’, and you can also do something more refined in Flat Dark Earth or with Cerakote finished parts. It gets expensive, but so do all hobbies.

You might want a basic stabilizing brace and a red dot. With those in place, the Arsenal SAM7K is an absolute warrior and you can easily fit the signature AK-47 wireframe folding stocks.

They’re available pretty much everywhere, but our partner has got some real quality in depth here, from Magpul MOE through to traditional wood furniture kits for your AK-47 and the Mil-spec metal folding stabilizing brace..

Get AK-47 pistol braces here at Brownells. 

Does it feel as well engineered and finely poised as a Daniel Defense or Sig Sauer AR-15 pistol? Of course not, but that’s kinda the point…

Get AK-47 parts and accessories on Amazon now!

Diamondback Firearms DB15 Pistol




8. Diamondback Arms DB15


  • Price: $699.00
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel Length: 7.5
  • Total Length: 16″
  • Weight: 5lb (Without Magazine)
  • Capacity: 30+1

Diamondback Arms is a legend in the budget AR-15 scene and this really is a development of the DB15 AR-15 rifle for sale, which I guess is no big shock. It is significantly more expensive in pistol form, which does kinda rankle us a bit. But it is what it is.

The Diamondback Arms DB15 AR pistol comes in 7.5 or 10 inch barrel formations, but the shorter one looks the tits and would be spectacular with a budget red dot and a stabilizing brace fitted to the buffer tube. Your complete combat ready set-up would cost less than $1000, or $800 if you cut corners and buy cheap stuff.

It’s just 16 inches in total, it packs 30+1 rounds and it weighs just 3.5lb, although that comes without any form of pistol brace, just a naked buffer tube and this isn’t actually built from Vibranium or anything.

The bolt carrier is shot-peened, Mil-spec 8620 steel that gets a full magnetic particle inspection. The receiver is 7075 T6 Aluminum and the barrel is 410 chrome moly. An A2 pistol grip and a 4-rail hanguard give you options that you probably shouldn’t abuse too much when it comes to mounting lights and red dot sights.

Diamondback firearms certainly deliver bang for your buck, we will give them that.

The quad rail aluminum handguard and flash hider are a little, well, flash for some tastes. It is a fun design, though, the front end looks suitably spiky and it stands out from the crowd. That flash suppressor is a work of art and it’s so intricate you do wonder about its functionality. But I haven’t heard many complaints, so it’s cool.

It comes without a stock, so you can actually have a massively compact gun, or fit your own stabilizing brace and flash suppressor and call it a DIY AR-15 build. Whatever floats your boat and I look forward to your step by step Youtube videos.

One thing you can do is fit a Law Tactical Folding Adapter with the KAK Shockwave Pistol Brace. It’s a nice set-up that will probably move with you to your next AR-15 pistol, but it’s an expensive accessory for a cheap gun at $369.

The pistol grip looks a little basic, although it does the job. inevitably you can swap that out and cover it in tactical gear if that’s your thing. Personally, I’d be tempted to either spend more on another gun in the first place or keep it clean and simple.

Fightlite SCR Pistol, a beast of an AR-15



9. Fightlite Industries SCR Pistol M-Lok 7.5

  • Price: $799.99
  • Barrel Length: 7.25 inch
  • Total Length: 20.25 inch
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 3.9lb

An AR-15 pistol for sale you say? A bird’s head grip you say? Put them together? .

Why? Cuz America! That’s why…

It’s fun, it’s left field and it’s something different. So if you like to just collect guns then this could is a really fresh take on the age-old concept.

It will probably be less accurate and practical than a traditional AR pistol. But if you know that going in, then who cares right?

It looks cool and it’s clever. I don’t think for one second that firearms historians will look back one day at the time that Fightlite Industries  fitted a bird’s head grip to the most popular type of AR pistol and everything changed. I really don’t believe that will happen, at all. But it doesn’t need to.

This is a different kind of gun that presents a different kind of challenge. It will be tough to shoot, which could be enough of a USP on its own. It also has a Mad Max vibe about it that I like. It’s a crazy, steampunk AR-15 that will put a smile on your face every time you pick it up.

