Despite how it looks, the AR-15 is quite easy to operate. Most rookies exaggerate the difficulty of learning how to use an AR-15 because of its extremely aggressive, intimidating stance.
When in reality, even beginners can master this military rifle. Read on to see how to load, clear, and fire an AR-15.
Basic Step-by-Step Guide on How To Use an AR-15
How to Clear an AR-15
Step 1: Remove The Magazine
Remove the magazine by pressing the magazine release button on the right side of the gun. For right-handers, this is reachable by a finger even if you have your hand on the grip.
For lefties, this is reachable by using the right hand to access the button.
Step 2: Remove Round From Chamber
Pull out the charging handle to check if there is a round. If there is a round still inside, this will eject it from the chamber.
By doing this, you can also check if there is a round in the chamber.
Step 3: Lock The Bolt Open
The left side of the gun contains the bolt catch or the bolt release. To lock the bolt open, pull the charging handle all the way out while pushing in the lower portion of the bolt catch.
Doing this will make the charging handle lose and lock the bolt open. Push the handle back until it locks into place.
Other Way To Do This:
Another way to get the bolt lock to open is by inserting an empty magazine into your AR-15. Pull the charging handle and it will automatically lock open. The empty mag will activate the bolt catch causing it to lock.
Lastly, when it is open and clear, make sure to check if the chamber is empty. After that, switch the AR-15 to the safe position.
How to Load an AR-15
Step 1: Prepare The Bullets
Lay down the rifle and bullets on a table. Make sure you use a sturdy table underneath so you can press the magazine against it while loading the rounds.
Step 2: Load The Bullets
Once you’re ready, hold the AR-15 magazine with your non-dominant hand. Next, carefully align the round onto the top of the magazine. Beginners might have trouble with this at first, especially if they have shaky hands and aren’t used to heavy rounds.
Step 3: Make Sure Everything Is Aligned
Afterward, press on the round until it sinks into the magazine. Slide the round back to align it with the magazine’s back to prevent jamming in between shots.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat until you fully load the magazine.
Step 5: Load The Magazine
Grab the AR-15 rifle, align the fully loaded magazine with the magazine well, then push until the magazine locks into place. Tug on the magazine a bit to test if you inserted it correctly.
Pro Tip: Do not store your rifle loaded. If you’re learning how to use an AR-15 for home defense, we strongly suggest practicing loading the magazine as quickly as you can.
How to Fire an AR-15
Step 1: Load A Round
Once you lock the loaded magazine, pull the chamber to load a round into the rifle. As you cock the charging handle, you should see the round entering the chamber through the ejection port and upper receiver gap.
Step 2: Identify the Target
AR-15 shooters generally have two choices for aiming; you can either use optics or iron sights. If you’re using the default iron sights, simply flip the sight up, then aim at your target.
Optics, on the other hand, require a bit more work. Calibrate your optics correctly, check the batteries, and see if the reticle’s appearing on the optic screen.
Step 3: Fire The Rifle
Once you have your target locked, assume the correct shooting stance, switch the safety lock off, then pull the trigger while aiming at the target. Do not close your eyes midway through the shot—even if the loud shot shocks you a bit.
Diligent practice plays a key role in learning how to use an AR-15 properly. Admittedly, it has an aggressive, intimidating appearance, but the weapon itself takes little effort and knowledge to master. In fact, the military prefers these rifles for their convenience and functionality.
Just make sure to do your practice shooting in a safe, faraway location. The AR-15 is a powerful rifle that can take down even large beasts, such as bears, tigers, and lions. Inaccurate shots can definitely lead to life-threatening consequences.
Did this guide help you understand the basics of how to use an AR-15? Post your questions in the comments section below!
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