Guns and Safety Reviews

Top 10 Best AR-15 Uppers in 2021 – Complete Buyers Guide!

A gun is not only about some equipment, a trigger, a barrel, and a few ammo. It is the combination of various additional equipment that make it a perfect one. The upper receiver is one such part of a gun that houses the chamber, firing pin, and ejection port, and contains the majority of our rifle’s moving parts. It is the reason why it has a huge impact on our gun’s performance. It is a common problem that the upper receiver is not the best what you get from the manufacturer, and replacing your upper, can effectively give you a brand-new AR with more utility.

The difference between the lower and the upper receiver is that the upper receiver isn’t serialized, which means that you can modify your AR, even change the caliber. The best thing about it is that you can get an almost new rifle without needing to go through a NICS check for a complete second rifle.

This is such a popular upgrade and is sought after by a majority of the gun owners, and hence there are more chances to relieve a bad quality product. It is the reason why we have brought to you a list of the best AR-15 uppers that you can buy to give your gun not only a new look but also a great utility.

We have tried to make our selections based on quality, durability, and ease of installation so that we can cover almost everyone reading this article with varied needs. Also, the price point is an important specification, so you will see a wide range of prices in this list.

Let us first have a glance over all the 10 Best AR-15 Uppers 2021 that we have included in our list and you can buy.

  1. DPMS Oracle
  2. Aero Precision M4E1
  3. Yankee Hill Machine Black Diamond Specter
  4. Aero Precision M4E1 – .223 Wylde
  5. Stag Arms 15L
  6. Mega Arms AR-15 KeyMod
  7. Radical Firearms HBAR Radical
  8. Sabre Defence AR-15 Forged Stripped
  9. American Spirit Arms Side Charging
  10. Bravo Company Flattop

Let us now go through the recommendations in detail and see what do they offer to the owners.

Best AR 15 Uppers Detailed Reviews

#1 – DPMS Oracle

DPMS Oracle

The DPMS Oracle is the first upper in our list of the top 10 Best AR-15 Uppers available in the market that you can buy and comes pre-assembled with a 16-inch barrel.

Key features:

  • It comes with a complete pack of AR upper and barrel.
  • This upper has a flat top design with included Picatinny rail.
  • This item also fits mil-spec lower receivers and is designed for a 5.56mm NATO chamber.

It is equipped with a 16 inches barrel with a flash suppressor.

The DPMS Oracle is a pre-assembled upper receiver that comes in a complete set with all moving parts and a 16-inch barrel. All you need to do is attach it to a mil-spec lower receiver and add a buttstock, and you will get yourself a complete AR with more benefits than the usual.

Also, the Oracle is chambered in 5.56mm NATO, which also allows you to fire standard .223 ammunition with no issues in a fast and efficient way.

This upper combo uses DPMS’ lightweight barrel and an anodized aluminum receiver frame, together that makes it significantly lighter than original, mil-spec parts. However, the thinner and lighter metal used in the making of the upper is less durable and is thus better suited for plinking than for rugged field use by those who are a professional shooter.

Another important feature of this upper is that the receiver parts are coated with Teflon, for smooth, easy operation, and all parts are covered by DPMS’ lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. This covers you of all the potential accidental losses, but make sure to clean and oil the Oracle thoroughly.

It is because the barrel is made up of chrome-moly steel but is not chrome lined. It is thus still susceptible to corrosion due to powder residue.

PROS

  • It has a pre-assembled for easy installation and is quite lightweight.
  • It is equipped with a Teflon-lined receiver.
  • It also has a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • The barrel is not chrome lined.
  • This lightweight upper receiver is ideal for plinking.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#2 – Aero Precision M4E1

Aero Precision M4E1

The Aero Precision M4E1 is the second upper in our list of the top 10 Best AR-15 Uppers available in the market that you can buy and includes an extended Picatinny rail handguard.

