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Old June 13, 2019, 10:44 PM   #1
AreYaSerious
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Recommend me an AR15

Looking for a good starter AR15 for under $850. The less the better. I have no interest in building my own. I just want to shoot add some accessories as I go.

I am leaning towards The Springfield Saint, Armalite Defender 15, or M&P Sport 2.

I will be the first to admit, I am not familiar with AR 15s at all. Most of what I know are handguns. I am wanting to learn so any advice and recommendation is welcome.
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Old June 14, 2019, 02:18 AM   #2
SDF880
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I'll vote for the M&P sport 2! Solid AR for the price!!
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Old June 14, 2019, 04:51 AM   #3
armoredman
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Easiest and cheapest - buy the upper and lower separately at Palmetto State Armory. You can get a complete starter AR for under $400, the basic "Freedom" line. "Assembly" is just putting the upper on the lower and smacking the pins home...which you will learn to do anyway dong basic maintenance. People say good things about PSA, and I agree, even though all I bought from them was a bolt carrier group for one build I had done.
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Old June 14, 2019, 09:05 AM   #4
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The cheapest route isn't always the best.

You'll probably have to spend a little more than $850 but you'll have a carbine that will last a long, long time.

Here's my thoughts: get a basic 16" midlength upper (https://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-...g-mid-16lw.htm), decent handguard (https://www.bravocompanyusa.com/BCM-...-9-556-blk.htm), bolt carrier group, charging handle. You're up to about $800. Now get an inexpensive lower and you're good to go.
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Old June 14, 2019, 09:29 AM   #5
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I'll second the suggestion for PSA if you just want a 'shooter'.
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Old June 14, 2019, 10:04 AM   #6
Fishbed77
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That budget will easily get you a BCM upper that you can slap on a lower of your choice (say Palmetto State Armory). That will get you a higher quality rifle than any of the others mentioned so far.

Also, at $850, you are getting close to a Colt 6920 or 6720 if you can find one on sale.
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Old June 14, 2019, 10:32 AM   #7
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I would first decide on whether you want a traditional style carbine with an A2 front sight tower/gas block, or a completely flat top rifle to which you add a red dot sight or rifle scope. Of course, you can add back up open sights to a flat top rifle if you want them.

If the plan is to shoot primarily with an optic, many people do not want the front sight tower getting in the way.

I would then decide whether or not you want a free-floating hand guard. A free floating hand guard will provide a bit better accuracy and usually allows more real estate for mounting accessories than a short carbine-length hand guard.

If you are looking for a traditional style AR 15 carbine both the Smith and Wesson M&P Sport II and the Ruger AR 556 are solid values. I own the Ruger. I have shot some M&P Sport II's. Both will have very similar, basic polymer furniture, an A2 front sight post, basic single-stage, mil-spec style triggers, carbine-length gas systems, and polymer flip-up rear sights. Both have 16-16.5" long barrels. I have seen both selling for $500 and occasionally a bit less in the last couple of years.

If you want something with a free-floating hand guard, the Ruger AR556 MPR is worth considering. These have a free-floating M-LOK hand guard with an 18" barrel and rifle-length gas system (which provides for slightly less perceived recoil), a much better two-stage trigger, but no sights, so you will need to add an optic and/or flip-up front and rear open sights if you want them. I have seen the MPR selling for around $600 in recent years.

Another option might be to purchase an Aero Precision rifle with a 16" barrel and a mid-length gas system from Brownells. They current have two versions for sale. The first is a complete (nearly) rifle with an A2 front sight tower for $600 with all polymer furniture, but a magazine and rear sight are not included. The second is a "some assembly required rifle that comes without a butt stock or hand guard to which you add your choice of butt stock. This rifle has a low profile front gas block (no sight tower) to which you add your choice of free-floating hand guard. Again, no sights or magazine are included. This version costs $590 at present.

