The Best Bang for Your Buck — Cheap AR-15s

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms

Good News! We have all felt the crunch from the last couple of years. Simply supply and demand came into play. Demand shot up faster than supply could keep pace. This put a lot of new players in the market and caused all manufacturers to up their game with better offerings. Now, supply has not only caught up with demand, it has surpassed it. The shelves are full and the market has become more competitive.

This is good news for buyers looking to buy an AR-15. Prices have returned but the quality have features are better than ever, even in the budget market. Tasked with the challenge of coming up with the 10 best ARs for the money was too tough so I added a couple of extras at the end. If you are looking to add a new member to your gun family, Cheaper Than Dirt! has your shopping list ready.

Mossberg MMR AR-15 Tactical

Making premium firearms for decades, Mossberg is likely best known for its quality shotguns used by military, law enforcement and consumers worldwide. Mossberg gained its expertise in building firearms by consulting with experts in the tactical industry and developing some of the best AR-15 rifles available in today’s market. The MMR made its mark in 2014 sporting a 16.25-inch barrel, collapsible stock, adjustable sights, quad rail , including a 30-round magazine.

Mossberg MMR AR-15 Tactical

Mossberg MMR AR-15 Tactical

 

 
Mossberg MMR Tactical
Trigger Single-stage trigger with over-sized trigger guard
Caliber .223/5.56 NATO
Barrel 16.25 inches, free-floating, button-rifles, carbon steel
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Length 32.5 inches
Sights Adjustable
Stock 6-Position Collapsible
Capacity 10 rounds
System Direct-impingement gas system
Finish Black Phosphate Anodized
Features… A2 Style Muzzle Break; Aluminum Picatinny Quad Rail; Receiver Mounted Integral Picatinny Rail; Deluxe Stark Pistol Grip with Battery Compartment; Dust Cover; Charging Handle; Gun Lock and 2-year Limited Warranty

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SLRule

Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber SRC AR-15

With a lofty goal to build the finest AR-type rifle in the country, Windham Weaponry comes on strong with its excellent AR-15s. Windham’s experienced gunsmiths and builders ensure only the finest ARs leave its shop, assembling each firearm in-house. Windham Weaponry is an American-owned and operated company. You can see and feel the quality of American craftsmanship in each of its firearms.

Windham Weaponry AR15 B

Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber SRC AR-15 Semi Automatic Rifle 5.56 NATO

 
Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber SRC AR-15
Barrel 16.0 inches
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Sights Optics ready
Grip A2 black plastic grip
Stock 6-position telescoping buttstock
Magazine 30 rounds
Finish Carbon fiber
Features… M4A4 type flat top upper receiver; Molded carbon fiber composite receiver, 40%; A2 flash suppressor
M4 feed ramps; M4 double heat shield handguards

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SLRule

DPMS Oracle Semi Auto Rifle

Whether buying your first AR rifle, or in need an affordable yet accurate plinking gun, the Panther Oracle is for you. Built to bridge the gap between the sporting and tactical markets, this introductory-level carbine features a 16-inch light contour barrel, A3 upper receiver with Picatinny rail, heat dissipating GlacierGuards and collapsible, six-position Pardus buttstock. Altogether, it tips the scales at a slight 6.6 lbs. The flat top A3 upper allows the shooter to mount the optic of choice to the Picatinny rail.

 
DPMS Panther Oracle AR-15
Action Semiauto
Barrel 16 inches; Lite Contour with A2 Flash Hider (Birdcage)
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56×45 NATO
Twist 1 in 9 inches, right hand
Length 36.45 inches
Operation Gas operated rotating bolt
Weight 6.6 pounds
Sights None
Stock Pardus Carbine Stock
Capacity 30 rounds
Handguard GlacierGuards, Oval Carbine Length
Finish Black; Forged, Hard Coat Anodized Teflon Coated Black Lower; A3 Style Flat Top, Forged, Hard Coat Anodized Teflon Coated Black

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SLRule

Del-Ton Sport AR-15 Semi Automatic Rifle

The Del-Ton Sport AR-15 rifle features a 16-inch lightweight barrel. This makes the entire package extremely quick handling and easy to carry in the field. With a 6-position M4 carbine-style stock, the rifle will easily fit shooters of all sizes and work well with multiple clothing layers. Ideal for optics and iron sights alike, the flattop upper gives you plenty of sighting options. Built-in sling swivel studs and a bayonet lug round out the package.

 
Del-Ton Sport AR-15
Barrel 16.0 inches, lightweight
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56 NATO
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Sights None
Stock Collapsible; CAR handguards
Magazine 30 rounds
Features… A2 flash hider

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SLRule

American Tactical Imports Omni Hybrid

The ATI Omni Hybrid features am inter-lock hammer and trigger pin retainment system preventing movement from the hammer and trigger pin during firing. The OMNI Hybrid features an over-molded metal insert which reinforces the buffer tube housing and rear takedown pins. Omni Hybrid rifles come chambered in 5.56mm NATO and for the .223 Remington cartridge.

