Low Tier, Mid Tier and Top Tier Rifles OH MY!

What if I told you that those 3 classifications of AR-15 and AR-10 rifles were absolutely worthless and nothing more than terms that the internet likes to use to justify a certain price point? Furthermore, what if I told you that I have a Anderson Manufacturing rifle that can consistently shoot .50″ MOA at 100 yards all day long but I also have a Daniel Defense MK12 that won’t shoot better than 2″ MOA at 50 yards? Let’s head on down the proverbial rabbit hole and let me explain what truly makes a great rifle…. Here’s a hint; it isn’t cost!

What’s In a Name

As the AR rifle platform has become more and more popular over the past two decades, there has been a trend that the more expensive it costs, the better it will perform. This couldn’t be further from the truth in all actuality. That’s not to say that Knight’s Armament doesn’t produce an amazing battle rifle but it also doesn’t mean every single one that ships from the factory is a tack driver. The same can be said about LMT, Daniel Defense and Noveske. Everyone of those brands make excellent products but just like every industry since Coronavirus, quality control has suffered and is trending downward.

How Did We Get Here

Being an armorer and gunsmith allows us the ability to peak behind the curtain and have first hand knowledge on the direction manufacturers are heading. Whether it’s using cheaper anodizing methods or using screws, fasteners and springs that are inferior. Some will try to cut corners by using bolt carriers that are subpar or out of spec which can cause many problems because the BCG is truly the heart of the AR-15 and AR-10 rifle. Less than half of large production AR manufacturers take the time to properly stake castle nuts to mil-spec standards and even less dimple gas blocks to ensure a secure fit to the barrel.

What’s The Best Rifle On The Market

Like I stated earlier in the first paragraph it doesn’t matter so much the brand name that you purchase. It matters a whole lot more how your rifle was built and the quality control measures that are in place to ensure that each rifle is assembled consistently. Is every rifle being gauged for headspace? Are the correct thread-lockers and assembly lubricants being applied in the proper areas? Does everyone have a torque wrench at their station to confirm proper torque values?

Back To Basics

Some people like to claim that the AR rifle is like an adult lego project are are easy to put together and I would somewhat agree. Where I disagree though is the belief that anyone with a set of punches can assemble a hard use duty rifle that won’t fail after 500 rounds. The AR-15 and AR-10 platform is hands down the most versatile rifle ever created but there are rules that must be followed when assembling to ensure that your rifle will be able to be used whether for self defense, plinking or a SHTF situation.