The Origin Story of the AR-15: The American Weapon of Choice


The Origin Story of the AR-15: The American Weapon of Choice

The American weapon of choice, also known as the AR-15, began its debut in 1956 and quickly gained popularity. This semi-automatic rifle can typically hold thirty rounds of ammunition and is commonly used for defensive firearm training. The origin story of the AR-15 starts with ArmaLite Inc. and ends with the present day.


ArmaLite, Inc.

In 1956, the original manufacturer of the rifle introduced a semi-automatic weapon known as the ArmaLite Rifle. While you might think AR stands for automatic rifle or assault rifle, the gun was actually named after the company that engineered it. In the early stages of the weapon, ArmaLite focused on the rifle’s design and not the manufacturing process.


Colt and the United States Military

With little success in selling the rifle, ArmaLite sold the design to Colt's gun manufacturing company. In 1963, the United States military chose Colt to manufacture the rifle, which quickly became the standard rifle of choice for the American military. The rifle was used by troops in the Vietnam War and was known as the M-16.


Law Enforcement and Civilians

After the military adopted the rifle, it began to gain a reputation in the land of the free. Colt increased the production of the weapon and began selling to law enforcement. It wasn’t until 1989 that American civilians could purchase and use the rifle.


Federal Assault Weapon Ban

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapon ban act, the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. This outlawed AR-15s and similar assault rifles. The public was concerned with the issue of mass shootings, which prompted the banning of the automatic rifle. Ten years later, in 2004, the ban expired, and manufacturers started making the weapon again.


Present Day

In this part of the origin story of the AR-15, we delve into what the weapon is used for today. While the M-16 version of the rifle is still used worldwide for militaries, the AR-15 is popular among gun hobbyists and modern sport hunting. With gun owners’ access to safer practices like our AR-15 quick access safe, firearms are protected at all times until they’re ready to be used.


The United States military recently replaced the American weapon of choice with an M4 Carbine based on the M-16, but lighter and shorter. AR-15s are still popular, and civilians use them for hunting and sport. There is, without a doubt, many reasons why the AR-15 came to be one of the greatest weapons in American history.

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