What does AR Stand for?

Many people often think that AR means an assault or automatic rifle. It actually is nowhere near any of those terms at all. This can misinform people because the meaning of AR and an assault rifle is very different.

Understanding the classification of firearms is very important for those who would like to own one. It means that you should know the responsibility and risk that it carries with it. ARs, assault rifles, similarities and differences, all that, and more are coming right up!

Where does AR come from?

AR is an abbreviation of the firearm Armalite Rifle. Their first manufacturer was the Armalite Division of the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation.

What Does AR Stand For?

The Fairchild Corporation had plenty of military contracts and helped create the first Armalite Rifle model, the AR-10.

The military was the ones using Armalite Rifles the most. The AR-10 was a great first model but was not the favorite of many governments due to its high cost of production.

Enter the AR-15 created during the 1950s. They were so popular with the military that they adopted it as their standard issue service weapon. You may hear the AR-15 and M-16 Rifle be used interchangeably, and this is very common because M-16s were made to look and function like the AR-15.

Their major difference is that the Armalite Rifle is semi-automatic, while the M-16s are fully automatic or assault rifles. You can see the AR-15 as friendlier for civilians.

Because the M-16s were modeled after the AR-15s very closely, many veterans, especially those who came from the Vietnam War, chose an AR-15 since they were already quite familiar with them.

What is the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and an assault rifle?

As mentioned, Armalite Rifles have long been misidentified as assault rifles, especially with the M16, but what is the main difference between them?

Semi-Automatic Rifle

A semi-automatic rifle requires you to pull the trigger whenever you want to fire a round. It immediately ejects the shell and loads up the next shot to be pulled. These rifles are very popular for hunters and homeowners who want a gun for self-defense.

Automatic Rifle

The automatic rifle is otherwise known as a machine gun or an assault rifle. It fires constant rounds as long as your finger has fully been depressing the trigger.

It depends on each country, but most don’t allow these types to be sold to civilians. Usually, they are manufactured only for the military and come with stringent laws about where and when these can be carried.

This main difference in the ability to shoot rounds makes it quite dangerous to call AR-15s or any Armalite Rifle an assault or automatic rifle.

Why do people also call it an America’s Rifle?

The AR-15 model has been considered America’s Rifle for a long time now. They are one of the most common firearms owned by civilians and are extremely popular for hunters, professionals, and even beginners too.

Since they were first produced en masse for American soldiers during the Vietnam war, the AR-15 is considered the poster child of American Firearms. The returning soldiers sought them out, and with nearly every household having one, most Americans grew to relate AR-15s in their culture.

It doesn’t stop there. Many Americans who were and are passionate about their second amendment right to bear arms attach the AR-15 to their cause. It is seen as an important figure that helps keep their homes and their country safe. It has quite the political agenda attached to it, so calling it America’s Rifle is fitting.

Why is the AR-15 a good rifle?


The AR-15 is one of the most versatile rifles on the market. From police and soldiers to civilians and hunters, this firearm can work well in any situation you use it in. This versatility also lies in its customization, which could help users adapt better to situations.

Accuracy and Power

The AR-15 can go for around 2 MOA and up when appropriately maintained. This can also depend on your skills, but with better ammo and accessories, these rifles can go all the way up to 1 MOA.

You don’t sacrifice any power in this. While it depends on the caliber and other outside causes, it’s safe to say that the AR-15 can safely incapacitate any game or intruder there is.


Many gun enthusiasts love the AR-15 because it is easy to customize. You can swap out the grips, handlebars, barrel, and trigger, not to mention the number of accessories available to bulk up the AR-15.

There are also many guides and tutorials available on the internet since it’s extremely popular to do so. It’s also not just about the looks.

The AR-15 can be quite hefty, so to make sure that you can use it, customizing it for you is very important to ensure comfortable use.

Price and Availability

Due to its popularity, this model and plenty of the other Armalite Rifles are mass-produced. Anyone with a license can purchase them in any firearm store, and even the accessories are not hard to find.

You also will not have to worry about breaking the bank. You can save on your AR-15 by buying its most basic configurations and getting comfortable with it. With proper research and understanding, you can purchase accessories or parts that you feel need to be swapped out very easily on the internet.

Should you consider getting an AR for yourself?

The Armalite Rifles are one of the best firearms out there. It is natural that you may be considering purchasing one for yourself. Here are some factors you may want to go over before doing so.


The Armalite Rifles, like the AR-15, pack quite a powerful punch. Although they are great for home and self-defense, you will not be able to conceal carry them and need a bit of practice, but you won’t have to worry about intruders if you have one.

These are highly suggested to competitive shooters or hunters. They are customizable from caliber to trigger so that they can catch a variety of targets. You can also see them in many competitions since their MOA and polished skills can make quite an accurate shot.


A big thing to remember is that Armalite Rifles are a type or model of firearm, and countless manufacturers are making them. If you want to get the most out of it, make sure to do plenty of research on where to buy, their warranty services, and if they carry accessories.


Speaking of accessories, buying a high-quality AR can be expensive, so make sure to find one that retains a level of quality and fits your budget. Remember that you can purchase it in its basic configuration to save money and customize it yourself.


Standard practice before purchasing any firearm is checking the laws of your state or country about them. Especially for Armalite Rifles like the AR-15, they may have specifications like magazine sizes and accessories. This also applies to any competition or if you go out of state when hunting.

Why is there a stigma on ARs?

There are three main reasons why the Armalite Rifles, especially the AR-15 model, are stigmatized or turned into a controversial topic.

First is the misidentification as an assault rifle or automatic rifle. As aforementioned, the semi-automatic AR-15 and the automatic M-16 assault rifle can be difficult to distinguish.

Having a gun that could potentially fire a stream of bullets terrifies the general public. This may seem a bit more irrelevant and easy to fix, but it has done a lot of damage to the reputation of the ARs.

The second reason is mass shootings in America. We won’t go in-depth on this topic, but AR has been used in many highly publicized mass shootings like the Orlando Nightclub and Las Vegas Shootings.

AR-15s have a considerable amount of firepower. Getting shot with one will not just go right through a person but almost shatters or disintegrates the area surrounding the wound. This is why many doctors and researchers believe that AR-15s are a standard weapon of choice.

The third reason is most apparent in the US. As aforementioned, Armalite Rifles, in general, are the key firearms or picture of an American citizen’s right to bear arms.

However, the gun itself is a double-edged sword for these people; since the AR-15 has been connected to many high-profile shooting incidents, many politicians believe this is a sign that they should limit the amendment.

The highly political nature of the AR-15 and other Armalite Rifles makes them very stigmatized.


Were you surprised to find out that AR means Armalite Rifles? They are great models but often get a bad rep from misconceptions. If you want to be universal, the Firearm Industry and Trade Association has coined the term modern sporting rifle or MSR for semi-automatic rifles to curb misinformation. Hopefully, this helped clear murky waters and gave you additional information on everything AR.

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