Ruger AR 15 Review: A Gun That Doesn't Disappoint

Published by 
MaxBlagg
Last updated: 
January 1, 2020
Is it really possible to find an affordable AR 15 rifle that is not junk? There are plenty of cheap options on the crowded AR 15 market, but finding a quality weapon in the budget section is a challenge. Many shooters believe the Ruger AR 15 is the diamond in the rough. We introduced a Ruger AR 15 review to uncover whether the rifle was all it's cracked up to be.
We concluded our Ruger AR 15 review by comparing it alongside some of its noteworthy competitors. We hope this review will help you determine whether the Ruger may be the best semiautomatic rifle for you.

What Is the Ruger AR 15?

Our Ruger AR 15 review uncovered an affordable AR 15 that offers top performance. Considered a budget-friendly rifle, it can perform with the big boys.

Ruger keeps the price in check by using military-spec components, such as the stock and hand guard. This ensures the pieces are light, efficient, and durable. At the same time, the easy exchange of parts and lack of custom features keep the gun at an affordable price point.

Pistol Grip

Our Ruger AR 15 review noted that one custom piece on the Ruger AR 15 is the pistol grip. Not surprisingly, this is also one of the gun's most popular features. The A2 finger groove common on many similar guns has been removed from this Ruger, so it fits a broader range of shooters more comfortably. The palm swell is also appreciated by most users.

Metal vs Milled

It is not uncommon to find cast metal on cheaper guns. Cast metal is used by pouring liquid metal into a mold. When the mold cools, the metal casting is extracted. Among guns, cast metal is less durable than most of its counterparts. Instead, the Ruger uses a milled gas block and sight.

Not only does this give the gas block and front sights greater longevity, the front sights also have serrated surfaces to reduce glare. The only downside is that to replace the front sights you have to replace the gas block. This is still better than having a gas block and sights as part of one cast metal mold.

Product Specs

Our Ruger AR 15 review looked closely at the rifle's specifications. The Ruger AR 15 is a 5.56mm caliber rifle with a barrel just over 16 inches. In all, the gun is 34.4 inches long.

With direct impingent actions and a total weight of 6.5 pounds, the rifle has adjustable flip-up style sights in the rear and fixed front sights.

Pricing

During our Ruger AR 15 review, we found the popular rifle available for about $640. The price was unquestionably impressive for a semiautomatic rifle, and alongside three competitors we found only one counterpart with a similar price. The other two rifles were notably higher in price, with the most expensive listed over $1,200, though we found it available for around $935.

The cheaper guns, though durable and impressive in their own right, used a lot of military spec components. While they are efficient and easily swapped, they are not extraordinary or unique. Another important variable in your potential investment is the included warranty. We looked at rifles with no warranties as well as rifles with lifetime warranties. The sort of protection your purchase receives will surely affect the amount of money you are willing to spend.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Aero Precision AC-15M

  • Sig Sauer M400

  • Smith & Wesson M&P-15

Ruger AR 556 AR-15

Price [$]

Ease of Use [***]

Overall, the rifle is versatile and very easy to use. Like any rifle, there are a few challenges. The muzzle has no wrench flats, so removing the muzzle is difficult. For many users, this will never be an issue, but for those who want to customize their AR 15, it will have to be addressed.

The trigger also has a heavy pull. Despite its military-specifications, many users opt to replace the trigger. Whether you want to shoot competitively or defend your property, the Ruger is easy to use and efficient straight from the box.

Design Quality [****]

Military specifications abound on the Ruger AR 15, including the stock, hand guard, and trigger. While this makes for a serviceable, easily enhanced, and affordable weapon, there are a few design elements that go along with its budget price range.

Users' least favorite element of the gun may be its trigger. The single-stage trigger has a frustrating two-stage feel that is very heavy. A few other corners include the barrel's bore lining that falls short of a chrome lining's durability.

However, the barrel is cold-hammer forged to be very strong and accurate. It also features a proprietary Ruger corrosive-resistant coating Other noteworthy aspects of the design include the milled gas block and custom pistol grip.

