Buying an AR-15 is like riding on the back of a bald eagle, waving the stars and stripes, and landing on Mount Rushmore as fireworks explode behind you. Okay, maybe not exactly like that. But, the AR 15 has become almost as synonymous with America as all of those culturally iconic things are. What may be most exciting of all is the story behind what AR-15 stands for.
Eugene Stoner is the mind behind the genius mechanical creation we enjoy today.
In the mid-1950s, Stoner worked as the chief design engineer for ArmaLite to create the Armalite Rifle - AR-15.
The US Military was on the hunt for a new, semi-automatic battle rifle that would bring our Army out of WWII.
Stoner’s prototype AR-10 was up for consideration to replace the old, heavy, and capacity-deficient M1 Garand as the military’s rifle of choice..
The AR-10 didn’t hold up.
Against the will of Eugene Stoner, ArmaLite presented the military with a version of the AR-10 that had an aluminum and steel composite barrel, intended to impress the testers with its light weight.
That decrease in weight came at the expense of the rifle’s ability to stand up to the demands of the tests, bursting both the barrel and any hopes the AR-10 had of winning the hearts and dollars of the U.S. Military.
It was not long until battlefield requirements in Vietnam called for more innovation. General Willard G. Wyman saw an opportunity to outfit soldiers with an even lighter weight rifle, using a smaller caliber of ammunition. One Soldiers could carry more of.
Stoner went back to the drawing board, scaling down his AR-10 design. This birthed the AR-15!
When he finished, the patent for the AR-15 design was sold to Colt, who sold the rifle under the co-branded name Colt ArmaLite AR-15 Model 01 and would market it to military services around the world.
The real magic for the civilian markets began when Colt’s patent on the design expired in the 1970s, opening the door for other manufacturers to begin creating AR-15 pattern rifles, parts, and accessories.
The fact that the platform had a MIL SPEC designation meant all companies had to do to ensure their parts could all be interchangeable was follow the specifications set forth by the military. The rest is history.
So… Want to get your hands on one of your own?