If you were to do a simple Google search for the best ar 15 lower receivers you would probably get a million results. There are all kinds of lower receivers out there, which make finding the best ar lower receiver challenging.
However, having many options to choose from is a good thing. The challenge is sorting through these options trying to figure out which is the best for you. Something that we can all agree can be overwhelming.
It is for this very reason that I have prepared this article. Prior to writing it, I spent a lot of time experimenting and researching on 20 different receivers. From this pool of 20, I settled on five that ticked all the right boxes.
To avoid getting confused and overwhelmed it is important you know what to look for beforehand. Meaning knowing what makes the best lower receiver. That being said, let’s dive straight into what makes the best ar lower receiver.
You might be wondering why out of all the many lower receiver models there are I settled on the five below. Well, here are some of the factors that influenced my decision.
- Quality of the build and craftsmanship
- Price to performance ratio
- Overall features
Quick Comparison Of Best AR 15 Lower Receiver
7075 T6 Aluminum alloy
7075 TC CNC machined aluminum
7075 TC Aluminum alloy
7075 Aluminum alloy
80% lower receiver
So What You Need To Check Before Buying AR Lower Receiver
As with any other thing in the gun world, there are several things you should consider before buying a lower receiver. This is especially if it is for your ar 15 rifle and for Ar 15 bipod. So, what are these things to consider?
Aluminum is the material lower receiver manufacturers prefer, and for good reasons. Being the same metal used in the construction of airplanes, aluminum is extremely durable. Additionally, this metal is also lightweight. However, the metal comes in types.
For making lower receivers the two types of aluminum are the 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. The former is used to make such things as utensils and cars. The 7075-T6 is used in the making of airplanes. Therefore, the latter version is tougher and of better quality.
Polymer is another material that manufacturers have adopted. However, polymer receivers though lightweight are not as durable as their aluminum counterparts. Thus, it is better to go for an aluminum receiver instead of a polymer one.
If you are an outdoors person, then you know how harsh the weather can be. It is important that your gun’s lower receiver be well protected. As such I advise buying a receiver with an abrasion, dirt, and weather resistant coating.
Lower receivers come with different features. Always look at the features of a lower receiver before buying. Some come with flared magazine wells and tension screws. These features can greatly improve your receiver.
Probably the last thing you should look at, it is nice to have a receiver that looks good. How your ar-15 looks like can affect your overall enjoyment of the gun. Thus, the aesthetics of a lower receiver will be important.
WHAT TYPE OF LOWER RECEIVER IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Generally speaking, there are four main types of lower receivers. Each has its own pros and cons. Thus, each appeal to different people and are suited for different applications. The four main types are.
Forged lower receivers are the most common types. These receivers are made through a process known as forging. This process involves hammering hot metal into the shape of a lower receiver. The end product is a strong and durable receiver that offers the right balance between price and quality.
The one downside to forged lower receivers is that they are quite heavy. Due to them being tough and durable forged receivers will appeal to everyone. Additionally, the price of these receivers vary.
Billet lower receivers are sculpted from a single block of aluminum. This means there is greater room for aesthetic changes and design tweaks. While they are not as tough as forged receivers they are easier to customize. If you are keen on how your receiver looks, then billet receivers will be more appealing to you.
Polymer lower receivers are constructed from a synthetic material. In the simplest of terms, the material is a stronger and harder plastic. As such, polymer receivers are not as tough as billet and forged. But this types of receivers are the most lightweight.
Personally, I prefer billet or forged to polymer receivers.
Nonetheless, there are some good quality polymer receivers out there. If weight and cost are your main consideration then you can invest in the BEST POLYMER LOWER RECEIVER.
80% lower receiver
As their name suggests 80% lower receivers are not 100% complete. The good thing with them is that they do not require a NICS check or an FFL license. The downside is that they require extensive skills to use a variety of tools. Thus, if you are not so good with your hands, stay clear of 80% lower receivers.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MATERIALS?
When buying a lower receiver it is important to note that they are made from a variety of materials. To be more specific there are two materials used to make these parts.
As I have already stated, aluminum is one of the toughest and lightest metals around. On top of that, it comes in different alloy types. The two alloys used to make receivers are the 6061-TC and the 7075.
This is the most common aluminum alloy around. It is used to make all sorts of things from vehicle frames to utensils. Also, it is easy to machine and is readily available. Unfortunately, it is not as tough as its 7075 counterparts.
