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10 Top ARs for 2018

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Legislators are proposing all sorts of new legislation that ranges from changing the legal age to buy certain to firearms to outright bans on entire types of firearms, primarily Modern Sporting Rifles such as the AR-15. Although no one can be certain what the future may hold, these situations always cause a spike in interest among first time buyers and seasoned enthusiasts alike. It would be an impossible task to whittle any Top AR list to 10, so instead, we decided to pull a handful of favorites that cover law enforcement, home defense, sporting, and hunting, just to get you started.

Daniel Defense DDM4v11SLW

Daniel Defense DDM4v11SLW

The Daniel Defense DDM4v11SLW is a top quality AR-15 that’s ready to take on any task! Whether you need a patrol rifle, varmint gun, or competition rifle, the DD V11SLW is up to the challenge. Constructed around a cold hammer forged, chrome moly vanadium, 14.5-inch lightweight profile barrel with a 1:7 twist, this rifle is built for compact CQB. The barrel is chrome lined and magnetic particle inspected, featuring a pinned and welded DD extended flash suppressor for a 16-inch overall barrel length. This DDM4 Slim Light Weight features a KeyMod compatible Daniel Defense Slim Rail 12″ Handguard. The Slim Rail 12.0 handguard gives you fantastic weight savings, superb cooling, excellent ergonomics, and modularity while maintaining the strength and durability that you demand from Daniel Defense. Modular and adaptable, the DDM4v11 Slim Light Weight, may be the perfect all-around rifle to suite all of your needs in one platform.

Specifications and Features

Daniel Defense DDM4v11SLW
AR15 Semi Automatic Rifle
5.56 NATO accepts .223 Remington
30 Rounds
14.5″ Cold Hammer Forged CMV Lightweight Profile Barrel
Free Float Chrome Lined and MP Tested with 1:7 Twist
16″ Barrel Length with Pinned and Welded Extended Flash Suppressor
Mid-Length Direct Impingement Gas System
Pinned Low Profile Gas Block
Mil-Spec CNC Machined 7075-T6 Aluminum Upper Receiver with M4 Feed Ramps
Chrome Lined M16 BCG, MP Tested with Properly Staked Gas Key
Mil-Spec CNC Machined 7075-T6 Aluminum Lower Receiver with Flared Mag Well
CNC Machined 6061-T6 Aluminum DD Slim Rail 12.0 Key Mod Compatible Handguard
DD 6 Position Collapsible Buttstock with Soft Touch Overmolding
DD Pistol Grip with Soft Touch  Overmolding
Overall Length 31.5″ to 34.75″
Weight 6.09 lbs
Type III Hardcoat Anodized Black

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Bravo Company RECCE-16 AR-15

Bravo Company RECCE-16

Bravo Company RECCE-16

BCM takes quality control to a new level due to its strict tolerances and extreme quality control measures. Combined, this adds up to ensure the products Bravo Company makes can be trusted in the field under any circumstance. The RECCE-16 KMR-A AR-15 in .223/5.56 features the best materials, components, and skills Bravo Company has to offer. Built on Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum receivers the RECCE sports an 11595E chrome-lined steel USGI profile barrel with a 1:7 twist. With the M4 feed ramp barrel extension and M4 feed ramps, you can expect MIL-SPEC equipment and assembly throughout this fantastic rifle! And of course it wouldn’t be complete without the trademark BCM GUNFIGHTER parts that will keep your friends salivating with envy. Ready for competition or hunting in the field, you need to get the Bravo Company RECCE-16 KMR-A before it’s gone!

