ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING YOUR AR-15 RIFLE
Buying an AR-15 is like riding on the back of a bald eagle, waving the stars and stripes, and landing on Mount Rushmore as fireworks explode behind you.
Okay, maybe not exactly like that.
But, the AR 15 has become almost as synonymous with America as all of those culturally iconic things are.
The AR 15 is America’s rifle, and for good reason. It’s a simple, elegant and efficient design – versatile in its capacity to perform across a wide array of applications.
The inherent modularity of the platform lends itself to customization, personalization, and fine-tuned performance.
But the AR platform has a long and winding history – one that begins with failure and rejection…
HISTORY OF THE AR 15
Eugene Stoner is the mind behind the genius mechanical creation we enjoy today.
In the mid-1950s, Stoner worked as the chief design engineer for ArmaLite to create the "Armalite Rifle" - AR-15.
The US Military was on the hunt for a new, semi-automatic battle rifle that would bring our Army out of WWII.
Stoner’s prototype AR-10 was up for consideration to replace the old, heavy, and capacity-deficient M1 Garand as the military’s rifle of choice..
The AR-10 didn’t hold up.
Against the will of Eugene Stoner, ArmaLite presented the military with a version of the AR-10 that had an aluminum and steel composite barrel, intended to impress the testers with its light weight.
That decrease in weight came at the expense of the rifle’s ability to stand up to the demands of the tests, bursting both the barrel and any hopes the AR-10 had of winning the hearts and dollars of the U.S. Military.
It was not long until battlefield requirements in Vietnam called for more innovation. General Willard G. Wyman saw an opportunity to outfit soldiers with an even lighter weight rifle, using a smaller caliber of ammunition. One Soldiers could carry more of.
Stoner went back to the drawing board, scaling down his AR-10 design. This birthed the AR-15!
When he finished, the patent for the AR-15 design was sold to Colt, who sold the rifle under the co-branded name Colt ArmaLite AR-15 Model 01 and would market it to military services around the world.
The real magic for the civilian markets began when Colt’s patent on the design expired in the 1970s, opening the door for other manufacturers to begin creating AR-15 pattern rifles, parts, and accessories.
The fact that the platform had a MIL SPEC designation meant all companies had to do to ensure their parts could all be interchangeable was follow the specifications set forth by the military. The rest is history.
So… Want to get your hands on one of your own?
BUYING AN AR-15
Buying a complete AR-15 from a well known brand can be a perfect way to get a high-performance rifle, tuned and assembled by the experts, ready for action right out of the box.
Here’s a list of AR 15 manufacturers we carry that sell complete rifle configurations, organized by price point:
Budget-Friendly AR-15 Rifles for sale:
|#||AR 15 Manufacturers|
|5||Smith & Wesson|
Moderately Priced AR-15 Rifles for sale:
High-End AR-15 Rifles for sale:
|#||AR 15 Manufacturers|
|1||American Defense Manufacturing|
|2||Bravo Company Manufacturing|
|5|| Sig Sauer|
Beyond choosing a manufacturer or price point that fits your budget when buying your new AR-15, there are a few configuration options that you will want to consider. The purpose of your rifle is largely going to dictate your feature choices.
WHAT ARE THE AR-15 CONFIGURATION OPTIONS?
There are numerous factors to consider when purchasing a new AR-15 in order to get the most out of your rifle, but sometimes all those different options can get overwhelming especially if this is your first ever rifle purchase.
Don’t get bogged down, let us simplify it for you and break down how to choose the best AR-15 for you.
WHAT ARE THE LENGTH OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
Aside from the legal reasons we discussed above, there are a variety of reasons to consider various lengths for your rifle.
Some applications favor a shorter barrel size for your rifle, like home defense rifles. For home defense, you may have your best luck with an AR 9 Pistol (PCC). These can be chambered in 9mm, 40, or 45. This way, you can have all the features of an AR 15 AND a barrel as short as 4 inches. perfect for hallways.
