The Ultimate Guide to the Best AR-15 Lower Receivers

Best AR 15 Lower Receiver

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The AR-15 is a classic example of a modular parts rifle that fits a basic production profile even if it has been equipped with exterior glitz and glamour. This rifle was designed specifically for the American Military to be a dead-on simple design with only two basic large parts.

Those parts are the upper receiver containing the barrel and bolt chamber assembly (charging handle, etc.) and the lower receiver that is the actual serial numbered firearm.

The lower receiver is the core of this review. It contains the buttstock, operational controls, trigger assembly, and magazine well. Pin all this together with two simple forward and rear receiver pins and you're ready to take on the bad guys in spades or something like that.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

Spike's Tactical

Spike's-Tactical

Spike's Tactical 

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Weight:8.6 Oz

Seeking Precision

Seekins-Precision

Seeking Precision

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Weight:10.9 Oz

James Madison

James-Madison

James Madison

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Anderson Manufacturing

Anderson-Manufacturing

Anderson Manufacturing

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Weight:8.35 Oz

New Frontier Armory

New-Frontier-Armory

New Frontier Armory

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Weight:2.45 lbs

Battle Arms Development

Battle-Arms-Development

Battle Arms Development

  • Cartridge:223 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Palmetto State Armory

Palmetto-State-Armory

Palmetto State Armory

  • Cartridge:224 Remington
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Bear Creek Arsenal

Bear-Creek

Bear Creek Arsenal

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

Stag-Arms

Stag Arms

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

Aero Precision M4E1

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Anodized Black

Stag Arms

Tennessee Arms Company

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

Black Rain Ordnance 7075 T6

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

Mega Arms Forged Lower Receiver

  • Material: Aluminium
  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

Noveske 7075 T6 Forged Lower Receiver

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Stripped
  • Finish: Black

Stag Arms

San Tan Tactical 7075 T6

  • Cartridge:5.56 MM NATO
  • Style: Anodized
  • Finish: Black

Top 15 Best AR-15 Lower Receiver On The Market

  • Spike's Tactical Lower Receiver
  • Seeking Precision Lower Receiver
  • James Madison Lower Receiver
  • Anderson Manufacturing Lower Receiver
  • New Frontier Armory Lower Receiver
  • Battle Arms Development Lower Receiver
  • Palmetto State Armory Lower Receiver
  • Bear Creek Arsenal Lower Receiver
  • Stag Arms Lower Receiver
  • Aero Precision M4E1
  • Tennessee Arms Company
  • Black Rain Ordnance 7075 T6
  • Mega Arms Forged Lower Receiver
  • Noveske 7075 T6 Forged Lower Receiver
  • San Tan Tactical 7075 T6

Types of AR -15 Lower Receiver Brands

Getting the right lower receiver is essential as it's a key component of your rifle. Many of the top lower receiver brands have aftermarket lower receivers you can purchase to upgrade your AR - 15 or as replacements for worn-out parts. However, lower receivers aren't built the same. Their effectiveness may vary, as we shall see.  

1. Spike Tactical 

best ar 15 lower

First up on my list of possible additions to a shooter's arsenal of home built rifles is the AR-15 stripped lower receiver unit by Spikes Tactical. In this case, I have selected the Spikes Rare Breed Stripped Crusader lower receiver.

ar15 lowers

Right now, the Crusader is on back order. All that means is it is selling well and is a real score in terms of operational advancement among dedicated AR-15 shooters.

This is a high grade lower receiver unit. The receiver retains bullet pictogram selector markings, 7075-T6 aluminum billet lower receiver. This lower receiver is designed as multi-caliber and is low shelf RDIAS compatible.

Be advised this receiver and all others require sales to be conducted through a Federal FFL holder. In effect, this is the “Gun”. Everything else is an add on element to the complete firearm.

Be sure you understand exactly what you're buying when taking on a high dollar production AR-15 receiver. Remember, that receiver also needs many additional parts.

