Best Selling AR-15s of 2013

It is understandable that our top-selling AR-15s of 2013 are also some of our most affordable. My friend being able to easily sell his Frankenrifle for $3,000 cash proved black rifle prices went through the roof earlier this year. Now that the market has somewhat stabilized, all those who skipped the purchasing frenzy can now buy an entry-level AR at a price pleasing to their pocketbooks.

When I say entry-level AR, I mean to say one not necessarily ready for battle. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a bare-bones, no-nonsense AR-15. None of our top sellers will disappoint; high-quality parts, surprising accuracy, durability and trusted brand names round off our list. Bare-bones tactical rifles are perfect for the beginner. You have a solid platform in any of the following ARs to start building upon. However, neither combat-grade, nor competition-ready, cheap AR-15s get the job done. Intended for plinking, punching paper, varmint hunting, and even home defense, the DPMS, Bushmaster, S&W M&P-15 and Colt LE 6920 are all dependable purchases.

Many AR aficionados will pooh-pooh some of the choices, however, spending less than a grand means you have more cashola to accessorize and upgrade—not to mention extra dough to spend on magazines and ammo. Lower-priced ARs allow you to upgrade stocks, sights, triggers, and rails further down the line.

These five AR-15s will serve any beginner well. Listed by price ascending lowest to highest:

DPMS Sportical

If you want to learn the ropes of the AR-15 platform without spending a stack, the DPMS optic-of-your-choice-ready Sportical has no bells and whistles, but at the price, you can afford high-end glass to make it ready to shoot. The thin 16-inch barrel with a 1×9 twist is not chrome-lined and there is no dust cover, shell deflector or forward assist. Many would argue over the value of the forward assist. Keep in mind, however, the Sportical comes without just as AR-god Eugene Stoner intended. Don’t worry about the non-chrome-lined barrel either as accuracy deficiencies are so minimal they go unnoticed. Decent, non-chrome-lined barrels withstand thousands of rounds before losing accuracy.

Achieving 1-inch groups at 100 yards is no hard feat for the Sportical. With the right optic, you will get point and shoot accuracy that will surprise you at this price point. After thousands of rounds, the DPMS just keeps running—each shot hitting its mark.

Even though DPMS skipped the sights on the Sportical, they didn’t skimp on the furniture. It comes equipped with heat-dissipating Glacier Guards and an upgraded Pardus adjustable length of pull stock.

DPMS owners describe their Sporticals as “great” in comparison to some of their other higher-end “incredible” black rifles, but you know what, great is good enough for me.

With the flat top upper and raised gas block, adding sights of your choice will be no problem. Rated for both the .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO cartridges, this 6.3-pound DMPS AR-15 has all you need to start sport shooting.

DPMS Sportical
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches, 1:9 twist
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
Overall Length 32.5 inches
Weight Unloaded 6.3 pounds
Sights Railed gas block
Stock Pardus collapsible
Capacity 30 rounds

Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15

The black rifle community is grumpy lately with Bushmaster. Once one of the top contenders in the AR-15 market, many so-called black rifle experts say quality has gone down hill. Both sides can yell, “taste great, less filling” until they are blue in the face. However, the Bushmasters I have experience with run like a dream all day in the hot and dusty Texas heat with zero malfunctions.

Others are skeptical of the Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15 carbon composite construction. Carbon composite is just a fancy way to say “plastic.” Much of the AR is plastic from the get-go, with the exception of the traditional aluminum upper and lower receivers, barrel and a few other bit parts. Traditionally, we are not used to plastic rifles, but we were not used to plastic handguns either. When the polymer-framed Glock came out, gun folks got in a tizzy over their durability and functionality. It goes without saying Glock’s polymer-framed “flop” has reached popularity in epic proportions.

Last year, CTD Rob bought a cheap plastic AR-15 lower. He questioned his gun’s durability. A year later, CTD Rob is completely satisfied with his cheap build and his AR has stood up to plenty of range abuse.

If you do research on the Internet when shopping for guns, you know everyone has an opinion. Don’t listen to the naysayers. The Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15 has a standard buffer, spring and bolt carrier group just like any other AR-15.

After thousands of rounds, the SuperLight Carbon-15 keeps shooting with no malfunctions. You might not get as tight groups with this particular Bushy as some other more expensive AR-15s, but it is reliable and accurate enough for home defense and target practice.

