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Best 5.56 Rifles That Are Not AR-15s

Love 5.56 but don't want to be like all the other AR-15 guys? Don't worry, we've got you. Check out the best 5.56 rifles that aren't ARs!

We all know in the world of tactical 5.56 rifles, the AR-15 rules.

Oftentimes it seems like the only choice for a modern semi-auto 5.56 caliber rifle. 

Favorite AR-15s
So. Many. ARs.

What if I told you it didn’t have to be

What if I told you there were better or, at the least, alternative options? As a natural-born contrarian, I have a hard time settling for the rifle in use by everyone else. 

So I seek out alternatives. I’ve even found some of what I consider the best 5.56 rifles that aren’t AR-15s. 

Tavor Vs AR-15
Like… the IWI Tavor X95!

The rules are simple when it comes to selecting 5.56 rifles that aren’t the AR-15. If you can read the title, you know the rules — it must be in 5.56 and can’t be an AR-15.

Believe it or not, there are lots and lots of non-AR-15 rifles in 5.56, but many of them are hard to love.

I’ve found a handful worthy of being called AR-15 replacements in various configurations and designs. But before we start, I also want to address the elephant in the room. 

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best AR-15 Alternative

    Sig Sauer MCX Spear-LT

    Sig's new Spear-LT is their latest improvement to the MCX platform, and boasts a strong track record along with great features.

  2. Best 5.56 Bullpup

    Steyr AUG A3 M1

    With over 40 years of service, the AUG is by far the most proven gun on the list and has shown that it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

  3. Best Budget Option

    Kel-Tec SU-16

    AR-15 alternatives can be expensive, but this KelTec clocks in around the $500 mark, making it cheapest on our list.

  4. Editor's Pick

    IWI Galil ACE Gen 2

    Considered widely as the ultimate refinement of the AK platform, the Galil ACE in 5.56 is rugged, reliable, and fun to shoot.

  5. Best Roller-Delayed 5.56 Rifle

    MarColMar CETME L

    Roller-delayed 5.56 rifles have been difficult to get in the past, but the CETME L has had made it easier to attain for those who want that operating system combined with the cheaper and easier to get 5.56 cartridge.

Table of Contents


Ground Rules

I love the FS2000.

FN’s tactical tuna has been one of my favorite rifles for a very long time, and I can’t help but love it. It was a robust, ergonomic, and fun rifle. 


It’s not on this list, though. Why? 

Because it’s been discontinued

Sad goodbye
Farewell, sweet Tactical Tuna.

This article could be filled with guns discontinued or almost impossibly hard to find.

Guns like the aforementioned FS2000, the Sig Sauer 556, the C93, etc…but because they’ve been discontinued, they can only be found on the second-hand market

So, we’re keeping to guns that you can actually find out in the wild without having to promise your firstborn.

Best 5.56 Guns That Aren’t AR-15s

1. BRN-180 

This is a wildcard choice because the BRN-180 can use a standard AR-15 lower receiver.

At the same time, Brownells does make a dedicated BRN-180 lower, and since the BRN-180 uses a completely different operating system, I don’t consider it an AR-15. 

The BRN-180 is a clone of the failed Armalite AR-18 and AR-180 series rifles.

BRN-180 Fighting Rifle and Kit
BRN-180 Fighting Rifle and Kit

These guns have a storied history but were never very successful. The BRN-180 modernizes and changes the design a bit to make the upper compatible with AR-15 lowers. 

BRN-180 gas system
BRN-180 gas system

This rifle uses a short-stroke gas piston that loses the need for a stock with a buffer system, which allows you to use a folding stock with the ability to still operate the weapon.

The internal buffer system is contained in the upper receiver with a dual spring design that makes the BRN-180 a soft shooting rifle. 

Field Stripped BRN-180

The BRN-180 uses a traditional right-side charging handle, has a flat top upper receiver, and an M-LOK handguard.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Honestly, the modernized BRN-180 is an awesome and fun gun that’s highly accurate — and it could be said, as an Armalite design, to be the real successor to the AR-15. 

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out our full BRN-180 Fighting Rifle Build.

2. CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine

As a tactical hipster, I can’t make this list without adding CZ.

The CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine is the latest generation of the Bren series.

Though the original Bren was designed for a military contract, the Bren 2 (Electric Boogaloo) was made for civilian and law enforcement sales. 

CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine
CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine

Being outside of a military contract allowed CZ some room to grow.

The Bren 2 is incredibly lightweight and uses an aluminum upper with a carbon fiber composite lower. And the rifle variant weighs 7.3 pounds. I do appreciate a good light rifle. 

CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine
It’s just so lovely…

The controls also outperform most guns in its class. Its nonreciprocating charging handle can be swapped from left to right.

After that, everything is truly ambidextrous. This includes the magazine release, bolt release, and safety. 

CZ Bren 2 MS Pistol
It also comes in a pistol model, but we ain’t here to talk about that today. (Ballistic Magazine)

The MS model has a modular handguard system that allows the end user to shorten or extend the handguard as needed.

Also, barrel swaps are very easy, so converting this gun to an SBR is a real possibility. 

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The Bren keeps the short-stroke gas piston system, and the gun uses a folding stock to shrink the gun to a mere 28 inches.

Both rifle and pistol variants are now available, and pistol variants are begging for a brace. 

3. Sig Sauer MCX 

You have to appreciate that Sig doesn’t do things in a small way.

The company introduced the MCX and then started pumping out variants of all different sizes and furniture configurations.

sig mcx rifle
Ain’t she purdy?

The design influence seemed to be based on making the gun as modular as possible, which, as an upgrade junkie, I can wholeheartedly get behind. 

Sig proclaims the MCX series has 500 different possible configurations that can fulfill a wide variety of mission profiles.

The MCX uses a short-stroke gas piston system that allows for folding stocks.

sig mcx pistol
Sig MCX Pistol Model

Because of the popularity of this rail-based stock mounting system, it has become an almost new standard for short-stroke gas piston guns. 

The MCX also mimics most AR-15 controls, so it can be a seamless transition from the AR-15 to the MCX.

This includes the charging handle, the safety, the magazine release, the bolt release, and the forward assist. The safety and magazine release are ambidextrous as well. 

Best AR-15 Alternative
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Of course, the MCX offers standard rifle options, SBRs, and various pistol systems, including the very cool Rattler model.

Because of the very modular system, it’s very neat and innovative — as far as 5.56 rifles go. 

Check out our review on the pistol version of the Sig MCX.

4. Steyr AUG 

The Steyr AUG is one of the most successful bullpup designs ever.

It addressed many bullpup problems in its design and allows for comfortable use for both lefties and righties. The ergonomics are absolutely outstanding. 

Steyr AUG A3 M1
Steyr AUG A3 M1

The AUG first entered service in 1978, so for a rifle in its 40s, it’s held up rather well.

Steyr currently sells the AUG A3 M1 model. This model offers various length sections of Picatinny rail to attach your favorite optics as well as the famed integrated optics options. 

Now, the details!

The AUG uses a clean running short-stroke gas piston system that vents excess gas forward and out of the rifle. It’s incredibly reliable and surprisingly modular.

Steyr AUG
Steyr AUG

Dedicated Steyr fanboys have made numerous changes to the rifle and have enhanced its ergonomics, so you’re bound to find plenty of fun ideas on the web on how you can customize your baby.

Irish Army marching with Steyr AUG rifles
Irish Army marching with Steyr AUG rifles

Steyr also embraces these companies and builders, seemingly supportive of their efforts.

Can you say customization one more time for me? Customization. Hells yeah.

Best 5.56 Bullpup
at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The AUG has maintained its status as an excellent combat rifle and has more than proven itself.

Check out our Steyr AUG Hands-On Review.

5. IWI Tavor…Everything

Staying on the bullpup train, let’s talk IWI’s Tavor line. When I say Tavor, I mean all the 5.56 models, from the old standard to the newer X95.

Tavor Vs AR-15
Tavor X95 vs. AR-15

The Tavor series is likely the most popular 5.56 bullpup in the states. 

Out of Tavor’s line, the X95 has one of the better bullpup triggers and is considerably lighter than the competition.

Timney and Geissele produce drop-in Tavor triggers to make the trigger even better.

Tavor Rear View
Tavor Rear View

The gun has also proven to be an ergonomic bullpup with AR-like controls that are relatively easy to learn. 

IWI’s Tavor series holds a more modern design over the AUG, offering an easier time accommodating accessories and rails.

You also get a nice long, flat top upper with plenty of optics space. 

Tavor sights
That top rail, though… yum.

