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AR-15 Rifle Details


What does the AR stand for in AR-15?

While many think "AR" stands for "assault rifle," it actually refers to the company that first manufactured it— ArmaLite Rifle. The "AR" just means Armalite Rifle. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”

What is an AR-15?

First made in 1959 by the ArmaLite company, the AR-15 was a downsized version of the AR-10.

The AR-15 was designed to use 5.56 ammunition, but nowadays most civilian rifles fire .223 or can be converted to use a few funkier calibers. In addition, later developments added anti-jamming gadgets as well as better flash hiders, rails to mount anything on, and more ergonomic options to users.


The AR-15 platform is popular because of its ease of use and cleaning, and its reliability.

Not Assault Weapons

AR-15-style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. The definition of an assault rifle is “..a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine”, states Wikipedia. By this definition an AR-15 is not an assault rifle because an AR15 is not a “selective-fire” rifle. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.

AR-15-style rifles look like military rifles, such as the M-16, but function like other semi-automatic civilian sporting firearms, firing only one round with each pull of the trigger.

Sporting Rifles

AR-15-platform rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold. “They are today’s modern sporting rifle”, says NSSF.Pro-gun groups such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation, call them "sporting rifles”. These rifles’ accuracy, reliability, ruggedness and versatility serve target shooters and hunters well. They are true all-weather firearms. These rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. And they’re used for target shooting in the national matches. AR-15-style rifles are no more powerful than other hunting rifles of the same caliber and in most cases are chambered in calibers less powerful than common big-game hunting cartridges like the 30-06 Springfield and .300 Win. Mag.

Not a M16

The physical features of an AR-15 are based off the M16, but that doesn't mean the gun itself is an M16. 

The parts of an AR-15 and M16 are very similar and there are very many differences. A difference is that the hammer of an M16 has a hook and the AR-15 does not. The trigger of an M16 is open and closed for the AR-15. A key difference between the two is that an M16 is a fully automatic weapon, which is defined as a firearm that reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released. An AR-15, on the other hand, is a semi-automatic weapon, meaning it only fires as many times as you can pull the trigger.


Versions of modern sporting rifles such as an AR-15 are legal to own in all 50 states, provided the purchaser passes the mandatory FBI background check required for all retail firearm purchasers.


Magazines seem like they should be a simple purchase. After all, they don’t need to do anything more than hold ammunition and feed it to the gun. You always need more magazines, for every gun you own. If you take good care of them while using, storing and carrying them, they will last much longer. Confused about the buying process? Contact a reputable AR-15 Rifle source to get the perfect magazine for you.

Thermold Magazines produces weapons magazines and has become the product of choice among military personnel, law enforcement officers and sport shooters around the world with their products proudly made in the US. Time-tested quality and reliability. That's Thermold. Call 877-548-4062 and/or contact us.