We often field questions about which AR-15 is the best. In my experience, if you ask ten different firearms enthusiasts about the best AR-15, you are likely to get ten different answers. Aside from some fundamental specifications, which at this point most manufacturers meet or exceed, most AR-15s you buy off the shelf work perfectly well for range time. Rather than searching in terms of the best AR, you might consider what the most popular AR is. We ran a report of the top selling AR-15s of 2012 to see which black rifle could be crowned king. Some of the answers might surprise you.
Colt 6720R Talo EditionIn fifth place, Colt chambered the Talo 6720R for 5.56 NATO as well as .223 Remington. It is no shock that this is one of our top sellers since it comes with a solid list of features. Some of these include the new Rogers Super-Stoc, Colt free float quad rail, Magpul MOE grip, MBUS flip up sights, and above all the Colt pony stamped on the side of the receiver. It’s a beast for a decent price. The 1:7 twist on the inside of the barrel can stabilize heaver projectiles, and the low profile gas block allows more room for goodies. You could do worse when picking out a rifle.
Colt AR-15 Magpul MOE 6920Shocking—another Colt coming in fourth place. You would think these guys enjoyed making ARs or something. The Colt 6920 is extremely close to what the military issues our soldiers around the world. It is one of the highest quality rifles on this list, and yet we sold a ton of these things. Barrel twist rate is 1/7, one complete bullet revolution per seven inches of barrel, which is the military specification and which will effectively stabilize bullets from 55 grains to 77 grains in weight. They say the devil is in the details, and a detailed analysis of this gun will show it to be made of superior materials and workmanship. For nearly two decades now the 6920 has stood as the epitome of the M4 Carbine, and the loyalty to Colt and their design shows in the sales of this model.
Bushmaster M4A3 Patrolman’s Semi Automatic CarbineThe famous Bushmaster name has been the misguided focus of attention from the media due to recent tragic events. One of Bushmaster’s most popular carbine models, the M4 type features a distinctive military barrel profile and six position telescoping buttstock-great for 3 Gun Match shooting, home defense and law enforcement use. The Bushmaster A2 & A3 type Patrolman’s carbines are similar to the M4 type carbines, but with additional barrel length to make them legal for sale to individual officers and civilians. They feature a chrome-lined barrel, birdcage flash suppressor, A3 upper receiver with picatinny rail, and removable carry handle and rear sight.
Colt LE6920Coming in second is the venerable Colt LE6920 chambered in 5.5 NATO is as authentic as a semi auto AR-15 gets. Incorporating a 4-position retractable stock, M4 handguards with dual heat shield, flattop upper with removable carry handle, 1:7-inch twist, chrome lined barrel, and of course, the Colt pony on the receiver. It may look like a basic AR from the outside, but the buttstock is sturdy, and aside from some added optics, I wouldn’t change a thing. You don’t get the fancy free floating quad rail hand guards, but to be honest, I really don’t care. It’s a great rifle to start off with and it wouldn’t take much to upgrade any parts you wish. The core of this weapon is solid, and I wouldn’t scoff if I saw one at the range.
Windham Weaponry SRCThe winner for the absolute top selling AR-15 of 2012, The Windham Weaponry SRC, chambered in 5.56 NATO, it makes an economical choice for a functional flat top AR-15. If you haven’t heard of Windham Weaponry, you should read more. The former owner of Bushmaster runs Windham Weaponry, with the same machines and specialists that made Bushmaster. After selling the Bushmaster name to a conglomerate, they just turned the machines back on and started making Windham. The flat top upper receiver and gas block provide you versatility to mount the optic of your choice with the option for easy mounting of backup sights. It incorporates a number of quality features including a 16-inch chrome lined barrel with 1:9-inch twist, flattop upper, and two-piece plastic handguards. The result is a rifle that is ready for ammunition and a trip to the range. When we started selling Windham rifles, I knew informed shoppers would gravitate towards them, so its no surprise that this rifle finished in first place. What do you think the top ARs of 2013 will be?
The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!