The AR-15: History of The Modern Sporting Rifle

In 1954, former marine, World War II veteran and ordinance expert Eugene Stoner became chief engineer of ArmaLite. The AR-15 was developed under his leadership. Both the AR-15 and AR-10 were licensed to Colt in 1959. Colt would go on to introduce the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in 1960 based on a design by Eugene Stoner. It was shortly followed by the M16 fully automatic version. In 1964, Defense Secretary McNamara ordered the Ordinance Corps to get AR-15 ready for issue to the Air Assault, Airborne Ranger and Special Forces Units. From 1966-1967, the Ichord Congressional Subcommittee investigated the M16 after complaints of severe rusting, pitting and jamming. This was found to be caused by the use of ball powder, which was used against Stoner’s advice. In 1983, the M16A2 was created by completing twelve major changes to the M16A1. The Marine Corps adopted the rifle in November and ordered 76000 such rifles from Colt. In 1986, the Firearm Owners Protection Act lifted the ban on the sale and transfer of gun components leading to the development of the modular AR-15 platform. In 1994, the Army adopted the M4, possibly the finest carbine ever developed. The M4 was used in the raid against Osama bin Laden in 2011. From 2011-2013, 3d printed AR-15’s lower receivers were created and AR-15 accessories were attached to create a working rifle.

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