All the same, since it is easy to machine it is the best alloy for making 80% lower receivers. For other types of lower receivers, I recommend the 7075.
Speaking of the 7075 aluminum, this aluminum alloy is tough and extremely durable. It is the standard alloy used by the US military. Which is a testament to its proven toughness and quality in firearm applications.
The drawback with this alloy is that it is harder to machine and thus costly to use. Also, it is not readily available. This makes receivers made using this alloy relatively pricier.
Polymers can be made of naturally occurring or synthetic compounds. For purposes of making lower receivers polymers are made from synthetic materials. Polymer is an economical, lightweight material to work with.
Unfortunately, the material is not as reliable or tough as aluminum. This means that lower receivers made using polymer do not last long. However, modern polymers are proving to be more reliable.
8 Best Lower Receiver For AR 15 Reviews
Now let’s go straight into the reviews of my top 8 best ar 15 lower receivers. These are the receivers that ticked all the right boxes in my book.
AERO PRECISION - AR-15 GEN 2 STRIPPED LOWER RECEIVER, BLACK
Starting us off is arguably the best ar 15 stripped lower receiver, the Aero Precision. Forged from 7075 aluminum, it is an excellent option for the ar-15 platform. The anodized finish gives it a scratch and abrasion resistant coating. And that is not all.
Upper tension screw
The Aero precision comes ready to use out of the box. And with the included upper tension screw it is built to fit tightly with any ar-15 upper receiver. This tension screw is used to fine-tune the fit between the lower and upper receivers.
One of the main reasons why this receiver tops my list is the flared magazine. The latter facilitates easy insertion of magazines. This is important if you want a decent margin of error when reloading.
Cerekote is a polymer-ceramic coating applied on the receiver’s aluminum body. This coating protects the receiver from abrasions, scratches, and corrosion. This adds a layer of protection and toughness to an already tough and well-protected receiver.
Aero went to great lengths to make the receiver fit perfectly with aftermarket parts. Towards this end, the surface of this receiver is precision machined.
- It is a tough and durable lower receiver
- Designed to easily fit with other rifle components
- Can be used on rifles that use either the 5.56 Nato round, the 6.5mm, 6.88 mm or the 9mm Luger round
- Comes 100% made and ready to use out of the box
- Has a flared magazine for easy magazine insertion
- It is slightly more expensive than the Anderson Manufacturing receiver, which has the same features
While the Anderson Manufacturing is cheaper than this receiver, it is still sold at an affordable price. Therefore, it has the right balance between performance and price. On top of that, it is very well constructed and designed to handle all kinds of weather extremities. If you are looking for an affordable receiver of high quality this is the receiver for you.
SPIKES TACTICAL - AR-15 STRIPPED LOWER RECEIVER
Slightly costlier than the Aero Precision, the Spikes Tactical is a lower receiver forged from the same aluminum alloy as its Aero competitor. So, why does this receiver cost more than its competitors?
To earn the title of the best ar lower receiver a receiver has to be able to fit the other parts of a rifle. The Spikes Tactical lower receiver is precision machined for this very purpose. In addition, it comes with holes and threading already done.
Ruggedized anodized finish
The entire receiver is coated in a ruggedized anodized finish. The finish protects against scratches, abrasions, and scuffs. Black in color, the finish also gives this receiver aesthetic appeal.
There is a multi-cal engraving on the receiver, which points to it being suited for different caliber weapons. In particular, this is suited to the 223 Remington and 5.56 mm NATO round.
7075 TC aluminum forged
The Spikes Tactical is one of the toughest and most durable receivers around. Forged from 7075 TC aluminum alloy it will serve you for a very long time. On top of that, it is weather and abrasion resistant.
- It is a tough and durable lower receiver
- Can be used with ar-15s of varying calibers
- It is built to fit different ar-15 parts
- Have no moving parts giving it good functionality
- It is pricier than other receivers with the same features
In all honesty, it is hard to justify the Spikes Tactical’s price, given there are other less costly receivers. All the same, it offers several useful features. Also, it is very well made and can last for a very long time. And thanks to its finish it will look new for a very long time.
