Choosing an AR-15 Lower Receiver: Stripped Lower Receiver Vs 80% Lower

By Chad Myers

80 Percent AR15 Lower Receivers
80 Percent AR15 Lower Receivers

ar-15-lowersIndianapolis, IN – -( When building an AR-15 from the ground up there are numerous options to choose from, especially when assembling individual AR components.

Whether building a carbine style or rifle length AR-15, modularity really boils down to personal preference.

What you may want to take time to consider is if you want to use a stripped lower or an 80% lower receiver for your AR-15 build.

Stripped Lower Receiver or an 80% Lower

It’ no secret 80% AR-15 lower receivers are growing in popularity. If you’re not familiar with the difference between an 80% lower and a stripped lower, let’s explain.

An 80% lower receiver is an unfinished lower. Meaning it is approximately 80% finished in the overall milling process. 80% lower receivers do not require a copy of a Federal Firearms License to purchase, but do require the purchaser to “drill and mill” the lower in order to install the trigger control group.

Although there are federal and state regulations pertaining to the manufacturing and distribution of firearms, the BATF does make exceptions for the 80% lower receiver. An 80% lower receiver is not considered a firearm by the BATF and if used for personal use, the purchaser is permitted to complete the lower without serialization.

According to the BATF: Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.

Completing An 80% Lower On Your Own

If you’re the DIY type and possess a drill press, an 80% AR lower receiver can be finished quickly and economically — especially if you choose to use a precision jig. With the 80% jig the entire process can be done effectively and efficiently. For more information on how to complete an 80% lower see “How to Complete an 80% AR Lower Receiver“.

The 80% lower provides the AR 15 builder with the personal satisfaction of having had a hand in the overall finishing of the AR-15 build.

Using A Stripped Lower Receiver

A stripped lower receiver is a serialized lower receiver completed entirely by the manufacturer. It is subject to all laws pertaining to a Federal Firearms License transfer and will require the necessary paperwork before the purchaser can take possession of the lower receiver. Stripped lowers also provide the AR-15 builder with a lower that is finished on a CNC machine, therefore providing tight tolerances and precision fit and finish. With a stripped lower receiver you will be able to immediately install your lower parts kit without any finish work.

 AR-15 Lowers Zombie Green, Stripped Lower Receiver
AR-15 Lowers Zombie Green, Stripped Lower Receiver

Price Comparison

When it comes down to dollars and cents, the 80% lower receiver will save you a few dollars and the FFL transfer fee. Depending on how much you value a sense of accomplishment, the 80% lower may or may not be your primary choice. Between spending $54.99 for an 80% lower and $79.99 for a stripped lower, the savings are minimal.


Choosing between an 80% lower and a stripped lower really comes down to if you want to embrace the challenge associated with a ‘do-it-yourself’ project or purchase a lower that is already finished and is ready to be assembled.

For more information on 80% lowers and stripped lowers please feel free to contact us.

About AR 15 Lower Receivers

AR-15 Lower Receivers is a seller of quality Mil Spec AR-15 80% lower receivers and 80% lower jigs and uses high quality materials to ensure superior strength and dependability.

Establishing these high standards within our company enables us to provide our customers with both ultimate performance and realized value. We are so confident in the products we manufacture, we offer a limited lifetime warranty on each product we sell (80% lowers not included) and guarantee our customers unparalleled customer service with each item they purchase.

Standing By The Second Amendment 
AR-15 Lower Receivers is proud to support the organizations that currently protect our right to bear arms. From the NRA, Friends of the NRA, Gun Rights Across America, Under Armor’s Wounded Warrior Project, Oakley’s Infinite Hero Foundation, and others, our goal is to back and promote the rights that have made this country great.

The Mission Is For You
AR-15 Lower Receivers’ state-of-the-art designs and continued innovation are beyond simple aesthetics. Our manufacturing processes, technological advances, ongoing engineering and research & development speak of our mission to meet the needs of our customers by providing a quality product at an affordable price.

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5 years ago

I’ve done two AR builds. I’m not an expert by any means but know how to use a tool. First one took me about 3 hours. Second took about two and a half. I also picked up my lower from 80 lower, which I think may be a partner or something with the guys in this article. I picked up my lower parts kits from the ar-15 lower parts kit co. for free shipping too. Regardless of where you get your lower and lower parts kit, good quality doesn’t mean high price.

7 years ago

If you are looking for a quality made 80 lower receiver for a great price, check out

You can also see videos of them in action by viewing our YouTube videos here:

7 years ago

$79.99 for a stripped lower? Where? $54.99 for an 80%? Not for any one that will hold up for more than 30 feet or 30 seconds! I paid $110 for mine and considered that a really good price. AND, don’t let ANYBODY tell you that you can finish an 80% in 3 or 4 hours unless you have really good equipment and REALLY know what you’re doing. The value in the 80% lower is not cost, it’s one thing and only one thing, no paperwork ever provided you buy the lower at a gun show for cash. All things considered… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  Vanns40

I have built 6 aAR15S and have done them but the last 2 on a heap 70 buck harbor frieght drill press all in under a 2 in a half hours. I now do them with a Router and drill and the jig from 80% percent and now the lowers take me about a hour and some change.