Firearms manufacturers and retailers refer to the buying frenzy that hit the shooting scene a couple years ago as “The Surge.”
During “The Surge,” shooters snapped up ammunition, high-capacity magazines and—right at the top of the list—AR-style rifles. Retailers had yards of empty gun racks, and a shipment of ARs that actually hit the gun counter was often gone by the very next day. Meanwhile, ARs that had been selling for $700 to $800 were suddenly commanding $1,500 or more—often, a heck of a lot more—if you could even find them.
Fortunately, “The Surge” is more or less over for ARs, and as a result prices have come tumbling down. It seems the current fad is high-end ARs. For a couple grand or better you can get one complete with a match trigger, fluted bull barrel and all the coolest tactical furniture.
But there are still many high quality, extremely functional ARs on the market. Some are no-frill models, while others have a surprising number of higher-end features. Regardless, these rifles will get the job done and do it for $1,000 or less.
- For the last several years—and somewhat under the radar—Del-Ton has been manufacturing quality ARs at prices that won’t push you into Chapter 11. Case in point, the Del-Ton ALPHA 320H in 5.56mm. It sports a 20-inch chrome moly vanadium barrel with a 1x9 twist, a properly staked and sealed gas key (a poorly installed gas key can lead to short-stroking and other malfunctions), and most of the mil-spec accoutrements standard on ARs—all for under $800. MSRP: $788.99