Best AR-15 Bolt Carrier Group

Best-Rated AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups

Updated January 17, 2022

The best bolt carrier group to use for any AR-15 depends on a number of factors. Not the least of which is the intended purpose of the weapon followed closely by your budget, firing frequency, and aesthetic appeal. However, before we delve into the minutiae, lets first understand exactly what a bolt carrier group is and the duties it performs.

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Just What Is the Purpose of a Bolt Carrier Group?

The major parts the bolt carrier group houses are the bolt, gas key, firing pin, extractor, and cam pin. The unit, as a whole, sits inside the upper receiver. Its job is to chamber a fresh round, cycle the guns “action”, eject the empty brass, and reset the hammer all during one cycle. The BCG is easily the most critical component that decides whether a weapon is reliable and could be considered the heart and soul of the weapon. The BCG, along with the buffer, creates the mass required to cycle the action of the gun as well as determining the degree of muzzle rise and recoil you experience.

M-16 (Standard Mass) Versus Lightweight/Low Mass BCG

There are three main BCG designs, the M-16, AR-15 and Lightweight. M16 and AR-15 style are brothers, however, each has its own purpose. The M-16 version is heavier and has a longer, full-size rear section. Its increased mass remains in battery a bit longer and is designed to withstand the rigors of fully automatic fire and match grade guns.

The AR-15 style BCG is designed for semi-auto fire and cycles faster than its heavier counterpart.

Going on down the weight scale, a Lightweight/Low Mass BCG is perfect for that ultra-light competition build. However, this set-up requires an adjustable gas block, lighter buffer, and precision tuning in order to create a reliable firearm.

Why Upgrade to The Best Bolt Carrier Group at All?

  • Improved Reliability - A heavier steel BCG increases the guns cycle time and reduces the stress on the spent brass, this is a benefit to those who reload. It results in a combination better able to digest a variety of ammunition with minimal adjustment. A steel BCG is commonly used by the military and law enforcement to combat the large number of rounds fired.
  • Improved Durability - The use of titanium or one of the available coated/plated carriers could be an asset. Titanium is lighter and stronger than steel. Therefore, it is better capable of withstanding higher heat and the extreme pressures found in hotter loads. Titanium is the most expensive material and the toughest to machine, therefore, its production is the most costly. A coated/plated BCG has a slicker surface and is much easier to clean, often requiring nothing more than simply a cloth.
  • Increased Speed - A lightweight BCG made from titanium or anodized aluminum decreases its weight and mass. Therefore, the gun will cycle faster and you will get a faster rate of semi-auto fire. Along with control, gained through practice, this could prove beneficial in fast-paced competition.
  • Improved Action Smoothness - Using a light-weight BCG combined with a compatible buffer will give a lighter, smoother cycling action. If combined with advance coatings such as Nickel Boron, Diamond-Like Carbon coating, or Black Nitride, you will enjoy a slicker surface and reduced friction, thus creating a smoother action.

Below we have amassed a list of the 10 best-rated bolt carrier groups and review of each.

2022 Top-Rated AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups

Top AR-15 Bolt Carrier Groups  
JP Enterprises Full Mass Bolt Carrier Group   Standard Mass   $355.30
RISE Armament Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group for AR-15 Standard Mass   $179.00
Faxon Firearms M16 Bolt Carrier Group Standard Mass   $137.75
WMD Guns NiB-X Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group           Standard Mass         $143.10
Iron City Rifle Works S2 Drop-In 5.56 Bolt Carrier Group Standard Mass   $289.99
Odin Works Low Mass Bolt Carrier Group   Lightweight   $170.05
Faxon Firearms GUNNER Lightweight Bolt Carrier Group Lightweight   $236.55
Rubber City Armory Low Mass Competition BCG   Lightweight   $228.95
Iron City Rifle Works G3 Enhanced Competition Bolt Carrier Group     Lightweight   $284.99
V Seven Titanium Bolt Carrier Group   Lightweight   $414.19


2022 Product Review: Top Rated Standard Mass Bolt Carrier Groups


JP Enterprises Full Mass Bolt Carrier Group
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This top-rated AR-15 bolt carrier group is a drop-in replacement for your weapon. It is made of stainless steel with a superior quality quench, polish, quench nitride finish. Therefore, it gives increased lubricity and hardness along with enhanced corrosion resistance. Featuring extended forward assist serrations and a dust cover notch this bolt carrier group offers increased versatility and performance. All of its sharp edges are radiused and its bearing surfaces are increased 100% for smoother operation and longer life. When properly lubricated this high-quality will make your AR-15 run like chained lightning.

