Is it a boogeyman? Is it a barely-legal military weapon? Is it America’s best-selling rifle? Find out for yourself.
1. The ‘AR’ in AR-15 doesn’t stand for Assault Rifle or Automatic Rifle
AR-15’s are called AR-15’s because they were the 15th design of the Armalite Rifle company, hence “AR-15”. The 7th design of the Armalite Rifle company was a .22 rifle called the AR-7, and it could be taken apart and stored in one small piece. That little trick was so nice that James Bond used the AR-7 in “From Russia, With Love”.
2. It’s a Lego set for adults
The barrel, receiver, stock, grip and handguard on an AR-15 are all fairly easy to change, and need just a few tools to complete the process. In fact, on an AR-15, the receiver (the part that holds all the parts that make it go BANG) is split into an upper and lower receiver, making it easy for one rifle to be turned into a variety of different guns.
3. The AR-15 is a great hunting rifle
The AR-15 is accurate, light and rugged, making it an ideal gun for hunting small game like feral hogs and coyotes, and it’s also been adapted to shoot cartridges suitable for deer and larger animals.
4. It’s one of America’s most popular rifles
It’s lightweight, shoots inexpensive ammo and has low recoil and wide range of accessories. No wonder the AR-15 has been a bestseller for almost 20 years.
5. Cops love them.
Ever since the North Hollywood bank robbery, the AR-15 has been slowly taken overas the gun that cops have with them in their patrol cars to deal with problems that can’t be dealt with just their pistols alone.
6. It’s not the preferred weapon of spree killers. In fact, it’s not even close.
The worst mass murder in a school in United States history wasn’t Columbine or Newtown. It happened in 1929 school in a school Bath Township, Michigan. The killer’s weapon of choice? Gasoline and dynamite.
7. It’s an essential part of the fastest growing shooting sport in the U.S.
3 Gun shooting matches are a fast-paced, exciting and athletic shooting sport that combines shooting a shotgun, pistol and a rifle at different targets as quickly and as accurately as you can. The AR-15 rules the rifle part of this sport, with almost all the competitors competing with AR-15’s because of the gun’s accuracy and light weight.
8. It’s been owned and used by private citizens for 50 years.
The AR-15 first went on sale to people outside of the military in 1963, but it didn’t get popular until after the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban went into effect, when Bushmaster and a bunch of other builders of AR-15’s figured out how to get around the ban on purely cosmetic features and produce guns that were legal to own but every inch an AR-15.
9. It’s a great rifle to teach others how to safely use guns.
Because of its in-line design and the low recoil from the .223 round, it’s a very comfortable rifle to shoot for people afraid of injury from recoil. Most AR-15’s can also easily be adapted to shoot the lower-powered and less expensive .22LR round, making it even more popular to use as a training tool to teach others how to safely use a rifle.
10. It was almost a flop that nobody wanted.
When Eugene Stoner first tried to sell the U.S. military on his AR-15, the military said “No Way” and rejected the gun outright. It took an impromptu shooting match at a picnic with Air Force General Curtis LeMay to change the minds of the military and get the AR-15’s full-auto big brother, the M-16, into the hands of soldiers.