When you walk into a gun shop to look at rifles, you will see an incredible range of models and prices. You are likely to see rifles for well under $500, and those ranging in the thousands of dollars! While it is expected that certain brands, larger calibers, more robust functionality and esoteric finishes may be a driving factor in pricing, let’s look at an apples-to-apples comparison.

The Black Rifle

You gaze at a rack of AR-15 type rifles on the display wall of your favorite shop. For most intents and purposes, they all look generally similar. Their appearance can vary with regard to furniture (i.e. stocks, grips, forends etc), but the core elements are basically the same - a lower receiver, an upper receiver, a barrel, and perhaps sights of some type. So why is one $650 and another $2000? You’ll be surprised at what differences you will find beneath the cosmetically common attributes!

Fit. Finish. Performance.

While they are all designed to basically do the same thing, so are cars. But as we all know, not all cars are created equal! Pick up the $650 AR, and then hold the $2000 unit. You are likely to immediately notice some differences on the surface. The more expensive model will have a tighter tolerance between the upper and lower receivers, a common complaint to the contrary with inexpensive platforms of this type. There will be less play in the adjustable stocks or handguards. A two-piece plastic handguard cannot not really hold a match to a machined, monolithic aluminum component designed to integrate with the upper receiver seamlessly. The lower-end of the spectrum will likely have a standard black finish, prone to scratches and scuffs, while the higher-end may incorporate specialized finishes like Cerkote, which is extremely resilient and available in countless colors and patterns. Weight can quickly become an issue if you have to carry the rifle for extended periods of time. A heavy quad-rail handguard may save on cost, but a sleek, lightweight M-LOK forend will save your back. And last but not least – PERFORMANCE! Some barrels cost more than the entry-level rifles entirely, but they are what facilitate engaging targets at hundreds of yards consistently and with astonishing accuracy. You truly do get what you pay for when it comes to firearms. With greater attention to both form and function, prices will generally define the difference between a weekend plinker and a serious performance platform.

How much you should spend really comes down to the application for which the rifle will be used. This varies from recreational or competitive shooting, to hunting, to law enforcement and home defense. At Metro Pawn & Gun, our staff is well-versed in the differences between the many rifles we offer, and how those differences can benefit you.

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