Woman holding AR-15
Closeup of AR-15 with mounted light

The “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite Rifle — not for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle” as commonly misconstrued. During the 1950s, ArmaLite developed the AR-15 as a military rifle. By 1959, the company sold the patent and manufacturing rights to Colt. Colt released the first civilian model — the AR-15 Sporter, a semi-automatic version chambered for .223 Remington — in 1964. Colt’s patents for the AR-15 expired in the 1970s, prompting other manufacturers to begin producing similar models based on its design. 

AR-15 style rifles have become so popular predominantly because of their versatility. They come in many sizes and with a multitude of options, depending on the manufacturer. The majority of AR-15s are chambered for the 5.56 NATO. However, they may be chambered in nearly any caliber — ranging from .22 long rifle to the massive .50 Beowulf.

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The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. We make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. 

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