Top 5 Best AR-15 Manufactures.

Question came in:

“Mad Ogre, can you make a list of the best AR 15 rifles according to your expertise? I’ve read you articles and it seems to me you’ve done your homework! Would really like to know which AR 15 manufacturer rifle would catch your eye!”

That’s a good question, but also technically complicated.  Saying “AR-15” is like saying “Pickup Truck”.   Asking for the best Pickup Truck would require me to respond with “What are you going to do with it?” It’s far easier if I know the specific applications you are going to use it for, because of all the options and configurations out there.   And with AR-15’s there are far more nuances that go with them.   So instead of specific models, I’m going to simplify this.   I’m going to list in order specific manufactures.  Companies that are making production gun sold through dealers… not custom guns.

My TOP 5, Starting at the top and working down:

3.  LMT
I’ve been dealing a lot more with LWRC since I wrote this list.  And I have to give credit where credit is due.  LWRC is now a solid #5.  I really like what they are doing with their new M6IC carbines, and others… So I’m bumping Bravo to Runner Up Status and making LWRC number five:
5.  LWRC

Runners Up:

These are the only production AR-15 Rifle Makers that I would personally spend my own money on.    Reason I picked these are due to the overall quality and consistency that I have seen.   These guys are consistently putting out the best products.    Each one of these Brands are worth exploring.  Which specific rifle – depends on your application or the configuration that you are looking for.   These are also companies that I have personally talked with and know there commitment to putting out top quality rifles.   There are a couple other companies out there that could have made this list as a Runner Up – but I just don’t like their finished products…  I’ll give you one example.  Black Rain.  They are making some good products.  BUT.  Their finishes are ghastly and they insist on using a muzzle device that you could seriously use to drill through layers of sedimentary rock and discover oil with.  They have to ship them with a rubber cap over it because the muzzle device will chew through the packaging during shipping.  They WILL tear the crap out of any case you put them in as well.   For what purpose do you need that for?  It’s just tacky.  If they would tone it down – I could take them more seriously.

Now, let’s talk configurations.  For a Jack of all Trades configuration, I like a carbine length barrel, with full rifle length  handguards, and I like a free floating barrel.  I don’t like quad-rails, but I do like the option of putting on an accessory where I want it.  My favorite new rifle on the market that meets this criteria:

The Daniel Defense DDM4V11.

So if I had to pick just one rifle, that would be it.


198 thoughts on “Top 5 Best AR-15 Manufactures.”

      1. I just read this post today and to defend your decision here is my story.

        I purchased my first AR the Saturday before I thought Hilary might become the first female president. I have wanted an AR for years and I had been looking seriously as this election approached. Within about a five day period I was able to put my hands on several rifles and what I found was this. First, I had been interested in the Mossberg MMR for about 4 years but I had never seen one in person. That changed when my local Academy had one and I took a look. I had them hold it for me for 24 hours and went straight over to a local independent store for a little comparison. I have heard good things about the MMR despite it’s low price it has a free float barrel and the new hand guard feels really good but the fit and finish is not great. I could glimpse light between the upper and lower aft of the trigger. In the end I decided I needed the dust cover. I could live without the forward assist but not the cover. At the independent store I put my hands on a DPMS and a Ruger which were pretty much the same gun with different parts and names. At this point the Ruger moved to the top of my list. It had the required flat upper with flip up rear sight but a standard hand guard and front sight/gas block. The following day I went to Gander Mountain and checked out a Sig 516 Patrol. Twice the money but piston operated, great sights, and a big temptation. I decided to sleep on it. A few days later was the Saturday before the election. I went to Bass Pro because I wanted to make dang sure that I made the best choice I could. They had a Black Rain Ordinance for $950. It was super cool looking and I loved the laser engraved biohazard symbols. The only one they had was the display and it had a couple of scuffs that I didn’t like, nothing big but I have an eye for detail and it’s $1000 by the time I pay taxes. I also didn’t like the feel of the charging handle but no big deal. Cool looks, flat top, and free float 👍 Scuffs and charging handle 👎. I left and immediately went back to Gander for a comparison and they had sold the Sig I looked at. They had more but they were FDE and cost a little more, also the 516 Patrol weighs more. I doubt it is but it feels twice as heavy as the other rifles. The twist is that Gander had gotten a new shipment in between my visits and my particular salesman said he had something I should look at. Like I said, I was trying to handle as many as possible and it’s good that I did. He had a Daniel Defense DDM4 MK 11. I had just held the 516 and about a half hour before held the Black Rain Ordinance. The Fit and finish of the DD is incredible. it is super tight and you can feel the quality. The grip and DD stock are polymer with a rubberized insert and coating. They feel great compared to the normal plastic/composite stocks on other rifles and there is no play between the stock and tube when locked into position or during adjustments. I did notice play in all the other rifles, ranging from obvious to just barely noticeable but it was there. The final things I considered to make my decision was the extra weight of the Sig and it’s rail can’t be switched out. I thought as much as I like the idea of piston reliability I have sent over 900 rounds through a Bushmaster M4 in a single afternoon before it started to have trouble chambering rounds. The DD was much lighter, and I thought of my wife and children trying to use it. That was the ultimate decision maker, I wanted to make sure that my family could use it if their life ever depends on it. The DDM4 is a noticeable cut above the average AR and if you can afford the extra money you won’t be disappointed. I know that money is a significant issue when purchasing guns so don’t feel like you have to pay $1500 or more on an AR but I know that they can justify their price. I think it is pretty cool that I ended up with the rifle at the top of your list before I read your article. It is reassuring 👍

