15 Best Lightweight AR-15 Rifles – Sep 2023

Enyo Master of Arms Lightweight AR-15. one of the lightest AR-15s for sale in 2023

Winners at a Glance

The Faxon Firearms Ultralight is the best lightweight AR-15 you can actually buy right now.

But it all depends on your budget and needs. We have plenty of options for your next super light AR-15 rifle.

Faxon Firearms Ultralite

Faxon Firearms Ultralite

  • Overall Winner
ATI Omni Hybrid

ATI Omni Hybrid

  • Best cheap lightweight rifle
Fostech Stryker

Fostech Stryker

  • Super light and all metal
Christensen Arms CA-15

Christensen Arms CA-15

  • Best CF Custom AR-15
BCM Recce

BCM Recce

  • Best lightweight military grade rifle
Daniel Defense DDM4 V11

Daniel Defense DDM4 V11

  • Best short barrel + pinned muzzle device
Lead Star Prime

Lead Star Prime

  • Best race gun

The best lightweight AR-15 build is a serious title round these parts. That’s because it’s the number one priority for a lot of American gun enthusiasts.

The weight is bigger than the price, bigger than the spec in many cases. That’s because an ultralight AR-15 is so utterly versatile and useful that you will always get your money’s worth from that rifle. 

You will always have that time you want a flyweight on your shoulder, just in case. Light rifles can be a tactical advantage too.

We have tried to find an ultralight AR-15 to suit every budget. We think you will like some of these radically different weight-saving techniques for your best lightweight AR-15 rifle. 

Lightweight AR-15s For Sale

Faxon Firearms FX5500 Ultralight AR-15 for sale. A great lightweight modern sporting rifle.

1. Faxon Firearms Ion Ultralight AR-15

  • Sale Price: $1,595.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 14.5 inch + welded muzzle device/flash hider. NFA Compliant.
  • Weight: 4.95lb

Overall Winner

Faxon has made a name with Glock parts and specialist shiz like the AR-15 light weight barrel. Now it has created this ultralight AR-15 build with a short barrel and pinned muzzle device/flash hider.

You get a forged aluminum upper receiver, a free float carbon fiber handguard, Superlative Arms adjustable gas block and triple port muzzle devices. All that in a 4.95lb package? Yes you can…

All the parts & accessories are top flight. There’s a Hiperfire EDT3 trigger group, a Magpul MOE grip, MFT Minimalist stock, Radian Arms safety, charging handle and Lancer magazine.

Up top there is enough rail for the minimalist best red dot sights that it deserves. Do that and you might have the best AR-15 here.

Proprietary Parts and Best of the Rest

Faxon Firearms supplied a good portion of the rifle, including the ultra lightweight upper and lower receivers. Everything else is absolutely the best money can buy. It might not be a daily gun and felt recoil is a thing on the lightest AR15s, but this ultralight AR15 is an awesome special occasion gun for shooting targets on a range day.

You can order an extensive selection of Faxon Firearms Ultra lightweight parts, too, from a pencil barrel through to a lightweight titanium barrel nut and ultra lightweight complete uppers or receiver set. Check them out here for your own ultra lightweight AR15 build.

ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx Rifle. It's a great lightweight AR-15 at a ridiculously low price compared to the opposition. What's the secret? Plastic receivers.

2. ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx

  • Sale Price: $449.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5.5lb

Most of the rifles on this list will blow you away with the price for all the wrong reasons. The ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx is the cheapest lightweight AR15 by some margin. It’s clearly one of the best budget rifles of the day.

This used to be a simple matte black AR-15 for less than $400, which was a miracle in itself. Then you look at the weight and this becomes a cheap, light AR15, which is a sexier claim to fame. Even though it’s more like $500 these days…

A Plastic AR-15 that Works?

So what’s the secret? Plastic receivers. Really yes, this is the plastic AR-15 you may have been waiting for.

There’s no real reason why modern plastics can’t handle the jump from a Glock to a defensive rifle, especially with modern quality control.

And the ATI Omni Hybrid Maxx has received rave reviews from users and the harshest critics alike. So it’s good, especially at this price, but there are always pros and cons.

Fostech Stryker, an ultra light AR-15 that isn't too expensive either.

3. Fostech Stryker

  • Sale Price: $1,162.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5.6lb

The Fostech Mfg Stryker is one of the lightest rifles out there and comes with proprietary AR15 lightweight receiver sets, a cold hammer forged Faxon barrel and the iconic Echo Binary trigger set.

