Best 9mm AR Lowers – 2019 Buyer’s Guide

Finding the best 9mm AR lower can be a challenge, especially if you’re finding a lower that will work on your 9mm caliber AR-15 rifle or pistol. Another challenge might be whether or not it’s legal in your part of the United States.

We’ll address this and some of the other things that will pertain to a 9mm AR lower later on. But if you’re looking for one for your own use, this list of five 9mm AR lowers will be a good place to start.

Before we get to the list itself, we’ll talk about what components comprise a 9mm AR lower and how it differs from a standard AR-15 lower. We’ll also talk about the characteristics of what makes a 9mm AR lower stand out among the rest. 

Comparison Chart of the Best 9mm AR Lowers

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Foxtrot Mike Products - AR-15 FM-9 9mm Billet Lower Receiver Stripped

  • Stripped for builders.
  • Best 9mm Glock AR Lower on the market.
  • Made from high-quality billeted aluminum.
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S&W M&P Shield 9mm & PSA AR-15 Complete Lower Magpul MOE

  • Best 9mm AR lower for the money.
  • Machined from high-quality materials.
  • Includes a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield as a bonus.
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What Components of a 9mm AR Lower are Different Compared to Other Lowers?

There are some components of a 9mm AR lower that are slightly different when compared to some other lowers. For example, a 9mm AR lower will have a smaller fire control group than that compared to other lowers. These will also work with a lot of 9mm magazines like Glock magazines and Parabellum magazines.

They are just a sample of the kind of magazines that a 9mm can accept. They won’t, however, accept standard AR-15 magazines that are chambered in other rounds like 5.56 NATO or .308.

What Makes a Great 9mm AR Lower?

There are some characteristics that make a 9mm AR lower stand out much better than models that are inferior and ineffective. So what exactly are the characteristics that make one so great? Here is a list of what to look for as you’re searching for a 9mm AR lower of your own:

Made From High-Quality Material

The material used to construct these lowers will be made from either steel or aluminum. Either way, you’ll be dealing with a material that can withstand a great deal of impact and abuse. Furthermore, a high-quality AR lower will last you a long time if you choose something that is made from very durable materials.

S&W M&P Shield 9mm & PSA AR-15 Complete Lower Magpul MOE 

Fully Assembled or Stripped

This will depend on your personal needs and preferences. If you want something that’s quick and easy to install, then you’ll want a lower that will be fully assembled with the right parts in place. If you’re building a 9mm AR from the ground up and want something of a challenge, a stripped lower may work to your advantage. However, you’ll need to acquire the right parts that will make up the lower itself.

Installation

To spin off of our last characteristic, a great AR lower will match your level of gunsmithing skills. Even if you have no gunsmithing skills to speak of, it will be easy for you to install a fully assembled lower. If you’re using a stripped lower, the installation might still be quick depending on the type of components you purchase. But, assembling it from the ground up will take a bit more time to install than something that’s fully assembled already.

Quick Take - The Best 9mm AR Lowers

Review of the Best 9mm AR Lowers

Below is a list of the five best 9mm AR lowers on the market. While you’re looking through each one, you should definitely keep tabs on what’s included and make a note of any other additional features, characteristics, and functions. This way, you can be able to determine whether or not if it’s close to your ideal 9mm AR lower. Now, let’s begin this list by unveiling our choice for “best overall”:

Pros

  • Excellent for building out a 9mm AR.
  • Compatible with all Glock magazines.
  • Solid construction; very durable material.
  • Compatible with most mil-spec trigger assemblies.
  • Compatible with most lower receiver components.

Cons

  • May not be California compliant.
  • Not suitable for those who want drop-in lowers.
  • Might be a little short for an AR lower according to some users.

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers, most of whom were building their ARs from the ground up, were satisfied with the overall design and construction. They were happy to see that it had the ability to accept a lot of their preferred components (trigger assembly, pistol grips, etc). Aside from that, they made sure that their extra Glock mags would actually come in handy just by fitting them before taking their AR out to the range. And sure enough, they do.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the only stripped lower that we have on the list. There was no way we were going to leave out those who are more of the building kind. If you plan on building a 9mm AR pistol from the ground up, obviously this is the receiver that builders will go for. Why go for something fully assembled when you want to take on the challenge of building something from start to finish?

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by those who plan on building their pistols from the ground up. This will also be used by those who hold a high appreciation for a Glock pistol. Of course, you won’t be able to use it if you don’t have any Glock-style magazines. But if you’re a die-hard Glock owner, chances are this is a lower receiver that will be best used by you.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One thing that could use some improvements is making some adjustments that will make it compliant with California’s gun laws. Alternatively, they could make a separate model that will meet the strict gun laws enacted in most states. Also, it’s important to check with the gun laws in your locale and state prior to purchasing one of these lowers (especially this one).

