duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color
duplex scope crosshairs logo in orange color

The History of AR-15s

AR-15s are one of the most iconic firearms and are very popular in the United States. Guns with this design are easily customizable, so it’s easy to find or build one that matches your preferences. If you are a fan of AR-15-style rifles, you may be interested to learn a bit more about their history.


The “AR” in the name of the AR-15 stands for “Armalite rifle,” not “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle” as some people mistakenly believe. The Armalite company started in the 1950s in Hollywood, California. Its founder, George Sullivan, had previously worked as the patent counsel for the Lockheed Corporation, which is now Lockheed Martin. Eugene Stoner was the head designer during this time and was responsible for the creation of the most iconic Armalite rifles, including the AR-15.

In 1954, the company designed their first weapon: the AR-5. This was a bolt-action rifle and was developed to be a survival rifle for United States Air Force flight crews. In 1955, Armalite designed the AR-10, the precursor of the AR-15.

The Creation of the AR-15

In the late 1950s, the United States Military replaced the M1 Garand. The AR-10 had originally been in the running, but the T44 was chosen instead and became the M14. However, during the early part of the Vietnam War, the M14 performed poorly, so the military began to look for a replacement.

In 1958, Armalite submitted the AR-15, a scaled-down version of the AR-10. This was found to be more reliable than the M14, but it was again passed over.

Sale to Colt

Armalite became frustrated with the lack of the sales of the AR-15 and other models and in 1959, they sold the design to Colt. Colt made some adjustments in order to facilitate mass production and began to market the weapons. Both civilian and military versions of the firearm were available in the 1960s and in 1963 and 1964, adapted versions of the AR-15, known as M16s, began to be used by the United States Military.

Patent Expiration

In 1977, Colt’s patent expired and various other manufacturers began to make copycats of the AR-15. However, Colt continued to have a trademark on the “AR-15” name. This is why you will only see rifles officially named “AR-15” if they are manufactured by Colt. Others are considered AR-15-style rifles and cannot technically use the AR-15 name, although many people still refer to them simply as AR-15s in informal settings.

Many parts can be exchanged among various AR-15-style rifles from different brands, and each option includes different features. This makes it easy to customize for your exact goals and desires. AR-15s are also relatively simple to build, which can be a fun project and opens up even more options for customization.

Purchase AR-15-Style Rifles

At The Hub, we offer a variety of AR-15-style firearms and our experts can help you determine which would be best for you. We are happy to help you whether you are an experienced gun enthusiast or a first-time buyer.

To learn more about the AR-15-style rifles we have available, visit us today in Tucson, Lakeside, Phoenix, or online.
a man shooting one of the many varieties of ar 15

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