ArmaLite AR-15

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The AR-15 comes in many sizes and has many options, depending on the manufacturer. The part shown bottom center is the lower receiver with pistol grip and trigger assembly.
TypeSemi-automatic rifle
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1958–present
Production history
DesignerEugene Stoner, Jim Sullivan, Bob Fremont
ManufacturerArmaLite, Colt, Bushmaster, Rock River Arms, Stag Arms, DPMS Panther Arms, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Anderson, Daniels Defense, CMMG, Olympic Arms, DSArms, Spike's Tactical,[1] and others.
Mass2.27 kg–3.9 kg (5.5–8.5 lb)
Barrel length
  • 24 inches (610 mm)
  • 20 inches (510 mm) (standard)
  • 18 inches (460 mm)
  • 16 inches (410 mm) (civilian standard)
  • 14.5 inches (370 mm) M4 Military Standard
  • 11.5 inches (290 mm)
  • 10 inches (250 mm)
  • 7 inches (180 mm)
  • 6.5 inches (170 mm)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO and others; see list of AR platform calibers
ActionDirect impingement or Gas Piston[2] / Via a Rotating bolt
Rate of fireDepends on operator's speed when pulling trigger.[3]
Muzzle velocity975 m/s (3,200 ft/s)[4]
Effective firing range400–600 m (avg 547 yd)[5][6]
Feed systemVarious STANAG magazines. 5–100-round capacity[7][8]
SightsAdjustable front and rear iron sights

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle designed by the ArmaLite. The " AR" is short for "ArmaLite Rifle."[9]

The AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle that discharges a single shot with each pull of the trigger until empty. The military version is the M-16, manufactured by Colt Firearms, FNMI, Harrington Richardson, Daewoo, and others. The M16 and M4, unlike the AR-15, is a select fire (semi and fully automatic) magazine fed, gas operated, shoulder fired assault rifle.

Performance[change | change source]

First considered of little use, the AR-15 was considered to provide inferior accuracy to target shooters in the prestigious Service Rifle matches. The use of heavier match barrels and target sights by ArmaLite and heavier match bullets by the Sierra Bullet company produced accuracy so good that they have displaced the previous M1 and M16 rifles used in those matches.

The AR-15s light weight, accuracy, and light recoil has made it extremely popular with shooters and its use is spreading around the world. It is a useful collector's item, ranch or home security rifle, and small caliber hunting rifle and has become one of the most popular rifles in the world, and ArmaLite's are manufactured even today.

Design[change | change source]

The AR-15 is a lightweight, magazine-fed, air-cooled rifle with a rotating locking bolt actuated by propellant gas expanding within an internal gas piston operating system. It can be made in many different "styles" shooting many different types of ammunition such as the 9mm cartridge that is most often used in handguns.

The gas for this system is tapped from the barrel and travels down a gas tube that feeds it into the bolt carrier and thus the gas (i.e. piston) cylinder. The gas expands within the piston cylinder and forces the carrier rearward. A cam pin linking the bolt to unlocking surfaces of the bolt carrier forces the bolt to unlock from the barrel and allows the assembly to drive to the rear.

An error in an early article covering the AR-15 described the system as a "direct impingement" system. This long standing error is based on the fact that a true direct impingement system also moves propellant gasses from the barrel into the face of the carrier. Unlike pressurizing a piston cylinder in the bolt carrier, the gas of the direct impingement system simply passes into a shallow depression in the bolt carrier and actually blows the carrier to the rear.

Barrels of current commercial variants of the AR-15 are produced in chromed, un-chromed, and stainless steel barrels with little extraction difficulty in the more moderate climate in the US.

Even the earliest AR-15 internal piston systems were chromed plated and the rifles performed well if properly lubricated and cleaned. Nonetheless some rifle manufacturers have accused the internal piston system of inferiority and modified the rifles to an external piston system and driving rod pushing the carrier.

Two such designs were developed for the military and found unneeded. Extreme test firing (2 000 rounds with no cleaning or lubing and no malfunctions) confirmed findings that simple lubrication keeps the rifles functioning for extreme periods, but all manufacturers recommend more frequent cleaning.

References[change | change source]

  1. The Zen Cart Team; et al. "Spikes Tactical".
  2. "Carbine Length Piston Kit - XLP". Archived from the original on 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  3. 30 Caliber Magazine Clip in a Half Second! (With the world's FASTEST shooter, Jerry Miculek). YouTube. February 6, 2014.
  4. "Armalite AR-15". Archived from the original on August 8, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  5. "ARMALITE AR-15". Archived from the original on August 8, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  6. "Colt Model AR6721". Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  7. "AR-Stoner Mag AR-15 223 Remington Anti Tilt Follower SS". MidwayUSA. Archived from the original on 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  8. "SureFire". Archived from the original on 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2016-05-29.
  9. "History, section 1952-1954". Retrieved 2022-06-26.