              1. This is like asking why a Pontiac 6000 isn’t in a Road & Track Top list.
                Here’s the deal. KAC was awesome through the 80’s and 90’s. Real trend setters. And then they pulled a Leupold and rested on their laurels and banked on Brand Recognition.
                This worked for a long time. But everyone else worked hard on making better rifles with better quality control and tighter standards… Specifically everyone in my Top 5.
                They CRUSHED KAC. And now, KAC thinking they still have a name anyone gives a shit about, is still producing the same rifles with highly inflated MSRP’s with nothing to justify their higher prices… When for the same money you can get guns that look nicer, feel better, function smoother and with barrels that print tighter groups and triggers that don’t feel like they are made by Nintendo.

                1. Makes sense. I’ve always really liked the sr series and the E3 bolt design on the sr’s. I never had a chance to really compare them I just wanted your take

    1. Yeah, no Colt. What makes a Daniel defense or any other AR any better than a Colt which has faithfully served our military and is way less expensive?

      1. well if you were in the military you would know those are just basic rifles. they have a set standard to meet. ie. be able to hit an area target at 400 etc. These companies take that platform and make better parts. such as better trigger groups, gas systems, better handguards with more accessory items and they are usually less expensive

        1. Agreed, but they are NOT usually less expensive…Non-commercialized companies are on average $100s more…

        2. Own and qualify with Colt 6940 with my police department. I shot one and one eighth inch groups at one hundred yards. Everyone I talk to rave about this rifle’s accuracy. IMHO Colt makes great rifles.

    2. AR builders of today left Colt in yesterday about a decade ago. Colt is still a respectable builder but not a to company anymore.

    3. Head down firearms Triton 14 or The Operator is where i put my money. If they are good enough for Navy Seals they are good enough for me.

      1. Just because a group of guys are given a few – I’d not take that as a SOCOM Endorsement. Individual Seals are given a lot of dumb shit.

      2. Although we like to believe the military has the best of the best, keep in mind that the military contracts the lowest bidder to manufacture there arms….not saying companies like Colt are shit, personally I love Colt, but its just something to think about when spending money on a piece of ‘high-quality’ machinery

        1. Well, most of the Military M-4’s are actually from FN… which is indeed awesome quality.
          (Huge FN Fan)

          1. FN just got the Military contract. So this isn’t true. Most M4’s used in the military are Colt

            1. Colt, unable to produce enough to satisfy their contract, subcontracted to FN for manufacturing.

      3. What makes you think that the SEAL Teams carry those rifles? I’ve seen an awful lot of SEALs in FOB’s downrange and never saw one of those rifles in any of the rugged hands of the Team guys. Last I saw them they where all carrying the SCAR-L and SCAR-H. Now back to Daniel Defense on their Mk18 CQBR rifles and still Colt SOPMOD block II rifles. And the Heckler and Koch 416 SBR suppressed.

    1. Rock River – the company – Institutionalized Arrogance at it’s finest. But the guns are good. Accurate as hell. Mine shot cloverleafs all day long with Red Dot optics… I can’t fault the guns. I just don’t like the company so much.

    2. some law enforcement agencies are actually being issued rock river arms AR-15’s. the main reason people like them is because the stock triggers on them are excellent compared to other companies.

    1. Average quality. Inflated pricing. Self absorbed corporate attitude that stiffs the American Gun Culture whenever it can regardless of bankruptcies… and they still don’t learn the lesson. They are only selling to Civilians begrudgingly.
      Go to and look for the OMGWTFBBQ COLT thread. Take a look at that. That happened recently.

    1. I do like some of the Smith configurations. Some of them. But overall, as a brand, it fell a bit short.

  1. I don’t know if my experience is unique, but I’ve owned half a dozen Bushmaster XM15’s and honestly cannot one of them malfunctioning or not placing the round where the barrel was pointed. Neither of the 2 Colts I’ve owned came close to that record.

  2. OUCH! “Financing available”? $1500 to $2500 for AR-15? I guess some people have a lot more money for guns than I do. I could never afford those. I’m happy with my $600 DPMS. Which, BTW, cost me over half my monthly SS pay.

  3. Your top 5 makes perfect sense George, and I cannot fault you for your choices. If I had better resources I would definately get one of those 5 every time. Unfortunately I’m probably never going to own rifles in your top 5 for another reason; cost. The quality of your top manufacturers is outstanding, but it speaks to that with the price you most often find them at. Also, at the price their ARs are often found at, I could buy a High Grade 1911 (Dan Wesson, Higher End Springfield, etc.), something I’m saving up for, or a more exotic 5.56 like an AUG or TAVOR. I’ve never had a problem with the Pre-Loved Spikes Tactical ST-15LE I bought before the AR-15 Bums rush for 650.00, which came with non-factory extras. If you were like me and only was able to justify under say…900 dollars for an AR without modifying the shit out of it to tune it to your particular uses, how would that change your Top 5?