The real gem is the rifle’s weight. At 5.5 pounds, I dare you try finding much lighter ARs than this, making the SuperLight Bushmaster perfect for new, young and women shooters. The 16-inch light profile barrel is chrome lined as well as the chamber. It shoots both .223 Remington and 5.56mm rounds with a 30-round magazine. A red dot sight is included.

Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches, 1:9 twist
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
Overall Length 34.5 inches
Weight Unloaded 5 pounds
Sights Red dot sight included
Stock Telescoping
Capacity 30 rounds

Bushmaster Optics Ready (O.R.C.)

Slightly higher in price than the Carbon-15, Bushmaster’s O.R.C. still sells for hundreds less than MSRP. It kills coyotes and other varmints with a vengeance—all you need are sights and the scope of your choice. The M4 16-inch barrel is chrome-lined, which extends the barrel life especially during heavy use and rapid-fire.

Law enforcement agencies around the country trust their lives on Bushmaster rifles. As far as accuracy goes, with the right optic, an AR-15 built by Bushmaster has the ability to achieve at least 2-inch groups at a far 300 yards.

The milled, low profile gas block and 0.5-inch risers without sights, allows Bushmaster to cut their costs and pass that savings on to you. Go as cheap or expensive as you wish adding your own sights and optics.

Made for more than entry-level in mind, the Bushy ORC is perfect to start adding accessories. It comes with two-piece, plastic handguards and a nice durable manganese phosphate coating.

Bushmaster Optics Ready O.R.C .
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches, 1:9 twist
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
Overall Length 36.25 inches
Weight Unloaded 6 pounds
Sights Two 0.5 inch optics risers
Stock M4 collapsible
Capacity 30 rounds

S&W M&P-15 OR

Though fairly new to the black rifle market, S&W M&P-15s come highly recommended from many AR shooters—from yours truly, as well. The M&P-15 optics-ready rifle has no iron sights, but is outfitted with a rail for any type of sight or scope you want to put on it. Instead of farming them out to other manufacturers, most of the tight-fitting parts are made in-house by S&W. Smith and Wesson’s optics ready (OR) rifle shoots all types of ammo—even cheap steel-cased—without fail.

The M&P ARs are scary accurate right out of the box. The barrel, bore, gas key and bolt carrier are chrome lined. The 1×9 barrel twist has no issues firing traditional 55-grain bullets, both 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington in tight groups over 100 yards.

Even though the OR is one of S&W’s lowest-priced rifles, it isn’t a “saver” or even standard model. Put it through the paces and the M&P-15 OR will run and run. It’s cheap in comparison, but doesn’t act that way. Even those intermediate and expert AR users appreciate S&W’s line of M&P AR-15 tactical rifles.

Smith & Wesson M&P 15 OR
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches, 1:9 twist
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
Overall Length 32 to 35 inches
Weight Unloaded 6.5 pounds
Sights Gas block with Picatinny rail
Stock M4 6-position collapsible
Capacity 30 rounds

Colt LE 6920

The Colt LE 6920 is the closet factory rifle you can buy that compares to what our military uses. It is one of the most recommend AR-15s in the tactical black rifle world. The 16-inch chrome-lined barrel has a mil-spec 1×7 twist—handling heavier hitting bullets flawlessly.

Colt makes the LE 6920 AR-15’s bolt and other internal parts. Each bolt is test-fired before heading out for sale. It does have a forward assist and shell deflector, while some of the budget AR-15s do not. The one-piece, which Colt calls “monolithic,” A3 flat top receiver includes a standard A2 front sight base so you can add any type of optic you want. The double heat shields keep your hands from burning while throwing hundreds of rounds downrange.

The Colt LE 6920, trusted by law enforcement around the country is the better choice for a home defense rifle and requires minimal upgrades. At the top of the price point of our top-selling AR-15s, the Colt LE 6920 won’t let you down.