Specifications and Features

Bravo Company RECCE-16
.300 AAC Blackout
Direct gas impingement semi automatic
16″ manganese phosphate finished chrome lined enhanced taper profile barrel with fluting
1:7″ twist
30 rounds capacity
Free floating KMR-4 KeyMod handguard
BCM Mod 4 charging handle
BCM Mod 3 pistol grip
BCM Mod 0 compensator
QD end plate
PNT trigger
Overall length 35.5″
Black

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Noveske Rifleworks Gen III Recon

Noveske Rifleworks Gen III Recon

Noveske Rifleworks Gen III Recon

From the master craftsmen at Noveske comes the next evolution in Noveske firearms, the Gen III. As a testament to unmatched quality and performance, the Gen III features a 16″ Cold Hammer Forged barrel with a 1:7″ twist. The upper receiver is fitted with a 13.5″ NSR free floating KeyMod handguard, ALG Defense ACT Trigger, and much more. The Noveske Rifleworks Gen III Recon rifle features a Magpul pistol grip and collapsible stock.

Specifications and Features

Noveske Rifleworks semi auto rifle Gen III Recon
5.56 NATO (accepts .223 Remington) 16″ Stainless barrel with bead blast finish, cold hammer forged
1:7 Twist
7075-T6 Aluminum Upper and Lower Receiver
Hardcoat Type III Anodizing
Black Cerakote Ceramic Coating
Raptor Ambidextrous Charging Handle
Shot Peened and MP Tested Bolt
Auto Bolt Carrier with Staked Gas Key
ALG Defense Combat Trigger
Mil-Spec 6 Position Receiver Extension
Staked Noveske QD End Plate
13.5″ NSR Free Float KeyMod Handguard
MagPul STR Carbine Stock
MagPul MIAD Pistol Grip
Back Up Iron Sights
30-Round Magazine
Black

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Rock River LAR-15 Elite CAR A4

Rock River LAR-15 Elite CAR A4

Rock River LAR-15 Elite CAR A4

Rock River Arms makes some of the best AR-15 rifles in the world. After exhaustive testing, both the FBI and DEA turned to Rock River Arms for their patrol rifle contracts. If you want a rifle that is rugged enough for the top federal law enforcement agencies in the country, choose a Rock River.

The LAR-15 Elite CAR A4 starts with the RRA Tactical CAR buttstock, flat top optic-ready upper, and Hogue rubber pistol grip. It features a standard mid-length handguard with a RRA Flip-up Front Sight Gas Block. The Elite CAR A4 is chambered in 5.56 NATO and accepts .223 Remington. This rifle is built for precision with Rock River’s excellent two-stage trigger and chrome lined 16-inch Chrome Moly barrel that has a 1:9 twist. The LAR-15 Elite CAR A4 from Rock River Arms is an affordable and exceedingly effective AR-15 modern sporting rifle that offers fantastic performance in any shooting environment.

Specifications and Features

Rock River Arms LAR-15 Elite CAR A4 AR1231
AR-15 Semi Automatic Rifle
Mid-Length Gas System
5.56 NATO accepts .223 Remington
30 Rounds
16″ Chrome Moly Barrel
Chrome Lined with a 1:9 Twist
Threaded 1/2″x28 TPI with A2 Flash Hider
Forged A4 Aluminum Flat Top Upper Receiver
Forged RRA LAR-15 Aluminum Lower Receiver
RRA Flip-up Front Sight Gas Block
RRA 6-Position Tactical CAR Buttstock
RRA Two Stage Trigger
Standard Mid-Length Handguard
Hogue Rubber Pistol Grip
Black Furniture and Finish
30 Round Magazine
Weight 7.7 Pounds
Overall Length 36″

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LMT CQB MRP Defender

LMT CQB MRP Defender

LMT CQB MRP Defender

Lewis Machine & Tool Company was created over 30 years ago to provide the U.S. military and law enforcement with superior quality weapons and modular weapon systems. Since its humble beginnings, the LMT mission is to exceed its customer’s expectations of quality and affordability of precision-machined weapon systems, assemblies, and components. With cutting edge designs and state of the art manufacturing, LMT has been well recognized for its excellence in the firearms industry.

