The 5 Best AR 15 Alternatives – Going Pow in 5.56


The AR rules everything around us. It’s easy to see why. The AR 15 is an accurate, ergonomic, modular rifle made by about a million different companies at all price points. It comes in a variety of calibers and can be used for anything from home defense to hunting and even long-range marksmanship. However, aren’t AR 15s getting a bit boring? Well, maybe so, and to alleviate your boredom, I’ve gathered what I think are the best AR 15 alternatives. Allow me to be the aspirin to your AR 15 headache.


1) CZ Bren 2

The CZ Bren 2 is a semi-auto variant of the original CZ Bren 805. CZ took a hard look at the original Bren and figured it could be drastically improved without changing the 805’s durability, accuracy, or reliability. The Bren 2 features a nonreciprocating bolt handle and a lighter, shorter design with a more modular nature.

CZ Bren 2
CZ Bren 2

As a short-stroke gas piston gun, it doesn’t require an AR-15-style receiver extension, and shooters can easily employ a folding stock. Additionally, the MS designation allows you to swap the handguard for different lengths and styles depending on your mission set. As far as AR 15 alternatives go, the Bren 2 MS is my personal favorite, but I’m also a CZ nerd.


2) The Steyr AUG A3 M1

When we talk AR 15 alternatives, we also gotta address the fact that bullpups exist. The Steyr AUG is my all-time favorite bullpup and one of the most proven designs still in productions. The A3 M1 variant is the latest and allows users to pick an integrated carry handle or a rail to add their very own.


Steyr AUG
Steyr AUG

As a bullpup, the AUG is superbly short but still packs a carbine-length barrel. You get a weapon the size of an SMG with the firepower of a rifle and the velocity of a true rifle. The AUG embraces modularity with various barrel lengths, magazine options, and even 9mm conversions.


3) The Galil ACE Gen 2

You gotta give it up to the Israelis; they design a helluva gun. The Galil ACE Gen 2 is the latest in the famed Galil series, which took the AK and M16, and various other influences and formed a unique and capable rifle. If you want a little AK in your AR 15 alternatives, the Galil grants you that. This rifle comes in various calibers, including the 5.56 we all know and love.


Galil ACE Gen 2
Galil ACE Gen 2

The Galil ACE Gen 2 brings AR-style modularity to the Galil market. This includes a full-length optics’ rail, modular handguard, and a collapsible and folding stock with a lot of AR influence. Additionally, the Galil ACE Gen 2 even uses STANAG AR 15 style magazines to make logistics easy. It’s a handy rifle that’s incredibly reliable and surprisingly accurate.


4) Robinson Arms XCR

The Robinson Arms XCR was created to become the next SOCOM assault rifle but ultimately lost to the FN SCAR. However, Robinson Arms unveiled the XCR to the general public in a ton of different configurations. For this AR 15 alternatives article, we’ll stick to the XCR-L. This gas-piston gun utilizes a very proven system and works with a wide variety of calibers, including the 5.56, the 5.45, the 7.62×39, and many more.

Robinson Arms XCR
Robinson Arms XCR

The XCR-L allows for easy adaptability that transforms the XCR from a rifle to a DMR or to a PDW-style rifle. Caliber conversion kits are also available and allow the end-user to swap between kits to easily convert the weapon to different calibers. The XCR is one of the few weapons that exceed the modular capabilities of the AR 15.


5) B&T APC 223

B&T makes some of the highest-end firearms on the planet. These firearms arm elite soldiers across the world, and B&T is cool enough to bring them to the States for civilian purchase. The B&T APC 223 is their latest rifle, and it mimics a fair bit of the controls they’ve established with their series of subguns.


B&T APC 223
B&T APC 223


The B&T APC 223 uses a tw0-stage gas-piston system that allows for user adjustability. This ensures a good balance between reliability and recoil control. This soft shooting rifle incorporates completely ambidextrous controls, a modular handguard, and a brilliant trigger. The B&T APC 223 can be tough to find and is extremely expensive, but it is one of the best AR 15 alternatives on the market.


Shoo AR 15

What are your picks for the best AR 15 alternatives? There are so many great rifles out there I’m betting our community has direct experience with a wide berth of rifles. So what’s your AR 15 alternative, and why? Let me know in the comments below.

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