The AR-15 rifle is America’s most popular firearm. And why not? It’s a reliable, accurate and versatile firearm that can be configured to fill any role, from home defense to long-range hunting. Not everyone can afford a top-of-the line AR — at least not right away. So here are three entry-level AR-15 rifles that are damn fine straight out of the box and upgradeable should a new shooter decide to enter the Barbies-for-men world of rifle customization.
Springfield came way late to the AR-15 game, but they brought their A game. Their first black rifle entry is a hit — a solid starting point for any new AR-15 owner. The SAINT is blessed with all the standard features you’d want as standard, from a slick-looking hand guard to a more-than-merely adequate trigger. Read the full review here. The long and the short of it: the Springfield SAINT is a budget-priced entry-level AR-15 done right.
Mossberg has added a couple of features to their AR that make it a great option for first-time buyers. Instead of a standard hand guard, Mossie’s MMR fits a free-floated version (the barrel doesn’t touch the hand guard, which improves accuracy and heat dissipation.) The MMR’s hand guard is also covered in rail sections for attach all your mission critical, fashion-forward and entirely superfluous accessories. It’s a solid rifle for the money.
Smith & Wesson announced their M&P line of AR-15 rifles roughly six years ago catering to budget-minded shooters. Popular much? The Smith & Wesson M&P-15 Sport rifle review reigns supreme for TTAG traffic. In all that time we’ve never heard of a single dissatisfied customer. And we’ve heard from plenty who wouldn’t trade their gun for a pricier piece. The M&P-15 Sport is the dictionary definition of a “basic” rifle: good components, decent trigger, no forward assist. For newbie AR-15 owners or budget-minded buyers that’s really all you need.