They can fit in your backpack, they're lightweight, are very durable And it will still be accurate at 100 yards.
The drawbacks are the fact you have to use a pistol brace, not a stock and you wont be hitting 12 inch groupings beyond 100 yards.
5.56 NATO's biggest advantage is its velocity. Velocity you lose with a barrel under 11 inches. If you want a barrel shorter that also isn't a pistol caliber, 300 Black out is the caliber for you.
To stick with 5.56 and .223, the most common barrel legth for a rifle is 16 inches. You don't need a tax stamp or a pistol brace, you're accurate out to 500 yards, and you still can be lightweight enough for home defense.
If you only want 1 AR 15, a 16 inch barrel is for you.
WHAT'S THE CALIBER OF AN AR-15?
The AR-15 is most commonly available in 5.56x45mm NATO or .223 Remington, but with the rise in the platform’s popularity has come the demand for different calibers.
Complete AR rifles feature manufacturer-tuned set-ups in popular new calibers like 300 BLK --which is a suppressor-friendly loading popular for home defense and short-range hunting
.224 Valkyrie, which has gained a following of shooters looking to squeeze the most distance and accuracy potential out of their AR-15 for target shooting.
For overall balanced performace, or to keep ammo costs down, or for your first rifle, 5.56 NATO is your best bet. It also shoots BOTH 5.56 and .223 !!
|1|| .22 Long Rifle||.17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire||5.45x39mm NATO|
|2|| .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm NATO||FN 5.7x28mm||.22 Nosler|
|3|| .224 Valkyrie||.243 Winchester Super|| 6.5mm Grendel|
|4|| 6.8 Remington SPC II|| 7.62x39mm|| 300 AAC Blackout|
|5||.300 Whisper||9mm Luger||.375 SOCOM|
|6||.40 Smith & Wesson||.45 ACP||10mm Auto|
|7||.450 Bushmaster|| .458 SOCOM||.50 Beowulf|
MODULARITY OF THE AR 15
The modularity of the AR-15 means you can buy one rifle, and a selection of other components that can be swapped in and out of the rifle, and have a firearm capable of utilizing multiple calibers for a variety of applications.
It means you can one for hunting, one for target shooting, one for cheap .22lr target practice, one for monday, one for tuesday, one for every day of the year and still not have every configuration!!!
Picatinny Rails and M-LOK vs. Keymod
All AR platform firearms have a hand guard and most these days are "free floating". this means you can add iron sights, lights, lasers, PEK's, foregrips, bipods, slings, bayonets, or whatever else grabs your attention to them.
The attachment method for hand guards varies and it is important to know how to mount an accesssory to yours.
Picatinny rails (Pic rails) is the old school way to mount everything to you gun. These days, most rifles will have a pic rail only on top in order to mount a scope or red dot without an adapter.
M-LOK and Keymod are the 2 newer standards for all other accessories and have been duking it out over the last few years to see who's best. M-LOk is winning. Tons of accessories support M-LOK for their superior stability under firing.
If you are buying your first AR 15, and want to have support for more accessories way in the future and to use what the pros use, a rifle with an M-LOK hand guard will be the best for you.
WHAT IS THE BEST AR 15 RIFLE?
Choosing the best AR-15 for you comes down to what you want the rifle to do and what fits your budget.
AR-15s in standard MIL SPEC configurations are incredibly versatile, and a great place to start if you are buying your first AR. These rifles will be great for target shooting fun on the range, as well as varmint hunting.
They’ll also be very affordable in comparison to other more specialized configurations.
However, for just a little more room in the budget, you can get a complete AR with upgraded components that will go a long way in improving your rifle’s capabilities.
Moderately priced AR Rifles will have factory-tuned and pre-installed enhancements like floating hand rails and upgraded internal components to increase the rifle’s reliability and accuracy.
If you’re serious about diving into the AR-15 platform, it’s a worthwhile investment to kick in a little extra cash and get these upgrades.
