The AR-15 Is Like the Pit Bull of the Gun World, and the Left Loves to Alternately Lionize and Demonize It

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Eidtor’s Note: This post has been edited for clarity)

The Washington Post continues to dive into correlation equals causation with its recent “analysis” of the AR-15 specifically, and gun culture generally. Because the architects of the Top-17 mass shootings in the United States (since 2012) chose to use an AR-15 to commit their criminal acts, then WaPo, much of the legacy media and Democrat politicians continue to paint the AR-15 as inherently evil. The news aggregate’s supposed overview of the history, use, and ethos of this rifle and gun culture is riddled with incomplete facts, skewed history, and manufactured context with cherry-picked quotes to support it.


A Washington Post investigation found that the AR-15’s rise to dominance over the past two decades was sparked by a dramatic reversal in strategy by the country’s biggest gun companies to invest in a product that many in the industry saw as anathema to their culture and traditions.

That’s called good marketing, and every successful corporation employs it. Yet, because firearms manufacturers also employ it to their advantage, WaPo makes it seem like they are spreading disease. In their eyes, they probably are.

The writer touts that they have interviewed 16 current and former executives of firearms corporations. The top companies are pretty much recognizable and hold the corner on the industry—Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, Springfield Armory, and so on. But there are hundreds of smaller, specialized companies that also hold market share. So, how does the opinion of 16 people at the executive level really speak for the entire industry? Nobody would use that statistical skewing for the entertainment industry, food, or even politics. Why try and apply this measure to the firearms industry?

The Post review — based on interviews with 16 current and former industry executives, some of them talking publicly in depth for the first time, along with internal documents and public filings that describe the changes in previously unknown detail — found that the U.S. firearms industry came to embrace the gun’s political and cultural significance as a marketing advantage as it grasped for new revenue.

AR-15 Is NOT an Assault Rifle.

According to a recent 2023 study in Zippia, the United States has over 20 million AR-15 equivalent rifles in legal circulation. One of the joys of some gun enthusiasts is that the AR-15 can be modified and can be built independent of a gun manufacturer. So, this number probably doesn’t come close to the actual number of AR-15 rifles in circulation. I’m sure that fact puts a cold chill down the spine of the gun control zealots.


Zippia also corrects the usual characterization of the firearm by the gun control lobby and legacy media.

  • Due to that status, information about the gun is widely misunderstood, as it’s not an automatic assault rifle.However, the AR-15 is still a semi-automatic rifle and has many restrictions in states like California or Massachusetts.

“AR” is an acronym for the name of the original company that held the design: “Armalite,” and the fact that it is a rifle, hence the “R.” Despite the fact that other firearms manufacturers have chosen to keep the moniker “AR,” it will always stand for this merely because it’s recognizable. It is not an acronym for “Assault Rifle,” and it was never created specifically as a weapon of war. Lots of complex development, lots of varied models of this style of rifle exist, some specifically for the military, others specifically for the average firearms user. Saying an AR-15 is an assault rifle is as simplistic as saying a Porsche 911 is a racing car. While the 911 started out as a racing car, the model found on showroom floors is generations apart from the racing model that was used in competition in the late 1950s and 1960s.

But, this is Bezos’ WaPo, and propagandists are gonna propagandize.

The rugged, powerful weapon was originally designed as a soldiers’ rifle in the late 1950s. “An outstanding weapon with phenomenal lethality,” an internal Pentagon report raved. It soon became standard issue for U.S. troops in the Vietnam War, where the weapon earned a new name: the M16.

A cursory perusal of the AR history from the Armalite website would debunk this nonsense. The rifle was first produced in 1952 with its first series AR-1, which was a sniper rifle made for the military. From that blueprint, other rifles were developed, by Armalite and other firearms manufacturers, not necessarily meant for the military.


The AR-1 was one of the first rifles produced at Armalite’s location in Hollywood, CA, and paved the way to the development of the AR-10. All rifles were designated AR, short for Armalite Rifle. Shortly thereafter, Armalite submitted the AR-5, .22 Hornet Survival Rifle to the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for their then-standard survival rifle. The AR-5 was adopted and designated the MA-1 Survival Rifle.

How many cities versus rural areas existed in 1952 when the Armalite Company manufactured its first ARs? Plenty. How many people needed this type of rifle to hunt and guard their homes? Lots of people. Not much has changed today except more people now live in cities, and the encroaching and restrictive gun laws that emanate from those population centers and the politicians they produce. Coupled with the adversarial targeting by the gun control lobby against Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Supporters of the AR-15 say its popularity reflects its legitimacy as a tool for law-abiding people. “This firearm is lawfully owned by millions of Americans — used in shooting competitions, for recreational purposes, hunting and home protection,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

Others say this was not the original idea behind the gun.