Colt LE 6920
Action Semiautomatic
Barrel Length 16 inches, 1:7 twist
Caliber .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO
Overall Length 32 inches
Weight Unloaded 6.95 pounds
Sights Standard A2 front sight base
Stock Either a 4-position Colt Superstock or original M4
Capacity 30 rounds

As far as functions and features go, there are not many differences in each of’s top-selling AR-15s. Every one of them incorporates the standard carbine-length, direct gas impingement gas system. All shoot both 5.56mm NATO and .223 Remington ammo. All have 16-inch barrels, collapsible stocks and a 30 round magazine. All barrel twist rates are the same (1×9), with the exception of the Colt’s MIL-SPEC 1×7. Other exceptions are the SuperLight and the Sportical’s barrels are not chrome-lined. All but two of the modern sporting weapons listed come without sights with the exception of the Colt and the SuperLight. The Colt LE 6920 includes sights, while the Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15 includes a red dot sight.

For the price you want to pay to enter the tactical rifle world, none of these best-selling AR-15s will be a regrettable purchase.

 Model Length Gas System Barrel Length Ammunition Stock Magazine Barrel Twist Chrome Lined Barrel Sights Included
Bushmaster O.R.C. Carbine DI 16″ 5.56/.223 Rem Collapsible 30-Round 1-9″ Yes No
S&W M&P-15 Carbine DI 16″ 5.56/.223 Rem Collapsible 30-Round 1-9″ Yes No
DPMS Sportical Carbine DI 16″ 5.56/.223 Rem Collapsible 30-Round 1-9″ No No
Colt LE 6920 Carbine DI 16″ 5.56/.223 Rem Collapsible 30-Round 1-7″ Yes Yes
Bushmaster SuperLight Carbon-15 Carbine DI 16″ 5.56/.223 Rem Collapsible 30-Round 1-9″ No Yes (Red Dot)

What was your first AR-15? Tell us about it in the comment section.

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!

Comments (53)

  1. I see Windham Weaponry is not listed that is by far the best made ar platform in the world old owners of Bushmaster.. Richard Dyke and his team really know how to build the ar plus the life time transferable warrenty says a lot about the craftmenship….


  3. Even though I linked a video of my Sportical which was my first AR above, I have to say my favorite is a custom I built from scratch. I currently have a Daniel Defense upper with a spikes tactical lower. I like the fact I hand picked every part exactly as I wanted it. I think any of the brands mentioned will get the job done. Some may need more care or be more sensitive to ammo types etc., but anybody who knows their weapon can work around those issues.

    In related news, I finished a 308 caliber AR platform rifle build awhile back that I’m very happy with. Another entire conversation could had about builds in 308 because even though they look like and share many similarities with the AR 15 there are major differences.

  4. After reading the entire article, to include the line at the bottom that said, “Which AR-15 is your favorite? Tell us why in the comment section.” I’d have to say my favorite would be the PWS Wraith because holy precision long-stroke piston sexiness! To bad I don’t own one…yet. I do have a Sig516, and it’s a beast. It’ll eat Tula .223 steel-cased junk all day long, and spit them in a 1″ circle @ 100yds. Love the cleanliness of the piston system. Thousands of rounds between cleaning and relubing the bcg is such a nice change from have to remeber to take lube to a range session.

  5. It was Vietnam style combat that made the AR necessary, short range and personal, light to hump and as thebAirborne and Spec Forces were major first users light weight for fast in and out brutal killing.
    Loved my m- 14 but given an auto went back to semi then grabbed an AR.
    In place of M-14 our “Advisors” grabbed thr old M-1carbines and any damned short close up foreign or not( Seen many WWII and KOREAN CONFICT 9 and 45.
    Yes Colts were made with bent barrels and many of those rifles went to men that had trained on M-14 and came in one day and given a plastic gun they knew mothing about but loved the hell out of full auto.
    The M-14 was a WWII Korea infantry weapon the Colt as a pice of crap slammed togethrr by greed and nothing else.
    That management knew of issues but did nothing to remedy made me swear t never buy any thing with Colt on it.
    Never. I Have always wondered how many names on the wall paid for Colt managements fun and games.
    Buy any weapon that exceeds a colt in price and remind Colt of where you have been.
    Oh and it was a gun hating “Liberal” that ended Colts rip off, Ted Kennedy..

    1. Most of the problems you attribute to Colt were not Colt’s fault. There were several people in the Pentagon plus one warmonger, McNamara, who were rushing Colt to get the M16 into the field. LBJ and McNamara, plus Westmoreland requesting more and more troops, were more responsible for those “names on the wall,” than Colt.

