AR-15
Overview
 
The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.

The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite
ArmaLite
ArmaLite is the name of a small arms engineering facility founded in the early 1950s, and once associated with the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. ArmaLite was formally incorporated as a subdivision of Fairchild on October 1, 1954...

 as a selective fire
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 for the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt
Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

.
Encyclopedia
The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.

The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite
ArmaLite
ArmaLite is the name of a small arms engineering facility founded in the early 1950s, and once associated with the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. ArmaLite was formally incorporated as a subdivision of Fairchild on October 1, 1954...

 as a selective fire
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 for the United States armed forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

. Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt
Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

. The select-fire AR-15 entered the US military system as the M16 rifle
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

. Colt then marketed the Colt AR-15 as a semi-automatic
Semi-automatic rifle
A semi-automatic rifle is a type of rifle that fires a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically ejects the spent cartridge, chambers a fresh cartridge from its magazine, and is immediately ready to fire another shot...

 version of the M16 rifle for civilian sales in 1963. The name "AR-15" is a Colt registered trademark, which refers only to the semi-automatic rifle.

History

The AR-15 is based on the 7.62 mm AR-10
AR-10
The AR-10 is an American 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation...

, designed by Eugene Stoner
Eugene Stoner
Eugene Morrison Stoner is the man most associated with the design of the AR-15, which was adopted by the US military as the M16...

, Robert Fremont and L. James Sullivan
L. James Sullivan
Leroy James Sullivan is an American firearms inventor. Going by Jim Sullivan, he is noted as the designer of several 'scaled-down' versions of larger firearms. He is largely responsible for the M16, Stoner 63, and Ruger Mini-14 rifles as well as the Ultimax 100 light machine gun and Ruger M77...

 of the Fairchild ArmaLite corporation. The AR-15 was developed as a lighter, 5.56 mm
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

 version of the AR-10. The "AR" in AR-15 comes from the ArmaLite name. ArmaLite's AR-1, AR-5, and some subsequent models were bolt action rifles, the AR-7
AR-7
The ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer, designed by M-16 inventor Eugene Stoner, is a semi-automatic .22 Long Rifle rifle developed from the AR-5 adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and aircrew survival weapon. Its intended markets today are backpackers and other recreational users as a take-down utility...

 a semiautomatic survival rifle and there are shotgun
Shotgun
A shotgun is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug...

s and pistols
Handgun
A handgun is a firearm designed to be held and operated by one hand. This characteristic differentiates handguns as a general class of firearms from long guns such as rifles and shotguns ....

 whose model numbers include the "AR" prefix.

ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt
Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

 in 1959. After a tour by Colt of the Far East, the first sale of AR-15s were made to Malaysia on 30 September 1959 with Colt's manufacture of their first 300 AR-15s in December 1959. Colt marketed the AR-15 rifle to various military services around the world, including the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. The AR-15 was eventually adopted by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 military under the designation M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

. However, Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

 variants (AR-15, AR-15A2) which were marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers. The original AR-15 was a very lightweight weapon, weighing less than 6 pounds with empty magazine, though later heavy-barrel versions of the civilian AR-15 can weigh upwards of 8.5 lbs.

Today the AR-15 and its variations are manufactured by many companies and have captured the affection of civilian shooters and police forces around the world due to their accuracy and modularity. (Please refer to the M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

 for more history on the development and evolution of the AR-15 and derivatives.)

The trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 "AR15" or "AR-15" is registered to Colt Industries, which maintains that the term should only be used to refer to their products. Other AR-15 manufacturers make AR-15 clones marketed under separate designations, although colloquially
Colloquialism
A colloquialism is a word or phrase that is common in everyday, unconstrained conversation rather than in formal speech, academic writing, or paralinguistics. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier...

 these are sometimes referred to by the term AR-15.

Some notable features of the AR-15 include:
  • Aircraft grade forged 7075-T6 aluminium
    Aluminium
    Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

     receiver
    Receiver (firearms)
    In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

     is lightweight, highly corrosion-resistant, and easy to machine
  • Modular design allows the use of numerous accessories such as after market sights, vertical forward grip
    Vertical forward grip
    A vertical forward grip is a vertical grip that is designed to attach to a firearm for the forward hand . These aid in the maneuverability of the firearm, since the natural angle of a persons outstretched hand is more oriented to grasping objects at a vertical angle, rather than a horizontal one...

    s, lighting systems, night vision devices, laser targeting devices, muzzle brake
    Muzzle brake
    Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm or cannon to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire...

    s/flash hiders, sound supressors, bipod
    Bipod
    A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

    s, etc. and makes repair easier
  • Straight-line stock design eliminates the fulcrum created by traditional bent stocks, reducing muzzle climb.
  • Small caliber
    Caliber
    In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

    , accurate, light weight, high velocity round (.223/5.56x45mm)
  • Easily adapted to fire numerous other rounds
  • Front sight adjustable for elevation
  • Rear sight adjustable for windage
    Windage
    Windage is a force created on an object by friction when there is relative movement between air and the object.There are two causes of windage:# the object is moving and being slowed by resistance from the air...

    (most models) and elevation (some models. Front sight adjustable for elevation
  • Wide array of optical aiming devices available in addition to or as replacements of iron sights
  • direct impingement
    Direct impingement
    Direct impingement is a type of gas operation for a firearm that directs gas from a fired cartridge directly to the bolt carrier or slide assembly to cycle the action.- Evaluation :...

     gas system (as designed) with short or long stroke gas piston, or direct blowback
    Blowback
    Blowback may refer to one of the following:*Blowback *Blowback *Blowback , vacuum effect created in the barrel of a firearm when it is discharged...

     opperating systems available
  • Synthetic pistol grip and butt stock that do not swell or splinter in adverse conditions (regulated in some states)
  • High capacity magazine available where legal
  • Ergonomic design that makes the charging handle, selector switch (safety), magazine release, and bolt catch assembly easy to access.

Semi-automatic AR-15s for sale to civilians are internally different from the full automatic M-16, although nearly identical in external appearance. The hammer and trigger mechanisms are of a different design. The bolt carrier and internal lower receiver of semi-automatic versions are milled differently, so that the firing mechanisms are not interchangeable. This was done to satisfy BATF
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 requirements that civilian weapons may not be easily convertible to full-automatic. Despite this, through use of a "Drop In Auto Sear" or "lightning-link," conversion to full automatic is very straightforward (sometimes requiring slight modification to the bolt carrier). Such modifications, unless using registered and transferable parts made prior to May 19, 1986, are illegal. (The Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986 has redefined a machinegun to include individual components where a semiautomatic firearm can be converted to full-automatic based on a 1981 BATF ruling on machinegun parts.)

