Is the AR 15 an Assault Rifle?
Let’s be clear. The simple answer is NO, the AR 15 is not an assault rifle. Most of the confusion probably stems from the fact that the AR 15 looks very similar to the military’s M4 and M16 carbine assault rifles. The fact is, the M4 and M16 are capable of fully automatic fire as well as firing three round bursts, an AR 15 is not. The AR is a gas powered semi-automatic rifle, which means, one squeeze of the trigger equals one bullet exits the barrel, period.
The AR in the AR 15 does not stand for “Assault Rifle”. The name was coined in the 1950s for the ArmaLite rifle – the name of the company that developed the firearm.
According to Merriam Webster, an “assault rifle”, is any variant of automatic or semi-automatic rifle with large capacity magazines designed for “military use”. Though an AR 15 might look like a military assault rifle, it is not designed for military use.
The recent terrorist attacks on American soil have given the mainstream media and anti-gun politicians fuel for their misleading and in some cases, downright untrue, campaigns to ban the sale and use of the AR 15. They continue to label the AR 15 an “assault weapon”, a term made popular by anti-Second Amendment politicians in the 1980s.
For purely political reasons, the anti-gun establishment hung the “assault weapon” label on the AR 15 because they claim it is used to kill or wound a large number of innocent people in a short period of time. The same thing can be said for any handgun or rifle. For that matter, a crazed person wielding a machete could be considered an assault weapon. Should machetes be banned too?
Though an AR 15 is more powerful than a typical handgun, it is not a high-powered rifle. The .223/5.56 ammunition it carries is considered too inadequate for hunting large game like elk or even deer. The standard load the AR 15 fires is not capable of humanely taking them down with a single shot. It is more suited as a small game or varmint rifle.
What is the AR 15 Used For?
The AR 15 is considered to be the most popular rifle in America for many reasons. To start with, it is uniquely, well, American. Patriotic men and women alike, are proud to own and carry their AR 15 as a means to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Of course, there are other reasons people own these guns too.
Contrary to what some folks say, the AR 15 does make a good home defense firearm. It is very easy to use and effective in neutralizing threats due to its accuracy and dependability. Don’t forget the fear factor it gives to the would-be bad guys.
The AR 15 is an excellent hunting rifle, especially for shooting varmints and other small predators. A lot of farmers and ranchers carry them in their trucks in case they come across coyotes or other animals that threaten their stock. It also makes an very good deer rifle when a more powerful cartridge is used.
These rifles are very popular in competitive shooting sports. More and more of these competitions are taking place all over the country every year.
Even doomsday preppers find the AR 15 rifles to be a critical part of their survival apparatus. Not to say the world will end tomorrow, but it pays to be prepared, and these folks know it.
Perhaps the best reason AR 15s are so popular is because they are downright fun to shoot. Going to the range and plinking up a few targets can be a great way to spend some quality family time. It is a great way to introduce children and other novice shooters to the sport and teach them how to shoot safely and accurately. The gun is so easy to hit targets with.
Best Mods for Your AR 15
One of the great things about the AR 15 is that it is easy to customize and modify. You can easily make upgrades and add components to your rifle making it unique to you and your shooting style. Another good thing is that you can make most, if not all, changes or upgrades to your rifle without going to a gunsmith.
To ensure a more optimal shooting experience, you may have to modify the way firearm feels in your hands. That means choosing the grips that feel most comfortable in your hands. After all, if it doesn’t feel right, you probably won’t shoot effectively. As for comfort in the grips, think about whether a smoother grip versus something with more contour feels better in your hands.
Most new replacement grips are made of rubber or some polymer compound. Be careful to choose the right material for you as rubber grips can be heavier than the polymer compounds. Don’t forget about color selection too.
When it comes to safety, don’t overlook having enlarged trigger guards. Having an enlarged trigger guard gives you a bit more room around the trigger, making it easier to wear shooting gloves, adding another degree of comfort. Enlarged trigger guards also protect the trigger itself and other trigger components. This will add to the life of your AR 15.
Don’t forget the trigger itself. Having a comfortable trigger finger is essential to good shooting. This is one of the most common modifications AR 15 owners make to their special friend. A new and improved trigger will add durability over time, no matter how many times you fire over and over again.
If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it. Having a good back-up sight is essential should something cause your regular or red dot front scope to fail. Custom back-up rear sights are a good option to have as well, and most will fold out of the way when you’re not utilizing them. The better model back-up sights are made from polymer compounds or steel that stand up to the most challenging conditions.
Nothing will make you more miserable than an uncomfortable stock. The recoil your rifle produces isn’t quite like a canon, but it still has some kick. There are many stock options (not the Wall Street kind), in the marketplace to choose from. The better ones are made from high quality lighter weight materials. You don’t have to settle for an uncomfortable stock.
If for whatever reason you are not happy with the barrel your rifle came with, you can upgrade to one that works and feels best for your style of shooting. Having a lighter or heavier barrel, can make a big difference in how the gun feels, especially in a prolonged range session. If you prefer more accuracy, you might want to switch out to a longer barrel. A shorter barrel will work well for someone who enjoys a plinking style of shooting.
Adding a muzzle brake or suppressor is probably one of the easiest upgrades you can make for your AR 15. They can really make a difference in your shooting experience. It is no fun having to fight muzzle climb and recoil that can affect the accuracy of your shot, especially when firing multiple shots in succession. You may be surprised at how much better your shooting experience will be after upgrading to one of these.
You Can Build Your Own AR 15
Yes, you actually can build your own AR 15. Since the AR 15 is so easy to modify, it stands to reason that anyone with some level of mechanical knowledge can actually make it happen. Building your own rifle will definitely save you some money, and gives you the power to decide on the features you want your rifle to have.
Before you decide to go the DIY route, you will have to do decide if you want to build your AR 15 from scratch or buy one of the many kits that are on the market. Building from scratch will, of course, take a lot of research to round up all the different parts and components that go into an AR 15. Care must be taken that the components are compatible with each other as different parts makers engineer their stuff to different specifications.
A better alternative might be to choose to build from a kit that includes all of the parts and stuff you will need, as well as easy to read instructions in hard copy, online, and actual phone- in technical support. There are several different companies out there that sell complete build kits.
Midsouth Shooters, Palmetto State Armory, Tactical Daytona, Ground Zero Precision, and Cheaper Tan Dirt (it’s a real company), are companies that sell complete or partial kits depending on what you need and want. A simple internet search should put you in touch with any of them.
Things to Know About Owning an AR 15
The AR 15 is one of the most popular rifles in America. The platform is popular for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important reason, is the way AR owners can configure or individualize the rifle to them. The ability to customize and upgrade the rifle is quite appealing.
The versatility of the AR 15 is another reason for its popularity. The rifle is more than capable serving as a home defense weapon, a hunting gun, or a competition gun.
It can’t be overstated that the AR 15 owner, like any gun owner must follow the rules of shooting safety.
- Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
- Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond/around it.
The AR 15 is a wonderful rifle. The main reason I like it is because the darn thing is so much fun to shoot!