  6. The biggest problem with the early M16’s not cycling was the inferior ammo issued, not from being dirty. This was due to production shortages and the decision to farm out the production to suppliers who used the wrong powder, not the weapon. Since there were so much old ball power left from WW-1, WW-2 and the Korean War, why not substitute the original powder used in the 5.56mm round with this old ball power? That’s what they did against the advice of Mr. Eugene Stoner; the iventor of the weapon. Old wives tale die hard.

  7. Again, this article was about the best selling AR’s–not the highest priced or most custom features. Anybody just getting started in the AR craze doesn’t need all the custom features. He just needs a good quality rifle he can shoot the heck out of, and customize later when he knows what he wants. Contrary to what the writer said, any of these could be used in combat. I purchased a Bushmaster XM15 (removable carry handle)for a little over $900 at WallyWorld last year, and it is a far superior rifle (barring full auto) than what I was issued in the Marine Corps in 1968.

    My original Colt M16 in VietNam was an inferior rifle compared to all on this list. Once we learned how important daily cleaning was, you could depend on it more. Otherwise, my .45 was what really saved my ass a few times. I learned to carry the M16 in my left hand and the .45 in my right hand for close combat. Even the Gov’t .45 was much looser than anything you will buy today.

  8. Please CTD Suzanne please update this list to include any changes that occurred since July. Could you also maybe break it down to entry level, midrange and high end ar’s?

  9. Why wasn’t Stag Arms on this list ? I own a Stag model 3 with a 556 EOTech mounted . Both the rifle and EO takes a beating one week end a month during training . I have had mud in the barrel and all over inside of the bolt . Never missed a beat uncleaned . hitting half inch groups at 200 yards . I will never own any other rifle

    1. that would be a quarter MOA that seems well should we sayI think you might be mistaking on the distance or how big a half inch is

  10. Purchased my brand new Armalite M-15 for $825 two days before Sandy Hook.. Love it! Carried the same style for 26 years with Uncle Sam. Fires everything I feed it, simple take down and cleaning, and top quality fit and finish. First shots at mil std 25 meter zero target, all in the black. Superb weapon, this company put the AR in the AR’s.

  11. Best selling doesn’t mean best quality. As a firearms instructor I seek the best that the industry has to offer. For my personal use, I own a few Colt’s and my 2 top dogs – a Noveske and a Larue Tactical. I would put those last 2 rifles up against ANYTHING else on the market. For 3 gun competition I run a highly modifed Noveske 16″ Recon. I understand that a lot of people can not afford the $2,600 price tag of a base model Noveske or Larue. My rifle cost about $5,000+ to build, but again, I compete with it AND I am a firearms instructor, so I wouldn’t skimp out on what I do for a living.

    Off the top of my head, I can speak highly of Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT), Daniel Defense (DD), Bravo Company Machine (BCM) and Land Warefare Resource Corp. (LWRC) just to name a few. All of these are miles ahead of the AR-15’s that are on this list.

    Spike’s Tactical is another good company, and the list goes on. Frankly I would suggest staying away from DPMS, Olympic and Windham. I know one user suggested that “I would take a Windham over a Bushmaster any day”. I can tell that this user has no real world experience with either rifle in a side by side comparison. The Windham rifles of today are not what one would expect. I only hope they improve that as time goes on. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you are using the rifle for and what you are willing to pay for. I always go for quality and practicality. I want a rifle that I can train with and take to war. As a retired Marine combat veteran and current firearms instructor, I have a keen sense of what kind of weapon systems can actually do that.

  12. I believe 1:7 will stabilize heaver bullets 60 grain and up. If you plan to stick with 55 then the 1:9 should be just fine. Of course longer barrel should give you longer range so 18 or 20 is the way to go . You also might look into a heavy or “bull” barrel profile. The heavier barrel doesn’t react to getting warm as much as a lighter/thinner barrel profile and stays more true. Free float the barrel to help even more. There are some match grade chrome lined barrels out there that give you the benefits of being lined without sacrificing much in the way of accuracy. If you are good about quickly cleaning and store the rifle well then a non lined should be fine.

  13. Holy Crap, Batman. Now I’m really confused. I have never owned an AR, but am trying to do my due diligence. No hurry to buy one.

    I want a rifle for coyote hunting, but have no experience with AR rifles. My mainstay has been a .222 and .22-250 single shot rifle. The .222 likes 50-grain bullets, and the .22-250 (1:14 twist) uses 55-grainers. Both are extremely accurate rifles.