Key features:

  • It comes with an AR upper and a barrel.
  • It also has a flat top design with an extended Picatinny rail handguard.
  • It fits a mil-spec lower receiver and is chambered for 5.56mm NATO.
  • It comes with a 14.5 or 16-inch barrel with a flash suppressor.
  • This device is also equipped with a mid-length gas system.

The Aero Precision M4E1 is an upper that comes in a wide number of variants, and it might become troublesome to find the right one that will suit your gun the most. It is chambered for the 5.56mm NATO version, which can also fire .223 rounds without any issues.

The M4E1 upper is delivered pre-assembled, with either a 14.5-inch or 16-inch barrel, and you will need to install a bolt/carrier group and charging handle. They also both include a flash suppressor.

Also, as a major advantage, it has a mid-length gas system, while most AR-15s with barrels shorter than 18 inches utilize a carbine-length gas system. The mid-length gas system also has a gas port 9 inches down the barrel, which reduces jamming.

PROS

  • It is smooth and has a relatively easy assembly.
  • It comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • It does not include bolt/carrier group and charging handle in the packaging.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#3 – Yankee Hill Machine Black Diamond Specter

Yankee Hill Machine Black Diamond Specter

The Yankee Hill Machine Black Diamond Specter includes four Picatinny rails for mounting all your accessories and is chambered for 5.56mm NATO that is also compatible with .223 cartridges.

Key features:

  • It comes complete with both the AR upper and barrel.
  • It has a flat top design with four Picatinny rails on an extended handguard.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and is equipped with a 5.56mm NATO chamber.
  • It has a 16-inch barrel with a flash suppressor with a mid-length gas system.

The Yankee Hill Machine Black Diamond Specter arrives fully assembled from the manufacturer and hence the owners need to work on it very less. It is ready to install on any mil-spec AR-15 lower receiver and is chambered for 5.56mm NATO, which is also compatible with .223 cartridges.

This upper feature a 16-inch, chrome-lined barrel with a flash suppressor. The top Picatinny rail extends continuously from the back of the receiver to the end of the handguard and is also equipped with three additional rails on the bottom and sides of the handguard that is 9.675 inches long on the standard variant.

The Black Diamond Specter utilizes a mid-length gas system for more reliable cycling and utilizes a low-profile gas block.

PROS

  • This upper has a quick and easy installation.
  • It is also smooth and has room for plenty of accessories.
  • This upper comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • It is somewhat expensive.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#4 – Aero Precision M4E1 .223 Wylde

Aero Precision M4E1 .223 Wylde

The Aero Precision M4E1 in .223 Wylde comes with a mid-length gas system and many other features such as follows.

Key features:

  • It comes complete with both the AR upper and barrel.
  • It has a flat top design with four Picatinny rails on an extended handguard.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and is equipped with a .223 Wylde chamber.
  • It has a 16- or 18-inches barrel with a flash suppressor with a mid-length gas system.

The Aero Precision M4E1 in .223 Wylde is specifically designed for target shooters, with its chamber finely developed for precision feeding of the .223 Wylde round. It can also fire standard civilian .223 cartridges, but not 5.56mm NATO cartridges, which is a disadvantage.

This upper receiver includes a 16 or 18-inch barrel, with a flash suppressor, a 12-inch handguard, and a full-length Picatinny rail that requires a bolt/carrier group and charging handle. So you will need to purchase new ones separately.

This upper uses a mid-length gas system instead of the shorter, carbine-length system that allows for smoother, more reliable cycling, which is essential in any match rifle.

PROS

  • It is a great upper for competitive shooting that has a relatively easy installation.
  • It is also smooth and comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • It doesn’t include the bolt/carrier group and charging handle.
  • It is not compatible with 5.56mm NATO rounds.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#5 – Stag Arms 15L

Stag Arms 15L

The Stag Arms 15L is the fifth upper in our list of the top 10 best AR-15 Upper that features a 16 ½ inches handguard for plenty of support.

