Question: What does AR stand for? Answer: AR Stands For Armalite Rifle, not Assault Rifle

AR was the model prefix used by ArmaLite as part of the naming convention for their rifles. AR is NOT an acronym for “Assault Rifle” or “Automatic Rifle.”

At one point, ArmaLite offered the following “Armalite Rifle” models. Note in the list below that all AR rifles are note semi-automatic.

AR Stands For Armalite Rifle Not Assault Rifle
AR Stands For Armalite Rifle Not Assault Rifle – Examples of AR rifles

Armalite AR-5 (Bolt Action) the ArmaLite AR-5 is a lightweight bolt-action takedown rifle chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge and adopted as the MA-1 aircrew survival rifle by the United States Air Force. It was developed by ArmaLite, a division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation, in 1954.

Armalite AR-7 (Semi-Automatic) the ArmaLite AR-7 Explorer is a semi-automatic firearm in .22 Long Rifle caliber, developed in 1959 from the AR-5 that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and aircrew survival weapon. The AR-7 was adopted and modified by the Israeli Air Force as an aircrew survival weapon in the 1980s.

Armalite AR-10 (Semi-Automatic) The ArmaLite AR-10 is a 7.62×51mm NATO battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s and manufactured by ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When first introduced in 1956, the AR-10 used an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with phenolic composite and forged alloy parts resulting in a small arm significantly easier to control in automatic fire and over 1 lb (0.45 kg) lighter than other infantry rifles of the day.

Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 10,000 rifles assembled. However, the ArmaLite AR-10 would become the progenitor for a wide range of firearms.

Armalite AR-15 (Semi-Automatic) The ArmaLite AR-15 is a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle manufactured in the United States between 1959 and 1964 and adopted by the United States Armed Forces as the M16 rifle. Designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956, it was based on its AR-10 rifle.

The ArmaLite AR-15 was designed to be a lightweight rifle and fire a new high-velocity, lightweight, small-caliber cartridge to allow infantrymen to carry more ammunition.

Armalite AR-18 (Semi-Automatic) The ArmaLite AR-18 is a gas-operated assault rifle chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. The AR-18 was designed at ArmaLite in California by Arthur Miller, Eugene Stoner, George Sullivan, and Charles Dorchester in 1963 as an alternative to the ArmaLite AR-15 design, which had just been selected by the U.S. military as the M16. A semi-automatic version known as the AR-180 was later produced for the civilian market.

While the AR-18 was never adopted as the standard service rifle of any nation, its production license was sold to manufacturers in Japan and the United Kingdom. It is said to have influenced many later weapons such as the British SA80, the Singaporean SAR-80, and SR-88, the American Adaptive Combat Rifle, the Belgian FN F2000, the Japanese Howa Type 89, and the German Heckler and Koch G36.

Armalite AR-180 (Semi-Automatic) See above.

Armalite AR-30 (Bolt Action) The ArmaLite AR-30 is a bolt-action rifle manufactured by Armalite. Based in part on Armalite’s AR-50 rifle, the AR-30 is available in three cartridges; the .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua. It was introduced at the 2000 SHOT Show.

Armalite AR-30A1 (Bolt Action) See ArmaLite AR-30 above.

Armalite AR-31 (Bolt Action) See ArmaLite AR-30 above.

Armalite AR-50 (Bolt Action) The ArmaLite AR-50 is a .50 BMG, single-shot, bolt-action anti-materiel precision rifle manufactured by ArmaLite.


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