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6 Best High-End AR Platform Rifles [Ultimate Guide]

Got some spare change and an eye for top-tier? Come take a peek at some of the best high-end AR platform rifles the market has to offer.

    At this point in time, is there anything missing in the AR-15 world? 

    If you can dream it, you can likely find it on an AR platform.

    Modded AR-15s
    We have just a few in our collection!

    We got ARs that shoot every caliber known to man, some that take MP5 magazines, and even ones that cost $350! 

    There is just about everything — and that includes an excellent selection of AR-15s at all price points! Today we are looking at the very best of the high-end AR world. 

    These aren’t just rifles that are expensive for the sake of being expensive. No, no, no, these are high-end AR-15s for a reason.

    Cash Cannon
    Get ready, y’all!

    They add something or do something that no other company has done. And they do it well.

    So keep reading to see some of our favorite high-end AR-15s on the market. 

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. Top Pick

      Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2

      Extreme reliablity and long-term accuracy.

    2. Editor's Pick

      Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76

      Great features at a lower price than its competitors.

    3. Best High-End PCC


      High-end AR features but chambered in 9mm.

    4. Best Ergonomics

      Radian Model 1

      Fully ambi lower with short throw safety and great furniture.

    5. Best for Suppressors

      Q Honey Badger

      Built from the ground up to be a reliable and compact suppressor host.

    Table of Contents


    Best High-End ARs

    1. Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2

    Knight’s Armament is an appropriate name for a company that makes the modern Excalibur.

    The SR15 MOD 2 is the true evolution of the AR-15. Eugene Stoner designed the AR-15 series, and he worked for Knight’s, pushing the rifle forward until his eventual retirement. 

    Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2
    Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2

    The “SR” in “SR15” stands for Stoner Rifle for a reason.

    The SR15 MOD 2 is a modular rifle option for shooters demanding the very best from their AR.

    Knight’s Armament makes subtle changes to the platforms, driving them to the high-end marketplace. 

    Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2 Right Side
    SR15 MOD 2 Right Side (RandomGunStuff)

    A round lug bolt design known as the E3 is an example of a subtle but valuable change.

    The E3 design not only enhances function but improves bolt life beyond industry standards. Knight’s further enhances their rifles with ambidextrous controls to include the bolt release, safety, and magazine release. 

    SR15 barrels often see a service life measured in the tens of thousands of rounds. During that lifespan, the accuracy is rarely compromised.

    Knight’s Armament SR15 MOD 2 Left Side
    SR15 MOD 2 Left Side (RandomGunStuff)

    Ash Hess won a DMR competition with an 11.5-inch Knight’s upper, if that’s any testament to what Knight’s rifles are capable of. 

    In my experience, Knight’s rifles are the softest shooting guns on the market.

    This is impressive when you consider they weigh under 7 pounds. They shoot the same way as a finely tuned car would handle, which is to say…awesome. 

    SR15 MOD 2 (RandomGunStuff)

    The SR15 MOD 2 has all the bells and whistles you expect.

    A tough-as-nails URX4 M-LOK handguard, a 3-prong flash eliminator, and Magpul furniture. 

    Top Pick
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    2. Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76 

    Sons of Liberty Gun Works, of SOLGW, is a rather new player in the high-end AR-15 world.

    They don’t mess around. Well, they do, but in a good way.

    Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76
    Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76

    SOLGW makes high-end rifles at a more affordable price tag than most. 

    For under $2k, you can get the M4-76 from SOLGW.

    That said, the M4-76 comes in tons of configurations with various options. 

    ooh we got options

    However, the M4-76 is the base model that offers a lot of bang for the buck. The M4-76 does it right when it comes to a basic duty-ready rifle. 

    On the outside, nothing looks fancy, but it’s the inside that counts. That’s what my mom says, anyway.

    The M4-76 is built lovingly with skilled hands and with undeniable expertise that you just don’t see from many mass-produced rifles. 

    Sons of Liberty Gun Works M4-76
    And just look at it!

    A free-floating M-LOK rail allows for multiple mounting points and stretches accuracy out significantly.

    As much as I love Magpul stocks, I adore the B5 on the M4-76. It’s more comfortable, provides a better cheek weld, and is rock solid when locked into position. 