SEEKINS PRECISION - AR-15 SP223 BILLET LOWER RECEIVER
Built for tactical shooters, the Seekins Precision billet lower receiver is another that is worth mentioning. And while it is not the cheapest receiver around, it has its advantages, which earn it a spot on my list.
Ambidextrous bolt release
The Seekins Precision comes with a bolt release. And the best thing about it is that you can release it with either hand. This is why it is described as an ambidextrous bolt release.
Oversized trigger guard
An oversized trigger guard is also included in this receiver. The purpose of this oversized trigger is to make it easy to maintain trigger control with gloved hands.
A uniquely shaped beveled magazine rounds up the receiver’s unique features. The shape of the magazine allows for quick insertion. This helps to achieve quick reloads, which in turn offers convenience.
Tensioning set screw
To make it easy to align it with the upper receiver you get a tensioning set screw. The screw makes installing the receiver easy.
- Easy to install and align it with the upper receiver
- Inserting a magazine is quick and easy
- The oversized trigger guard means you can use it with gloved hands
- Comes with screw-in dowel pins for strength
- It is a durable and tough receiver
- It is relatively pricey compared to other receivers
The Seekins Precision is probably the BEST BILLET LOWER RECEIVER on my list. While it does not come cheap, it is well worth it. Being 100% complete means you do not require any additional tools to install it. This is particularly beneficial if you lack the technical skills.
ANDERSON MANUFACTURING - AR-15 STRIPPED LOWER RECEIVER
Ask which is the best forged lower receiver in any gun forum and the Anderson Manufacturing receiver is likely to pop-up. Loved by many, yours truly included, the Anderson Manufacturing is cheaper than most of its competitors. The great thing is that it offers the same as its competitors.
Costing around $50 this receiver is made from the same aluminum alloy as the Spikes tactical and Seekins precision receiver that cost double. The 7075 aluminum alloy is a tested and proven material that lasts long and can withstand abuse.
The matte black finish of this lower receiver is not only appealing but also abrasion resistant. This is thanks to the Cerakote coating that makes up the matte black finish. The hard anodized coating is resistant to scratches, scuffs, and abrasions.
Similar to its pricier counterparts it is precision machined. As such, you will not struggle to install it into your ar-15. More importantly, it fits the other parts of your rifle.
Limited lifetime warranty
A limited lifetime warranty ensures you are protected from against defects. Thus, you can use your receiver without worrying about it having inherent defects.
- Is offered at an incredibly affordable price
- It is scratch and abrasion resistant
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
- Made from a tough and durable aluminum alloy
- It looks uninteresting
- Does not have any additional features
Most ar-15 users dislike this receiver due to it looking cheap and too simplistic. Nevertheless, when you get past its looks, you can enjoy its usefulness. Its cheap design notwithstanding, it has all the qualities of a good quality receiver. Also, the fact that it costs almost half the price of other receivers earns it a spot on the list of the best forged lower receiver.
BRAVO COMPANY - AR-15 COMPLETE LOWER RECEIVER W/ BCMGUNFIGHTER™ STOCK
The Bravo Company complete lower receiver is a quality receiver that offers something extra. And that something extra is a Gunfighter rifle Stock. The inclusion of a stock makes it a unique offering different from the others on my list.
This lower receiver comes with a trigger assembly complete with a trigger guard. In addition to this, you also get a pistol grip included. The entire receiver is attached to a Gunfighter rifle stock.
7075 aluminum alloy is the material the BCM opted to make this lower receiver. The result is a lower receiver that is tough, durable and of good quality. The black anodized finish adds a layer of protection to the receiver.
Hard coat anodized finish
A layer of black hard coat anodized finish is applied all over the receiver. This beautiful black finish is scratch and abrasion resistant.
- Built from high-quality aluminum alloy
- Comes with a pistol grip
- Has a complete trigger housing with a trigger guard
- Comes inclusive of a rifle stock
- It is marked as a multi-caliber receiver
- It is quite expensive
Bravo Company is a company founded by a former marine. Hence, all their products are practical and this receiver is no exception. It comes with a pistol grip and even a rifle stock. The addition of this two makes it one of the more unique offerings out there.
COLT - AR-15 M4 COMPLETE LOWER RECEIVER 5.56MM
Another receiver ideal for building an ar-15 with is the Colt- Ar-15 M4 complete lower receiver. Alongside the Bravo Company receiver, this is one of the best complete lower receivers. It comes with an M4 style stock and a pistol grip.