This light and handy gun has quickly become a favorite on the bullpup market.

The Tavor X95 is a mere 26.125 inches long with a 16.5-inch barrel. IWI even produces SBR variants with 13-inch barrels if you need to go even shorter. 

Like the AR-15, the Tavor is modular, and conversion for 300 Blackout and 9mm are a thing should you desire them. 

at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Check out our full review of the X95 here.

What’s your take on the Tavor? Rate it here!

Readers' Ratings

4.98/5 (876)

Your Rating?

6. Kel-Tec SU-16 

So far, every 5.56 rifle alternative to the AR-15 has been a relatively expensive weapon.

The AR market is so saturated that the prices are at an all-time low — even with pandemic pricing.

kel-tec su-16
Kel-Tec SU-16

If you are on a budget but still want an AR alternative, the Kel-Tec SU-16 might be your choice. 

The SU-16 is a unique rifle that’s unlike any other.

Some variants feature fixed stocks, but the SU-16C sports a bizarre but cool, under-folding stock.

Kel-Tec released a bunch of models that come with various features and barrel lengths. 

Kel-Tec SU-16 Folded
Kel-Tec SU-16 Folded

For instance, the SU-16B is the carbine variant with a fixed stock and weighs a mere 4.5 pounds. Now that is a lightweight rifle. 

Several models have a handguard that converts to a bipod or stocks that allow the storage of extra magazines.

The SU series uses a unique gas piston design that allows for reliable operation.

Kel-Tec SU-16B
Kel-Tec SU-16B

Admittedly the recoil is a little rougher than most, but a 4.5-pound rifle will do that.

The guns are also often priced at under $500, some a little more depending on the features chosen.

They are superbly small and minimalist in design, so they can be an excellent choice for someone on a budget or someone who wants to go as light as possible. 

Best Budget Option
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

7. Robinson Armament XCR

When it comes to high-end, modular 5.56 caliber rifles, the Robinson Armament XCR is tough to beat.

It comes in many different calibers, barrel lengths, stock, handguard configurations, and more.

Obviously, we are picking the 5.56 model, and to simplify things, let’s go with the XCR-L Standard with a 16-inch barrel.

The XCR series utilizes a long-stroke gas piston combined with a heavy-duty bolt. Its famed bolt outperforms the AR-15 series and offers more reliable and longer-lasting performance.

The absence of a receiver extension for the buffer allows you to use a folding stock — including a wire style stock, the Magpul Zhukov stock, and even ACR stocks.

The XCR does use AR-15 magazines — a big selling point as far as I’m concerned.

Aero Precision Thunder Ranch TR15 AR Mags
All the mags!

If 5.56 isn’t enough, converting to various calibers is hardly an issue. The ability to swap calibers without an armorer makes the weapon one of the most modular on the planet.

Plus, it’s plenty accurate, soft shooting, and reliable with various barrel lengths.

We get a fair amount of influence from some of the world’s best rifles to form one excellent option if the world of the AR-15 has largely bored you.

at Robinson Armament

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

8. IWI Galil ACE Gen 2

It’d be easy to leave us Galil fans clamoring, but IWI does more than produce a Galil. They produced a modern Galil in the form of the ACE Gen 2.

IWI’s commitment to the Galil platform earns my respect.

Since the gun makes the list, you can bet your bottom dollar it comes in 5.56. Better yet, it even uses AR-15 magazines!

Galil ACE Gen 2 Folded
Galil ACE Gen 2 Folded

Now, what does the new Galil do to make the list?

Well, that’s easy. It comes with a long M-LOK handguard, massive optics rail, side folding stock, and ergonomics that make AK fanboys whine.

Yet we still get that AK reliability and the long-stroke gas piston design that’s proven to be rugged in the worst places the world has to offer.

Galil ACE Gen 2 Shooting
Galil ACE Gen 2

It’s admittedly a heavy rifle, especially in the days of ultralight ARs. However, the Galil ACE Gen 2 gives you a smooth shooting rifle that’s plenty accurate and a ton of fun to handle.

This gun gets you farther and farther from the AR platform, and when you’re bored of ARs, you might want to stay far away.

at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Johnny took the Galil ACE Gen 2 for a ride, so be sure to read his full review or check out the video below.

9. KelTec RDB

Talk about fan service. The comments drove me to seek out an RDB and take it for a spin. The RDB is an island unto itself.

