The AR-15 was a game changer, the AR-15 became the standard rifle of the US Military in 1970. Before our warriors carried the M14. The M14 is a big, bulky, powerful weapon. The M14 used a 7.62x51mm NATO(.308 Winchester) ammo, it held a 20 round box clip. It shot 700-750 rounds per min and went up to 500yds effectively. It was the standard issue rifle from 1959-1970. The reason we needed a new weapon was the M14 was to heavy at 9.4lbs empty and 10.7lbs fully loaded, and the solider could only carry anywhere between 50-75 rounds depending on how strong he was, this was a big issue when the M14 is a fully automatic weapon that shoots 700 rounds a minute. The rifleman could blow thru his ammo in only a few minutes. Enter the AR-15 or otherwise known as the M16 or CAR-15(Colt Automatic Rifle – 15). One of the major perks of the weapon was that a solider could carry 300+ rounds on his person when going on patrol, and the system only weighed in at 5.4lbs depending on the accessories on the gun such as sites and M204 grenade launcher.
The AR-15 was first produced by Arma-Lite and sold to Colt due to financial problems. Boy I bet Arma-Lite is kicking themselves now for losing out on that Military contract. They still produce the weapon for civilians but they do not have a Military contract like Colt does. The CAR-15 fires a 5.56mm NATO but it can be chambered for many different rounds. When first introduced during the Vietnam war it was universally hated amongst the soldiers. It had multiple problems that would later on be corrected and become one of the greatest small arms weapon ever produced and used universally amongst American Military Branches and many other countries Military’s. The AR-15 was introduced to the American Military as the M16 in 1962 when the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency(ARPA) ordered 1000 rifles for testing in its Vietnam Project Agile. The M16 received enthusiastic reviews and based on these reviews Defense Secretary McNamara ordered 85,000 M16’s for Vietnam and 19,000 for the Air Force. Once in the battle field the M16’s true colors started to shine and it was having numerous malfunctions and many media outlets were blaming the deaths of American soldiers on the weapon system. The weapon was put back thru a very strict testing regiment which found the weaknesses of the gun and corrected them. Some of the biggest weaknesses of the weapon was poor training when the weapon was issued along with inadequate cleaning supplies. The humid jungle caused many of the weapons malfunctions, once the US supplied the soldiers with proper cleaning supplies it helped make the weapon more reliable.
The military didn’t just stop with cleaning supplies, it went back to the drawing board and came out with the M16A1. Colt came up with replacement of the powder, combined with a new buffer to slow rate of fire, a chrome plated chamber and barrel to improve rust resistance, a closed prong flash-hider, forward bolt assist, new butt-stock w/storage for cleaning kit, and introduction of a 30-shot magazine was adopted and performed well for the duration of the 60’s and 70’s. In the late 70’s they introduced the M16A2 which was the last major change to the weapon. The weapon went thru a Product Improvement Program(PIP). The major changes were the enhancement of the diameter of the muzzle which extended the range of the weapon and the velocity of which the bullet travels, the rear sight was modified so the user could adjust it for greater accuracy, it incorporated a case deflector so it could be used by left hander’s, and the auto fire feature was switched to the three round burst feature which also promoted greater accuracy and control of the weapon because the recoil is at its minimum at 3 rounds, over 3 rounds the recoil is a lot greater.
Enough about the history of the weapon let’s get down to the nitty and gritty stuff that we love to hear about. I personally love this weapon, it is my favorite rifle on the market. There are other really nice weapons such as the H&K 416 which is totally BA but I just love the CAR-15(M16 or AR-15). The AR-15 has numerous accessories, such as sights, pistol grips, magazines, butt-stocks, cover guards, barrels, receivers. One thing that sets the AR-15 apart from other rifles for the enthusiast is that you can build it from the ground up. You can go online or to the local gun dealer and purchase every part of the weapon and build it yourself. So you can customize the weapon to your specific specs. I LOVE IT. You start with purchasing a lower receiver, then slap on a butt-stock either fixed, collapsible, or adjustable, then grab a butt-stock mounting kit, along with a buffer tube, next grab a firing trigger along with a trigger guard, then throw on a pistol grip and a forward grip(optional), then you will need another integral part the upper receiver, screw on the barrel which sends the bullet down range, after the barrel is installed you need a two piece hand rail, at the end of the barrel screw on a flash hider/compensator, next put on a gas block on the barrel, after that put on a bolt carrier group kit, and a charging handle. As you can tell there are a lot of parts that go into building a AR-15 but if you are an enthusiast that is what makes it fun. You can also by complete lower and upper kits that basically takes away all the customizing and gives you all your pieces in one part, it makes building your rifle a lot faster but it takes away from the experience just a little bit. Now once you have all these parts in place, its time for all the fun stuff such as sites, scopes, vertical grips, lasers and lights, bi-pods, and magazines.
