It seems that lefties just can’t catch a break. The world of firearms doesn’t make things easier for left-handed shooters either.
Ever seen Saving Private Ryan? The left-handed sniper scene?
We see Private Jackson (played by Barry Pepper) having trouble cycling the right-handed M1903A4 Sniper Rifle. He clearly struggles to work the bolt with his right hand because he has to reach over the scope to get to it.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In this guide we will talk about left-handed AR-15s, how to build and accessorize one, and what to look for when buying left-handed AR-15s. We’ll also break down a few important considerations for left-handed riflemen.
The Struggles of Left-Handed Gun Owners
Lefties make up 12% of the population. Left-handed gun owners are even rarer, and gun manufacturers aren’t doing much about their needs. Is it too much to ask for a left-side ejector port?
It takes practice for lefties to get used to a gun, and some have no problems using right-handed rifles (they just slap a shell deflector on the rifle). But still, manufacturers should consider enriching the market with more left-handed or ambidextrous rifles, or at least new upper receiver models and charging handles for diversity
If you’re left-handed, you have to adapt to the right-handed gun world, and oftentimes it’s potentially dangerous and unpleasant, especially if we’re looking at AR-15s.
When aiming down the sight, the semi-automatic rifle ejects bullet casings from the right side of the gun, directly at the unfortunate left-handed shooter. A face full of hot brass isn’t anybody’s idea of fun.
Magazine release, bolt cycling, and safety are very important when it comes to hand dominance. They affect speed, accuracy, and eye coordination. Additionally, you’re actually forced to switch shoulders, but this is easier said than done.
What to Look for When Buying Left-Handed AR-15s
Before we dive headfirst into this problem that’s been plaguing left-handers, let’s take a look at the difference between ambidextrous (we’ll call it ambi for short), left-handed, and right-handed rifles.
Ambidextrous, Right-Handed, or Left-Handed?
Nowadays, we have gun manufacturers seriously considering ambidextrous designs for future guns for a more inclusive approach to all the gun enthusiasts in the world. There’s no excuse to exclude lefties from proper rifles.
Keep in mind that there’s no need to buy brand new rifles when you can easily accessorize and customize your AR-15s with upper receivers, barrels, safeties, etc. There are all kinds of rifles and uppers that will suit you no matter which hand is your dominant hand.
Let’s take a look at the hand dominance design difference in guns:
- Ambidextrous – Ambidextrous refers to the ability to use both hands. Ambidextrous parts in guns like barrels and safeties are much easier to install. Left-handed users greatly benefit from such guns.
- Left-Handed – Many parts such as ambidextrous safeties are mounted on the AR-15‘s lower receiver. You can turn them on by clicking on the protection pad. The port of the ejector is on the left-hand side of the upper receiver. This is the most important issue for left-handers – they are just looking for an AR-15 that doesn’t feed them brass. It should be the other way around.
- Right-Handed – The ejector port is on the right side of the upper receiver.
Customizing Your Own Left-Handed AR-15 Could Be Cheaper
Truth be told, there is no “best left-handed AR-15”.
One of the reasons why manufacturers avoid focusing on left-hand rifles is because it’s pretty easy to customize your rifle. You can accessorize your rifles with left-handed upper receivers to suit your needs.
Simply swap out the upper receiver and a bolt (not the full carrier group), add a shell deflector with an A2/A4 pattern, and you’ll be fine. The bolt needs to be MIL-SPEC or better, and you can also go for a forged MIL-SPEC or a full-out billet on the upper receiver for proper cycling. You can also install integrated ambi controls on the lower receiver. There are so many possibilities.
The primary consideration for left-handed riflemen is not to be hit by flying brass from the right-handed, semi-auto rifle ejector.
Companies like Davidson Defense and Stag Arms make solid high-quality upper receivers and bolt carrier groups, and custom builds are oftentimes cheaper than already assembled left-handed or ambidextrous rifles.