Automatic variants have a three-position rotating selective fire
Selective fire
A selective fire firearm has at least one semi–automatic and one automatic mode, which is activated by means of a selector which varies depending on the weapon's design. Some selective fire weapons utilize burst fire mechanisms to limit the maximum or total number of shots fired automatically in...

 switch, allowing the operator to select between three modes: safe, semi-automatic, and either automatic or three round burst, depending on model. Civilian AR-15 models do not have three-round burst or automatic settings on the fire selector. In semi-automatic only variants, the selector only rotates between safe and semi-automatic. Due to this, weapons modified to full automatic using a lightning-link are capable of full automatic fire only—unless a special full automatic fire select mechanism and modified selector-switch is substituted.

Operating mechanism

The main mechanism of operation for the rifle is known as direct gas impingement
Direct impingement
Direct impingement is a type of gas operation for a firearm that directs gas from a fired cartridge directly to the bolt carrier or slide assembly to cycle the action.- Evaluation :...

. Gas is trapped from the barrel as the bullet moves past a gas port located above the rifle's front sight base. The gas rushes into the port and down a gas tube, located above the barrel, which runs from the front sight base into the AR-15's upper receiver. Here, the gas tube protrudes into a “gas key” (bolt carrier key) which accepts the gas and funnels it into the bolt carrier.

The bolt and bolt carrier together form a piston, which is caused to expand as the cavity in the bolt carrier fills with high pressure gas. The bolt is locked into the barrel extension, so this expansion forces the bolt carrier backward a short distance in line with the stock of the rifle to first unlock the bolt. As the bolt carrier moves toward the butt of the gun, the bolt cam pin, riding in a slot on the bolt carrier, forces the bolt to turn and unlock from the barrel extension. (The gas system only serves to unlock the bolt while the projectile has long exited the barrel). Once the bolt is fully unlocked it begins its rearward movement along with the bolt carrier. The bolt's rearward motion extracts the empty cartridge case from the chamber, and as soon as the neck of the case clears the barrel extension, the bolt's spring-loaded ejector forces it out the ejection port in the side of the upper receiver. The bolt is much heavier than the projectile, and along with the recoil-spring pressure inside the stock buffer-tube performs the cartridge ejection function and chambers the following cartridge.

Behind the bolt carrier is a plastic or metal buffer which rests in line with a return spring that pushes the bolt carrier back toward the chamber. A groove machined into the upper receiver traps the cam pin and prevents it and the bolt from rotating into a closed position. The bolt's locking lugs then push a fresh round from the magazine which is guided by feed ramps into the chamber. As the bolt's locking lugs move past the barrel extension, the cam pin is allowed to twist into a pocket milled into the upper receiver. This twisting action follows the groove cut into the carrier and forces the bolt to twist and “lock” into the barrel’s unique extension.

Variants

The AR-15 rifle is available in a wide range of configurations from a large number of manufacturers. These configurations range from short carbine-length models with features such as adjustable length stocks and optical sights, to heavy barrel models.

Due to the rifle's modular design, one upper receiver can quickly and easily be substituted for another. There are many aftermarket upper receiver
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

s that incorporate barrels of different weights, lengths and calibers. Some available calibers for the AR-15 platform are the .223 Remington
.223 Remington
The .223 Remington is a sporting cartridge with almost the same external dimensions as the 5.56×45mm NATO military cartridge. The name is commonly pronounced either two-two-three or two-twenty-three. It is loaded with a diameter, jacketed bullet, with weights ranging from , though the most common...

/5.56x45mm
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

, .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

, 5.7x28mm, 6.5 mm Grendel, 6.8 mm Remington SPC
6.8 mm Remington SPC
The 6.8 mm Remington SPC is a rifle cartridge that was developed with collaboration from individual members of United States Special Operations Command . Based upon the .30 Remington cartridge, it is midway between the 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×51mm NATO in bore diameter and velocity...

, and .50 Beowulf
.50 Beowulf
The .50 Beowulf [12.7×42 mm Rb] is a rifle cartridge developed by Alexander Arms for use in a modified AR-15 rifle. The cartridge utilizes a rebated rim, sized to match the rim of the 7.62×39mm and 6.5 mm Grendel rounds...

. it is not recommended to chamber the 5.56x45 NATO into a rifle designated 223 Remington, due to the slighly increased chamber pressure in the 5.56mm cartridges, the two calibers are similar, but not identical.

When installing a new complete upper receiver, particularly one designed to handle a different caliber of ammunition (i.e., other than .223 Remington or 5.56x45 mm NATO), some modification to the contents of the lower receiver may be required, depending on the particular conversion. For example, a conversion to 9 mm typically would involve the installation of a magazine well block (to accommodate a typical 9 mm magazine, such as Uzi or Colt SMG), replacing the .223 hammer with one designed for 9 mm ammunition, and depending on the original stock, replacing the buffer, action spring and stock spacer with those designed for the new 9 mm AR-15 configuration. The 9mm cartridge fires from an unlocked breech, or straight blow-back—rather than a locked breech, because the spring and bolt provide enough weight to allow this type of functioning. These guns do not utilize the direct gas impingement method of operation like the original.

Some AR-15's like the POF, LWRCI, H&K, Sturm Ruger, Sig Sauer, and Adams arms offerings replace the DGI (direct gas impingement) operating system with a short stroke/long stroke gas piston system. These guns usually have modified bolt carriers, gas keys, and gas blocks. When fired, DGI systems dump high pressure hot gas through the gas tube to the bolt carrier key and into the bolt carrier group. This can rapidly heat up the bolt carrier group and cause excessive fouling, one of the main complaints about the design. Gas piston operating systems alleviate these problems, but can be the cause of other issues such as bolt carrier tilt.

Upper and lower receivers machined from a solid billet (block) of aluminum as opposed to an aluminum forging are offered by some manufactures. These include Sun Devil manufacturing, LAR Grizzly manufacturing, POF-USA, and Black Rain. This is usually done for added strength.

Upper receivers utilizing a monolithic rail system that combine a railed hand guard and upper receiver into one uninterrupted piece are made by companies like Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company
Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

, POF-USA, and VLTOR. This is done to provide a continuous uninterrupted rail section that runs along the top of the gun from the weapons charging handle to the front sight/gas block. This rail section is used for the mounting of sights, laser aiming devices, night vision devices, and lighting systems.

