Light recoil, light weight, and highly versatile…It’s easy to see why AR-15s are raved about by so many.
No one can argue, ARs are fun to have around, and with so many accessories available it’s easy to have a properly outfitted AR-15.
But with the current demand and attention in the media, this beauty has also become quite expensive, with a typical model selling for $1,500 and up.
Even though AR’s hold a special place in our gun-loving hearts, that doesn’t mean there has to be a giant hole in our wallets to fill it. Here are some other fine specimen that could easily meet your needs, while letting you keep all arms and legs.
1. The AK. In particular the Russian Saiga .223 or 7.62×39 are a couple great options. The 7.62×39 is also about $600 dollars less than the AR-15. If you are in to shotguns, try the 20 gauge Saiga or the .410 because of their light recoil. If your shoulder can take the hit, they are available in 12 gauge, which will also shoot magnums. Saiga is also available in .308. When paired with an adjustable stock, the Siaga is comfortable to fire for small-framed and young gun-enthusiasts.
2. SKS. The short barreled Paratrooper with folding stock. Shoots the same 7.62×39 round as the AK assault rifles, with minimal recoil and adequate power for home defense. With the folding stock this unit becomes very compact. It’s hard to beat the compact fire power and easy handling of the SKS, without going to a handgun, or match the firepower per dollar.
3. The Ruger Mini-14 or Mini Thirty. Mini-14 is famous for its reliability and durability, accuracy, however, not so much, especially with older models. Its handling and recoil is in the same class as the SKS Paratrooper, and with the newer Tactical version of the Mini-14 accuracy is no longer an issue.
4. Don’t forget Lever guns! There’s the faithful and timeless 30-30, which has good stopping power and only mild recoil. The trapper versions of the 30-30 are short, light, and easy to handle. 30-30 ammo is also cheap and easy to reload at home, especially for us who cast our own bullets. If you are looking for more firepower, consider the Savage model 99, or the Browning BLR in .243 or .308. If you like being punched hard in the shoulder, the BLR is available in magnum. There’s also the Winchester model 88, or the semi-auto version model 100. Although these haven’t been made for several years and have become difficult to find, they would be a great piece for any arsenal.
5. If you are shopping around for a unique home defense weapon, consider the Rossi Circuit Judge .45/.410, you can find them all over gunbroker for about $600. Compact and versatile, this makes a good light hunting rifle or shotgun, and with 410.400 buckshot, packs a lot of reliable firepower for home defense.
This is by no means a complete list, but rather a guide to consider a few of the alternatives since most of these are substantially cheaper than ARs .