With the respected Armalite name, the M-15 Law Enforcement Carbine has instant credibility with home defenders and law enforcement alike. This rifle has a chrome-lined barrel and a two-stage trigger. A six-position, collapsible buttstock allows the gun to fit shooters of different statures and rapidly adjusts if they don external body armor. Its MSRP is $989. (<a target=blank href=https://armalite.com/shop/m-15-le-carbine/>http://www.armalite.com</a>; 800-336-0184)
Bushmaster rifles have been a popular choice among home defenders for decades, and the Carbon-15 M4 Quad Rail is an affordable choice for anyone needing to update their long gun. The Mission First Tactical polymer handguard allows for the addition of a variety of accessories, such as a white light or a vertical foregrip. These rifles use a composite lower receiver and an aluminum upper receiver. The MSRP is $866. (<a target=blank href=https://www.bushmaster.com/firearms/carbon_15.asp>http://www.bushmaster.com</a>; 800-883-6229)
With the Echo 316 MLOK, Del-Ton delivers a lot of value by combining a quality semi-automatic AR-15 with Magpul MLOK furniture. Magpul provides the handguard, the pistol grip, the adjustable stock and the 30-round magazine for this rifle. Receivers are forged and hardcoat anodized for increased durability. A Picatinny rail tops the upper to allow for the addition of sights and optics. The MSRP is $863. (<a target=blank href=http://www.del-ton.com/DTI_16_Carbine_MOE_Rifle_p/rfth16-moe.htm>http://www.del-ton.com</a>; 910-645-2172)
A relative newcomer to the duty/home-defense rifle market, Diamondback manufactures solid AR-15 carbines at a very affordable price. Both the upper and lower receivers are forged from 7075-T6 aluminum, with the upper being an A3-style flattop unit. Fitted with an adjustable stock, the rifle’s 16-inch, chrome-moly barrel is topped with an A2-style flash suppressor. The MSRP is $756. (<a target=blank href=http://www.diamondbackfirearms.com/product?id=68>http://www.diamondbackfirearms.com</a>; 877-997-6774)
As one of the bestselling rifle in the DPMS catalog, the Oracle has been tested and proven in the hands of civilian shooters and law enforcement officers across the nation. The rifle comes ready for duty with an adjustable stock, a chrome-lined barrel and a Glacier Guard handguard. This lightweight optics ready carbine also features a mil-std A3 upper receiver, The MSRP is $634. (<a target=blank href=http://www.dpmsinc.com/556-ORACLE_ep_135-1.html>http://www.dpmsinc.com</a>; 800-578-3767)
Few companies enjoy the reputation for ruggedness that Ruger has earned. This quality construction carried over to the AR-556, the company’s surprisingly affordable AR-15 rifle. The American-made rifle uses a standard direct gas impingement operating system. The 16.1-inch, threaded barrel is cold-hammer-forged and has a medium contour. Ruger includes a folding rear sight, an improved pistol grip and an enlarged triggerguard. The MSRP is $749. (<a target=blank href=http://www.ruger.com/products/ar556/models.html>http://www.ruger.com</a>)
Many concealed carriers already carry a Smith & Wesson M&P handgun in their holster, so adding an M&P15 rifle for home defense can make a lot of sense. These direct-impingement guns have A2-style front sights and Magpul MBUS folding rear sights. A Picatinny rail allows shooters to add glass as well. Magpul also provides the 30-round magazine that ships with the rifle. The MSRP is $739. (<a target=blank href=http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_786006_-1_757785_757784_757784_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y>http://www.smith-wesson.com</a>; 800-331-0852)
The lightest rifle in this roundup, Windham Weaponry uses a carbon-fiber composite molded lower receiver to keep the SRC’s total weight under 6 pounds. In addition to the weight reduction, the composite lower offers improved heat dissipation and does not have a finish that will wear off. The barrel is chrome-lined, and the gas block is low profile. A lifetime warranty ensures the company will stand behind the rifle. The MSRP is $846. (<a target=blank href=https://www.windhamweaponry.com/content_rifles.asp>http://www.windhamweaponry.com</a>; 855-808-1888)
As the budget belt in many households has tightened over the past few years, home defenders are increasingly looking for affordable AR-15 rifles. While cash may be tight for many families, your personal and home defense is still paramount. Fortunately, there are a number of manufacturers producing high-quality rifles that won’t break the bank. All of the guns on this list are from recognized names in the industry, and many are ready to go to work straight from the box. Here’s a look at eight of the top AR-15s that come in at less than $1,000.
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