Welcome, fellow AR-15 enthusiasts! If you’re on the hunt for the perfect rifle that won’t break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. In the vast sea of options, finding an affordable yet reliable AR-15 can be a challenge. But fear not, as we’ve scoured the market to bring you the crème de la crème of budget-friendly rifles.
In this roundup, we present the top 10 AR-15s under $700 that pack a punch without emptying your wallet. Get ready for a journey through some of the best bang-for-your-buck rifles that are locked, loaded, and eager to hit the range with you!
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#10 ET ARMS OMEGA 15
The ET Arms Omega 15 rifle stands out for its exceptional performance and versatile design. With a 16-inch barrel, this firearm offers precision and reliability suitable for various shooting applications. The inclusion of a carbon fiber buffer tube ensures both durability and reduced recoil, making it easier to handle and control during shooting. Enhanced accuracy and comfort are provided by the ATI stock and sights, ensuring optimal sight alignment and quick target acquisition for first-time gun owners or experienced enthusiasts.
Designed to comply with California regulations, the ETA RIA Omega-15 includes a 10-round magazine and a 15-inch M-LOK handguard for easy attachment of accessories. This rifle package showcases quality craftsmanship and precision manufacturing, making it reliable and accurate for a range of shooting distances and scenarios. Engineered for enhanced shooting capabilities while adhering to state regulations, the ETA RIA Omega-15 ensures a dependable and high-performing firearm package for those seeking both compliance and exceptional shooting experiences.
#8 RADICAL FIREARMS RPR
The Radical Firearms AR-15 RPR in 5.56mm NATO caliber is a stellar choice, whether it’s your first or fiftieth rifle. Built using MIL-STD Upper and lower receivers, it features a 16″ SOCOM barrel made of 4140 Chrome Moly Vanadium with Melonite finish. The 15″ RPR free float rail system offers improved accuracy, optimal ventilation to keep your hands cool, and ample space for attaching accessories. This AR rifle is designed to perform reliably and meet the demands of tactical use, making it an ideal option for those new to firearms but seeking a trustworthy and efficient rifle.
Crafted with precision and durability in mind, the Radical Firearms AR-15 boasts a 1:7 twist rate, M4 Feed Ramps, and a mid-length gas system, ensuring smooth operation and accuracy. The rifle’s lower receiver, forged from 7075 T6 aluminum, is finished with Type III Anodizing, and it includes a B5 Type 23 Pistol Grip and a B5 BRAVO stock with a 6-position adjustment.
I like that it is equipped with a MIL-STD charging handle, an A2 Flash Hider, and a 30-round magazine, this semi-automatic rifle offers reliability, ease of handling, and versatility—essential traits for any first-time gun owner, tactical enthusiast, or freedom-loving individual seeking a dependable firearm.
#7 DEL-TON DT SPORT
The Del-ton DT Sport Mod 2 AR-15 556 rifle is a suitable choice for newcomers to the military or tactical field who value freedom and precision. This upgraded version boasts a 16″ lightweight barrel with a 1×9 twist rate, ensuring accuracy and ease of handling.
It features a 6-position M4 stock and CAR handguards with single heat shields, offering comfort and control during use. With its enhanced trigger guard and A2 flash hider, this rifle provides added durability and improved shooting performance for those new to firearms.
Included with the DT Sport Mod 2 are essential accessories for safe and efficient use. It comes equipped with a Rear Back-up Polymer Sight, a 30-round magazine, and a CA-approved Gun Lock for compliance with regulations.
I like that the rifle is shipped with a Chamber Safety Tool, visibly indicating the weapon is unloaded, emphasizing safety as a priority for new users. This rifle combines reliability, safety, and functionality, making it an excellent choice for first-time rifle owners eager to embrace the shooting experience with a dependable firearm.
Answer: We like the MagPul front and rear sight system.
It is a great no nonsense sight system and for less than $80 you be set up and ready to go at the range.
I have one set up on my weapon right now and it works just fine as a back up to my red dot.
#6 WINDHAM WEAPONRY SUPERLIGHT SRC
The Windham Weaponry Superlite SRC in .223 Rem/5.56 caliber is designed for those who value lightweight precision in a rifle. Boasting a 16-inch barrel finished with Melonite QPQ, this semi-automatic rifle ensures durability and accuracy with its 1:9 right-hand twist. Featuring a gas impingement system and an A2 black pistol grip, this firearm offers a reliable and comfortable shooting experience.
