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The 5 Best AR-15 .22LR Conversion Kits

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Do you want to get an AR-15 in .22 LR? But brand new AR in .22 LR is a bit pricey? Well, then consider buying an AR 15 .22 LR Conversion Kit. Over the years, I’ve converted quite a few of my rifles to different calibers. In this article, I’ll share with you the best .22 LR conversion kits that can get you shooting .22 LR in no time.

Summary of the Best AR-15 .22LR Conversion Kits:

Top Pick
CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Bravo Conversion Kit
  • Very durable components
  • Ideal for .22 LR rounds from 69 to 75 grains
  • Designed for direct gas impingement guns
  • Can be difficult to load the individual rounds into the magazine
$190 Shop NowClick to read my review
CMMG AR MK57 Conversion Kit with 3 Magazines
  • Very easy to install
  • Compatible with any mil-spec AR-15 chambered for 5.7x28mm
  • Comes with 3 25-round magazines
  • Not designed to convert 5.56x45mm NATO AR-15s
$199 Shop NowClick to read my review
CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit w/ 25 Round Magazine
  • Perfect for SIP Sauer P-Series Owners
  • Made with high-quality and original Sig Sauerparts
  • Optional threaded barrel
  • No slide lock after the last round
$0 Shop NowClick to read my review
Tactical Solutions TSG-22 Conversion Kit for Glock
  • Great Glock compatibility across the board
  • Offers and option for threaded barrels
  • Excellent build quality
  • Magazine extends past the grip
$329 Shop NowClick to read my review
Marvel Precision Unit 1 .22 LR Conversion Kit
  • Out-of-the-box, competition level accuracy
  • Super durable hardened steel parts
  • Requires little to no break-in
  • Can be a little picky with ammo
$0 Shop NowClick to read my review

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The .22 Long Rifle (LR)

Best AR-15 .22 LR Rifle Conversion Kits 1
Image source: Wikipedia

As a tribute to weapon design and creativity, the .22 Long Rifle cartridge stands out as the oldest cartridge surviving in common use to this day. It is still the most regularly used sub-.223 round in America, and it is the sixth most widely used caliber overall, with more than 100,000 rifles and pistols chambered in 22 LR sold each year.

The .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) was designed in 1878 by the J. Stevens Arm & Tool Company as a perfect teaching cycle for folks of all ages. It has very minimal recoil and is a relatively inexpensive bullet to shoot. Its ballistic features may be tested at short distances, so shooters can learn issues like bullet drop and wind drift without utilizing a powerful cartridge or a broad shooting range.

Benefits of Using the .22 LR Round

Today, the .22 LR is one of the most widespread calibers. It’s not hard to see why. The .22 is very affordable, especially if bought in bulk.

It is also an excellent and small round. A box that holds 50 rounds of 9mm, for instance, can store hundreds of rounds of .22. To put that into perspective, you can carry a significant amount of .22 LR ammunition on your body as you travel on foot without adding much weight. Speaking of 9mm, we also have an article about AR 9 conversion kits.

.22 LR is also a low recoil round with less noise than other calibers. In other words, it’s very easy (and fun) to shoot and can cause less disturbance for anyone else in your vicinity.

Finally, the versatility of the .22 should not be discounted as well. Beyond being an excellent casual plinker, the .22 round is also adept as a general homestead round to kill varmints, a small game hunting round, and even for self-defense.

Why Should You Convert Your AR-15 To .22 LR?

Thinking about chambering a .22 LR into your AR-15? Let’s just say this: there are more benefits than one.

We briefly touched on it, but .22 LR ammunition is incredibly affordable, and you can buy it in bulk quantities. Most people can afford to shoot it far more often than they would be if they used standard 5.56 rounds.