A side charging upper receiver has been developed by LAR Grizzly. The charging handle can be had in a left side, right side, or ambidextrous configuration. Since the charging handle is attached to the bolt carrier making it a reciprocating design, it can be utilized as a forward assist device as well.
Early models had a 1:14 rate of twist
Rifling
Rifling is the process of making helical grooves in the barrel of a gun or firearm, which imparts a spin to a projectile around its long axis...

 for the original 55 grain (3.6 g) bullets. This was changed to 1:12 when it was found that 1:14 was insufficient to stabilize a bullet when fired in cold weather. Most recent rifles have a 1:9 or 1:7 twist rate. There is much controversy and speculation as to how differing twist rates affect ballistics and terminal performance with varying loads, but heavier projectiles tend to perform better with faster rifling rates. Additionally, the various non .223 / 5.56 calibers have their own particular twist rate, such as 1:10, 1/11 and 1/12 for 6.8x43mm SPC, 1/10 7.62x39mm, and 1:12 for .308 Winchester.
Standard issue magazines are 20 or 30 round staggered-column magazines, traditional box magazines exist in 40 and 45 round capacities, and usable magazines have been constructed from a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, and high-impact plastics. Drum magazine
Drum magazine
A drum magazine is a type of firearms magazine that is cylindrical in shape, similar to a drum. Instead of rounds being stored flat, as in a more common box magazine, rounds in a drum magazine are stored in a spiral around the center of the magazine, facing the direction of the barrel.There are...

s with 90 and 100 round capacities exist, such as Beta C-Mag
Beta C-Mag
The Beta C-Mag is a 100-round capacity magazine designed by Jim Sullivan and adapted for use in numerous firearms firing the 5.56×45mm NATO, 7.62×51mm NATO, and 9×19mm Parabellum cartridges. C-Mag is short for century magazine, referring to its hundred-round capacity. It has two drum units, each of...

s. Low-capacity magazines, usually of a 5 or 10 round capacity, are available to comply with some areas' legal restrictions, hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

, and because larger magazines can inhibit shooting from a benchrest. Surefire
Surefire
SureFire, LLC. is a Fountain Valley, California company whose primary products are flashlights, headlamps, weapon mounted lights and laser sights. In addition, Surefire also manufactures knives, sound suppressors, Picatinny Rails and batteries. The company is a major supplier of flashlights to the...

 is now offering extended capacity magazines in 60 and 100 round capacity configurations. These magazines are a staggered column design.

Australia

AR-15 rifles, like all semi-automatic rifles, are subject to strong restrictions of ownership in all states and territories in Australia. The only means of legally owning an AR-15/M16-type rifle in Australia today beyond law enforcement is to have a Category D Firearms License (e.g. a professional animal culler), to have a Firearms Collector's License and the firearm deactivated (with the barrel plugged up and the action welded shut), or converted to blank fire if one is a member of a military re-enactement organization.

The heavy restrictions on semi-automatic rifles was introduced in 1996 in response to the Port Arthur massacre – one of the firearms used in the attack was an AR-15. Before 1996, AR-15 rifles were legal to own in a number of Australian states and territories, namely Queensland and Tasmania.

Austria

In Austria, semi-automatic centerfire rifles have to be classified as sporting or hunting firearms in order to obtain civilian-legal status. After this classification, they are considered "category B" firearms, which means that holders of gun licenses may own them. These licenses are shall-issue items if the applicant specifies a valid reason (self-defense at home for example is considered valid by law in any case), passes a psychological test and attends a gun-basics course.
Currently, only one centerfire AR-15 version, produced by German manufacturer "Oberland Arms" was given the B-classification. This Austrian version differs slightly from the original design in order to ensure that no military full-auto trigger, bolt and barrel may be installed. Additionally, bayonet lugs and flash hiders are prohibited on semi-automatic rifles while Muzzle brakes and compensators are legal. There is no minimum length for barrels, therefore even barrel lengths as short as 7.5" are possible.

Canada

The Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 classifies the AR-15 (and its variants) as a restricted firearm. For anyone wanting to lawfully own an AR-15, they must first pass a "Canadian Non-Restricted Firearms Safety Test", and then a "Canadian Restricted Firearms Test". This allows the applicant to obtain a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) valid for restricted firearms, subject to approval. With the introduction of strict gun control measures by former Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

 (Bill C-68), the AR-15 had originally been intended to be classified as a prohibited firearm, making it all but impossible to privately own one, however due to the presence of nationwide Service Rifle target shooting competitions, the AR-15 was granted a sporting exception.

As with all Restricted firearms (including most pistols, some shotguns, and some rifles) AR-15s are allowed to be fired only at certified firing ranges. In order to legally own and transport a Restricted firearm, the firearm must be registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police , literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as The Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal,...

 Canadian Firearms Program and must apply for an Authorization to Transport
Authorization to Transport
An Authorization to Transport is a permit issued by the Canadian Firearms Program allowing holders of Restricted and Prohibited class firearms to transport them in Canada...

 (or ATT) from the Chief Firearms Officer
Chief Firearms Officer
The Chief Firearms Officer or CFO is a Canadian official responsible for Possession and Acquisition Licences, authorizations to transport, authorizations to carry, transfers of firearms, and gun show sponsorship approvals. Each province has a CFO....

 (CFO) for their province or territory. Additionally, the firearm must be unloaded, deactivated by a trigger or action lock, and be in a locked, opaque container during transport.

The issuance of ATTs varies considerably from province to province, and is generally reflective of a particular province's political and social levels of acceptance toward gun ownership. For example, in Alberta, where firearms ownership is widely accepted, generally a single ATT is promptly issued that allows citizens to transport firearms to border crossings, gunsmiths, and shooting ranges. Firearms transfers in provinces such as Quebec can take up to 3 months to process.

Germany and Finland

In Germany and Finland, possession of semi-automatic rifle
Semi-automatic rifle
A semi-automatic rifle is a type of rifle that fires a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically ejects the spent cartridge, chambers a fresh cartridge from its magazine, and is immediately ready to fire another shot...

s, including the AR-15, is legal, provided that the rifle's owner acquires a permit for owning one. A license is required for each individual firearm and there needs to be a specific reason for ownership such as participation in the shooting sports and hunting.

For German hunters, their semi-automatic firearm's magazine must be modified in such a way that its maximum capacity is only 2 rounds (excluding handguns), meaning that when hunting only 3 shots in total can be fired (as one additional round is loaded in the chamber) without reloading.

Sweden

The AR-15, like all other semi-automatic rifles, is legal for individuals who need one for competitive use (IPSC rifle or 3-gun matches). A valid competition license is required, and all weapons are registered with the police. There are no banned "assault weapon" features or parts. However, the AR-15 is not allowed for hunting use.

