Wannabe AR-15 owner seeks advice

Hello, I’m looking for my first AR and my brother told me a 556 or 308 is what he recommends, there are so many brands, just want a basic AR-15 for home defense, then I can add more bells and whistles if needed, I’m on a fixed income. Basically, can you choose firing one round or 3 with one trigger pull? I’ve got pistols and revolvers and an old single shot 410 to give you an idea where I’m coming from. Im not too proud to admit I know nothing about ar’s other than they are extremely popular. Any links & advice is appreciated, thanks Bruno


Well if you are on a budget I would stay away from .308 as ammo is more expensive vs an AR15. If you are looking for home defense I would recommend an AR pistol because they are easier to maneuver in close quarters. Ruger makes an affordable AR pistol. And unless you have all legal paperwork AR15’s come single shot only, 3 round bursts on an AR are illegal unless you have the proper tax stamp. Hope this helps :+1:


Bruno, welcome to the forum. The question of an AR comes up often. I bought my first AR last Sept, it is an Amoralite AR 15.
I didn’t really look at ARs for a long time due to the stock, but I am working with it and it is becoming a little better. I have a bolt and semi-auto rifles, my true love is my pistols.
I choose the AR 15 platform because for a few dollars I can have a weapon that runs 556/223 or 300 Blackout or 6.5 Grendel. Changing barrel length for longer range(Coyote) or shorter for 3 gun competition is cheap and easy. The AR should be looked at as a fully custom weapon. You can change any item on the platform to suit your needs. I don’t shoot the AR10 (308) due to a shoulder injury, but they share many of the same features as the AR15.
I would advise, but the best for you and your needs and don’t go cheap. You will find out the AR is addictive, due to the flexibility.

Good Luck



@Bruno Welcome to the forum!! First let me address one little point in your statement, something that fires three rounds with one pull of the trigger is a machine gun subject to all the rules and laws there to, they start at about $20,000.00 a copy but they can be had if you so desire. For us regular folks an AR-15 works just fine but you will have to press the trigger each time you want it to go bang.

For home defense I would stay with 5.56 out of the gate, you can adapt from there as you become more experienced.

It’s no secret I prefer to build my AR’s as I don’t think I have ever bought a whole one. Complete kit’s can be had for $400 or less and lowers can be had for $100 or less for a better than M-4 platform with less than an hour’s work. IMHO with the rules as they stand for AR pistols that is the route I would go for a home defense gun, slightly more spendy than a carbine kit simply due to the price of the brace but very handy and very maneuverable. I built my pistol for less than $450 minus optic but current pricing might have you into the $550’s for a kit and a lower. Most assembled pistols or carbines are coming in at $750 and wayyy up from there. I will warn you though, AR’s are like potato chips, you can’t have just one as they are Lego’s for big kids.




You deff have more options going this way!

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I have to agree with Craig6. I have a 556 Ruger with a red dot scope. That would be what I consider the best for home defense. When you get it, it would be a good idea to do some range time and get some training. This will insure safe proper handling and use. Plus it is nice to be with other like minded people. Enjoy and be safe.


Hey brother I don’t own one either, but I’m in the market for one, I hear M&P and Ruger make some decent ones at budget prices, look into them.


I own and recommed the Smith & Wesson M&P 15. Very solid and affordable AR 15 carbine. It can be tricked out as you like, but as it is is just fine. I have never had a single malfunction with mine.


I want to add that while 3-round-burst or full auto are fun for a minute, they don’t generally serve a practical purpose. You won’t use it for target shooting, and you probably don’t want to walk in your hits if you’re inside your home. You’re going to lay down a big wad of cash for the firearm, the license, and a bunch of wasted ammo for a thrill that will quickly wear off.

And if the zombies really attack, you’ll want something bigger.


If you are looking for a budget AR 15, get one that fires 5.56 Ammo. An AR 15 that fires 5.56 can fire .223 ammo without an issue. One must never fire 5.56 Ammo through an AR 15 (or any rifle for that matter) that fires .223 only.

Be careful if you get an AR 15 Pistol, you cannot add a stock or vertical foregrip without a tax stamp.


After some research I went with the AR 556 by Ruger. I have not been disappointed one bit. Quality and function were very good, and like most all Ruger’s I’ve had, I felt i got a very good gun for the money. Mine had excellent accuracy right out of the box as well. And, it is a 556, not a 223. Though it shoots the 223 rem very (very) well. My research did indicate though, that it might not be the best one to buy if you are going to shoot lots of rapid fire or do 30 round “magazine dumps”. I believe it lacks some things like the special chamber lining and barrel treatments done for high volume rapid fire work. But some of the AR experts here can advise better on that than I. I knew i wouldn’t likely need those for my purposes.
P.S. Note that Ruger also makes an SR 556, in addition to the newer AR 556, The SR 556 is a high end rifle, ( what they call “poston driven” ) They are quite expensive, and are not what we are talking about here. Best of luck !


I also own the S&W M&P15 and really like it. It is my first AR and at my age probably my last. Have put over 500 rounds through it without a single malfunction and at less than $600 on sale 2 years ago a real bargain


Yes sir. That was what I gave for mine 2 years ago as well. I have probably got around 7 or 8 hundred rounds through mine with no stoppages. For the money, it’s a good, solid carbine.


The worst part about purchasing an AR 15 is the variety. S&W, Mossberg, Springfield, Colt (if you can find one), Bushmaster, DPMS, Stag, Diamondback, Ruger, H & K, FN, and on and on. Many pricepoints, many options. S&W is a great choice BTW for the price and quaility on a budget. BTW, the price has gone up a bit now.


Ruger too…


You can get a decent AR-15 for an affordable price.

My Father has the Rugar 5.56.
I recently bought the M&P 15 Sport II. I have a friend whose had their M&P 15 for over 5 years now.

They’re both a little over $700. I’ve heard nothing bad about either of these rifles. I think the M&P rifle’s barrel may have a better treatment on the barrel, but with the use you’re looking for I don’t think it would really matter.