The AR 15 has been a controversial firearm in recent months. Recent mass shootings have put the AR 15 in focus and much of the blame has been put on the modern weapon. What is an AR15, and what purpose do they serve the modern sportsman? How are they different from other commonly used rifles.
The AR 15 was developed by Eugene Stoner for the company Armalite. The design intention was to develop a combat weapon that was accurate lightweight and capable of replacing the M-14. The designation AR15, means that is derived from being the 15th design for Armalite
It was Colt that developed the military version known s the M16 and the civilian version which kept the label AR-15. The M16 was capable of both semi-automatic and fully automatic mode. The M16 has evolved into the M-4 a shorter version with a 16 inch barrel that has the option with the selector switch of semiautomatic or 3 round burst mode. Todays AR-15 has evolved into todays most popular firearm in America that is flexible inexpensive to own and shoot as well as accurate. The M16 and its military derivatives remain illegal and unavailable for civilian use except under some very limited situations.
What Is an AR 15 ?
The AR–15 is a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-
Todays AR 15 comprises of the following componants.
- An Upper Assemblyis basically the barrel and the reciever with the bolt assembly
- A Lower assembly which consists of the Magazine receiver, trigger and housing sear and hammer
- .Furniture which is the traditionally rails the plastic pieces such as the Handguard and shoulder stock.
- Accessories which are the optonal devices such as opticss, sights flashlights and slings.
According to the BATF the only part that is considered a firearm is the lower.
The AR-15 is often referred to as a high powered rifle. This is false. The AR-15 uses a 5.56 x 45 (or .223 cal) cartridge. Which is low powered by most rifle standards. It is a souped up .22, Most gun enthusiast would classify the AR 15 as an intermediate powered weapon.
It’s because of the smaller cartridge size that it becomes high capacity. The same holds true with handguns, a 9mm Glock 17uses 17 round Magazines, While a traditional Colt 1911 magazine typically is 7 Rounds. The rule of thumb is smaller ammo – larger capacity. Larger more devesting ammo is less capacity.
The picture above shows a comparison, from left to right of a 30 round AR mag vs a 20 rnd Mag vs a 10 Round .308 magazine. It’s because the smaller less powerful bullet allows for stuffing more of them into a magazine that the magazines become “High capacity”.
The AR 15 is modular, which accounts for it’s different appearance. It doesn’t have the sleek wooden stock of other rifles, and has a lot of polymer that makes it lightweight and adaptable. The buttstock is adjustable which makes it adaptable for shooters of all sizes.
The AR 15 is semiautomatic, or autoloading. The technology is 100 years old and is used in all sorts of handguns rifles .22 caliber and shotguns. An autoloader simply reloads another round after a shot is fired. Every shot must be prefaced by an independent trigger pull.
Why an AR-15?
The interwebs have been flooded on social media with the proclamation,” Nobody needs an AR-15?”
The truth is that probably nobody needs an AR15. It just happens to be very well suited for a variety of uses. It has become America’s most popular rifle. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates there are roughly 5 million to10 million AR-15 rifles owned in the United States, There is nothing inherent in the AR -15 that makes it more dangerous than any other gun. The AR does have many features that make it desirable to a wide range of gun owners.
Hunters like them because of the light weight and accuracy, The Magazines can be smaller capacity, for shooting coyotes and feral hogs. The high accuracy is useful for groundhogs and prairie dog. The small caliber is suitable for smaller deer that can be found in the south.
The AR 15 is popular in rural areas for home protection because of its inherent maneuverability. It has more range than a shotgun or handgun, and useful for protecting one’s home and property, against two or four legged predators. Ranchers have found the AR-15 useful, it doesn’t take up in a 4 wheeler, or pickup truck accurate, and capable of just about any assignment it is called upon.
The shooting range is where most AR-15s get their workout. The ammo and gun are inexpensive and allows one to shoot more. The more one shoots the more shooters get proficient. A good AR-15 can be bought for around $500 dollars, a lot less than most high powered rifles. The AR-15 has been described as a Barbie doll for men, or as the Lego of guns. It is very customizable, Furniture and accessories can be swapped out and added as desired. Adjustable stocks fit shooter of all size, and the light recoil is painless to the recoil sensitive.
The recent school shooting in Florida has many people calling for a ban on the so called “assault rifles” or specifically the AR-15. I hoped to show that the AR-15 is not unique from many another commonly accepted gun. It isn’t more powerful, nor any more deadly than any other gun. There are more crimes committed with handguns than with all rifles. The support to ban the AR-15 is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to ban all guns.