If you are currently doing your first complete AR-15 build and looking for an efficient upper, making a list of parts is one of the first steps you’d like to do. But then, what comes next? Well, we will help you save your time without worrying about the hassle of finding the best AR-15 complete upper for your rifle. Our team of experienced AR builders already shortlisted them for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 7 Affordable AR-15 Uppers for 2021
- 1.1 1. Aero Precision .308 Upper Receiver
- 1.2 2. Radical Firearms 16 in. 300 AAC Blackout
- 1.3 3. Sharps Bros. Upper Receiver
- 1.4 4. Tactical Solutions Upper Receiver
- 1.5 5. Wilson Combat - AR-15 Billet Upper Receiver
- 1.6 6. Brownells AR-15 Upper With Folding Brace 300 BLK
- 1.7 7. Aero Precision - AR-15/M16 Stripped Upper Receiver
- 2 Key Considerations
- 3 Choosing Between An Upper and A Complete Gun
- 4 What’s the Cheapest Upper for AR-15?...
Top 7 Affordable AR-15 Uppers for 2021
1. Aero Precision .308 Upper Receiver
The Aero Precision.308 is one of the best AR-15 uppers that creates a smoother shooting experience and adds a sleek style to your weapon. This upper also comes with a pre-installed port door and forward assist hardware for easy installation. The Aero Precision works with standard AR15/M16 components
Aero Precision also uses a forged 7075-T6 aluminum body, making it remarkably durable. It also comes with an anodized handguard, increasing its resistance against both corrosion and abrasion. You can even attach scopes, lasers, and other accessories with ease to create a more reliable and sturdy weapon.
2. Radical Firearms 16 in. 300 AAC Blackout
The Radical Firearms 16 in 300 AAC Blackout Upper Assembly is also one of the best AR-15 complete upper receivers that feature a law enforcement grade and a drop-in AR-15 upper receiver that mounts to any Mil-Spec receiver.
This fully-assembled upper also features a forward assist for a faster cool downtime and increased accuracy. It also comes with an ejection port door and easily drops into any firearm without the need of a gunsmith.
3. Sharps Bros. Upper Receiver
The Sharps Bros. unit is a budget AR rifle complete upper receiver that uses Mil-Spec Type III hard coat anodize billet with dust cover. This upper comes with a forward assist kit installed, a charging handle, and a bolt carrier group.
It is also constructed from 7075-T6 aluminum and features a “SHARPS BROS” discretely engraved on both sides. This complete upper receiver only weighs 9 oz and best used for .223, 5.56 NATO, .300blk, and 6.5 Grendel builds.
4. Tactical Solutions Upper Receiver
The Tactical Solutions unit is a budget AR-15 complete upper receiver that gives shooters the advantages of an AR-15 short-barreled rifle (SBR) without the hassle of NFA paperwork.
This is ideal for tactical shotguns like the Daniel Defense MK12 18″ Upper with a 1 7 twist rate barrel, carbine length gas tube, government profile, and flash suppressor. This upper features a bore length of 12” barrel and a 16-inch barrel permanently attached SB-X shroud, an NFA-legal rifle’s overall length for a barrel.
5. Wilson Combat - AR-15 Billet Upper Receiver
The Wilson Combat kit is a budget AR-15 complete upper engineered to address structural design weaknesses in standard USGI complete uppers and enhance overall tolerances.
This BILLET upper has a precise bolt raceway for smoother chambering, more rigid receiver walls to reduce firing flex. It is CNC machined from 7075-T6 aerospace aluminum billet stock and chrome-lined, equipped with recoil dynamics.
6. Brownells AR-15 Upper With Folding Brace 300 BLK
The Brownells kit is an upper that features 300 Blackout Configuration.
Its configuration will make sure a hundred percent reliability with a wide variety of supersonic and subsonic 300BLK ammunition.
This upper features an Adjustable Mid-Length Gas System barrel, like those previously only found on the BRN-180S™
7. Aero Precision - AR-15/M16 Stripped Upper Receiver
The Aero Precision unit is an affordable AR upper machined from 7075 aircraft aluminum for superior strength. It also features a Type 3 hard-coat anodized finish for excellent wear and corrosion resistance.
This receiver part is compatible with standard components, mil-spec AR lowers, and features M4 feed ramps.
Like other accessories (stocks, handguards, vertical grips, foregrip bipods, buffers, etc.) upper receivers come at different price points, so you need to discern how much you are willing to pay for your new AR build. You may also want to consider the parts’ materials and quality and weigh if the cost you are willing to pay compensates just like most buyers do. Only get one that you can afford.
The receiver part’s durability lies in its manufacturing type. Forged stripped upper receivers are heavier, but they are sturdier and more durable. In contrast, machined receivers are lightweight but not as durable. Cast receivers are in between the two.
You may want to look for receivers made of 7075 T6 like the Aero Precision because it is the highest strength alloy of aluminum, possessing high fracture toughness and low fatigue crack growth. 
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We encourage you to get a receiver part that has sturdy quality materials. However, if the price range is beyond your budget, you may want to be more practical. Choose an upper or lower that fits your AR build perfectly but is still in the price range you have set.
When we tested the receivers, we discovered that not all complete receivers could be used with all the lower receivers.
Hence, we recommend that you only buy a high-quality receiver part that will be a perfect fit for your rifle. It shouldn’t pose as a distraction to your rifle’s rear sight like other attached tools.
Also, consider things like barrel length, gas system, type of gas block, free-floating handguards, and angled foregrips. Looking for an upper that can fit other weapons you may want to use is also better. We recommend that you consider ease of disassembly, as well.
Choosing Between An Upper and A Complete Gun
Choosing between an upper and a complete gun may be challenging, especially if it is your first time doing your build. Some people may tell you that buying a high-quality complete gun is better and less hassle.
However, buying receiver parts will save you a lot of money while also giving you the chance to customize your weapon. Aside from uppers and lowers, you may also install a free float AR quad rail to make it more functional. You’ll also learn many things while building your AR pistol build. Somehow, it will give you an amazing sense of pride. It’s your call.
Also Read: M4 vs AR-15
What’s the Cheapest Upper for AR-15?...
Based on our research, the most efficient yet affordable upper for AR-15 is the Aero Precision.308 Upper Receiver because it creates a smoother shooting experience while adding sleek style to your weapon. This receiver part is also easy to install, as it comes with a pre-installed port door and forward assists.
It is also constructed with a forged 7075-T6 aluminum body, making it remarkably durable. And its anodized handguard also increases its resistance against both corrosion and abrasion.
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