    Heck, SOLGW does this crazy thing where they even include iron sights on their rifles. Nuts, right?

    always sunny crazy gif
    Other gun companies justifying why they can’t include irons…

    Why not spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for a rifle you can’t shoot until you spend another hundred on iron sights?! 

    Quality control is strict and allows only the best rifles, uppers, and lowers to pass through SOLGW.

    At the same time, their various packages give you an excellent rifle at a great price point. 

    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. Lewis Machine and Tool New Zealand Reference Rifle

    I’ll never understand exactly how the Common Wealth labels rifles, but in all fairness, I also don’t understand how the US Military does it either.

    However, that doesn’t stop the Common Wealth from adopting some seriously awesome rifles

    My evidence being this very model. 

    Lewis Machine and Tool New Zealand Reference Rifle
    Boom. The Lewis Machine and Tool New Zealand Reference Rifle (Guns and Ammo)

    It would be an understatement to say it was big news when American firm Lewis Machine and Tool got the New Zealand contract.

    Even bigger news was that LMT was smart enough to make the New Zealand rifle available to you and me.

    The New Zealand Reference Rifle was designed from the ground up to be a next-generation infantry combat rifle. 

    Duty AR Meme
    LMT says, “No.”

    LMT built the NZRR on their famed monolithic rail platform. That means that the MPR is milled from a single piece of aluminum, and the barrel locks in the side of the receiver via two locking bolts. 

    Removing the barrel and replacing it will cause a minimal impact shift and allow the end-user to easily swap barrels of various lengths. 

    The lower receiver is an LMT MARS-L receiver that grants users near complete ambidexterity. You get an ambi bolt catch, magazine release, and safety, making the gun-friendly to even the wrong-handed. 

    LMT’s quad rail may turn some off, but it’s still the strongest system on the market. 

    New Zealand forces training with the LMT MARS-L rifle
    New Zealand forces training with the LMT MARS-L rifle

    The final touches are metric flip-up sights, a Surefire WarComp, and a bayonet lug. Bayonet lugs are a must-have, of course, because pokey things never get old. Like any LMT firearm, the New Zealand Reference Rifle is extremely well made. 

    Durability, reliability, and accuracy live up to the expectations that LMT has set forth in their previous rifles. 

    New Zealand’s rifle testing has also proven that the rifle is up to par. This is the only rifle on the list that’s proven its performance with a military force, and there is something comforting to that. 

    at Primary Arms

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    4. Noveske9

    Noveske is an old-school premium-grade AR manufacturer. By old school, I mean circa 2001…which for boutique companies is rather old.

    Noveske, as a company, can join the military but can’t quite drink yet. 

    Noveske9 build (Fort Knox Podcast)
    Noveske9 (Fort Knox Podcast)

    Noveske has made some amazing strides in the rifle community, and I can toss on pretty much any of their rifles on this list.

    I chose the Noveske9 not only because it’s a high-end AR-15 but one of the few high-end AR-based PCCs on the market. 

    Pews are dispatched frighteningly fast from the gun’s 10.5-inch barrel. That’s longer than most but offers a greater sight radius, a slightly higher velocity, and more mounting space while being rather short and sweet. 

    Pistol and SBR variants are also available on top of a 16-inch barreled variant. 

    Noveske9 suppressed (Concelaed Patriot)
    Noveske9 suppressed (Concealed Patriot)

    Noveske doesn’t hold back with the Noveske9 and utilizes sexy billet receivers.

    Two magazine releases are present on the lower receiver. One is a standard AR-15 type lower, and the second is a paddle release placed behind the magazine. 

    The paddle release is very SMG-like and highly functional.

    Noveske9 in a field
    Noveske9 in the field…get it?

    Colt-style magazines feed the gun. While Glock mags are more popular, Colt magazines are more reliable.

    A Geissele SSA trigger gives you an ultra-short and light trigger pull, resulting in a more accurate and fast-firing gun. 

    Furniture-wise, you get an SBA3, a MOE K grip, a Geissele Super Badass charging handle, M-LOK free-floating handguard, and ambidextrous safety.