        1. I’ve never read any of your article before this one…

          With this comment alone, there is trust.

          I’m very happy to be getting a DDM4 very soon. Currently rocking an M400 that has never skipped a beat. As far as budget ARs go, I can’t think of any reason why anyone would skip over the M400.

          1. SIG makes a very fine AR, yes. And the M400 is one of the best entry level rifles out there. I especially love the Ambi controls.

            1. How do you define an “entry level”AR, is it price, quality, or multiple factors? Just curious.
              Really appreciate your input btw.

              1. An Entry Level AR is a very bare bones, basic, low cost version of an AR. Typically having standard “A2” grip, stock, and handguard.
                These rifles are usually built with lower quality parts, and if good, at least “MILSPEC” level quality.

    1. You are only a couple hundred bucks off these… We’re not talking 1800 to 2200 dollar guns. We’re talking 1100 to 1400 street for most options. Each company makes version that are less spendy that will be much closer to your price range.
      So save up a little or use a Dealer’s Layaway program to step up. Well worth it. Yes, you can get cheaper AR’s, there are plenty out there.
      And good luck with those.

  4. Ever own or shoot a PWS? I have the MK114 and 116, would personally have that near top of the list for reliability, fit n finish, IMHO.

    1. I have only seen a couple, and that’s really not a qualifying sample size for me to make a judgement on.

    2. I’ve got one too….hoping to pick up their new mod 2 in sbr configuration. Great gun, great company.

  5. With the market as saturated as it is with ARs, I’m really surprised prices haven’t dropped significantly. I guess if people keep buying them though, prices will stay high. Wake we when the craze abates.

    1. Okay, this is now 2016 and this comment is even more valid now than it was then. The AR Market remains crazy saturated, and some AR companies are keeping astronomical pricing with not much other than name and reputation (Often Mythical rather than proven) as the selling point.

  6. been thinking of buying a stag left hander, but they don’t make the list. hmmmm. the price of that Daniel defense AR is real close to a socom 16. which has a hell of a lot more umph for the buck I think.

    1. The pre-ban Colts are great rifles & carbines and to this day I still regret selling my 1976 SP1 rifle. It was very lightweight but super accurate with M193 ball. The 1980’s Colts are great quality but once the “pre” pre-ban (sear block & cut bayonet lug) guns came out the quality started to become hit and miss. Once the ban guns hit the market that’s where things really went down hill. Management was only concerned with LE & government sales and they started dropping some of their best sellers from the catalog and moved them to the custom shop and shortly after discontinued them all together. Back to the topic, I do own a “pre” pre-ban Sporter Lightweight Carbine that’s my KISS carbine. She’s bone stock, A2 upper configuration and weights just over 5 pounds and is one of my favorites. I also rarely buy factory AR’s anymore as I just custom build them to my needs & specifications and I think I do a pretty damn good job.

  7. Love my BCM SAM-R upper, with the RRA 2 stage trigger. It is a bit heavy, but a great varminter.
    Well, that is what I use it for.

    1. AR-10’s are a whole ‘nother animal and unfortunately there is no standardization for the platform like there is for the AR-15. IMO the SIG 716 and the Ruger make an excellent 7.62 rifle.

      1. I agree with Mattitude… The SIG and Ruger are top notch.
        Really thered are two main standards for .308 MSR’S. The AR-10 and the SR-25 patterns for the Magazines. So you gotta watch those.

    1. My 16″ Bushmaster has a aftermarket op rod. I got it when the company reps visited a shop I used to do a little work for.
      It’s in my lap as I write this while I’m trying to squeak up a coyote.
      I love all of the latest, greatest AR builders’ stuff, but my experience with plain old 700$ (pre-current administration) carbine-length rifles doesn’t allow me to justify the expense.

    2. Normally I’d say I’d favor anything with an op-rod. However in an AR15, with a free float barrel… I’ll take DI for the edge in accuracy.

  8. No lwrc? Just curious, we’ve had a few and I didn’t get much time with them, but they seem really compelling.

      1. Serious mistake not having LWRC in Top 5. Piston ARs are the future and nobody makes them better than LWRC. My M6A2 is a workhorse.

        1. “Piston ARs are the future”
          That was a 5 year old sentiment that really hasn’t panned out. Look – I agreed with you 5 years ago. But since then I learned something.
          It really doesn’t matter.

  9. Been selling guns for a few years. Depends on one’s budget:

    $1k or under:
    Colt 6920
    S&W M&P-15 Sport
    SIG M400

    Daniel Defense
    PWS if you want a piston gun
    Noveske Skinny MOE
    S&W M&P-15 MID or TS
    Some smaller shops are doing good guns in this price range too, e.g. Sionics (AZ) or Rainier Arms (WA)

    All other Noveske minus Skinny MOE. Big fan of their Rogue Hunter.
    S&W M&P 15 VTAC
    Honorable mention: KAC.

