5.56mm Rifle pricing over the past year.

This graph shows the price (MSRP) of 5.56mm rifles that were launched over the past year (and the HK556 which has not yet been launched). Looking at this chart, it seems unlikely that the ACR would have ever been launched at under $2000.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • johnny donuts

    Oh well. They can keep all of them. The $500 AKs are more enticing.

  • subase

    Yep it’s just good business, nothing personal.

    Magpul was either too stupid to realize their price was always unrealistically low, or were purposely lying to increase the fanboy excitement over their new weapon. I say the latter.

    Everyone bought the hype – hook, line and sinker.

  • subase

    I wonder how much it would have cost if Magpul had asked Kel-tec to make it for them?

    • subase, a very good point.

  • vereceleritas

    I’ve been seeing SR-556s selling for $500-600 below MSRP lately. Maybe we’ll get lucky with the ACR when it saturates the market. I’m not holding my breath though.

  • snmp

    Saiga .223 and the AK101 are below 300 USD

  • juandos

    My question is, is there $1500 worth of difference in quality between an H&K 5.56 and the Stag Arms version?

  • Matt Groom

    @ Juandos:

    Answer, No. No difference, just marketing.

    And to think, I thought the BENELLI was too expensive!

  • dom1104

    You know? I think I will keep my AR.

    $3000 is a LOT of leeway to customize an AR however you like it compared to a ” bare bones ” modern rifle.

    Call me crazy, but everybody needs a few rifles, and I personally would rather they not add up to a home downpayment. 🙂

  • Zach

    I don’t really follow the logic. The ACR had been promised at $1500 or less, and nothing about it appears to be expensive to make. It’s also being made by a combo including one of the largest black rifle companies (Cerberus’ freedom group as a whole) and an innovator and moderate cost maker of numerous parts and accessories (Magpul). I would have expected this price if it all came from Troy or LaRue, but not Bushmaster/Magpul. The Ruger SR556 probably costs more to make and is not benefiting from Ruger’s casting expertise, yet its MSRP is much less and its street price well below that MSRP.

  • p3dal

    Why does this make it unlikely? Half of those rifles are <= $2000

    • p3dal, yep but those are just standard AR-15s

  • ST

    Steve you should note which guns are imported. To me, the hk, fn, and styer get a little acceptance on the price because they are imported and assembled here. What exactly is Bushmaster’s excuse?

    FN has even said they want to produce parts here and lower the price. And while the hk quality and function is certainly better on the Heckler than the stag, it’s probably not worth it when you consider two for the price of one HK.

    In my opinion it was completely acceptable to expect a domestic made rifle to come in at or under 2k.

  • DaMan

    i think magpul is going to be hurting on this partnership. there was an artical before that fn and colt are selling m4s and m16s for 800-1000. and the this is simalar to the civi market were even a great piston gun by ruger is only 1500 and the sigs are around 1500 as well. they are going to have trouble selling it in mass production. Plus bushmaster historicly over charges for their products.

  • William

    Regardless of how much other rifles are selling for, the shooting public was given a number around $1500 3 years ago, so for BM to remain quiet on that for so long is more than a little saddening and frustrating. I have a feeling that their “tens of thousands of rifles” available will be slow and dissapointing sellers, unless the “tens of thousands” was also a lie and this was meant to be a gun with limited availibilty from the get-go.

    You can argue that the folks at BM know more about sales and marketing and dollars than us on Internet blogs and forums, but the same could be said about the guys at Enron

  • Lance

    Its just dumb madness who would by mass produced rifles for so much? In many ways you can build a piston carbine for far cheaper than buying a factory one. Same as for ammo $500 dollars for a 1000 rounds of US 5.56 ball ammo is too much.

  • SpaceMonkey

    For an apples to apple comparison, you should be using the deluxe ACR price. The SCAR and HK will have adjustable stocks.

  • John T

    I am willing to bet that S&W and Stag sell more rifles combined that all the other manufactures’ do together.

    Also, CMMG Piston rifle is selling for $999 MSRP.

  • Doug

    Great chart, it’s good to see them side by side. Subase, very good question. I have a feeling Magpul will go elsewhere next time they think up a great idea.

  • D.Baker

    Steve, Actually all of those are piston guns aside from the MOE carbine.

    • D.Baker, my mistake. I was thinking of the PS line.

  • McThag

    Problems I am having with the pricing:

    The Ruger MSRP was way overpriced considering that it’s mostly bog-standard AR. The street pricing is really showing that it is, indeed, an AR and that Ruger’s name does not command a premium price.

    FN has always been expensive, and they are known for it. They are also fairly well known for being low volume, high quality for civilian sales. Using their product as a benchmark to price yours is going to have people wondering why. To price your competing product at their price point you’ll have to conclusively show why your gun is so expensive.

