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Top 7 AR15’s Under $800

Top 7 AR15’s Under $800

The AR-15 is America’s most popular rifle platform. Eugene Stoner’s greatest invention is known for its many advantages: lightweight, versatile, chambered in an effective cartridge with decades of combined proven effectiveness, and most of all, highly customizable.

Whether you need an AR-15 for home defense, hunting, target shooting, competition, or simply exercising your constitutional rights, there are rifles for every budget. Discover the top 7 AR-15 available for $800 or less and learn about the best reasonably-priced AR platform rifles available today.

 

  1. Smith & Wesson M&P-15 Sport II

Smith & Wesson MP15 Sport 2

The M&P-15 is Smith & Wesson’s flagship AR-15 model and one of the most common AR platforms on the market. The first version of the M&P-15 was introduced in 2006, initially intended for use as a police carbine but now marketed as a general-purpose carbine for civilian and law enforcement applications.

The name “M&P” is a homage to the Smith & Wesson Model 10 Military & Police revolver, one of the world’s most successful .38 revolvers.

The M&P-15 Sport II is the latest iteration of the M&P-15 rifle family, introduced to the market in 2016. The primary differences with the older model are the replacement of the carry handle with a flip-up Magpul rear iron sight, a mil-spec dust cover, a forward assist, and a new Armornite nitride barrel finish.

Aside from these new features, the M&P-15 is a typical entry-level AR-15 carbine with a 16” barrel, a 6-position retractable stock, and a 4140 steel barrel. The Armornite nitride finish ensures more consistent accuracy than traditional chrome lining while providing the same level of protection for your barrel.

A2 Stock

While the barrel twist rate on the Sport II is a relatively slower 1/9 instead of the more typical mil-spec 1/7 rate, it should not affect performance with standard 5.56mm and .223 ammunition (55-grain, 62-grain). 

However, avoid shooting longer and heavier bullets (77 grains and higher) through this barrel, as this twist rate may not give the projectiles enough stabilization, resulting in significantly lower accuracy.

Although Smith & Wesson advertises this rifle with an MSRP of $810, it is readily available at numerous gun shops and other firearm retailers for a much lower price, making it an ideal choice for shooters needing a dependable, reasonably-priced AR-15 rifle.

Specifications (M&P-15 Sport II)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/9

  • Stock: Retractable, 6-position

  • Rear sight: Magpul MBUS folding sight

  • Front sight: A2 sight with adjustable post

  • Attachment points: Standard flat-top Picatinny rail

  • Magazine: Polymer 30-round

 

  1. Del-Ton SXT

Del-Ton SXT

When it comes to affordable AR-15 rifles, one of the most commonly cited manufacturers is Del-Ton. This company is headquartered in North Carolina and specializes exclusively in the AR-15 platform, producing 100% of its rifles and components in the United States.

Although Del-Ton’s lower-priced models are often cited as a good choice for beginners looking to buy their first AR-15s, saving up a little extra for a model such as the Sierra SXT offers many benefits while remaining under the $800 budget.

The SXT is one of Del-Ton’s mid-range rifle models, offering several benefits over a traditional entry-level AR-15. It features a full-length Picatinny rail ready for any scope or red dot sight, a 16” barrel, a mil-spec 1/7 twist rate, M4 feed ramps for improved feeding, and 15” M-LOK free-floating handguards.

Full Pic Rail

The SXT’s barrel employs 4150 chrome-moly-vanadium (4150CMV) with manganese phosphating. This barrel material is similar to that used in military M4 carbines and M16A4 rifles, ensuring long life and high resistance to heavy volumes of fire.

The M-LOK handguards make the SXT compatible with a wide range of M-LOK accessories. Examples include accessory rails, foregrips, sling swivel mounts, tactical lights, laser sights, and many other modern AR-15 accessories. 

The manufacturer’s recommended price is $795, making it affordable while offering the same features and modularity typically found in the $1,000 range.

Specifications (SXT)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/7

  • Stock: M4-style retractable, 5-position

  • Rear sight: None

  • Front sight: None

  • Attachment points: Full-length top Picatinny rail, side + underbarrel M-LOK mounting points

  • Magazine: Aluminum 30-round

 

  1. Palmetto State Armory PSA 16” M4 with M-LOK Handguards

PSA AR

Named after the nickname for their home state of South Carolina, Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is one of the most well-known rifle manufacturers in the United States. Although AR-15s are the company’s most notable products, PSA produces many other rifle platforms, including AR-10s and a growing selection of AK-pattern rifles.

