The AR-15 — target shooters love it. Hunters love it. And these days, in growing numbers, women love it.
The rifle has grown in popularity from a cult following in the 1980s to widespread use today, manufactured by almost all major gun makers.
AR-15s are being purchased in record numbers by the older generation, women and now millennials, who, incidentally, waged the strongest opposition to the Senate Democrats’ push for a ban on assault weapons.
The “AR” doesn’t stands for Assault Rifle, but ArmaLite Rifle, the company that designed and developed it originally. In 1959 ArmaLite sold the rights to Colt, which continued to use the “AR” brand. And, these days, the “AR” could just as well stand for America’s Rifle.
The U.S military used a redesigned version, the fully automatic M16 rifle, from which Colt developed a semi-automatic civilian version — the AR-15.
Although very similar in appearance, the M16 and the AR-15 differ in the way the hammer and trigger mechanisms are designed. To fire the semi-automatic AR-15 the shooter must pull and release the trigger after each shot. You cannot hold the trigger for rapid fire. Semi-automatic firearms basically function the same as pistols, rifles and shotguns.