The barrel is chrome lined and a full M4 contoured 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium steel with a 1 in 9″ twist featuring M4 feed ramps as opposed to the bargain basement pencil barrel that came with the original.
Instead of the low profile [afterthought] style gas black on the Carbon 15, the Windham carbon features a beefy picatinny front gas block now allowing for the installment of a fixed iron sight setup (see video review) or a flip up back up system.
Check price at Brownells.com
Check price at Palmetto State Armory
#5 PSA STEALTH
The PSA PA-15 5.56 Classic Stealth AR-15 Pistol, featuring an 11.5-inch barrel, packs a punch for enthusiasts who cherish freedom and precision. Built with forged 7075-T6 aluminum and a chrome moly vanadium barrel, this pistol embodies durability and reliability, meeting MIL-SPEC standards. Its 1/7 twist rate ensures exceptional accuracy with 5.56 NATO rounds, while the M4 barrel extension and carbine-length gas system enhance its performance during tactical maneuvers.
I like that this weapon is crafted in the USA by mil-spec manufacturers, the upper receiver, hard-coat anodized and machined to MIL-SPECs, comes with forward assist and dust cover for added functionality. The lower receiver, also forged from 7075-T6 aluminum, boasts a hard-coat anodized finish and is equipped with a Magpul BTR Pistol Stabilizing Brace and a single-stage fire control group.
I like the classic A2 grip and 6-position buffer tube, this pistol offers versatility and comfort for shooters seeking a reliable firearm platform. It’s important to note that these braced pistols are specifically designed for forearm support and should not be fired from the shoulder, ensuring compliance with state and federal firearm regulations. Users must understand and adhere to relevant laws governing firearm use and configuration.
Check price at Palmetto State Armory
#4 DEL-TON ECHO
The Del-Ton Echo 316H 5.56mm NATO rifle is a solid choice for gun enthusiasts who value freedom and seek reliability in their firearms. This semi-automatic rifle boasts a 16-inch heavy barrel with a 1×9 twist, contributing to enhanced accuracy and precision in shooting. Its low-profile gas block and A2 flash hider are designed for smoother operation and minimized muzzle flash, respectively. The inclusion of a 10-inch MLOK free-float rail allows for additional accessories, providing customization options for tactical use or personal preferences. With its black anodized finish and black Mil-Spec M4 6-position buttstock, this rifle presents a sleek and professional appearance, perfect for both military applications and recreational shooting.
Weighing in at 5.8 pounds and measuring 36.375 inches overall, the Del-Ton Echo 316H offers a lightweight and maneuverable design suitable for tactical purposes. It comes equipped with a 30+1 round capacity, ensuring ample ammunition for various shooting scenarios.
While this rifle doesn’t include sights, its A2 pistol grip offers comfortable handling and control, allowing for steady and precise shooting. This firearm is an excellent choice for individuals passionate about firearms and seeking a reliable, well-constructed rifle suitable for military-style applications or simply enjoying the freedom of shooting.
#3 ANDERSON AM-15
The Anderson AM15-BR 5.56mm NATO rifle is a fantastic choice for first-time gun owners who appreciate freedom and seek a reliable firearm for tactical use. Its semi-automatic operation ensures ease of use and consistent firing. The rifle features a durable 4150 chrome moly vanadium barrel with a parkerized finish and an A2 flash hider, enhancing both durability and shooting precision. The inclusion of a low-profile aluminum gas block and a carbine-length gas tube adds to its reliability and smooth functionality. The 30+1 round capacity aluminum magazine with an orange follower provides ample ammunition for various shooting scenarios, whether for recreational use or self-defense.
With its adjustable length ranging from 32.5 inches to 36.13 inches and a 6-position stock, the AM15-BR offers adaptability for different shooting preferences and body sizes. Its A2 flash hider muzzle contributes to reduced muzzle flash and ensures a better shooting experience, especially in low-light conditions. Featuring a manual safety, this rifle prioritizes user security while maintaining user-friendly handling. The combination of its durable construction, dependable performance, and adaptable features makes the Anderson AM15-BR a fitting choice for individuals new to firearms, especially those with an interest in military or tactical applications.