    If you want a top-of-the-line PCC, then the Noveske9 is the model to beat. 

    Best High-End PCC
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Have you tried the Noveske 9? Give it a rating below!

    Readers' Ratings

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    Your Rating?

    5. Radian Model 1 

    The Radian Model 1 is undoubtedly one of the more fascinating rifles on this list.

    Pushing Stoner’s original design forward might be a tried and true tradition of American Arm’s manufacturers. 

    Radian Model 1 (Tactical Life)
    Radian Model 1 (Tactical Life)

    That said, Radian went above and beyond with the Model 1. 

    Of course, we have nothing but premium components making up the core of the gun.

    You get an AR Gold trigger from American Trigger Corporation, a Raptor SD charging handle, Magpul furniture, an M-LOK handguard, dimpled takedown pins, and so much more. Radian outfits these rifles with nothing but the best. 

    Radian guarantees a .5 MOA with Black Hills ammunition. That’s a hefty claim to make, but Radian has made it for years and doesn’t seem to have issues keeping that promise. 

    Suppressed and scoped Radian Model 1 (AmmoLand)
    Suppressed and scoped Radian Model 1 (AmmoLand)

    The upper and lower receivers are machine billeted from 7075-T6 aluminum.

    Radian’s Model 1 has a short throw 45/90-degree safety, and the controls are entirely ambidextrous. That multitude of ambidextrous controls pushes the rifle into the next century. 

    A-DAC is an important acronym to learn when looking at a Radian Model 1. A-DAC stands for Ambi Dual Control Action.

    Radian Model 1 on rocks
    Looks at home in the wild, doesn’t it?

    The magazine release button doubles as both a bolt lock and release. This allows you to manipulate both with the trigger finger and makes the rifle superbly ergonomic. 

    Admittedly it takes some time to get used to. Once you master it, you never want to return to a normal lower.

    That can be said of Radian’s ambidextrous controls as well. The Radian Model 1 is an excellent example of why expensive rifles are expensive rifles. 

    Best Ergonomics
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    6. Q Honey Badger 

    Q’s Honey Badger is what happens when you want an AR to be roughly the size of an MP5SD…with much better performance.

    This little fella is teeny tiny!

    We’re talking a short 7-inch barrel and an overall length of 26 to 31 inches, depending on the stock position. 

    Q Honey Badger with a stock (top) and a brace (bottom). (Free Range American)
    Q Honey Badger with a stock (top) and a brace (bottom). (Free Range American)

    Honey Badger is an apt description for this mean little critter. 

    It is available in pistol configuration and as an SBR configuration with a stock — but that stock pushes it into NFA territory.

    honey badger haters gonna hate
    You do you, you funky little thing!

    You have to go high-end when you go nice and short.

    AR-style rifles tend to prefer barrels longer than 7 inches. For that reason, lesser manufacturers rarely master reliable shorties.

    Q is a premium-grade shop that specializes in making monstrosities perfectly reliable

    As the name implies, the .300 Blackout Honey Badger has some bite to it.

    When a can is threaded on, the gun goes quiet but remains reliable and accurate.

    Q Honey Badger in 300 BLK
    Q Honey Badger in .300 BLK

    Q’s Honey Badger wears a 70-degree selector switch, a three-position PDW type stock, a 2-Stage Match trigger, and a Q cherry bomb muzzle brake. 

    At only 5 pounds and some change, the Honey Badger is an SMG-sized rifle option that gives users a very high degree of versatility.

    From several hundred yards to up close home defense ranges, the Honey Badger is a serious contender for the best home defense weapon ever

    Reliability and accuracy are top-notch, and while the ergonomics are different, they are far from bad. The Honey Badger is a fierce little fella that packs a lot of power in a short and light package. 

    Best for Suppressors
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Thoughts

    The massive AR world is home to rifles, pistols, and firearms at every price point. High-end AR-15s hold their place well in the industry, pushing the AR-15 design forward.

    When you want the very best the AR-15 has to offer, your only option is a high-end AR-15. 

    Q Honey Badger train tracks
    Time to work on those Instagram skills!

