Which AR is the best?

I’ve narrowed down my next gun purchase - an AR. I’m decently versed in handguns, but my AR knowledge is lacking.

What AR would you recommend buying? And why?

And I know someone is going to recommend building one. If you can convince me to build one with suggestions about parts, I’ll definitely consider that too! :wink:


I had a buddy build me one out of scrap parts he had and as I shot and gained proficiency I upgraded and changed things around. I’m currently getting the parts together for my next one and using what I learned from the first one. Getting the parts together seems overwhelming BUT it really isnt to build a basic and general purpose AR.

I’m using a Palmetto State Armory stripped lower
Geislee lower parts kit, SSA 2 stage trigger, and the buffer tube and spring kit. I will use magpul buttstock and grip with a midwest industries drop in quad rail. You can buy a complete upper from Palmetto State Armory for around 250. You don’t have to pick all the parts I did but if you’re going to change the “furniture” why not throw together a lower. I’m sure you have co workers that would love to guide you thru this.

The 2 big things I love about doing it this way is you buy stuff as money allows it so it’s easier on the pocket book. And it’s yours even if you have it built you picked out the parts and it makes it more personal.

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Oh yes, there are definitely people here at the USCCA headquarters who would be able to help me! One of the USCCA staff team has an FFL.

Learning more about the AR platform is something I think everyone here may be interested in - and you all are sure to have a variety of ideas as well.

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The correct answer to your question is “mine”. Mine is the best AR because it’s mine. Any future ARs subject to my ownership is also the best AR. I bought an AR556 by Ruger. It was a good price and got me in the game. I bought it November 2018. There were many other choices but this one was a Black Friday special on a local military base. Love firing rounds down range. I’d like an AR10 but think my kids college education is more important Building one is an option though.


@Dawn I just ordered a PSA lower, and upper. The upper is a mid length with a free floated barrel and an Mlok foregrip. It comes with MBUS irons, and a nickle boron BCG. I don’t know what that means, as far as performance, but the upper was one of their daily deals. I’m throwing a 1x4 AR scope on it.

The lower is standard, because I don’t really care about the milspec stock, and the trigger is being replaced eventually.

I’m probably going to order a stripped lower in the next few weeks for a pistol build I want to do eventually. It’s definitely worth not paying the 11% tax for being a firearm, and having everything be cheap. PSA takes forever with shipping, but that’s the price you pay to save money. I did hear that the finish of the firearm from PSA isn’t the greatest, but if I cared about that I would’ve gotten another M1A.

I got the whole set up for around 475. I watched their site like a hawk for a month before I saw the deal I wanted. They have some good deals right now it seems.


Ruger AR556

USA made, simple, functional, Inexpensive


Yours can’t be “my” favorite then, @KillJoy! lol! ::wink:


I usually build them, they are all the same.

  1. 5.56 / .223 NATO (You can shoot either)
  2. Complete lower receiver (DPMS works well)
  3. 16 inch barrel 1:7 Twist (bear creek Arsenal) for maximum accuracy Stainless steel barrel.

You can buy all of these ready to assemble.

Let me know if you need help with it.


One of my last purchases seems pretty solid. Springfield Armory Saint Edge, trigger is amazing, kinda debating switching out the muzzle brake to a flash hider, but it’s annoying and fun. Crazy light gun, BCM furniture it just feels good. 54613

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I shot in a stall next to a dude with one of those, and the guy kept putting the muzzle break out beyond the stall and blasting me with gas. The RSO nicely told him to stop, and the guy felt horrible and let me shoot it. It was a great shooting gun, but I don’t get a muzzle break on a 5.56.


I agree, it’s absolutely pointless. I laughed when I picked it up and got it home. Pic for those who haven’t seen this craziness. 54638

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@James, in CA a flash hider is an evil feature, I run Fixed Mag which are compliant. I just picked up 2 Helius Tactical Vector Comps. They’re flash hiders that I thought would make awesome muzzle thumpers

Well that’s insane. I want to like California. I think the history of the state is awesome. I also think the redwoods, and hunting would be great too, but your gun laws are as you well know, arcane. I mean you could hunt elk and go fishing on the ocean in the same day. That’s awesome.

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@Dawn, I bought stripped lowers and put mine together like a Johnny Cash Cadillac, one piece at a time.

I’ve mentioned my rifles before but will recap again. In CA you can run featureless or fixed mag and keep the pistol grips, adjustable stocks, muzzle tips of any type and not have to register as an assault weapon. I use the juggernaut tactical hellfighter maglock kits and live them.

My favorite is a juggernaut tactical JT15. It’s a billet lower with ambidextrous bolt catch release levers, and a threaded bolt catch lever pin. Magpul grips and MFT minimalist stock. Chambered in .223 Wilde 16’ barrel with 1 in 7 twist.

I also have an anderson am15 forged which works just fine nothing fancy in 5.56 16” barrel 1 in 7 twist. Daniel Defense furniture and iron sights which are my favorites, they feel ergonomically better than magpul, fitment has a tight tolerance and the sights are great fixed sights.

Last is an aero precision M4E1 forged which is nice, I like the threaded bolt catch pin and fit and finish is nice as well. I chambered it in .300 blackout 16” 1 in 8 twist with a pistol length gas system, I found a magpul matrix diversified MOE furniture kit in wild fire camp.

My friends have Smith and Wesson MP15s and when talking with folks at my FFLs a few have mentioned the Ruger ar556 that @Orpackrat mentioned.

Putting them together is fun and you can spread the cost out with all the nice options you want, barrels, triggers, furniture, sights/optics.

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CA land is beautiful and filled with great outdoors away from the metropolitan areas. We loved living in the mountains a few years back.

The laws keep changing, its very important to keep on top. It’s ridiculous for example to take a mini 14 or an M1A and install an EBR stock system. It would then be a deadly assault weapon because of the pistol grip, adjustable stock, and flash hider. Same rate of fire, same magazine feed, yet the swap of the stock makes it more deadly.

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I have owned 6 and presently have 4
My Bushmaster was a great gun, hit where I aimed out to 300yds no problem
My Olympic Arms was sweet and kept them in the 10 ring all day long
My Colt HBAR Competition I hit groundhogs out to 500 yds no problem
My polymer Plum Crazy shoots well enough and is very lightweight
My 2 Smith & Wesson’s are great and reliable
It is features and reliability, forward assist and dust covers or whatever you feel is important
Being accurate is someplace I don’t compromise
I send all my barrels out for cryogenic treatment and do a 200 round barrel break in (cleaning every other round). They can print the same hole at 100 yds!
Depends what you are after I guess. Hitting what I aim at is most important to me. Price is relative- what’s an extra 100 bucks? Just save your lunch money a little longer I say. You will never regret quality.

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I imagine the idea of leaving feels like retreating. I really hope you guys in California get all the gun rights we enjoy in the Midwest.

Where in the mountains were you? I also heard from an old Army buddy from Chico that if you’re in Mendacino county you want to be carrying.

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Ok! You guys have me convinced to build! Which part do I start with?


Lower reciever, it’s the only one that requires a background check. Or you can buy an 80% finished lower, and finish it yourself and not have to register anything. Totally legal.