#2 DPMS PANTHER ORACLE
The DPMS Panther Oracle 5.56mm NATO rifle is an excellent choice for first-time gun owners seeking a reliable and versatile firearm. This semi-automatic rifle boasts a manageable weight of 6.4lbs, making it easy to handle and maneuver. With a barrel length of 16 inches and a telescopic buttstock, it provides a comfortable shooting experience for users of various sizes.
I like the rifle’s black finish, coupled with its A2 grips and Picatinny rail on the receiver and gas block, adds to its tactical and sleek appearance. The rifle’s semi-automatic action ensures consistent performance, while the 10+1 round capacity offers ample ammunition for various shooting scenarios, whether for training, target practice, or self-defense. Additionally, the Panther Oracle’s compliance with state regulations, such as being Colorado Compliant, ensures legal ownership and use within specified regions.
Its 1:9in twist and compatibility with 5.56mm NATO cartridges guarantee reliable accuracy and consistent shooting performance. The inclusion of a Picatinny rail provides the flexibility to attach various accessories or optics, enhancing customization for tactical purposes or adapting to personal preferences.
Its overall length, ranging from 32.5 inches to 36.5 inches, accommodates different shooting stances and environments. With its user-friendly design and reliable functionality, the DPMS Panther Oracle serves as a suitable and accessible option for newcomers entering the realm of firearms, particularly those interested in military or tactical applications.
Check price at Sportsmans Warehouse
Check price at Brownells
Check price at Palmetto State Armory
#3 BUSHMASTER CARBON 15
The Bushmaster Carbon 15 Flat Top rifle stands out for its robust yet lightweight Carbon 15 Composite Receivers, offering a remarkable 40% increase in strength and a similar reduction in weight compared to traditional aircraft aluminum receivers. Resistant to moisture and corrosion, its matte black finish ensures enduring quality without the worry of surface wear. The upper receiver’s anodized aluminum Picatinny rail allows for versatile sight, scope, or optics mounting, enhancing customization options for tactical and precision shooting needs.
This rifle boasts a 16″ M4 Profile Barrel in 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem caliber, featuring chrome-lined bore and chamber for durability and easy maintenance. The barrel’s mil-spec Manganese Phosphate finish delivers superior corrosion resistance and durability against rust. Equipped with an AR Type Base with Post front sight and a B.M.A.S. Dual Aperture Flip-up rear sight, both adjustable for elevation and windage, it ensures precise targeting.
I like how the 6-Position TeleStock enhances maneuverability and ease of handling, while the carbine-length handguards with internal aluminum shields effectively manage heat during rapid fire sequences. Delivered in a Lockable Hard Case with an Operation and Safety Manual, a 30-Round Magazine, and a Black Web Sling, this rifle caters to military, tactical, and freedom-loving gun enthusiasts seeking reliability, lightweight design, and performance.
#2 RUGER AR-556
The Ruger AR-556 5.56 NATO 16.1″ Rifle offers a robust set of features ideal for both experienced shooters and those new to rifles. With a 30-round capacity and a 16.1-inch barrel, this rifle delivers reliability and accuracy in handling various shooting scenarios. Its collapsible stock and B5 Systems Type P23 grip provide comfortable handling while allowing adjustment to fit individual preferences.
This rifle stands out with its innovative design elements, including a lightweight 13.5″ free-floating MLOK handguard that offers versatility for accessory attachment. The inclusion of a two-stage Elite 452 AR-Trigger ensures a smooth, crisp trigger pull for enhanced accuracy. Constructed from durable materials like 7075-T6 hard-coat anodized aluminum and 9310 steel bolt, this rifle ensures longevity and consistent performance.
I like its cold hammer-forged alloy barrel with 1:8″ twist rifling guarantees exceptional accuracy, accommodating various bullet weights. With features like the Ruger muzzle brake and mid-length gas system, this rifle minimizes recoil and ensures smooth operation, adding to its appeal for shooters seeking reliability and precision. Additionally, the included 30-round Magpul PMAG magazine enhances convenience for extended shooting sessions.
#1 SMITH WESSON M&P SPORT
The M&P15-22 Sport MOE SL 16.5-inch in 22 LR Matte Black is an excellent choice, especially for first-time rifle owners venturing into the world of firearms. This semi-automatic rifle is chambered in 22 Long Rifle, offering a user-friendly and easy-to-handle platform perfect for beginners. With its lightweight build at 5 pounds and a manageable 16.50-inch barrel length, it provides ease of use without compromising on performance.