Bottom Line

If you’re a Glock enthusiast and would want nothing more than to keep firing off your beloved Glock rounds with an AR pistol that you’ve built, then it starts with finding the right lower receiver. What better lower to go with than the Foxtrot Mike 9mm Lower to make that happen?

Pros

  • Trigger pull is crisp and free from grit.
  • Easy to install; takes about 10 to 15 minutes overall.
  • Recoil reduction is noticeable thanks to the included buttstock.
  • Lightweight; doesn’t add on any additional and unnecessary weight.
  • Super durable; can handle some bumps, bangs, and additional impact.

Cons

  • Trigger pull might be a little heavy for some users.
  • Might be a challenge for some regarding the installation.
  • Sights on the M&P shield may not be bright enough for those with failing eyesight.

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were surprised to get a package deal like this from PSA. With the purchase of this lower, they get an S&W M&P Shield 9mm thrown into the mix. One buyer said for a 9mm enthusiast, it’s a dream come true. Both the lower and the pistol were reliable and delivered some accurate shooting at various distances. The lower was easy to install for most AR-15 pistols (including those of the 9mm variety).

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you’re going to pass up a package deal, you’d be crazy to do it. And that’s one of the reasons why we decided to select this as best overall. Think about it... you’re on a budget and want to save as much money as possible on an accessory that you need the most, only to have a pistol thrown in to sweeten the deal. Now you have a reliable sidearm to work with if you want to fire that puppy off during your range session.

Who Will Use This Most

The lower will be used mostly by those who use a 9mm AR-15 SBR. Since it does include a buttstock, it won’t be classified as a pistol. However, the pistol can be used for target shooting, competitive shooting, and even self-defense applications. Either way, your bases are pretty much covered here.

What Could Be Improved and Why

First, we’ll start with the M&P Shield. One thing that can be improved is changing the color of the sight—preferably a green fluorescent color. This will be better for not just low-light conditions, but it will also work to your advantage if you’re an older shooter dealing with poor eyesight. As for the lower receiver, lightening the pull weight on the trigger might be a good idea to consider so the shots will be quick for most applications.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a lower receiver that is reliable and has the ability to work with most 9mm chambered ARs, then the PSA AR lower will definitely be right up your alley. Plus, with the inclusion of an M&P Shield, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to grab this deal while it’s still available. That is, of course, if you’re in need of a reliable sidearm that could come in handy in the future.

Pros

  • Finish is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Will easily break in after 300+ rounds.
  • Easy to install; takes a matter of minutes.
  • Works perfectly with most PSA-style uppers.
  • Super durable; made from high-quality materials.

Cons

  • Bolt catch might be a little suspect for some.
  • Might be a challenge to install for some users.
  • Holes for the takedown pins may not be big enough.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were happy with the lower receiver. Once they were able to install it on, they noticed a few additional benefits; the recoil was significantly reduced and the trigger pull was slightly lighter than their previous trigger assembly. This resulted in better accuracy and even quicker follow up shots. One user was satisfied when he saw an improvement on this overall shooting after adding this onto his 9mm AR.

Why it Sticks Out to Us

We begin by finding the best overall lower. And it turns out to be one that is fully assembled. This makes it easy to install and ready to go right out of the box. The break in period will be quicker than expected. It’s definitely a shooter’s dream when you’re looking for a total package of advantages rolled into one lower receiver.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be used by a lot of shooters across many applications. Most importantly, this might work for target shooters and even varmint hunters as well. Either way, they’ll enjoy the advantages of lesser recoil and quicker follow-up shots. If these don’t work well with you, we’re not sure what will.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that might be worth looking at is making some slight adjustments to the holes that will keep the takedown pins in place. This might mean reducing the size of the holes so the pins themselves have a better chance of staying in place. Other than that, the bolt catch can also use some slight improvements so the wiggle room is non-existent.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a 9mm AR lower that might be the best of the best, then you’ll probably enjoy using the PSA 9mm Billet Complete Glock-style Lower Receiver. This is compatible with one of the most powerful handguns in the world, the Glock. If you have a Glock-style AR, you will no doubt have a great time enjoying this lower for your own use.

Pros

  • Great fit and finish.
  • Capable of handling all kinds of pistol braces.
  • Easy to install; takes a matter of minutes.
  • Matches well with some PSA-style uppers.
  • Will easily accept most Colt-style magazines.

Cons

  • Some minor adjustments might be required.
  • Retainer pins might be a little longer than expected.
  • Some complained about the buffer tube being a little too short.

