Alternative Cartridges

One of the best things about owning an AR-15 is that it supports multiple cartridges without significant changes. Sometimes all you have to do is change the upper receiver and magazines.

The upper receiver consists of a bolt carrier group, the receiver, and the barrel. This means that you can change the barrel length, caliber, and general functionality method of the firearm by changing the upper receiver only.

Over the years, the AR-15 has seen some innovations. New cartridges compatible with the platform characterizes these innovations. If you’re considering AR cartridges, Matrix Arms can help you get a new experience with your rifle.


How to Choose an Alternative AR-15 Cartridge/Caliber

When the AR platform came into existence nearly a century ago, you could only choose your caliber between 5.56 and 2.23, but several changes have been made. This is partly because of the rise of the platform as one of the most popular in the United States and other parts of the world.

Although multiple alternative AR calibers give you an array of cartridges, choosing the best for your rifle can be daunting. For many cartridges, you may need to get a new upper for your rifle. So selecting an AR cartridge requires the following considerations:


Flexibility is essential when choosing any cartridges. If your rifle is for multipurpose functionality, it must have versatile cartridges to adapt to your shooting needs. For instance, if your rifle serves for your defense, hunting, and long-range shooting, having flexible cartridges such as the 6mm ARC or 6.5 Grendel may serve your purpose efficiently.

The flexibility feature sounds best in theory; however, pulling it off is another thing. Having professional guidance can help you choose the most versatile cartridges.

Availability and Cost

The market’s most available and cheapest product is often associated with low quality. But for AR cartridges, it’s a different matter — the most available and affordable alternative cartridges can be the best in the market. The cheapest rounds are often the most vastly used and the best. So it would be best to consider demand and supply before deciding on cartridges.

Some AR-15 Alternative Cartridges

Instead of relying on the standard 5.56 round, there are multiple options for your AR-15, including:

  • 6.5 Grendel: The cartridge was first introduced at Blackwater Training Facility in North Carolina in 2004. The aim was to present an effective 200-400 yards AR-15 magazine-length cartridge for the AR-15 that would overrun the conventional 5.56 mm performance. The 6.5 Grendel is an effective AR cartridge for hunting in 300 yards.
  • For Pistol Calibers: 9mm ACP and 10mm: Pistol Caliber Carbines are a must-have for pistol lovers. Although some people see it odd to make a pistol bigger, an APC can be ideal for training or home defense. Additionally, a 9mm is available and less costly than the 5.56. Multiple options are available if you consider changing your AR into an APC.
  • .50 Beowulf: If you’re a fan of the biggest cartridges, this is your alternative AR caliber. The .50 Beowulf is currently the biggest cartridge for the AR-15 platform. Designed to stop vehicles, this caliber is relatively heavy, and its ballistics are nearly similar to the traditional .45-70 government rounds.
  • .22 LR: If you learned shooting with the .22 LR, you’re not alone. This is an American cartridge — and probably older than Coca-Cola. So, with conversion kits and uppers, you can easily get it.
  • 7.62x39mm: This is often recognized by its Russian origin. Unfortunately, earlier cartridges were rough to work with due to readability issues. Luckily, the recent cartridges don’t have such problems.

Get the Best High-Precision CNC Firearms at Matrix Arms

A firearm is important for your defense, hunting, or shooting endeavors. However, to have the best shooting experience, you need a gun that suits your needs.

Firearm experts at Matrix Arms can help you understand which rifles fit your needs. They can also advise you on AR cartridges that fit your firearm best.

Contact us today for all your firearms needs.