ATI Omni Hybrid rifle combination

Two guns for the price of one, is a hard combo to beat. The Omni Hybrid comes as a complete .22 LR firearm with an addition .223 upper.

 
American Tactical Imports AR-15 Semi Auto Rifle ATIGOMNIHA556
Muzzle Thread 1/2 x 28
Barrel 16 inches with melonite coated bore
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1 in 7 inches
Operation Carbine Length gas system
Length 32.5 inches collapsed; 36.25 inches extended
Weight 6.25 pounds overall
Sights Optic ready
Stock Collapsible stock with polymer handguard
Capacity 30 rounds
Finish Black
Features… Standard A2 birdcage; Metal Reinforced polymer lower receiver; Inter-lock hammer and trigger pin retainment system; Built to military specifications; Enhanced trigger guard; Beveled magazine well

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SLRule

DPMS Sportical Semiautomatic Rifle

Achieving one-inch groups at 100 yards is no hard feat for the Sportical

Achieving one-inch groups at 100 yards is no hard feat for the Sportical

DPMS’s Sportical is light enough to carry all day. The optic-ready carbine features a lightweight barrel, adjustable stock, and slick sided low-profile upper. This puts the simple back into firearms making it the choice for most recreational shooters who want an AR without having to take out a second mortgage.

 
DPMS Sportical
Barrel 16 inches, 4140 Chrome Moly
Caliber .223/5.56 NATO
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Length 32.5 inches
Weight 6.3 Pounds
Sights Railed gas block
Stock and Grip Pardus with Commercial Tube stock; A2 pistol grip; Glacier Guard handguard
Fire Control Standard AR-15
Features… Extruded 7029 T6 Slick-sided Flattop upper; Forged 7075 T6 lower; A2 Birdcage Flash Hider

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SLRule

ArmaLite Defender 15

The ArmaLite Defender series AR-15 semi auto rifle comes loaded with features. Kicking off this build are the 7075-T6 forged aluminum upper and lower receivers. The Defender 15 features a 16-inch chrome-lined barrel with a 1:7-inch twist and threaded at 1/2×28. A birdcage-style flash hider is also included. The ArmaLite Defender also features an A2 pistol grip, polymer handguards, and collapsible stock. The rifle and all the furniture feature a matte black finish.

 
ArmaLite Defender 15
Action Single-stage trigger
Barrel 16.0 inches, Double Lapped, Chrome Lined, Chrome Moly Vanadium MIL-B-11595-E Barrel, with M203 Step down; Threaded 1/2×28
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1 in 7 inches, right hand
Length 32 inches Collapsed; 35.25 inches extended
Weight 6.35 pounds
Sights 7075-T6 Aluminum Lower Receiver
Stock and Grip Collapsible stock with A2 pistol grip
Magazine 30 rounds
Finishes Black; Anodized upper and lower receiver; Polymer handguards; Manganese phosphated steel barrel; 7075-T6 Aluminum Flat Top Upper Receiver; 7075-T6 Aluminum Lower Receiver

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SLRuleS&W M&P15 Sport

S&W M&P15OR Optics Ready Rifle .223 Remington

S&W M&P15OR Optics Ready Rifle .223 Remington

Designed to the exact specifications and features as other S&W M&P 15 models, the Smith & Wesson Military & Police Model 15 Sport is different in that it does not contain a dust cover or a forward assist. This slight deviation from the military design allows the rifle to be slightly more affordable. The M&P 15 features a 1:9-inch twist with an adjustable A2-style front post. The flat top-style upper receiver is ready for the optic of your choosing, but also works great with the included Magpul MBUS rear sight.

Smith & Wesson Military & Police 15 Sport AR-15Barrel16 inches, 4140 steelCaliber5.56mm NATO caliber (accepts .223 Remington)Twist1 in 9 inchesLength32 inches collapsed; 35 inches extendedWeight6.45 poundsSightsAdjustable A2 front sight post; Magpul MBUS folding rear sightStock6-Position telescopic stockMagazine30 roundsFinish7075 T6 Aluminum upper and lower receivers; MIL SPEC hard coat anodized black; Chromed gas key and bolt carrier.