    Overall, if I had to pick one and only one, I’d likely go with BCM.

    1. I’ve seen the M&P 15 MOE Mid Magpul version going for $950 now. That is a lot of gun for under $1000. What would draw me to it, where I looking for another AR15 is the amazing barrel: 16″ 4150 CMV, nitride, middie gas port, 1:8 twist and 5R rifling. That’s just about barrel Mecca. Of course, the obligatory Magpul furniture (which I like for the most part). No rail, but that’s easily fixed with something the user can select based on personal preference.

  10. I am a noob to the AR scene. I have set a $1600.00 limit on my near future purchase. I recently went to a gun show and was able to examine hundreds of AR’s. Daniel Defence has really impressed me. I like the Sig’s gas piston system but it was heavy. I have packed a heavy weapon before and on a long hike the weapon becomes cumbersome. I appreciate this article and the debated topics. The debates give me insight of other firearm owners opinions of the extensive number of manufactures out there and the nuances of the trigger systems and reliability of the weapon. I love sport shooting and became very proficient with a Marlin Model 60 at age 10 which was my first firearm. Soon my grandchildren will be old enough for me and my adult children to pass on the proper way to safely handle firearms and the satisfaction that comes with becoming a marksman or markswoman. I like to start them off with an air rifle first because the loud crack of a 22 lr can frighten then. Sorry I tend to ramble on …

    1. My top suggestion would be to grab a Daniel Defense Light Weight model. You really can’t go wrong with that.

  11. Ya know I usually spend a lot of my internet time fighting with anti-gun nuts…. I just realized it’s been so long since I’ve been in gun forum….. It’s so much more civilized in here! Someone has a disagreement, not serious shots fired, no “you’re an effing retard” comments…. Man…. For a bunch of gun owners…. We sure are polite folks huh?

  12. I currently have two ar15, now I’m looking for my next purchase. I stumbled on this page on my phone while researching brands. I have a cheaper palmetto and a DDM4v5.

    I’ve been looking at getting a piston systems (LWRC) or a sig516) to be a little different, but I love your comment saying it really doesn’t matter. I’m also considering a COLT le6920.. Now I’m looking at Noveske some..

    To help with my research could you throw me out a recomendation or two? Should I get a piston system just to own one and experience it? Great discussions love them.

      1. Great discussion. I have been into pistols and clay targets for many years, and now I am looking into an AR for the first time. Just got back from my LGS where I handled the SIG M400, the Colt 6920, the DDM4 v9 and a DDM4 v11. I feel like I can’t go wrong with any of those, but I am having a little analysis paralysis. Hit me with some opinions.

        1. The Sig M400 is the most affordable, and has some great features. Better than the Colt, in my opinion.
          I really like the Daniels… FN has some great options too. If I wasn’t going to get the Daniels, I’d get an FN.

  13. Just upgraded to a Daniel Defense yesterday. Glad to see its on your list. I put an Aimpoint red dot sight on it and it’s spot on. The rifle feels great in my hands and can tell the quality is much higher than by Bushmaster. For what it’s worth, I’ve never had one issue with my bushmaster though. Good gun for the money, just wanted to upgrade.

  14. My Top 5:

    1. Noveske Rifleworks
    2. Wilson Combat
    3. LaRue Tactical
    4. LWRCI
    5. Knights Armament

    Other Great Brands I like and own:
    – Bravo Company
    – War Sport
    – Salient Arms
    – Seekins Precision
    – Daniel Defense
    – Sig Sauer
    – FN Herstal
    – Colt

  15. My Personal Top 5:

    1. Heckler & Koch (HK)
    2. Noveske Rifleworks
    3. Wilson Combat
    4. LaRue Tactical
    5. LWRCI

    Other Great Brands I own or wouldn’t hesitate to purchase:
    – Knights Armament Company (KAC)
    – Bravo Company Mfg (BCM)
    – Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT)
    – War Sport
    – Salient Arms
    – Seekins Precision
    – Daniel Defense
    – Sig Sauer
    – FN Herstal
    – Colt
    – JP Enterprise

  16. I am looking to buy an AR for a target rifle. I love Daniel Defense and LMT but I want opinions on a great target rifle with around a $1500 budget.

  17. Is there a reason KAC is not making most top 5 or even top 10 lists? I own two of them and absolutely love them.

  18. I don’t understand how any one could say the sig m400 is better than the colt le6920 I’ve owned both at the same time and the sig has a cut bolt carrier and the colt has a real m16 bolt carrier the upper on a colt is the same as the army uses and has for years! All the older gun makers produce mostly other types of guns and ar 15 are a after thought except for colt.

    1. Not sure if you know this, but everything the Army uses is basically on a “Lowest-Bidder Basis”. Much like Glock to law enforcement. Colt 9/10 is the lowest bidder. Now does that mean Colt is shit? No. But it means that to secure those contracts and make a profit, they cut corners where they can.

      Being something the Army uses isn’t always a selling point. Spec Ops units spend the money the Army and Marines save by buying in bulk…they contract specific manufactures and many many years out of this practice, Sig and more recently Daniel Defense have gotten many of those orders.