United Kingdom

As with all semi-automatic, centerfire rifles, AR-15s are classed as a Section 5 weapon (i.e. a person must provide an exceptional reason and gain permission from the Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

, making ownership all but impossible for a private citizen.) However, AR-15s in a manually operated straight pull configuration or semi-automatic AR-15s that are chambered to fire a .22 rimfire cartridge are legal and can be held on a standard Section 1 Firearms Certificate. There are no restrictions on 'assault weapon features' in the UK, and no restrictions on magazine capacity. There are a number of UK manufacturers of "straight-pull" AR-15 variants. Southern Gun Company has tried to introduce a 9mm "self-ejecting" variant for gallery rifle shooting nicknamed the "Unicorn" but, despite numerous units being sold on the understanding that the rifle was a compliant Section 1 firearm, the rifles were seized and subjected to stringent testing by the UK licensing authority's Forensic Science Services (FSS). A small number of pre-production models were found to be non-compliant with section 1 status. However, later models were deemed Section 1 compliant and were returned to their owners.

United States

There are no federal restrictions on the ownership of AR-15 rifles in the United States. During the period 1994–2004 variants with certain features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

s, and bayonet lugs were prohibited for sales to civilians by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, , , was an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement that became law in 1994. It is the largest crime bill in the history of the US at 356 pages and will provide for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and...

, with the included Assault Weapons Ban
Federal assault weapons ban
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons"...

. Included in this was a restriction on the pistol grip
Pistol grip
On a firearm or other tool, the pistol grip is that portion of the mechanism that is held by the hand and orients the hand in a forward, vertical orientation, similar to the position one would take with a conventional pistol such as the M1911....

 that protrudes beneath the stock, which was considered an accessory feature under the ban and was subject to restrictions. Some rifles were manufactured with a grip not described under the Ban installed in its place. Those AR-15s that were manufactured with those features were stamped, "Restricted Military/Government/Law Enforcement/Export Only" as well as the accompanying full capacity magazines. The restrictions only applied to guns manufactured after the ban took effect. It was legal to own, sell, or buy any gun built before 1994. Hundreds of thousands of pre-ban ARs were sold during the ban as well as new guns redesigned to be legal.

Since the expiration of the Federal AWB in September 2004, these features became legal in most states. Since the expiration of the ban the manufacture and sale of then-restricted rifles has resumed completely.

At least two states regulate possession of AR-15 rifles either by the restriction of certain features or outright bans of certain manufacturers' models. For example: the A3 tactical carbine pictured above is legal for sale and possession in the United States generally, but is illegal for sale in California.
California

The Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Act of 1989 banned Colt AR-15 rifles by name. The 2000 Assault Weapons ban went further and banned AR-15s made by other manufacturer's by name such as Bushmaster, PWA, and Olympic Arms. After the expiration of the 2004 Federal Assault Weapon Ban there was a renewed interest in the AR-15 rifle and AR-15 styled rifles. It is estimated that some 400,000 California Legal AR-15s exist, with another 100,000 added each year. It should be noted that the term 'AR-15' is used loosely and broadly by the non-shooting public to refer to any rifle that represents a semi-automatic (one bullet shot per pull of the trigger) version of the military fully automatic (more than one round shot per pull of the trigger) version known as the M16. The M16 is a cosmetically similar military rifle to the AR-15 used worldwide by law enforcement and militaries and in the USA is strictly controlled by the National Firearms Act (NFA) enforced federally by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 (BATFE or just 'ATF'). These following descriptions only adhere to the civilian legal semi-automatic versions in California which are under the purview and additional restrictions of California firearms law. Enforcement of California firearms laws are administrated by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) as they incur no federal triggers for firearms violations. There are three legal ways to own an AR-15/AR-15-type rifle in California:
  1. Registered Assault Weapon: If the rifle was owned before Jan 1, 2000 and registered with the state, it is a Registered Assault Weapon (RAW) under CA law. No new registrations are permitted. RAW rifles can have features which are prohibited in unregistered rifles. This category is the ONLY one which allows for the use of the name 'AR-15' on the firearm itself, to whom, Colt Manufacturing Company owns the rights to. California has banned the AR-15 rifle specifically by name. Therefore, no other rifles are legal possess with such name without having first having been lawfully registered as an assault weapon with the California Department of Justice. Otherwise, one is in felony possession of an unregistered assault weapon for which no legal remedy exists if kept beyond the previously granted DOJ assault weapon registration grace period.
  2. Fixed magazine Rifle: This style of rifle is made by combining an AR-15 upper receiver with an AR-15 lower receiver which has not been banned by specific name, and which has a fixed, non-detachable 10-round (maximum, anything above 10 is a felony) magazine. In such a configuration, otherwise prohibited features such as a telescoping stock, pistol grip, and flash hider may be present. While formerly prohibited under the now-expired federal assault weapon ban of 1994–2004, the presence of a bayonet lug is not prohibited by California state law and can be present on firearms without violation. However, the magazine cannot be detachable, so to load the rifle the shooter must either "top load" or use a tool to release the magazine lock (such as the tip of a bullet in 'Bullet Button' equipped rifles). To top-load, the shooter pulls the rear takedown pin, hinges the upper receiver on the front pivot pin, and loads the now exposed magazine. Alternatively, several 'magazine lock' devices are available which replace the magazine release button with an inset pin that requires the use of a special tool to release the magazine, thereby, disallowing a readily 'detachable magazine,' to be compliant with California state firearms law.
  3. Featureless Rifle: If a rifle has none of the prohibited features (pistol grip, telescoping or folding stock, flash hider, grenade/flare launcher, forward pistol grip), the rifle may be used with legally owned large-capacity magazines that were in possession in the state of California PRIOR to January 1, 2000. Again, a bayonet lug is not a prohibited feature as noted above. There are several products available on the market to configure featureless rifles. To be compliant with the California state law, special grips are available which prevent the thumb and the web of the hand from going behind and below the top of the exposed trigger as would be the case with a pistol grip configuration. They are therefore not a prohibited wrap-around style grip. One specific example is where the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms attests by sworn testimony that the 'MonsterMan Grip' is not a pistol grip and therefore legal when used on a detachable magazine semiautomatic centerfire rifle with none of the features listed in CA PC 12276.1(a)(1)(A-F) as per sworn testimony of Frank Navarro, CA DOJ Bureau of Firearms Special Agent, in the case of People vs. Haack and Haack, California County of Tulare Superior Court, on November 3, 2010. Separate receiver extensions (buffer tubes) to contain the recoil spring and buffer assembly may be used in conjunction with special stocks without prohibited grips or stock adapters which attach to the pistol grip mount to be compliant with the state firearms laws.


