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Enhanced 80% Lower vs. Standard 80% Lower: What’s the Difference?

You’re in the middle of debating your AR-15 build and you’ve decided on an 80% lower. Someone starts talking about “enhanced lower receivers” and to the average reader, that sounds fantastic. Why have standard when you can have… better? It’s like someone asking to get paid less money. So, what exactly is the difference between a standard and enhanced 80% lower? The answer just might surprise you.

Enhanced 80% Lowers: What They Really Are

If you’ve spent the past week trying to find out the difference between an enhanced 80% lower and a standard 80% lower you likely already know the answer: Not much. Or, in some cases, absolutely nothing at all. Many manufacturers offer enhanced versions of their 80% lowers which often means nothing more than adding a modified trigger group or a coated spring. It would seem that you can slap the word “enhanced” on a product and charge more. That doesn’t mean there are not products that are better than others, as you can see below. You can read why some of our 80% lowers are actually, truly premium here.

Premium Black 80% Lower Billet Fire/Safe Engraved (1-Count)

Our Premium 80% Lower is made from 6061 T6 and features a heavy-duty trigger guard, flared and angled mag well, and threaded bolt catch and rear takedown detent holes, making assembly much, much easier! 

Do Your Research

That is not to say that “enhanced” lowers are not different, and you may very well be able to find an upgrade from the standard batch if you find an enhancement you prefer. But you will have to do your homework and understand what the standard 80% lowers offers so you can tell the difference. Otherwise, you will pay more money for what is the equivalent of buying a wetter version of water.

Black 80% Lower (1-Count)

Our standard 80% Lower is forged from 7075 T6 aluminum – the military standard. Its proudly made in the USA and the price cannot be beat. Ours is one of the most popular 80% lowers available on the market.

The 80% Lower is Always Standard

The other key difference to understand is whether you are talking about completed lower receivers or 80% lower. Typically when people are talking about enhanced versions of lowers they are referencing the completed lower as there is more to enhance. With an 80% lower, it’s basically a big metal paperweight until it gets completed. That’s why you can buy as many as you want without any FFL paperwork. That’s why we often sell our 80% lowers in 5 and 10 counts as you can see here. That’s why we can also ship your lower, complete with an 80% jig and router, straight to your front door, legally. Nothing is considered a firearm until you put in the work yourself.

Either Way, an 80% Lower is the Best Way to Build an AR-15

The beauty of the 80% lower being sold as-is? You don’t have to complete it right away. You can purchase one when you find a great deal and do the research to learn how you want to build your AR-15 yourself. As long as the 80% lower remains unfinished it is not considered a gun by law. Consequently, you can also see how hard it is to “enhance” it while it is in that form. Once you start completing the lower you will find all the opportunities in the world to enhance it yourself. In the meantime, do your homework and don’t be conned by the word “enhanced” until you know exactly what you are getting. 


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