This is no race gun, it is not designed with compromise in mind and the company swears you can treat this direct impingement rifle like any other AR-15 and shoot it all day without fear of failure. It just also happens to be a lightweight build.

The Fostech Sabre pistol grip is a nice thing, too, while we’re here. Also don’t forget that Fostech made the Fostech Origin shotgun, which is still one of our favorite semi-auto shotguns.

Christensen Arms CA-15. A great light gun.

4. Christensen Arms CA-15 G2

  • Sale Price: $2,073.99
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Total Length: 32.5 inch
  • Weight: 5.8lb

Christensen Arms has made its name with custom rifles and pistols that exploit material science. This super light AR-15 is no exception.

Carbon Fiber reigns supreme here. Lots of it. From the Carbon Fiber barrel sleeve to the M-Lok rail system and full length Picatinny rail, it’s all flyweight carbon composite.

At this price, it looks kind of a cheap rifle. It isn’t, but for this much tech?

Left handed shooters like the ambidextrous safety

15 Best Lightweight AR-15 Rifles – Sep 2023

5. Bravo Company Manufacturing Recce

  • Sale Price: $1,675.99
  • Barrel: 16
  • Weight: 5.8lb

Bravo Company Manufacturing tend to focus on reliable, simple assault weapons for military customers, and the semi-automatic rifle equivalents for us.

Simplicity with a direct impingement system and the pursuit of excellence with the aftermarket parts generally results in a lightweight rifle.

This one is less than 6lb with a proper cold hammer forged barrel, and there is an even lighter SBR on sale with a 14.5 incher.

Everybody loves BCM rifles and rifle parts. It’s really that simple…

Lead Star Arms Prime AR15 on sale now.

6. Lead Star Arms Prime

  • Sale Price: $1,871.18
  • Barrel Length: 16 inch
  • Weight: 5.3lb

The Lead Star Arms Prime is a competition rifle, from the ground up. So it’s designed to be a featherweight rifle with rapid cycling, supreme accuracy and reduced recoil.

Well that all sounds like good stuff. Right?

It’s a race gun through and through, so the stock is fixed and there are other compromises, including felt recoil. There are pros and cons, including the fixed stock, but nothing that is a real dealbreaker.

As for the operation, it’s designed for and used by World Champion shooters. So it’s probably good enough for the likes of you and me.

Check the full range of lightweight aluminum and CF rifles at Palmetto State Armory.

Daniel Defense DDM4 V11 with 14.4 inch barrel plus pinned muzzle device. This Short Barrel Rifle gets round the NFA and is a great 3 Gun shooter.

7. Daniel Defense DDM4 V11

  • Sale Price: $1,699.99
  • Barrel: 14.4″ + pinned & welded can
  • Weight: 6.09lb

This is the short barrel rifle version of the iconic Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 that has swept the board in most ‘best AR-15′ posts for years. Ours included…

Here, Daniel Defense has cut the barrel down to 14.4 inches and got round the NFA with a pinned and welded muzzle device.

Less Accurate, More Portable

This Daniel Defense is one of the finest AR-15s out there if you’re prepared to ditch some long range accuracy in exchange for a lighter and more wieldy personal defense weapon.

The company has some other great options if you’re looking for something else. The Daniel Defense V7 Pro is our favorite $2000 AR-15 and Daniel Defense have snipers, 308 battle rifles and more on our pages that you will love.

Check out the full range of Daniel Defense rifles at Euro Optic here.

Battle Arms Development Authority Elite rifle on sale now. A great lightweight AR-15 with serious custom gun touches.

8. Battle Arms Development Authority

  • Sale Price: $1,614.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.1lb

This isn’t even the lightest Battle Arms Development rifle on this list, but it is another lightweight you can actually buy right now at an attractive price point.

This is a 6.1lb rifle with a 16″ barrel and that’s pretty special. There’s no obvious compromise and this is a rifle we recommend to people looking for a normie $2000 AR-15, not just an ultra light.

The receivers are machined from billet, the Workhorse handguard is drilled out, tapped for just about everything and ultra light. And you get competition touches like a flared ejection port.

It’s another simple direct impingement design with a Wylde chamber. It’s expensive, but competition shooters and military specialists rely on these rifles. They’re that good, and you can buy one.

Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical

9. Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical

  • Sale Price: $1,115.99
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Weight: 6.3lb

The Stag Arms Stag-15 Tactical is a lightweight AR-15 build that doesn’t cut any obvious corners. The M-Lok rail is basically skeletonized and the adjustable stock is lightweight polymer.