Note: Most AR-15 manufacturers now make lower receivers which qualify as "Off-List" Lower (OLL) receivers which are legal to possess and use in the state of California. With regards to high capacity magazine devices, after January 1, 2000, it is illegal to offer for sale, import, manufacture, give, or lend (although it is legal to possess, use, buy, or receive) any detachable box magazine with a capacity exceeding 10 cartridges. The California State Attorney General's website indicates it is illegal to 'buy' in their FAQ; however, no such wording exists in the law. It is presumed that such wording was left out of the law specifically because those holding a California State Assault Weapons Permit, an armored car transport/carrier or security company and its personnel are able to 'buy' or purchase such high capacity magazines to carry out their duties even if not part of law enforcement entities. Individuals possessing such magazines at a lawful location such as a gun range may only allow use of their lawfully owned high-capacity magazines by another if they are in the immediate vicinity of the person using such items. All magazines acquired AFTER (and including) January 1, 2000 must be limited to 10 rounds or be in felony possession of an illegal high-capacity magazine.
(Ref: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/regagunfaqs.php)

Legal aspects of an AR-15

Under U.S. firearms laws, only the lower receiver of the AR-15 is considered a firearm and subject to purchasing restrictions. (This is not universally the case with rifles. On some other rifles, such as the FN FAL
FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

, Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch GmbH is a German defense manufacturing company that produces various small arms. Some of their products include the SA80, MP5 submachine gun, G3 automatic rifle, the G36 assault rifle, the HK 416, the MP7 personal defense weapon, the USP series of handguns, and the high-precision...

 91, 93, (G-3, G-33), 94, MP-5 or SP-89 (plus clones), the lower receiver is the serial-numbered part, and thus the firearm.) The AR-15 upper receiver assembly is considered a part, and may be purchased and mail-ordered in most locations. This is a desirable feature for enthusiasts, who can purchase a number of upper receivers (often in different calibers and barrel lengths) and interchange them with the same lower receiver.

Adding a shoulder stock to an AR-15 with a barrel shorter than 16" would constitute constructing a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR) under NFA rules – subjective to a $200 tax stamp. Constructing an AR-15 pistol using a lower receiver which had already been designated a rifle by the manufacturer (shipped out for distribution), not just described as such on an BATFE form 4473 when sold only as a receiver would constitute the construction of such a firearm, since the pistol was constructed from an existing rifle. The receiver, or serial-numbered part is still considered a firearm, but a receiver has unique status assigned by the Gun Control Act of 1968 as amended, and ATF regulations or rulings. ATF ruling 07-07-2009 illustrates a receiver's unique legal status even if the receiver can only be made into a rifle. Under the US v Thompson-Center Supreme Court ruling, an individual can possess parts for both the rifle and pistol so long as they are not assembled improperly.

If a lower receiver is designated and transferred as a pistol from an FFL dealer to a consumer purchaser, the owner can either assemble it as it was intended in pistol form or make a rifle out of it by installing a butt stock to lower pistol receiver and mate it with an upper receiver that possesses the federal minimum length of a 16" barrel (or short-barreled rifle if the barrel is less than 16" long and the appropriate tax stamp fee of $200 on a Form 1 PRIOR to construction). This change effectively creates legally a long gun which cannot be reverted back to a pistol configuration or the person would be in violation of having 'created' a short-barrel rifle. However, the saying "once a rifle always a rifle" comes into play as BATFE maintains that the finding in US vs. Thompson Contender, Inc. only applies to products of Thompson Contender and not to any other companies' products. With Thompson Contender products, the Supreme Court has ruled as above. No person/company to date has challenged the BATFE on this point with respect to other products under the same ruling, and as such, is untested legal grounds This has changed under atf ruling 2011–4 which states "A firearm, as defined by the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3), is made when unassembled parts are placed in close proximity in such a way that they: (a) serve no useful purpose other than to make a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; or (b) convert a complete weapon into such an NFA firearm. A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when parts within a kit that were originally designed to be configured as both a pistol and a rifle are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length). A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(3) and (a)(4), is not made when a pistol is attached to a part or parts designed to convert the pistol into a rifle with a barrel or barrels of 16 inches or more in length, and the parts are later unassembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., as a pistol). A firearm, as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4), is made when a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, is assembled or produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle." Effective July 25,2011 Furthermore, adding a forward pistol grip to an AR-15 designated as a pistol constitutes manufacture or an AOW (any other weapon). Both of these actions require an approved "Form 1" and payment of a $200 tax for the short barrel conversion or a $5 tax for the AOW conversion PRIOR to the actual construction of the item. Current wait times for approval average 3–4 months during which time no modifications or construction may be done.

Malfunction

With the plethora of manufacturers of complete weapons and aftermarket barrels, there is a potential hazard associated with chamber specifications. Both civilian (SAAMI) specification .223 Remington and 5.56 mm NATO are available. Though the external dimensions of the two cases are the same and both chambers typically accept both types of ammunition, the firing of military specification ammunition in civilian specification chambers can produce chamber pressures greater than the barrel is designed to handle. Internally the 5.56x45mm case wall is thicker, and the round itself is typically loaded to produce higher pressure than the .223. The most common result of firing military 5.56x45mm ammunition in a .223 Remington chamber is that the primer can be forced out of the case by chamber pressure, often resulting in the primer becoming lodged somewhere in the action of the rifle, and disassembly of the rifle is often necessary to remove the jammed primer. Military specification chambers typically have a more open throat area producing less pressure and can handle both types of ammunition.

A few AR-15 manufacturers incorporate the use of a hybrid chamber specification known as the Wylde chamber. Designed by and named after Bill Wylde, this chambering was designed to accurately shoot the military ball ammo of the day while still feeding reliably. Coincidentally, it shoots the longer 80 gr bullets commonly used in the sport of Highpower Rifle Competition very well and is one of the preferred chambers for that use. While the Wylde chamber allows for optimal seating depth of 80 grain bullets over .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO, it is capable of accepting both ammunition types. The Wylde chamber is used by a few manufacturers who sell "National Match" configuration AR-15 rifle, barrels, and upper receivers. The type of chamber, manufacturer, and rifling twist in inches is typically found stamped into the barrel in front of the front sight assembly. An additional point of concern in the design is the inertial firing pin. A lightweight firing pin rides in a channel inside the bolt unrestrained. When the bolt locks forward during loading, the firing pin typically rides forward and impacts the primer of the chambered round. In military specification ammunition and quality civilian ammunition, this is not normally enough to fire the round and only leaves a small "ding" on the primer. With more sensitive primers or improperly seated primers, this can cause a slamfire
Slamfire
A slamfire is a premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber. Slamfires are most common in military firearms that have a free-floating firing pin, as opposed to a spring-loaded one...

 during loading.

