One of the fun things about SHOT Show is that it’s not just for the big dogs, but also for the small/medium size companies. There are plenty of high quality companies if you keep your ear to the ground and ask around. If you considering an AR-15 (like the thousands and thousands of people right now), take a look at Houlding Precision.
They offer three AR-15 models in 5.56mm which all look and feel like solid rifles. The Houlding owner emphasized their quality materials and craftsmanship, along with providing customers an AR at a reasonable price point. Houlding also sells lower receivers and muzzle brakes. They are based in Central California and sell both CA-compliant and non-CA compliant (read: “regular”) variants.
They currently have a backlog of only 2-3 months for AR-15 orders, which is on the very low end compared to some of the big shops here at SHOT.
In comparison, one retailer noted to me that they had sold 10,000 ARs in 3 years, but they had sold 10,000 ARs in just the past two weeks alone. This other company I am referring to said their estimated wait time for ARs is 2-3 years.