    So….notwithstanding the rifle brand, what bullet weight would be best stabilized with what barrel twist? I know that heavier bullets are more stable in the wind, so should I look for a longer barrel (say, 18-20″) with a tighter twists (1:7-1:8 range) or….just stay with a twist that would stabilize 55 grain bullets? Most of my shots are withing 200 yards, but it would be nice to reach out to 300 yards should the occasion arise. I am not interested in a .308 and don’t hunt deer. Also, I don’t save coyote hides, so I don’t care about pelt damage.

    My experience has been mostly with precision shooting, so I am after a barrel that would provide for MOA, if possible. So…chrome-lined or stainless?

    I don’t use open-sights, preferring a scope.

    And, should I count on having trigger work done on any rifle bought “out of the box,” or are there brands that are known for good triggers?

    So far, I am looking at Colt, Windham and S&W. I live in California and from what I know, I am limited by a short magazine, which is fine, since coyote hunting doesn’t allow for more than a couple of shots at any given time anyway.

    Any suggestions?

  14. One of the finest AR rifles you can find is LWRC;s M6A2 SPR .556mm. Mine has a 16 ” barrel. I also have a Wilson Combat Whisper Surpressor on it. It is cold forged handed hammered with a 1:7 twist and the barrel is also fluted for heat dissipation. The trigger is a two stage Geissle set at 3 pounds. For those of you who may not know, LWRC only makes Piston system Rifles. The bore and barrel are treated with Ni-Boron. It has a 12 inch quad picatinny rail, more than enough for all your accessories. The gun weighs in at 7.3 pounds with no magazine. The piston system rifles do weigh a little more than your gas block systems. However, the area where the bolt and barrel are, has little to clean after a day of shooting. Only the barrel requires cleaning, but I still clean the bolt and piston to keep my rifle working at peak performance.

    I have no problem getting one inch patterns at 100 yards. IF I go out to two hundred yards, I am generally within two inches. At five hundred yards, I can hot the silhouette target we are all aware of. Unlike gas blocked AR’s,
    this firearm never slows down because of heat.The piston system has a lot of advantages over gas blocked. And before you guys with gas block rifles start screaming at me; I own two gas blocked AR’s, as well as an AK47.

    Despite it being a few ounces heavier than your gas blocked guns, I would not hesitate to take this gun into combat. It is reliable as a gun can be. I have shot over 4,000 rounds through it without one round failing to feed or getting hung up in the barrel. And unlike my AK, it never stalls. You can rapidly fire an AK with two hundred rounds, and it will begin to get slow on you; but the LWRC shoots the 200th round just as it did the first shot.

    This gun does not come cheap, but you get what you paid for. The base model is around $2600. When anyone sees it, they immediately state what a fine rifle I have. I think so, too. However, depending on what you want on the gun, you can easily pass $6K before you are finished. I have a magpul fore grip, harris bipod, Streamlight LED flashlight with remote switch, a Swarovski 2.5-15 X44mm illuminated scope and Wilson Combat’s best stock. The gun is currently worth over $7K. If you want the best, you have to pay for it; and I cannot place a price on my family’s life nor mine. It’s an investment that is well worth every penny. In fact, I just ordered an Aimpoint red dot sight that will be mounted at a forty five degree angle next to the scope. I can switch back and forth in a second.

    There you have it, my choice for the finest AR on the planet. Everything about the gun screams quality. Every part on the gun is finished to the highest of standards. And we all know in a glance if a gun is a quality build or not. Next time your at your gun shop, ask him if they have one in stock. I guaranty you will be overwhelmed with the quality and pride that went into building this firearm Be forewarned, once you see the difference between the LWRC and the Colt; you will never fire a Colt again. Stay safe, and thank you for reading my review.

  15. Lewis Machine & Tool MRP Piston 5.56…..I personally think its a step up from the Colt, if its 308 version is good enough for the Royal Marines, its good enough for me. -Z

  16. I am looking to purchase a Remington R-25 and was wondering how it would rank with the five ar models mentioned here. I know that R-25 is a ar-10 platform but how does Remington stack up against these as a manufacture’r?

    Thank you for your imput.

    This article was interesting. By the way I want .243 in a ar platform but am not stuck on Remington.

