what the ar and 15 actually stand for in ar-15

The “AR” in AR-15 stands for “ArmaLite Rifle” which is the manufacturer of the firearm and the “15” is the model number.  Many people get these acronyms wrong, and some people assume AR means “automatic rifle” or “assault rifle” and the 15 could mean it fires “15 rounds per second or minute” or that it can hold “15 bullets” total.

Think of it like a car, the “Ford Mustang”, where “Ford” is the manufacturer and “Mustang” is the specific model.  Then you have the year you can add on, or variants like the “Shelby” or features like “EcoBoost®”.  Firearms get the same naming systems with terms like “special” which can mean compact, limited release, inexpensive, or small-caliber.

The AR-15 is the updated model from ArmaLite AR-10 and its piston is what was used for the M16 which is one of the most iconic military rifles. And the benefits of the AR-15 lead to the development of the M4 which is used extensively by the US Military by the Army starting in 1994 and the Marine Corps in September, 2016

The reason AR does not stand for assault rifle is not just because it is the manufacturer’s name, it is also because an assault rifle will be fully automatic and the AR-15 is semi-automatic meaning the person shooting needs to pull the trigger to fire each bullet.  It’s semi automatic because the next bullet is loaded automatically vs. manually like some revolvers.

Now you know the truth behind the meaning of “AR” and “15” in the AR-15. If you found this post helpful, subscribe to our blog for more like it.

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