Best 9mm AR-15 Uppers of 2020 – Top Picks of the Year Reviewed

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The best 9mm AR-15 upper is out there. But it will be hard to find if you have no idea what exactly you’re looking for. This writing will serve as a guide to help you find the perfect 9mm upper for your AR-15.

If you’re reading this, chances are you fancy yourself a fan of the 9mm caliber and you likely also own one. To give you a good place to start, we’ve hand-picked five of the best 9mm AR-15 uppers currently on the market as of today. A reliable upper receiver is what you’ll need if you want to customize your AR-15 with optics or scopes. Some also have the parts you need to help make your weapon function a whole lot better.

Before we get to our list, we’ll discuss why you need a 9mm AR-15 rifle and give you a brief guide on how to choose a 9mm AR-15 upper.

Comparison Chart of the Best 9mm AR-15 Uppers

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes With a Fully Assembled M-LOK Rail
  • Barrel Twist Rated at 1:10 for Accurate Shooting
  • Comes in Three Different Lengths: 16--Inch, 10.5-Inch, or 8.5-Inch
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  • Made From High-Quality Material
  • Includes a 9mm Upper Receiver, BCG, and Charging Handle.
  • Finished With a Black Anodized Hard Coat for Added Durability
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  • Melonite Finish for Added Durability
  • Best 9mm AR-15 Upper for the Money
  • Fully Assembled With a 16-Inch Barrel and a Free-Floating M-LOK Rail
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  • Free-Floating Handguard Included
  • Billeted From High-Quality Aluminum
  • Comes in Two Different Finishes: Black or Unfinished
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  • M-LOK Rail for Maximum Customization Options
  • Comes With an FM-9 Muzzle Brake for Reduced Recoil
  • Available in Three Different Lengths: 16 Inches, 10.5 Inches, and 8.5 Inches
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Why Would You Want a 9mm AR-15?

There are a lot of calibers that will work with AR-15s and the 9mm is one of them. The question that needs to be asked is why is it important? What are the advantages you’ll enjoy if you convert your AR-15 to a 9mm caliber? Here’s a look at some of the benefits that most AR-15 owners have experienced in the past:

Less Recoil

To begin, recoil can be something that can be detrimental to the accuracy of your rifle. If you cannot suppress the recoil, you’ll easily lose control. Your shot won’t end up hitting your intended target, but it will end up somewhere else (like on the ground).

The more control you have over your AR-15 rifle, the better you will consistently hit accurate shots. Whether it’s at the range or out in the field bearing down on a big game target, if you can hit accurate shots each time, your marksmanship skills will look better than you think.

Very Effective at Close Range

If you’re looking for an excellent AR-style rifle that will be effective at close ranges, then a 9mm AR-15 might be what you’ll need. Targets usually situated at distances for pistols (25 to 50 yards) is what you’ll probably be aiming for. Yes, a 9mm caliber is a popular caliber for most pistols. But it is also considered popular with AR-style guns as well, especially for those who fancy themselves a close range shooter.

Faster Shooting

Speed is fine. But remember, accuracy is what matters. It sounds like a certain movie quote, doesn’t it?  Close enough, but we digress. A 9mm AR-15 is designed to be a quick-shooting gun you can use in situations like varmint hunting or competitive shooting. No matter what the situation, timing is everything, especially when it comes to faster response time from pulling the trigger to the shot landing on your target.

What Makes A Great 9mm AR-15 Upper?

As you’re looking for a 9mm AR-15 upper of your own, it is important to look for a few additional aspects. This means finding specifics which will determine the overall performance and quality of your AR-15 rifle. If you’re a first-time buyer and have no idea what to look for, you should consider using this guide as a way to help make the decision process a little easier. Here’s what makes a 9mm AR-15 upper great compared to those considered cheap and crappy in quality:

Rails

A good upper receiver will have some kind of rail that will attach quite nicely onto your AR-15. The purpose of rails like an M-Lok or a Picatinny rail is sometimes intended for looks. However, some have taken advantage of using the rail as a place to install an optic or scope to boost the overall accuracy of the rifle.

Barrel

A good barrel is something that will also sharpen your accuracy game, especially when you’re using something effective in close quarters like a 9mm AR-15 rifle. Most barrels will be made of stainless steel and will measure from eight inches to as long as 16 inches. The twist ratio will be anywhere between 1:8 to 1:10. Either way, you get a good amount of accuracy.

Installation

Not every AR-15 owner will have expert level gunsmithing skills. So that’s why most of these upper receivers will be fully assembled and considered “drop-in” style uppers. In other words, these are easy to install in minutes. All you need are the right kind of tools to ensure you won’t run into any issues throughout the installation process.