Key features:

  • It comes complete with both the AR upper and barrel.
  • This upper has a flat top design with extended Picatinny rail and handguards.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and has a 5.56mm chamber.
  • This upper has an 18 inches barrel with a flash suppressor.
  • It is also equipped with a mid-length gas system and has a left-handed design.

The Stag Arms 15L comes with a complete upper receiver, with all moving parts installed by the manufacturer. It is chambered in 5.56mm NATO and is compatible with standard .223 cartridges as well.

This upper feature an 18 inches stainless steel barrel and a matte black flash suppressor. The extended handguard added to the upper measures 16 ½ inches, which accommodates a variety of stances. Also, a full-length Picatinny rail runs from the back of the receiver to the end of the handguard and is equipped with a mid-length gas system that ensures smooth, jam-free operation.

It is durable and also fairly heavy, weighing 7.1 pounds. Note that, this is a left-handed receiver not designed for the other group.

PROS

  • It has easy installation and reliable cycling.
  • It also has a long handguard and is designed for left-handed use.
  • It also comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • It is quite heavy.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#6 – Mega Arms AR-15 KeyMod

Mega Arms AR-15 KeyMod

The Mega Arms AR-15 KeyMod is the sixth upper in our list of the top 10 Best AR-15 uppers available in the market that you can buy.

Key features:

  • It comes complete with an AR upper.
  • This upper has an 8 ¾ inches KeyMod handguard with a full-length Picatinny rail.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and has a 5.56mm NATO chamber.
  • This device also includes a barrel nut and wrench.

The Mega Arms AR-15 KeyMod is chambered in 5.56mm NATO and has enough strength for high-pressure military rounds. However, it is still appropriately sized for a civilian .223 cartridge and is designed to mount on a standard mil-spec lower receiver.

This receiver requires some assembly after you receive the packaging and also includes the ejection port door and forward assist button, the bolt/carrier group, or the charging handle. However, it doesn’t include a barrel and you will have to spend some more money on your barrel.

The upper also features a full-length Picatinny rail, when assembled, the rail will run continuously from the back of the receiver to the end of the handguard.

PROS

  • It is equipped with a high-quality KeyMod rail.
  • The handguard supports a low-profile gas block.
  • It gives you the option to choose your barrel.
  • It comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • The owner needs to assemble it after receiving the package.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#7 – Radical Firearms HBAR Radical

Radical Firearms HBAR Radical

The Radical Firearms HBAR Radical comes with a 16-inch KeyMod handguard and a full-length Picatinny rail added to it.

Key features:

  • It comes complete with both the AR upper and barrel.
  • This upper has a flat top design with extended Picatinny rail and handguards.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and has 7.62 mm chambers.
  • This upper has an 18 inches barrel with a flash suppressor.

The Radical Firearms HBAR Radical is one of the few uppers that are chambered for 7.62mm NATO cartridges. This gives you a lot of stopping power for a self-defense weapon but also has increased recoil and less readily available ammo.

This receiver comes assembled and ready to mount on a mil-spec lower receiver from the manufacturer. However, you will need to buy your own bolt/carrier group and a charging handle.

It also features an 18-inch chrome-moly steel barrel, with a flash suppressor pre-attached along with a 16-inch KeyMod handguard.

PROS

  • It is more powerful than .223 caliber or 5.56mm NATO.
  • It has a relatively easy installation and comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

CONS

  • It does not include a bolt/carrier group or charging handle.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#8 – Sabre Defence AR-15 Forged Stripped

Sabre Defence AR-15 Forged Stripped

The Sabre Defence AR-15 Forged Stripped is a sturdy receiver that can be useful for shooters who are too much into target shooting.

Key features:

  • It is a stripped AR upper and has a flat top design with Picatinny rail.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and is equipped with a .223 Remington chamber.