Product 1

Spike's Tactical

The price of Spike's Tactical varies, so check the latest price at

2. Seeking Precision AR-15 Lower Receiver

skeleton ar 15

In my opinion, when you're talking about AR-15 lower receivers and the term “machined” comes up, you better pay attention.

You will see receivers formed by stamping sheet metal parts like the famed AK-47. You will see molded parts formed from high impact materials like plastic. And, you will see milled parts made from very high-grade steel or various types of aluminum.

The latter group catches my attention every time. Why? Because the word quality comes into the picture very quickly.

In this area, we have the Seekins SP223 Gen 2 Billet Lower Logo.

This lower is dead-on precision and CNC machined from solid billet aluminum. This .223 billet built lower will exceed all mil-spec requirements and is among one of the best in the business.

Seekins makes use of an advanced bolt catch of their own design, a receiver tensioning screw, ambi-bolt stop assembly, and an oversized trigger guard. This is a true custom lower receiver as applied to the AR-15 rifle.

Seekins-Precision

Seekins Precision

The price of Seekins Precision varies, so check the latest price at

3. James Madison Lower

ar lower receiver

This lower receiver is a turnaround from the completed drop-in lowers other companies are building. This lower is not completed as a stripped housing unit. It requires some final fitting and millwork prior to completion.

This is a project type lower receiver assembly. If putting a rifle together from parts is not something you enjoy, then this is not exactly your best choice. As built, this lower receiver will not require an FFL clearance.

Features on this lower include a reinforced housing. The pre-machined areas such as threads for buffer systems, bolt release cavity, and rear pivot pin holes are designed to accommodate standard aftermarket AR parts.

ar 15 lower receiver

The trigger guard is an integral part of the lower housing assembly.

Be advised this lower cannot be returned if it has undergone any modifications. Even very small changes in the finished product will cause this lower to be rejected for return by the manufacturer. The rule here seems to think before you cut.

James-Madison

James Madison

The price of James Madison varies, so check the latest price at

4. Anderson Manufacturing

anderson lower

For the shooter that wants to get into his or her rifle and build it from the bottom up and install every part, the previous lowers fill that need. However, some of us, myself included, want an AR-15 fast.

Waiting around for parts or getting on a gunsmith's schedule can be a bit hard. The solution here is to buy a complete lower. Anderson lowers are range ready right out of the box.

Enter the Anderson Manufacturing company and their AR-15 complete lower.

anderson lowers

AR-15 upper by Palmetto and Mossberg Tactical lower

The Anderson Manufacturing AR-15 lower is complete with an AR-15 six position overmolded M-4 style buttstock equipped with the spring buffer assembly (Hogue).

The receiver's finish is ghost anodized black. The internal parts within the lower are standard to the AR-15.

The grip is an AR-15 M-16 rubber grip beavertail with finger grooves. It is black in color and built by Hogue.

May I say a word to the wise at this juncture. There is a pile of AR-15 parts and brand names floating around out in the gun world. Be advised that there are far fewer companies actually building these components.

anderson arms lower

Complete AR from parts

In other words, a few companies are being marketed under a wide range of over the counter brand names. Now the very good news for buyers is that the market is flooded with AR-15's. Because of this, parts are a dime on a dollar in some cases.

You can shop hard and build or just put together an upper and lower for about a third of retail, and in some cases even less.

Anderson Manufacturing

Anderson Manufacturing

The price of Anderson Manufacturing varies, so check the latest price at

5. New Frontier Armory

complete lower receiver

As another option in an all polymer lower receiver is the complete AR lower offered by New Frontier. This complete lower receiver is ready to drop in with two pins and add the magazine. This lower is very lightweight because it is not made of metal.

