Three Excellent AR-15 Alternatives (2022)

  • Paul Money

The AR-15 is America’s rifle. Many of us have one (or more) and love it. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t other great defensive and sporting carbines out there. Here are a few AR-15 alternatives that I am a fan of.

The rifles I have included today had to meet a few criteria. They are not, obviously, AR-15s. They are all semi-automatic rifles chambered in 5.56×45 that feed from AR-15 magazines.

These AR-15 alternatives are all also available for purchase in the United States.

I have not included any bullpup rifles on this list. I like bullpup rifles a lot, but for our purposes here, I am listing rifles that have a traditional layout, like the AR-15.

Photo Courtesy of CZ-USA

1. CZ Bren 2 Ms Carbine

The Bren 2 Ms is the updated version of CZ’s Bren 805 Carbine that has been around for some time now. The Bren 2 Ms Carbine is a short-stroke gas piston-driven carbine with a 16.5 in. barrel.

CZ-USA also offers the Bren 2 Ms in a pistol format with shorter barrel lengths.

The Ms in Bren 2 Ms means that the carbine features a modular, MLOK forend that can be configured in different lengths, depending on a shooter’s preferences.

For additional convenience, the safety, magazine release, and bolt release are all ambidextrous. Even the non-reciprocating charging handle can be placed on either side of the weapon.

The Bren 2 Ms Carbine is a reliable, modular rifle that checks all the blocks for a modern fighting rifle. 

Photo Courtesy of Israel Weapon Industries

2. IWI Galil ACE Gen 2

The Galil ACE Gen 2 from Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI) is essentially a heavily refined and modernized AK-pattern rifle, and the king of AR-15 alternatives if you ask the host of The Gun Rack. Like the AK, it features an ultra-reliable, long-stroke gas piston system that has been combat-proven the world over.

Unlike traditional AK variants, this Galil ACE Gen 2 can be chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge and fed from AR-15 pattern magazines.

It also features a left-side, reciprocating charging handle that is easier to manipulate with your support hand than that of a traditional AK.

The included free-float, MLOK rail ensures that Galil ACE Gen 2 owners will be able to mount all their favorite accessories to this rifle with ease. The rifle ships with a folding, Magpul CTR stock that includes a riser so you can get a proper cheek weld when looking through your optic.

The Galil ACE Gen 2 isn’t an AR, but it isn’t a pure AK either. Regardless, it is a modern and capable fighting rifle.

Photo Courtesy of Sig Sauer

3. Sig MCX Virtus Patrol

The Sig MCX Virtus Patrol may look like an AR-15, but rest assured that it is not.

It employs a reliable, short-stroke, gas piston operating system that has the recoil spring assembly contained inside the receiver. This means that, unlike an AR-15, the rifle requires no buffer tube and can be equipped with a convenient folding stock.

The MCX Virtus is a fully modular weapon, allowing users to quickly convert the caliber of the rifle between 5.56 NATO and .300 BLK by simply changing the barrel assembly.

There are also four different lengths of free-float, MLOK handguards that a shooter can choose to meet their needs.

Sig has really stepped up their game in the manufacture of fighting rifles in recent years. A version of the MCX, dubbed the MCX Spear, is currently competing to be the US Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon.

Would you consider picking up any of these AR-15 alternatives or are you sticking with your trusty AR-15? Share this out on social media and let us know! 

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