The CQB MRP Defender AR-15 features LMT’s innovative Monolithic Rail Platform or MRP. This lightweight, one-piece upper receiver with integral quad rail is at the heart of LMT’s quick change barrel system. You can change calibers in the field quickly without the use of additional tools. This CQB Rifle includes a Chrome Lined Heavy Contour Barrel chambered in 5.56 NATO with a 1:7 twist. Optic ready and STANAG 4694 complaint, you know all of your accessories will mount to the MRP platform with rock solid attachment. When failure is not an option, you’ll want a CQB16 in your hands.

Specifications and Features

Lewis Machine & Tool Company CQB MRP Defender CQB16
CQB Monolithic Rail Platform
AR-15 Semi Automatic Rifle
5.56x45mm NATO accepts .223 Remington
30 Rounds
16″ Cold Hammer Forged Chrome Lined Heavy Contor Barrel Cryogenically Treated Barrel to increase Accuracy, Barrel Life and easier cleaning.
Muzzle Device A2 Birdcage Flash Hider (1/2×28)
1:7″ Twist with Black Nitride Finish
Direct Impingement Gas System
Aluminum MRP Upper Receiver
Aluminum Defender Lower Receiver
Standard Semi-Auto Bolt Carrier Group
Tactical Charging Handle
Adjustable Detachable Sight System
Mil- Std 1913 STANAG 4694 Compliant Quadrail
SOPMOD 6 Position Collapsible Buttstock
Weight 7.45 lbs
Length 33″ to 36.25″
Black Finish

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DPMS Panther Bull Twenty-Four

DPMS Panther Bull Twenty-Four

DPMS Panther Bull Twenty-Four

The DPMS Panther Bull Twenty-Four is what you need if you are looking for a really accurate rifle. The Panther Bull Twenty-Four is chambered in .223 Remington and features a 24-inch stainless steel bull barrel. It comes with an A2 stock and the magazine holds 30 rounds. The Panther Bull Twenty-Four is available in any color, so long as you choose black.

Specifications and Features

DPMS Panther Bull Twenty-Four
.223 Remington
24″ Stainless Steel Bull Barrel
6 Grooves, Right Hand 1/9″ Twist
Gas Operated Rotating Bolt
8620 steel bolt carrier, heat treated and plated per Mil Spec
Weighs 9.8 lbs. unloaded
Overall length of 42.25″
A3 Flattop Upper with Shell Deflector, Forward Assist, Dust Cover, and is hard coated anodized per MIL-SPEC and Teflon coated black
Forged aluminum alloy lower
Standard A2 Black Zytel MIL-SPEC with Trap door assembly Stock
Aluminum ribbed free float tube handguard

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Stag Arms Model 6 STAG-15 Super Varminter

Stag Arms Model 6 STAG-15 Super Varminter

Stag Arms STAG-15 Super Varminter

The Stag Arms LLC STAG-15 Super Varminter was specifically designed to squeeze every last ounce of accuracy from an AR-15 platform rifle—with larger game in mind. Featuring a 20.77-inch 410 stainless steel heavy profile barrel with an 11 degree target crown, you will easily reach varmints and predators at distance. With a Hogue free float handguard and low profile gas block, this is an optics ready platform that is just begging for your favorite long range scope. It sports a rock solid Magpul fixed rifle stock. The Stag 2-stage trigger aids the shooter in sending rounds down range with surgical precision. Each firearm is built to the highest quality standards and comes with a lifetime warranty from Stag Arms LLC with an infinite shot barrel guarantee. Hogs, coyotes, and deer beware; the Stag Super Varminter is on the prowl.

Specifications and Features

Stag Arms LLC STAG-15 Super Varminter
AR-15 Semi Automatic Rifle
Direct Gas Impingement System
Rifle Length Gas System
6.8mm Remington SPC with SAAMI Spec SPC II Chambering
20.77″ 410 Stainless Steel Heavy Barrel
Button Rifled with a 1:11″ Twist Rate
11 Degree Target Crown
10-Round Magazine
Forged 7075-T6 Aluminum Upper/Lower Receiver
Type 3 Hard Coat Anodized Finish
M16 Bolt Carrier Group
Stag 2 Stage Trigger – 2 lb. first stage with 3.5 lb. let off
Low Profile Gas Block
Hogue Free Floating Handguard with Sling Swivel
Magpul Fixed Rifle Stock
Hogue Pistol Grip
Overall Length 39.25″
Overall Weight 7.8 lbs.
Matte Black Finish

