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?

  1. Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver – Best Overall
  2. Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver in OD Green – Best Cerakote Color
  3. SilencerCo SCO15 Stripped Lower – Best Billet Lower

#1. Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver

Check Current Price | Editor’s Choice

Aero Precision M4E1 Stripped Lower in Black

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s

  • Integrated trigger guard
  • Threaded bolt catch
  • Upper tension set screw
  • Threaded takedown pin detent channel
  • It’s top rated for AR lowers

Con’s

  • 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.

M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver – FDE Cerakote – APAR600002C

Read: Your Next AR-15 Build Should Be with the Aero Precision M4E1 Lower – Here’s Why

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.

AR-15 Burnt Bronze Stripped Lower

Read: What are the differences between a forged vs billet lower receiver?

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!

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

Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower in OD Green

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s

  • Limited edition Cerakote in OD Green
  • Comes with an OD Green trigger guard
  • Upper tension screw

Con’s

  • 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!

Read: Back to Basics with the Aero Precision AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver

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.

Aero Precision AR-15 Build in OD Green

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

SilencerCo SCO15 Stripped Lower

Pro’s and Con’s

Pro’s

  • Ambidextrous bolt catch
  • Enlarged trigger guard
  • Integrated sling swivel on each side of the receiver
  • Billet aluminum receiver

Con’s

  • 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.

Read: 80% Lower Versus Stripped Lower in 2021

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.

Buffer Systems

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?

AR15 Carbine Buffer Kit

We recommend Aero Precision and Luth-AR buffer system kits. Buy the entire kit and save the money versus individual parts.

Slings

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.

Upper Receivers

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).

Aero Precision 18″ .223 Wylde Rifle Length Complete Upper Receiver

Barrels

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?

Read: Best Barrels for an AR-15 Build

Handguards

We’re big fans of Aero Precision’s handguards but there are a ton of other great manufacturers making high quality handguards.

AR15 Enhanced Quad Rail Handguards, Gen 2

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?

Read: The Best Handguards for an AR-15 Rifle

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.

Aero Precision AR15 BCG – Nitride

Read: Run Your Gun Harder and Faster with the Aero Precision BCG

Charging Handles

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.

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

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