Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Fitting Topic For The 556th Post

Given that this is the 556th post I thought it appropriate to dedicate this time writing about the AR15 (chambered in 5.56mm NATO) again. I was first exposed to this platform and round when I was 20 years old and on the firing line at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. I had started shooting only a couple of years prior during my year in Vermont when I would take my 7mm Magnum bolt action Savage up on an old ski hill and aim for small targets we would set up in the slope. Given the kick that I had become accustom to, the M4 (military version of the AR15) was a bit surprising when I first pulled the trigger.

The light recoil and surprisingly simple design of the AR15 has made the rifle (and sometimes pistol) hugely popular in the civilian market. Additionally, the ability to customize the firearm has encouraged a confidence in shooters to adjust the rifle to fit both their needs and their personal ergonomics. This platform has given birth to a varied accessory industry which includes companies like Magpul, Mako (FAB Defense), Geissele, and countless others. All offering something a little different and appealing to different people. Of course, the low recoil cartridge also affords one the flexibility to change a lot of things too.  

When you take your AR to the range it is not just about the performance of the firearm or how good of a shot you are. Many times the discussion revolves around the accessories you are using and customization that you have done to your rifle. This is why many debates are started not about who is the better shot but rather what the best parts and accessories to put on your AR. However, there are also many of us that use a variety of parts from numerous companies to create the best possible fit and performance in our hands.

While I think he would be amused by these kinds of conversations, I don’t think this is what Eugene Stoner envisioned when he created the AR and the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. At the same time, he was trying to make the best rifle possible and all we are doing is customizing his ingenious design. After all, the only thing that we are working on is aesthetics and basic functionality improvements… the heart of the rifle, the means by which it operates, remains the same. The ease by which this can be accomplished may be the most brilliant aspect of Stoner’s design.