Not only is it a bullpup rifle, but it keeps the theme of KelTec’s creativity at its core.

Even when suppressed, the RDB maintains a reasonable overall length. (Photo: TTAG)

This 5.56 caliber does use standard AR-15 magazines, but that’s where the similarities between the RDB and the AR-15 end.

For a bullpup, the RDB features a stellar trigger. It’s clean and crisp without that weird grit and weight associated with bullpup triggers.

The short-stroke gas piston system keeps the gun comfy to fire, and a gas regulator helps you avoid too much gas to the face when using a suppressor.

A downward ejection brings the RDB to the gracious hands of left-handed bullpup enthusiasts. No more shells ejecting into your face!

.30 Cal and 5.56 Suppressors
.30 Cal and 5.56 Suppressors

It’s effortless to control and handle and a joy to shoot. There’s plenty of room for optics, accessories, and more.

No one wants an AR-15 replacement they can’t play dress-up with. My only big complaint would be they are seemingly hard to find and handle without an online purchase.

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

10. Marcolmar Cetme LC

You got those Cold War blues? Do you feel you were born with a taste that embraces that period when the world used battle rifles? Or even better, where everyone was transitioning from battle rifles to intermediate-caliber rifles?

If so, Marcolmar has the rifle for you.

They’ve brought back the Cetme L rifles. The Cetme rifles formed the basis for the HK G3 and would be the rifle that started HK’s roller-delayed fascination.

The L models resemble and handle like the full-sized Cetme and G3 rifles but in 5.56.

This includes the roller-delayed blowback system.

That sweet, sweet roller-delayed action

Marcolmar’s rifles use an actual Cetme L design that’s not a scaled-down 7.62 receiver but an authentic ground-up design. The company released these cold warriors in 5.56, and they use standard AR-15 magazines.

These guns come with the classic Spanish-style furniture, and you can go with standard iron sights.

For a few dollars more, you can get a rail for adding an optic so you can modernize at least a little bit.

The Marcolmar Cetme LC guns aren’t the most modern rifles, but they provide a fun experience different than most currently on the market.

It’s an exciting and fun gun from a period largely ignored.

Best Roller-Delayed 5.56 Rifle
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


(Editor) We know there are some perennial favorites that our writer didn’t choose…and that we’d be remiss not to include somehow!

Mini-14 (4)
A Pair of Minis

Final Thoughts

Admittedly I’d love to see more AR alternatives, but they are often a difficult sell in a market dominated by one rifle type.

It takes a helluva good rifle to stick around in a market where ARs can be had for $400. 

Green-tip 5.56 ammo

The above rifles are well-tuned, well-designed, and made to last. They also offer you something different from the old standard AR-15 in how they operate, handle, and feel. 

What AR-15 alternatives would you add? Or just check out Best AR-15 Alternative Calibers. Need to feed the beast? Check out the Best 5.56 Ammo.

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70 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    all are great choices, but in my opinion, you would be better off just sticking with an AR. Mainly is because of modularity and price, for the most part you could buy three budget AR's, maybe even mid tier, even in different calibers, for the price of any one of those mentioned in this article. which is one of the biggest reasons that the AR is still reins King as America's rifle. not to mention reliability, durability, accuracy, for a price that cant be beat/

    February 22, 2023 5:45 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Sorry, all of these look like a rework of the "evil black gun". Want something really different in 5.56, how about the Henry Long Ranger or better yet the Long Ranger Express. All the range, power and availability in an inouquous lever gun! At least deserves honorable mention IMHO

    February 22, 2023 5:07 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    My 2 cents.. A dependable 5.56
    SU-16 CA , Parkerized internals and under 5 lbs. Folds up in a backpack. No pistol grip fin, no CA Mag lock , use P-mags .

    February 21, 2023 11:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Stunned you don't have a CZ Bren on the list somewhere.

    February 21, 2023 10:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Ruger Gunsite Scout in .556 (or .308). Rugged, Beautiful and Bulletproof.

    February 21, 2023 8:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have two suggestions for the list though one may be in limbo at the moment. The Beretta ARX-100 and the Desert Tech MDR. I don’t know if you have reviewed either but I will peruse your site to find out.

    February 21, 2023 7:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Louis Lunetta

    Rugur Mini 14, the first non AR15. If you don't like the wood stock- the ATI stock works great.

