Eugene Stoner’s Armalite Rifle, design number 15, has quickly become one of the most adaptive hunting and shooting rifles on the market. An inherently accurate platform, the AR-15 has become widely produced and highly demanded. This demand has pushed manufacturers to produce budget-friendly versions of the design. These lower-cost ARs are great rifles by the themselves, or they offer a solid starting point for a custom build.
Owners of these firearms can swap out just about every part of the rifle to personalize it for taste and function. One of the first thing AR owners tend to add is an optic. Red-dot sights are popular for close-quarters shooting. The AR is one of the better home defense options, and a red-dot sight is perfect for this application. You can also use one for hunting purposes, too. Another option is a more traditional scope, and there are several that were designed just for the AR platform and the .223/5.56 round.
Other areas you can customize include the stock and handguard, which can help fit the rifle to you. You can also add a foregrip, which can help steady the rifle when shooting at targets or game. And don’t forget extra magazines, and all the other accessories such as cleaning kits, cases and much more.
The Ruger AR-556 (above) sells for $699.99 and is Sturm Ruger’s entry into the budget AR arena. Ruger is one of the oldest rifle manufacturers in the nation. They were late coming into the AR market, but in typical Ruger fashion, they came in with a well thought out design that is basically flawless. Unlike Ruger’s initial AR, the gas-piston driven SR-556, the AR-556 is a direct impingement design, like other lower-cost rifles. The AR-556 has a 16-inch cold-forged barrel with 1:8 rifling. There is a six-position telescoping stock, or a fixed stock depending on where you are, and a basic handguard, an elevation-adjustable front sight and Rapid Deploy folding rear sight. The Made-in-USA Ruger comes with either a 10- or 30-round Magpul PMAG magazine, depending on local ordinances. It is an accurate and well-built rifle, and is available at a price that has made it a highly sought-after commodity.