America loves its guns. And these, days, Americans are head over heels for the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle that’s become one of the best-selling firearms in recent decades. This incredibly sophisticated gun has a unique customizable design, a high degree of reliability and an aura unlike other weapons. Ready to take aim at this high-speed AR-15 quiz?
The AR-15 is more than just a typical gun. It has some unusual capabilities that make it very appealing to a wide range of shooters, from weekend warriors, to women and even youths. It is exceptionally popular on gun ranges and and shooting competitions. Those retired from the military often add the AR-15 to their gun racks due to its similarity to a military weapon they probably carried frequently. Do you know what that famous rifle, used in combat since Vietnam, is called?
In popular culture, there’s no escaping the fact that the AR-15 has generated jaw-dropping controversy. Multiple gunmen have used AR-15s (or very similar firearms) in copycat mass shootings around America. At times, it’s been outright illegal for manufacturers to sell these guns.
Lock and load for this full metal jacket quiz! Let’s find out how much you really know about the legendary AR-15 rifle!
The AR-15, both legendary and infamous, is a semi-automatic rifle. It’s easily one of the most popular weapons in the United States.
The "AR" portion of the gun’s name is from "ArmaLite," the weapon’s original manufacturer. These days, many companies produce guns based on ArmaLite’s specifications.
ArmaLite built the AR-15 expressly for military purposes. But there was just one problem — no one really wanted to buy it.
In 1959, facing major financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15’s rights to Colt. Colt then began selling the rifle in a semi-automatic version in the mid-‘60s.
Colt’s M16 was already successful with the military. So it tweaked the AR-15 a bit and began targeting law enforcement agencies and the public ... and the gun became a hit.
In the 1970s, Colt's patent expired. That means that these days, all sorts of companies can manufacture weapons called the AR-15.
The AR-15 is a high-performance weapon that’s actually pretty affordable. Basic versions can be had for less than $1,000. But many people spend thousands to upgrade and customize their guns.
The AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon, meaning you have to pull the trigger after each shot. In a fully automatic rifle, you only have to pull the trigger once to unleash every round.
Basic versions of the AR-15 can shoot about 30 rounds before running short of lead. That means you can blast a lot of holes before you have to reload.
The AR-15 has enough firepower to accurately strike targets at a range of 600 yards. That’s only if you have a very steady aim, though.
The AR-15 is a fabulously popular gun. There are at least 8 million in use today. Some estimates are higher, at around 15 million.
It’s one of the gun’s most recognizable traits. The rear sight also bends into a handy carrying handle, all the better to tote your AR-15 wherever you go.
Bump stocks vastly increase the firing rate of semi-automatic weapons, including the AR-15, by harnessing recoil. This makes it easier to crank off rounds much faster.
ArmaLite had battlefields in mind during the design process. The idea was to make it easier for soldiers to carry more ammo.
Since Colt’s patent expired in 1977, other gun makers have used AR-15 in their marketing materials. But many of those guns hardly resemble the original design.
In 1994, Bill Clinton signed legislation outlawing assault-style rifles like the AR-15. The laws have shifted in the years since.
In 2004, the Clinton-era ban expired. Weapons manufacturers immediately jumped at a chance to profit again from the AR-15.
The AR-15’s lightweight ammo is tremendous advantage in some situations. An infantryman can carry roughly 210 rounds.
The AR-15 (or its derivatives) have been used in a number of high-profile mass shootings. Many legislators have called for the guns to be banned.
Laws vary by state. But in most places you can buy an AR-15 when you’re 18 years old, with no waiting period.
Originally, the AR-15 was meant for battlefields, and ArmaLite made its design very modular. In short, it means you can quickly swap out certain parts for unique customization or repair.
The company’s original design called for either a 5.56mm or .223 Remington cartridge. Both proved to have plenty of stopping power ... but not enough for most military purposes.
No one really wanted the AR-15 first. One reason? That handy carrying handle on the top made it very hard to mount a scope.
The AR-15 is noted for its low recoil. That makes it very comfortable to shoot, even for people who are sensitive to recoil.
In the ‘96 massacre in Australia, a mentally unstable man killed 35 people and hurt 23 others. Notably, Australian legislators passed laws restricting guns like the AR-15 in the wake of the shooting.
Those little 5.56 mm rounds that ArmaLite meant for use in the AR-15? Compared to a modern big game rifle they don’t really pack all that much punch.
There are roughly 300 million guns in America. The 8 million AR-15s in circulation make up only a tiny percentage of guns in the country.
Manufacturers understand that the AR-15’s aggressive looks make it seem like an assault rifle. They invented the phrase "modern sporting rifle" as a means of acknowleding that these are sporting rifles ... with an edgy aesthetic.
There’s no downplaying just how popular the AR-15 is with consumers. There are about 500 companies making these firearms.
The AR-15 was never adopted by the U.S. military. Because it doesn’t have full auto capability, it’s not desirable for close-quarters combat.