The PSA 16” M4 with M-LOK handguards is a slight variation of the company’s classic 16” AR-15 that trades the standard mil-spec handguards for a 13.5” free-floating M-LOK handguard with a short Picatinny rail, ideal for installing your favorite front sight.

All other elements on this rifle are stock and characteristic of an affordable AR-15 rifle: a 7075-T6 upper receiver with classic flat top rail, a bolt carrier group made of Carpenter-158 steel to USGI specifications, a 7075-T6 lower receiver with “MULTI” caliber marking, a carbine-length gas system, and mil-spec A2 pistol grip.

The 16” barrel is made of 4150CMV and features a mil-spec 1/7 twist rate, M4 feed ramps, and an M4 barrel profile, ensuring a long barrel life and reliable feeding.

Although the PSA M4 ships without sights, it is compatible with a limitless array of Picatinny-compatible scopes, red dot sights, and backup iron sights. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $799.

Specifications (PSA M4)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/7

  • Stock: Retractable, PSA Classic M4 stock, 6-position

  • Rear sight: None

  • Front sight: None

  • Attachment points: Mil-spec top Picatinny rail, short Picatinny rail on the handguard, M-LOK side + underbarrel attachment points

  • Magazine: Aluminum 30-round

 

  1. DPMS DR-15 B5 with MBUS Rear Sight

 

DPMS AR15

DPMS Panther ARMS is another well-established manufacturer in the AR-15 world. DPMS was founded in 1985 and initially based in Minnesota until relocating to its current headquarters in South Carolina. Though they specialize in AR-15 and AR-10-pattern firearms, DPMS also produces the Anvil, a line of 100% US-made AKs.

The DPMS DR-15 is the company’s flagship family of AR-15 rifles and carbines, and this particular model, the DR-15 B5 carbine with MBUS rear sight, is a 5.56mm DR-15 fitted with a selection of parts and enhancements.

This carbine ships out of the box with the Magpul MBUS rear sight and a standard A2 front sight, eliminating the need to purchase sights separately. This addition makes the DR-15 ready to shoot out of the box; all you need is ammunition.

This version of the DR-15 also comes with a selection of B5 Systems parts: a B5 ergonomic pistol grip, a B5 Bravo stock inspired by the M4 SOPMOD stock, a B5 trigger guard for gloved hands, and a B5 M-LOK slim handguard with heat shields, protecting the shooter’s hands during long strings of fire. 

DPMS suggests a retail price of $749.99, keeping this carbine within budget while also being sleeker and more comfortable than mil-spec equivalents.

Specifications (DR-15)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/7

  • Stock: Retractable, B5 Bravo stock, 6-position

  • Rear sight: Magpul MBUS

  • Front sight: A2 sight

  • Attachment points: Mil-spec top Picatinny rail

  • Magazine: Polymer 30-round

 

  1. Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 Marksman 5.56

 

Anderson Manufacturing AM-15

 

Many gun owners looking to start a budget AR-15 building project begin with an Anderson Manufacturing lower receiver. The company specializes in no-frills, mil-spec AR-pattern rifles, producing various affordable parts and accessories compatible with the AR-15 and AR-10.

The AM-15 is Anderson’s family of complete AR-15 pattern rifles, which includes staples such as 16”-barrel carbines and full-length models with 20” barrels, to more unusual offerings, such as carbines with mid-length gas systems

If you are primarily interested in the AR-15 platform for hunting or long-distance target shooting, you may need a rifle featuring a longer barrel than the classic carbine-length 16”, such as the AM-15 Marksman 5.56.

The Marksman is the ideal entry-level choice for the budget-minded precision shooter, with a recommended price of $799. It features an 18” barrel inspired by the military Mark 12 rifle, a 100% aluminum M-LOK handguard with full-length Picatinny rail, a Magpul K2 pistol grip, and the critically acclaimed Magpul PRS Lite stock, ideal for precision shooting.

The barrel is 18” and features an all-purpose 1/8 twist rate, ideal for stabilizing bullets up to 80 grains, including high-quality 5.56mm match-grade projectiles, such as the Sierra MatchKing 77-grain, Barnes Precision Match 69-grain, or Black Hills Mk262 77-grain. 