Then, you have the IWI Tavor Bullpup, which technically isn’t an AR-15, but it’s an ambidextrous beast of a semi-auto shotgun that everyone (including southpaw gunners) can use with ease.
Best Left-Handed Gun Manufacturers for AR-15s
When looking for left-handed AR-15s, you can’t go wrong with one of the few prominent names in gun manufacturing – Stag Arms and Rock River.
You’ve probably heard about Stag Arms. Founded in 2003 by a leftie, the Connecticut-based company has cemented its name as one of the best manufacturers and innovators for AR-15s. They offer a mirror image upper and a reversed ejection port for lefties.
Sadly, in December 2015, the company came under fire concerning unserialized firearms. It has been found that Stag Arms had not complied with manufacturing record-keeping requirements. After this, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ordered Stag Arms’ CEO to divest all interest in Stag Arms. Oddly enough, the CEO was a staunch proponent of stricter gun laws and was named National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Business Person of the Year” in 2014.
Luckily, White Wolf Capital, a private equity firm, acquired Stag Arms in 2016, much to the joy of left-handed gun enthusiasts in the US.
Details aside, here’s our top list of left-handed AR-15 rifles. We’ll also mention a few receivers and accessories here and there for your convenience.
Our Top Pick – Best Left-Handed AR-15
You have a better chance of finding a four-leaf clover. You don’t usually get to see left-handed AR-15s in stock because, let’s face it, there’s not much demand for southpaw rifles. The customer base is practically non-existent. But, this doesn’t mean we get to discriminate against our fellow gun enthusiasts.
Here’s our overall top pick AR-15 for left-handed folks.
- Excellent accuracy
- Easy customization
- Accessories are hard to find
While we’re at Stag Arms, here’s the overall best left-handed AR-15 – the Stag 15L Tactical.
It’s a left-handed answer to the signature Stag 15 rifle. It’s a very accurate, comfortable, and easy to customize AR-15 which is in compliance with US laws in selected states.
With a mirror image BCG (bolt carrier group), left-side ejection port, Magpul MOE pistol grip, Magpul CTR buttstock, and selector switch on the right side, the Stag 15L is the ultimate left-handed AR-15.
It comes in either 5.56 NATO or the .223 caliber with a 30-round magazine. Whichever caliber you use, the Stag 15L Tactical has fantastic reliability and ease of use. There’s a 400 rounds reliability guarantee with this rifle. The MIL-SPEC trigger might be slightly heavy for precision shooting, but it’s crisp and it’s easy to catch a rhythm.
The rifle’s 16-inch chrome-lined barrel with a 1/7 twist rate has a carbine gas system and a MIL-SPEC single-stage AR-15 trigger. The Stag 15 is outfitted with standard polymer furniture for a factory-built AR. The safety selector is specifically designed for left-handed shooters and ensures the user won’t get injured while shooting.
The Stag 15L can also be equipped with the enhanced trigger guard for more convenient glove use. You can also equip a Stag 15 M-LOK 13.5-inch free-floating handguard with a QD point at each end which allows you to use a 2-point sling as well.
I highly recommend that you also mount a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 BDC scope with a Vortex cantilever mount. It’s a very comfy and accurate scope that works great with the BDC reticle.
As far as left-handed rifles and high-quality accessories go, the Stag 15L Tactical offers nothing but the best.
It’s easily one of the most suitable and well-balanced AR-15 rifles for lefties on the market without compromising precision and reliability.
You can feel the ease right-handed riflemen do with this one.
It’s available in right-hand and left-hand models and is best purposed for hunting, target ranges, and home defense.
- Amazing shooting accuracy
- Easily customizable with high-quality parts
- High-end AR-15 rifle
- Regulatory rules may not be applicable
Coming in second on this list is the Palmetto State Armory 10.5” M-LOK AR-15. It uses the NATO caliber 5.56 or the caliber .223, comes with a magazine of 30 bullets, and whatever you choose, this high-end leftie rifle will shoot true all the way.