    2. You can replace the BCG in a Sig if that’s of concern, but in reality not many of us shoot an automatic in the civilian world, that being said both are quality rifles, I just personally liked the fit and Finnish of the Sig, as a veteran I’m no stranger to Colt and wouldn’t think twice about purchasing one

  19. any thoughts on the RUGER – 556e ? i live in canada and its hard enough to find a riffle , this one seems available

  20. any thoughts on a NORINCO TYPE 97NSR-FMU 5.56NATO , even though its not an ar-15 its pretty similar and is not complicated to buy in canada since its not a restricted weapon

  21. i think after reading on your posts and doing a bit of research i’ll go for either sig m400, ruger 556e or a smith &wesson , whats your take on these , i am thinking of the sig m400, looks really good and seems to be built to take some punishment from firing a lot of rounds , i was in the canadian forces and want something i can use to fire at the range for 2 or 3 hours with minimal breaks ( reloading mags since in canada you can only have 10 rounds in the mags )

  22. by breaks i mean , stop firing to reload or go for a piss , not physically breaking any parts of the wepon due to heat stress of course , and i wont fire it non stop either , i am thinking 200 rounds and a 15 minutes break .

  23. I have minimal knowledge in firearms , i only know what I learned in the army and I was C9 support gunner , I did fire the c7 for exercises and on the range but it was about 400 rounds per shooting exercise and about 900 rounds on the C9 , so it’s the only bases I have .( sorry about the 3 messages I am having problems with my iPad )

  24. What’s ur thoughts on a salient ar15? Just picked one up is it worth the 3200 I spent? Pros and cons of it

    1. Salient makes fantastic stuff. Those boys are wizards.
      Very expensive wizards. Firearm equivalent of AMG. I was going to say McLaren, but McLaren builds their own designs.
      Salient isn’t doing that. They are tuning existing guns and really, unfortunately are limiting themselves with what is a disappointing lack of imagination. But what they do, they do extremely well.

  25. D.I.(14.5″ OR 14.7″)..
    2. BCM(EAG OR HSP)..
    3. COLT M4A1..
    PISTON (14.5″ OR 14.7″)..
    1. MR556A1..
    2. SCAR..
    3. IC-SPR..
    4. REC 7 GEN 2..
    5. ACR..

  26. I’m looking for an AR around the $1500 range and was pretty set on the Daniel Defense MM4 V11LW. However, the store I was looking to purchase it at were really pushing the LWRC DI saying the true quality for the price was there and with the DD I was buying the name as well. They stated the LWRC had a much better bolt carrier (lower), it is ambi, spiral barrel, and something on how the rail attaches. Still, I have a lot of friends and family that live and die by DD. Not sure which way to go, love to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

  27. I respect the hell out of this list and understand some of people’s price concerns. I highly highly recommend bulldog the rifle yourself. You can put a Daniel defense quality rifle together for a few hundred dollars less. Found a Daniel defense barrel for 205$ daniel defense chrome bolt for 150. And the geiselle ssa-e trigger for 150. That’s the bread and butter some Magpul furniture and a budget Anderson upper and lower and you can have a rifle that’ll shoot like Daniel defense with the 300 to 400 dollar logos not plastered on your rifle

  28. 1. Knights Armament
    2. Noveske
    3. SIG (yep without a doubt)
    4. Black Rain Ordanance
    5. LWRC
    6. LMT
    7. Daniel Defense

    1. Currently, I only own Sigs. I am quite the Sig fan. Their price to quality ratio is some of the best in the business. But they have some quirks that some of the others on this list do not.

      For me, choosing between DD, Knights Armament, and LWRC is just a toss up. In making a top 5, I’d smash them all in number one.

  29. Have a DPMS Oracle in 223. Paid $479.00 on a special sale at cabalas. Was also on sale once at Dunhams for $479.00. Put a Geissele National Match trigger in it for $280.00. — It shoots 3/4″ groups at 100 yards with Federal Gold Metal Match ammo. — It shoots 1.2″ to 0.9″ inch groups at 100 yards with Russian TULAMMO. Both accomplished with a 24x scope. With a 2 x 42 Trueglo red dot it shoots 1 1/4″ to 3/4″ groups at 50 yards using TULAMMO. After approximately 4000 rounds, have never had a failure to feed, nor failure to eject.

  30. I’m surprised with this gun. Don’t know if all DPMS budget Oracles would accomplish this type of accuracy. The negative is the factory trigger is horrible. It felt like it had 7 lb of pull and had a lot of creep. One has to put a good trigger in to get accuracy, but this is probably true with most mass produced ARs.

  31. I own a DPMS Sweet 16 & A Colt LE SOCOM which I really like, but am now looking at a Barnes Precision Machine CQB…….Any info/thoughts on BPM?

  32. I have not seen anything here about Windham. Any thoughts? I am looking at the SRC .308. Or the RRA LAR 8.

    1. Yeah, I’ve sold a lot of Windhams… Decent. But nothing special and certainly not close to being a Top 5.
      They are not bad rifles at all… They are no Core-15’s for sure.

