The Best Aero Precision Lowers for 2022

For those looking to build their own AR-syle rifle, even the smallest amount of research will turn up the name “Aero Precision”. In fairness, there’s a good reason for that, and a simple one: they make damn good stuff.
Megan Kriss

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Aero Precision Lower Build (1)
For those looking to build their own AR-syle rifle, even the smallest amount of research will turn up the name “Aero Precision”. In fairness, there’s a good reason for that, and a simple one: they make damn good stuff. 
 
Aero Precision lower receivers are prized by serious builders for their excellent build quality and machining and are the starting point for many first-time builders as well. As we always say, any good AR build needs to start with a good foundation, and an Aero lower is the perfect place to start.
 
But which Aero AR lower should you start with?
 
We’re so glad you asked because we’re about to go over all of Aero’s most popular lower receiver offerings and discuss the differences between them so you can get the best one to meet your needs, and get your build started off on the right foot.
 
Then we’ll finish off with some info on AR lowers in general, what features you should look for, and how to choose the perfect one to meet your individual needs. Let’s get to it. 

In This Article:

Aero Precision Lower Comparison

Below is my list of the best Aero Precision lowers for 2022. I list the best choices in terms of value, performance, design, and cost.

Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of lowers.

Why You Should Listen to Us

product testing table
Our product testing table has seen some things...

Over the years, not only have we tested a huge number of AR-style rifles, but we’ve also built quite a few ourselves. I personally have several in the safe that my husband and I have built, and I’ve also been testing and reviewing ARs for the last five or six years all around the internet.

I know my ARs, in other words, and I know Aero. I’ve had a lot of their products over the years, and they’re one of the companies I find myself turning to time and time again.

AR10 Lower Receiver Reviews

1. M4E1 Stripped Lower

Aero Precision’s most popular lower is the M4E1 Stripped Lower Receiver.
 
This forged receiver is machined from 7075 T6 aluminum, like all Aero Precision lowers, and is compatible with mil-spec AR-15 parts. It has a threaded takedown pin detent hole for easy installation of the takedown pin detent and spring using a 4-40 set screw. 
 
The M4E1 Stripped lower also features a threaded bolt catch roll pin, integrated trigger guard, and flared magwell. It’s marked for short-throw safety selectors but accepts both standard and short-throw selectors.
 
The M4E1 Stripped lower is available in Anodized Black, FDE Cerakote, and Uncoated, as well as a few special edition versions with various alternate engravings. The special edition versions aren’t continuously in stock, but they are restocked every so often and you can sign up for email alerts to let you know when they’re in stock again.

2. M4E1 Complete Lower w/ Magpul MOE & STR

If you like the idea of the M4E1 enhanced lower receiver up above, but don’t want to go through the effort of building your own rifle from a bare receiver, then you can snag one of these complete M4E1 lowers that have everything preinstalled for you.

Aero Precision Lower Build (3)
Aero's M4E1 lowers are incredibly popular, and for good reason. Paired with their upper and you have a fantastic rifle.

This is the exact same lower as above, but with a lower parts kit already installed, as well as a buffer tube, buffer, spring, stock, and Magpul furniture, specifically an STR stock and MOE grip.

You can get this one with an anodized black finish and black Magpul parts or with an FDE Cerakote lower and black furniture.

All of the parts are mil-spec, so you can upgrade and tweak them as needed, and everything is still compatible with standard AR-15 parts.
It weighs in at just 41.01oz, all told.

3. AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver, Gen 2

Next, we have the standard AR-15 Stripped Lower Receiver, specifically the Gen 2 model. This is your standard-issue AR lower that works great for any existing standard AR-15 parts you have. It includes a nylon-tipped upper tension screw that allows you to get the fit between your upper and lower receiver just right with no rattling or major fitment gaps that can invite dirt and lint, which can dirty up the internals.
 
It doesn’t include the integrated trigger guard like the enhanced models, making it a good choice if you want to pick your own trigger guard out. Other than that, there are still a few little upgrades that you get over an AR-15 lower from another manufacturer.
 
The big thing you’ll notice is the nicely flared magazine well which will make reloading under pressure a good bit easier, or at least harder to mess up and end with a magazine dropped on the ground.
 
The Gen 2 receivers all weigh in at 8.35oz and come available in a standard black anodized finish, or you can go with an FDE or Tungsten Cerakote, depending on what kind of aesthetic you’re going for. 

