When recommending a piece to a first-time shooter or to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with AR-15s, the best rifles are those that are easy and comfortable to shoot. In this regard, the DDM4’s buttstock and pistol grip makes it a great option.
It’s also got a 30-round capacity and direct impingement action. For beginners, this is one of the top picks for a 5.56mm weapon.
The DDM3 or “Tornado” measures up to its name. It packs a real wallop. With a salt bath nitride finished muzzle device and a full-latch impact plastic case, the Tornado is just an awesome thing to behold. Which brings me to my next point.
At nearly $2,000, this one is really an end-user piece — it’s not the first rifle we would recommend as it is in no way budget-friendly.
Essentially, the DDM3 is a vanity piece. It’s great if you want a fast and accurate weapon that will also serve as a great conversation piece, but there are certainly AR-15s out there that are significantly cheaper and every bit as good.
The DDMA1 on the other hand uses a lightweight free-floating barrel design. The thing we like the most about it is its sling swivel attachment points. We really appreciate the convenience this provides when customizing this rifle.
We mentioned the Predator movie earlier, right? Well, for those who liked that movie, you’ll appreciate the name of this LaRue model, and it wouldn’t look out of place in a balls-to-the-wall action movie like Predator either.
This one’s got a camo-colored stock, a fierce-looking barrel and all the things anyone could want in an AR-15. It’s got lightweight maneuverability, sub-MOA accuracy and staked carrier keys.
At $1,065, this is one of the more expensive AR-15s on this list, and for good reason.
Most people have never heard of the Rock River Arms brand of AR-15 — they’re currently not as popular as the most established brands we grew up hearing, e.g. names like Remington, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, etc.
Rock River Arms were founded in 1993 and have been steadily earning a solid reputation as an AR-15 manufacturer eversince.
With a hogue grip and A2 flash hider, the LAR-15 is comfortable to use, accurate and built to last. It’s got an RRA two-stage trigger and a star safety selector as well.
Although we can’t recommend this rifle to everyone seeing as how hard it can be on the wallet, being a feature-packed piece of hardware, it’s well worth the price — definitely worth taking a look at if you can afford it.
The M400 is billed as being made from some of the finest components and I’d definitely agree with the advertising. It’s got a handsome, classy titanium finish and a direct impingement system.
The thing that makes this the ideal piece for a newcomer to the AR-15 is its ROMEO5 red dot sight.
Though personally, I’m not a real fan of any sight system save for the classic run-of-the-mill iron sights that come pre-installed in most guns, the ROMEO5 sight it comes with will make a huge difference, especially for those who who prefer a red dot sight installed on their AR-15 out of the box.
And being manufactured by SIG Sauer, a company known for their firearms’ reliability, for $999.99 you are paying for the company’s reputation and experience. They wouldn’t have won the US Military’s Modular Handgun System contract if their guns aren’t top notch.
Like most firearms enthusiasts, I don’t really like Smith & Wesson as a company, but I love their guns.
This AR-15 one is a tad bit more expensive than some of their other options as it retails for nearly $1,300, but if you got the money and you’re willing to look past the rather hefty price tag, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with the M & P MOE.
The rifle comes with folding Magpul MBUS rear sights, a Magpul lower receiver, a chromed firing pin and an Armornite barrel finish. It should really be called the “Magpul Special” because it’s loaded for bear with everything Magpul.
The M & P MOE has a Magpul brand vertical grip, a Magpul stock, a Magpul pistol grip and a Magpul handguard. Why, it even comes with Magpul magazines!
So if you’re a fan of Magpul accessories and you’re looking to build your own AR-15 and only installing aftermarket Magpul parts on it, look no further. The M & P MOE is the best rifle on this list for you.
This is probably the best mid-level AR-15 on this list in terms of price. At $879.99, it won’t break the bank but you know you’ll still be getting a quality piece.
Chambered for, again, the typical 5.56mm cartridge, the R16 is an attractive option because it has some interesting features that many AR-15s do not possess. My favorite one is its six-position telescoping buttstock.
The R16 also has manual-lever safety with indicator markings on either side of the receiver which is good for beginners who aren’t used to handling rifles. Each one comes with a durable hard plastic case which makes it easy to store and maintain.
We’ve gone over a ton of stuff here and it’s probably been exhausting, but if you’re only looking to purchase your first AR-15, we recommend that you do your own research before buying anything.
There are a host of great resources out there that give even more specific info about how to shoot an AR-15 properly, how to maintain them, and how some AR-15 models could be better for certain purposes than others.
It goes without saying that you, as the buyer, should make sure that the AR-15 you’re looking to buy will serve your intended purpose. The world of AR-15s is vast and we can only fit too much info on a single article. We can’t emphasize more how important it is to do your own research.
This article by Will Ellis originally appeared at Gun News Daily in 2017.