The AR 15 is the most popular rifle in America chambered in .223 / 5.56, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s been around since 1963 when Colt introduced the first semi auto AR 15 for civilians.

Everyone has one. It is reliable and accurate, and there are a lot of affordable mil spec models out there like some of the AR 15 models being built by Palmetto State Armory and Bear Creek Arsenal. But don’t you sometimes get bored with the AR15? I know you do. Thankfully, there are a ton of other rifle designs out there chambered in .223 / 5.56 that offer some unique advantages.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The AR15 is a fine rifle, despite its disadvantages, but there are other options out there that do not have the same problems as the AR 15 especially if you’re the type who gets easily bored. If you’re curious to know what other rifles besides the AR 15 are chambered in .223 / 5.56, this topic is for you.

Here is my list of the Top 5 Guns Chambered in .223 / 5.56mm that are not AR 15s

5: Tavor X95

The Tavor X95 is an Israeli bullpup rifle. It was designed by Israeli Weapons Industries and is in service with the Israeli Defense Forces.

The Israeli Military replaced their old M16 and M4 rifles with the Tavor X95 in 2009. They were searching for a rifle that had both the speed of a 16-inch barrel and the mobility of a short barreled rifle, like the MK18. The IDF chose the X95 because of its bullpup design, which allows for the same length as the MK18 but doesn’t sacrifice velocity due to the 16-inch barrel.

The X95 is a newer version of the Tavor with improvements based on field feedback. These include fully ambidextrous controls, better placement of the charging handle and safety, and an improved trigger. The 16.5-inch barrel is ideal for a combat rifle, with chrome lining and cold hammer forging to increase its lifespan. A 1 in 7 twist is standard for this barrel length and helps stabilize heavier 5.56 loads.

IWI decided to use a long stroke gas piston system in their design. This choice has some advantages over other systems, such as the AR 15’s Direct Impingement system. With a piston gun, gas is not expelled directly into the receiver, but instead pushes on the piston in the gas tube, which then applies force to the bolt carrier group. This design provides increased reliability, especially in harsh conditions.

Another interesting feature of the Tavor is the iron sights that come included with the rifle. These sights are built directly into the frame of the rifle and can be stored away when not in use, providing full access to the top picatinny rail. The front sight also has a tritium vial, which makes it visible in low light conditions. This feature is particularly useful for those who may need to use the rifle at night.

The Tavor is a gun that can easily accommodate various attachments thanks to its picatinny rails on the top, sides, and bottom. It’s worth noting that the Tavor X95 doesn’t have M Lok slots, but you shouldn’t have any trouble attaching the accessories you want. You can attach a laser, a flashlight, a pressure pad, and a vertical fore grip without any issues. While M Lok would be nice, it’s not necessary in today’s era of abundant weapon accessories.

IWI TAVOR X95 .223 REM/5.56 AR-15 RIFLE, OD GREEN

One of the most interesting aspects of the X95 is its ergonomic design. Initially, it might feel awkward to handle, but once you become familiar with it, you’ll find that everything is where it should be. The mag release can be quickly pressed with your index finger without needing to adjust your grip. The safety can be toggled with your thumb without adjusting your grip either. The bolt can be dropped using the large button behind the mag well after inserting a mag.

When you reload a mag with the Tavor, you can keep your arm closer to your body, which provides a bit more stability. Lastly, the Tavor X95 is completely ambidextrous when it comes to ergonomics. All of the controls can be swapped to the other side, including the direction that the cases eject.

4: PSA JAKL

Palmetto State Armory, a firearms manufacturer based in Columbia, South Carolina is known for their bang for buck AR 15s and their Glock Gen 3 clone, the PSA Dagger. But before the company released that pistol, they announced the JAKL at SHOT Show 2020.

The JAKL is a hybrid SBR that combines features of both the AK and AR platforms. People are interested in it because of its innovative design, and when it was released, everyone wanted one. There are a lot of things to like about the AK, and the JAKL incorporates those features into an AR style rifle. 

But the JAKL also has some unique features that you don’t typically see on either the AR 15 or the AK. One such feature is the ability to shoot it while it’s folded up, which you can’t do with a standard AR. This is because the buffer spring mechanism on the AR 15 is designed in a way where the stock is mounted on the buffer tube.

There are companies that make adapters that let you install a folding stock on an AR 15, so that alone isn’t a good enough to reason to purchase a PSA JAKL, but it does offer more than just that. The JAKL has a monolithic upper design that makes it more stable, so you don’t lose shots like you would with an AR 15 that has movable parts between the handguard and the upper.

PSA JAKL 5.56 PISTOL W/O BRACE, ODG

This monolithic design also allows for the easy integration of IR lasers, which some people might not be interested in, but it’s what gives the PSA JAKL its aesthetic appeal. Without its pistol brace and with its FDE finish, the JAKL looks a lot like the FN SCAR, one of the reasons why it’s selling out fast. 

One thing that PSA incorporated into the JAKL is its long stroke piston driven recoil system. This system runs cleaner than the AR 15’s traditional direct gas impingement system and is less difficult to maintain, but has a bit more recoil. To mitigate that heavy recoil, PSA added an adjustable gas system which allows you to fine tune the gas release so that it doesn’t drive the piston with too much force and just give it enough of a push to cycle the action properly.

3: FN SCAR

The FN SCAR is a modular rifle system. It was designed to meet the requirements of the United States Special Operations Command or US SOCOM and has since been adopted by several other military and law enforcement organizations.