Palmetto State Armory sells many versions of AR uppers, lowers, and complete rifles. You can buy a separate upper and lower and just snap them together, or a complete rifle. Some of the uppers are sold without the bolt carrier group and charging handle so be aware that if you buy one of those you will need to purchase the BCG and charging handle separately. PSA allows many options when it comes to hand guard types, flat tops versus front sight posts, barrel lengths, gas system lengths, etc.
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Old June 14, 2019, 11:23 AM   #8
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For buying your first AR, I would also get behind a S&W Sport 2 or the Ruger AR556. Both are great entry level rifles. If you wanted to go the route of a nicer upper and budget lower, you could certainly mix and match. However the issue with ARs is that there are a lot of people who are looking for very specific things. As you are just getting into it, you may like your starter AR, but more than likely you'll have ideas for what you could change, what else you would like. That may be just different furniture. It might be a monolithic upper. You might be going for a tunable rifle. The options are almost endless. So for you just getting into it, a sport 2 would definitely fit what you're looking for. And if you decide that you want a whole new rifle, you can sell the original, or not, and you'll more than likely get close to market value.
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Old June 14, 2019, 12:01 PM   #9
DaleA
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I was going to suggest the Ruger AR556 too but if you can come upon the Ruger MPR for $600 jump on that. I'd also throw in the S&W Sport II too.

Actually, just go back and read post #7 again. Lots of really good information there.
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Old June 14, 2019, 06:07 PM   #10
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I don't know about the other firearms but my S&W Sport II has been totally reliable and it shoots better than I do.
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Old June 14, 2019, 07:52 PM   #11
Old 454
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Check out Brownells new retro AR15... I have the AR10 and it's a damn good rifle
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Old June 14, 2019, 08:35 PM   #12
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I'm on the PSA bandwagon. You can buy a complete upper and complete lower for $400 to $500, pin them together and go the range, with $$ left over for ammo. Solid guns, as accurate as anything else, nitrided barrels, good to go. And, should you decide to sell it later, can get close to your purchase price for it when you sell.
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Old June 14, 2019, 08:45 PM   #13
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Another nod for PSA here. I put mine together from a build kit for total investment of about $400. Like others have posted, you can get a complete upper and a complete lower and slap them together and call it done. Mine came with a nitrided barrel, mpi/hpt bolt, rear MBUS and Magpul furniture. It shoots great and hasn't had a malfunction. The A2 sight post does not interfere with optics. After seeing my rifle, my wife's brother ordered himself one and my sister's husband has me putting one together for him.
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Old June 15, 2019, 03:58 AM   #14
SamNavy
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The easy button is almost always PSA.

This upper has been my #1 recommendation for months now. Pencil barrel, NIB BCG and MBUS sights. It goes in and out of stock every few days... it's a damned good deal:
https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-...g-mbus-ss.html

Pair it with this lower, has their EPT trigger:
https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-...wer-black.html

Magazines... $12 for PMAGs or $7 for D&H steel... buy 10:
https://palmettostatearmory.com/acce...magazines.html


That's a gun that is ready to shoot with some nice upgrades, sights, and magazines for around $550 shipped plus the transfer fee for the lower at your FFL.

+/- $300 leftover buys you:
1200rds of FMJ or a...
Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x w/mount or a...
Pelican 1720 and a Harris Bipod or a...
Full (and I mean FULL) armorers kit, a set of top-shelf shooting bags, and quality soft-case or a...
CMMG .22lr conversion w/3mags and 5000rds of Federal Automatch or a...
new Ruger Wrangler and a pair of nice trailcams or a...
day at the spa for the wife...
I could do this for a couple pages.
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Old June 15, 2019, 05:28 AM   #15
Mobuck
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$850 should buy you a carbine, a dozen mags, and 1K of ammo.
PSA is a good start but several AR "assemblers" are selling decent uppers cheap.
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Old June 15, 2019, 06:18 PM   #16
BigMikey76
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Another thumbs up for PSA. I have an AR-15 and an AR-10 from them. Bought both as separate upper and lower to save a few bucks. Between the two of them, I spent under $1000 total, and they are both rock solid and reliable.
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Old June 15, 2019, 10:47 PM   #17
kymasabe
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"cheap" assemblers: Check out Davidson Defense and Sanders Armory. I think MAS Defense might have some affordable stuff too.
But, in my humble (and some consider worthless) opinion, I still think PSA is better than both.
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Old June 15, 2019, 10:49 PM   #18
kymasabe
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AND....buy this !! Case and 7 PMAGS for $79 plus shipping:
https://palmettostatearmory.com/psa-...magazines.html
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Old June 16, 2019, 02:27 AM   #19
raimius
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SamNavy's suggestion in post #14 is a very good one.