    February 21, 2023 6:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Was surprised not to see this on the list. It's super popular.

      February 21, 2023 9:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Daniel Hilts

    Great article thanks for the info, also do you get to test out all the weapons that you write about?
    Thanks again.

    February 21, 2023 6:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I love your reviews and info, but you seem to always skip over the HK 556 in AR compares, any reason for that?

    February 21, 2023 6:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brett Lybarger

    How about the Zastava M90 and M85. They are fantastic. I can't believe how many people in the comments aren't going through the entire list, mentioning rifles that are actually listed.

    February 21, 2023 6:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Boerboom

    One that isn't so easy to find in the wild, the Para TTR... Now there's a rifle I wish I would have bought.

    February 21, 2023 6:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John in VA

    You missed m6 favorite…the Mini 14.

    February 21, 2023 5:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Your list of 'alternatives to the AR' has AR platform rifles on it. For example, the Sig Sauer MCX and the BRN-180 and the Robinson Armament XCR are AR platform rifles, just with a different designation and some changes. Although not the specific AR-15 these are basically AR's.

    The AR-15 isn't special. Its just another AR platform rifle that was derived from an AR platform rifle called the AR-10 that originated as a platform concept and not a specific rifle but a rifle made using that concept was called the AR-10 because it was the `10th rifle design by Armalite in that platform series (not all of them made it off the drawing board) thus 'Armalite Rifle 10' or AR-10 for short. The AR platform was (for Armalite) and is today still just a platform, not a specific rifle.

    February 13, 2023 5:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings

      Right, because this list isn't the best alternative to the AR platform; it's specific to the AR-15. So that's why there are AR platforms on the list. Thanks for reading!

      February 13, 2023 8:11 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        But the AR-15 is the platform, just a different rendition. So in effect this title is "the best alternative to the AR platform"

        February 13, 2023 8:59 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Now try this list again without the "Basically an AR" mentions. Like the BRN-180 and MCX.

    Every article I come across that are "Alternatives to ARs" seem to immediately mention firearms that are, full all purposes, STILL ARs.

    Try harder.

    January 16, 2023 10:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Sadly, my favorite is no longer being produced and or sold in the USA. The South Korean Daewoo. I had one and loved it but in a moment of stupidity sold it.

    June 22, 2022 8:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jonathan McMahan

    so i'am new to guns but my dad has 56 in total so i'am learning is a FN Scar better than a AR 15

    March 14, 2022 2:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joshua L Poppell

      In certain aspects yes, others no. I was in the Infantry and most guys I met that got to use the scar weren't a fan of it. The M4 is more versatile in what you can do with it. The scar is a good weapon don't get me wrong, just not good at the price asked I feel.

      August 26, 2022 1:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Absolutely, Jonathan.

      November 30, 2022 3:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jon Lamont

    A great alternative to the AR-15 is an Finnish made, Valmet m/76 FS in 5.56.

    While being an AK variant, it is (or was) the finest, most well-made, and beautifully constructed rifle not being an AR.

    Pew Pew Tactical has offered many great articles, photos, and information, so a huge thumbs up and a Thank You.

    January 10, 2022 3:45 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian D

    Nothing from PWS and their long stroke AR’s?

    January 6, 2022 2:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I'm guessing reading is not your strong suit. It literally says in the title in bold letters NON AR rifles.

      March 11, 2022 6:29 am
      • Commenter Avatar


        August 6, 2022 2:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Pws I believe would fall under "PISTON DRIVEN AR15" and so would be better suited for PEW PEWS "Best Piston Driven AR15 RIFLES" Article. Not their "BEST 5.56 NON-AR15 RIFLE" article. Hope that makes sense friend.

      P.s. Also little buddy, I believe they hand out popcorn, and bouncy balls for "special" readers like yourself to play with in the corner, while the rest of us discuss the article at hand.

      August 6, 2022 2:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Euhm... FN SCAR?
    Anyone? Only the gun of choise of SOCOM.

    January 6, 2022 1:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis L Pike

      Socom dumped the 5.56 scar years ago

      January 6, 2022 2:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Boom exactly, but but but they still use them in call of duty omg. Are my eyes bad or is choice spelt with a c?

        March 11, 2022 6:31 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      The only one they actually ran for a bit was the 7.62 variant. The 5.56 got dumped quick. Most Socom gents hated them.