  33. What do you think of Sons of Liberty Gun works? They are extremely highly praised. include a lifetime warranty, great customer service, high end parts. extremely well built and the owners stand by everything they do.

    1. I can’t comment on them, because I’ve not seen one in person… let alone enough to rate the brand.

      1. I’m ordering a blaster from SOLGW now. They seem extremely knowledgeable.
        Here’s a rather lengthy response comparing SOLGW to BCM and Colt etc, from one of the owners Michael (he knows his stuff):

        “great question.
        I actually modeled SOLGW after BCM. In my opinion they’re one of the greatest rifle companies hands down ever.
        If you look at a SOLGW, Colt, BCM BCG you’ll notice something in common. Same with small parts. Go look up Shmid Tool, Microbest etc…
        You’ll notice small details that the average consumer probably doesn’t appreciate… dry film lubed receiver extensions, no mim bullshit on bolt catches…
        If you took a Colt 16″ barrel with carbine gas, BCM, SOLGW…and pin gauged it…they’d all be .063.
        Assembly, you’ll notice either white lithium grease or aeroshell on the threads, aggressive staking on the endplates, carrier keys etc… the small details matter.
        Where we’re different? Colt is a straight up milspec gun. It’s built right. Copper colored milspec extractor spring, carbine gas, etc…
        BCM and SOLGW have built upon that. Mid gas guns are arguably smoother and better cycling. Colt never evolved. We both use upgraded 5 coil extractor springs.
        We’ve been using the Vltor A5 system since day one. BCM has now started using that, too. We both still offer the milspec 6 pos tube, but the A5 truly is superior.
        SOLGW uses Sprinco action springs. BCM uses true milspec springs…
        BCM uses chrome lined barrels, we use QPQ. But the barrel steel 4150cmv, port sizes, chambers are pretty much all the same. Our 10.5″, 11.5″, 12.5″ guns are gassed slightly different, but are probably within a thou of each other.
        We also offer a hammer forged option on all rifles…personally, I think the modern QPQ process on the right steel makes that a bit pointless outside of very specific applications.
        We wouldn’t offer a lifetime warranty and free barrel replacement if we thought we’d be replacing barrels very often.
        18” spr mk12 barrels are gassed the same. That’s because there’s a standard…Crane mk12. 0995.
        They use 410 SS on match barrels. We use 416R… 410 is arguably a better steel. But, we’ve never had a barrel shot out or accuracy complaints from professionals in any weapon we’ve ever built.
        Where we really start to differ is in end user options.
        You can order any gun we build with any trigger we offer installed. Geissele, cmc, alg, SOLGW. You can order with any furniture you want, any cerakote you want, multiple charging handle options, multiple muzzle device options, multiple rail options, Vltor Mur upgrades etc…
        You can build the exact rifle you want from the start. “

  34. What do you think about the daniel defense m4 v11 slw versus the bcm recce kmr 14? Also, do you like the new dangel defense furniture? Or would you change it out for some other stuff? (If so, what?)

    1. Having played with both, I’d take home the DD V11 myself. But the new Daniel furniture – I’m really not a fan. I’d prefer a simple minimalist stock and the ERGO AR grips with the narrow profile.

      1. Not sure if you gave my email address,but could you email me? I have some questions I’d like to ask offsite about the m11

  35. Looking at ARs

    I’ve narrowed down to Daniel Defense and BCM
    Looking to spend around $1500 or so, can go a little higher but don’t want to go past $2,000

    BCM Reece 750-140

    Which would you prefer MadOgre?

    BTW, love this whole discussion thread. Best on web after all my research.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I appreciate the kind words.
      First, let’s break your question down into the core components. BCM vs Daniel Defense.
      I’m going to go Daniel Defense every time when it comes to complete rifle packages. The matched upper and lowers, the cold hammer forged barrels… all made in house. That’s the important component there. All In House. That means DD wins. Now, BCM has a lot of great parts you can use on your DD, but I’m going DD for the whole gun.
      Now the question is Which DD?
      The A1 or the V11. Very similar guns all things considered but the biggest difference comes down to do you like Quad Rails or Keymod? And that’s a personal taste. Me? I dislike quad rails and will opt for something different every time. So I’d take the V11. Having handled the V11 – it’s an easy choice. It’s a no brainer. Feels solid for being so light in the hands, and it feels good in the hands because of not having quad rails.
      The V11 hands down.

      1. I’m not a big fan of quad rails either and am a huge fan of Magpul.

        Another dislike is rail covers.

        The DD rail covers on the 2016 models (unsure if they’ve changed at all) feel so…satisfying?
        Like nothing on earth could break my grip from them. I’m a AFG2 user all the way but when I get my DD I’m going naked for awhile and see how it performs.

  36. MadOgre

    Very good breakdown. I can’t tell you how informative this is for me. I’m going to get the V11. I’m super excited about it now.

    I fired off a DD a couple weeks ago at a range. The feel, build, and smooth firing led me to look into this brand a little more.

    For whatever reason, not much has been highlighted about the V11 around the web but then I found your blog here.

