In this guide, let's check out the best AR-15 lower receivers you can buy today to build an AR pistol, an SBR, or a retro AR-15 rifle from scratch. There are tons of options available, and it can be confusing at times.

I have almost 12 years of experience building, fixing, and upgrading the AR-15 rifle, and here are reputable and tried and true parts that will not disappoint you, including standard and billet options.

There are 3 types of receivers you can buy:

  • Strip Lower [Bare bone AR-15 lower receiver]
  • Complete Lower [Ready to mate with a complete upper receiver]
  • 80% Lower [Requires milling]

Let's check them out:

Please Note: All serialized lower receivers require local FFL transfer to legally purchase after successfully completing a Form 4473 background check. Please check your local law before placing an order

Comparison Table of Stripped Lower Receivers

Disclosure: All products have affiliate links for earning commission to support the website when you purchase



  • Best Overall
  • Best MIL-Spec Lower
  • Lowest Price
  • Best Value
  • Best Billet Lower Receiver
  • Best Ambidextrous Feature
  • Best Skeleton Receiver

Palmetto State Armory AR15 Lower - Best For Retro Builds

psa ar15 retro lower

A long time ago, I discovered Palmetto State Armory, a civilian market-focused firearm company that makes high-end AR-15 components ALL in-house (Partnered with NoDak Spud). Not only that, but you will be pleasantly surprised by how affordably priced their stripped lowers are. How did they manage to lower the costs? PSA cut middleman costs and decided to work directly with customers. The quality is as good as Daniel Defense, FN, Colt, and other reputable companies.

Some PSA AR lowers are directly sourced from original companies like Harrington & Richardson to offer a retro M16A2 build model featuring "Property of US GOVT M16A2 CAL 556mm" markings. Some offer popular MEME lowers!

Some offers popular MEME lowers!

PSA also offers various AR-15 lower receivers, including a full AR-15 build kit minus the lower, which you can buy here. The kit is top-notch, but in order to express how much I liked it, I would need to write a whole separate review on it.

What I Like

  • Excellent quality

  • Great finish for a retro look

  • Durable lower receiver

What I Don't Like

  • Often out of stock as the lowers are sold out immediately

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: Palmetto State Armory

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 5/5

BCM Lower - Best Mil Spec Lower

bcm ar15 lower

Referenced BCM

Whenever I need MIL-Spec parts, my go-to place is always Bravo Company. BCM makes some of the top AR15 parts and accessories, including their most popular KMR handguard & BCM PDW grip that everyone loves. Their primary marketing efforts gear towards the strong 2A communities, and the company has always been one of my favorites.

Buying their Mil-Spec lower receivers with built-in trigger guards is definitely one of the best overall choices. One product I would like to discuss is their complete lower receiver (that looks absolutely stunning with a complete upper part, too).

I don't remember being so happy putting together a gun where two parts fit like a glove. I've experienced not a single jam, and you can match the lower receiver with an upper receiver of another brand. I've tested it with an upper receiver from a different brand, and everything worked like a charm. The only small issue I had was the stiff trigger, but that was gone after a few rounds of shooting practice.

What I Like

  • Reliable

  • Ultra-durable

  • Well-constructed lower receiver

  • High-quality materials

What I Don't Like

  • Stiff trigger when matched with an upper receiver of another brand

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: Bravo Company

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 5/5

Anderson Manufacturing - Lowest Price

anderson manufacturing lower receiver built

If you want the best AR lower for a fair price, Anderson Manufacturing has something exclusive to offer.

Anderson Manufacturing's lower receiver is the most affordable on the market, and that's a fact. Don't let the low price fool you! People have built countless AR-15s with this lower with zero issues. And I've tested it out as well and was pretty surprised that such a durable lower receiver can possibly cost so little.

The receiver is CNC machined from a high-strength 7075 T6 aluminum with a Type III black hard-anodized finish to the Military Specification that provides durability and unmatched performance in the field or at the range. Just wow!

I've tried Anderson lowers with multiple calibers and applications and had no problem whatsoever.

What I Like

  • Cheapest lower receiver

  • Durable build

  • Nice finish

What I Don't Like

  • Lower trigger pin isn't tight enough

  • May be hard to disassemble with some upper receivers

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: Anderson Manufacturing

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 5/5

Aero Precision - Best Value

aero precision AR15 M4e1 lower receiver

The next on my list is the M4E1 lower receiver. Manufactured by Aero Precision, this lower receiver delivers billet aesthetics from a forged 7075 T6 aluminum, and it's compatible with all MIL-Spec AR-15 parts.

As you can see, the M4E1 has a trigger guard along with the screw vice pin for bolt release. Building your own AR with this lower receiver is a breeze. If it's your first time building your own AR, I would recommend going with this model.

Aero lowers are made of high-quality materials, and the overall look is aesthetically pleasing, too. By buying an Aero Precision lower receiver, you know that you buy a quality product that will surely last years.