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Bushmaster XM-15 ORC

Bushmaster XM-15 ORC

Bushmaster XM-15 ORC

If you’re looking for an excellent entry level AR rifle chambered in .300 Blackout—at a price that you can afford—the Bushmaster’s ORC Semi Auto Tactical Rifle is the perfect choice. The XM-15 ORC comes with a 16-inch, heavy contour, chrome-moly barrel with a manganese phosphate finish for longevity and ease of cleaning. The free-float handguard is knurled for a positive grip and free-floating for enhanced accuracy. The hard coat anodized receiver is corrosion resistant and Teflon coated to stand up to the wear and tear of high volume shooting. The polymer six-position collapsible stock adjusts to fit you perfectly. It has a MIL-SPEC single-stage trigger, switch-style safety, and A2 birdcage-type flash hider.

Specifications and Features

Bushmaster XM-15 ORC
AR-15 Semi-Automatic Rifle
.300 AAC Blackout
16″ Heavy Contour Barrel
30 Rounds
1:7 Twist
6 Position Stock
A2 Flash Hider
Matte Black Finish

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Just Right Carbine Gen 3 Takedown Carbine 9mm

Just Right Carbine Gen 3 Takedown Carbine 9mm

Just Right Carbine Gen 3 Takedown Carbine 9mm

The Just Right Carbine Gen 3 Takedown Carbine is a semi-automatic AR-style pistol caliber carbine. Designed to be completely ambidextrous, the JRC provides you with the ability to configure which side you would like the charging handle to be on, as well as which side you prefer the brass to eject. Utilizing standard M4/AR-15 parts allows you to easily maintain the JRC Gen 3 Takedown Carbine, or customize it as you see fit. The buttstock sits atop a commercial buffer tube to allow quick switching. The fire control group components are all standard AR-15 standard parts. The Gen3 Carbine comes with a lightweight, free-float KeyMod handguard that has a full-length top rail. Get more bang! for your buck shooting pistol-caliber ammo in your closet with the JRC Gen 3 Pistol Caliber Carbine!

Specifications and Features

Just Right Carbine
Semi Automatic Rifle
9mm Luger
17″ Threaded Barrel
1:16 Twist
1/2×28 Threads
17 Rounds
Accepts S&W M&P Magazines
Straight Blowback Operation
Ambidextrous bolt configurable for left or right hand
Ambidextrous ejection configurable for left or right side
Takedown Tube Forend
Machined from 6061 T6 Aluminum
Hardcoat Anodized
Commercial M4 Buffer Tube
6-Position Buttstock
Pistol Grip
Utilizes Standard Trigger Components and Pistol grip
31″ to 34.25″ Overall Length
6.5 lbs.
Black

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AR-15 Stripped Lower

left and right side of a black lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle

Precision machined from billet 6061 aluminum and then Type 3 hard-coat anodized—it is a good basic building block to your AR-15 rifle.

If you do not like the options a manufacturer chose, why not build your own? Custom ARs are still very popular, but you’ll want to ensure you are selecting the right parts to create a purpose-built shooter and not something that looks like it was thrown together from scavenged parts. Therefore, you’ll want to plan your build. If your budget is a concern, buy your parts a piece at a time, so you can get the best quality accessories and end up with a rifle you’ll trust and be proud to show off.

Note: Given all of the current pending legislation and attacks on the Second Amendment, having a handful of stripped AR lowers is a great investment and a way to cheaply get an AR through NICS at a minimal cost—just in case there is a ban or temporary stoppage of sales by your state. Prices for polymer lowers start at under $50. Aluminum model are typically about twice that, but watch for the specials and deals and stock. I often have three or four stripped lowers in the safe, just waiting for a new project!

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!



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