Note: This situation is particularly poignant for owners of AR-15 rifles as a previous non-felon named David Olofson
David Olofson
David Olofson is an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison by the U.S. Government on the charge of "transferring an unregistered machine gun" after he lent his 20-year old semi automatic Olympic Arms AR-15 style rifle to a...

, an Army Reservist
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

 with 16 years in the US Army, loaned a 20-year-old AR-15 rifle to a prospective buyer for four months which was found to have fired multiple rounds on a single trigger pull at a gun range. After law enforcement intervention, he was charged with and found guilty in January 2008 of illegally transferring a machinegun when the AR-15 was found to have malfunctioned (defense contention)/purposely-modified (prosecution contention), was sentenced to thirty months in the Sandstone FCI federal prison in Wisconsin by a Federal Judge. The end result of this case finds that any firearm, including malfunction, which produces more than one discharge per pull of the trigger, is a machinegun, and thereby, its possessor or transferor, unless registered under provisions of the NFA is a felon.

AR-15 manufacturers

  • Adcore Defense
  • Alexander Arms
    Alexander Arms
    Alexander Arms is an American manufacturer of firearms. It is most known for the .50 Beowulf cartridge designed by its founder, Bill Alexander. The company produces AR-15s chambered in .50 Beowulf and 6.5mm Grendel, which it designed in cooperation with Competition Shooting Sports...

  • American Spirit Arms
    American Spirit Arms
    American Spirit Arms is a manufacturer of firearms and firearm components. Their products include complete rifles, assemblies, parts and accessories. The company's products are built in the US, at their facility in Scottsdale, AZ....

  • ArmaLite
    ArmaLite
    ArmaLite is the name of a small arms engineering facility founded in the early 1950s, and once associated with the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. ArmaLite was formally incorporated as a subdivision of Fairchild on October 1, 1954...

  • Barrett Firearms Manufacturing
  • Black Rain Ordinance
  • Bushmaster Firearms International
  • Bravo company manufacturing
  • C3 Defense
  • Charles Daly firearms
    Charles Daly firearms
    Charles Daly was a firearms manufacturer and importer, located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in the United States.-History:Charles Daly was born in New York City on October 12, 1839...

  • Colt's Manufacturing Company
    Colt's Manufacturing Company
    Colt's Manufacturing Company is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836 by Sam Colt. Colt is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century...

  • CORE15 Rifle Systems
  • CMMG
  • Crusader Weaponry
  • Daniel Defence
  • Del-Ton
  • Diemaco
    Diemaco
    Diemaco was a Canadian defense company based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, that manufactured the C7 family of rifles under a licence from Colt. It was acquired by Colt on May 20, 2005, in a $18.2 million purchase from parent company Héroux-Devtek Inc, which had purchased Diemaco in 2000....

    /Colt Canada
  • Doublestar Corp
  • DPMS Panther Arms
    DPMS Panther Arms
    DPMS Panther Arms manufactures a wide range of military and civilian rifles in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The rifles are chambered for the .223 Remington, 5.56x45mm NATO, .308 Winchester, .260 Remington, .300 Remington SA Ultra Mag, 6.8mm Remington SPC, and .204 Ruger cartridges, among others...

  • DSA/DS arms inc
  • Franklin Armory
  • LAR Grizzly manufacturing
  • Heckler and Koch
  • High Standard Manufacturing Company
    High Standard Manufacturing Company
    High Standard Manufacturing Company Inc. is an American manufacturer of firearms, based in Houston, Texas. The company was originally founded in Hamden, Connecticut in 1926 as a supplier to the numerous firearms companies in the Connecticut Valley.-History:...

  • Hogan guns
  • Huldra Arms
  • JP Enterprises
  • Izhmash/Molot Russia (rumored)
  • Knight's Armament Company
    Knight's Armament Company
    Knight's Armament Company is an American firearms and firearms parts manufacturer.It is owned by C. Reed Knight and based in Titusville, Florida. KAC is best known for producing the Rail Interface System and the Rail Adapter System grips for military firearms...

  • LaRue Tactical
  • Legion Firearms
  • Les Baer
    Les Baer
    Les Baer Custom Inc. is an American weapons manufacturer of semi-custom M1911-pattern pistols and AR-15 type rifles. Les Baer Custom was founded by the gunsmith Les Baer, Sr. in 1991 in LeClaire, Iowa.-History:Les Baer Custom Inc...

  • Lewis Machine and Tool Company
    Lewis Machine and Tool Company
    Lewis Machine & Tool Company was founded by Karl Lewis in 1980. LMT started its business by providing law enforcement and government agencies with military type weapons and accessories. Today, LMT still provides law enforcement and government agencies with weapons, but they have now also...

  • LWRCI /Land Warfare Resources Corporation
    Land Warfare Resources Corporation
    LWRC, formerly known as Leitner-Wise Rifle Company, Inc. and Land Warfare Resources Corporation, is a CAGE defense contractor and firearms manufacturer, founded in 1999, and based in Cambridge, Maryland. From 1999 to January 2006, the company was primarily engaged in research and development. In...

     International
  • Next Generation Arms
  • Norinco
    Norinco
    The China North Industries Corporation , official English name Norinco, manufactures vehicles , machinery, optical-electronic products, oil field equipment, chemicals, light industrial products, explosives and blast materials, civil and military firearms and ammunition, etc...

     (China)
  • Oberland Arms
  • Olympic Arms
    Olympic Arms
    Olympic Arms, Inc. manufactures and markets AR-15 and M16 pattern rifles, carbines and pistols. Olympic also manufactures Colt 1911 series 70 style pistols. All products currently manufactured by Olympic are sold under the Olympic Arms brand name....

  • Palmetto State Armory
  • Para-USA/Para-Ordnance
    Para-Ordnance
    Para-Ordnance, is a Canadian firearms manufacturer founded in Toronto in 1985 by two childhood friends, Ted Szabo and Thanos Polyzos. Szabo was born in Hungary and his family fled the country when the Russians invaded during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Polyzos was born in Greece and later...

  • Patriot Defense Arms
  • POF-USA Patriot ordnance factory
  • Remington Arms
    Remington Arms
    Remington Arms Company, Inc. was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. It is the oldest company in the United States which still makes its original product, and is the oldest continuously operating manufacturer in North America. It is the only U.S....

  • Rock River Arms
    Rock River Arms
    Rock River Arms, Incorporated is a manufacturing company based in Colona, Illinois that manufacturers parts and accessories for AR-15/M16 type rifles, as well as complete firearms.-Law Enforcement Use:...

