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Invalid Arguments (Part 1) AR-15 “Assault Rifles”

When I get into a discussion regarding gun control I often run into people that have their minds made up that guns are bad. The majority of the time these people are just regurgitating what they have learned from the media which makes them ignorant. I don’t mean that in a negative connotation, I simply mean that they are uneducated about the topic that they are trying to defend. There are several point which, for me, makes anything the say invalid and that is

1) That the AR in AR-15 stands for “Assault Rifle”

2) They use the term “clip” to refer to how many rounds a rifle can hold, and

3) Their definition of “Assault Weapon”

Lets educate some people:

The AR-15 originated in 1948 when the Army designed the Operations Research Office, or the ORO. Their first task was to design better body armor. Until then, not very much research had been put in to exactly how a human was wounded in combat. They were looked into several situations when a person was struck with a projectile. The 3 main areas were:

  • Frequency of hits
  • Distribution of hits
  • The range at which most hits were sustained

They found that most hits were accurate under 300 meters and that most actual hits occurred under 100 meters. The ORO determined that the Army needed a low recoil, high velocity rifle capable of firing in semi-auto and full-auto.. It also needed to be light, only 6 lbs loaded, and capable of holding at least a 20 round magazine. It must also be able to penetrate a standard soldiers helmet at 500 meters

Fast forward to 1957 when the Army asked for bids to produce the rifle. The three main contenders were:

The Winchester .224 Lightweight Military Rifle

The Springfield Armory in .224

The Armalite AR-15 in .223

The Army chose the AR-15 due to several key factors including;

  • Inexpensive to manufacture
  • The inline stock made it easier to control in fully automatic mode
  • Accurate up to 350 yards

Colt bought the rights to the AR-15 in 1959. The Army changed the designation to the M16 and it entered service in 1963. They also eventually changed the standard cartridge to a 5.56×45 which is the standard NATO round. While there are lots of other issues about the M16 and its reliability during the Vietnam War, we will leave that for another discussion.

It seems like a long answer to a simple question. The “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite, the original manufacturer. In fact the AR-15 was based off of the design of the AR-10 which is a 7.62×51. Although Armalite designed several different weapons, the AR-10 and the AR-15 remain the most popular.

Stay tuned for the next article where I will explain the difference between a clip and a magazine, and not these kind either:



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