  17. I have a Bushmaster Varminter that came with a free floating 24″ chrome moly, 1″ heavy, fluted, competition crowned barrel. It’s not the cheapest Bushy by any means, but at $1,400, average street price, it’s still affordable. It also came with a two stage adjustable trigger; crisp and no creep. It’s built well with very tight tolerances. No movement between the upper and lowers. It’s a pleasure to shoot! I’ve gotten 1″ groups at 200 yards with 62gr Hornady. One author/reviewer wrote: “Bushmaster Varminter is the most accurate .223 that I have ever fired, including bolt-action varmint rigs…”

    I’ve shot other more pricey AR’s, i.e. Colts, Rock River, etc., and wouldn’t trade mine. I’m sure at some point $2,500+ there’s some better, but for what I paid, I think this model of Bushmaster is hard to beat. There’s article on it being used in some of Texas’ Law Enforcement carry rifles too.

    Some folks kick around Bushmaster, but from an end-user stand point, they still make a damn good product. If I had the money, Their ACR is a true piece of art too, 2011 Rifle of The Year. If you have a few more bucks to spend, take a look at these Bushmasters!!

  18. Being former Army and being from the Ozarks, I shoot and have shot a lot. My military background drove me to the AR-15 and my love of shooting and firearms in general made me want to build my own. I bought a M16A1 parts kit from Sportsmans Guide and a Delaware Machinery lower from RGUNS. My next build will be a 6.5 Grendel or a 6.8SPC.

  19. I have the Colt LE6920 so that is going to be my favorite. The Colt has the 1×7 twist all others have the 1×9 twist. I have been told and read that the 1×7 twist of the will fire the heavier 5.56 rounds with out a problem. The 1×9 twist has a tendency to make the heavier round a little unstable. I am sure that some of you have a lot more knowledge on the 1×7 v 1×9 twist than i do. I like the idea I can fire both 5.56 and 223 rounds with out a problem.

  20. The issue I have with the article is, any of the weapons that people have mentioned are perfectly reliable in a battle environment. and would have no problem carrying my Windham or a Rock River or a Stag into harms way even with just semi auto available to me. btw peewee h that’s how an engagement should be. Short, and violent. stay safe yall

  21. Got lucky and found a Colt MOE 6920 at Wally when all the craziness was going on. $1248 out the door. Limited rounds thru it, (maybe 40?) but functioned perfectly with cheap Russian crap. Having owned a Colt previously, I was pleasantly surprised with the absolute pristine finish on this weapon. Colts are subjected to a lot of handling due to a stringent QC process. Because of this sometimes the finish can suffer a bit for it. This thing is a real beauty though, and doesn’t have a mark on it anywhere. I know all the haters out there will say “this one is just as good,” or “that does the same thing and it’s cheaper.” All I can say is if you don’t have a Colt get one. If you are looking to buy your first AR save up a couple extra bucks and get the 6920. There is a reason it’s #1 on the list, and you won’t regret it. They are with out doubt the best entry level AR money can buy. BTW this is my fourth AR and I have shot many of the other brands listed. So I do have some experience with them.


  23. In order of purchase cost from lowest to highest, I own a Bushmaster M4A2 Patrolman, a Colt LE6920 and a Colt LE6920SOCOM. All three weapons are SUPERIOR shooters, with AMAZING accuracy and a PLENTIFUL list of desired options. Having spent 20+ years in the military and being well acquinted with the M-16/AR-15 platform, ANY OF THESE would be an EXEMPLARY choice, depending on your budget. I also own a Ruger Mini-14 in tactical and another in law enforcement configuration. In their own right, these too are DEPENDABLE weapons platforms worthy of a second look. If you could put a primer on a dog terd, the Mini-14 would be able to fire it and more than likely hit the target. No matter which .223/5.56 platform a person purchases, if YOU are pleased with it, THAT is ALL that should matter. Blessings and safety to all you Patriots!

  24. I own and shoot a S&W optics ready a couple a Stags a Sig and an Armalite. If I could keep only one it would be without question the Armalite. Best trigger out of the group,will feed anything I have on hand. Any AR you can afford is better than not having one,but for my money the 1100 for the Amalite was bargain. By the way,when you buy that new rifle set aside a few bucks and join the NRA,if you are a member,thanks.

