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History of the AR15

Veitnam Era AR15

The AR-15 rifle is a semi-automatic, gas operated, rotating bolt, rifle designed by Eugene Stoner in 1957. The AR-15 is the civilian derivative of the select fire, military version, the M16. The weapon comes in many sizes, calibers, and lengths ranging from a 26” free floated, bull barrel, .308, target model with a fixed stock to a 7” barrel, 9mm pistol, to a somewhat common 16” heavy barrel .223 carbine with a collapsible stock.

Because of its military origins, the rifle and many others like it have been mislabeled as an “assault rifle”. And some would say that that is what AR stands for. This is however false and that AR actually stands for Armalite, the manufacturing company that held the original rights on the design. In 1959 Armalite sold the rights to the AR-15 to Colt who immediately started marketing the rifle to military forces around the world. When the U.S. Army got a hold of it in 1964 it was redesigned as the M16 replacing the M14 as the standard service rifle in the jungles of Vietnam.Veitnam M16 Rifle Colt continued to market to the civilian market with semi-automatic versions of its now military counterpart.

The rifle started with many flaws, and things that are now standard on an AR-15 took a long time to catch on. Before all of these upgrades to the rifle it was prone to frequent fouling, overheating, and many other failures. Having a service life of over 50 years and counting it has had a lot of time to “work out the bugs”.

The rifles main flaw is said to be its direct-impingement gas system. Because the gas system blows directly onto the bolt and carrier as well as into the receiver, fouling and jamming can very easily occur if not properly cleaned and lubricated. There are variants on the market today that do not use a direct impingement system and instead opt for a gas piston/operating rod system.

Today hundreds of manufacturers make the AR-15 rifle for military, civilian, and law enforcement use and hundreds of variants exist, each more customizable than the next. Tricked Out AR15With the now standard picatinny/weaver mounting system, one can find accessories that include slings, flashlights, red/green/infrared laser sights, bipods, vertical foregrips, and magazine holders, even attachments to mount other weapons to the rifle like pistols, short barreled shotguns and grenade/flare launchers. There are fixed stocks, collapsible stocks, adjustable sniper stocks, and even some pistol versions have no stocks at all. There are hand guards with or without rails, quad rail hand guards, ultra light hand guards and free-floated hand guards. And with a carry handle or without, scope options are almost unlimited, ranging from holographic sights, to magnifiers, to full power scopes, even night vision.


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