What does AR stand for? If you don't know or you need more clarity, read below for a good explanation.
What Does AR Stand For?
As the gun control debate continues to rage, the misinformation tossed around by certain organizations has only cluttered the conversation. Indeed, “AR” has become a catchall term for “guns in danger of being overly regulated by the government.”
Let us clear up any confusion around this term and answer a common question that many of our readers have anyway. What exactly does AR stand for?
AR Stands For ArmaLite
Despite what anti-gun pundits might tell you, AR (as in AR 15, 10, etc.) does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” Instead, AR stands for ArmaLite.
ArmaLite is a company that originally designed its style of rifle platform in the 1950s. This platform type is where the AR 15 originated, and the 10s eventually evolved, as well. They had progenitor rifles, like the AR-5, which is a .22 caliber survival rifle and used by the U.S. Air Force.
What Determines an Assault Rifle?
This definition varies dramatically from state to state. This is one reason why there's such a vigorous debate about the definition of the weapon type in the first place.
Generally speaking, most gun users and firearm enthusiasts agree that assault rifles are those that allow you to switch between automatic and semi-automatic modes of fire.
Semi-automatic equates to one trigger pull per round fired. Automatic weapons allow you to fire continuous projectiles so long as you hold down the trigger.
Additionally, some organizations, such as the U.S. Army, have additional qualifications to determine whether a weapon meets the assault rifle specifications. The Army says that an assault weapon:
- must have ammunition supplied from a detachable box magazine
- must have an effective range of at least 300 meters or 330 yards
- has to be capable of selective fire
- must have an intermediate power cartridge, which is more powerful than a pistol but less powerful than a “standard” or “battle” rifle
These reasons are why AR-15s, despite constantly being called assault weapons or assault rifles, are usually not considered as such by the U.S. Army and many knowledgeable gun users. AR 15’s don’t have selective fire capabilities, as they can only fire semi-automatically.
These days, the majority of speakers on gun safety qualify assault rifles as any weapon that can fire automatically. However, this creates a logical inconsistency when you think about automatic pistols and other low-power automatic rifles.
Still, don’t let someone tell you that your AR 10 or AR 15 is an assault weapon because it clearly isn’t.
Many people also believe the AR-15s and AR-10s are assault rifles because of their appearance.
Why Does It Matter to Know This?
As the gun control debate continues to heat up and organizations don’t show signs of giving up the fight, you shouldn’t either. Knowledge is the best weapon in any debate or fight for public policy. It can help you assert your rights or fight back if someone threatens your weapons.
For instance, COVID-19 has inspired quarantine and restrictive measures, which are rolling out across the entire country.
This may be a prelude to some organizations or political groups’ attempts to legislate further gun regulations. However, the best way to stop these regulations is to clearly understand what you’re fighting for and what incorrect arguments your opponents may be using.
Watch this video as ClassicFirearms presents on military M4 clone vs civilian AR-15:
Make sure that you spread the word about what AR actually means and what it doesn’t apply to in the gun control debate. This way, AR 10s and AR 15s will be in much less danger of over-regulation and enthusiasts can continue to enjoy them as they have in the past.
What else do you want to learn about AR? Let us know in the comments section below.
- The AR-10: Why You Should Consider Owning One
- AR-15 Basics: A Guide To The AR-15 Platform
- AR-15 Basics: Shooting The AR-15
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 10, 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.