  25. I have a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 MOE (Magpul Original Equipment). That rifle is awesome! I have never had a jam/ftf, shooting various American made ammo. I put a Burris 1×4 power scope on it last year, and it is very accurate. I had a DPMS Sportical but traded it in. It was a good starter AR, but I was ready to upgrade. I also have to Bushmasters that I haven’t shot yet, still NIB lol.

  26. when our son returned from USAF BMT (boot camp)we purchased a BATTLE BORN (US FIREARMS ACADEMY, RENO,NV) lower and a delton complete upper with lower parts kit. my wife and i got ourselves a spikes lower and complete delton upper with lowerparts kit. we assembled both rifles on our kitchen table and voila. two “custom” ar 15s. kind of ironic, we build our weapons on the same table we decide which bills to pay. anyhow, both function perfectly, no hiccups or issues. as far as a SHTF scenario; the gun battle will be a short engagement stay safe enjoy

  27. We bought a Bushmaster C-15 before the world changed, and Love it! Great rifle, no issues, shoots great. We added furniture, upgraded the reddot with a 3X9 scope, and shot it with camo paint. Is the rifle we take when we go. Is so much fun to shoot! My wife also loves this rifle. We do have to be careful, cause she shoots up all the ammo given the chance . When we have guests in our home , this is the rifle we take out to show. Have had several people take their picture holding this rifle in front of the fireplace . Is an all around great rifle, and I highly recommend this lightweight beauty to everyone. Wish I had 6 more just like this 1.

  28. I shopped around a lot for my first and only AR. Every salesperson kept saying the same thing: “If you can’t afford the Colt LE6920 now, you can buy (insert name of some other AR), and buy the Colt later when you can afford one.” I’m in my late 50’s – there may not be a later so I figured I’ll buy the best now. I have no regrets after buying my Colt – it’s simply the best.

  29. I have a standard DPMS A-1 with 20 inch barrel, solid stock, carry handle. I put 6.5X20X50mm scope on carry handle and I can switch to a holograph red dot. My load is Hornady-Varmit 60gr S.P. with Accurate 24.5 grs of 2520. I can put 5 shots touching in a 1/2 inch circle at 100 yrds. I’m ok with that

  30. I love my Colt LE6920. Great accuracy. Confused by your statement that you wouldn’t want to go into battle with any of these guns. The 6920 is the civilian M4. The receiver has M4 stamped on it!

  31. Built one I like. PSA generally. 16″ mid length gas, 1:7 pencil profile CHF, MP, CL barrel with a Smith Enterprises vortex flash hider. Wrapped it with a Midwest Ind. SS 12g2 handguard. PSA upper with a nickel boron auto bcg. Lower has ALG QMS hammer-trigger set (I like the standard sear) with JP enterprises enhanced spring kit (has @ a 4.5 lb. pull) and KNS anti rotation pins. Furniture is Magpul, mil-spec CTR stock w/H2 buffer, MOE grip, AFG2 foregrip and MBUS sights. (I LIKE IT ALOT). And it only cost me XXXX #!&*^@ dollars.

  32. I’ve bought the S&W M&P w/ detachable carry handle & fixed front sight. 1,000’s of rounds through it without a hic-up! I wrote S&W technical department and asked about all the crap I’d heard & read about breaking in the barrel on a AR. I got a funny e-mail back.. said they thought it was a bunch of crap too. Told me that M&P rifles come with a life time warranty.. that if I could wear the barrel out, to just let them know and they would re-place it for free. Try getting that kind of service from a company that backs their rifles with only a 1 yr warranty!

  33. Good article. I myself am fairly new to the Modern arms. I bought a DPMS in January as my first AR-15 platform rifle. It’s Identical to the one listed here only with a deflector and forward assist. I have put a lot of rounds through it, and the only time I’ve ever had a problem with it is shooting steel case ammo. Unfortunately, I paid about $500 over MSRP (which was $700), due to the through the roof demand for them. I have also spent some time researching and shooting some of the more “top of the line” AR15’s, and familiarizing myself with the components of AR’s and the tolerances and fit of different factory and aftermarket parts. Instead of selling this rifle and taking a huge loss on the money I’ve spent on it and put into it, I’ve bought the tools for it and am piece by piece rebuilding it to be the rifle I want and I’m enjoying the hell out of it. If you buy one of these rifles at a reasonable price, don’t expect it to be the AR of your dreams, but it’s a great rifle to start with, familiarize, and build YOUR AR from. Perfect for beginners and casual shooters.