The total weight of this lower is 1.6 lbs. This is a very lightweight lower that will make a difference in carry weight when assembled with a current standard weight upper and optics.

best ar lower

New Frontier states that this lower is the lightest weight yet most durable lower offered to shooters on the market today. Low maintenance, easy cleaning, and damage resistant are a few points that make a poly lower an interesting investment.

ar 15 receiver

This lower will accept any and mil-spec or standard upper AR-15 receiver/barrel system. The lower features the “accu-group” composite fire control system. This lower also makes use of the reversible safety system for left- or right-hand shooters.

best ar-15 lower

New Frontier Armory

The price of New Frontier Armory varies, so check the latest price at

6. Battle Arms Development

complete ar lower

This lower receiver made by Battle Arms Development/Rainer Arms is another aftermarket option.

It features a mil-spec dimension based lower (gutted) that makes use of 7075 T6 Aluminum (an industry standard), mil-spec hard anodizing on all surface, and high-quality test forgings.

The lower receiver housing makes use of an ID-3D laser engraved roll mark using the Battle Arms logo.

All pinholes on the lower are reamed rather than drilled. It uses helical rear receiver extension threads that are not drilled and tapped.

ar lowers for sale

As an expert marksman, I advise you to never question the accuracy of a custom or home built rifle. Using a Bear Creek upper and a Stag Arms lower, I have assembled a rifle that has spot-on accuracy.

The housing makes use of an EDM wire cut flared mag well and selector stops have been removed. The lower also uses a 45-degree safety selector. This lower is not offered with any installed parts beyond the housing itself. Don't mistake this for a complete lower as found in some other marketed AR-15 lower receivers.

ar15 receiver

Along the way, I have mentioned my AR-15 builds that are in effect not builds at all, but simple assemblies for the most part. I will recommend three companies that I have been using in terms of buying uppers and lowers.

lower reciever

Because of the fast-changing industry involving several different new cartridges, it is necessary to have a new build on deck in most instances. That means get parts fast and save valuable time in the process.

custom ar lower

Battle Arms Development

The price of Battle Arms Development varies, so check the latest price at

7. Palmetto State Armory

ruger lower receiver

Palmetto State Armory offers all types of AR-15 parts including complete rifles and also lowers and uppers for installation at home. This company builds complete rifles on order and also makes runs of uppers and lowers.

While I will not state brand names here, Palmetto builds a series of lowers and retains some of them for resale directly through their front office. Pricing on these units is great!

I am currently building complete AR-15's in a varied number of chamberings for under $500 without sights by shopping hard and paying attention to pricing on overrun products from this company.

ar 15 billet lowers

Using these builds for accuracy testing of new cartridge types with the AR-15, I have found the uppers to be very accurate when shooting good ammunition (Hornady ELD) inside ½ MOA at 100 yards.

The lower assemblies are very functional. For my research and writing here at Ballistics Research & Development, I could not be more pleased. Nice work Palmetto.

ar lower receivers

Palmetto State Armory

The price of Palmetto State Armory varies, so check the latest price at

8. Bear Creek Arsenal

Best AR Lower

As a second company that also has produced great results in lower assemblies as well as package rifles in the AR-15 platform, I have selected Bear Creek Arsenal.

I got wind of this outfit through Back Ridge Ammunition TN, an offshoot of GI's retiring from the U.S. Army and starting up their own ammunition production facility.

Some of these retired warfighters are using Bear Creek products for their own AR-15 builds. The new guns are mostly the very popular .224 Valkyrie.

Best AR 15 Lower Receiver

Bear Creek offers special pricing on some darn nice products. The same item would run at least twice the retail amount over the counter at a gun shop.

The complete, fire ready assemblies I received from them are spot on. Like the previous company, just drop in the upper, add two receiver pins, and go shoot the weapon.

custom ar 15

Triggers are good. Tolerances are tight with a solid pin fit. All these features contribute to good accuracy out to 1,000 yards during several test events conducted here in western South Dakota.

ar-15 receiver

Bear Creek Arsenal

The price of Bear Creek Arsenal varies, so check the latest price at

9. Stag Arms

lowers ar15

Finally, I want to bring the company Stag Arms to your attention. Stag Arms has been building very high-quality AR-15's as complete rifles for many years. I shoot one of them as a fast twist rate heavy target barrel system for heavy bullet testing at long range in the .223 Rem.

