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The Best AR15 Upper Receivers

AR-15 Upper Receivers
March 23, 2023 1067 view(s)

The Best AR15 Upper Receivers

The AR-15 has become one of the most popular firearms among American gun owners and for good reason. 

Due to its lightweight frame, high level of accuracy, and versatility, the weapons system is a testament to how innovation can transform an older design. 

For years now, firearms accessory manufacturers have been turning out various parts for the AR-15. 

While many still prefer to buy pre-built firearms, many others enjoy shopping around for the coolest and best parts on the market and creating something special and tailored for them. 

One of the fundamental elements of the build starts with an upper receiver.

What is A15 Upper Receiver?

The AR15 upper receiver is a crucial component of the AR15 rifle. It's like the cherry on top of a sundae, or the icing on a cake - without it, the rifle simply wouldn't function.

The upper receiver houses the barrel, bolt carrier group, and charging handle. It's responsible for directing the gas that's generated by firing the bullet out of the barrel, and it's what allows the rifle to cycle properly.

One of the great things about AR15 upper receivers is that they can be easily swapped out, allowing you to customize your rifle to suit your needs. It's like changing the tires on your car - you can switch them out for ones that are better suited for different driving conditions.

Similarly, you can switch out your upper receiver for one that's better suited for long-range shooting, or for use in close quarters.

Another thing to note about AR15 upper receivers is that they come in a variety of materials, such as aluminum and polymer. 

  • Aluminum upper receivers are durable and reliable, like a trusty old pair of boots. 
  • Polymer upper receivers, on the other hand, are lightweight and easy to handle, like a pair of running shoes.

AR-15 Upper Receivers

When it comes to buying an AR-15 upper receiver, there are a number of options one can take as there are lots of upper receivers on the market. 

First, you have to decide whether or not you want to go with a forged option of billet. Forged receivers are stronger pound-for-pound compared to billet ones, but they lack some of the finer details and aesthetics that some people like to have. 

The other option, at least when it comes to our list, is whether or not you want just an upper receiver by itself or one that comes with a barrel, gas block, and gas tube. 

For companies like Bravo Company USA, some of their prebuilt uppers do come with a rail system. So all you have to do is get a bolt carrier group and charging handle and you’d be good to go. This is sometimes the most cost-effective option to go with because it makes the assembly process easy.

Types of Upper Receivers

 While all AR-15 upper receivers have the same basic function of housing the barrel, bolt carrier group, and charging handle, there are some key differences between them.

List of different types of upper receivers:

  • Stripped Upper Receiver
  • Assembled Upper Receiver
  • Flat Top Upper Receiver
  • A1 Upper Receiver
  • A2 Upper Receiver
  • A3 Upper Receiver
  • A4 Upper Receiver
  • Side Charging Upper Receiver
  • Pistol Caliber Carbine Upper Receiver
  • .308 Upper Receiver

The stripped upper receiver is the bare-bones version, coming without any of the necessary components. This makes it the most customizable option, as you can choose all of the parts you want to add to it.

The assembled upper receiver, on the other hand, comes with all the necessary components already installed. This makes it a more convenient option for those who don't want to spend the time or effort putting everything together themselves.

The flat top, A1, A2, A3, and A4 upper receivers all have different designs and features. The flat-top receiver is the most versatile of the bunch, with a Picatinny rail on the top for mounting accessories. 

The A1 and A2 receivers have fixed carry handles and are designed to look like the original M16 rifle. The A3 and A4 receivers have more modern designs, with updated features such as a removable carry handle and a built-in Picatinny rail.

The side charging upper receiver has a unique feature that allows for easier charging of the rifle. Instead of having to pull back on the standard charging handle, the shooter can use a side-mounted charging handle for quicker and more efficient charging.

The pistol caliber carbine upper receiver allows for the use of smaller caliber rounds such as 9mm, while the .308 upper receiver allows for the use of larger caliber rounds for increased power and range.

Best AR-15 Upper Receivers

  1. BCM M4 Upper Receiver Assembly
  2. Rainier Arms Forged A4 Upper Receiver- GEN2
  3. Bravo Company MFG (BCM) AR-15 Upper Receiver BFH(.2.23/5.56) 11.5
  4. V Seven Weapon Systems 2055 Enlightened AR-15 Upper Receivers
  5. Rainier Arms RUC DI 300BLK Partial Upper Receiver - 10.7"
  6. Tactical Edge Arms 5.56 Carbine Complete Upper w/ WSR10-QD Rail - 10.5"

2019 Product Review: Top-Selling AR15 Uppers

1. BCM M4 Upper Receiver Assembly

BCM M4 Upper Receiver Assembly

Made by Bravo Company Manufacturing (short BCM), this AR15 upper receiver meets all mil-spec requirements with precision machined parts.

Made of 7075 T6 forgings, this upper receiver boasts excellent strength able to withstand even the toughest situations whether it’s a drop or a malfunction clearance drill.

BCM M4 Upper Receiver comes fully assembled with a forwarding assist and ejection port cover. Plus, it features a mil-std 1913 rail for easier mounting of optics and accessories.

Another positive side is barrel compatibility - it’s compatible with the M4 barrel extension so it will work seamlessly with your existing setup.

Also, as an assistant in remounting optics, there are laser-etched T-markings.

BCM M4 Receiver also features a hard coat anodized finish per Mil-A-8625F with dry film lube on the interior bore.

Price: $129.00

Purchase Here!

2. Rainier Arms Forged A4 Upper Receiver- GEN2

Rainier Arms Forged A4 Upper Receiver- GEN2

Rainier Arms Forged A4 Upper Receiver is designed to match perfectly with Forged Lower Receivers in terms of color, texture, and machining. This ensures both components fit seamlessly - both aesthetically and functionally.