The AR-15 can be calibrated to many different rounds such as .223 Remington, .45ACP, 5.7x28mm, 6.5mm Grendel, 6.8mm Remington SPC, .50 Beowulf, .50 BMG, and .458 SOCOM. I highly recommend not to chamber a .223 Remington into a 5.56mm NATO even though they are very similar rounds the 5.56mm NATO has an increased chamber pressure which can be dangerous, it is always better to be safe then sorry when using a weapon of any kind.
The CAR-15 showed it range in the Battle of Mogadishu, it was used on the ground by foot soldiers and also in the sky on helicopters by some of the best Special Forces Snipers in the world. SEAL Team Six and Delta Snipers used the CAR-15 a lot while in Mogadishu because they were fighting in urban warfare where they didn’t need a sniper rifle that could hit a 1000+ yard target they needed a weapon that could hit anywhere between 150-800 yard target. With a Leopold 10x power scope a CAR-15 could be adjusted to hit long-range targets, they also used the ACOG scope which helped them see at night and also in the day. It also helped because it could be suppressed which assisted them in hiding their position, it also gave them the ability to put a lot of lead down range and reach out and touch somebody quickly. One of the major complaints on the M16A2 round the 5.56mm NATO was that it was so powerful and aerodynamic that it would slice right thru the enemy going in one side and coming right out the other side clean. With the enemy being loaded on drugs such as Khat they would not fall when shot, they would keep going for a little while sometimes still engaging against our troops. The solider on the ground wouldn’t know if they took the enemy down or not because they would be able to run another 20-50 yards before they fell and at this point they would be out of the range or site of our troops. The soldier’s missed the 7.62 round that had a lower velocity rate but packed a whooping punch that would literally blow off limps and stop the enemy dead in his tracks. The NATO round was supposed to be more humane but put our troops at risk.
The M16A2 or AR-15 spawned many different weapon systems that are in use today. Many different companies have used the M16 platform and modified it to their specs. One weapon that is a direct descendant of the M16 is the M4 rifle which is used by many of our Special Forces Teams due to the platform being shorter and easier to use in Close Quarter Combat(CQC). Some of the different Teams that uses the M16 and M4 are Delta Force which is a Tier-One counterterrorism fighting team that recruits out of the Army mostly from the 82nd Airborne, and Green Berets, SEAL’s and SEAL DEVGRU or mostly know in the media as SEAT Team Six use the M16 and M4. SEAL Team Six is also a Tier-One counterterrorism fighting team. The SEAL’s recruit out of the Navy and SEAL Team Six members are the best of the best SEAL’s. Marine Force Recon Teams are a Special Operations team that draws from the Marine pool, they also pretty much only use the M16 and M4’s. DOG or Deployable Operations Group which is part of the Coast Guard branch use these weapons systems, the CIA Special Activities Division, SWAT, FBI HRT, or FBI SWAT all use this weapon system. As you can tell all of the top Special Forces units use this weapon because it is a classic and will be used within the teams for a long time to come.
I hoped that this article gave you some insight to the history of the AR-15, this gun has been given a big black eye in the media lately because of some of the tragic events that have happened over the past few years. The atrocities that were committed are nothing to turn a blind eye to but you also should have all the information before condemning something to purgatory. This is a truly wonderful weapons system and enhancement in technology that helped this country become the super power that it is today along with many other systems. Being able to own one of these weapons system is a right that every American should have and a choice that he/she should be able to make on their own. I love guns and I can understand why people do not like guns but banning guns is not the answer, because if you take guns away from the honest, hard-working, law-abiding citizens then they will only be owned by criminals and evil doers. Well this is not a debate that I am trying to get into here on this blog, I will leave it at that. I hope you enjoyed and if you have any pictures of your hand-built AR-15 or any AR-15 that you own, or any comments please leave them below. I love to read the thoughts and opinions of my readers.
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