Some people—even some within the firearms industry and hunting and target-shooting communities—remain misinformed about AR-style modern sporting rifles, thinking that the AR prefix stands for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”
It means neither.
The AR stands for ArmaLite, the company that in the 1950s developed this style of rifle, which eventually became both the military’s M16 rifle and the civilian semi-automatic sporting rifle known as the AR-15, or modern sporting rifle. This civilian rifle, manufactured by many companies today, is confused with its military cousin because it looks similar. The civilian version, however, is limited to firing one round with each pull of the trigger, just as other semi-automatics operate.
You can help NSSF correct the “AR” confusion by using the graphic on this page on your websites and blogs and in your magazines and TV shows.
The graphic promotes the website www.nssf.org/msr, where viewers can learn the facts about “modern sporting rifles” and watch a video about the longstanding tradition of civilian sporting rifles evolving from military firearms. NSSF encourages using the term “modern sporting rifle” for describing these firearms because it eliminates the “AR” confusion and best describes the use of these sport utility rifles.
The modern sporting rifle (MSR) is one of the top-selling firearms in America. A new NSSF report shows that 30 percent of owners purchased their first MSR in 2009 and 2010. Most use them for target shooting, own more than one MSR and enjoy accessorizing them. The rifle is reliable, rugged and produces little recoil. It comes in a variety of chamberings and is used for target shooting, hunting and home defense. No wonder it’s popular.
Yet even though these rifles are commonly owned, they are threatened by potential legislation to restrict ownership, as the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban did until the ban expired in 2004. Mislabeling these rifles as “assault rifles” was, and is, a strategy of gun-banners, and anyone who uses that terminology aids efforts to strip away the right to own these versatile, fun-to-shoot firearms.