  • Sabre Defence
    Sabre Defence
    Sabre Defence Industries is an American manufacturer of firearms and firearm parts and accessories. It is contracted by the United States armed forces for parts and mounts for the M2 Browning machine gun and Minigun...

    /Manroy USA
  • Seekins Precision
  • Sharps Rifle Company/Sharps rifle
    Sharps Rifle
    Sharps rifles were those of a series begun with a design by Christian Sharps. Sharps rifles were renowned for long range and high accuracy in their day.-History:Sharps's initial rifle was patented September 17, 1848 and manufactured by A. S...

  • Sig Sauer
  • Smith & Wesson
    Smith & Wesson
    Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world...

  • Special Ops Tactical
  • Spikes Tactical
  • Stag Arms
    Stag Arms
    Stag Arms is a firearms manufacturer founded in May 2003 and located in New Britain, Connecticut. Stag Arms is a manufacturer of the AR-15 type rifle, marketed as Stag-15 rifles. Stag advertises that all their weapons and accessories are made in the United States...

  • Sturm, Ruger
    Sturm, Ruger
    Sturm, Ruger & Company, Incorporated is a Southport, Connecticut-based firearm manufacturing company, better known by the shortened name Ruger. Sturm, Ruger produces bolt-action, semi-automatic, full-automatic, and single-shot rifles, shotguns, semi-automatic pistols, and single- and double-action...

  • Vulcan Armament
  • Wilson Combat
    Wilson Combat
    Wilson Combat is a custom pistol manufacturer located in Berryville, Arkansas that specializes in customizing and manufacturing M1911 pistols. First started under the name "Wilson's Gun Shop" in 1977, Bill Wilson started his new gunsmith business in the back of the family jewelry store, “Wilson's...

  • Windham Weaponry
  • Yankee Hill Machine
  • Z-M Weapons
    Z-M Weapons
    Z-M Weapons is a firearm design and manufacturing firm based in Bernardston, Massachusetts.The company specializes in the AR-15, M16, and its own LR-300 rifle...


Inches

  • .357 Sig
    .357 SIG
    The .357 SIG pistol cartridge is the product of Swiss-German firearms manufacturer SIG-Sauer, in cooperation with the American ammunition manufacturer Federal Cartridge. While it is based on a .40 S&W case necked down to accept bullets, the .357 SIG brass is slightly longer...

  • .40 S&W
    .40 S&W
    The .40 S&W is a rimless pistol cartridge developed jointly by major American firearms manufacturers Winchester and Smith & Wesson. The .40 S&W was developed from the ground up as a law enforcement cartridge designed to duplicate performance of the FBI's reduced velocity 10mm cartridge which could...

  • .400 Corbon
    .400 Corbon
    The .400 Corbon is an automatic pistol cartridge developed by Cor-Bon in 1997. It was created to mimic the ballistics of the powerful 10 mm Auto cartridge by means of a .45 ACP case, necked down to .40 caliber with a 25 degree shoulder....

  • .41 Action Express
    .41 Action Express
    The .41 Action Express is a pistol cartridge developed in the 1980s to reproduce the performance of the .41 Magnum cartridge in semi-automatic pistols.-History:...

  • .45 GAP
    .45 GAP
    The .45 G.A.P. pistol cartridge was designed by Ernest Durham, an engineer with CCI/Speer, at the request of firearms manufacturer Glock to provide a cartridge that would equal the power of the .45 ACP but was shorter to fit in a more compact handgun, and with a stronger case head to reduce the...

  • .45 Super
    .45 Super
    The .45 Super is a smokeless powder center fire metallic firearm cartridge developed in 1988 by Dean Grennell, a well-known writer in the firearms field as well as managing editor of Gun World magazine...

  • .45 ACP
    .45 ACP
    The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

  • .45 Winchester Magnum
    .45 Winchester Magnum
    The .45 Winchester Magnum is a .45 caliber rimless cartridge intended for use in semi-automatic pistols. The cartridge is a stretched version of the .45 ACP with additional strengthening in the web area to accommodate the higher operating pressure...

  • .50 Action Express
    .50 Action Express
    The .50 Action Express is a large caliber handgun cartridge. It was developed in 1988 by Evan Whildin of Action Arms. The .50 AE is one of the most powerful pistol cartridges in production.-Overview:...


Metric

  • 5.45x39mm
    5.45x39mm
    The Soviet 5.45×39mm cartridge is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It was introduced into service in 1974 for use with the new AK-74 assault rifle. It gradually supplemented then largely replaced the 7.62x39mm round in service....

  • 5.56×45mm NATO
  • 5.7x28mm
  • 6mm TCU
  • 6x45mm
  • 6x47mm
  • 6mm PPC
  • 6mm Whisper
  • 6mm WOA
  • 6mm Hagar
  • 6mm BR Remington
  • 6×45mm
  • 6.5mm Whisper
  • 6.5mm Grendel
  • 6.5mm PPC
  • 6.5 WSSM
  • 6.5 WOA
  • 6.8 mm Remington SPC
    6.8 mm Remington SPC
    The 6.8 mm Remington SPC is a rifle cartridge that was developed with collaboration from individual members of United States Special Operations Command . Based upon the .30 Remington cartridge, it is midway between the 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×51mm NATO in bore diameter and velocity...

  • 7mm Whisper
  • 7mm TCU
  • 7.62×39mm
    7.62×39mm
    The 7.62×39mm round is a rifle cartridge of Soviet origin that was designed during World War II. It was first used in the RPD machine gun. Due to the worldwide proliferation of the SKS and AK-47 pattern rifles, the cartridge is utilized by both militaries and civilians alike.The 7.62×39mm...

  • 7.62×51mm NATO
    7.62×51mm NATO
    The 7.62×51mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries...

  • 9x23

Inches

  • .17 Remington
    .17 Remington
    The .17 Remington was introduced in 1971 by Remington Arms Company for their model 700 rifles.It is based on the .223 Remington, necked down to .172in , with the shoulder moved back. It was designed exclusively as a varmint round, though it is suitable for smaller predators. There are those such as...

  • .17-223
    .17-223
    The .17-223 is a centerfire wildcat rifle cartridge. It is based on the .223 Remington, but the neck is re-sized to accept a .17 caliber bullet.-External links:* By Dave Moreton...

  • .17 HMR
    .17 HMR
    .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire, commonly known as the .17 HMR, is a rimfire rifle cartridge developed by the ammunition company Hornady in 2002. It descended from the .22 Magnum by necking down the .22 Magnum case to take a .17 caliber bullet, and it is more costly to shoot than traditional .22...

