So the time has come to build a rifle. You have a general idea of what you are trying to build. Now you have to choose an AR-15 Lower Receiver. Notice how we said choose over buy. You will certainly have to buy it, but there are multiple models you’ll have to choose from. That’s right, receivers don’t come in one flavor.
The 3 Basic Types of AR-15 Lower Receiver
When shopping for an AR-15 lower receiver you’ll generally have to choose between three different types.
Polymer – Polymer isn’t generally advised it’s weaker and cannot take the same kind of torque metal can. Polymer lower receivers are also as far from mil spec as you can get. The option exists, just be aware the minimal weight and financial savings you’ll get are rarely worth sacrificing dependability.
Forged – This is how the majority of receivers of made. Forged receivers are lightweight, aluminum models that are generally built to mil spec. Forged receivers are an excellent option for the first time builder. They are also quite affordable. The overwhelming majority of 80% lowers sold are forged.
Billet – Billet receivers are heavier receivers made from a solid piece of aluminum. Billet receivers have very unique look that lend themselves well to building an AR 15. These are a great choice for those prioritizing the way their AR 15 looks. Because of the technical aspects in building a billet lower, they tend to be more expensive than standard forged lowers.
The Different Materials
Not all aluminum receivers are equal. The most common types of aluminum receivers are 7075 and 6061. 7075 aluminum is stronger than 6061. Both materials can, and are used to build an AR 15. AR-15 lower receivers made from 7075 have a very high tensile strength. While this ultimately makes them stronger, 6061 lowers are generally easier to cut and work with. Anything outside of the 7075 or 6061 should be treated as suspect until proven otherwise. Both 7075 and 6061 are well reputed for 80% lower receivers.
Types of Finish
When planning a build, you can choose from roughly any color, camo pattern or design you want to finish your completed firearm. If you are planning to build a camo rifle or a brightly colored attention-grabber, it may be a better option to go with an unfinished receiver. These unfinished receivers take color easier, and make it simpler to cerakote, duracote, or anodize. If you are fine with all black, go with a standard anodized finish. Anodizing is a good, strong process that has worked for decades.
Country of Origin
Your standard complete lower receiver will always be Made in America. Since an 80% lower isn’t a firearm it’s not really subject to those same import and export laws. It is critical you make sure your receiver is made in the United States, and not foreign made. A famous fact in the gun industry is that unless it’s an AK 47 or an SKS, Chinese made is crap.
Now that you’re informed, are you ready to choose your AR lower receiver and build your rifle? If so, check out our selection of AR-15 Lower Receivers and start your AR15 build today! https://www.ar-15lowerreceivers.com/collections/80-lower