Throughout history there have been many inventions and innovations, that have revolutionized the way things are today. These inventions range from aircraft, the firearm, electricity, to even antibiotics and many more.
“Throughout history there have been many inventions and innovations, that have revolutionized the way things are today.”
But if I had to name one thing that really was a big game changer and set the stage for all things like it that were yet to come, it would be the ArmaLite AR-15. This firearm is not only one of the most recognizable and impressing accomplishments in the field of weaponry, it is a stepping stone in what will come to be known as human innovation.
The AR-15 was designed by Eugene Stoner in 1956. It was designed out of a need for a selective fire rifle to replace the M1 Grand and several other rifles the US had used during WWII. The AR-15 was designed above all else to be a lightweight assault rifle. It was designed to shoot a new (at the time) lightweight, high velocity small caliber cartridge so as to allow a soldier to carry more ammunition. The AR-15 fires a 5.56x45mm NATO (.223 Remington) round.
The AR-15 (M16) was adopted by the US Military in the year 1959-early 1960. It has a 20 inch barrel, with an overall length of 39 inches. It uses a gas operating rotating bolt (direct impingement as it’s action. It has a feeding system of a detachable box magazine. It has a muzzle velocity of about 3,300 ft/s. Military versions are selective fire, meaning the user can typically switch firing modes from safe, semi (single rounds), three round burst, and fully-automatic. Military versions at fully automatic can fire at 750 rounds per minute. Civilian versions are typically semi-automatic, meaning only one round is fired for every pull of the trigger. The AR-15 weighs an approximate 6.55 Ib with a 20 round magazine depending on the style, manufacturer, and model. It has an approximate kill range of 500 yards.
As of 2013, the ATF estimates that American citizens on a national level own somewhere from 5-10 million AR-15s. Which even if it is extremely popular and probably the best selling gun in the U.S. it makes a very tiny dent in the total of 300 million firearms legally owned by Americans.
All in all the AR-15 has changed the world in many ways, by sculpting the battlefield and impacting us back home. It will continue to do so for many more years, since it is the benchmark of the gun industry. Whatever may be your opinion on the issue of civilian being allowed to posses AR-15s, just remember that even if you think they are dangerous. The ATF reports that in the five years leading up to 2014, handguns were used in 48% of homicides, while long guns (rifles) 2.4% and assault style weapons in an even smaller percentage of the 2.4%.
My Next Blog will be on the AK-47 the biggest threat and competitor to the AR-15.