The Sabre Defence AR-15 is forged from an aluminum block that makes it significantly more durable than stock, billeted receiver, and is chambered for .223 Remington. It is suitable for civilian .223 rounds, but not capable of withstanding the pressure of a 5.56 NATO military round.

This is a stripped receiver and doesn’t come with a barrel or any moving parts. It is a flat-top design, with a chamber and a Picatinny rail.

However, you will need to install all of the hardware yourself, including the bolt/carrier group, the charging handle, the forward assist button, and the ejection port door as they don’t come assembled from the factory.

PROS

  • It can also be paired with a variety of hardware and barrels.
  • It has a durable, and forged construction.
  • This upper is also affordable.

CONS

  • It has rifle style feed ramps.
  • It also requires significant assembly by the owner.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#9 – American Spirit Arms Side Charging

American Spirit Arms Side Charging

The American Spirit Arms Side Charging is the ninth upper and allows you to chamber a round without losing sight of your target as one of its major advantages.

Key features:

  • It is a stripped AR upper with a flat top design with Picatinny rail.
  • This upper fit mil-spec lower receiver and is compatible with .223 Remington, 5.56mm NATO, 7.62mm NATO, or 6.5 Grendel as you like.
  • It also has a side charging handle.
  • The American Spirit Arms Side Charging is compatible with a lot of calibers that includes standard 5.56mm NATO, .223 caliber, 7.62mm NATO, 6.5 Grendel, and 6.8mm Special.

Like the last upper in our list, this is also a stripped model and you will need to provide your hardware and assembly. This receiver requires a special notch cut in the side and you can also order a bolt carrier for a fee.

The American Spirit Arms’ charging handle is located on the side of the gun instead of the back that allows you to chamber a round without changing your position and losing your sight picture.

PROS

    • This upper is compatible with almost any AR hardware and fits several calibers.

 

  • This device maintains a sight picture while chambering a round.

CONS

  • It requires a proprietary bolt carrier notch and a significant assembly required.
  • It is Expensive.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

#10 – Bravo Company Flattop

Bravo Company Flattop

The Bravo Company Flattop is the last upper in our list of the top 10 Best AR-15 uppers available in the market that you can buy.

Key features:

  • It comes with a complete AR upper.
  • This upper has a flat top design with extended Picatinny rail and handguards.
  • It fits mil-spec lower receivers and is compatible with .223 caliber, 5.56mm NATO, 7.62mm NATO, and .300 Blackout

The Bravo Company Flattop is designed to support almost any caliber that’s compatible with the AR-15, be it the 5.56mm NATO or the.223 barrel, or a 7.62mm, .300, or 6.5 barrel for more stopping power.

Also, it includes the ejection port door and forward assists button, but you will need to provide your own bolt/carrier group and charging handle as they do not come with a pre-equipped one.

As an additional advantage, this device has vice-tight threading on the barrel extension to maximize stability. However, it might happen that your barrel won’t thread in the beginning. In that case, the manufacturer recommends warming the barrel extension with a hairdryer to expand it.

PROS

  • This device fits several calibers and is compatible with almost any AR hardware.
  • It has a tight barrel fit.

CONS

  • It requires a significant amount of assembly by the owner.
  • It does not include a bolt/carrier group or charging handle.

CHECK THE BEST PRICEat Brownells

Conclusion

While buying an AR-15 upper, one thing we should emphasize is that a stripped upper is typically just a housing. So, you need to make sure to hang on to your forward assist button, ejection port door, bolt carrier group, and other internal components from your original receiver.

Also, a stripped upper can make your AR lightweight and improve its durability, but it will not change its performance.

A complete upper includes all the moving parts, and generally a barrel or a rail system. Although these kits are more expensive, they offer significantly more options to improve your shooting experience.

We hope that you have liked our article on the list of the top 10 best AR-15 uppers available in the market that you can buy and have been able to provide the necessary information that you need.