American Culture

The AR15 is a military weapon

Colt AR15 “Sporter” carbine (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The AR-15, M4A1 and M16 are essentially the same with respect to lethality.

With the March for our Lives yesterday, I’ve been thinking a lot about guns. So I did a bit of research on the M4 carbine vs. the M16 rifle vs. AR15-style rifles. Here’s what I found:

M4A1 carbine: 5.56x45mm NATO calibre, ~550 yd effective range, ~3000 ft/sec muzzle velocity, semi-auto/burst/full-auto. From what I’ve heard from vets, soldiers are trained not to fire in burst or full-auto except as suppression fire because it’s too inaccurate.

M16 rifle: 5.56x45mm NATO calibre, ~550 yd effective range, ~3000 ft/sec muzzle velocity, semi-auto/burst/full-auto. From what I’ve heard from vets, soldiers are trained not to fire in burst or full-auto except as suppression fire because it’s too inaccurate.

AR15-style rifles: 5.56x45mm NATO calibre, ~550 yd effective range, ~3000 ft/sec muzzle velocity, semi-auto only.

The M4A1 (and variants), the M16 (and variants) are military only. The AR15 may be owned by civilians.

From what I can tell, the three weapons are essentially the same with respect to lethality. The semi-auto only for the AR15-style rifle is a distinction without a difference given the military trains soldiers/airmen/seamen/marines to fire semi-auto anyway.

We regulate military weapons in the US, legally, under the Second Amendment (which does have the words “well-regulated militia” right there in it). The AR-15 is, for all intents and purposes, a military weapon, even according to veterans.

So why do we allow civilians to own a military weapon again?

2 replies »

  1. Civilians in the US can full-auto military weapons; I believe they’re classified as Class III. It’s been that way since ’30s. Why? Collectors I guess. No idea. You don’t hear about too many mass shooting with full-auto military weapons though that were bought legally. I’d imagine it’s because of the process you have to go through to purchase them.

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