At the end of the Marksman’s barrel is Anderson’s proprietary Knight Stalker muzzle brake, designed to reduce muzzle rise while also suppressing muzzle flash.

Specifications (AM-15 Marksman)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 18”

  • Twist rate: 1/8

  • Stock: Fixed, Magpul PRS Lite

  • Rear sight: None

  • Front sight: None

  • Attachment points: Full-length top Picatinny rail, side + underbarrel M-LOK mounting points

  • Magazine: Polymer 20-round

 

  1. CORE Rifle Systems CORE-15 Lo-Pro Scout

Core 15 Lo Pro Scout

Although CORE Rifle Systems is not as well-known as most other AR-15 manufacturers, this Ocala, Florida company produces a range of AR-15 and AR-10 rifles designed to offer the best possible accuracy and long-term reliability without breaking the bank.

The CORE-15 Lo-Pro Scout is the entry-level product in CORE’s AR-15 catalog, with an MSRP of $649.99. It is a no-nonsense AR-15 carbine with a standard flat-top upper receiver, a low-profile gas block, and no sights, front or rear, indicating it is intended for use with a red dot sight or a suitable scope, such as an LPVO.

Despite the classic, no-frills mil-spec look, the CORE-15 comes with a few unique perks. The upper and lower receiver both employ forged 7075-T6 aluminum, ensuring a tight, rock-solid fit. The upper comes with CORE’s V1 charging handle, 100% machined from 6061-T6 aluminum.

All other parts and furniture are mil-spec, including the M4 6-position stock, A2 pistol grip, and standard M4-style handguards.

The CORE-15’s barrel is 16” long and features an all-purpose 1/8 twist rate, ideal for stabilizing a wide range of projectile weights. It is accurate and dependable enough to let you hit targets from 0 to 300 yards.

Specifications (CORE-15)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/8

  • Stock: M4-style retractable, 6-position

  • Rear sight: None

  • Front sight: None

  • Attachment points: Mil-spec top Picatinny rail

  • Magazine: Polymer 30-round

 

  1. Radical Firearms RF-15 with 12” RPR + MFT Furniture

 

Radical Firearms RF15

 

Radical Firearms is a Texas-based manufacturer of AR-15 rifles, parts, and accessories producing quality mil-spec products for an affordable price. Radical’s unique value proposition is their selection of unique handguards, offering premium-quality mounting systems instead of mil-spec clamping. 

The resulting rifles have excellent fit and finish, considered by discerning gun owners to approach the build quality of much higher-priced guns.

The Radical Firearms RF-15 with 12” RPR handguard and MFT furniture is a sub-$700 AR-15 carbine that can compete with the best on the market. It features the proprietary Radical Parallelogram Rail (RPR) handguard, an extra-light free-floating handguard system with M-LOK attachment points, and a full-length, top-end Picatinny rail for your favorite optics.

This carbine comes fitted with an MFT pistol grip and MFT Minimalist stock, designed to keep the overall weight down without compromising comfort, regardless of the shooting position.

The RF-15’s barrel is 16” long, comes with a mil-spec 1/7 twist rate, and features a SOCOM barrel profile similar to the type produced by Bravo Company. The particular configuration of this barrel profile redistributes more weight toward the front of the barrel, helping eliminate muzzle rise.

Specifications (RF-15)

  • Chambering: 5.56x45mm NATO

  • Barrel length: 16”

  • Twist rate: 1/7

  • Stock: Retractable, MFT Minimalist, 6-position

  • Rear sight: None

  • Front sight: None

  • Attachment points: Full-length top Picatinny rail, side + underbarrel M-LOK mounting points

  • Magazine: Aluminum or polymer, 30-round

Find the Best American-Made Daily Carry Holsters at We The People Holsters

BLOG15

Whether you trust the AR-15 for home defense, hunting, competition, tactical applications, military & law enforcement uses, or simply for fun at the range, one thing is sure: it is America’s rifle.

Many American citizens, including many of us here at We The People Holsters, own and shoot AR-15s. We also know that the best companion to a good rifle is a reliable handgun and a dependable holster. 

For these reasons, we offer high-quality, hand-crafted Kydex and leather holsters compatible with all your favorite pistols and revolvers. Browse our holster collection today and find the IWB and OWB holsters you need.

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