Complete lower receiver
As its name suggests, this is a complete lower receiver with an M4 style stock and a pistol grip. It is a great foundation to start the building of an ar-15 platform. In addition to the pistol grip and M4 stock, there is also a trigger housing.
Black hard anodized finished
While the 7075 aluminum alloy used to make this receiver is tough on its own, the addition of a black anodized finish gives it more durability. This black finish gives it a premium look that you are bound to love.
Suitable for the 5.56 round
The 5.56 NATO round is one of the most popular for ar-15s. With this realization, Colt made this receiver suitable for this round. Also, the entire receiver is designed to match the company’s LE6920 AR-15 rifles.
- Comes with an M4 style buttstock and pistol grip
- Has a hard anodized finish that protects against abrasions
- Comes with a complete trigger housing.
- Made from high-quality aluminum alloy
- Is suited to the 5.56 NATO cartridge only
Building an ar-15 platform will require a lot of parts. With this receiver, however, you can cut back on the number of parts to buy. Complete with a stock and a pistol grip you can use it as a foundation. Its hefty price tag notwithstanding it is a great lower receiver for any ar-15 rifle.
BATTLE ARMS DEVELOPMENT INC. - AR-15 BAD-15 FORGED LOWER RECEIVER
From first-hand experience, the Battle Arms BAD forged lower receiver is a work of art. I bought one of these receivers sometime last year. Swapping it for my stock ar-15’s receiver was a breeze. But that is not all.
There are no adjustments required to make this receiver fit with your standard ar-15 components. This is thanks to the precision machining that has been done on it. The machining does not compromise on its durability and strength.
As with any other product from Battle Arms development, this forged lower receiver is made from high-quality materials. More specifically it is made from 7075 aluminum. The latter aluminum alloy guarantees toughness and durability.
I have a habit of abusing my tools, especially my hunting tools. So I was happy with the hard anodized finish that the receiver comes coated in. I bought it over one year ago and the black finish still looks as it did the first day I looked at it.
Well configured magazine
The magazine is built to accept standard ar-15 magazines. The surface of the magazine area is smooth to reduce friction. This helps achieve quicker reloading.
- Well protected from corrosion and abrasion
- Is a multi-caliber lower receiver
- Fits almost all ar-15 aftermarket components
- Has a premium look and feel
- Constructed from high-grade aluminum
- Its price ranges from $200 and above
I have been using this receiver for almost a year now. And while it was not cheap, it has served me well. I lover the fact that it is multi-caliber and can be used with different calibers. In a nutshell, it is a premium receiver with a premium price tag.
JAMES MADISON TACTICAL - AR-15 80% POLYMER GEN2 LOWER RECEIVER
The only and BEST POLYMER LOWER RECEIVER is the James Madison Tactical lower receiver. It is an 80% type lower receiver with a matte black finish. Unlike others on my list, it cannot be used out of the box.
Polymer is not the best material for making lower receivers. All the same, the use of polymer on this lower receiver is a plus. Reason being that it makes it easy to machine. In addition, it comes with jigs and instructions on how to complete its construction.
Built to be reliable, this James Madison receiver is quite tough for a polymer receiver. It is weather resistant and durable without compromising of weight.
There are several pre-machined areas on this receiver that makes it easy to use. The buffer tube and bolt release cavity come pre-machined. This makes it easy to put the receiver together and use to build an are-15 platform.
Enhanced magazine well
The magazine area is wide to accommodate different kinds of magazines. This was one of the improvements made to it.
- Built from a reinforced polymer material
- It is easy to machine
- Fits most ar-15 aftermarket parts
- It is a multi-caliber receiver
- Fast drilling can cause melting of some parts
The best 80% Lower Receiver by far, the James Madison Tactical receiver is an ideal choice for people who want to do the work themselves. As with all other 80% lower receivers, you do not need an FFL license to buy it. This saves you time that you can use to complete building it the receiver.
The qualities of the best quality 80 lower receiver differ from those of the BEST BILLET LOWER RECEIVER. The same goes for forged lower receivers. All these types have something to offer. 80% polymer receivers are suited for people who do not want the hassle of applying for an FFL license. Billet and forged are suited to people who lack the technical skills of putting together an ar-15 platform. Thus irrespective of the best ar 15 lower receivers you settle on it is important to remember their differences.