      March 11, 2022 6:30 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Gents? Hahahahahaha! And thanks for the English lessons.

        June 8, 2022 5:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    What about Robinson armaments XCR? It runs on a shorr stroke gas piston and is a very comfortable highly modular rifle that comes in a standard 556 model with changeover kits for 6.8 SPC 6.5 Grendel 300 Blackout and more. Also a larger 308 based XCR is available to as well as its many caliber change kits. It's an excellent rifle and should have been included for sure.

    January 29, 2021 7:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      #7 on the list.

      January 7, 2022 11:58 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Probably one of those tards that skimmed through it so he could insert his own comment into the list. Think glock fan boys on forums lol.

        March 11, 2022 6:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      What rifle is #7?

      January 12, 2022 5:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Everything listed here is named in the Biden/Feinstein ban legislation.

    The only item not on the list is the plain Ruger Mini 14... no barrel threads, no muzzle device, no bayonet lug, no pistol grip and no collapsing/adjustable/folding stock.

    I purchased one earlier this month.

    November 28, 2020 4:53 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Damon Schlott

      I believe Kel Tec makes a fixed stock version of SU 16 which would be compliant.

      January 23, 2021 5:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr M

    There are a few others I like:

    Bren Carbine
    Sig 556

    October 16, 2020 10:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I think if i'm not retarded and can open my eyes the Bren is number 2 on the list. As for the others you listed, I had a sig 556. Loved it especially the xi modular one. I think this list might be only comprised of weapons you can buy new from manufacture 556 and a few others you labeled you can only buy used.

      March 11, 2022 6:34 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I like your choices, but one of my favorite guns is the Kel-Tec RDB. A great .556 option in my opinion. Bullpups are awesome, and the RDB is a great choice for lefty’s as well. Decent trigger, and oh so nice to shoot. That being said, the Tavor is still on my list... And the Bren is missing, a bit of a surprise...

    October 6, 2020 7:53 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Unless they updated it the Bren is number 2 on this list.

      March 11, 2022 6:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    IWI/Galil ACE?

    September 17, 2020 3:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jack Doyle

    IMO you should have started with Ruger Mini 14 instead of stopping with it. One of the great, and affordable, rifles of our time.
    Interesting article. Thanks for the research.

    September 17, 2020 3:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Mini 14 is trash, lacks the consistent accuracy of everything on this list. You have to add so much to put it in the class with anything on here. It's a great ranch rifle thats about it. Most of the weapons on this list have proven effectiveness either being issued to militaries, or put through ungodly torture tests. I have yet to see the mini 14 used in any roll besides plinking and varmint.

      March 11, 2022 6:37 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Josh, you should read up a bit about the Mini before you spout such sillyness... Bill Ruger was selling these to police forces and militaries around the world before you were born would be my guess...

        February 22, 2023 1:07 am
        • Commenter Avatar

          Hmmm well seeing the m14 had the shortest service life of any firearm, that confirms my point that the Mini was not that great at all. So before making idiot statements without doing your own research I did it for you. Simple google search too btw, rocket science not required. "The Mini-14 never saw U.S. military service, although Bill Ruger reportedly believed it could have become the U.S. military's service rifle instead of the M16 had the timing been right." Now it's quite possible 3rd world countries or other poors that haven't done much in wars might have been issued it. But you are correct I was still floating around my dad's balls when it was introduced.

          February 22, 2023 2:24 pm
          • Commenter Avatar

            I never said anything about US military service did I? I'm sure you can Google it up or check Wiki further but the Mini saw service (police and/or military) in central America with (as I recall) both Honduras and El Salvador. French Police are still utilizing them. They were in use in US embassies around the world (probably by Marines & CIA types) for decades. Various services in the UK and probably a few dozen state department of corrections (prisons). But, I've saved the best for last - how about with Rhodesian forces during their "bush wars"? That speaks for itself. I probably shouldn't mention someone I worked with during my time in Berlin in the '80s - he spent a bit of time training with US Army Delta folks and mentioned Mini's being utilized... Just sayin'...

            February 23, 2023 2:11 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Why didn't the Robinson XCR-L make the cut?

    September 14, 2020 6:13 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    meat servo

    Where's the CZ Bren? Galil?

