|AR-15 Assault Rifle|
|Barrel:||24 in (610mm)|
|Region of Origin:||United States|
400–600 m (avg 547 yd)
The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.
The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a selective fire assault rifle for the United States armed forces. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. The select-fire AR-15 entered the US military system as the M16 rifle. Colt then marketed the Colt AR-15 as a semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle for civilian sales in 1963. The name "AR-15" is a Colt registered trademark, which refers only to the semi-automatic rifle.
The AR-15 is based on the 7.62 mm AR-10, designed by Eugene Stoner, Robert Fremont, and L. James Sullivan of the Fairchild ArmaLite corporation. The AR-15 was developed as a lighter, 5.56 mm version of the AR-10. The "AR" in AR-15 comes from the ArmaLite name. ArmaLite's AR-1, AR-5, and some subsequent models were bolt action rifles, the AR-7 a semiautomatic survival rifle and there are shotguns and pistols whose model numbers include the "AR" prefix. 1973 Colt AR-15 SP1 rifle with 'slab side' upper receiver (lacking raised boss around magazine release button) and original Colt 20 round box magazine
ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt in 1959. After a tour by Colt of the Far East, the first sale of AR-15s were made to Malaysia on 30 September 1959 with Colt's manufacture of their first 300 AR-15s in December 1959. Colt marketed the AR-15 rifle to various military services around the world, including the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. The AR-15 was eventually adopted by the United States military under the designation M16. However, Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its semi-automatic variants (AR-15, AR-15A2) which were marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers. The original AR-15 was a very lightweight weapon, weighing less than 6 pounds with empty magazine, though later heavy-barrel versions of the civilian AR-15 can weigh upwards of 8.5 lbs.
Today the AR-15 and its variations are manufactured by many companies and have captured the affection of civilian shooters and police forces around the world due to their accuracy and modularity. (Please refer to the M16 for more history on the development and evolution of the AR-15 and derivatives.)
The trademark "AR15" or "AR-15" is registered to Colt Industries, which maintains that the term should only be used to refer to their products. Other AR-15 manufacturers make AR-15 clones marketed under separate designations, although colloquially these are sometimes referred to by the term AR-15.
Semi-automatic AR-15s for sale to civilians are internally different from the full automatic M-16, although nearly identical in external appearance. The hammer and trigger mechanisms are of a different design. The bolt carrier and internal lower receiver of semi-automatic versions are milled differently, so that the firing mechanisms are not interchangeable. This was done to satisfy BATF requirements that civilian weapons may not be easily convertible to full-automatic. Despite this, through use of a "Drop In Auto Sear" or "lightning-link," conversion to full automatic is very straightforward (sometimes requiring slight modification to the bolt carrier). Such modifications, unless using registered and transferable parts made prior to May 19, 1986, are illegal. (The Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986 has redefined a machinegun to include individual components where a semiautomatic firearm can be converted to full-automatic based on a 1981 BATF ruling on machinegun parts.)