What is an AR-15? thumbnail image

What is an AR-15?

80 Percent Arms   |   Jun 11th 2020

The AR-15 Rifle

Choosing the firearm that’s right for you can be a difficult matter. In today’s market, there are many different brands and styles of firearm, each touting their own spreadsheet of why their firearm is the one for you, which only seems to complicate the issue. Indeed, figuring out which firearm will fulfill your needs and fit into your life easily can take many hours of research, fact checking, review reading, and physical testing, all of which are important, but time consuming. The start of this process is often the same for many people: they want to purchase a new firearm, and so they go to a close friend or family member for recommendations. While these recommendations can vary from person to person, some firearms will continue to be referenced time and time again, one of which is the AR-15 Rifle.

Some History on the AR-15 Rifle

AR-15 Rifles are a popular firearm in America today. In fact, according the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the AR-15 model falls within the category of “Modern Sporting Rifle,” which is a grouping of semiautomatic rifles that are incredibly popular among Americans today, for a variety of reasons. The uses of AR-15 Rifles range drastically, allowing them to have a large audience interested in obtaining one for their own needs.

These firearms have been a part of America’s history for at least sixty years, though these firearms were not available for civilian use until 1963, when Colt, the manufacturer of the AR-15, introduced a semi-automatic civilian version of their military style firearm. While their military firearms were produced to have three separate firing modes (semi-automatic, fully automatic, or burst fire), their civilian counterparts were only made to be semi-automatic, with many features of the firearm being changed or remade to ensure it could not be converted to a fully automatic or burst fire rifle. The civilian version of the rifle also had features changed to ensure it was incompliance with the National Firearms Act, making it legal to sell this rifle to any American interested in owning one.

Today, the AR-15 Rifle remains one of the most sought after semi-automatic firearms amongst gun enthusiasts, hunters, competitive shooters, and average citizens, truly showing the kind of appeal it has amongst Americans as a whole.

What Does “AR” Stand For?

In history, certain facts and aspects of certain subjects become lost or forgotten over time, leading to people guessing what these aspects and facts were. The AR-15 is no different from this issue. Today, many people believe that the “AR” in AR-15 means “Assault Rifle.” While this seems to make sense to many people, this connection simply isn’t true, and it does not accurately represent the AR-15 Rifle.

“AR” stands for the name “ArmaLite Rifle.” ArmaLite is a small arms manufacturing company that began operations sometime in the mid 1950’s and who were the original owners of the AR-15 design and patent before they sold the design and patent to Colt in 1959 following financial hardship. Following Colt’s acquisition of the AR-15, the name was not changed, more than likely due to the fact that it was a firearm already on the market. Changing the name of a product that customers already know can cause a decrease in sales and/or popularity, so to keep the name was more than likely a savvy business choice, though having the nod at the original owners of the AR-15 is a nice historical note in the firearm’s history.

Aside from the name being a link to ArmaLite, referring to an AR-15 as an “Assault Rifle” is simply untrue, as an AR-15 is not an automatic firearm, and therefore, not an assault rifle. While the military version of this firearm does have automatic firing options, civilian versions of this firearm have never had this option, and are created to ensure they cannot be converted to have this option. When an AR-15 is fired, there is only one round that comes out of the barrel. This, by definition and classification, means this firearm cannot be an automatic rifle. This is important to distinguish, especially from a legal standpoint. Many states today have banned or are seeking to ban automatic weapons, so it’s important that AR-15 Rifles are not included in these laws since they do not fall into this category.

Who Uses AR-15 Rifles?

As stated, AR-15 Rifles have many capabilities, making them incredibly popular amongst a large audience. Some of the most common uses for an AR-15 includes:

Hunting: When hunting large game, having a rifle is important for several reasons. Rifles allow for longer shots, they allow for steadier shots, and they allow a higher chance of a “clean” kill. (The larger caliber often associated with rifles allow hunters to inflict more damage per shot, which should translate to less shots taken by the animal during the hunt. This allows for a more humane kill, which is what all good hunters want.) AR-15 Rifles allow hunters the ability to hunt big game such as deer or elk in an effective and convenient manor while also allowing the hunters to have an easier hunt and the animal to suffer the least amount.

Target shooting: AR-15 Rifles have become a staple in target shooting competitions. These rifles are available widely, which makes them easy for many shooters to acquire, allowing for a level playing field amongst competitors. These rifles are also known as being accurate, versatile, and reliable, making them a popular firearm to practice with and take to competitions. They provide a new challenge for many shooters to master, and they remain as a steady and reliable firearm once a shooter has mastered its trials.

Protection: AR-15 Rifles are a mean looking firearm. Made in the image of their military counterpart, no person would want to be caught at the end of its barrel. Along with its impressive looks, and its accuracy and reliability, these firearms are also easy to maintain and simple to customize, making them a good firearm to have when you are in need of changing your expectations towards your rifle. These factors help make it a popular rifle when it comes to protecting an individual, a family, a business, or anything else worth protecting.

Is an AR-15 Right for You?

When deciding what firearm will fit your life best, it’s important to answer a few important questions. Why do you want a firearm? What skillset do you have in relation to firearms? How much time are you willing to make to practice with your firearm? Are you ready for a firearm? All of these questions are important when it comes to making the decision of purchasing your own firearm, so be sure to really think about them before you purchase.

For those seeking an AR-15 Rifle, understanding the gravity of their purchase is important. An AR-15 Rifle is a fantastic firearm that allows for just about anyone to enjoy its capabilities and outfit it the way they need and see fit, but it’s also a firearm that is quite powerful and requires a fair amount of practice and training to master its challenges. It’s important to do the appropriate legwork to ensure it’s the rifle for you, but once you make that decision, it’s a fantastic firearm to add to any arsenal.

Once you’ve decided an AR-15 Rifle is the one for you, talk to the people who know how to get you what you need at an affordable price. At 80 Percent Arms, we are committed to helping you find the right firearms for you at a fraction of the cost. Our team is dedicated to working with you to get you the build you need with the accessories you desire as well. Visit us in person or online to start your next firearm build project!