Review of the Best 9mm AR-15 Uppers

The following is a list of the best 9mm AR-15 uppers currently on the market. Before making a decision, you’ll need to look through the entire list carefully. This way, you’ll know the functions and some of the unique features that make an AR-15 upper stick out. If a function or feature checks off a box or two on your wishlist, you’ll know it’s worth a closer look. Let’s begin this list by unveiling our “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • Can Fire Steel Rounds Without Any Issues
  • Forward Charging Handle Works Quite Well
  • Functions Without Any Issue After 300+ Rounds

Cons

  • You May Need to Modify the Front Sight Before Installing
  • One Reviewer Pointed Out the Charging Handle is in the Same Spot as the Backup Front Sight

To kick off our list of 9mm AR-15 uppers, we’ll be taking a look at the Foxtrot Mike AR-15 9mm Upper Receiver with an assembled M-LOK rail. This is a fully assembled, drop-in kind of upper receiver that is easy to install and ready to go in a matter of minutes. Why waste time with challenging installation when you can drop this puppy in, tighten the screws, and be ready to fire off rounds at the range? And on the same day no less.

The included M-Lok rail is perfect if you want to install your favorite scope or optic. So if you have either of those waiting to be put to good use, you’ll want an upper receiver like this one to accommodate it.

The upper is made from high-quality steel that is hard-coated with Melonite for added durability. The barrel included has a twist rate of 1:10, which is standard for 9mm AR-15s. And they provide a great deal of accuracy. If you’re a left-handed shooter, you’ll love the fact that this is an ambidextrous upper receiver. This means that you won’t have any trouble using your AR-15, regardless of which hand you use.

This also has a non-reciprocating forward charging handle to ensure your rifle is more reliable. If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to AR-15 9mm uppers, then the FM brand product is exactly what you’ll want for your own rifle.

Bottom Line

The FM AR-15 9mm upper is definitely worth the “best overall” honor. It deserves it for all the right reasons. How convenient is it to have a fully assembled upper that is easy to install and ready to go all in the same day?

Also, how convenient is it to have an M-LOK rail included? Right out of the box, you’ll have an upper receiver that will allow you to customize it to your heart’s content. Install it on your rifle, add an optic or scope, and give this puppy a test drive at the range. Now that’s what we describe as the perfect day for an AR-15 shooter.

Pros

  • Simple to Install
  • BCG is Wel-Built and Reliable
  • An Excellent Part Can Be Used for Building a 9mm AR-15

Cons

  • One Reviewer Complained About it Coming a Little Scuffed up in Shipping. So Double Check Before Installing for Any Quality Issues

Next, we’ll be taking a look at the GUNTEC USA AR-15 9mm Cal Complete Upper Receiver Kit. This includes the upper receiver itself along with a complete bolt carrier group and charging handle.

This is the product for you if you want not just the upper receiver itself, but the additional parts that make your AR-15 9mm function properly. Because without them, it will obviously be rendered useless. To set the perfect analogy, the BCG is to your AR rifle as an engine is to your car. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Each part is crafted from highly-durable materials designed to be durable and withstand damage. They’re manufactured to make your rifle highly functional and reliable in whatever applications you use your AR-15 9mm for. If reliability is high on your list of priorities, you’d be insane to pass up the opportunity to give this upper receiver combo kit a closer look.

Bottom Line

While it’s not a fully assembled upper receiver, the parts are easy to install in a matter of minutes. So if you’re more of the patient type with a few minutes to work with and have the right kind of tools, you’ll want to take a closer look at the GUNTEC upper receiver combo kit.

This has all the parts you need to make sure your 9mm AR-15 is ready and raring to go for a day at the shooting range. Of course, you can also use your 9mm AR in the event of a home defense situation. After all, it’s quite an effective gun to have in a time when you need it most.

Pros

  • Helps With Accuracy a Lot
  • Quality and Construction are Outstanding
  • Barely Any Gaps Between the Upper and Lower Receiver

Cons

  • Optics and Scopes May Have a Hard Time Fitting
  • One Reviewer Complained About the Rail Spacing Not Being Standard

Next, we’ll be going back to the GUNTEC brand. This time, we’ll be taking a look at the 9mm Dedicated Billet Upper Receiver. This comes in either a black or raw (or unfinished) color. Your choice will obviously be based on your own personal choice.

Either way, you have an upper receiver that will be the best in reliability. This is made from high-quality billeted material, designed to make this a very durable unit. It will take on all kinds of rounds any day of the week. And it won’t malfunction after so many rounds fired.

If you’re looking for an upper receiver guaranteed to last you a long time, the GUNTEC upper receiver might be worth the investment. Why spend money on something that’s low in quality only to have it break on you in a matter of weeks or months?