This is considered to be the best AR BCG by many and does not disappoint on any level. Along with this carrier comes years of shooting and engineering experience giving you every advantage of a Mil-Spec part and much more. The superior design comes together with an impeccable finish to produce a flawless bolt carrier group. With its incredible engineering and high-quality this could easily be considered one of the best AR-15 bolt carrier groups on the market. These are available as just a carrier or a complete bolt carrier group that includes the JP Enterprises AR-15 Enhanced Bolt Assembly. Being easier to clean and yielding superior accuracy than your standard Mil-Spec part makes choosing the JP Enterprises Full Mass Bolt Carrier Group easy.

RISE Armament Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group for AR-15
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Increase the smoothness of your shots with this RISE Armament BCG. All components are coated with nickel boron to minimize friction and enhance performance. Nickel boron acts as a lubricant to reduce surface contact. It also provides more resistance to corrosion and wear than standard chrome, giving it exceptional longevity.

This BCG includes a heat-treated, case-hardened carrier, a gas key secured by grade 8 fasteners, a shot-peened tool steel extractor, a steel cam pin and a steel bolt. Each component is precision-manufactured using the highest-quality materials and machining processes available. The parts are also meticulously inspected to ensure only the best components make it into your rifle build.

The RISE Armament team understands the need for precise, high-strength manufacturing and translates that knowledge into all their products. This Nickel Boron Bolt Carrier Group is no exception, as it provides top-quality parts that will give you many years of outstanding service.

Faxon Firearms M16 Bolt Carrier Group
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Sometimes, bigger does mean better. With the Faxon Firearms M16 Bolt Carrier Group, you’ll get a durable BCG that can handle anything from a weekend shoot to a stream of full-auto fire. Its steady, reliable cycle rates make this BCG ideal for just about any build or situation.

All our Faxon Firearms BCGs are heat treated and designed with a nitride finish for high-quality wear resistance. Thanks to its strong steel components, expert machining and meticulous inspection, you can expect this BCG to provide long-lasting performance. 

WMD Guns NiB-X Nickel Boron AR15 Bolt Carrier Group
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Another top-rated AR-15 bolt carrier group comes from WMD Guns with their NiB-X Nickel Boron offering. It can be had in a Mil-Spec full-auto or semi-auto version, with or without a hammer. Either one will legally drop-in your AR-15 upper and run without fail. The WMD proprietary NIB-X Nickel Boron finish is strong, reliable, corrosion resistant, and extremely smooth. It prevents carbon fouling from sticking, therefore, it’s very easy to clean. By having this finish, it provides the best BCG for AR15 high volume fire rates, especially when suppressed or run in a short-barreled set-up.

The WMD Guns NiB-X Nickel Boron bolt carrier group has to pass a stringent Magnetic Particle Inspection before it can wear the WMD brand. This procedure will detect the most minute flaw, even below the surface. So, when you get your hands on one you know you have a high-quality bolt carrier group. Even its gas key is crafted from tool steel and properly staked with Grade 8 hardened fasteners, not Locktite, so, you can be certain it will stay where it’s supposed to. With a WMD part, you can expect no less than the best.

Iron City Rifle Works S2 Drop-In 5.56 Bolt Carrier Group
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If you're looking for a standard-weight BCG with outstanding performance and next-generation coating options, this Iron City Rifle Works BCG is the perfect choice. When you purchase this carrier group, you'll benefit from its flawless machining and advanced coatings with exceptional wear resistance. This carrier group is also shot-peened, heat-treated and Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI), giving it unbeatable quality and longevity.

Coatings by Iron City Rifle Works are significantly smoother and longer-wearing than traditional coatings. They are also self-lubricating, eliminating the need to add extra lube to keep things moving freely. The ultra-slick surfaces have low coefficients of friction, collecting less grime and minimizing wear on moving parts, and they shed carbon fouling with ease for easier cleaning.

You can choose from five coating options:

  1. Nitride Elite (matte black)
  2. BlackDiamond (gloss black)
  3. Ranger Gray (gloss gray)
  4. C4V (gloss gold)
  5. Copperhead (gloss rose gold)

2022 Product Review: Top Rated Lightweight Bolt Carrier Groups


Odin Works AR-15 Low Mass Bolt Carrier Group
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The Odin Works AR-15 Low Mass BCG offers more than its lightweight convenience. It’s also built to deliver a smooth, silky performance every time that will make you wonder how you ever used any other AR-15 solution. The steel Odin Works BCG comes with a Salt Bath Nitride finish and a durable coating, which protect it against excessive friction and wear. 

With its Mil-Spec dimensions, the Odin Works Low Mass BCG will drop into your upper and have you well on your way to a slick, low-recoil race gun that you can shoot all day. With a little tuning, this BCG will give you outstanding performance and low felt recoil, letting you stay on target and nail quick follow-up shots.

Faxon Firearms GUNNER Lightweight Bolt Carrier Group
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The Faxon Firearms GUNNER Lightweight Bolt Carrier Group is for those who want more from their BCG. Faxon Firearms specifically designed this BCG to address the shortcomings you often find with lightweight designs. 

