The History of the AR-15

The AR-15 has spent a lot of time in the limelight lately, but what’s the real backstory on this rifle? ArmaLite was founded in 1954 by Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation, who is widely recognized for the AR-10 and 15. The company prides itself on innovation, quality, and dependability within its products and brings decades of experience and expertise in the firearms industry.



The ArmaLite AR-15 was originally designed in 1956 and was manufactured in the US from 1959 to 1964. It was originally created as a lightweight, high-velocity firearm that enabled infantrymen to carry more ammo. In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to both the AR-15 and AR-10 to Colt due to financial issues.


Colt did some modifications and soon rebranded the rifle as the Colt ArmaLite AR-15. One of the most notable changes was the relocation of the charging handle – ArmaLite’s design had this function under the carrying handle and it was modified to be like the later models of the M16 at the rear of the receiver. The very first batch of Colt AR-15s were sold in September of 1959 and since then has grown to one of the most popular rifles for military and civilians.

The Armalite AR-15 is now recognized as the parent of similar rifles, including the Colt AR-15 and the M16.

Some Facts About the AR-15

  • “AR” in AR-15 does NOT stand for assault rifle – it’s named from its original manufacturer and actually stands for “ArmaLite Rifle”.
  • The AR-15 is NOT an assault weapon, assault rifle, etc. An assault rifle is a FULLY AUTOMATED weapon, like a machine gun. Not to mention, assault weapons have actually been restricted from civilian ownership since 1934! So if your liberal pals ever want to “ban assault weapons”, be sure to let them know that we are way past that.
  • The AR-15 is one of the most popular guns and are recognized as today’s modern sporting rifle.
  • Gun owners use these rifles for a number of needs, including hunting and sporting.

So why do we keep seeing these weapons used continuously in mass shootings? It’s really all about perception and a copy-cat mentality. Mass shooters generally are ill-informed of firearms and are just following the crowd of previous shooters. There is nothing exceptionally special about the AR-15; it is a great high quality weapon, but there are many other options out there too. Again, it’s all about perception.



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