If you’re looking for an upper compatible with most lowers, this might be the right choice for you. It is important to get a good idea of the measurements of your lower receiver before purchasing this. That way, either receiver won’t be too long or too short.

By the way, if you’re someone who wants to get the most accuracy out of your AR-15, you’ll notice this receiver has a free-floating style handguard. At this point, you might already know free-floating rails equal better accuracy.

Bottom Line


If you're looking for a reliable upper receiver that will give your accuracy a little extra boost, this is a great product. Other than that, it's a pretty awesome addition to your current 9mm AR-15 rifle. If you're building a rifle of your own, this will probably be what you want for a nice addition to your project. Any way you slice it, this will give you a decent upper receiver to work with.

Pros

  • Very Affordable for the Price
  • Accuracy Exceeds Expectations
  • Not a Single Malfunction After 500 Rounds

Cons

  • One User Complained the Upper Receiver Couldn’t Be Installed Due to the Site Charger Interfering With the Rail’s Sight Base

Lastly, we’ll return to the Foxtrot Mike Products brand and review the Complete Monolithic Colt Style Upper Receiver. We began this review list with a fully assembled upper receiver from this brand, and we’re wrapping it up with something similar. But the same brand and same assembly, nonetheless.

These are available in three different lengths: 16 inches, 10.5 inches, and 8.5 inches. The length you choose will obviously be based on your own personal preferences. This comes with an M-LOK rail, which is designed to give you a lot of customizable options. If you have an optic or scope laying around, you better put it to good use. That way, you’re able to turn your 9mm AR-15 into a sharpshooter and become the envy at the range.

This comes with a barrel that is 16 inches in length. Along with it is an FM-9 muzzle brake, designed to reduce a great deal of recoil and reroute the gas that propels the shot in different directions. In other words, the gas won’t blow up in your face. And yes, some other muzzles do that.

Since 9mm AR-15 rifles have less recoil, this muzzle brake might reduce it down to almost zero. This also comes with a 10.5-inch handguard that makes the upper receiver a little more compact, which means it won’t take up all kinds of space when you store it away.

Bottom Line

Once again, FM Products delivers an upper receiver that stands head and shoulders over most 9mm AR-15 uppers on the market. Fully assembled, easy to customize, and very affordable--this upper receiver might as well be the budget version of our “best overall” upper receiver.

One thing to point out is that it’s quite convenient knowing that a muzzle brake was added to ensure recoil is brought down to a minimum. Once installed, don’t be shocked if there is no recoil at all.

Pros

  • Functions Great With Subsonic Rounds
  • Can Be Transferred Quickly to Other AR-Style Rifles
  • No Issues Regarding the Mag Well Adapter and Release

Cons

  • The Charging Handle May Stick Sometimes According to One User

If you’re a budget shopping kind of AR-15 owner, you’ll want something that will fit your budget. The best 9mm AR-15 upper we can find for the money is the Stern Defense AR-15 SD Mod 4 9mm Upper Receiver.

This comes complete with a fully assembled M-LOK rail, allowing you a great opportunity to customize your AR-15 to your liking. If you have a scope or an optic that will definitely give your accuracy game a leg up, this might be the upper receiver worth investing in.

Speaking of accuracy, the M-LOK rail is free-floating. That also will give you a bit more accuracy. If you hold to a high standard and don’t want to break the bank, this product from Stern Defense will be worth the money it’s going for.

It is completely assembled with a 16-inch barrel and has a twist rate of 1:10, making it quite accurate for 9mm style rounds. It’s also effective at close ranges from 25 to 50 yards out. The barrel is made from highly durable stainless steel and finished with Melonite for that extra layer of strength.

In other words, this will be a rugged, tough-as-nails kind of receiver. This won’t warp or malfunction after you’ve fired a ton of rounds. Not bad for something considered a “budget” upper receiver.

Bottom Line

If you were expecting something cheap and flimsy, you’d be sorely disappointed. In fact, this is a godsend for those on a budget. This will definitely save a lot of time and money that would be wasted on trying to find the right parts individually.

Best of all, it will take just a few minutes and the right kind of tools to install. The free-floating M-LOK rail is perfect for when you want to upgrade your accuracy.

And since the rail allows you to add on a scope or an optic, it gives you more of an opportunity to turn your 9mm AR-15 into an accurate, close range force to be reckoned with. If that’s something you want to do without sucking the life out of your bank account, this upper receiver by Stern Defense is the best choice.

Conclusion

A great 9mm AR-15 upper is worth the investment if your goal is to build a high-performing, close-range rifle. You have all kinds of options at your disposal. All it takes is your personal needs and preferences and knowing exactly what you want to get out of your rifle. It all starts with choosing the right accessories like an upper receiver. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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