Shooting the .22 LR out of an AR-15 allows you to practice with the exact same manual of arms as your main tactical rifle without the added costs of using a standard 5.56 round. Alternatively, you can use a .22 rifle such as the Marlin Model 60 or the Ruger 10/22. However, while both are excellent rifles, none of them will improve your skills and fundamentals of shooting an AR-15 as much as an actual AR-15 will.

A .22LR conversion kit is an affordable way to quickly and easily convert your existing AR-15 rifle to take the .22 LR round.

Do You Need to Break-in your .22 LR Conversion Kit?

When installing a new .22 LR conversion kit, a break-in period is usually necessary. It’s best to fire a couple hundred rounds out of your .22LR conversion kit to confirm that it functions properly. Most of the time, the magazines that ship with your .22 LR conversion kits often have tough springs that can be difficult at first to load rounds into. Breaking in your .22 LR conversion kit will help get you a smoother action.

Types of AR-15 .22 LR Conversion Kits

Most AR-15 conversion kits are based on the same basic design. The existing reciprocating blowback bolt is replaced with a new blowback bolt optimized for the .22 LR rifle.

The Atchisson-Style .22 LR Conversion Kit

If you are looking for an affordable way to keep your existing upper receiver while maintaining the quality of your AR-15, then an Atchisson-style .22LR conversion kit is what you are after. This drop-in .22 LR adapter is designed to fit into an existing AR-15 upper receiver.

A typical Atchisson-Style conversion kit consists of a bolt carrier group and a magazine chambered for the .22 LR fitted to standard AR-15 mag-wells. It’s a drop-in design, meaning it doesn’t permanently alter your weapon and requires no specialist tools or gunsmithing services.

However, note that most Atchisson .22 magazines will not hold the bolt of the AR-15 open when the magazine runs dry. Instead, you’ll need to pull the trigger to hear a CLICK to find out if the magazine has run empty or if you need to count your rounds.

Dedicated Upper Receiver

Alternatively, you can use a dedicated upper receiver chambered for the .22 LR. Most dedicated upper receivers for the .22 LR can be installed without special tools or a gunsmith. 

Remember that a dedicated .22 LR upper receiver is more expensive than an Atchisson-style kit. But on the flip side, the accuracy and reliability out of a dedicated upper are usually better. The dedicated AR-15 barrel, bolt assembly, and barrel collar are optimized to work with the lighter .22 LR projectile.

Keep in mind that for the price you’ll be paying for a dedicated upper receiver, it might be better to buy a .22 LR rifle if you’re looking to keep costs to a minimum.

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Buyer’s Guide for the Best .22 LR Conversion Kit

Drop-In Design

Your conversion kit should be as easy to replace. Ideally, you just break open your AR-15, remove the existing bolt and carrier, and then install the new .22 LR optimized kit. Then swap out the magazines, and you should be good to go. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and you should not need any extra tools or the aid of a gunsmith.

Magazine

Conversion kits should always have at least one magazine compatible with the firearm and the round you’re using. High-quality magazines should drop freely or with a light nudge. Some of the included magazines can hold up to 30 rounds. However, some states, like CA, have strict regulations on ammo capacity, so you need to check your local and state laws to see if this is legal. 

Cost

For most of us, price is a big consideration. After all, the whole reason to go with a conversion kit rather than purchasing an entirely new .22 LR rifle is to save money. As a golden rule, you should expect to pay around $200 to $300. All .22 LR conversion kits should come with at least one magazine. If you pay anything significantly higher than this, you may as well just buy an entirely new rifle.

Looking for more buying guides on parts? We also covered the best AR-15 pistol lowers and how to pick a good featureless grip.

The 5 Best AR-15 .22 LR Conversion Kits

Now that we’ve covered why you need to convert your AR-15 to .22 LR and the main features to look for in a conversion kit, here are our top choices for the best .22 LR conversion kits.

CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Bravo Conversion Kit

The CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Bravo Conversion Kit is a solid choice to convert your AR-15 from 5.56 to .22 LR. It’s capable of loading 25 rounds of .22 LR ammunition with the provided magazines and allows you to convert the bolt and the bolt carrier to .22 LR to create a fully functioning .22 rifle. Take note that the spring in the magazine is a little stiff, and it can be challenging to fit individual rounds into the mag.

This kit is an Atchission-derived type kit. It’s a one-piece drop-in unit making the conversion process nice and easy. If you know how the internals of an AR-15 work and how to field strip one, you can have this kit installed in minutes. The Bravo kit will replace the standard 5.56 bolt and the bolt carrier with a new .22 LR bolt with new recoil springs is also optimized for the .22 LR.

If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive and fast way to convert your AR-15 from 5.56 into .22 LR, this is one of the best conversion kits you can go with. You’ll have a new bolt and bolt carrier installed in your AR-15 and a new magazine, and you’ll be ready to send .22 LR rounds downrange.

Pros
  • Very durable components
  • Ideal for .22 LR rounds from 69 to 75 grains
  • Impact-proof design
  • Designed for direct gas impingement guns
Cons
  • Can be difficult to load the individual rounds into the magazine
  • Does not work with piston ARs

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CMMG AR MK57 Conversion Kit with 3 Magazines

If you want an AR-15 .22 LR conversion kit that is incredibly easy to install, you’ll want to look at the CCMG AR MK57 Conversion Kit. This kit is designed to convert AR-15s chambered in the 5.7x28mm round.

This kit has a drop-in conversion design as well. Consequently, installation takes seconds, so long as you use an AR-15 built to mil-spec configurations. Three black-colored 25-round magazines are shipped with it.

The MK27 Conversion Kit is one of the best 22lr conversion kits for converting an AR-15 chambered in 5.7x28mm. This kit has a quick drop-in design and comes with three extra magazines.

Pros
  • Very easy to install
  • Compatible with any mil-spec AR-15 chambered for 5.7x28mm
  • Comes with 3 25-round magazines
Cons
  • Not designed to convert 5.56x45mm NATO AR-15s

CMMG Echo SS Arc Kit w/ 25 Round Magazine

Sig Sauer has released .22 LR Conversion Kits for some of their P-Series pistols in the past in limited quantities. They come out with special production runs every now and then of their .22 LR conversion kits. However, if you can’t wait, you can always buy a .22 LR SIG Sauer P226 and use those parts on other P-Series pistols if you really want to.

Sig’s .22 LR Conversion kit comes with a lifetime warranty, but I doubt you’d be able to use it. The conversion kit is extremely well made, with SIG only using the highest quality parts. The barrels are made of stainless steel with a recessed crown to protect them from damage. It comes with a polymer drop-free 10-round magazine and steel adjustable sights with a familiar three-dot pattern.

Pros
  • Perfect for SIP Sauer P-Series Owners
  • Made with high-quality and original Sig Sauerparts
  • Optional threaded barrel
Cons
  • No slide lock after the last round
  • Very hard to come by
  • May require a long break-in period

Tactical Solutions TSG-22 Conversion Kit for Glock

Tactical Solutions manufactures some high-quality .22 LR conversion kits for different Glock Models and offers compatibility from Gen 1 through their Gen 4 Models. They incorporate similar builds, styles, and slide functions of original Glock pistols and provide each conversion kit with a 10-round, thumb-pull-down button magazine for easy reloading. However, this magazine is somewhat of an eyesore, protruding about an inch below the grip.

mOut of the box, the sights are pretty spot on. However, even after breaking it in with close to 500 rounds, this conversion kit runs into some firing problems. It works well with normal 40gr loads, but hollow points will sometimes fail to fire. It also comes with a hefty price tag, and if you’re just looking for a plinker, it might be cheaper to just buy a new .22 LR instead.