Stag offers lowers and additional parts for sale. I have found those that I have ordered (lowers) are right up to their standards in complete rifle quality.

best lower receivers

These are my current go-to guys across the board that meet my needs. Be advised, however, all needs in this shooting game can be very different. As such, I can't be everything to everyone out there. This is my assessment of varied products. Police, military, contractors, and competition shooters and others have their requirements about weapon systems.

stag arms lower

Stag Arms lower receiver

The price of Stag Arms lower receiver varies, so check the latest price at


The Aero Precision M4E1 ranks as one of the top lower receivers on the market. Despite being a low-budget option, it comes with a clean anodized finish that is attractive and durable, protecting your rifle from corrosion, wear and tear.

The Aero Precision M4E1 features an angular design that gives it a higher impact resistance than your average AR-15 lower. It also comes with a threaded bolt catch pin that frees you from the hassle of installing the catch pin. The threads on the lower are tapered to keep the threaded pin intact during operation. 

The lower comes with an integrated trigger guard designed with ergonomics in mind. It's slightly flared to allow easy access to the trigger and has rounded edges to protect your knuckles. 

The Aero Precision M4E1 ties up all its features with its high-level performance. It allows you to load and reload your firearm faster thanks to its magazine well that's slightly flared on the inside. 

The Aero Precision M4E1 is a versatile, high-performance AR-15 lower receiver that also comes at a reasonable price. 

Aero Precision M4E1

The price of Aero Precision M4E1 varies, so check the latest price at

Tennessee Arms Company is a veteran-owned firearm manufacturing company based in the Volunteer State. Its TNARMS-15 AR -15 lower receiver is designed with a metallic insert embedded in a Polymer AR receiver. These materials are similar to those used in off-road suspension bushings. In addition to being strong, the material used in its receivers is lightweight.

Most shooters shy away from polymer lower receivers due to their reputation as poor quality. However, Tennessee Arms have invested its time and expertise in creating a polymer-based lower infused with bronze to increase the durability of its lowers, raising the level of its product to the same esteem as aluminum and forged metal lowers.

Tennessee Arms Company has become a trendsetter for its rifle lowers. Since these receivers are polymer-based, Tennessee Arms Company's lower receivers are a steal, with some coming for $50 or less when buying online. 

Tennessee Arms Company

The price of Tennessee Arms Company varies, so check the latest price at


Black Rain Ordnance was founded in 2009 and has since established itself as a precision firearm company. It takes pride in being an American brand that ensures that all its rifles and accessories are made from American-sourced metals. 

Best known for its Fallout 15 rifles, Black Rain Ordnance machines its lower receivers with aerospace grade 7075 T6 billet aluminum. Using 7075 T6 aluminum ensures that the lower is durable and lightweight at the same time.

Its lowers come with a beveled magazine well for easy loading and mil-spec dimensions to make the Black Rain Ordnance compatible with other manufacturer parts. 

Black Rain Ordnance wants you to be able to use its lowers during colder weather, thus equipping its lowers with a winter trigger guard. 

As with the top lower receiver brands we've included here, Black Rain Ordnance has a hard black-coated anodized finish. 

Black Rain Ordinance 7075 T6

The price of Black Rain Ordinance 7075 T6 varies, so check the latest price at

The Mega Arms Forged Lower receiver by Zev Technologies is one of the top lower receiver brands in the market, featuring high-quality 7075 T6 aluminum forgings machined to exceed mil-spec standards. Its lower receivers are compatible with other mil-spec parts and accessories you need to complete your custom build.

Assembly is also simplified since the Mega Arms Forged Lower comes stripped and ready for your AR-15 build. 

The lower receiver features an actual black Class 2 Type II hard coat anodized finish. And like most top lower receiver brands, the Mega Arms Forged lower receiver comes with a flared magazine well, allowing for fast magazine loading. 