    SIG is in the same boat as FN for many of the same reasons.

    H&K is another company who is known for charging more than their guns than the equivalent from another company. They are also famous for their “less than cuddly” demeanor towards non-police and non-military customers. Despite this, they have a huge fan base that is willing to pay the prices and ignore the attitude.

    All three of the import makers ride the “not-an AR” bow-wave.

    Bushmaster lacks the fans that FN SIG and H&K have. Their representative on Arfcom has alluded to several things that are real improvements over the AR, they are also less expensive processes. Without a loyal, forgiving, fan base to eat the higher margins you cannot point out processes that should be making the rifle cheaper to make to justify the higher price. It seems that Bushmaster really did look at what FN and H&K would price their offering at and assumed that the customers would not ask the hard questions.

    FN and H&K get away with it because fans do not ask hard questions.

  • jdun1911

    FN has a factory in SC. It’s part of their military contact with the US military. The last time I heard, the HK 556 is suppose to be made in the USA but don’t quote me on it tho.

    In the current economic climate where one in five adult US males are unemployed and the Fed may revised an additional 824,000 job lost. I doubt any firearms product that is worth more then $1k can move at decent pace.


  • Lance

    I stay with a Ruger if I had to go with a new release unlike the FN and H&K models it accepts normal AR parts and has metal in it not some plastic piece of junk.

  • Whatever

    These prices are making a Springfield Super Match M1A seem reasonably priced.

  • Whatever

    I will bet that the bottom falls out of the market for black rifles about a year from now. There can’t be enough demand to satisfy all those who are producing rifles for that market, especially at the prices being asked.

  • Ken

    I recall back in ’87 when my HBAR AR-15 (early) was 600. An AK with folding stock,made in China,3 mag,cleaning kit and bayonet was 375. Now if everyone keeps buying these guns at these prices this trend will continue. People will buy em and they will continue to be sold at that price. The most I see ANY AR selling is 1000.
    The vast majority of parts made for these guns are CNC made.This translates into higher precision and less chance of waste. Keep also in mind that many parts are formed by various processes nearly to size already and require minimal machining. The cutting tools are bought in bulk as well as many of the metals. This means a discount for the manufacturer. This translates into less cost per part. Polymers are easier to machine than metal. Less time involved making parts equals cost savings. Not for the consumer though in this case.
    Whats this mean to you? Have fun riding the Assault Rifle wave…all the way to the bank.

  • subase

    Compare this shit with kel tec’s RFB. Which has been in development for at least 3 years, is innovative on every level and uses milled highest grade steel components throughout. It will sell for less than $1800 retail, street price probably $1400 standard. (And no doubt costs much less to manufacture)
    The ACR in contrast was designed in 4-6 months from design to final product, no new innovations, mainly just ergonmic improvements and already designed and tested Magpul components. (buttstock for example).

    Saying that perhaps Magpul knows something we don’t. Mainly that Remington/Bushmaster promised to sell it to the military and thus their product could benefit the people who most need the weapon and who they claim they designed the weapon for. (soldiers)

    But wouldn’t it be a better idea just to have made a super cheap ACR that’s AR compatible and that would basically supplant the traditional AR design? We’d have contractors and soldiers buying them en masse, I’m sure word of mouth would reach the brass and we’d have the next infantry rifle or at least it’s innovations would become standard and expected in the next infantry rifle whatever that might be. Instead, no doubt this weapon will just remain a niche product for those with cash and become just another innovative weapon design that never went anywhere.

    Also you can’t really compare Bushmaster/Remington to H&K and FN, they’re research and design is targeted towards selling weapons to military and government, not civilians. THIS is why they have a fanbase that doesn’t ask questions. Civilians look upto soldiers and elite police forces and such on what weapons they should adopt and of course they use FN and H&K weapons, so civilians are willing to pay a premium. It is essentially really good publicity, like having the Terminator in a film shoot someone with a gun that you sell. With the advent of the internet and the sharing of gun knowledge and design this is becoming less the case. That is why those in the know use AK’s and AR’s and stick to them.

  • d

    “But wouldn’t it be a better idea just to have made a super cheap ACR that’s AR compatible and that would basically supplant the traditional AR design”

    remmy made an upper using that skeleton rail handguard with a piston system based on the ACR piston system modified , just add an AR15 lower

  • subase

    I said super cheap not super expensive.

  • Why buy so expensive? All of these military rifles are the same. Its just the quality of certain major mechanical parts that separate them (bolt, gas system ect.) I bought my armalite M-15 for $985 new from a dealer. Its never gave me a problem. These guns are all the same at heart. The cheaper brands dont have that zazzy bad az look to them right out the box but all you have to do is spend a little money to dress them up.