4. AR15 Complete Lower Receiver, Standard

If you like the standard lower receiver but don’t necessarily want to roll your own, then this complete lower receiver setup is the way to go.
 
This is the standard AR15 Gen 2 lower, plus an M4-style stock, A2 grip, a mil-spec lower parts kit, buffer tube, buffer, and spring. Everything is pre-installed so all you have to do is slap an upper on top and you’re ready to shoot.
 
Like most of the receiver options, you can get the receiver itself anodized black or FDE Cerakoted.
Aero Precision’s basic complete AR-15 lower option, there are also upgraded versions with different grips and stocks

5. AR15 Ambidextrous Lower Receiver

If you’re looking for a left-handed or truly ambidextrous AR, then Aero has you covered with their ambidextrous lower receiver.
 
It comes with a PDQ ambi-bolt release that is made of military-spec steel and is hard-coated matte black.
Other than that, it’s a mil-spec lower through and through with mil-spec dimensions. The only real deviation is the threaded takedown pin detent hole so that you can easily install the takedown pin detent and spring with a simple set screw.
 
Like the other options, you have a standard anodized black as well as some nice Cerakote colors available as well. 

6. AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver, STS

Next up, a little something for the short-throw safety fans out there. This is a lower that’s designed specifically for a short-throw safety selector, but it accepts both standard and short-throw selectors depending on what you want, or have on hand.
 
The markings work for 45, 60, and 90-degree selectors, but other than this is the same same as the regular AR15 stripped lower receiver. It even has the threaded hole for the takedown pin so all you need to do is tighten the 4-40 set screw and you’re good to go, no fussy installation required.
 
Other than that, this is pretty much identical to the regular stripped lower receiver, it just has the markings for your various short-throw selectors.

7. AR15 Pistol Complete Lower with SB Tactical SBA3 Brace

If you’re looking to build an AR-15 pistol and do so quickly, Aero has a complete pistol lower receiver setup for you that you just need to slap a pistol-length upper on and you’re good to go.
It features an upgraded lower and it comes completely pre-assembled so there’s very little for you to do. It has a mil-spec lower parts kit already installed, as well as a carbine receiver extension and a matching buffer and spring. 
 
On that receiver extension, you will find the very excellent SIG SBA3 brace, with is ATF-compliant as of this writing (though who knows when that could change, so keep your eye on that). It also features a QD sling socket, so you can run it with a sling very easily.
 
You also have the option of a standard A2 grip, a Magpul MOE grip, or a MOE SL grip depending on your budget and what you’re looking to do with your build.
 
You can get this lower in all black, all FDE, or with an FDE brace and grip, and black everything else.

8. M5 (.308) Stripped Lower Receiver

AR-15s not really doing it for you? Don’t worry, Aero has you covered if you want to go bigger and go with an AR-10 instead. 
 
The M5 receiver is one of our absolute favorite AR-10 lowers, and it is absolutely perfect for any .308 or 6.5 CM rifle. We have two in the safe now, and they’re some of our most beloved rifles, and the ones we often test uppers and optics on.
 
It’s fairly similar to the M4E1, and it has the same threaded bolt catch and threaded takedown pin detent hole to make that takedown pin detent easy to handle.
 
It has an integrated trigger guard and works with standard and Battle Arms Development-style short-throw safety selectors depending on what you’re into. It weighs just 12oz and comes in anodized black, FDE Cerakote, and various limited-edition Cerakote runs.

9. M5 Complete Lower Receiver w/ MOE Grip & PRS Rifle Stock

Of course, if you aren’t interested in building your own AR-10 from scratch, Aero still has you covered, this time with the M5 Complete Lower.
 
This is the standard M5 lower with a Magpul MOE Grip, Magpul PRS Gen3 Precision Adjustable Stock, mil-spec lower parts kit, and buffer assembly all already pre-installed and ready to go. This is a great option if you’re looking to build a long-range rifle or even a hunting rifle, and you don’t want to have to pick every part and install it all yourself. This is actually what I started with for a rifle that we hunt hogs with, and it has served well in that role.
 
The Magpul parts are also excellent, and the PRS Gen3 stock is an absolutely amazing option and one of the most common precision rifle stocks for any long-range gun that takes AR stocks.

10. EPC-9 Lower Receiver

Finally, we have a dedicated pistol-caliber lower, and one of my personal favorites, the EPC-9. This is a Glock-compatible PCC lower that works for 9mm or .40 S&W uppers, so you have some options available to you there.
 