The lower also allows you to fit a variety of uppers thanks to its nylon-tipped tension screws that allow you to adjust the fit as needed. This lower grip is also higher, thanks to the GATOR GRIP texture added to the mag strip. 

Mega Arms Forged Lower Receiver

The price of Mega Arms Forged Lower Receiver varies, so check the latest price at

Noveske, named after its ex-army founder John Noveske, gained popularity as a top custom gun manufacturer. The company's legacy has grown as Noveske produces some of the top lower receivers for AR-15 rifles. 

Noveske is an excellent rifle company that manufactures firearm accessories to help custom-build your AR-15. The company offers two main lower – Noveske Gen 1 Lower Receiver and Noveske Gen 3 Stripped lower receiver.

Its lower receivers are made with a flared magazine well. The top black finish is a hard coat type II black anodizing finish. Its lowers also come with an adjustable tension screw to allow the upper and lower to fit perfectly together. 

Noveske makes its lower receivers with high-quality military and aerospace grade 7075-T6 aluminum for durability and impact resistance. 

Noveske's Gen 3 lower receiver also consists of a flared magazine well, oversized trigger guards, and an adjustable tension screw to ensure the upper and lower fit perfectly. 

Noveske 7075 T6 Forged Lower Receiver

The price of Noveske 7075 T6 Forged Lower Receiver varies, so check the latest price at

San Tan Tactical takes pride in being an American firearm accessory manufacturer. Its AR-15 lower receivers are made with high-quality 7075-T6 aerospace-grade aluminum. 7075-T6 aluminum has been used extensively in military applications and is the go-to material choice for firearms built to last.

While using 7075-T6-grade aluminum results in steeply-priced firearms and accessories, it makes up for the costs by lasting longer than most materials used in making lower receivers. 

The finishes are made of a rugged and durable Type III anodized black coat. Its 7075-T6 lower receivers match Mil-spec standards, making them compatible with AR-15, M16, and M4 weapons. 

Its lower receivers are made with super flared magazine wells to make loading and reloading as easy as possible. The lower also has a left-hand magazine release giving both left and right-handed users a faster reload while maintaining the target.

San Tan Tactical 7075 T6

The price of San Tan Tactical 7075 T6 varies, so check the latest price at

FAQ's 

When learning about rifles for the first time, beginners have a lot of questions. You'll also find rifle veterans asking questions about new versions or top lower receiver brands. Here are some commonly asked questions about AR - 15s. 

Who makes the best top AR - 15 receiver?

There's no clear-cut answer to this question. Different makers have varying strong points that make its rifle stand out. For instance, the New Frontier Armory lower receiver may be lightweight, which appeals to many people, while others are swayed by the Bear Creek Arsenal lower receiver for its versatility. 

What are some good AR lowers? 

Tennessee Arms Company and Polymer are great top lower receiver brands when you're on a tight budget. Its receivers retail below $100 and have considerably long shelf lives. If you have an unlimited budget, going for San Tan Tactical or Noveske lower receiver is a great choice. There are more manufacturers in our review that we recommend you check out. 

Who makes the best 80% AR - 15 lower?

This depends on one's opinion. The material used to make the lower receiver influences buyers' choice of a receiver. While many people may not like polymer lower receivers, anodized lower receivers are quite popular. This ranks 80% of Arms highly in the category. Its aluminum piece makes it easy for deeper milling cuts which saves time. 

What lower receiver does the military use?

The army has a preference for Geissele and Daniel Defense systems arms. The builds from these brands are made of high-quality materials and have flawless functionality. The parts are also highly versatile, making them easy to adapt to evolving military needs. The trigger mechanism from Daniel Defence Systems and Geisselle is crisp for single and multiple firing as needed by different army units.

This review is a good start in your search for the right parts for your AR-15 build or reworking of an older rifle.

Good luck and good shooting.

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