What is an AR-15 anyway? A Sig Sauer MCX?

 

You’re retired. You never had a rifle much less an AR-15. What the heck is it? What is an AR-15 anyway?

The AR15 was developed in the late 1950s by Eugene Stoner as a lightweight 5.56x45mm version of the AR10 7.62 NATO. The first AR15 was made in 1959. It was intended to be a lightweight rifle that shot a lightweight round, so that infantrymen could carry more rounds per loadout when going into battle or patrol. More historical information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AR-15

The modern day civilian market AR15 is a semi automatic firearm. The original AR15 was a select fire (automatic) weapon that was intended for military use only. Please be aware that AR15s marketed as an M4 are not truly M4s unless they have select/automatic lower receivers with automatic fire control groups, and 14.5” barrels with carbine gas systems. M16s are also select fire/automatics with 18” or longer barrels with rifle gas systems and usually a carry handle on the upper receiver. Unless you are in a state that allows NFA gun ownership, and you are willing to wade through and then wait for all the paperwork to process, you will not be able to get an authentic automatic M4 or M16. Everything else is an AR15, no matter what’s stamped on the receiver.

Manufactured by dozens of companies nationwide, the ubiquitous synthetic and aluminum rifle, known as the AR-15, is a civilian variant of the military’s M-16 series of rifles and carbines. It’s favored because of its relative light weight and anchor points for numerous modifications, and serves as a type of lethal erector set for millions of Americans.

The AR-15 was used in the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif.; Aurora, Colo.; and Newtown, Conn. In Orlando recently the assailant usedSig Sauer a Sig Sauer MCX, a very similar weapon to the Ar-15.  The AR-15 and likeness appear in video games, movies, television shows and toy stores. Military variants of the weapon have been shipped overseas in very large quantities, arming U.S. allies, and sometimes enemies, on battlefields all over the world. For terrorist groups such ISIS and al-Qaeda, the possession of the black rifle in their fighters’ hands and in propaganda videos shows position, seniority and a sort of material mastery over their accidental American suppliers.

What is an “Assault Weapon”? If the term “assault weapon,” which entered the American lexicon in the late 1980s, originated as a political ploy by gun control advocates or as a marketing ploy by gun retailers is up for grabs.  What we do know is that the term “assault weapon” is not a technical term, a term of art used by firearms manufactures, or a military term.  The closest match in any of those categories is the term “assault rifle,” which is indeed a military term referring to a medium-caliber, shoulder-fired rifle that allows the shooter to select between semiautomatic mode and either fully automatic or three-shot-burst mode.  Because “assault weapons,” as defined by state and federal law, can fire in neither fully automatic mode nor three-shot-burst mode, they are not assault rifles.  
Unfortunately, despite both “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” being 
clearly defined in the Associated Press Stylebook, the media often conflates these two similar-sounding phrasesusing “assault rifle” when they mean “assault weapon”thereby further confusing the public on the relationship between so-called “assault weapons” and true weapons of war.  None of the assault rifles found on the battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq, or Vietnam are available for sale in American sporting goods stores.

I’m not going to get political here. Those are just the facts. Now you know a little but more than you did a few minutes ago. By the way, sales of this $500 or so gun have shot through the roof lately. Especialloy the Sig Sauer MCX.

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