The PSA 10.5 M-LOK’s 16-inch chrome pistol barrel has a 1:7 curve, and a carbine-length phosphate coated gas system, and it has a PSA fluted muzzle flash, a lightweight M-LOK handguard, and a Magpul MOE grip for comfort and ease of use. The safety is for left-handed shooters, instead of ambidextrous.
The A2 profile barrel is finished off with a PSA 12″ lightweight slanted M-LOK free-float rail, made in the good ol’ USA.
The bolt is a full-auto profile, MIL-SPEC BCG, mil and the profile carrier is nitride treated. The aluminum lowers are with a hard coat finish and fitted with Magpul grips and an enhanced polished trigger for excellent accuracy and reloading ease.
If you’re looking for an excellent high-end left-handed AR-15, the PSA 10.5 M-LOK is a great choice. The extra bucks are worth it, as the PSA 10.5 M-LOK is the left-handed adversary to the M-LOK signature, praised by many AR-15 enthusiasts.
This is a perfect AR-15 for target ranges and hunting. Left-handed shooters won’t have to worry about their accuracy, handling, and operation with this AR-15. For more high-end AR-15s check out this guide.
I would also like to recommend you one of the best left-handed AR-15 accessories – the PSA Complete MFT Minimalist SSA-E Lower for ambi uses and lightweight handling. It’s super easy to install, just be sure that it’s compatible with your AR-15. It’s perfect if you’re building your own left-handed rifle from the ground up.
It doesn’t fit 5.56-cal chambered barrels, but it could work with the PSA 10.5” CHF Carbine-Length upper and will fit most modules with drop-in triggers. It’s made of high-quality aluminum, and the recoil is easy. I recommend a light trigger assembly for a smoother trigger pull.
The PSA Complete MFT Minimalist SSA-E lower receiver is perhaps one of the most reliable lowers on the market today.
- Great accuracy
- Magpul CTR, forward assist, and dust cover also provided
- Narrow accessory choice
Let’s take a look at another PSA rifle. The PSA PA-15 is a great contender to the PSA 10.5 and is a very professional AR-15 – guaranteed many left-handed shooters will find it an excellent choice.
The PSA PA-15 Nitride M4 Carbine AR-15 Rifle is another excellent contender if you’re looking for another magpul stock that shoots 5.56 NATO.
The barrel is a 1/7 twist, M4 barrel extension with a carbine-length gas system, chambered in 5.56 NATO, 30-round magazine, and the barrel is finished off with a standard free-floating handguard for enhanced accuracy and faster heat dissipation.
The upper is MIL-SPEC and hard coat anodized. It also includes forward assists and a dust cover to make things easier for handling.
The full-auto profile bolt carrier group and the PSA M4 Carbine sturdy polymer stock offer great comfort and the recoil is pretty easy on the shoulders. This helps with handling.
It’s one of the best PSA items you can get. Customization is easy but you may struggle to find the accessories on the market today. The safety is of course left-handed, and the polymer Magpul buttstock, the free-floating rail, and the overall feel of the rifle offer accurate shots every time you pull the trigger.
Although customization is scarce, and there are not many options, installing proper standard upper receivers usually does the job. If you’re looking for consistency and accuracy, this gun is for you.
- Hogue rubber pistol grip for extra comfort
- 1:9-inch lefty twists
- Picatinny rail for customization
- Average reliability
- Mag release is slightly difficult
- Heaviest on this list
Rock River Arms is another manufacturer we mentioned earlier. They have sincere sympathies for our fellow lefties, and the Coyote LAR-15LH proves that they’re here to offer more options on the market for left-handed riflemen.
The Coyote LAR-15LH is a modern sporting rifle built for left-handers. It’s a semi-automatic AR-15 that is chambered in 223 Remington/5.56x45mm NATO with a 30-round mag capacity.
It emphasizes long-range powerhouse shooting.
It’s pretty compact for an AR-15, and it’s very comfortable. It includes a CAR stock type, Smith Vortex flash hider, and a left-handed, chrome/molybdenum steel barrel with a twist rate of 1:9” and 16” length. With a 7.2 pound weight, it’s the heaviest on the list, but it packs a mean punch.