Now the result of all that is the Stag Arm Tactical rifle weighs in at just 6.3lb. It isn’t the lightest here, but it has been one of the lightest all rounders for a long time.

Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport 5.56 for sale. A surprisingly light and well engineered rifle that shows the benefits of mass manufacturing.

10. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II

  • Sale Price: $664.99
  • Weight: 6.45lb
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch

There are several ways to produce a lightweight rifle. You can use Unobtanium and machine the metal down to a translucent sliver. Or you can just use basic materials and cut corners with the furniture like Smith & Wesson.

Guess which one is cheaper?

Through the magic of mass manufacturing, the company has produced a classic AR-15 with a lightweight plastic handguard, stock and pistol grip in the M&P15 Sport.

S&W didn’t set out to make a super lightweight rifle. Durability, reliability, price, high quality basics and the realities of the manufacturing process were far more important. Turns out that the goals can overlap.

The basic plastic handguard, partial rail on top, simple charging handle, basic anodized finishes and other small touches combine to save grams, as well as dollars.

Of course this Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport will be cheaper to maintain.

And it’s more versatile, because you can create a specialist defensive, sport shooting or even long-range rifle with off the shelf parts and accessories.

You can apply a lot of the same logic to the Ruger AR-556, which is another star of our cheap AR15s piece. But the Ruger AR-556, in our humble opinion, gets edged out here.

Colt Retro Carbine.. A retro rifle, a tribute to the Colt Commander that the US Special Operations outfits took to war in Vietnam. Buy yours now.

11. Colt Retro Carbine

  • Sale Price: $3.556.99
  • Weight: 6.5lb
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel length: 12.1 inch + Welded can

This is the official retro rifle tribute to the Colt Commander service weapon US Marines took into action in Vietnam.

This stock black Colt Commander clone is more or less as close as you’ll get to the Vietnam jungle, in an online gun store anyway. 

You also get a high quality light weight rifle, in part thanks to the shorter barrel that helped the US Special Operations teams. It turns out it was much easier on the shoulder in the jungle and much more useful in tight urban settings. 

Now, the welded extended can is an essential addition to get round the NFA rifle regs and avoid SBR status for your lightweight barrels. And the old school iron sights and fixed front sight are just part of the Vietnam vibe in gun safes around the land…

Springfield Armory Saint Victor, a great AR-15 that is surprisingly light.

12. Springfield Armory Saint Victor

  • Price: $982.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inch
  • Rifle Length: 33-37 inch
  • Weight: 6.5lb

We were as surprised as you to see the relatively mainstream Springfield Armory Saint Victor as you are. But here we are.

This Springfield Armory Saint is a simple rifle that has evolved into a serious choice, especially with the new B5 furniture that helps strip the pounds.

The Springfield Armory Saint Victor is basic engineering done well. Cost cutting, rather than weight saving, was the driving force behind a lot of decisions that brought it to the same place.

As evidenced by the flip up sights that are a world away from lightweight optics on this matte black AR-15. The relatively cheap charging handle and partial picatinny rails on the Springfield Saint as well.

And the end result is a really light rifle that is also arguably the best budget rifle here.

Wilson Combat Protector AR-15 Carbine rifle for sale. A lightweight AR-15 with an outstanding feature list.

13. Wilson Combat AR-15 Protector Carbine

  • Price: $2,070.99
  • Weight: 6.96lb
  • Caliber: .223 Rem/5.56 x 45mm NATO

Wilson Combat make some of the best rifles and handguns for sale. It’s really that simple. So this lightweight Wilson Combat AR-15 Protector Carbine is inevitably one of the best AR-15s on the planet today.

At just 6.96lb for a semi automatic rifle with a proper 16 inch barrel and perfect fit and finish, this is solid firearms weight savings, rather than full on miracles.

Get AR-15 Barrels For Sale

A two-stage trigger provides impeccable feel. A Q-Comp muzzle device damps recoil and a modular construction means you can strip this semi-auto rifle in a minute.

The Nickel Boron coated Bolt Carrier Group BCG contains a Carpenter 158 MPI stainless steel bolt, one piece gas ring and long-life chrome-silicon ejector and extractor springs. Weight saving tech is just about everywhere, but there are full Picatinny rails and no obvious sacrifices.

If you’re going competitive shooting then this might be a real option for you. There’s no sacrifice here, these are simply the best AR-15 rifles that also happen to be light.