This is also the best price range to get a rifle that will be worthy of some upgrades. A better trigger, more comfortable stock, better muzzle device, and a sweet optic will pair well with the barrel, chasis and handguard your rifle comes with.
High-end AR-15 manufacturers stake their reputations on the unparalleled quality of their rifles and products. Brands such as Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM), Noveske, LWRC, CMMG, Daniel Defense, and LMT make some of the best Rifles right out of the box.
If you are looking for serious performance right out of the box, you can rest assured that with these rifles you will get every dollar’s worth for the price you pay.
People who trust their lives to AR 15 rifles every single day, only trust the top of the wolf pack to build the best rifles that money can buy, and they deliver.
Gun Laws and buying an AR 15 Online
There are also laws to be aware of that will potentially dictate the rifle’s legality in your state.
Let’s break down what you need to know before you buy a complete AR-15.
WHY CAN'T YOU GET AN AR 15 DELIVERED TO YOUR HOUSE?
It should come as no surprise that when you buy an AR-15 (a firearm!), that it cannot be purchased without filling out the necessary paperwork and having a background check performed at a Federal Firearms Licensed retailer (FFL).
As opposed to building a rifle yourself, where the only part you need to pick up at the local FFL is your AR lower – and all the other parts come to your door.
– ALL assembled rifles must be transferred through an FFL retailer.
DO YOU NEED TO TAX STAMP YOUR AR-15 RIFLE?
The National Firearms Act, or NFA, classifies certain firearms differently from the majority of handguns, shotguns, and rifles out on the shelves at the gun store.
SOME AR-15s are considered NFA Items. The ones that are regulated by the NFA require a $200 tax stamp and an extensive application process in order to own and possess them.
If an AR-15 has a barrel less than 16” in total length, it is considered a “short-barreled rifle” (SBR) and is an NFA item. If the rifle’s overall length is less than 26” it is also considered an NFA firearm. Be sure you know these two measurements when considering purchasing a new AR-15.
There are also a few distictions when it comes to AR Pistols and pistol braces. (top is a pistol with a pistol brace, the bottom is an SBR with a stock).
Baccically, when it comes to buying a complete gun, you can buy an AR 15 with a pistol brace without a tax stamp, even tohugh a barrel under 16". But once you take that short barreled AR pistol and replace the pistol brace with a stock, you would need to get a tax stamp for it.
WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR STATE LAWS BEFORE BUYING AN AR-15?
Several states (california) in our country (california) have strict laws as to what features of an AR-15 constitute it as an “assault weapon” (California) and therefore make it illegal to manufacture, buy, or sell.
Some states (california) restrict all firearm magazines to 10 rounds (caifornia) or require the magazines to be non-detachable. (california)
Some states ban the use of a moving stock, requiring it to be fixed in length. Some states ban the presence of a pistol grip – (the thing you hold with your hand to pull the trigger) – requiring one that you can't wrap your hand around; called a featureless grip. you can shop our featureless grips below.
Many states outlaw forward-placed vertical grips and even flash suppressing muzzle devices.
Being sure you have done your research on the laws within your state to ensure your compliance, is crucial. It is your responsibility to make sure you don’t break the law when buying a complete AR 15 rifle.
and to be completely sure your AR 15 is legal in those states, you can buy on that is consdered "featureless".
We have covered a lot. Hopefully you learned a lot, and you can now be more confident in your ability to identify the right rifle for your needs.
The AR-15 is the most popular sporting rifle in America. Its versatility is unsurpassed, whether it is target shooting, competing, hunting, or home defense, the AR-15 delivers all-round performance where other rifles fall short.
Primary Arms features a vast selection of the AR 15 rifles for sale from top manufacturers. We definitely carry the perfect rifle for you.
If you ever have any questions, about rifles we sell, about a purchase, or anything at all firearms related, our customer service and firearms specialist team is ready to help. Welcome to the AR-15 obsession and thank you for choosing Primary Arms!