Being one of the most precise, durable, trustworthy and adaptable rifles around, the AR-15 is a natural choice for any and all purposes from warfare to hunting and competition shooting.
AR– The Saga
The original AR-15 was designed by Eugene Stoner for ArmaLite (thus the name AR). It also saw the emergence of a much lighter form at a later point. The company sold this design along with the AR-10 to Colt due to recurring economical difficulties. While the military version was released by Colt as M-16, the civilian one held on to the name of AR-15. In the last ten years new, modified and assembled versions from various companies have hit the market.
At the time of its launch, AR-15 was a path-breaking invention with its much lighter but robust stocks and aluminum alloy barrels. It was highly flexible and customizable which ensured that the upper could be adapted to use specific stocks and front-end components and accessories to the AR-15. The fact that it has become the most sought after and preferred rifle among government agencies and civilians can be attributed to this adaptability. The rifle is 5.56x44mm, air-cooled and is equipped with gas operation for its bolt action.
Picking the right AR-15 for your specific need
The problem with having a lot of choices is that picking what is best suited for your needs becomes a complicated process. It is easy to get snowed under the humongous number of variants available in the market. While the approach and technique of shooting differs with every shooter, specifics like cost, flexibility, accessory availability and need dictates the final choice. The AR-15s that are available for civilian use are semi-automatics. Obtaining an M-16 and M4 (automatic, gas and carbine) for non-military use is a tedious and long drawn process and in most states buying or selling one is illegal.
- DPMS AP4 – The perfect performer: Among those accessible to civilians is the DPMS AP4, a semi-automatic 5.56mm variant of the M4 Carbine. With a weight of 7pounds and length of a max of 36.5 inches, it utilizes a 4140 Chrome Moly Barrel that is 16 inches long and has a 1*9 twist. Its upper and lower receivers are made of forged 7075 aluminum alloy. A price tag of $999 is pretty reasonable when one factors in the level of durability, reliability, force and adaptability in terms of accessories and components that it comes with.
- DPMS Sportical – The economical choice: If you are looking for an AR-15 that is relatively easy on your pocket while still performing on par with some of the best, you could go for the DPMS Sportical. It is a 5.56x44mm carbine with an asking price of less than $700. It comes with a light 16 inch barrel and 1*9 twist made of 7029 alloy with easy adaptability to various optics. Though it comes with an adjustable pull stock and Glacier Guard, what it lacks by way of components like forward assist / dust cover, it makes up for in precision, price and flexibility. With a weight of 6 pounds, it is certainly effective for hunting, defense and recreational shooting.
- CMMG 300 BLK – The Self defense partner: While other ARs work well for military and tactical purposes, the CMMG 300 BLK is the perfect choice for civilians when it comes to self-defense. Its dimensions include a WASP treated 4140 Chrome Moly Steel 16 inch barrel with a 1*7 twist and a quad rail system for adding accessories. At $899.95, it is one of the best picks for self defense situations once you add the necessary sights.
- Colt SP6920 – Law Enforcement companion: Even with the multitude of choices in the market, the Colt is one of the most favored among cops. While the LE6920 is for military use, the SP6920 which is a semi-automatic with a 16 inch chrome barrel, a 1*7 twist, an A3 flat-top receiver and an A2 front sight base with a price tag of $ 950, is designed for civilian use. Equipped with a collapsible superstock and heat shields, a forward assist and shell deflector, the SP6920 is a great choice for cops.
- Remington R-15 VTR – Finest game hunting rifle: The AR-15 is no longer just a military rifle. Its precision and reliability has made it a natural choice for hunting enthusiasts too. This opportunity and vacancy in quality AR-15s for hunting and recreational use has been well utilized by Remington. The R-15 VTR has a 22 inch Chrome Moly Steel barrel, fixed stock, a single stage trigger mechanism to get rid of muzzle jump and a Picatinny rail to append necessary sights. The $1225 rifle comes in Predator Carbine, 450 BushMaster and many more types. It fires a .223Remingtion or .204 Ruger and is a great asset for your hunting expeditions.
- Bushmaster DCM-XR A3 – Competition shooting: After taking in a lot of inputs and insights from competition shooters who were looking to take advantage of the AR revolution, Bushmaster came up with the DCM-XR A3. The 20 inch, weighty rifle has a chrome barrel, a dual space rear sight, a 3 side-polished front sight, a 2 stage trigger mechanism and a detachable handle. At $1250, it produces best results in the hands of both experienced and amateur shooters.
- Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 – Perfect beginning: For many first time buyers identifying the right AR among the incredible number of choice available in the market is quite a task. Purchasing an AR that is economical, multi-purpose and precise requires some research and thought. To make it simpler, the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 serves as a perfect beginning since it uses .22LR rounds that are easy to come by and also much affordable than their NATO counterparts. The light 16 inch barrel rifle priced at $500 comes with a 6 position collapsible stock, a flattop upper and a quad rail to append various optics.
The aim of the list is to guide you towards excellent, well performing and affordable choices in AR. Whether or not these suit your specific needs is a decision you need to take. The best way to find what you need is to explore and probe the variants and match them with your budget and purpose while keeping in mind the various state and federal conventions for firearms.