Whether you’re building your AR from the ground up or upgrading a rifle that is already built, any one of the following AR-15 barrels will improve the accuracy, reliability and performance of your weapon.
We’ll talk chambering, profile, weight, twist-rate, material and more for these five incredible AR-15 barrels to make sure you’re getting the best option to fit your needs.
Let’s get started…
1. Ballistic Advantage Hanson 16”
While any of the Ballistic Advantage barrels will guarantee a lightweight, in-house built, durable piece of steel, my top choice for AR builds is this 16” Hanson model chambered in .223 Wylde.
It’s one of BA’s “Performance Series” models, and, boy, does it live up to its name.
The shoulder-less gas block design gives it a nearly perfect symmetry and cuts down significantly on any barrel whip. Using the Hanson improved my accuracy out past 400 yards.
Plus, this mid-length soft-shooter comes pre-threaded and with extended feed ramps for flawless reliability every time.
BA makes some of the most affordable barrels out there, but you don’t feel like they skimped on their builds at all when you witness the exceptional machining and durability of these barrels.
I picked up my BA Hanson barrel for just under $200, and couldn’t be happier with its performance in the field.
2. Rainier Arms UltraMatch 18”
The name of the game for this Rainier barrel is ACCURACY.
I picked up the model with a special thick .800” gas block that complements the rifle-length system and really pushes my AR’s accuracy over the top.
The fluting on this UltraMatch is super aggressive, making for soft shots without losing anything in velocity or rigidity.
Made from the highest grade Shilen blanks, this RA model also has a TiN-coated extension that makes loading a lot smoother.
You can pick up an UltraMatch for a moderate $300.
3. Spike’s Tactical SPR Special Purpose 18”
Where BA takes the day with affordability and RA with accuracy, the Special Purpose from Spike’s Tactical stomps its competitors when it comes to durability.
This medium-profile barrel is cold-hammer forged, crafted from CMV alloy, and coated in a corrosion-resistant black nitride finish to make sure it withstands even the most extreme conditions.
I grabbed this lightweight barrel in 5.56 NATO and found it easy to handle and set up — it was all ready for a rifle-length gas system from the get-go.
Retailing at just under $300, this barrel comes with a NiB M4 feed-ramp barrel extension.
4. Faxon Firearms Gunner 16”
One of the most reliable and affordable barrels on the market, this Faxon Firearms Gunner model is the Jack-of-all-trades.
Made for mid-length gas systems, the Gunner profile uses a unique tapering from government to pencil and a 1:8 twist that gives it a boost in accuracy.
The best part?
This barrel’s QPQ nitride finish, CMV steel composition, and MPI/air-gauge testing make it last forever.
I was blown away by the quick movement between targets this barrel affords because of its lighter weight.
Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the versatility of this $160 Faxon Firearms favorite.
5. Noveske Recon 16”
Built with Noveske’s incredible 5.56 Match Chamber, this medium-profile barrel is perfect for both everyday and competition shooting.
You can get it in 10.5, 14.5, or 16 inches depending on what you’re building.
I like the 16” that comes with a gas tube and pin already in the box, making it a breeze to install in any low-profile gas block system.
This 1:7 twist Noveske Recon model is cold-hammer forged and comes with extended M4 feed ramps, but does drop a little on the higher side with an MSRP of $600.
Conclusion: AR-15 Barrels
When you’re looking to improve the accuracy, reliability and durability of your weapon, any one of these five best AR-15 barrels will get the job done right.
What are your favorite AR-15 barrels? Why? Let us know in the comments section below!