Design-wise, it’s basically the same as the M4E1 receiver and is milled out of billet aluminum. It includes a nicely flared magwell and an integral oversized trigger guard that’s perfect for use with gloves if you often find yourself shooting in cold weather.
 
Because it works with Glock magazines, it’s easy to find uppers that will work well with this lower, including some from Aero Precision. And it makes it just about perfect for something like the Pistol Caliber Carbine division in the USPSA, or other competitions.
 
Plus, it weighs in at just 12.8oz and is available in a black anodized or FDE Cerakote finish.

Who Is Aero Precision?

Careers-Page-Marquee-R1
Aero Precision got its start back in 1995 making mostly OEM parts for other brands, right here in the USA. Since then, they’ve grown significantly and are now one of the most prolific, well-known, and respected brands in their own right. 
 
They consistently turn up in “best of” lists like this one, and they’re constantly iterating and improving on their designs to make things just a little bit better, much to the annoyance of the rest of the industry, which has struggled to keep up at times. 
 
These days, they have several subsidiaries, including fan favorites like Ballistic Advantage and VG6 which are also beloved by AR-15 fans, and continue to make some of the most well-made AR parts on the market. 

Why Upgrade Your AR Lower?

Of course, if you already have an AR lower you’re happy with, you may be wondering if it’s worth it to upgrade to an Aero lower. While your current lower might be perfectly fine, there are still a few reasons you may want to upgrade.

Aero's manufacturing capabilities are state of the art.

Customization

First up, there’s the sheer customization aspect and the opportunity to choose your own AR parts. The #1 reason for people to build their own rifle is so that they can put in exactly the parts they want — and leave out the stuff they don’t. 

Better Durability

If you have a relatively low-end lower, one of the things you may be unhappy with is the quality and durability of the finish. It’s hard to actually break a lower — billet, forged or otherwise — but low-quality finished can get scratched easily, which leads to corrosion.
 
A better lower with better anodization, or better yet, a more durable ceramic-based finished like Cerakote, will stand up to dings and scratches much more reliably.

The Experience

Ready for a function test
It's incredibly satisfying to know the ins and outs of your personal rifle -- plus rolling up to the range with your high-end rifle you built it yourself always feels good.
Lastly, building your own AR-15 lower is just a fun DIY project for a lot of people, which has an appeal all its own.
 

It is very satisfying indeed to roll up to the range with your high-end rifle and be able to tell your buddies that you built it yourself. And you’ll learn a lot about your rifle and be better at diagnosing problems and fixing issues down the road if something breaks, which is nice too.

 
Lastly, building your own AR-15 lower is just a fun DIY project for a lot of people, which has an appeal all its own.
 
It is very satisfying indeed to roll up to the range with your high-end rifle and be able to tell your buddies that you built it yourself. And you’ll learn a lot about your rifle and be better at diagnosing problems and fixing issues down the road if something breaks, which is nice too.

Types of Aero Precision Lowers

Aero Precision splits their lowers into two main categories that you need to worry about, “complete” vs. “stripped”. Let’s talk about exactly what that means.

stripped vs complete lower
A stripped lower (right) vs a complete AR lower (left)

Complete Lowers

Aero Precision Lower Build (4)
A group of lowers waiting for their upper counterparts

A complete lower is, well, complete. It will come with everything you need to slap an upper receiver on top and be ready to go. If you already have a complete upper with a bolt-carrier group and charging handle, all you really need to do is line the takedown pin holes up and push them in.

A complete lower will include a pistol grip, buffer tube, often a stock, as well as fire control group (trigger, safety selector), hammer, bolt catch, lower parts kit, and magazine release, all installed and ready to go right out of the box. Just remember it will all have to go to an FFL.
 
This is a great way to go if you’re just interested in assembling your own rifle from two pre-built receivers, without all the fussy work of putting every pin, detent, and spring in yourself. You can also get a good deal on some parts this way because Aero includes quality stuff.
 
Going with a complete lowers gives you a good bit of control without being too overwhelming in terms of decisions to be made, or work to be done, and is a good way to go for someone who is either just starting out, or not interested in the process of building a rifle.
 
Of course, if you do want to build a rifle from a bare receiver, you have that option as well.

Stripped Lowers

Unfinished and finished AR-15 Lowers
Forge marks on an unfinished lower.

