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.
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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.
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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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After entering the U.S. Army in January 1972, the M-16 Rifle had been issued to the U.S. Military since
1966 and is still the main battle rifle for the military. In Basic Combat Training (BCT), all recruits were
required to qualify with the weapon. This also held true for the U.S. Marine Corps as well. At that
time the U.S. Air Force only required familiarization training, except for Security Police and Combat
Air Controllers, which required qualification with the weapon. The U.S. Navy also did not require
qualification with the rifle, except for SEALS and Security personnel. Most recruits found the M-16
to be fairly easy to operate and to disassemble and assemble. I must point out that our initial range
work revealed that the weapon had several operational failures; failure to feed, extraction, magazine
problems, and bolt issues. This had already came to light in combat during the Vietnam War. As
time progressed, the M-16 has become a much improved weapon system. As a combat infantryman
myself, most GI’s did not have much confidence in the caliber (5.56x45mm), against enemy combatants. To sum up, the AR-15 (M16 – Military), was easy to handle and operate.
Yes in the military setting we were made to accomplish many thing and for those that never used a gun but for drive bys with pistols or uzis but the m16vhas the kick just a tick above a 22 you do NOT NEED to use the Nato rounds whether it be the 5.56 or 7.62 round to hunt for anything but human all other things it’s overkill and to use a barr 50 cal even is way overkill if you’re shooting a deer at over a mile away somebody needs to take ir away from you and beat you to death with it. Civilians were never intended to receive these guns but I assume there is enough bad press that the Idiot in the dumb house needs to get.rid of them I say good luck as for the idiots screaming and crying about they’re are trampling all over you 2nd amendment rights read them some then look at when it was penned they wanted men armed so they could hunt and provide for there family and were using black powder which take up some military grade weapons and a few cases of beer with you boys to go hunting often wounding the animal instead of a clean kill with an actual hunting rifle. Instead of being taught using your AR15 which if you can’t prove you can dis assemble then than reassemble before your aloud to buy one that goes for all the AK’s SKS’sn miniuzi,s what ever and if you cant prove you know how to care for one you can’t buy one anyone can load and pull the trigger as fast as you can. What you need to be taught how to vote if everyone in the NRA voted there would be no Kamala Harris the Arabian Harlot of a VP think on that if Biden dies her and Pelosi have to much power already and as Biden continues into dementia and is allowing over 57,000 illegal from Mexico just this year and more each year thereafter that will bring their Covid mutations needed all the shots so that while their grease coats are arteries and there murder/rapists and MS13 can come in to further poisonous kids and make our kids speak Spanish instead of their American English because they refuse to learn English so thank you you holyer than thou who don’t vote the dumbocrats are in the white house because you didn’t vote you make me sick learn to vote and go out of your way to find each candidate feelings on guns and defunding the Police with civilian oversize that’s only qualification is they are black enough yelling loud enough is on the civilian over site over Police doing the best they can afraid if the big black man is going to be cooperative or try to kill him when he reaches the window to call for back up because the guy has a gun in his hand and won’t release and when or if he does ut starts to fight you to where you have to cuff him and get him calm the one thing no no one is showing that George Floyd, the other black youg man, and more recently the black girl killed as she stuck her knife once again in to the girl trying t get away why is it they are all saints I’m sorry but they were all criminals they weren’t nice or good human beings but because he was black that’s why he was taken down and died which the only thing wrong with it was the idiot with the camera and giving it to the highest bidder being set up as though the face of social conscience but they didn’t do there do diligence and see the guy was out for a buck and a neo nazi? As for the other killings other than the body cam foting the cell phones get whipped out to make the cops look bad. But if you Love your Guns south Vote maybe my 1 Vote for Trump and my wife voted for Trump but if I didn’t there wold have a dumbocrat voting for me don’t fight through riots fight at the ballot box become informed I just hope you pull your head out of your butt complaining about your rights to own guns even the ones meant for war start going to the ballot and casing an informed choice otherwise you’ll lose more than the AR15 you don’t know how to use and keep clean!
…..only problem i have is dumb russian rounds jam instead of load…..
First – The AR-15 in NOT a Military Rifle. Who ever wrote this article is obviously a non-Military gun hobbyist just trying to get published. This article was surface deep and served no purpose for new shooters getting acquainted with the AR-15. The author try’s to equate the AR-15 to the M-16… two entirely different rifles. I call BS on the article.
Kudos HughS. The AR 15 and M 16 are DIFFERENT rifles. They are similar but NOT the same.
I am a lifetime member of the NRA and am a firm believer in the 2nd amendment.
However I don’t believe I or any other civilian needs a fully automatic firearm (such as an M-16). If you want it, then get the special FFL needed. The AR 15 is a semi automatic rifle, much as numerous other kinds that don’t “look so scary”.
I am soooo tired of so much misinformation out there. The AR15 is an easy to use, effective weapon that can make a 90 pound girl equal to a 250 pound linebacker in a fight for life, if she knows how to use it. The anti gunners out there know that and they don’t like the fact any law abiding citizen can get one of these and can defend their own freedoms.
For the record, the 2nd amendment is to guarantee that “the people” will have the ability to fight back against a tyrannical government.
Plus, back to the article, there is NO mention to “new shooters” that you should NOT use 5.56 rounds in an AR15 for .223 Lacking that discussion can get someone seriously hurt. Also I have a problem with NO mention of how to clean said weapon after you use/practice with it.
Article needs a bit more depth.
I agree with this person.
Calling them “two entirely different rifles” is the stupidest thing i’ve heard all day.