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  • Michelle E.

Talking Competition Rifles: AR-15s Vs Other Options

Welcome back to another edition of shooting tips and tricks! Last time, we talked about some differences between competition and tactical training. If you happened to miss that article, be sure to click the link here to check it out. This week, I want to talk about some options for you 2-gun or 3-gun people who are looking for a good rifle to start competing with. There are countless options on the market today which is fantastic when it comes to choice, but it can become overwhelming when you want to purchase a rifle for competition. The main choices in the market are AR15 variant versus non-AR style rifles. Both have benefits in their way so it's time to take a deeper dive into the world of rifles for competition.

Benefits of the AR-15

The AR-15 is one of the most common and popular rifles on the market today. With countless companies manufacturing them in various lengths, calibers, and configurations, it can sometimes be tricky just picking one for your perfect competition rifle setup. When it comes to the AR market, the amount of companies making aftermarket parts and upgrades allows someone to build out a rifle that is specifically tailored to them. Whether it is an upgraded capture buffer spring, adjustable gas block, or muzzle device that makes the rifle shoot flatter, these rifles can be customized almost unlimitedly.

Another huge benefit of the AR platform is the ergonomics of the rifle and how easy it is to fire. Whether it's charging the rifle, changing the magazine or hitting the bolt release to chamber a new round, the AR platform can be used by almost everyone without having a a size constraint. Many women have trouble with some rifles because they can become front-heavy or hard to manipulate but the AR-15 is certainly not one of them. Combining the modularity, ease of use, and availability of the AR-15 means it's a fantastic choice for female shooters just getting into competition shooting with a rifle. Although there are countless options for rifles out there, we are huge fans of TYPE-A rifles here at Ballistic BOS so be sure to check them out if you get a chance. Now it's time to look at some option great options for female shooters.

Some Great Alternatives

Although the AR platform is one of the most common rifles on the market, there are plenty of other fantastic options out there for competition shooters. We won't get into some of the less-than-idea choices when it comes to competition firearms since that's its own article coming down the road here in the next few weeks. These four options are listed below I have experience with and they are all fantastic options when it comes to alternative rifles to the AR-15.

Galil ACE

When it comes to a capable rifle with some great ergonomics and good weight balance, we have to talk about the IWI Galil ACE line of rifles. The 556 version of this rifle offers a ton of benefits and features that make shooting as well as reloading extremely fast without having to learn an entirely new system. The grip-mounted safety allows for fast acquisition and engagement. The left-side charging handle makes changing the rifle really fast when a bolt-locked reload is required.

Being able to quickly reload and get the rifle back on targets can make all the difference when placing high in a match. Out of all the rifles, the Galil ACE is one of the easiest to shoot and the recoil impulse is next to nothing which helps keep the muzzle flat and on target. With the addition of a muzzle brake, the Galil ACE is a fantastic choice for competition shooters just getting into the sport.

X95 Rifle

A rather unconventional choice is the X95, but when it comes to female competitors it can be a great choice. Bullpup-style rifles oftentimes have a steeper learning curve since they are typically harder to learn with features specific to that particular rifle most times. Bullpups have their action and movement behind the trigger which makes these rifles very compact but things like reloading and manipulating the bolt can be a learning process that takes some trial and error.

Having the action behind the trigger guard also allows the gun to be considerably shorter while having a 16" barrel allows you for a small package that can reach out to 500-600 yards while having an overall short length. This allows you to keep the weight by your shoulder instead of being away from your body which cuts down on fatigue and allows a shooter to have more stability for a longer period which can help with multiple stages. It may not be on the minds of many competitive shooters, but it's certainly a rifle with a ton of advantages compared to other options on the market. 


The MPX and MCX line of rifles are a fantastic alternative to the AR15 platform with familiar controls to the AR without the buffer tube that is known on AR rifles. The MPX is their PCC line of rifles with the 16" model being the most well known in the competition scene. This rifle is one of the most well-balanced options on the market but the larger MCX models are great as well with several options for stocks, rails, and configurable parts. The short-stroke piston ensures this rifle will be reliable and function no matter how bad the weather or environment is on match day. Whether you go with the Pcc MPX line or Larger MCX for a 2-gun rifle, neither will let you down, and is a great option for people just starting on their journey. 

Overall Thoughts

There are countless options when it comes to competition rifles but making sure you have a reliable lightweight rifle that will be able to perform is most important. There are options for all budgets out there and if you need to piece together a rifle over time that's also an option but having a rifle you can depend on is one of the most important parts of succeeding in competition. The AR-15 is probably one of the easiest and most common choices out there but that certainly doesn't mean it's the only choice out there.

In my experience, there are several other options out there that allow female competitors to excel in the competition world. What are some of your favorite rifles to compete with? I would love to hear your thoughts and experience with your rifle down in the comments below. Have a great day and we will see you next week for another edition of shooting tips! Stay safe and have fun! 

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