Equipped with features like flip-up front and rear sights, this rifle ensures enhanced accuracy and versatility for tactical and military applications. The detachable 25-round magazine capacity offers ample shooting capacity, allowing for prolonged practice sessions without frequent reloading.
I like its matte black finish and polymer stock material not only provide a sleek appearance but also contribute to durability and a comfortable shooting experience, making the M&P15-22 Sport MOE SL an ideal choice for those stepping into the realm of rifles for the first time.
#1 F1 Firearms – $759
#2 OLYMPIC ARMS INC FLAT TOP 223 $599 at the Armory
#3 Springfield Armory Saint AR-15 is now above $800 check price at Cabelas.com
#4 Bushmaster QRC (Quick Response Carbine) at $800 just outside price range.
#5 Mossberg MMR Tactical – no longer available
#6 Core B5 Banger – $799
#7 Lead Star Arms Grunt Rifle $759
#8 American Tactical Omni
#8 Del-Ton Sierra $400
#10 American Tactical Alpha 15 $410
#11 DPMS Retro $649
#12 Wise Arms $715
#13 Bear Creek Arsenal BC-15 Wilde Rifle $699
What should I look for when buying a first AR-15 rifle?
When buying your first AR-15, there are several factors to consider. First, determine the purpose of the firearm. The AR platform is modular and available in various formats to cater to a wide range of users. For instance, if you’re looking for a hunting arm, there are several ARs built specifically for that market in calibers such as 6.5 Grendel, 6mm ARC, and .300 Blackout. If you’re looking for a target shooter, heavy-barreled guns with 20-inch barrels are abundant. For a good general-purpose sporter, look for something like a $600 entry-level S&W M&P15 or Ruger AR 556 with a 16-inch barrel and M4-style stock 1.
Second, when it comes to choosing an AR-15, the components, how they are mated together, and how the company stands behind their work is everything. One top thing to avoid when it comes to buying an AR-15 is to steer clear of unsolicited advice that is arbitrary when it comes to brand names. For example, Armalite designed the rifle in the late 1950s and sold all the rights to Colt, who was the leading producer of these guns in both select-fire and semi-auto formats for more than two decades. Does this mean that Colt’s AR-15s are the pinnacle of AR-15 development? Not necessarily. Likewise, do not turn an inexperienced nose up at a so-called “bottom shelf” AR brand just because owning one would be something “the poors” do 1.
Third, barrel length and type are important factors to consider. The longer the barrel on a firearm, the higher the chances that a cartridge will have more complete propellant burn and impart the maximum velocity to the bullet. In short, longer barrels wring more performance. This has been extensively tested by a number of big brain guys in the firearms industry when it comes to 5.56 NATO-caliber firearms, and it seems like there are somewhat diminishing returns in barrels longer than 24-inches and a nosedive in ballistics in those below 14.5-inches in length.
Splitting the difference with a 16-to-18-inch barrel is something of a sweet spot for 5.56 with the 20s providing a good length for those who are aiming for more of a target rifle. Barrel profile is also a subject that is up for debate for the rifle’s purpose, with lighter “pencil” barrels offering decent practical accuracy while keeping the gun light, and heavier profile barrels better geared for work at a distance.
What is the best cheapest AR-15?
For those seeking an affordable yet reliable AR-15 rifle, the Palmetto State Armory (PSA) AR-15 stands out as a solid option. Known for its cost-effectiveness without compromising quality, PSA offers entry-level rifles that are well-suited for beginners in the military or tactical sphere. Their AR-15 models come in various configurations, providing a balance between affordability and performance.
While being budget-friendly, these rifles still uphold essential features required for tactical or defense use, making them a smart choice for first-time gun owners looking to delve into the world of firearms. It’s crucial to research and consider individual preferences and local regulations before purchasing to ensure suitability and compliance.
Question: How can I find out more info on the NRA?
Answer: Check out the website here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Castiglione lives in Atlanta, and is an avid outdoorsman and competitive shooter.
His where-abouts include getting after it in his garage gym, practicing martial arts, hitting the trails, or running CrossFit and Strongman competitions for his non-profit, Barbells for Bullies, which holds fundraiser fitness competitions dedicated to aiding Bully breed rescues, dog rescues, or other non-profits with similar missions.