I think we can both agree that the AR-15 is an essential firearm for just about any gun enthusiast, and you need to own at least one of them …
… But the number of AR-15 manufacturers is daunting to anyone and can be hard to navigate. How do you narrow it down when it comes time to buy?
I’m happy to say that I’ve fired my fair share of AR-15 platform rifles and have already narrowed it down for you. What follows is a primer into who the best AR15 manufacturers are, right now.
But first —
While you may have heard, “just as long as it’s a mil-spec AR-15 you’ll be fine,” that is not always the case. There are some AR-15 makers that are just better than others. Think about it like this …
If your mechanic told you not to worry about your car, that you’re getting ready to race, because all it needs is four tires, would you listen? No? Why not? Because anyone with half a brain can figure out that a 1988 Toyota is not a Lamborghini just because they both require four tires to get around. Anyway, I digress so let’s move on.
Some of the companies on this list are not actually manufacturers, but assembly companies who buy parts from other companies. Please note that in most cases, I will not make the distinction here, because there isn’t anything technically wrong with either method, unless you’re using garbage parts–which nobody on this list does.
So, who are the top AR-15 manufacturers of 2017? I’m about to present them to you in alphabetical order. Some of them are top tier AR-15 builders, while others are on here because they make great, affordable, entry level ARs. Here we go:
Bravo Company —
I’m a big supporter of just about any veteran owned company out there. When you take a group of veterans who opened up a firearms company, it gets even better because they understand more than anyone the importance of having a rifle that doesn’t fail. That’s BCM’s main goal with their rifles, to the point of using high-quality parts, pressure testing and magnetic particle testing them. Doesn’t get much better than BCM. They are easily one of the top AR-15 manufacturers right now.
If you’re in the market for an affordable rifle that gets you close to owning an M4, then Colt is the right choice for you. Colt has a long history in developing firearms and, well, making firearms history. The company has numerous firsts under their belt, and while many claim that their quality control isn’t what it once was, they are still one of the top AR 15 manufacturers. As a benefit, if you’re looking to get into shooting for cheaper, an LE 6920 is readily available at a price below many of the other rifles on this list.
Daniel Defense —
Daniel Defense is one of the best AR-15 manufacturers, and they are one of the few companies who make most of their own parts. Chances are good that you don’t need me to tell you about them, so what I will do is offer up my opinion about the founder, Marty Daniel. He’s actually an inspiration to me because after failing through so many things, he never gave up and is now one of the leading AR-15 manufactures in the United States.
FN Herstal —
First and foremost, I’m a Marine. Any company who makes our military’s weapons are good to go in my book. FN is proven in battle, and for plinking. They are also one of those trend setting companies who also tend to make history. While these rifles may not appear on the short list of many best AR-15 articles out there, they’re on mine, and for good reason. Every time I’ve ever had one, it never malfunctioned on me. That, to me, is most important.
Heckler & Koch needs no introduction. Coming into play way back in 1949, and most famous for making weapons such as the MP5, MP7, and UMP, many people don’t realize that there are also AR-15s in their product line, as well. They are not cheap, but, then again, they are built like a tank as many of their firearms are.
Texas based LaRue Tactical has a great warranty in place for their high quality firearms and components. It says this: If you ain’t happy, then we ain’t happy. In other words, if your LaRue *anything* breaks, send it back and they’ll take care of it. LaRue isn’t only one of the best AR-15 manufacturers in the country, they are a premier manufacturer who makes most parts in house to make sure the highest quality is achieved. What really sets them apart, is that each rifle has been guaranteed to shoot 1 MOA before it leaves their shop, and you even get the target that shows what the rifle is capable of.
Lewis Machine & Tool has been making ARs since I was born, which was 1980. They’ve got more than experience on their side, however, because they are also supplying firearms to military units around the globe. In fact, a couple years back they beat out several other AR-15 manufacturers to win a contract to supply the entire New Zealand Army with rifles. If I remember correctly, that was a history making deal that even President Trump would be proud of.
LWRC is one of the best AR 15 manufacturers, and an award winner at that. They use high-quality components, check them for cracks, cold-hammer forge their own barrels that are not like most of the others on this list. Their barrels are NiCorr treated, making them more durable in the long run, than most of the others available today.
Noveske is one of the premier AR-15 manufacturers in the country. Today, even though some gaps have closed up a bit, they are still one of the top AR-15 makers. A couple things that set them apart from most today, is the quality of the barrel and the attention to detail during the assembly process. They spend more time on each rifle, than most other companies. This ensures that, if you can afford one and don’t build a rifle yourself, you rest assured knowing that you get the highest quality possible.
Rock River —
Rarely is a rifle made to such tight and consistent tolerances. Rock River started out originally by making 1911s out of a garage, realized that there was a gap to be filled in the AR-15 market, and the rest is history. Today, they work out of a 50,000 SF facility designed to do one thing: bring you the highest quality AR-15s they possibly can.
Sometimes you just want a rifle from a manufacturer you know and trust. Not that any of the other companies on this best AR15 manufacturer list are not trustworthy. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be here. But, as far as affordable rifles go, I wanted to provide another example, and Ruger is a solid company with a great entry level rifle. The barrel is cold hammer forged, parts are properly attached and staked, and, as a bonus, you get Ruger’s fantastic customer service.
Sig Sauer —
Sig Sauer is a top quality firearms manufacturer overall, in many categories. As you likely know, Sig just won the military contract to replace Beretta as the sidearm of choice for the US military. Sig also makes great rifles, and is one of the top AR 15 manufacturers in the country. Their reputation stands for itself and requires no other introduction.
That about does it for this time. I do suspect that this list will be updated from time to time, however, and I’ll make sure that as it is, you’ll see what happens.
Who do you think the Top AR-15 manufacturer is? Let me know in the comments below.