Additionally, Aero Precision has added several functional features to the lower receiver to simplify the assembly process for the at-home builder:

  • Increased Magwell Flare - Enlarged magwell opening to aid faster and more efficient magazine insert.

  • Integrated Trigger Guard - Eliminates the possibility of breaking the trigger guard tabs by integrating the trigger guard into the lower, creating a stronger, more rigid platform to build upon.

  • Threaded Takedown Pin Detent Recess - Install the Takedown Pin Detent and spring with the use of a 4-40 set screw (no more launching detents across the room).

  • Threaded Bolt Catch Roll Pin - Allows for simple installation of the bolt catch and virtually eliminates the chance of damaging the finish during installation (pin included). 1/16" Hex Key required for assembly.

What I Like

  • Quality fit and finish

  • High quality

  • Can be matched with an Aero's enhanced upper receiver

What I Don't Like

  • Polymer lowers cost slightly higher

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: Aero Precision

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 5/5

VLTOR VRA R - Best Billet Lower Receiver

Vltor VRA R receiver

In the past decade, VLTOR released a series of innovative products to the weapons market. Most notably, the company has a large presence in the hardcore tactical community. And I couldn't go past without testing one of their lower receivers.

The VLTOR VRA-R is a fully-featured MIL-Spec lower receiver. It includes 3 QD sling attachment points, a beveled magazine well, and an oversized magazine release button.

At one point, I was looking for an upgrade for my existing weapon, and this is what I was offered. Ever since the upgrade, I haven't regretted the purchase once. You really see how much time and resources VLTOR put into the creation of this lower receiver.

If you get this one, the VRA R ships with a mil-spec trigger, lower parts kit, and buffer system already preassembled.

What I Like

  • MIL-Spec trigger, lower parts kit, and buffer system are preassembled

  • Excellent value for money

  • Durable

What I Don't Like

  • Pricey

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: VLTOR

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 4.8/5

Radian Weapons - Best Ambidextrous Feature

Radian weapon lower receiver

Among all of the best ambidextrous lowers, the Radian Weapons AR-15 ranks high, hence why I decided to review it there.

The lower receiver is not only completely ambidextrous, but it also looks and feels just badass, featuring flared mag well for quick reloads, a serrated front for CQB support handhold, and an integrated trigger guard for easier trigger access.

Radian Weapons milled this receiver from 7075-T6 aluminum, hard coat anodized, and milled weight-reduction cutouts into the magazine well.

Additionally, this unit enables right-handed shooters to lock the bolt to the rear without taking their firing hand off the weapon.

For fit, there’s a self-adjusting receiver tensioner that uses a spring pin to automatically adjust the upper receiver tension for an exact upper receiver fit without turning any screws.

Overall, this model is an outstanding option for those who want a truly ambidextrous lower receiver without purchasing any additional hardware.

What I Like

  • Lighter than other lower receivers

  • Has a self-adjusting receiver tensioner

  • Durable and has a fine finish

What I Don't Like

  • Pricey

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: Radian Weapons

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 4.8/5

F1 UDR-15 3G - Best Skeleton Receiver

f1 AR15 receiver skeletonized

I believe in buying from local lower-receiver brands and supporting their business over imported brands that can't always properly assist you when there is a technical problem. So, if you are from Texas, I'd like to introduce to you F-1 Firearms and their most unusual lower receiver.

F-1 Firearms is a Texas firearms brand that sells the best skeletonized AR-15 upper receivers along with lower receivers that stand out from the crowd.

The skeletonized UDR 15 3G lower receiver is made with 7075-T6 aircraft quality domestic aluminum, ensuring quality, and offers the new F-1 Firearms 3G skeletonizing for reduced weight and aesthetics.

Most importantly, F1 UDR 15 3G skeletonized receiver is much beefier than others on the market to maintain structural integrity.

In addition, the receiver features an oversized trigger guard for shooters gearing gloves & 60° beveled magwell for fast magazine insert.

Although this is a review of lower receivers, I highly recommend checking out their receiver set - a mind-blowing design I am planning to purchase soon.

What I Like

  • Unique design

  • Very well-made lower receiver

  • Durable and sturdy

What I Don't Like

  • When installing parts, make sure not to put too much tension on the lower receiver

Basic Parameters

  • Brand: F-1 Firearms

  • Material: Machined from 7075-T6 aluminum

  • Caliber: Multi

My Rating: 5/5

How To Pick An AR-15 Lower Receiver: The Major Factors

I go by three main factors that I'd like to share with you here.

  • Type – The type of lower receiver should make sense of what you want between feature and function. It should also fit your budget.
  • Material – Forged or Billet. Forged 7075 T6 aluminum is stronger.
  • Quality Control –  Most receivers are made from the same factory with different company logos stamped, but quality and tolerance standards vary.