The safety is ambidextrous, the lower receiver is an RRA LAR-15LH handguard and includes an ambidextrous magazine release, and the upper is forged A4 LEF-T which is M-LOK compatible and offers the freedom for customization. The Hogue rubber pistol grip is very comfortable for the skilled shooter.
With the rifle magazine, an RRA hard case, manual, and warranty info are included. Rock River usually goes for a lifetime warranty.
Specifically built for southpaws, the LEF-T LAR-15LH features a left-hand twist barrel, left-sided ejection port, left-handed charging handle, left-hand lower, left-hand upper, left-side forward assist… and what else is left?
As Rock River Arms would say: ‘Left Made Right.’
- More comfortable than the 15L Tactical
- Easy to maintain and disassemble
- Lifetime warranty
- Limited customization
Here’s yet another Stag Arms 15L SL SBR that emphasizes durability and reliability.
It comes with a Magpul CTR stock, available in right and left-hand configuration, with a durable polymer material to reduce recoil and control.
The 15L SL SBR also comes with a free-floating 13.5-inch M-LOK Slimline handguard with quad rails, as one of the best accessories a left-handed rifleman can have. It doesn’t improve accuracy much, but it allows faster heat dissipation.
Additionally, the Stag 15L SL SBR offers a left-handed safety selector with a 30-round PMAG free of charge. It’s chambered in 5.56 NATO, and the trigger pull is decent, but it could use some more work. That being said, the rifle is a great choice if you’re looking for accuracy.
The Stag 15 SL SBR features a 14.5-inch 1/7 QPQ Barrel, A2 birdcage flash hider, and MIL-SPEC manganese phosphate coated M16 bolt carrier group.
The manufacturer is kind enough to offer a lifetime warranty, although you probably won’t need it since this one is highly durable and can take a beating. Stag Arms are confident in their manufacture and if you want durability, accuracy, and an insured rifle that can shoot as the day is long, go for a 15L SBR.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Companies Make Left-Handed AR-15?
Are AR-15s Ambidextrous?
They can be.
Most gun owners usually go for their own customization and accessorizing when it comes to AR-15 builds. It’s sometimes cheaper, and you get to use a suitable rifle for your hand orientation.
Can a Left-Handed Person Use a Right Handed Rifle?
Yes, they can. Right-handed rifles can be customized with left-handed uppers and lowers, meaning they can place safeties, ejector ports, and stocks that suit their hand orientation.
What Is the Difference Between Left and Right Handed Firearms?
Simply put, the difference is where the weapon controls of the gun are. For example, left-handed weapons have ejector ports that come out from the gun’s right side and vice versa.
Are There Any Compliance Laws That I Need to Worry About for AR-15 Rifles?
Keep in mind that there are legal considerations before you decide to buy an AR-15. Always check with your state laws.
You need to pay attention to certain things that pertain to the legality of purchasing and owning AR-15s, as certain states like California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and others have passed compliance laws regarding AR-15 rifles.
New York doesn’t allow purchasing and using AR-style rifle barrels that are less than 16 inches in length.
Michelangelo painted with his left hand. Isaac Newton was a leftie too. It’s strange how lefties were regarded as gifted clairvoyants, geniuses, and magicians.
The hostility towards left-handed folks can be traced back throughout history, and there has never been a population at any point in time where left-handed people dominate. But, we’re not here to discuss anthropology.
To be honest, this doesn’t mean anything. The prejudices have to stop sooner or later, and we need to see more work put into design and manufacture to include people of all hand-orientation.
This includes weapons manufacturers that should consider production for more left-handed customization and ready-made weapons for our fellow lefties.
Finding the best left-handed AR-15 rifle is challenging. If it wasn’t for customization, it could have been way harder. So, whether you’re going for a fresh one out of the box, or customizing with your own uppers and lowers, make sure to grab the right ones. And pardon the pun!