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:
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.