New from ArmaLite: Competition and Varmint AR-15 Rifles


For the last couple years, ArmaLite has been more than a little stagnant with their product line. Thankfully, Tommy Thacker has arrived at the helm of the company and has injected some more awesomeness into the M-15 line of guns. New this year are three rifles: two competition AR-15 rifles and a varmint focused 20 inch rifle. I had a chance to shoot all three, and I gotta say, I really like what I see . . .

The 20-inch hunting rifle is a slick and slim contraption that is very lightweight and feels extremely slim. For a mighty reasonable price, they offer a slick package that is apparently very accurate and offers an adjustable stock for both comb height and length of pull. It’s something that is very much appreciated in a precision rifle, and looks great on the gun. The barrel is stainless steel with a black finish, and the handguard is coated with a velvety black nitride of some sort. The muzzle comes threaded from the factory with a thread protector installed.


That varmint rifle is based on the competition guns that have already been announced. This 20-inch version is basically the same gun as the varmint, except shiny. Instead of the thread protector, there’s a tuneable muzzle brake that virtually eliminates recoil. The barrel is a pretty and shiny stainless steel affair. The handguards are drilled for additional keymod attachment points and it just looks bad ass. Pictured above, we were poking at a steel plate about 960 yards away while shooting offhand — and hitting.


The smaller of the two guns Karla has already posted her first impressions, and I completely agree: this gun is a BEAST. There’s no recoil whatsoever, and the thing throws watermelon sized fireballs out the front of the gun. If you’re looking for a quick and light 3-gun rifle that also shows off a little bit (and, be honest, who doesn’t like to show off a little?) this might be the best out-of-the-box solution on the market.

Naturally, we’ll need to get our hands on the guns and test them out further to be sure. But from what I see, Tommy is doing good things at ArmaLite.


  1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    960 yards with an AR? Due tell, what caliber?
    That’s pretty neat!

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      5.56 NATO. Used to do it with iron sights for high power competitions.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I tip my hat to you Sir. That is some darned good plinking.

  2. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    They owned the piston world. Then they threw it away. Still incapable of seeing an alternative to the AR.

  3. avatar MiketheHopsFarmer says:

    Are they going to sell just the varmint upper, and I’d so at what price point? I’ve got a built lower looking for a friend. And that varmint upper would be just the ticket!

  4. avatar Tiks895 says:

    I wish Armalite would come out with a stamped or forged AR-18 I’d love to get a new AR-180 for my collection to go with the Costa Mesa one I have. Nodak spud makes one nice AR-18 lower I don’t see why Armalite can’t make these

  5. avatar Fug says:

    Armalite as it exists today has no direct connection to the Armalite that produced the original AR-180. They did sell parts for the AR-180 for some time but their big thing was the AR-10s with steel mags before the original pattern was revived.

    I think these new rifles show they are trying to chart a new course altogether. Guns and Ammo has an excellent feature on all their new rifles for 2015 that has been up for months if you can’t wait to see them. The new handguards are really nice and I like those short barrels with the pinned brake. There is also talk of factory cerakote.

  6. avatar Taco Picasso says:

    Any word on whether Armalite will revive the AR-24 9mm pistol?

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