Best Budget AR-15 Under $800: Faxon Firearms

As the AR-15 industry continues to expand exponentially the production of those rifles has to keep pace; supply and demand.

As production increases, manufacturers are able to keep the costs to the consumer at an affordable rate.

AR-15s are everywhere in the market today and there are no signs of that stopping. They’re one of the most common guns out there.

Best Budget AR-15

This means there are a lot of great options for less than $800. And just because the price tag is a sub-$1,000 one, doesn’t mean they are cheap and unreliable. It’s quite the opposite actually.

They’re reliable and won’t break the bank, making them excellent options for those who just want one for home defense and don’t plan on mag-dumping their rifle every weekend.

Balancing performance and affordability, Faxon Firearms has you covered with Ascent AR-15 for under $800.

Best Budget AR-15: Faxon Ascent 16" 5.56 Rifle

The Faxon Firearms Ascent 16" 5.56 AR-15 Rifle combines top-tier quality and Faxon’s trusted components to deliver exceptional performance. This rifle is chambered for 5.56 and features a 16" chromoly vanadium (CMV) steel barrel with a durable nitride finish.

RELATED – Best AR Lower Receiver Sets: Faxon Firearms

What sets the Ascent Rifle apart is its affordability for first-time AR buyers.

Faxon Ascent 16" 5.56 Rifle

at Faxon Firearms
Prices accurate at time of writing


  • 16" 556 Socom Profile Barrel – Nitride Coated
  • Enhanced Forged Receiver Set w/ Tensioning Screw
  • Nitrided M16 BCG w/ Superfinish
  • 13" M-LOK Aluminum Handguard
  • Mid-Length Gas System
  • 1:8 Barrel Twist Rate
  • Mil-Spec Charging Handle
  • M4 Stock
  • A2 Pistol Grip
  • A2 Birdcage Flash Hider
  • Rifle Weight(unloaded): 6.12lbs

Advantages of the Mid-Length Gas System

When it comes to shooting, mid-length gas systems offer a smoother and more enjoyable experience compared to the shorter carbine-length ones.

Another great thing about the mid-length gas system is that it allows the rifle to shoot a wider range of bullets reliably, whether you’re shooting suppressed or not.

Reducing the felt recoil is another way the mid-length gas system comes in handy. It’s worth noting that many budget-friendly AR-15s come equipped with carbine-length gas systems, but Faxon has chosen to incorporate a mid-length gas system into the Ascent.

More importantly, the mid-length system enhances performance by delivering just the right amount of gas to your firearm’s components. This can lead to increased longevity of the internal parts of the gun leading to less maintenance or parts replacement down the road.

faxon firearms barrels

Part of Faxon’s First Line, the 16" 5.56 Ascent rifle offers a feature-rich experience while maintaining excellent value for customers. Despite its sub-$800 price tag, it incorporates numerous high-quality enhancements typically found on more expensive models.

Featuring renowned Faxon barrels, nitrided M16 BCGs, enhanced forged receiver sets with a tensioning screw and a free-floated M-LOK handguard.

Faxon M16 Bolt Carrier Group
The Faxon Nitride coated 5.56 M16 Bolt Carrier Group is designed for smooth cycling, durability, and corrosion resistance.

Advantages of Using an M16 Bolt Carrier Group

An M16 bolt carrier group offers a couple of important advantages compared to the standard semi-auto bolt carrier group:

  • Enhanced Firing Pin Safety: The M16 BCG is designed with a fully shrouded firing pin, ensuring that the carrier itself, rather than the firing pin, cocks the hammer. This design adds an extra layer of safety.
  • Improved Extraction: The M16 bolt carrier is heavier, and this weight helps increase the “unlocking delay." This delay refers to the time the empty cartridge case stays in the chamber after the firing pin hits the primer. This delay aids in the extraction process, ensuring a more reliable ejection of spent casings shot after shot.
  • Reduced Recoil and Wear: The added weight of the M16 carrier contributes to a reduction in felt recoil. This results in a smoother overall operation and less wear and tear on your AR-15, prolonging its lifespan.

RELATED – Extremely Lightweight RECCE Rifle Build

Additionally, the Ascent boasts an A2-styled flash hider and pistol grip, along with an M4 6-position stock for added comfort and control. Lastly, for added value, it comes equipped with a 30-round Lancer Systems AWM magazine.

Simply put, It’s reliable, modular, and fun to shoot.

How would we kit up the Faxon Ascent AR-15? Glad you asked!

Budget AR-15 Setup

One of the benefits of buying a budget-priced AR-15 is that you have more room in your budget for upgrades such as a stock and grip, and accessories such as an optic, a sling, and some quality mags to feed it with.

The Optic

The Sig ROMEO5 Red Dot sight is a smart choice for those building a budget-friendly AR-15, delivering exceptional performance in a compact package.

The ROMEO5 is a robust 1x aiming solution suitable for a wide range of scenarios. One standout feature is its ultra-low parallax, ensuring that your point of aim is precisely your point of impact.

ROMEO5 1X20 Red Dot

at Amazon
Prices accurate at time of writing

The red dot remains perfectly aligned with your firearm’s bore, regardless of your viewing angle relative to the sight’s optical axis. This means you can enjoy unlimited eye relief, making it effortless to acquire your aiming point and target, no matter where your eye is positioned behind the sight.