  34. I am guessing that nobody was reading the title of this article “The best selling AR-15″s of 2013”. Not the best one but the best selling. Please read an article before trolling…

  35. I have a colt LE 6920 and that is a beautiful ride, But My fav is still my Sig m400 It is a beauty. All Magpul furniture, Shes a screamer. accuracy wise none, Both are for different jobs, my Colt right now has standard open sights and the M400 has a 3×9 scope

  36. I prefer my Adcor Defense BEAR G.I.Elite. It has a 1:7 twist chrome-lined hammer forged barrel, forward charging handle (charges w/traditional handle or w/forward, MagPul MOE hardware, and a sling loop on the buffer tube. Came with MagPul BUIS and 7″ quad rail. It shoots extremely well, is all mil-spec, and has a four digit serial number. For those not familiar with Adcor, they make missile parts for the DOD and sub-assemblies for Colt AR-15’s and are a licensed military contractor. Their gas piston model is even sweeter. It wasn’t the cheapest I could find, but it was everything I wanted in an AR. I like heavier bullets and the 1:7 twist handles them all.

  37. I would have to agree with Joseph Bons regarding the Windham weapons…I believe they are a quality platform with better pricing. Now, maybe they were not a top seller as their reliability may be in question with limited market time but am willing to bet that they prove themselves as time carries.
    I personally have a Sig Sauer M400 that I am very happy with and found it on sale with a tactical bag and magazines. Have not experienced any problems and have been very happy with the performance. Utilized an M16A2 as a Marine and believe my Sig has the quality to stand up…semi-auto of course but reliable…

  38. I personally own a Rock River Arms and believe its a dependable gun. Its a 6.8 SPC .277 cal. short distance knock down power and long distance capabilities. Setting it up though with a long range scope and a short distance scope with light and laser was a challange though. James

  39. I see that you completely ignored all of the Windham Weaponry products especially their MPC model. I’d take a Windham over a bushmaster any day of the week (Windham is the Original Bushmaster)

  40. Wouldn’t necessarily want to carry into combat?
    Well ain’t any damned weapon in world other than a military full auto m/4 or a Savage, my preference, a 308 DPMS 20″ brl for that chore.
    That said when one thinksof home defense or SHTF almost all shots fired will be under 400 meters and the amount of lead flying will primarily determine survival which all authors choices will do.
    No one that is young enough and can economicly afford it should put off buying many a fine back rifle in the 2000$ range though, as that will put in ones hands a tough accurate battle rifle.
    One capable if in capable hands ofyears useage.
    Do not scrimp very much on sights and some flip ups realysuck for longevity and red dots onloe cost do so as well.

  41. To #3 Hank: street prices vary widely depending on where you live, whether buying on-line or at a gun shop, and inventory availability.

  42. The comparison was very useful and told me a lot of things I didn’t know but the individual prices would have been a useful addition. Hank

  43. I purchased the LE6920 and a Umarex Walther Hechler Koch 416 22 early fall. The writing was on the BO(Pres.)wall.Paid $999 and $499.My Colt had a carry handle. I guess they cheapened it by exclusion.

  44. My wife and I each have our own AR’s, mine a S&W M&P 15 Sport chambered in 5.56 with a 1:7 twist and hers a DPMS A3 Lite chambered in 5.56 with a 1:9 twist. The M&P came with MBUS iron sights, no forward assist and no eject cover. The DPMS has a chrome lined barrel, forward assist, and eject cover, but no sights. I have added 4×32 scopes, bipods, and an accessory rail on the bottom of the hand guards on both.The DPMS model has been discontinued and the M&P is now quite hard to find.

    Both rifles are made well with well fitting major parts (no upper-lower rattles). Both shoot quite well but are a little sensitive to some ammo in terms of accuracy. My wife and I are both in our late 60’s with not-so-great eyesight but both get 3″ groups at 100 yards. Sure, we’d love to have Daniel Defense models, but our retirement incomes won’t permit it. Our current rifles serve us well for punching paper, and will for light hunting if the need arises. The faster twist on my M&P provides for firing heavier rounds such as the 72 grain DRT ammo I have if we ever need to take down deer.

    An analogy would be: these are Fords and accomplish their purpose….we can’t afford a Ferrari.

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