5 Best AR-15 Manufacturers on the Market

Though there isn’t a clear cut AR that stands above the rest, there are several manufacturers that outperform their competitors. Ask most gun owners and they will attest to the qualities of certain brands over others. But everyone has their own favorites, which is part of the reason ARs are so damn popular. Something we all love about the AR is their variety. You can customize an AR to make it unrecognizable from the stock product.

Many people say that MIL-SPEC makes the AR. That seems to have adjusted to be more of a marketing ploy rather than an accurate representation of the firearm. There are some criteria and specs that you should look for when you want to find an AR-15 sale. Some of those might include: M4 feed ramps, a high pressure test, gas key that is appropriately staked, the chamber and bore are both chrome-lined, and they are chambered for the 5.56mm NATO. There are plenty of other factors that define quality, but these are a start in what to look for when selecting your ideal firearm. So based off of those criteria, along with general consensus on what makes an ideal AR-15, here is a list of five of the best AR-15 manufacturers on the market.


Since the company is known for initiating some common trends in the AR-15 world, it is only fitting to have them lead the list. Though not an overly old company, dating back to 1982, Barrett has made an impact on the industry. They are credited with making the first shoulder-fired .50 BMG rifle. They are also credited with taking industry standards for an AR-15, bringing all those specifications into their model, and producing some of the world’s best AR-15s.


Colt might have defined early specifications for what an AR should be. Often being at the forefront of technology, they continue to provide commercial grade AR-15s that are almost identical to the military M4. So when you read MIL-SPEC on a Colt AR, it’s a damn good chance that you are getting products worthy of our armed forces. Just because you’ve been doing something for a long time doesn’t mean you will consistently be good at it, but Colt defies that theory by producing industry-defining AR-15s.

Daniel Defense

Necessity is the mother of invention. And when you need high quality AR-15 parts and can’t get them, you start your own company to become a leading producer or top-tier AR-15 rifles and AR-15 accessories; at least, that’s what Marty Daniel did when he founded Daniel Defense. Their AR-15 line has become a staple of the market, impressing thousands of gun enthusiasts with their performance grade finishes. Additionally, Daniel Defense prides itself in crafting many other of their own parts in house. That means the sights, rails, stocks, and flash suppressors will often be made by the company providing the kickass AR.

Heckler and Koch

With origins dating back to supplying firearms to the German military in 1956, it is easy to see why H&K has become trusted with the MIL-SPEC standards most people want in their AR. The HK416 was the firearm that killed Osama Bin Laden. Tried and true firearms that are then crafted for the general public are what H&K excel at. The real ingenuity of their rifles comes from their proprietary gas system, which is based off of a pusher rod. Though often a little bit pricier than some of their counterparts, H&Ks are worth the cost.

Smith & Wesson

Another company that needs no introduction, Smith & Wesson has provided quality firearms for generations. Their AR-15s are no different. They are the dependable, quality rifles that we have come to expect from the S&W name. When you purchase a Smith and Wesson AR-15, you’ll also have access to many of the key details that firearm owners want in their typical AR. It’s hard to have a list of quality firearms without including a S&W.

Now that you know some of the brands, you’ll want to start looking for good gun deals. One of the best options is to purchase with online layaway. This option gives you the flexibility you need to pay for the AR as you build the capital for one. Many of the ARs on this list have a higher price tag than other firearms.


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