American Tactical Imports introduced a very low cost polymer AR15 lower. The lower can be had stripped or as a kit that includes the usual parts (trigger group, pistol grip, etc.) and a six-position adjustable buttstock. The stripped has a MSRP of only $49.95 while the finished kit is a mere $129.95.
This kind of pricing is very aggressive, and it has the potential of putting more AR-style rifles into the hands of shooters. Traditionally, AR15 rifles start around $750 and go up quickly from there. With a $130 finished lower, a shooter could add an inexpensive upper for about $400 bringing a complete rifle to a hair over $500. Shopping around and doing some of the build work yourself, sub-$500 is attainable.
A word of caution: nothing is ever free. While polymer pistols have proven to be exceptionally durable and reliable, the material has not been as reliable in higher-pressure, harder-recoiling rifles. There have been other polymer AR lowers made (such as the Cavalry Arms CAV-15 now being made by GWACS Armory), but I’m not aware of anything reliably working with .30 caliber or larger cartridges. Such is the case with the Omni lowers.
ATI states the polymer lowers are reinforced, presumably with some type of metal though glass is often used in polymer gunstocks. These polymer lowers have been tested with .22, 5.56 and .410 cartridges, but higher (larger) calibers are not recommended by ATI.
One of the nice things about polymer (other than price), is the ability to make runs of different colors. Right now the Omni lowers will be available in black and dark earth. However, if the market is there, I’m sure limited runs of other colors can be made also.
The ATI Omni AR15 lower was originally announced in January and shown at the 2012 SHOT Show. I’m happy to see they are going to be released to the public. Assuming they are reliable, this could spur even more shooters into the AR15 market.