Well since The Chart has officially appeared...
If you want a drop dead reliable carbine then Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense, Noveske and LMT were the ticket over the last few years. S&W came close but did cut some corners. Many of the others named in this thread fell very short however they still were acceptable rifles if you didn't have to bet your life on them (which is 90%+ of the AR buyer demographic).
The Chart is no longer maintained today but if it were, PSA, Scionics and Spikes likely would be Tier 1 or very close. Stag claims their $100 milspec upgrade puts them in the elite group. Again, this may matter to you or may not. However with a $1000 budget you're at the Colt and BCM ball park so why not get a hard use AR! PSA is the bargain leader at around $750 or so.
Assuming you find a right handed AR works for you.