Eugene Stoner, a World War II veteran who invented the AR-15 in the late 1950s while working at Armalite, a small engineering firm in Hollywood, had no interest in civilians using his invention, said C. Reed Knight, who owns a Florida gunmaking company and considers Stoner his mentor.

“He looked at this thing as only for the military side of the house,” Knight said. Stoner, who died in 1997, thought his invention was past its prime by the mid-1990s, Knight said. He added that Stoner would have been horrified by the idea that “he invented the tool of all this carnage in the schools.”

Harry Falber, a former executive at Smith & Wesson, one of the country’s best-known firearms brands, saw how Stoner’s invention changed the gun industry. The AR-15’s success came at a huge price, he said.

“The firearms industry, in the aggregate, is very small,” Falber told The Post. “And look at the havoc it wreaks.”


In the aggregate, the carbonated beverage industry, dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, is also very small; but if we look at obesity, diabetes, and diseases and illnesses that are rooted in the consumption of these drinks, we need to look at the havoc it wreaks, as well. But aside from Mike Bloomberg, we don’t see near as big a push to ban and outlaw these beverages, which are just as effective at killing, albeit slowly, as we do with firearms.

But few gunmakers saw a semiautomatic version of the rifle — with its shrouded barrel, pistol grip and jutting ammunition magazine — as a product for ordinary people. It didn’t seem suited for hunting. It seemed like overkill for home defense. Gun executives doubted many buyers would want to spend their money on one.

“No One Needs an AR-15 for Self-Defense.”

Another foolish assessment based on incorrect use of terms rooted in the lack of knowledge about the subject. The majority of handguns are semi-automatic. The AR-15 is unique because it created a semi-automatic response in a firearm which generally gives you a single shot before you have to reload or are pump action, and requires stable positioning of the shooter and/or the rifle on top of that. The AR-15 is also made of lightweight materials. I have held both, and the weight difference is significant. Think of the very controversial case of Kyle Rittenhouse as a perfect example of why an AR-15 can be effective in self-defense. Who could this type of firearm help? The elderly or people with limited trigger response or proficiency, teenagers who are just learning to use a firearm to help build gun proficiency, and the disabled. The NRA, Guns and Ammo, and other Second Amendment advocacy organizations have documented instances of how the AR-15 was used as a tool of protection and self-defense. That number is way more than the 17 mass shootings mentioned in the WaPo article.


Through it all, even after repeated mass killings involving the AR-15 that accounted for some of the nation’s darkest moments, efforts in Congress to resurrect an assault weapons ban repeatedly fizzled.

Calls by Democratic politicians to renew the ban fell short, with some in their own party voting against it at key moments. Almost no Republican would even entertain the idea. President Donald Trump briefly considered pushing for a ban, asking aides at one point why anyone needed an AR-15, but backed away after advisers warned he would anger his base as well as the NRA.

“The protection of the AR-15 has become the number one priority for the gun lobby,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a vocal supporter of stronger gun laws. He added: “It makes it harder to push this issue on the table because the gun lobby does so much messaging around it.”

Free from congressional scrutiny, the AR-15 has become a consumer product like none other — a barometer of fear and a gauge of political identity, its market success driven by the divisions it sows.

Ooh, the evil rifle is sowing division, just like that evil rifle just randomly kills people. Disconnecting the tool from the person who wields it is a favorite tactic of Leftist publications and politicians.

As Crime and Mass Shootings Happen, People Will Turn to AR-15 and Other Firearms for Armed Self-Defense.

It’s inevitable. Since the pandemic, the increase of firearms sales has not simply been gun culture right-wingers—it’s been people who would have painted themselves as liberal or non-partisan, and who previously would not have had any thought or interest in a firearms purchase. However, the more dangerous the world becomes, the more practical a firearm becomes. What I have also noticed is that people have tuned out the shrieking cries of the loudest minority, and are better equipped to challenge the Leftist narratives. This continues to leave the Left and the legacy media twisted.


While handguns are involved in the bulk of U.S. gun homicides — responsible for 90 percent of the deaths in cases where details are available, compared to less than 5 percent for rifles, the FBI says — AR-15 sales jump the most with each school shooting and contentious presidential campaign.

They soared in the run-up to the election of Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and after the mass killings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 and a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, and again ahead of the turbulent 2020 presidential election.

Today, the industry estimates that at least 20 million AR-15s are stored and stashed across the country.

As usual, the legacy media gets it all wrong. It has less to do with a romanticized view of the AR-15, or targeted marketing, or political affiliations, and more to do with the actual effectiveness of the weapon and its ease and necessity of use. The effectiveness and ease of use is also the reason that the miscreants who engineer mass shootings use it. The Left and its mouthpieces lament a culture that they worked hard to create. Call of Duty and John Wick are both glorifications of guns, gun culture, and warfare; but the Leftists who profit are happy to keep cranking out that product and collecting the revenues from both, while vilifying the people who actually use the tool in the way it was intended, for the purposes intended.

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