Warranty [**]

Ruger, unfortunately, offers no written warranty. Like some other gun manufacturer's, Luger cites the Magnuson-Moss Act (Public Law 93-637) that does not require a written warranty to from a seller. However, they do claim to back their products, even for second owners, and many users attest to their efficient customer service.

Pros

  • Great price-to-performance value
  • Durable and efficient
  • Milled gas block and front sights
  • Very popular pistol grip

Cons

  • Heavy two-stage trigger
  • Barrel lining wears for some high-volume shooters
  • No written warranty

https://www.brownells.com/firearms/rifles/semi-auto/ar-556-16-1in-5-56x45mm-nato-black-30-1rd-prod93029.aspx?cm_mmc=affiliate-_-Itwine-_-IR-_-60594&utm_content=60594&aid=1221452&utm_source=ir&utm_campaign=itwine&utm_medium=affiliate&source=ir&clickid=xH5VYhVgOxyJTwlwUx0Mo34VUklS68Ulw3pez80

Aero Precision AC-15M

In the strictest sense, Aero Precision does not manufacture rifles; they manufacture upper and lower receivers. The receivers can be used to build your own firearm, and they are used by other noteworthy companies with military spec components.

The Aero Precision AC-15M is 16-inch M4-style carbine that offers great value on your dollar. With an A2-style flash hider and components, it boasts a carbine-length gas system.

Much like the Ruger AR 15, the Aero Precision AC-15M does not have a chrome-lining in the barrel. However, Aero promotes its quench-polish-quench (QPQ) process it uses in the barrel as harder and smoother than the chrome lining. In addition, the QPQ nitride finish on the outer barrel is popular among many users. The barrel is durable and accurate.

Like the Ruger, the remaining components of the Aero are military-spec, including an A2 buttstock.

Price [$]

Ease of Use [****]

The components are straightforward and easy to assemble or upgrade thanks to the abundance of military specs. Interestingly, there is no manual with your purchase, so a newer user might struggle. Thanks to its straightforward style, most experienced shooters will not have too much trouble.

Your purchase comes with no magazine, which is a bit of hassle for some. There is also no rear sight, adding slightly to its difficulty level.

Design Quality [****]

A standard M4 upper receiver compliments a 16-inch barrel. The gun fires with a 1:7 twist, and the barrel features a QPQ finish that resists corrosion. The rifle has a mid-length gas system with a mid-length hand guard and shield.

The lower receiver features a flared magazine well with a tension screw. It has a standard AR 15 body with an AR 15/M4 buffer kit. The collapsable stock and A2 pistol grip are both standard military specs.

Warranty [***]

Aero Precision does not manufacture rifles; they manufacture upper and lower receivers. For that reason, warranties will vary depending on the manufacturer selling the actual rifle.

Pros

  • Great value on your dollar
  • Quench-polish-quench (QPQ) process
  • Durable and accurate barrel
  • Flared magazine well with a tension screw

Cons

  • No manual for receivers
  • Magazine not included

https://www.brownells.com/firearms/rifles/semi-auto/ac-15-5-56x45mm-nato-16-mid-length-rifle-prod82606.aspx?avad=avant&aid=170757&cm_mmc=affiliate-_-Itwine-_-Avantlink-_-Custom+Link&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=Avantlink&utm_content=NA&utm_campaign=Itwine

SIG Sauer M400

In the world of AR 15 platforms, the SIG Sauer's M400 is a high-end option for gun lovers. The gun features receivers made of 7075-T6 aluminum anodized for an extra hard finish. The 7075 aluminum is an alloy of aluminum and zinc used in air frame structures. The T6 designation shows that is has been heat treated.

The rifle also boasts a telescopic stock with six options. Both sides of the weapon feature quick-detach points, and a special magazine release helps to avoid unintentional releases. The flared mag is similar to the Aero receiver.