    September 13, 2020 11:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      The CZ Bren is on the list

      October 7, 2020 3:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sylvain Corbaz

    The SIG SG55x series clearly has its place in the list. More than the MCX, which is an AR-15 hybrid. The B&T APC223/556 could have been part of the list as well ;)

    September 13, 2020 10:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      The SG55x isn't produced anymore. Which is probably why its not on this list.

      March 11, 2022 6:38 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sylvain Corbaz

        SG550, SG551 and SG553 are still in production for sure, but, according to some info found in a forum, it seems SIG is no longer selling them in the US... Only 556 (not worth the others) and SG552 are no longer produced.

        March 14, 2022 2:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ryan B

    Just out of curiosity why list the Kel Tec SU-16 and not the RDB, a 5.56 Bullpup that many have said has a better stock trigger than the Tavor SAR? I understand that you can’t list everything but I think the RDB deserves the SU-16’s spot.

    September 13, 2020 10:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Scott Hannah

    Why no mention about the Bushmaster ACR Yes it's no longer made like the "tactical tuna" I wish I had bought one when they were still made:)

    September 13, 2020 9:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    OK Travis well written but IMHO way out in left field. The problem with the AR 15 is its looks! Most of the rifles you listed look enough like the AR that from a distance the gun grabbers couldn't tell one from another or the AR 15. The Mini14 is pretty much a rifle that looks like dear old dad's hunting rifle. (Only one I would have included on a list),

    September 13, 2020 7:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    What about the Marcolmar CETME-L. I know they are a parts build rifle but they are currently selling them. $1350.00 ish. Galil Ace, not sure if they are currently being produced or not though. I had a Galil for awhile but it was SUPER picky on what ammo it would shoot and I was a novice shooter back then too, I didn't know much about it when I bought it and traded it off later because it was so picky. It had a skeletonized side folding stock.

    September 13, 2020 7:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Bren is a great alternative. Just returned from AF, where the Czechs use their selective fire version. Terrific weapon.

    September 13, 2020 6:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Mossberg MVP ??? I was expecting a list of bolties and other types

    September 13, 2020 5:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Walter Wade

    Why no mention of the Kel-Tec RDB in 5.56?
    IMHO better trigger, more accurate(in my limited experience with both) and I just like the way it operates. Just sayin’

    September 13, 2020 5:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The title of your article is 'Best 5.56 Rifles That Are Not AR-15s', and it caught my eye. Even though you drifted into a narrower discussion on semi-auto alternatives only, it got me thinking about a rifle that I have found to be extremely fun, accurate, and very affordable - the 'Ruger American Ranch model 26965'. When God forbid Beto comes grabbing all the (ahem yup sure thing Joe maybe not AR-16s) 'assault rifles', I will still be flingin' 5.56 from my pre-Covid stockpile.

    September 13, 2020 5:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    roger fallecker

    Nice job on the alternatives. Not a lot of sources delve this deeply into the 5.56 alternatives.

    September 13, 2020 4:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Why did you leave out Kel Tec RDB???

    September 13, 2020 4:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Just eww.

      February 22, 2023 2:27 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    How about the HK MR 556A1? For some reason you always leave if off these lists.

    September 13, 2020 3:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    IN Dave

    Robinson Armament xcr would be another consideration. Kind of in the bren2/ACR/SCAR style of weapons but conversion kits on market/available/reasonable affordable.

    September 13, 2020 10:16 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Why the Kel Tec SU-16 and not the RDB? The RDB is awesome.

    September 13, 2020 8:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Ruger Mini 14. It's been around for 50 years and is still being produced. It can be had for under a grand, and even though it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some of the newer guns, I think it still has a great cool factor. I can remember how badly I wanted one in the 70's, but couldn't afford it on an Army privates pay(and where would I keep it since guns weren't allowed in the barracks?).

    September 13, 2020 7:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John Paul

      I was able to keep a Glenfield .22 in my Fort Hoo barracks, in the Arm's Room on the first floor. It was an incredible hassle to get it out then check it in, but I put up with it for a year or so.

      September 13, 2020 2:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I will have to disagree on that one. Old Mini's tended to lack accuracy well more so consistency even by the military 4moa at 100 standard. I do agree it has a great cool factor gorgeous firearms. Downside they are no longer under a grand. I think that's what holds them back nostalgia, and for that amount of money I think you could probably find something better. Unless you just want it for the looks aspect.

      February 22, 2023 2:29 pm
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