For added convenience and peace of mind, the ROMEO5 is equipped with a CR2032 battery that can be easily accessed from the side. This allows for quick battery replacement, and with an impressive lifespan of 50,000+ hours or more, you won’t have to worry about frequent battery changes.

In terms of durability, the ROMEO5 doesn’t disappoint. It boasts dependable waterproof performance, rated IPX-7 for complete water immersion up to 1 atmosphere. Moreover, it’s fog-proof, ensuring clarity even in challenging environmental conditions.

The Sling

In keeping with the budget AR-15 theme, we chose the Magpul MS-1 sling. A formidable sling at a really reasonable price.

The Magpul MS-1 Sling is a valuable addition to any budget AR-15 build, offering versatility and reliability that won’t break the bank.

Magpul MS1 Sling – Black

at Primary Arms
Prices accurate at time of writing

Also available at Amazon for ~$28.38

At the heart of the MS-1 Sling is the MS-1 slider system, designed for swift and hassle-free adjustments to the sling’s length. Once you’ve set your desired length, rest assured that the sling won’t slip or present any tails, loops, or potential snag hazards, ensuring a secure and trouble-free experience.

The MS-1 facilitates smooth shoulder transitions, providing rapid adjustability for hands-free rifle carry, and offers valuable shooting support from various positions.

Having undergone rigorous testing, the Magpul MS-1 sling has proven its mettle through tens of thousands of cycles in a range of conditions, including wet, dry, and sandy environments.


Although the Ascent comes with a Lancer AWM 30-round magazine, you need more than one! I suggest a minimum of four magazines in total.

Lancer L5 5.56 30-Round Advanced Warfighter Magazine

at Gunmag Warehouse
Prices accurate at time of writing

You can either keep with Lancer mags if you want to matchy match or you can roll with a few Magpul PMAGs. Lancer and Magpul are two of the best names in the industry when it comes to feeding AR-15 rifles.

Magpul PMAG GEN M3 30-Round Magazine

at Gunmag Warehouse
Prices accurate at time of writing

RELATED – Best AR-15 Magazines: These are The Top 5

The Faxon Ascent 5.56 rifle is ripe for upgrading. As it comes out of the box, it’s a fully capable AR-15 able to hold its own against those twice its price. However, if you’re like me, you can’t leave a stock rifle alone. The two things I would upgrade, mainly for comfort, are the stock and grip.

The Stock

The Magpul CTR Stock offers a significant upgrade over the standard M4 6-position stock, making it an excellent choice for enhancing your Faxon Ascent rifle. Designed to fit AR/M4 Carbines with MIL-SPEC receiver extensions, this adjustable stock brings several key advantages to the table.

Magpul CTR Mil-Spec Carbine Stock – Black

at Primary Arms
Prices accurate at time of writing

Also available at Brownells for ~$46.99

One of the standout features of the CTR Stock is its streamlined A-frame profile, which not only ensures a light and fast response but also reduces the risk of snagging. Additionally, it shields the release latch, preventing accidental adjustments when shooting the rifle.

Weapon stability is another noteworthy benefit, thanks to the CTR’s friction lock system. This system minimizes unnecessary stock movement or rattle.

For added comfort and control, the stock comes with a standard 0.30" thick rubber butt pad. This butt pad provides a secure shoulder grip, preventing slippage even when wearing body armor or modular gear.

Finally, the CTR Stock includes an ambidextrous QD sling mount compatible with various push-button sling swivels. This versatility allows you to adapt your rifle to different carrying and shooting positions for left-handed and right-handed shooters.

The Grip

The ERGO Suregrip is one of the best upgrades to the standard A2 pistol grip that brings enhanced performance and comfort to your AR-15. This pistol grip features an innovative all-weather Aggressive Texture, making it a superior choice for any shooting condition you’ll encounter.

ERGO AR15/AR10 Suregrip AT – Black

at Primary Arms
Prices accurate at time of writing

Also available at Brownells for ~$21.99

The ERGO grip is designed to create the ultimate connection between the shooter and their firearm. Its ergonomic design is not only exceptionally comfortable but also incredibly resilient to solvents and oils, ensuring longevity and reliability.

This upgraded grip boasts subtle finger grooves and an integral beavertail extension, further promoting a positive and comfortable hand position. The result? Improved control and reduced fatigue.

The ERGO grip stands as a superior alternative to the standard A2 pistol grip, offering shooters a compelling blend of ergonomic excellence and all-weather durability.

RELATED – Best Bolt Carrier Group For Your AR-15 [2023]

Wrapping it Up

In the search for the best budget AR-15, the Faxon Ascent 5.56 rifle unquestionably shines as a standout choice. Its exceptional blend of affordability and quality encapsulates the very essence of what a budget-friendly AR-15 should be.

Faxon’s commitment to providing top-tier features at an accessible price point is evident in every aspect of the Ascent. From its reliable performance to its versatility for upgrades, this rifle caters to both seasoned shooters and first-time buyers.

In summary, the Faxon Ascent 5.56 stands tall as a testament to the accessibility of high-quality firearms, ensuring that excellence doesn’t have to come at a premium.

Stay Tuned to the RE Factor Tactical Blog and be part of this all VETERAN-run website. Be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn for exclusive content and deals.

Check out our DAILY DEALS page for industry deals and discounts.

Visit our Amazon Influencer Page for more products we recommend:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *