The History of the AR-15
The History of the Ar-15 is a long one, starting at the very conception of the rifle itself. It all starts with the discovery of gunpowder and the subsequent development of steel. At some point in time before that, humans had used the bones of animals for such things as gunpowder. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it would be fun to shoot a bullet through a rifle barrel and came up with the modern idea of converting that into a rifle.
When using animal bones, no doubt for the powder, humans discovered that it would be much easier to load the rifle with powder than it would be to load the gun with bullets. Thus, what was born from this research was the first AR-15 rifle, which was chambered in a different material than the typical firearms being used in those days. A few years later (around the time the Great Depression was beginning) came about the realization that there was money to be made by selling gunpowder to consumers and thus the AR-15 was born.
Around the same time, perhaps after World War II had passed and America was still fighting wars overseas, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came from the States and headed up to Vietnam to take part in the war. As was the norm at the time, he stayed behind to train other Americans in its use. Once he returned home, he began selling his new product to retailers and the rest is history. This is where the story ends for the history of the ar-15 and how it ended up in the hands of one man who would make it into the history books. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald.
When he created this unique weapon, he decided that he wanted to make it so simple for any kid to pick it up and use it for his own killing, if ever given the opportunity. So he designed it with a trigger that was easy to use and installed iron sights on the end of the rifle. Naturally, with the iron sights included, the accuracy of the rifle was off a bit and the weapon was not as accurate as he had hoped. So rather than go through the hassle of reworking the trigger and making it work properly, he decided to just make a few upgrades to the gun control parts and then went out and sold them. This is where the story of the AR-15 begins.
The original AR-15 was a gas impingement gun and did not have any type of stabilizer. It used a hand crank mechanism to manually operate the bolt carrier. It was designed to be simple and effective but not very reliable when using against humans. To remedy this problem, later AR-15s adopted a magazine that held pellets in a fixed position and was attached to the side of the gun, much like a pistol magazine today.
The first modifications to the AR-15 were not overly significant and did not significantly change the operation of the rifle. In fact, the AR-15 was largely unchanged from its initial conception until around the time of the Second World War when the gun control laws changed dramatically. One of the changes was the ban on automatic loading of rifles. This ban was not implemented in all states or regions at the same time so in some places a rifle could be legally loaded even if it was not an “automatic” rifle.
The ban on automatic loading of rifles effectively killed the AR-15 as a sporting rifle. Many hunters were not deterred and continued to purchase high capacity ammunition in order to use the gun for hunting. For years after this law passed, hunters still purchased high capacity AR-15s in order to use the rifle for hunting. Once the firearms industry began to experience a large increase in business, assault weapons began to be banned as well.
After the ban on automatic loading of rifles went into effect, there was little chance that any type of high capacity ammunition could ever be legally purchased. Remington was successful in keeping the market for their Remington rifles in business. This new development provided the company with a means of mass producing firearms that could be used for both military and hunting purposes. Today, Remington is the leading manufacturer of sub-machine guns, pump guns, and other high caliber firearms.