So you are in the market for an AR-15 build kit and you’ve decided to take the challenge of building an 80% lower receiver. You are probably searching for something to distinguish the many AR-15 lower receiver manufacturers. Simply put, there are a ton of different 80% lowers for sale out there, so it can be interesting and difficult to decide which maker or which of the many 80% lower sellers to go with. For your convenience, I’ve found the top three AR-15 lower receiver manufacturers. I’ve analyzed their products, their customer service, price, and options to deliver to you these three retailers.
AR-15 Lower Receivers
Your one-stop shopping source for everything from 80% lower receivers to complete rifle kits. Their selection is quite massive, and they offer a wide price range for the picky builder. First and foremost you get all metal lower receivers that are made entirely in the United States. These lowers comes in a wide variety of options and you start at mil-spec forging and work your way up.
You have the option for a plain, non-finished aluminum forged receiver, which starts at $54.99. From here you can move into the realm of finished lowers with the additional option for “Safe” and “Fire” inscribed in the appropriate location relative to the safety position. This option starts at $69.95 and if you don’t need the “Safe” and “Fire” inscriptions you start at $59.95.
You can also go the billet route instead of forged. Billet offers clean lines and sharper angles. Billet models all come with “Safe” and “Fire” inscriptions and are all finished. They start at $109.95 for a single model.
Ar-15 Lowers also offers AR-10 lowers for the builder who prefers the 7.62 route. You have the additional option to include Jigs and drill bits if you so desire. Lastly, you can also buy in bulk if you choose to build multiple rifles. You also get a Lifetime warranty, and on-demand customer service.
Ep Armory’s main claim to fame is their unique 80% lower receivers. They produce and sell polymer 80% lowers. This makes their lowers quite affordable, often coming in at well under $50. Their use of polymer also means they can make a wide variety of different colors easily. Also, using polymer makes the process of drilling the material out rather easy. There is less resistance, and the drill bit is unlikely to heat up as fast.
Ep Armory’s lower receivers come with a Jig sticker. This sticker attaches to the side and top of the receiver and allows the user to complete their 80% lower. This works well but doesn’t guide as well as a normal Jig, and the sticker is easily detached or ruined by mishandling.
Ep Armory also offers aluminum lowers that start at $100.00 dollars for an unfinished version and $125.00 for a cerakoted black model. They also offer metal jigs and drill bits for the discerning shopper.
80% Arms produces quite a few different 80% lower receivers. This includes one of the few that is now California Compliant. California is the home of crazy gun laws, and they’ve recently stood against 80% lowers. Their California compliant model allows you to enter your serial number and markings into the lower receiver. A custom inscription and lower receiver will cost at least $119.99 and go up as the finish changes. These California compliant models are certainly a relief to the good gun owners of California.
You have four distinct options in terms of finish. You have unfinished, raw aluminum, black, flat dark earth, and even pink. The raw aluminum is the cheapest option at $69.99. These lowers are a little more pricey but are still a well-made product. You do have the option to purchase blemished lowers when available. A blemish lower is still functionally fine but may have a scratch or gouge in it This will often shave off a few dollars.
You also have the rather comedic option of a 0% lower. A 0% lower is nothing more than a block of aluminum. You can attempt to make this into a lower receiver but honestly, it’s a better conversation piece than AR 15 lower receiver.
Regardless of which company you go with, it’s best to go armed with knowledge. You have to find the best deal for you. Maybe a polymer lower is for you? Maybe not. Maybe you want to go billeted, or you want five lowers at the best price possible. Whatever your reason, the three companies I listed above are some of the best in the business.