5.56 AR used as a deer hunting rifle

What is an AR15? – Answered

An AR15 is a very common rifle available for purchase by civilians in many parts of the world. It is very popular in the US. Most “Ar15’s” are modeled on the ArmaLite AR-15 design and was originally available only in .223 caliber. The AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite and 15 stood for the model number they assigned at the time.  

Some of the main advantages of the AR15 platform is its modular design, semi automatic firing and high magazine capacities. 

The modular design of the AR15 platform has led to it being called “The Swiss Army Knife of Rifles.” Some of the available modifications include, calibers, barrel lengths, trigger pressure, magazine capacity, handguard styles, grips, carrying styles and butt stocks. These are only to name a few. Many of these modifications can be added or swapped out in a matter of seconds. That allows you to quickly change a single rifle to meet whatever your goals are.

AR15 History

The original AR15 was developed as a lightweight rifle for the military in 1956. At time it was designated as the Armalite Rifle model 15 or AR-15 for short. The AR-15 was a scaled down version of the AR-10 developed by Eugene Stoner. Originally it was chambered to fire a 5.56×45 cartridge.

The AR-10 had been released for sale in 1956 and fired a 7.62×51 cartridge in comparison. This reduction in size brought the weight down to a total of 6.55 pounds with a twenty round magazine. The AR-10 despite being nearly a full pound lighter than other rifles of the time, came in at around 7 to 8 pounds. This depended on the version. An additional 1.2 to 2 pounds for the magazine and twenty rounds, was added for a total weight of between 8.2 and 10 pounds.

In 1959 due to financial difficulties experienced by Armalite the design and patent were sold to Colt. Colt then rebranded it the Colt 601 but the weapon retained its original Armalite markings. In 1964 the AR-15 was adopted by the US Military and entered service as the M16.  

Over time several production modifications were made to include reducing the barrel length and adding a collapsible stock. This led to the military’s adoption of the M4 Carbine. Carbines became a popular choice for both the military and police markets. This was due largely to their mobility and reduced weights.

In the 1990’s the popularity of the AR15 and its variants became more popular. This popularity increase was partly due to the addition of an upper flat top rail mount instead of the previous carrying handle. This also brought about the ability to add numerous modifications to the weapon.

Is the AR15 considered to be an assault rifle

Whether or not the AR15 is an assault rifle is largely dependent on the definition of assault rifle applied. Largely the gun industry and the US Military define an assault rifle as a rifle having select fire capabilities.

Select fire capabilities is the ability to switch between semi auto, burst or auto modes. However, many new laws are changing this definition and you should review your local laws just to make sure.

What an AR15 is in terms of today’s uses

According to the National Rifle Association the AR15 Platform as “the most commonly used rifles in marksmanship competitions, training and home defense.” It also estimated that more than 15 million AR-15s are owned by Americans today. 

AR15’s from various manufacturers are employed by a majority of the police forces across the United States. A growing number of other countries are employing them as well. The select fire version employed by the United States Military including the M16 and M4 are still in service more than fifty years after their adoption. 

Finally due to the way they have evolved and their modular design you are almost certain to find a caliber, barrel, and length combination that fits whatever your needs are.

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