Pros
  • Great Glock compatibility across the board
  • Offers and option for threaded barrels
  • Excellent build quality
Cons
  • Magazine extends past the grip
  • May misfire hollow point rounds

Marvel Precision Unit 1 .22 LR Conversion Kit

Marvel manufactures some of the best M1911 .22 LR Conversion Kits on the market. They’re just too damn accurate. So much so that they’ve been seen in enough formal bullseye competitions to make their mark. 

The Marvel Precision Type 1 is the perfect .22 LR conversion kit for full-sized M1911’s. It’s made of high-quality hardened steel and comes with a full-length sight rail, fully adjustable front, and rear sights, and serrations to reduce glare. The Marvel Precision Type 1 mounts tightly to the frame creating a rigid barrel attachment that eliminates any movement between the barrel and frame.

This mounting system makes the Marvel Precision Type 1 deadly accurate. It works well with standard velocity ammo and can be tuned for high-velocity .22’s but is a little touchy when it comes to hollow points.

Pros
  • Best conversion kit for 1911s
  • Out-of-the-box, competition level accuracy
  • Mounts tightly to full-sized M1911’s
  • Super durable hardened steel parts
  • Requires little to no break-in
Cons
  • Can be a little picky with ammo
  • Quality conversion kit with a price tag to match

Wrap Up

If you want to get an AR-15 in .22 LR, a cheaper alternative can be to purchase a conversion kit rather than get an entirely new rifle. My top pick from our list of the best AR-15 .22 LR conversion kits is the CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Bravo Conversion Kit. Easy to install, reliable, and at a great price. But that is me, any one of the five conversion kits that we have discussed earlier will be a good option for you.

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4 comments
  1. I just ordered the cmmg bravo kit from classic firearms for Christmas.
    Gunmagwarehouse also sells the 22 conversion mags on their website for around $20.
    Haven’t received it yet, but am excited for its arrival.

  2. I agree with your review Beau. I have to travel quite a distance to shoot Center Fire Rifle, almost 2 hours one way. There is a closer outdoor range, but the range fees are predatory (1 hour costs more than I pay for my yearly membership to the Indoor Range I’m a member of), an on a retiree’s income, it’s too much.
    I bought the CMMG Bravo kit about 6 months ago, and I wish I’d have bought it years ago. Functions like a dream in my DPMS Sport. I did get the 25 round mag, and yes, it can be a bear to load. I may pick up a 10 round just to see if it’s easier to load.
    That’s my only complaint, and it’s not a deal breaker.
    I consider it the best $175 Investment I’ve made. Easy to install and use. In my AR, the adaptor’s bolt does stay open after the last round. As soon as you remove the mag it closes, as it’s only the follower holding it open. Again, not a big problem.
    So I join you with encouraging AR owners to look into a .22 Conversion kit.

  3. I purchased a CMMG 22lr conversion kit around 10 years ago using it in a DPMS upper. Unfortunately it was not reliable. Granted it was fun to shoot but initially the main issue was spent rounds getting caught in the groove of the charging handle. After getting a jam free charging handle from CMMG this issue was eliminated but once or twice out of a box of 50 the kit would still malfunction. Then one day I found a dedicated 22lr barrel from CMMG at Brownells which used most of the bolt carrier from the conversion kit. I mated the barrel using the kit’s bolt carrier to an AR upper and oh my what a wonderful difference. This dedicated upper has been extremely reliable. To me it was worth spending the extra money of having basically a dedicated CMMG upper versus the conversion kit. Another benefit is not having to change the sights back and forth between calibers nor making sure your 223/556 upper is thoroughly cleaned after shooting 22 rimfire ammo (which can be very dirty).

  4. Beau, if the CMMG AR-15 .22 LR Bravo Conversion Kit ideally works with 69 to 75 grain 22LR ammunition, how well does it perform with standard 36 to 40 grain 22LR ammunition? Does it jam or not even function at all? If so, what conversion kit would you recommend for use with 36 to 40 grain 22LR ammunition?
    Thanks!

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