While the GUNNER is extremely lightweight, it is also rock-solid. All of its high-quality steel components are nitride-coated, giving them a tough surface with inherent self-lubrication. The nitride coating also provides exceptional resistance to fouling and corrosion.

The bolt lugs have a 45-degree chamfer, which ensures failure-proof performance even when loaded with pressure. The gas key is also well-staked and uses grade 8 hardened fasteners to give it a long service life. 

Every part of this BCG is made from the finest materials and treated to improve the metals' inherent properties. Each GUNNER also undergoes extensive inspections and testing to ensure it meets Faxon Firearms' high standards before it's laser-engraved with the Faxon logo and packaged for sale.

Rubber City Armory Low Mass Competition AR-15 BCG
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Your bolt carrier group is the workhorse riding inside your upper that will make or break your day. In competition speed is good, however, it doesn’t mean much without a durable, reliable part. That’s where the RCA low mass competition AR-15 bolt carrier group shines. It is among the top-rated bolt carrier groups that can be had.

It wears the Blacknitride+ Enhanced finish which looks good and wears even better. This finish not only hardens the steel and improves its corrosion resistance, but it also serves as a built-in lubricant. Therefore, the guns cycle rate goes up as the carbon fouling goes down. Everything combined means this bolt carrier group is going to run longer without issues.

It is considered to be the best-rated AR-15 bolt carrier group that is designed to drop right into either your existing upper or finish off that new build. Do remember that when you change the weight of the carrier you change the mass as well. So, to realize the true benefits of this Rubber City Arms upgrade you have to go a bit further. You have to mate this BCG with a good adjustable gas block and buffer system in order to match the mass of the bolt carrier group. Put it all together and you get less recoil, less muzzle rise, therefore, you can keep your eyes on the prize.

Iron City Rifle Works G3 Enhanced Competition Bolt Carrier Group
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If you want to upgrade your AR-15 to the next generation of competition BCGs, the Iron City Rifle Works G3 is the perfect choice. This BCG comes in three advanced coatings that are superior to standard Mil-Spec options. These coatings are hard and self-lubricating to reduce wear and resist fouling. They are also quick and easy to clean with low coefficients of friction.

Coating options include:

  1. CV4: A gloss gold, physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating.
  2. Eclipse: A gloss silver, chrome coating.
  3. Copperhead: A gloss rose gold, titanium carbonitride (TiCN) coating.
  4. BlackDiamond: A gloss black, ultra-slick, high-performance diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating.

Whichever coating you choose, you'll get unparalleled performance and reliability from this Enhanced Competition BCG. Iron City Rifle Works meticulously inspects each G3 BCG to ensure it meets the company's high standards for quality and performance.

The G3 Enhanced Competition BCG is designed for AR-15s with adjustable gas systems. It gives you less recoil with increased accuracy for an improved shooting experience.

V Seven Titanium Bolt Carrier Group
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When you want to be your best, you have to have the best. There's nothing more crucial to the performance of your AR-15 than the bolt carrier group. And, if you want the best bolt carrier group working for you, then you're going to want the V Seven Titanium BCG. I know, at first blush the price might make you say hmm. However, there’s a huge difference between price and cost. If you pay an initial price for a quality item that will perform well and last a lifetime that’s one number. Opt for something that’s cheaper and save a few bucks and then, guess what? Another number comes into play. The part will prematurely fail and you lose not only the initial price of the part, but you also lose your time and the cost to replace that inferior part. That’s the real cost of a bad choice.

The V Seven Titanium BCG is the best AR-15 bolt carrier group that you’re going to find. It’s lighter than steel and stronger than either steel or aluminum. It’s both Magnetic Particle Inspected and High-Pressure Tested, pass those and you’re the best of the best. Also, the V Seven comes in full-auto rated M16 design that will run great either in a full-auto or a semi-auto gun. Add a lifetime warranty to all of that and suddenly the price is right.

It All Comes Down to You

What really matters is that you find the best AR-15 bolt carrier group to fit your needs. God only knows that if you keep shooting to any degree, this BCG you order today won’t be your last. That’s not because the BCG won’t last, more directly, you know you will buy or build more weapons, and that is how it should be. Send us an email here at Wing Tactical, and we will make sure that you get what you need, this time and every time.

The best colt carrier group for one person just might be terrible for another. The self-defense, on-duty, or military gun needs to be very dependable. Whereas a rifle used in three-gun competition can bear more severe modification. Whether your shooting habits are simply a box or two of shells a month, or you run through thousands of rounds makes a difference in which is the best bolt carrier group for you. If you’re looking to upgrading your BCG, take a look at the large number of bolt carrier group Wing Tactical has to offer and pick out the one that’s right for your needs today.