    Top-of-the-line rifles offer greater degrees of reliability, accuracy, and durability. Do you need that level of reliability, durability, and accuracy? Well, that’s up to you to decide. 

    Are high-end AR-15s for you? If so, which ones? Let us know below. And if these aren’t in the budget…there’s always the Cheapest AR-15 Complete Builds!

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    45 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Primary weapons systems.

      August 17, 2023 6:37 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Angel X

      LWRC without question is my top pick.

      July 20, 2023 8:05 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      You left out Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM). They produce some of the best rifles and components on the market. Their components are a benchmark for the industry. That's why they provide rifles to SOCOM as well as the Army, Navy, and Marines.

      July 19, 2023 8:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tom H

      What about Daniel Defense??

      July 19, 2023 4:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve h

      I've been commenting here without regarding the writer of the article. Thank you, Mr. Pike, for the Article. Pew Pew articles are a must read for me even if I don't always agree. Bravo Zulu!

      July 19, 2023 4:25 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Larue and JP have to be on this list. KAC is a worthy rifle, but I wouldn’t trade my Larue for it. A great rifle is more than a collection of high end parts.

      July 18, 2023 11:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      IMHO, this list would have far more credibility were there a POF (piston) AR on it....

      July 18, 2023 8:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      C Jarrell

      Zev billet core elite

      July 18, 2023 8:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chuck Cochran

      Sad to say, bit there's not a single rifle on the list within my means. One of the problems with being retired is a limited budget.
      I started my AR Journey with a cheapie DPMS Oracle. Not the worst of budget guns, but not the best either. It took several years and as much money as the rifle cost to upgrade it to a rifle good enough to depend on. The only original parts now are the Upper and Lower Receivers. Everything else has been replaced down to the springs and detents. Now, it is a reliable and accurate gun.
      It was a good learning experience and a lesson that one can go too cheap.

      High end guns, I can not but drool over...

      July 18, 2023 8:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      ed henton

      Sorry, but as an ex-Marine and retired street LEO who worked for both SWAT and High-risk felony arrest team and patrol, I will stick to my hand-built work 15 that was built with PSA upper and lower, Bear Creek Arsenal barrel in 1:7 twist, military-grade parts that have been properly staked, torqued and fitted. The best part is it cost only $500.00 to build and I would take it to war if need be and not lose a second of worry over it. The rifles they had in this article are no more than bragging right weapons for the rich that will only turn them into safe queens.

      July 18, 2023 7:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Every AR I own I built from from the ground up using high-end parts. Pricing is usually in that 1300-1700 range but I get exactly what I want. They are extremely reliable, accurate, and tough as nails. I’ve never shot one of these commercial “high-end” ARs but I would love to compare my builds to them to see if there’s any noticeable differences.

      July 18, 2023 7:32 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Steve h

        Ain't that the truth! My builds are around same as yours exception of a few with custom barrels (375 Raptor & 300 BO) I'd take mine to the ends of the earth and back and they fare just as well if not better.

        July 19, 2023 4:21 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Craig Andersen

      Great review. I built my own honey badger called “The CQB Monster.”

      July 18, 2023 7:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve h

      I wonder about ADM, LWRCI, and Geiselle not being here. I build all mine from parts of what seems to be the consensus on best parts at best price. Aero M4E1 sets, RCA or JP BCGs, Faxon or custom barrels, Midwest rails. Geiselle triggers. I'd have a hard time buying the full deal. I may have as much $ in these but I chose it all so I'm good with it.

      July 18, 2023 6:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Monte Walsh

      I liked the article though I’ll likely not get one of these. I’ll never afford a Lamborghini Countach 5000 either but I like reading about them! Hell, I’m partial to dissipator style ARs…

      July 18, 2023 6:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I bought a Ruger SR-556 back in probably ‘13 or ‘14. Not to be confused with the AR-556. A bit heavy on the front end due to the piston, but a fine rifle to say the least. Certainly not to denigrate any on this list, but I’ve shot many different ARs and the SR556 is at the top of my list.

      July 18, 2023 6:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Boerboom

      ......poor Colt. . .

      July 18, 2023 5:16 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        Whatever...love my Colts.

