by Warrior Poet Society

The AR-15 excitement in recent years has created a surge among gun manufacturers to offer their own take on this style of rifle. That's made a variety of rifle builds available to buyers, including the high-end offerings of Daniel Defense as well as some high quality options that won't break the bank. John Lovell met with Chad and Eric at IV8888 to see what lower cost guns these guys have used and abused and which they'd recommend as value options for gun buyers on a more limited budget.

What to Consider when Buying A Lower Cost AR-15

The price differences among AR-15s are actual value differences as well. The differences include considerations of the material used, how easy they are to customize, rail systems, gas tubes, grips, etc.

It'll take an awful lot of abuse for an average user to kill an AR-15, and the guys at IV8888 can tell you first hand because rifle abuse and destruction are their specialty. Here's their top AR-15 picks.

M&P 15 Sport 2: $600 (Best Value)

THE MVP This was IV8888's MVP in terms of price point and quality. At around $600 this gave them the best bang for the buck. It holds up well to any modification, holds up well for thousands and thousands of rounds, and with just a few quality upgrades and sights, the M&P 15 Sport 2 provides a nearly plug-and-play option that'll give years of great performance. This was the favorite of the bunch.

Savage MSR: $1,000

Performance Shooting Right Out of the Box The Savage MSR AR-15 comes as a well-equipped, above-entry-level rifle with a rail system and a few other well-appointed modifications (m-lock rail, flip up sights, collapsible stock, ergonomic grip) that won't require many upgrades. If you're looking for a higher end, out of the box option that's not a tailored $3,000 piece, the Savage MSR might be an option to consider.

Palmetto AR-15: $350

For Gun Builders Palmetto is the favorite for the gun builders and tinkerers who want to take a basic rifle lower and create to their specifications. And while they don't have a lot of out of the box options, they are still a player in the value-level arena, which for the skilled customizers can result in a custom rifle for $350-$500.


A John Lovell Favorite While John typically goes for the higher end out of the box versions, such as Daniel Defense, he's also become a big fan of the American made CMMG AR-15. This rifle is a favorite for home defense for his wife and family.

And of course, whatever AR-15 you choose, the key is to get high quality training and a high volume of practice at the range. It's important as ever to Train Hard. Train Smart.