  • .204 Ruger
    .204 Ruger
    The .204 Ruger is a centerfire rifle cartridge developed by Hornady and Ruger. At the time of its introduction in 2004, the .204 Ruger was the highest velocity commercially produced ammunition, and the only cartridge produced commercially for bullets of .204 inch/5 mm caliber.-Characteristics:The...

  • .20 Tactical
    .20 Tactical
    The .20 Tactical is a wildcat centerfire rifle cartridge, based on the .223 Remington case, necked down to fire a .204" caliber bullet. The .20 Tactical was designed by Todd Kindler and predates the .204 Ruger factory round. The case has approximately 3 grains less powder capacity than the popular...

  • .20 Practical
  • .20 VarTarg
    .20 VarTarg
    The .20 VarTarg is a wildcat centerfire rifle cartridge, based on the .221 Remington Fireball case, necked down to fire a .204 bullet. The VarTarg is most popular with varmint hunters because it provides good range and uses relatively little powder, so the rifle barrel doesn't heat up quite as fast...

  • .221 Fireball
  • .22 LR
  • .22 WMR
    .22 WMR
    The .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, more commonly called .22 WMR, .22 Magnum, or simply .22 Mag, is a rimfire rifle cartridge...

  • .222 Remington
    .222 Remington
    The .222 Remington aka the Triple Deuce/Triple Two/Treble Two is a centerfire rifle cartridge introduced in 1950, and was the first commercial rimless .22 cartridge made in the United States...

  • .222 Remington Magnum
    .222 Remington Magnum
    The .222 Remington Magnum was a short-lived commercially produced cartridge derived from the .222 Remington. Originally developed for a US prototype military rifle in 1958, the cartridge was not adopted by the military, but was introduced commercially in sporting rifles.-Development:The .222 Rem....

  • .223 Remington Ackley Improved
  • 223 WSSM
  • 243 WSSM
  • .25 Winchester Super Short Magnum
  • .25x45mm
  • .30 Remington
    .30 Remington
    The .30 Remington cartridge was created in 1906 by Remington Arms. It was Remington's rimless answer to the popular .30-30 Winchester cartridge. Factory ammunition was produced up until the late 1980s, but now it is a prospect for handloaders...

  • .300 Whisper
    .300 Whisper
    The .300 Whisper is a wildcat cartridge in the Whisper family, a group of cartridges developed in the early 1990s by J.D. Jones of SSK Industries...

  • .30 Herrett Rimless Tactical
  • 300 AAC Blackout (7.62×35mm)
  • .30 RAR
    .30 RAR
    The .30 RAR rifle cartridge was developed to fill a perceived gap in performance on game between the .223 Remington and larger cartridges such as the .308 Winchester and the 6.8 SPC...

  • 300 OSSM
  • .30 Carbine
    .30 Carbine
    The .30 Carbine is the cartridge used in the M1 Carbine introduced in the 1940s. It is an intermediate round designed to be fired from the M1 carbine's 18-inch barrel.-History:...

  • .308 Winchester
    .308 Winchester
    The .308 Winchester is a rifle cartridge and is the commercial cartridge upon which the military 7.62x51mm NATO centerfire cartridge is based. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO T65...

  • .338 Whisper
    .338 Whisper
    The .338 Whisper is a wildcat cartridgein the Whisper family, a group of cartridges developed in the early 1990s by J.D. Jones of SSK Industries. Unlike the smaller caliber cartridges in the Whisper family, loads for the .338 Whisper are mainly limited to subsonic velocities...

  • .35 Gremlin
  • .358 WSSM
  • .450 Bushmaster
    .450 Bushmaster
    The .450 Bushmaster is a rifle cartridge developed by Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms LLC, and licensed to Bushmaster Firearms International for production and distribution. LeGendre still retains ownership of the concept...

  • .458 SOCOM
    .458 SOCOM
    The .458 SOCOM is a relatively large round designed for a specialized upper receiver that can be mounted on any AR-15 pattern rifle. The round offers a muzzle velocity and .- History:...

  • .50 Beowulf
    .50 Beowulf
    The .50 Beowulf [12.7×42 mm Rb] is a rifle cartridge developed by Alexander Arms for use in a modified AR-15 rifle. The cartridge utilizes a rebated rim, sized to match the rim of the 7.62×39mm and 6.5 mm Grendel rounds...

  • .50 BMG
    .50 BMG
    The .50 Browning Machine Gun or 12.7×99mm NATO is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s. Entering service officially in 1921, the round is based on a greatly scaled-up .30-06 cartridge...



See also

  • M4 carbine
    M4 carbine
    The M4 carbine is a family of firearms tracing its lineage back to earlier carbine versions of the M16, all based on the original AR-15 designed by Eugene Stoner and made by ArmaLite. It is a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle, with 80% parts commonality.It is a gas-operated,...

  • CAR-15
    CAR-15
    The Colt Automatic Rifle-15 Military Weapons System or CAR-15 was a family of AR-15 and M16 rifle–based firearms marketed by Colt in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Due to their compact size, the short-barreled Colt Commando and XM177 versions of this family continued to be issued to the U.S...

  • SR-47
    SR-47
    The SR-47 is a modern assault rifle based on the AR-15 family of rifles created by Knight's Armament Company for USSOCOM. Unlike the majority of guns based around ArmaLite design, the SR-47 is essentially an AR-15 that fires the Soviet 7.62×39mm round from AK-47 magazines, which explains the "47"...

  • Eugene Stoner
    Eugene Stoner
    Eugene Morrison Stoner is the man most associated with the design of the AR-15, which was adopted by the US military as the M16...

  • L. James Sullivan
    L. James Sullivan
    Leroy James Sullivan is an American firearms inventor. Going by Jim Sullivan, he is noted as the designer of several 'scaled-down' versions of larger firearms. He is largely responsible for the M16, Stoner 63, and Ruger Mini-14 rifles as well as the Ultimax 100 light machine gun and Ruger M77...

  • Fairchild Aircraft

  • C7
  • T65 assault rifle
  • Bushmaster M4 Type Carbine
  • .50 Beowulf
    .50 Beowulf
    The .50 Beowulf [12.7×42 mm Rb] is a rifle cartridge developed by Alexander Arms for use in a modified AR-15 rifle. The cartridge utilizes a rebated rim, sized to match the rim of the 7.62×39mm and 6.5 mm Grendel rounds...

  • XM177/GAU-5 series
  • ArmaLite
    ArmaLite
    ArmaLite is the name of a small arms engineering facility founded in the early 1950s, and once associated with the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation. ArmaLite was formally incorporated as a subdivision of Fairchild on October 1, 1954...



External links

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