The upper receiver also comes with a “T-marked” engraving, which is a series of markings on the top of the receiver making it easy to mount accessories and options with precision. 

So, if you’re looking for something that you can use for hunting or other specialized goals requiring accurate and reliable targeting, you might find this upper receiver particularly useful.

The extended M4 feed ramps ensure the firearm works smoothly and reliably. The ramp help guide the ammunition into the chamber ensuring proper feeding and ejection.

Also, this upper receiver works well with RA and MEGA lowers.

Price: $130.00

Purchase Here!

3. Bravo Company MFG (BCM) AR-15 Upper Receiver BFH (5.56) 11.5

Bravo Company MFG (BCM) AR-15 Upper Receiver BFH (5.56) 11.5

If you're looking for a versatile and durable weapon platform, you might want to consider the BCM flat-top uppers.

BCM uppers are designed with modularity in mind allowing you to configure your weapon making the whole process look like a walk in the park. In addition, the laser-etched T-marks on each upper make it easy to remount tactical accessories like optics and laser sights.

One of the standout features of the BCM barrels is their USGI 1/7 twist rate, which is the preferred twist rate for most professional infantrymen. This twist rate is known for its versatility and ability to handle heavier 5.56 ammo with superior ballistics. 

The Mil-Spec steel used in the barrels is also stronger and longer-lasting than typical commercial market barrels.

Another key feature of the BCM barrels is their chrome-lined bore and chamber, which has become a worldwide industry standard for battle rifles. 

This lining is harder than the barrel steel and provides better chambering, extraction, and reliability. It also increases velocity and resists fouling and corrosion from extended use in the field.

The BCM uppers are built with Mil-Spec F marked front sight bases to ensure the correct height for iron sight zeroing when using military iron sights. Plus, the government profile barrel is compatible with M203 mounting systems, making it a great choice for those who need that functionality. 

And, as part of quality assurance procedures, BCM barrels undergo HPT load testing and MPI to detect any possible flaws in the barrel's surface.

Price: $594.00

Purchase Here!

4. V Seven Weapon Systems 2055 Enlightened AR-15 Upper Receivers

V Seven Weapon Systems 2055 Enlightened AR-15 Upper Receivers

If you're looking for a lightweight and strong, then V Seven's Advanced Lithium/Aluminum alloy upper receiver.

Thanks to the materials it's made of, this upper receiver is more rigid and corrosion-resistant than standard 7075 T6.

Now, when you decide to install all the pins, strings, screws, and components, we recommend you use a good quality lubricating oil or grease. And just a heads up, the Enlightened 2055 Uppers might not be compatible with Geissele MK8 Rails without some minor fitting of the rail to the upper.

Here are some quick specs: the upper is machined from billet 2055 Lithium/Aluminum, has a Mil-spec type III class II hard coat anodized black finish, and is compatible with most aftermarket handguard/rail systems. Oh, and it weighs in at just 5.8 oz.

Price: $417.10

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5. Rainier Arms RUC DI 300BLK Partial Upper Receiver - 10.7"

Rainier Arms RUC DI 300BLK Partial Upper Receiver - 10.7"

First things first. What really sets the RUC DI apart from the competition is the direct impingement operating system making it a winning combination with the Rainier Arms Select barrel.

Another thing worth mentioning is Urban Combat Rail included making a complete upper receiver when you add your favorite charging handle and bolt carrier group. After you do this, your build is ready to take on anything.

Let's take a closer look at the individual parts of the RUC DI Partial Upper. First off, there's the Rainier Arms Select 300BLK 1:7 Twist Barrel, which boasts a 10.7" length for ultimate accuracy and precision.

Next up, we've got the Rainier Arms Urban Combat Rail - this is where the real magic happens. With a length of 9.5", it provides plenty of space for all your favorite accessories, and its low profile .750 gas block ensures that your shots are always on target. 

Finally, the upper receiver includes an A2 flash hider in the 5/8x24 size.

Price: $400.00

Purchase Here!

6. Tactical Edge Arms 5.56 Carbine Complete Upper w/ WSR10-QD Rail - 10.5"

Tactical Edge Arms 5.56 Carbine Complete Upper w/ WSR10-QD Rail - 10.5"

This upper is built to handle anything you can throw at it, with a 10.5" 5.56 NATO M4 profile barrel, carbine length gas system, and a 1:7 twist. 

Plus, it's fully machined with extension, and M4 feed ramps, and made from 41V50 steel with a Nitride bore and chamber for maximum performance, accuracy, and durability. And with a Nitride finish, you know it's built to last.

But that's not all - the Tactical Edge WRS10 (WARFIGHTER Rail System) is made from 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum and precision machined to MIL-SPEC standards.

It has four QD sling mounts, making it the perfect choice for any situation.

And with a standard Mil-spec Flash Hider and an upper receiver machined from 7075-T6 forged aluminum, you know you're getting a high-quality product.

Best of all, this complete upper comes with a Tactical Edge BCG and Charging handle included, so you can get started on your build right away.

Price: $899.99

Purchase Here!


In the end, there are many options to choose from when it comes to uppers receivers. 

For those of you that are building your rifles up from scratch, what you choose will depend on what sort of look you want and what the purpose of the rifle will be. By considering your needs, budget, and personal preferences, you can find the perfect upper receiver to match your style and shooting needs.

Don't forget to pay attention to factors such as barrel length, twist rate, and rail system compatibility to ensure that your upper receiver is optimized for your specific shooting style and requirements.

Read more:

  1. AR15: Complete Buyers Guide
  2. 6 Best AR15 Charging Handles (2023)
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