What Recent Buyers Report

A handful of recent buyers were satisfied with this lower. A lot of them were Colt enthusiasts who had additional Colt pistols as side arms. But they wanted a Colt that was as close to a semi-automatic as possible. This was installed in a matter of minutes. On top of that, the shooting was quite accurate and some recoil reduction was reported. The buffer tube was long and stable enough to accept a large number of pistol braces.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One thing you’ll notice about this lower is the absence of a buttstock. This was definitely designed for AR pistols. If you’re looking for something that will make your 9mm AR pistol stand out from the rest of the pack, then this might be the lower to go with.

Who Will Use This Most

In short, it will be AR pistol shooters who will best use this to their advantage, especially those who want to make sure that their pistol is stable and allows for better accurate shooting. Target shooters and competitive shooters will most likely benefit from this lower.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the things that could improve is making the buffer tube a little longer to accommodate shooters with different needs and body types. This way, it will extend the length of pull for some shooters who feel that it might be a little too short for their liking. After all, there is nothing more exhilarating than firing off an AR pistol. So, it should include a lower receiver that can make it usable for almost any shooter.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the best lower receiver that was made specifically for AR-style pistol, you might want to consider the PSA 9mm Classic Colt-style Pistol Lower as your best option. This will accommodate almost any pistol brace and will make your AR pistol stand out and look good. Aside from that, your overall performance and shooting will be a lot better.

Pros

  • Fully assembled and easy to install.
  • Super durable; construction is quite solid.
  • Works with all kinds of PSA hybrid uppers.
  • Recoil reduction is noticeable upon installation.
  • Buffer tube is solid and adjustable for some shooters.

Cons

  • May not fit some Glock-style magazines.
  • Installation might be a challenge for some users.
  • Some have complained that recoil reduction might not be as much as expected.

What Recent Buyers Report

 A lot of recent buyers had nothing but good things to say about this lower. It’s durable all round and definitely lives up to its ability to be a reliable, easy to use lower for most 9mm ARs. The trigger pull is crisp and quite decent. The lower is also light in weight, so it doesn’t feel quite heavy once you’ve successfully installed it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One thing that stood out was that this has the ability to work with most, but not all Glock magazines. Aside from that, it’s one of the many lowers that works perfectly with a hybrid upper like the ones made from PSA. This is without question an excellent go-to lower for AR pistols and SBRs.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by many Glock users everywhere. Especially those who have a 9mm AR pistol with a lot of extra Glock magazines and 9mm rounds laying around. This is the perfect opportunity to put those extras to good use with a lower like this.

What Could Be Improved and Why

An improvement that we would suggest would be the ability to accept all Glock magazines. This might be due to the fact that the magazine size might be smaller than the mag well itself, which can cause some wiggle room. Some measurements and adjustments could be needed to make it possible.

Bottom Line

If you’re a Glock enthusiast looking for a lower that can accept your Glock magazine and fire off as many 9mm rounds as possible, then the PSA PX-9 Forged Complete AR Lower might be right up your alley. This is fully assembled and easy to install. Just add it on and be ready to have some fun at the range. Who says testing and breaking in new lowers couldn’t be fun?

Pros and Cons of 9mm AR Lowers

There are certain advantages to using a 9mm AR lower if you decide to choose one for your own use. However, they do come with their own disadvantages. If you need to know what to expect from a 9mm AR lower, then consider the following list of pros and cons:

PROS

Accepts Most 9mm Magazines

Depending on the type of pistol, a 9mm lower receiver will work with almost any 9mm magazine, especially magazines that typically fits a standard pistol. The mag well will be large enough to support a magazine of any size.

Excellent for AR Pistols

AR pistols have become quite popular over the last few years. In fact, this is a viable alternative to a typical AR lower that most people use for their AR pistols and SBRs. The only difference is the caliber that the pistol is chambered in. But nonetheless, it’s an AR lower that might give the others a run for their money.

Most are 80 Percent Lowers

One thing to note is that a majority of 9mm AR lowers are considered 80-percent lowers. This means that they are not entirely complete receivers. This also means they will be legal in most states, even in states like California where full lowers are prohibited. To err on the side of caution, make sure the lower you’re interested in is able to comply with your state’s gun laws.

CONS

Some May not be California Compliant

Yes, there are some lowers that won’t be able to fit the compliance requirements that are outlined by the gun laws of California. And that can make the search process a little difficult for some buyers. That’s why you should consider an 80-percent design to be on the safe side.

Won’t Always Accept All Magazines

While it can accept most 9mm mags, it’s not considered to be a universal accessory. There are some lowers that can strictly accept some types of magazines (like Glock or Colt mags). Either way, you need to look at what kind of magazines you have before finding a lower of your own.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best 9mm AR lower for your own use, you may want to consider your five options listed above. While one of them might not be your choice, it will probably give you a good idea of what you might want in a lower. Whether you’re upgrading or building an AR from scratch, it will definitely require one of these lowers. Find one that is easy for you and you’ll have something that will stick with you for years to come.

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