US Made Raw 80% AR-15 Lowers for $79

Yesterday I wrote about Chinese companies exporting 80% AR-15 lower receivers for $50. I just got an email from Shadow Ops Weaponry advertising their 80% raw/uncoated uppers for $79. Why import and pay all that shipping when you can buy them locally for only a few dollars more? The company sells an 80% lower receiver and a raw upper combo for $149.

Raw upper ready for Cerakoting.

Raw upper ready for Cerakoting.

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.


  • me ohmy

    Now THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!
    US MADE!!!!!!

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      After I posted yesterday I wondered if there was anything stopping a US manufacturer matching the Chinese price. Its not really that labor intensive, better equipment should making the output:dollars ratio of cheaper labor. Shipping from China would add extra to the cost.

      • sauerquint

        The Chinese one appears to be threaded for the buffer tube. If the American made one is going to cost more… well, that’s the kind of stuff I would look at.

  • scw

    For and order of less 100 pieces, I will surely recommend ordering it in the US. The trouble to deal with these small Chinese makers (minimum order of 100 is a good indication this is a small company) will not worth the saving.

  • BoHeck

    “Why import and pay all that shipping when you can buy them locally for only a few dollars more?”

    Because $79 is what a finished lower should cost. And the definition of “only a few dollars” is not a 58% increase in price.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not buying a chinese AR-15 lower. But nor am I buying an 80% lower for what a finished lower cost just because it’s made in the USA.

    • Hunter57dor

      do you have your head up your ass for the warmth?

      the whole reason it costs the same is because most of the major casting and machining has already been done. thats the expensive part. im sure they could just run it out and finish it for nothing extra, but then its not 80 percent.

      • STOVL

        ^ this.

        Finishing it off isn’t going to cost much more once it’s at the 80% stage. A lot of the time involved in manufacturing parts like this is the handling and fixturing…once you already have it bolted down and aligned with the machine it’s not that much more expensive to cut a couple more features.

        People don’t buy 80% AR receivers because it’s a fantastic deal…milling all that crap out yourself is a hassle even if you have the proper machine and tooling to do it, and then you’re left with a receiver that’s either uncoated or only partially coated. You could certainly have it coated after you are done, but that costs even more money and time.

        Even if they were $50, it still wouldn’t be worth it to me for a nice AR build…saving up to $30 is not equal to all the time I’d have to put in, plus the fact that it would look like crap, plus I’d have to buy endmill(s), drills, finishing tools etc and even with that expense I am certain it wouldn’t be as nicely machined as any half-decent complete lower.

        This isn’t to say that 80% receivers aren’t awesome…they are! I’m glad they are on the market and I’ve considered buying a few myself. Not because of the potential incremental cost savings, though…

        • Redfoot

          Or you can be like a few of us that have a shady LGS that charges (tax included mind you) $90+ for a transfer of a 100% lower. I can take an 80% lower, go to a shop, rent some machine time for $50, gunkote or cerakote it myself, and end up with a product that is as good or better than some of the mass produced lowers out there, and in the case of billet lowers, much much cheaper. Plus I am not at the whim of the crabby LGS that is charging $190 for palmetto state armory lowers, and a laughable $110 for frontier arms polymer lowers. It seems like there is a sort of collusion going on in Northern California in regards to this, and the consumers are seeking alternate methods to get what they want. Perhaps in other areas of the country pricing is different, but up here it is outright outrageous.

          • Gary Patterson

            I paid a little more than some on here are posting for the couple of 80% lowers I bought from but am very happy, forged 7075 and they were shipped quickly and no hassles.

      • BoHeck

        Look, I don’t know your background Mr. Hunter57dor but here is mine. I’m a manufacturing engineer for one of the mainstream AR manufacturers in the US.

        There are no operations that can be done “for nothing extra.” Those lacking features are value added operations, and they add cost. All those features have a length of time to complete, tooling, labor time, and more features to quality inspect, shipping cost to get them to anodizer and back, laser engraving time. Last year, $79 was a competitive price for a stripped lower and 80% lowers were going for much cheaper than that.

        80% lowers can be made here in the USA as opposed to China. I’m a big proponent of bringing quality manufacturing back to the US. But cheering because an American company is selling an overpriced part is silly.

  • Gregory Markle

    While the offer is no longer out there, the last 80% lowers I bought were about $40 with shipping which sounds about right to me.

    • BoHeck

      This guy gets it…

  • Brian

    you can find them on Rocket hub for less then that and they are anodized to boot

    • sure, you have to wait a bit to obtain them, but you can buy several for $100. Just search for “lowers” on rockethub

      • hed

        I just bought 16 from rocket hub a few days ago. 🙂

  • Suburban

    The raw aluminum upper costs $10 /more/ than the anodized upper I bought from AIM Surplus about a month ago? $4 more than the anodized uppers currently available from Midway. I guess sometimes less really is more.