That upper provides a nice, lightweight setup. MLOK is a good system with a variety of aftermarket support for adding accessories. The NiB BCG will be easy to clean.

I have not dealt with PSA lowers, but their uppers are good shooters at a low price. PSA is not "top shelf" in the finer details, but they make great introductory or training rifles. I'd go with that. You'll get a good rifle at a good price, and if you wind up deciding on tinkering or upgrading down the road, you won't have spent $2K figuring that out!
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Old June 16, 2019, 09:33 AM   #20
Targa
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Im with Pblanc on the Aeroprecision recommendation

https://www.brownells.com/firearms/r...RO%2bPRECISION

https://www.brownells.com/firearms/r...RO%2bPRECISION
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Old June 16, 2019, 09:43 AM   #21
Bozz10mm
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I also agree with SamNavy's post #14. The M&P Sport II would be my second choice, but I think I's rather have the free float handguard that the PSA upper has. The PSA lower with the EPT trigger is a definite upgrade from the standard trigger. 4½ lb. trigger compared to the standard 6-7 lb. trigger you get on most.
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Old June 16, 2019, 10:02 AM   #22
Nathan
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I can’t name a specific rifle, but make sure you are thinking’s no about the cost including sights and red dot. They can add some money.

Also, a lightweight profile barrel is much more comfortable to hold up and run drills with.

A mid length gas system is softer than a carbine. It is the ideal for 16” guns.

Spend money on a good trigger....I like the Rise Armament RA 140. Maybe it gets added later.

Get a stock you like to put your cheek on.

For the forearm, I really like guns with a Magpul MOE SL and a fixed FSB.
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Old June 16, 2019, 09:43 PM   #23
AreYaSerious
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Very interesting information on here, Thanks a lot everyone.
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Old June 17, 2019, 10:10 AM   #24
pblanc
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Once you have fallen down the AR rabbit hole, you will begin to learn about how different barrel lengths, different barrel twist rates, different length gas systems, different buffer weights, free-floating versus non-free-floating hand guards, flat top monolithic versus fixed front sight post, and a host of other variables potentially affect function, and will have a basis to decide on what choices will be best for your particular application.

You might also decide what type of furniture configurations, optics choices, triggers, and accessories you need or want. Until you have some experience with all of these things, you probably do not yet know what you will eventually want. That is one reason I tend to recommend going with a fairly basic but good quality AR carbine as a first AR rifle, until you refine your particular needs.

Remember to leave room in your budget for magazines, ammunition, basic cleaning supplies, sights, optics (if you want something besides open sights) and sundries.
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Old June 17, 2019, 04:44 PM   #25
GarandTd
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I know you said you didn't want to build one, but consider the idea. Like you, I didn't know anything about ARs when I started. Putting one together is a great way to become familiar with the platform and how it works. If you have any kind of mechanical skills and some very basic tools, it's actually not that hard to do. I chose to build mine for the cost savings and the experience with the rifle, not to build a spec'd out custom AR. There is an 11% tax on the purchase of complete AR15 rifles.

Cost may not be as big a factor for you as it was for me, but to give you an idea, I'm currently about $600 invested. That total includes a case, 5 magazines(2 20rd, 3 30rd), the rifle kit, lower receiver, cheap 4x32 scope, and about 600 rounds of ammo. I already had cleaning equipment. The rifle has performed admirably with no malfunctions and reasonable accuracy.
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