If you can find a lower receiver that matches the intent of your weapon, falls within your budget, and is built to last, then you may have found the best AR-15 lower receiver for you. There are some other minor factors to consider as well. They include:

  • Finish – You want a finish that is free from defects and blemishes. Not only does it look good but it protects your weapon from chemical corrosion and exposure to elements.
  • Aesthetics – What your AR-15 looks like can influence how much you enjoy your weapon overall. Choose a lower receiver you like and that matches your aesthetic.
  • Performance Features –Don’t sleep on this one. Features like flared magazine wells and tension screws can greatly improve the function and performance of you weapon.

Let’s look at all of these in a little more detail.

Best AR Lower Receiver: Detailed Buyer's Guide

7075 T6 vs. 6061 T6 Forged Aluminum Lower Receiver

There are two types of aluminum commonly used to make AR-15 receivers:

  • 7075 T6
  • 6061 T6

Aluminum Type6061 T67075 T6
Ultimate Tensile Strength45000 PSI83000 PSI
Tensile Yield Strength40000 PSI73000 PSI
Shear Strength30000 PSI48000 PSI
Fatigue Strength14000 PSI23000 PSI
Hardness 4053.5

7075 is about 2X stronger than 6061, so why would anyone buy a 6061 receiver?

They both last, and I have seen both of them in action for many years, and I can't tell any difference as far as performance is concerned. All I can say is they work.

So why is there a price difference?

The forged 7075 T6 is a lot stronger and less expensive. On the other hand, 6061 is slightly less strong than 7075, but the billet receiver has a bit more details, is better looking, and is more expensive due to the extensive amount of CNC machine work.

On top of that, the price also depends on the brand. The stronger the brand market value, the more they can charge.

Forged Receiver

Strongest Receiver - 7075 T6 Aluminum grade lower receiver is the best on the market and the most common for mil-spec grade AR15s. It's hard to beat its combination of strength and price.

What is forging? - Forging is a process where hot metal is hammered into the general shape of a lower receiver to increase the density of the material, thus its strength.

How the shape is formed - As the metal is hammered into the shape of the lower receiver part. The grain flows continuously through the part, giving the receiver significantly increased material strength.

Heat Treatment - After the lower receiver is forged, heat treatment is applied to further strengthen the metal.

Finishing Touch - Once the heat treatment is completed, then the sharp edges, drill holes, and tap threads are cleaned up before applying markings and a finish.

Who Makes Them - Only a few manufacturers make the receivers, and you can identify them by looking at the forging stamp (Keyhole, Square, etc.), then the brand logo is stamped to the receiver.

Popular brands with high brand equity, better-perceived value & marketing can charge a much higher price than less popular brands. Yet, the receivers are made at the same factory.

So higher-priced units may not be the best value when you can get a cheaper receiver with the exact same qualities.

Billet Lower Receiver

Best Looking Receiver - A billet aluminum lower receiver looks much better and is unique for any hardcore AR-15 carbine lovers. They work just as well as a standard A2 receiver and give the AR-15 so much more creative designs than a forged receiver.

Buying a billet receiver is the same as choosing a forged receiver- get it from a reputable manufacturer that uses top-quality materials.

CNC Machining - The process involves the use of CNC machines to carve the receiver from a single billet block into the final product. The process can take upwards of a few hours. After everything is done, you’re left with a rugged and good looking lower receiver.

Fitting - Some billet lower receiver parts won’t fit standardized parts and require proprietary parts exclusive to the manufacturer. This is definitely a detail you need to pay attention to before making a purchase.

Durability - The billet receivers are inherently weaker than a forged receiver theoretically, but it's highly unlikely that people test its strength in any condition to notice a difference at the metallurgic level.

Lower Parts Kit Needed

Aero precision ar15 lower parts kit

Once you've decided on a lower receiver, the next thing to do is to buy the lower receiver parts kit, or you can buy them individually.

We recommend buying a set that includes everything unless you know exactly what to get. These parts are:

  • Trigger guard
  • Receiver retention pins
  • Safety selector
  • Trigger group
  • Bolt release
  • Magazine release
  • Buffer tube
  • Pistol grip
  • Plunger & plunger spring
  • Buffer & Buffer Spring
  • Castle nut
  • Receiver plate
  • Rifle stock

Tools Needed for Installation

Tools needed for completing your lower receiver build are:

  • Hole punch

  • Vice Block

  • Screwdriver

Best Places to Buy AR-15 Lower Parts

Please Note: All serialized lower receivers require local FFL transfer to legally purchase after successfully completing a background check.


Pros – Tons of options are available, and you can find stuff you can't find just by going to your local gun shop. Check out Palmetto State Armory , GrabAGun, and Brownells for stuff you can't find locally.

Cons – Besides the hassle of contacting your local FFL to coordinate the purchase & transfer. Some FFL can charge up to $100 per item being transferred on top of other expenses.

Local Gun Shop

Pros – You support local businesses and get to know people in the firearm world. You also get to touch, feel, and experience the product before making a purchase.

Cons – Gun shops don't generally carry tons of receiver parts unless you go to a store that does. Sometimes the local gun shop charges higher prices overall.

If you decided to just buy a complete AR-15 rifle, please check out this guide here.