A rubber molding covers the grip. It is a sufficient grip, but some find it slightly below the gun's otherwise high-end features. Some users upgrade the grip, but there is nothing objectively wrong with it.

Price [$$]

Ease of Use [****]

Most AR rifles are easy to handle, and this top-of-the-line version is even more so. From a multitude of shooting positions and with an array of ammunition, the rifle shoots consistently and pleasurably. Other perks that make the gun easy to use include the fantastic hand guard, improved stock, friendly trigger, and a red dot sight.

Design Quality [****]

The SIG M400 is complete with high-end components. Most of its components have already been upgraded since the early 2000s. In one way, this is a great design feature. There are, however, many folks who like to personalize their rifles. If you want to swap out for your preferred components on the SIG, it may be hard to justify the expensive investment.

Warranty [*****]

SIG Sauer firearms come with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • High-end components
  • 7075 aluminum receivers with anodized finish
  • Ambi-magazine release for safety
  • Chrome-lined barrel with phosphate finish
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not ideal for extensive personalization
  • Grip may not live up to other components

https://www.brownells.com/firearms/rifles/semi-auto/m400-tread-5-56-30-1-16--prod123871.aspx?avad=avant&aid=170757&cm_mmc=affiliate-_-Itwine-_-Avantlink-_-Custom+Link&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=Avantlink&utm_content=NA&utm_campaign=Itwine

Smith & Wesson M&P-15

The Smith & Wesson M&P-15 debuted in 2006 as a compliment to their handguns. M&P handguns as well as the rifles are used by law enforcement officers.

The rifle uses a mid-length gas system rather than a carbine option. The system has minimal recoil and is resistant to wear. The 16-inch mid-size barrel does not offer as much velocity as longer barrels, but it gains advantages for its compact design and portability. When the buttstock is collapsed, the rifle measures just under 34 inches.

Price [$$$]

Ease of Use [****]

The M&P-15 MOE Mid is a top-of-the-line weapon that is very user friendly. By using a mid-length gas system, the gun's accuracy is improved, and the probably of hitting on a second shot is higher than other competitors.

The gun also features reduced recoil that is easy on shooters. The Picatinny rail allows users to add an optic without zeroing each time, and that is a very friendly perk. The only negative is the front sight's rings that are high enough to distract shooters using powerful scopes with low magnification.

Design Quality [****]

The M&P-15 MOE Mid is a semi-automatic center-fire rifle with direct gas impingement. The receivers are made of 7075 T6 aluminum just like the SIG Sauer, and the trigger offers a seven pound, six ounce pull. The gun weighs six pounds, eight ounces.

Also like the SIG, the M&P's quality components can make it hard to justify the expensive investment if you are determined to personalize your furniture.

Warranty [*****]

Smith & Wesson offers a lifetime service policy with free repair for the life of the firearm. The policy is only in effect for the original owner of the gun.

Pros

  • Quality Magpul furniture
  • Endorsed and used by law enforcement agencies
  • Minimal recoil and is resistant to wear
  • Picatinny rail is available for optics
  • 7075 T6 aluminum receivers
  • Lifetime free service

Cons

  • Not ideal for extensive personalization
  • High price point

https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/80161/Firearms/Rifles/Smith+&+Wesson/M&P+15+Rifles/S&W+M&P15+Mid-Length+MOE+30+1+223REM/5.56NATO+16

Ruger AR 15 Review Conclusion

At the conclusion of our Ruger AR 15 review, we confidently gave the Ruger three stars. The quality and accuracy of the Ruger product for its minimal price tag was truly impressive. We were especially fond of the cold-hammer-forged barrel for its accuracy and longevity.

Our biggest disappointment was the lack of a written warranty. While it may be true that Ruger supports the guns, we strongly prefer something in writing.

The ergonomic pistol grip is also a great feature that our Ruger AR 15 review revealed most users appreciate. Alongside a milled gas block and matte black-oxide bolt carrier, we truly believe the Ruger AR 15 is an investment worth considering for most shooters.

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