    I’m going to call my local guy to see if he can get me one at a good price, if not I found one on the web for about 1460.00
    I wish I could post a picture of this beauty when I get it for ya.

    Anyhow, thanks again and this is truly a great blog.

  37. I am not very smart on AR’s but I did buy an Eagle Arms Div. of Armalite. It has a 223 1/8 Wylde barrel that seems fairly accurate. Hope I didn’t mess to bad. Any comments would be helpful.

  38. I’m a newcomer in the AR field. I bought an Eagle Arms Div. of Armalite with a 223 Wyld 1/8 twist barrel. Seems to be fairly accurate. It an entry level AR. Any comment on this rifle?

  39. How do you feel about H&K?
    Specifically the MR556A1 competition semi auto AR Rifle?

    Or the Barret Rec7 Gen II?

    Qualities I am looking for
    -Reliability, something built to last for a very long time.
    -Durability, I plan on taking great care of the weapon, however I’d like it to be something that could handle abuse if shtf
    -Accuracy, I realize this is largely up to my skill level, however I’m sure some guns have more potential than others.

    It would be nice if the weight of the weapon was such that it could be carried for distance without feeling too cumbersome

    Looking to be under 3,000.
    Open to suggestions and I appreciate the help!

    1. HK AR’s – Highly over rated.
      Barret Rec7 – Over Rated.

      For that much – get a SCAR. Or save some money and go Daniel Defense and with the money you save – get an Aim Point to put on it, and a case of ammo to go with it.
      Seriously – those guns are just not worth the money they are asking for them. They are not tangibly more reliable than most decent AR’s. They just aint. My Daniel Defense has NEVER jammed. Not once.

  40. Any thoughts on the Advanced Armament Corporation MPW in .556 or 300BLK? These can be found for as low as $1,100

    – They have a matched upper/ lower receiver
    – 4150 steel barrel w/ black nitride finish (including bore and chamber) AAC 51T flash suppressor
    – AAC IBCG (Improved bolt carrier group)
    – KAC URX 3.1 Rail
    – Geissele trigger

    Any insight apreciated, great thread!

    1. I’ve not examined that… So… I really can’t comment. Though they seems nice, and has good stuff in it.

  41. Hey Ogre. Love the list. You seem very informed and lay out your information in a very concise manner. Just got into shooting again after a 10 year hiatus. Too busy partying and chasing girls ha ha.

    Just recently purchased a DD M4A1 2 months ago. It’s an amazing gun. I love how it handles and shoots. Almost no recoil and deadly accurate right out the box. started shooting every weekend. Well. I already want another one.

    I’ve narrowed my choices down to a Daniel Defense V5 or the Noveske Recon. Both have a 16 inch barrel. The DD is CHF while the Noveske is SS. I know the SS is a bit more accurate. But barrel does wear out quicker. The Noveske is about 600 or 700 more than the DD. Is it that much better built to justify the price? Probably gonna setup the new gun with an Aimpoint or a decent scope. Thoughts?

    1. In my opinion, the Noveske is a very good rifle. But I don’t think it’s that much better. You are not going to get a tangibly better gun than what you can get from DD and save enough enough money for an Optic (SIG ROMEO4) and a Case of Ammo to go with it.

      Get the Daniel Defense.

  42. Ok. I think your comment pushed me to the direction I was headed. Thank you very much.

    Ammo question. You know how expensive shooting gets. I recently discovered And ordered a case(1000) rounds of 55 gr PMC. It shoots well at my local range. Ive never had a round not fire and cycle out. And bought a case of the 62 gr PMC strictly for home protection. What do you like to use for range practice and or personal defense ?


  44. Best 2 year old blog post ever! The comment thread is great. Question, as I’m newish to ARs as well. Do you recommend the Sig Romeo4 over the Aimpoint PRO now? Just curious. Thanks!

  45. Great thread. Though there is not much concensous on no.1, the same 6 or 7 manufacturers seem to be pretty much the same for most of you. Very good info and appreciated. When my bushmaster 20″ hbar A2 breaks, I’ll have to save up for a litlle better ar. I’m sureIit will be a while yet!

    1. Breaks? You don’t have to wait till one AR breaks… See, there’s not just many manufacturers of AR’s… but many kinds of AR’s. For different purposes. You need an AR for every purpose. So at least 6 or 7 AR’s is a good start.

    1. My money is on the Daniel Defense. Because Cold Hammer Forging is more consistent than button rifling.

  46. Does the true monolithic one-piece upper and rail not being connected to the barrel nut on the Colt 6940, give it an accuracy advantage over the DD or any non-monolithic upper rifle? Is any rail system attached to a barrel nut, less accurate by (1 Effecting the the free float barrel, and (2 Less stable than a single metal piece with the upper? I have read somewhere that Colt claims their heavier proprietary barrel nut on the 6940 adds to accuracy. Would that likely be true? Yet even though, as you said, the DD with the better barrel probably win out on potential accuracy in this case?
    Thanks for all your time and advise.

