I was tired of buying cheap rifles that didn’t hit my high expectations for quality, attachments/accessories, and accuracy. Also, tired of buying expensive rifles that met my high expectations but also had a big price tag. I was frustrated – Why can’t I find a good quality rifle at a normal person cost? I soon found my answer: Build your own AR-15. Soon, I found that the price, quality, and ease of building an AR-15 with the Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower would keep me coming back for all of my builds.
What are the best AR-15 Stripped Lowers Available Right Now?
- Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver – Best Overall
- Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver in OD Green – Best Cerakote Color
- SilencerCo SCO15 Stripped Lower – Best Billet Lower
#1. Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver
Check Current Price | Editor’s Choice
Pro’s and Con’s
- Integrated trigger guard
- Threaded bolt catch
- Upper tension set screw
- Threaded takedown pin detent channel
- It’s top rated for AR lowers
- More expensive than it’s Gen 2 AR-15 stripped lower
- Some features not necessary if you use another brand’s lower parts kit
Our experience with the Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver
We have built many rifles with an Aero Precision lower receiver. We currently have three M4E1 builds – two in black, one in FDE, and one monthly builder’s set.
One of the many benefits to this lower is the integrated trigger guard and Aero’s quality control processes. We have used other brands and had to pin the trigger guard in there. In fact it was our first AR-15 build. The danger of breaking the trigger guard was on the top of our minds while doing it. If you’re experienced in doing this though, the feature may not matter to you.
Features Aren’t Features Unless You Use Them
We’ve never fully tested the tension set screw but can understand why it’s so important. Sometimes you pick up a friend’s AR-15 and it’s amazing that it even shoots – the top and bottom receivers fit so loosely together!
*BLEM* DPMS AR-15 MULTI CALIBER – LOWER RECEIVER$7999
Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver, Special Edition: Texas – FDE Cerakote$16999
Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver, Special Edition: Texas – Anodized Black$14499
Aero Precision X15 AR-15 Gen 2 Stripped Lower Receiver – FDE Cerakote$12999
Aero Precision X15 AR-15 Gen 2 Stripped Lower Receiver – Anodized Black$11499
Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver – Anodized Black$12999
Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver, Gen 2 w/ Trigger Guard – Burnt Bronze Cerakote$17099
We’ve never used the threaded takedown pin detent channel. We watched a video on the spring’s installation and it just seems like too much work. You’d be surprised how much you wished it was there though when you change from a carbine to a rifle buffer tube. That spring goes flying … never to be seen again.
There is a pricing difference between the AR-15 and M4E1 versions – though it’s only around $20.00 when comparing MSRP’s.
The special features around the threaded takedown pin detent channel is useless if you use, say – a CMMG lower parts kit. Also – using a lower parts kit from another manufacturer, you’re getting a trigger guard – you won’t need it. How much cheaper could that lower parts kit have been if the trigger guard wasn’t in there?
#2. Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver in OD Green
Check Current Price | Best Cerakote Color
Pro’s and Con’s
- Limited edition Cerakote in OD Green
- Comes with an OD Green trigger guard
- Upper tension screw
- Not optimized for short throw safety selectors
- No threaded bolt catch
Our experience with the Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver in OD Green
We’ve been waiting for this to come out for a long time. They’re flying off the shelves. This unique color combination is hard to find in the firearms industry. Good lucky finding an OEM supplier with an OD Green trigger guard to match!
This is the bare minimum I’d expect from an AR-15 stripped lower. The OD Green just takes the take though compared to the other companies.
Not having a threaded bolt catch freaks us out – we’re spoiled having one on the M4E1 stripped lowers. Could you imagine hitting a bolt catch into the lower and marring the finish? Yikes … It doesn’t appear that Aero Precision has plans on adding a OD Green M4E1 anytime soon – this is as far as you’ll get.
#3. SilencerCo SCO15 Stripped Lower
Check Current Price | Best Billet Lower
Pro’s and Con’s
- Ambidextrous bolt catch
- Enlarged trigger guard
- Integrated sling swivel on each side of the receiver
- Billet aluminum receiver
- Expensive – almost 2x the price of an Aero Precision M4E1 stripped lower
Our experience with the SilencerCo SCO15 Stripped Lower
We haven’t used this lower receiver before. There’s a reason – we’re not lefties. Also – it’s 2x the price of an Aero Precision M4E1.
We like that the lower has an integrated (even ambidextrous) sling swivel point on each side. However it hardly seems to be worth the money for a right handed shooter. “But what if your right hand gets blown off during a firefight?”, to which I’ll say, “I’ll have much bigger problems at that point and probably won’t care that I can use my left hand!”.
You know – stopping the bleeding, getting behind cover, etc.
What else should you consider when buying this?
We’ve laid out the best options on the market for a stripped lower receiver. Now – what else should you consider? Find a great guide on building an AR-15.
Here’s our go-to list of parts to consider:
Lower Parts Kits
We wrote an entire article about lower parts kits. It’s also a great reference for non-Aero Precision stripped lower builds! We do however prefer to use Aero Precision parts with lower and upper builds to ensure it will work correctly.
These kits also include their mil-spec triggers. You could also upgrade to a drop in trigger if you wanted a lighter trigger weight.
It’s really a preference of which stock you want to put on your rifle. If you want a collapsible stock, you might purchase a carbine buffer system kit. A pistol? Purchase a pistol buffer system kit. A rifle has its own as well.
If you’re looking for an even more compact solution, may we suggest a home defense pistol?
We recommend Aero Precision and Luth-AR buffer system kits. Buy the entire kit and save the money versus individual parts.
You don’t need a sling – but it sure as hell is useful. A sling isn’t there to make you look cool – it’s there so you can do other things while holding your rifle.
MAGPUL has a great selection of slings to fit any carry method. Check your handguard and buttstock for attachment capabilities – you may find that they have a QD space and a MAGPUL sling works great with it.
You can build an upper receiver from a stripped upper or buy it complete. Be sure to buy an AR-15 upper for an AR-15 platform (or like a M4E1). The AR-10 upper receiver will not work with an AR-15 lower (or vice versa).
If your upper receiver wasn’t complete, you’ll need to shop for barrels. There are plenty of brands out there for you to choose from. All you need to do is plan a little bit and ask yourself:
- Which length do I want?
- Will it fit with my handguards?
- Will I attach a suppressor?
- Which muzzle device will I use with it?
We’re big fans of Aero Precision’s handguards but there are a ton of other great manufacturers making high quality handguards.
Some considerations may include:
- Do you want picatinny sections on all four sides?
- Do you need M-LOK attachment points?
- Are all of your accessories picatinny or M-LOK?
Bolt Carrier Groups
Ensure you buy the right bolt carrier group (BCG) for your platform (AR-15 or AR-10). These can also come in caliber specific specification. Keep an eye out for any of these differences.
We really like ambidextrous charging handles. We weren’t “raised” on them but they’re nice to have! If you don’t want to pay $75 for an ambidextrous one, check out a high quality $30 one.
Should I buy polymer lowers to save a few bucks?
While there are many good companies trying to sell a quality product, we feel the jury is still out on this. Brownells has a great video about this.
Are stripped lower receivers legal in my state?
Check with your local law enforcement. I’ll say this – I can still ship these to CA and NY (as of April 2022) – if CA and NY will take it – you might be good too. Be sure by checking with local law enforcement.
What’s our rating criteria?
- Availability in the current market
- Price considerations
- Features like integrated trigger guards
- Customer reviews on manufacturer websites
- Internet forum opinions
- Experience in purchasing and building these products