 
Smith & Wesson Military & Police 15 Sport AR-15
Action Semi Automatic
Barrel 16.0 inches, 4140 Steel
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1:9, right hand
Length 32 inches Collapsed; 35  inches extended
Weight 6.45 pounds
Sights Optics Ready
Stock and Grip Collapsible six position stock
Magazine 30 rounds
Finishes Mil spec hard coat anodized black

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SLRuleDiamondback DB-15 Sport

The Diamondback AR-15 Semi Auto Rifle is quality and a great value. This particular rifle is the sporter version that does not have the dust cover or forward assist. Chambered in 5.56 NATO, the DB-15SB has a 16-inch M4 contour barrel. The 7075 T6 aluminum-forged receivers comes with the upper receiver in a flattop configuration. The stock is an ATI Strikeforce mounted to a commercial diameter buffer tube. This AR-15 has a standard 2-piece handguard, fixed A2 front sight and the rifle features a black finish.

Diamondback DB-15 rifle

 
Diamondback AR-15 DB-15S
Barrel 16 inches, 4140 Chrome-Moly, M4 Contour, A2 Flash Hider
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Length 32.5 inches collapsed; 36.25 inches extended
Weight 6.65 pounds
Sights sigA2 fixed front sight
Features… Forged 7075 T6 aluminum lower receiver; A3 Flattop forged 7075 T6 aluminum upper receiver; 2-piece polymer handguard; ATI Strikeforce with aluminum commercial buffer tube assembly

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SLRuleCore15 M4 Scout

CORE15 is another excellent firearm manufacturer designing and manufacturing excellent examples of firearms made with American Pride and Ingenuity. The CORE15 uses state of the art manufacturing processes and only the highest quality components to ensure you have a firearm that will shoot accurately in any environment. The motto “Where MIL-SPEC is just the starting point” is the guiding principle at CORE15, it is easy to understand why reviews by shooters CORE15 shows why it is one of the best.

 
CORE15 M4 Scout AR-15 Semi Auto Rifle 100425
Operation Direct Gas Impingement Gas System
Barrel 16 inches, 4140 M4 Profile Barrel, A2 Flash Hider
Caliber 5.56mm NATO (accepts .223 Remington)
Twist 1 in 9 inches
Weight 5.9 pounds
Sights “F” Marked A Frame Front Sight Base (Forged)
Stock and Grip A2 Pistol Grip; CORE15 Six-Position Retractable Stock
Finish Chrome lined 8620 Stainless Steel Bolt Carrier; MIL-SPEC Forged 7075-T6 Lower Receiver;CORE15 Mil-Spec Forged 7075-T6 M-4 Upper Receiver; Gas Tube made of 304 grade Stainless Steel; Type III Class II Hard-coat anodized finish
Features… Beveled Magwell for improved reloading speed; Machined chevrons in front strap; Bullet pictogram safety markings; M4 Feed Ramps, (1913 Picatinny rail flat top) with dry lube internal finish; M4-style Thermoset molded Polymer Hand Guards; CORE15 Hardcore Billet Charging Handle V.1; CORE’s NO BS Lifetime Warranty

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SLRuleBushmaster Firearms Carbon 15

The Bushmaster Firearms Carbon 15 is an excellent rifle for defense, duty and competition. The Bushmaster Firearms Carbon 15 represents the pinnacle of innovation utilizing a high quality Carbon-15 Receiver and aluminum upper for an ultra lightweight and durable platform. The Bushmaster Firearms Carbon 15 continues the legacy of excellence that has made the Bushmaster Firearm lineup world-famous.

Black .22 Long Rifle tactical-style rifle made by Bushmaster

 
Bushmaster Firearms Carbon 15
Barrel 16 inches M4 contour barrel with A2 flash hider
Twist 1 in 12 inches
Weight 6.25 pounds
Sights Fixed front sight base and bayonet lug
Stock 6-position stock assembly to fit a variety of shooters
Features… Carbon-15 composite receiver and aluminum upper; Upper receiver left open allowing user flexibility in rear sight choices; Mission First Tactical polymer quad rail with rail covers

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SLRule

Century International GP WASR-10

I know its, not an AR-15, but everyone deserves an AK as well. The Wassenaar Arrangement Semiautomatic Rifle is a semi-automatic version of the Romanian military Pistol Mitralier model 1963/1965, better known here in the U.S. as the “Romy G.” Made by Cugir Factory and imported and modified by Century International Arms to conform to 922(r), the WASR is an inexpensive, durable, reliable and customizable Kalishnikov series rifle. The GP WASR 10 is perfect for the beginner or AK-47 purist.

Century Arms WASR-10 7.62x39 R

 
Century International GP WASR-10
Barrel 16.25 inches,  chrome-lined
Caliber 7.62×39
Twist 1 in 10 inches
Length 34.25 inches
Weight 7.5 pounds
Sights Side receiver scope mount
Stock and Grip Military style wood stock and handguard; black polymer pistol grip
Magazine 30-round, removable box magazine
Features… Stamped receiver; Legendary AKM reliability; Slant brake; Bayonet lug

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Tell us which AR-15 fits your budget and what you like about it in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

View all articles by Dave Dolbee

Product pricing and availability are as of time of publication and subject to change without notice at any time.

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