By: Brady Kirkpatrick at Gunmade.com
Are you looking for an AR-15 that will complement your skills as a shooter? You may want to buy an AR-15 that will keep up with your training cycle and the amount of brass you plan on running through it.
Either way, I’ve got my hands on these rifles and a few others so that I can recommend five of the best manufacturers on the market.
It’s not easy finding these rifles since plenty of manufacturers have their own gimmicks, whether it be different coatings on their bolt carrier groups like Scionics or using a thicker barrel profile like Noveske.
Weeding through the tricks and finding out what works and what doesn’t takes bread. Thankfully, I have a lot of friends with more guns than brain cells.
It makes lists like this easier to write.
We’ll jump right in, but I just want to disclose my relationships with these companies before we do. It’s relatively easy, they have no idea I exist. I’m just a dude that talks about guns after he shoots what he likes.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about rifles.
Who Are They?
Before we start, I just want to let you know that you aren’t going to see any ‘budget’ manufacturers on this list.
In my experience, when you make ‘budget’ the aim of any build, you’re bound to spend money on replacement parts later. Hopefully, it’s not when you need the rifle the most.
Eventually, you’ll spend more than you would have if you had bought a quality rifle in the first place.
Just a heads up.
Few manufacturers know how to build a fighting rifle like Knights Armament for all intents and battle rifle purposes. After all, Eugene Stoner, the mastermind behind the M16/AR-15 platform, ended his career at Knights.
And they’ve been around long enough to work out the kinks.
The SR-15 (Knights iteration of the AR-15) is the premium option among battle rifles because Knights Armament has experience building rifles. Are they perfect? No company is. But their rifles have a proven track record on the field.
It’s built for rugged use and for those who want an AR-15 that will keep up with you no matter what role you need it for.
It has notoriety in the community. And shooters who want to build a battle rifle are willing to pay the premium for an AR-15. It can also make it hard to find at times. But not impossible.
Heckler & Koch
I’m sure you know H&K well. Do the UMP, MP5, MP7, Mk25 ring any bells? Those firearms have their history carved in stone for being some of the best combat firearms to date. Just think of how many theatres these firearms have seen.
And I’m not just talking about the big screen; they’ve also been there a lot.
The HK416 is one of Heckler and Koch’s AR-15 iterations (among a few) to receive a huge following due to its fortune in combat situations. It was developed for Delta Force operatives by request from Larry Vickers. You know the guy.
Since then, the 416 has received much love from government agencies and military units alike. And that’s just one H&K to make it to the big league.
Then again, plenty of folks know that just because the military adopts a firearm doesn’t mean it’s good. Let’s just say that isn’t the case here.
Lewis Machine And Tool
LMT is another fan favorite for those who want to build a battle-worthy rifle. Their MRP-L line of upper receivers (they have lowers, too) was popular enough to win contracts and become extremely popular among shooters.
One good feel of the rifle (totally solicited), and you get the emotions of holding a rifle again for the first time. Before you knew what a good rifle felt like, anyway. It’s sturdy, and you don’t get scared to run it because it feels like it can be thrown from a building and still tick.
I don’t recommend doing that, by the way.
Again, this is a premium AR-15. So, a lot of craftsmanship goes along with LMT rifles. The MRP-L is the first true monolithic upper on the market. The receiver and handrail are milled from one solid block of aluminum.
Although it is pricey, an LMT rifle won’t cost you as much as one from Knights, but you can rest assured it will run as hard.
Aside from some of the best marketing in the gun industry, Noveske makes some of the baddest rifles on the market (in a good way). Their slogan is “the All-American Badass Rifle Company,” if you’ve ever been behind the wheel of one of their rifles, you’d understand why.
As a higher-tier company, Noveske makes most of its parts in-house. Their barrels are some of the best on the market and can shoot sub-MOA to 1-MOA groupings on any given day.
And they use the barrel profile of the M249 light-machine gun from FN, which lends a hand to durability and longevity.
And their rifles aren’t fussy with ammo.
Noveske also makes the more affordable Chainsaw for those of us who can’t spend the extra bread. Gotta love those guys.
Bravo Company Manufacturing
Are you starting to see a pattern here? While BCM isn’t everyone’s first choice for a fine battle rifle, the company knows how to produce a quality rifle. One of which I have myself.
BCM is a mid-tier company with rifles that will keep up with the heat but leave room for improvement. You would call this your ‘budget’ rifle on the higher end.
But, the materials BCM uses are found on top-dollar rifles, like the 7075-T6 aluminum used on their receivers to the Carpenter 158 blend used on their bolt carrier group (one of the best BCGs on the market).
I call it the Porsche 911 of the gun world. BCM is the standard that many AR-15 manufacturers hold themselves to.
If you want a quality rifle with bells and whistles to enhance your shooting experience, you must shell out some bread. The beauty of it is that adopting the ‘buy once, cry once’ mentality will hurt just a bit less.
This list of AR-15 manufacturers is a great place to start. Take your pick and fire away.
Be good and take care.