    1. Colt’s barrel nut or monolithic rail does nothing for accuracy. What does effect accuracy is barrel harmonics and consistency. Consistency builds accuracy.
      A Free Float Barrel is one way to improve consistency. How other things that don’t touch the barrel are attached to the platform, don’t effect the barrel.
      That would be like DELL saying their computers are faster if you plug them into the upper power socket in your wall.
      Don’t believe all the hype by a company that is always in bankruptcy.

  47. POF is among the top 5 IMO. There products are full of new innovations and extremely well put together. Their earlier versions had a large rail but the newer versions are slimmed down to match DDs size. Besides who else makes a 308 in the same frame as a 556. Your just biased because of the rail system.

  48. Hey MadOgre, where would you rank the BPM CQB ? I am local to them here in NC and it seems like a very decent build. Looking for advice before pulling the trigger. Thanks in advance i know this thread is old.

    1. I really like the BPM rifles. Every one of them that I’ve played with has been top shelf stuff. They don’t have all the swoopy cosmetics of the new line of popular guy rifles out there… but they are solid. They are up there with what Crusader Weaponry was putting out… almost. But in short, I’d not hesitate to get a BPM. Not in the slightest.

  49. Hey MadOgre, I have a LWRC M6IC SPR and my buddy has a sweet DD M4A1 he always wants to swap with me. Aside from the obvious with LWRC fully ambi controls and being piston driven, which is the better rifle and would you make the swap?

      1. Originally I wanted the DDm4a1 in Patriot brown but settled on an OD m6ic. Sweet rifle, first piston ar I’ve owned and an awesome trigger..but it’s still not patriot brown lol. The best thing about the m6 is the fact that it’s totally ambi although it’s front heavy. I can make the changes to the DD to be where I want it with new trigger (kind of gritty) and new charging handle.

  50. Well alot of the “builders” think pretty highly of Colt as a rack grade defensive rifle…thats all it really is too but its easily as dependable and reliable as any of the other brands, checkout Henderson Defenses posts on high round count firearms over on if you dont believe me. Pat Rogers ran a BCM over 40,000 (filthy 14) rounds with very little to no cleaning and no major parts breakage .. and he was also a fan of colt as a patrol/utility weapon. Colts crude in comparison to DD,BCM,Noveske etc but its just as suitable and reliable of a weapon. DD has nothing over BCM but a higher price tag and a slightly better finish (assuming you get the chf barrel on the BCM) LMT ,Colt and BCM are pretty neck and neck though and DD is prettier but performs similar, Noveske and Larue have better barrels and are generally more accurate based on what ive read, ive shot most of these before and If i was buying a fighting/defensive rifle right now id get Colt if your on a budget ($650 with no furniture or 750ish with furniture) and add what you wanted as you go. Honestly i really like BCM and SOLGW they are gtg and geared more for the “working man” than Noveske,Larue etc…this is just my opinion but i have no issue debating rifle specs and builds along with providing articles wrote by men more intelligent and educated on this subject than myself.

    1. I don’t disagree with anything you said… But really we’re not talking about decent working guns. We’re talking to the Top 5.

  51. True, Although My only complaint with DD is the large gas port otherwise they might make my top 5..maybe. Im a little weird in that i will let a companies politics effect my opinion too..BCM has cut contracts with LE before due to certain areas not letting civilians own Ar15s…i like that alot. Noveske, Larue, LWRC,BCM,SOLGW…for my top 5 no peticular order , they each have thier pros and cons. “Filthy 14” sold me on BCM though.

  52. Ogre, thanks so much for a great thread and years of following it. A couple of questions after going through it. Do you like the PWS DI Modern Musket at $800 ? Also, you mentioned a new trigger coming out at shot show…can you give us any hints as to what will be special about it?


    1. I have NDA’s on the new Trigger. Non-Disclosure Agreements. So I will not offer hints. But I remain enthusiastic about it.
      PWS has been doing some very good things… I’d not mind anything they make. Including the MM, which is priced well.

    1. looking to purchase ar debating between Christensen arms ca15g2 in CF and a Daniel defense ddmv11 Tornado ? looking for something to trick out, your thoughts ?

      1. Christensen CF barrels have never impressed me. Christensen has never impressed me for what you pay for it.
        Daniel Defense, on the other hand, has impressed the hell out of me every single time I’ve put rounds through them. I’ve owned several and wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one.

  53. I have a few stripped lowers and am considering building a rifle mainly using DD parts except for 2 things: 1- I want the Troy SOCC handguards because they are super slim and M-Lok. 2- I feel like the DD bcg is overpriced when I can get a WMD for less. Thoughts?

    1. My thought, is I want my BCG to match who made my chamber. Troy builds good stuff, if you like that handguard better, I see no reason not to use it.

    1. You know, that’s a whole new topic for a whole new post.
      First question: What’s the intended Use?
      Second question: Do you want 1x or do you want more magnification and how much?

    1. My list was specifically regarding AR’s built for general use, defensive use, tactical use. JP Enterprise builds race guns and parts for racing guns. Different category in my mind. Like a list of fast cars wouldn’t include Formula One cars. Cause they aint cars. They are Race Cars. But yeah, JP Enterprise builds some fantastic stuff. Absolutely.

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