Aero Precision just unveiled a 16-inch M4-style carbine at a smoking price point. While it’s almost a completely vanilla AR-pattern carbine, it’ll be priced to put other budget ARs in check.
With a price point at $699 the AC-15 is taking the heat to the Ruger AR-556 and Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport with nearly all the features of the Colt 6920. On top of that Aero is widely recognized as a high-quality manufacturer with top marks in fit and finish.
The AC-15 is a standard M4-style rifle. It has an M4-profile 16-inch barrel with a cutout and an A2-type flash hider. It uses a carbine-length gas system and comes with standard handguards with dual heatshields.
The furniture is A2-style as well, with an improved Magpul PMag magazine and MBus rear sight. It has three notable deviations from bog-standard M4-pattern rifles. First, the front sight block is missing the sling loop. It uses a standard A2 front sight so for sling users this is an easy install.
The second big change is the barrel finish. Instead of chrome-lining and a parkerized finish the barrel has a QPQ nitride finish. The quench-polish-quench process is harder than chrome with a smoother surface, for improved accuracy characteristics and longer lifespan.
The last and most improved change from the standard is the magwell. Instead of the basic M4 cut the AC-15 sports their Gen 2 flared magwell, with a nylon-tipped tensioning screw to remove any slop between the upper and lower receiver and it has engraved pictograms on both sides for use with ambidextrous selector levers.
Everything else is entirely MIL-SPEC, from the buffer assembly and A2 buttstock to the fire control group. The barrel is 4150 chrome moly vanadium steel with an aggressive 1-in-7 twist. The receivers are forged 7075-T6 alloy aluminum with a Type III Class 2 hard-anodized finish.
The AC-15 comes with a full-auto-rated M16 bolt carrier group, including an 8620 steel bolt carrier with a phosphate finish and Carpenter 158 bolt, individually HP and MPI inspected for any flaws.
With its $699 sticker real-world prices are looking to put a hurt on other budget ARs when it hits the market. Compared to the AR-556 the AC-15 offered at a lower price point; the Ruger lists at $749, and it has a forward assist unlike the M&P 15 Sport, which also has a higher MSRP of $739.
Aero Precision has been a big player in the margins so far. They’ve got a strong line-up with a lot of innovative features. Now they’re taking their improvements mainstream and at a price that undercuts the competition, which anyone can appreciate, whether you’re new to ARs, a dedicated sport shooter, or law enforcement officer.