Why the AR-15 is mis-understood.

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Firearms News
Tags: , ,

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle chambered in 5.56mm designed by ArmaLite in the late 1950’s.  The design was acquired by Colt and entered into military service as a select-fire (fully automatic capable) rifle known as the M-16.

Colt then offered the civilian version, the originally designed AR-15 for sale in 1963.  The name “AR-15” is a Colt trademark, but many variant patterns of the rifle are made and sold by other manufacturers.

The M-16 and Ar-15 look nearly identical to the untrained eye.  The Hollywood use of the M-16 is seen in many movies, and usually accompanied with depictions of endless automatic fire. This, in plays a part in the confusion and misinformation.

So, for the most part, AR-15’s are semi-automatic rifles chambered in 5.56mm or .223 Remington

Briefly, there are SOME AR-15’s that had been converted to automatic firearms, but these are limited and reclassified by the ATF as of May 1986;  new AR-15’s cannot be legally converted to automatics.   These are AR-15’s that are essentially M-16’s now and their ownership is tightly regulated.  These, and M-16s are “Prohibited” in Canada, and simply unobtainable.  AR-15’s are Restricted firearms in Canada.  Obtainable, but essentially range queens.

The “Assault Rifle” label is incorrectly applied to both of these rifles interchangeably, but the reality is, only the M-16 is a true assault rifle.  The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle that is unfortunately named “AR-15”.  Maybe the civilian version of the “AR-15” should be called the “SR-15”, meaning “Sporting Rifle – 15”.

File:M16A1 brimob.jpgFile:1973 Colt AR15 SP1.jpg

  1. JD says:

    Nice breakdown of the differences between these two rifles. ArmaLite actually sold the AR-15 design to Colt due to financial problems. Some of the AR-15 variations are unfortunately very prone to malfunction.

  2. Jib Halyard says:

    One thing they have in common though: they’re both crap. Give me an FN any day.

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