Objectively, it’s probably not better than a lot of this guns on this list. But it’s different, and that can be enough.

You can put a red dot on the Picatinny rail, but honestly that might make this gun even weirder. We don’t think anybody makes pistol braces to fit it either, this is a shoot from the hip kind of AR-15 pistol.

Buy a Draco Gun Online Here

10. Draco Gun

  • Price: $635.99
  • Barrel Length: 12.25 inch
  • Total Length: 21.5 inch
  • Capacity: 30+1
  • Weight: 5.5lb

The Century Arms Draco Gun is another pattern AK-47 that you can actually get in a variety of flavors. We have gone for the 12.25″ barrel here, but you can get a 6.25 inch barrel Micro Draco gun and another 7.25 inch barrel option.

Check out the small barrel version here, it laughs at your American tactical pistols.

The longer one helps control the kick from this little mule of a gun, and it does help with accuracy. if we’re being picky, it also gives the round some added velocity. It really doesn’t need it in this company, as the larger round is well known for the damage it causes and a lot of people prefer the AK to an AR-15 for sale for home defense.

Now the Draco Gun isn’t pretty, the pistol grip looks like low grade plastic because it is, and those foreguards just aren’t sexy. but you can fix that.

The Draco Gun is set up to take AK furniture, including the SB Tactical brace, It also takes AK magazines and you can buy a mass of upgrades, tacti-cool nonsense and just about everything in between for your Draco Gun.

You can turn it into a classic Russian soldier’s weapon with real wood, or go space-age and turn one of the smallest high-capacity pistols you can buy if you opt for the Micro Draco and turn it into a real weapon of war.

A reflex sight, a new pistol brace and a new grip and you’ve got a serious home defense gun here. Fit a Kak Shockwave Blade or something similar and you could have something truly unique.

There are some seriously sexy SBRs out there that started out as a Micro Draco gun, or the larger weapon you see here. Opt for the smaller gun and it becomes a real military grade, compact weapon of destruction.

Now muzzle flash and noise are an issue with this Eastern European monster. It isn’t as refined as an AR-15, but then that is part of this assault pistol’s charm.

Palmetto State Armory AR Pistol

11. Palmetto State Armory SBA3 Shockwave Pistol MOE

  • Price: $499.99
  • Barrel Length: 10.5 inch
  • Total Length: 26.5 inch
  • Capacity: 20+1
  • Weight: 4.5lb

Not everybody loves Palmetto State Armory firearms, and they are not the absolute best AR-15 pistols on the planet.

The truth is, though, that if you have got $499.99 to spend on an AR-pistol then you’re going to struggle to beat this cheap AR-15 pistol that punches well above its weight.

PSA do care about their customers, too, and has a stellar reputation for customer service. It’s pretty common to hear about new parts getting mailed out after a brief phone call and the people that actually own them do seem to have nothing but good things to say.

It’s a forged aluminum receiver that is hard coat anodized, the barrel is 4150V Chrome Moly Steel, and the barrel is Nitride lined, which is better than a chrome-lined barrel in terms of durability and accuracy.

It comes with a 1 in 7 twist to help stabilize the heavier bullets and maintain some level of accuracy in this snub-nose civilian SMG. It comes with an industry standard Magpul MOE grip and SB Tactical pistol brace.

The basic ingredients match up well to any pistol on this list.

There’s a certain something missing, and we don’t really know what it is. Star quality? Is that a thing when you’re actually firing it? Certainly it doesn’t have the fit and finish of a Daniel Defense or a Sig Sauer. but then it doesn’t have their price tag either…

As a starter AR pistol, then, this is a great option.

You can also built it up over time if money is a thing for you and you have to ration your spending on guns.

The finish reminds me of the Parkerized look on a Rock Island Armory. I also have to remember I have vehemently defended Rock Island Armory and Armscor firearms for being sweet shooters without that last veneer of polish.

PSA is basically the Rock Island Armory of the AR pistol world. I mean that as a compliment. Don’t go looking for bells and whistles and signature finishing touches. But you will get a well engineered and well built AR pistol that’s reliable, accurate and solid.

One Response

  1. R.T. May March 3, 2019

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