        July 19, 2023 8:14 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          David Boerboom

          Yeah....? .....me too.

          July 19, 2023 8:24 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I can't believe you left out Radical Firearms.

      July 16, 2023 6:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar


      July 16, 2023 4:59 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Michael Pinnell

        Yeah, Love my LaRue too!

        July 18, 2023 6:42 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        CBRNE Sanders

        LaRue rifles are outstanding. Worth the wait, the long, long wait.

        July 18, 2023 9:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Gaucho Force

      Blackout Defense is a customizable - High end AR that not many know about. Great triggers and a DTL barrel connection but there is a bout a 14-week back log.

      May 1, 2023 4:03 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      how the hell did SOLGW make this list.

      January 26, 2023 8:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Frank Evans

      I’m curious how LWRC isn’t on this list. PWS is also equally as quality as some of these but LWRC is near flawless.

      January 5, 2023 6:54 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Some dip shit

      Not a single meaningful adjective was mentioned about what makes these shit heaps worth the kidney you would have to donate to buy them.

      Most people who do own them probably took loans just to look cool only to be outperformed by a guy who trains more than he flexes.

      There is really no reason for a lower to have a comma in the price tag.

      November 16, 2022 1:30 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Go be poor somewhere else. Some people can actually afford these easily.

        July 17, 2023 10:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Justin Drake

      My biggest question im trying to answer for myself and as well as asking others is; Do i get the "Upper Receiver Kit, SR-15 MOD 2, 16" Barrel or the "BCM® BFH 16" Mid Length Upper Receiver Group w/ MCMR-15 Handguard"... Been on this for a couple of weeks and while doing my research i can't come to a choice. Price isn't a problem for me with these two options, I'm looking for quality, durability, performance and accuracy. I am sure I wont see a difference but yet again i don't know, I am sure i will be happy with either one, let me know what you guys think

      January 31, 2022 2:50 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jim kefalas

        After checking on the reviews and videos, I went with the BCM. The longevity of the barrels is what sold me along with their great reputation as a solid company. Still in the process of the build.

        February 18, 2022 1:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Andrew Kantas

      JP is better than anything you mentioned here, By far!

      January 8, 2022 12:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Keith P.

      Would love to see list of other rifles you considered that didn't make the top 7. Curious to know if you also considered Daniel Defense, Geissele, LaRue, etc.

      December 13, 2021 3:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Last laugh

      I usually like your articles, but this one suffers from a severe lack of research. You left out trully high end manufacturers such as LWRC, but include companies who assemble parts such as SOLGW and Noveske (neither of which "manufacturer' much of anything themselves).

      June 5, 2021 4:08 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Harrison Beene

          Slow Clap on that comment.

          January 2, 2023 6:27 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      If you end up going for a 300 blackout AR-15, Noveske, Sig and Q are the way to go. All 3 of those companies have a connection with the guys that invented that round (found out by listening to the Q podcast). One of the episodes (I think it’s 13) is all about the history of 300 blackout.

      May 16, 2021 3:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Patriot Ordnance Factory P415 Edge. Watch the Patriot Ordnance Factory “Why” video on YouTube. Then do a search for “POF P415” before you buy a AR-15. You can spend a lot more, but you won’t end up with a better gun. I’m not really sure why this site doesn’t review their stuff, but they really should.

      May 14, 2021 12:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      You forgot BG Defense Type-A

      April 23, 2021 7:30 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I second that motion! Type-A Rifles are the best AR nobody has heard of.

        April 24, 2021 9:42 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      How does PWS compare with these?

      April 22, 2021 9:10 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        sound awake

        check out aaron cowan on sage dynamics youtube channel
        hes reviewed some there

        April 23, 2021 11:33 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      ADM deserves to be on this list

      April 22, 2021 7:19 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        ADM should no doubt be on this list. KAC, Hodge, LMT, Radian, ADM, JP, DD, Type-A, LWRCI, PWS, BCM, FN

        July 10, 2022 1:55 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Steve h

        I 2nd that.

        July 18, 2023 6:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      You forgot to mention my Anderson Arms AR-15.

      April 22, 2021 11:45 am