The FN SCAR is a highly advanced rifle that offers numerous advantages over the AR15. One of the most notable advantages of the FN SCAR is its ability to be folded for transport. This makes it easy to carry and transport, especially in tight spaces. The FN SCAR is also designed to use a short stroke gas piston, which helps to keep filth out of the bolt. This means that the rifle can operate more efficiently and reliably, even in harsh environments.

Another advantage of the FN SCAR is that it does not dry out the lube on the bolt and bolt carrier. This helps to extend the life of the rifle and ensures that it continues to function properly over time. In addition, the barrel of the FN SCAR is user replaceable using a T25 wrench. This makes it easy to switch out barrels for different types of shooting.

The FN SCAR also comes with a field adjustable gas regulator, which allows the user to adjust the gas port size in 0.05mm increments. This means that the rifle can be customized to suit the user’s specific needs and preferences. Additionally, the rifle comes with four rails, which can be used to attach a variety of accessories.

FN SCAR 5.56X45MM SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLE, MULTICAM

Another advantage of the FN SCAR is that it has a factory free floated barrel, which helps to improve accuracy. The rifle is also completely ambidextrous, which means that it can be used by both left and right handed shooters. The factory length and comb height adjustable stock also comes with storage, which provides a convenient place to store accessories.

Each barrel of the FN SCAR is individually adjustable for height and windage, which helps to improve accuracy even further. The rifle also has a massively over designed bolt and uses a seriously heavy bolt carrier, which helps with quick follow up shots and if you run a can, it will slow down the cyclic rate due to the over pressure, mitigating bolt bounce and increasing reliability for feeding and extracting.

2: Steyr AUG

The Steyr AUG is a bullpup rifle that was developed in Austria in the 1970s and has since seen service with numerous military and law enforcement agencies around the world. It’s different from the AR-15 in that is a bullpup design, which means the action and mag are located behind the trigger, making it more compact and easier to handle in tight spaces. 

The Steyr AUG is an incredibly comfortable rifle that will fit any hand size perfectly, and it allows for very natural and efficient movements. It is compact and well balanced, so you can carry it with you while you’re out hiking or patrolling for long periods without feeling the fatigue that an AR can cause due to its front heavy design. 

The components of the Steyr AUG reportedly last 2 two 5 times longer than those of an AR. It is also incredibly accurate, capable of 1 MOA within 300 meters depending on the ammo. The height and weight make the AUG a perfect fit for just about anyone, and it does come with a vertical grip that helps with recoil management and allows for easier manipulation of the rifle and sling. 

It is a modular system, although not as much so as an AR, but Steyr USA is working to bring back the barrel length and caliber options. It can shoot clover leaf groups like nobody’s business, and it’s known for its flawless feeding and extraction. The standard mags are more reliable and long lasting than those of an AR, as some owners have reportedly run them over with no effect on their performance or reliability. 

STEYR AUG A3 M1 5.56 SEMI-AUTO BULLPUP RIFLE 16" 30RD, WHITE

The Steyr AUG has an adjustable gas system and an adjustable trigger as well, making it easy for anyone to service. The QC barrel furthers this, allowing for easier malfunction clearing and quick barrel changes if needed. It is even possible to switch it to left hand ejection, and the ergonomics are perfectly placed. 

The AR 18 based gas system is extremely reliable, and the Austrian military has been using it since 1978 without needing to replace it. This rifle is perfect for any situation, being compact, accurate, long lasting and comfortable, and it will fit your needs and wants perfectly. It might not be the same for everyone else, but it is the go to combat weapon system for a lot of rifle shooters.

1: CZ Bren 2

The CZ Bren 2 is a modular rifle system. It was designed to be a versatile and reliable firearm for military and law enforcement use.

The CZ Bren 2 is a modern rifle designed and manufactured by the Czech firearms company Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod. The development of the Bren 2 began in the early 2000s as a successor to the CZ 805 Bren. The CZ 805 Bren was originally developed for the Czech military, but was also marketed for civilian and law enforcement use.

The CZ Bren 2 was first introduced by CZUB in 2015. It was designed to meet the requirements of modern military and law enforcement operations, with a focus on modularity, reliability, and ergonomics.

In October of that same year, a decision was made by the Czech Army to purchase 2,600 CZ BREN 2 rifles. Three months later, in January of 2016, the Czech Army confirmed that they had signed a contract with CZ months ago.

The Bren 2 is available in a variety of configurations, including rifle, carbine, and light machine gun. It features a modular design that allows for quick and easy customization, with options for different barrel lengths, calibers, and stock configurations. The rifle also includes a Picatinny rail system for attaching accessories like optics, lights, and grips.

Like the FN SCAR, the CZ Bren 2 uses a short stroke gas piston, making it more reliable and easier to maintain, as it produces less carbon buildup in the chamber and does not require as much cleaning.

CZ-USA CZ BREN 2 MS 5.56X45 14" .223 REM/5.56 AR PISTOL, BLK

The CZ Bren 2 also features a monolithic upper receiver like the PSA JAKL, but its lower receiver is made of polymer. The AR 15’s upper and lower receivers are typically made of aluminum. The polymer construction of the CZ Bren 2 makes it lighter and more durable, while the aluminum construction of the AR 15 makes it a bit more rigid and able to withstand greater stress.

Ergonomics is also an area where the two firearms differ. The CZ Bren 2 has a more modern and ergonomic design, with a fully ambidextrous control scheme, an adjustable gas system, and a foldable stock. The AR 15, on the other hand, has a more traditional design with a fixed handguard and a control scheme that is not fully ambidextrous.

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