If you want to choose every single part of your rifle, down to the trigger springs, then you’re going to want a “Stripped” lower. This is a lower that is basically just a hunk of aluminum with some holes cut in it to accept all the other lower receiver parts. 

frankengun-15 lower receiver
IT'S ALIVE!
What this means is that you get to (or have to, depending on your perspective) source all the parts yourself. This will give you exactly what you want, and will typically save you a little bit of money, particularly in the long run if you think you might one day upgrade stock parts anyway.
The downside is of course that you’ll need some tools and some technical know-how in order to build the lower yourself, but the tools aren’t expensive or hard to get ahold of, and the process is actually very straightforward and well-document online.
 
And don’t worry, you’re not going to mess things up so badly that you end up with a dangerous rifle. If things don’t work right, you’ll definitely know. 
 
The worst-case scenario is you might scratch the finish on your nice new lower, especially if you use steel tools on/near it, but that’ll just mean you’ll end up with a rifle that looks like you actually use it, instead of leaving it in the safe. 
 
Overall, building your own lower is a great little DIY project that will probably save you some money, and teach you a lot about your rifle. You’ll also end up with something that is more personal and customized, which is a very rewarding feeling at the end of the day.
 
If the extra effort doesn’t seem worth it to you, however, you can always go with the completed uppers up above, push two pins in to attach the upper and be ready to shoot right out of the box.

Aero Precision Alternatives

Today we’ve covered Aero’s stuff in-depth, but there are a number of other great options out there if you can’t find what you want from Aero. 

Seekins Precision

Seekings Precision is one of Aero’s closest competitors when it comes to the overall machining quality of AR uppers and lowers, and one of our other favorite makers in the industry. 
You’ll pay a bit more, but they make good stuff, and they’ve been doing so for decades now. You can’t go wrong with Seekins if Aero doesn’t have what you want.
A Seekins Precision stripped lower
A Seekins Precision stripped lower

Anderson Manufacturing

Kentucky-based Anderson Manufacturing has been around for quite a while, and they’ve been churning out some of the better value-minded AR parts for decades. They are a great company to look at for first builds and budget builds, or you can splash out a little extra cash for their premium stuff.
 
Don’t confuse cheap with cheaply made though, even their budget products are all good to go and solid. If you’re looking for a no-frills workhorse of a gun that won’t break (or break the bank) Anderson is a good place to check.
Best AR-1 Lowers - Anderson Lower
The AR platform gives the user an unparalleled opportunity to personalize their firearm.

Palmetto State Armory

Palmetto State Armory has utterly exploded in recent years and has become one of the largest and most well-known retailers out there, and their in-house PSA brand continues to impress us as well.
 
Especially for the price.
PSA is another great place to look if you’re on a budget, or if you want a complete rifle that’s ready to go out of the box.
Best AR-15s - PSA PA-15 Lower-Upper
PSA is my go-to for fairly priced workhorse gun goodies.

Noveske

Lastly, we have another high-end maker in Noveske. These are some of the most expensive uppers and lowers out there, but they’re also some of the most durable and reliable receivers we’ve ever tested. 
 
Flat-out, Novekse makes some of the best stuff in the industry, and you’ll absolutely get what you pay for, you’ll just generally have to pay a little more for all that you’ll end up with.
Noveske Gen I Lower
Noveske Gen I Lower

What You Get for Your Money

  • $100: This will usually get you a stripped lower receiver that’s ready to be built on.
  • $150: This is where you’ll start getting into the upgraded lowers that have extra features here and there, or maybe a special limited-edition finish.
  • $250+: If you’re spending this kind of money, you can get a complete lower receiver that’s ready to go right out of the box and will just need to have an upper added on to be ready to shoot.
  •  

How We Selected These Products

Aero has a huge variety of lower receivers, and truthfully they all could have made this list. We chose a wide variety of ones that we A) have tested ourselves, and B) thought would provide a good cross-section of their catalog and include something for everyone.
 
Over the years, I can honestly say I’ve never been let down by an Aero product, so I don’t mind saying that you can pick anything you want from their product line and it will serve you well.

Sources

  1. NRA Blog. (2017) A Brief History of the AR-10, the AR-15’s ‘Big Brother’ 
  2. American Rifleman. (2018) The AR-10 Story
  3. GunCraft101, Making an AR15 from beer cans 2011, March 2, 2019
  4. Clinton Aluminum, 6061 VS. 7075, August 16, 2017

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