The grip and stock is a Wilson Combat/Roger Super-Stock buttstock, BCM Starburst grip and an M-Lok free float handguard completes the look. 

If you can’t afford the full rifle, maybe pull the trigger on a muzzle brake or pistol grip for your current rifle and save money?

TTI AR-15 Ultralight from John Wick 2. Buy guns from the movie online here at the USA Gun Shop.

14. Taran Tactical Innovation John Wick TTI TR-1 Ultralight

  • Sale Price: $4,499.99
  • Caliber: 5.56 NATO
  • Barrel Length: 14.5 + Welded Muzzle Brake (NFA Compliant)
  • Rifle Length: 32 inch
  • Weight: 6.4lb

Yes, this is the semi-auto version of the rifle John Wick took into battle in the second instalment of the John Wick movies. It remains the best long gun in all three films, in our humble opinion.

It’s another chrome lined barrel ultralight AR-15 with a 14.5 inch barrel and pinned can to skirt the NFA regs. John Wick took a fully automatic SBR to war on the streets of New York, but then he’s a contract killer and the ATF is really the least of his law enforcement issues.

Kaiser US X-7 Monarch Skeletonized BCG Lightweight rifle. One of the lightest AR-15s on sale in 2019.

15. Kaiser Shooting US X-7 Monarch Skeletonized Bolt Carrier Group

  • Price: $1,710.00
  • Weight: 4.5lb
  • Barrel: 16 inch

Now the Kaiser Shooting US X-7 Monarch Lightweight Rifle looks like a normal AR-15. So how does it weigh in at just 4.5lb? Material science, and fiber reinforced polymer receivers draped over aluminum inserts.

Mats of CF bonded with polymer resin have been used to build racing cars, powerboats, space craft and other high-tech shiz for years. It’s a solid principle and there’s no reason at all why it can’t make a seriously high-end AR-15 receiver.

Durability will always be a question mark with CF and plastic. The human spirit is naturally suspicious of new tech. But it’s a tantalising prospect that we think is worth a shot. Or thousands of rounds. Or 60,000…

Mid Length Gas System vs Carbine Length Gas System Length

Most modern rifles designed to modern regulations use a mid length gas. The old carbine length gas system worked for SBRs, and still does, but with a longer barrel then a mid-length gas system is pretty much the best gas now.

You can still find a rifle length gas system on shorter firearms, and if you trust the brand and read the gun reviews first for all the AR-15s on the market, go for it.

Gas piston vs direct impingement is a debate for another page. Pistons tend to be heavier.

What is a Mil Spec Trigger?

Don’t believe the hype. Mil spec trigger is an easy marketing term, but that is really just a set of basic requirements for the trigger or other parts that then get the name.

It’s a type of quality control, but not much of one.

Most decent commercial offerings go well beyond those basic specs these days. So if you’re out there looking for a mil spec trigger, a mil spec handguard to a mil spec barrel, you might honestly be wasting your time.

Gun Parts and Accessories and Gun Deals

If you get the lightweight bug then you know you’re going to constantly buy new parts and accessories and tinker more than Eugene Stoner ever did.

It might be an adjustable gas block, Aero Precision barrel nut, stainless steel AR15 parts, upper receivers, pistol grips, buffer tube, charging handle, all that stuff.

And we haven’t even started on the best optics, scopes, red dot sights etc and a variety of muzzle brake options. Or variable twist rate and gas.

Soon you’ll have a pile of guns, gear, Aero Precision barrels, BCG, buffer tubes, a new receiver set, just everything. Gun parts and accessories become an unhealthy obsession and the likes of Palmetto State Armory and Primary Arms are waiting to become your dealer.

So check this post for the leading gun stores online for lightweight AR15 parts.

The Best AR-15 Ammo

Read this post for the best ammo for your AR-15. Look out for jacketed hollow point or soft tip 5.56mm NATO and 223 Remington ammo. And while you’re here we coud sell you a 9mm Sig Sauer P365 Concealed Carry handgun too.

Guns are shipped to your approved Federal Firearms License dealer and you complete the checks. We do not do direct sales of any description.

All prices accurate at time of writing…


  1. Jeff C October 13, 2020
    • Nick October 13, 2020
  2. Hoyt W. Holmes October 16, 2021
    • Nick October 28, 2021
  3. DS October 30, 2021
    • Nick November 3, 2021
  4. Rene Benitez June 13, 2022

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