How the AR-15 became a powerful political, cultural symbol in America

So much to comment on, but I won’t jump ahead except to offer that just like “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” so too the AR-15 doesn’t “divide a nation,” but rather anti-2A activists use it to divide our nation.


Valid point!


“Some AR-15 supporters saw the MSR campaign as a phony attempt to make the black rifle seem less ominous — even though what many loved most about it was the threatening look.”

The article seems to make a lot of assumptions about why everyone wants these rifles. It also just about outright states that the only reason anyone wants one is because we are all brainwashed by advertising.

I personally don’t get how an AR15 looks any more threatening than any other rifle? And I’m not at all a fan of the erector set styling. I much prefer the look and feel of wood or laminated stocks.

The advantage with the AR15 is you get a rifle that has easy to use ergonomics and is easy to customize and accessorize to your own needs. You can get perfectly usable versions at relatively low cost. It uses ammunition that is relatively inexpensive especially compared to other rifle caliber options. Though I am not all that big a fan of the allegedly otherworldly power of the 5.56/.223 cartridge it was originally designed to use. Anti gunner hyperbole aside, it is well suited to home defense and adequate for some hunting uses. Even our military seems to have finally admitted it is not all that powerful and are shifting to a much more effective round. Though another advantage is you can quickly switch to other calibers without having to buy a whole new rifle.

Just as importantly it uses cheap but reliable magazines that can be used in rifles made by other manufacturers. So you don’t need a whole new set of mags for every rifle you own.

Make me a rifle with all the conveniences of an AR15 that looked like a more traditional wood stock rifle and I’d gladly purchase it instead of an AR. And maybe the hoplyphobes could all sleep better at night with a few less “threatening” looking rifles in peoples’ homes? But the AR15 is cheap and easy for manufacturers to produce and it fills the needs and wants of many costumers. So I suspect we are stuck with the limited options for awhile. At least until the anti self defense crowd bans ARs due to their “threatening” looks and forces manufacturers to produce more rifle that performs the same but look a little different. Then we’ll all be a lot safer right??


I saw that article this morning. So much to comment on is right. Yowza! I don’t think I even made it to the end of the article.


My brain hurts from reading this this obviously anti-gun slanted propaganda. Makes me want to go out and purchase another to complement the 5.56, 300blackout, and 9mm variations.


Thanks for sharing (and others above), I know not to give it the grace of a click/view now.

Threatening look? lol, I thought I’d heard it all…not sure I had read that people like AR type rifles because of a ‘threatening look’ (vs other rifles), before.

The damn things are ubiquitous and the old guys make fun of them for looking like plastic toys…buy them for the looks lol


No more powerful, culturally symbolic or political than the AK47.
Which is depicted on some countries flags.
Maybe the libs should thank their lucky stars that we haven’t placed it on our flag.

I can just imagine all the liberal explosions!


For me, the irony is that I hadn’t even considered buying one until the current administration was installed. Then my wife said, “I think you should get one before you lose the freedom to do so.”

So it wasn’t the gun manufacturers, it wasn’t the gun lobby, or the “gun culture.” It was the libs themselves.


I lived knee deep in the AR world in 1994 and while I am not up on the marketing portion that the article seems to focus on I was part of the “developmental revolution” of the AR platform after 1994. The only reason I would ever consider shaking Bill Clinton’s hand would be to thank him for the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Crazy, right? Well listen.

Prior to 1994 you had basically 3 flavors of AR, AR-15A1, AR-15A2 and the Carbine or “Commando”. No Picatinny rails, no scopes worth a dog, no free floated fore ends, no ergonomic grips, no butt stock choices, no sight choices, no barrel choices, no caliber choices. Basically civilian MIL-Spec. It started in 93-94’ with the Army and USMC when they shifted from the M-14 to the M-16 for National Match shooting. AMU pioneered the “Service Rifle Free Float Handguards”. Some civilians like D.Tubb put “Bloop Tubes” on the front of the rifles to float the barrels, cut off the A2 handle sights and mounted Weaver Rails to put on micrometer sights.

In 10 years the AR-15 was totally transformed. I don’t care about a bayonet lug or a pinned on front sight tower. The iron sights suck and putting a scope on the handle also sucked. I remember being at Crane Armory and seeing an AR upper jigged into a milling machine in the morning and in the afternoon there was a Remington 700 Scope base with Weaver rings on it screwed to where the handle was with a scope on it. I got to play with it and the scope height was perfect.

I remember in 2001 or 2 when Reed Knight came to DEVGRU peddling his SR-25. That was one hell of an impressive platform. I think he brought 4 rifles. There was an original AR-10 configuration and then the other three had various length barrels and hand guard configurations. One of them turned into the Navy MK-12. He did sucker the Navy HARD on that deal and the MK-18 but as much as I don’t like him personally he did good things for his company.

Before the sunset of the “Assault Weapons Ban” the AR-15 platform looked nothing like what it did 10 years prior. The evolution has not stopped. The M-4 SOP-MOD platform has come full circle. The Designated Marksman platform is a real thing. Ammunition has been upgraded, barrel twists have been fine tuned (you’re welcome) . Adjustable gas blocks, Pic rails all around, piston gas systems, ergo butt stocks, lights, lasers and all the other stuff came from the assault weapons ban that basically said you can’t have an AR-15, AR-15A1, AR-15A2 or any of those carbines. American ingenuity said “Cool! That crap cuts down on accuracy and performance. Hold my beer. Watch this.”




I love how they said the AR-15 wasn’t supposed to be the best seller…. But it literally was made to be the best seller to the military agencies.


I wonder how T-Rex arms feels about their cherry picked comment making Lukas sound like a child. One thing I had forgotten about is that Trump actually entertained a ban. He is definitely no friend of the 2A yet revered by the GOP base for some reason.


Trump also had the “bump stock ban”. Politically, I liked his Presidency, mostly. But I had serious reservations about how conservative he is/was and I hope he has better advisors around him that will convince him to not have late night social media exhortations.


He doesnt listen to much of anybody. I just hope he doesnt even get nominated this time or we’ll be inaugurating Obama 2.0 in Jan 2025.


10 years ago, folks used to joke that President Obama was the world’s best rifle salesman. Every time he called for a ban on “assault rifles,” sales of semi-autos would soar.


As I understand it (from an article I can’t recall), during the “Assault Rifle Ban” there were actually just as many of them sold, if not more. The manufacturers took note of the cosmetic features which ‘banned’ the rifles, modified the rifles to eliminate those features, then put the ‘new style’ rifles back on the market with great success. I also understand that the government’s own study showed that the ban resulted in no measurable reduction in homicides specifically or violent crime in general.

These days, with certain police agencies and/or prosecutors refusing to enforce the laws already on the books, how can they expect that additional laws will make any difference?


Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that after the 4 years of Biden, that people won’t vote for Trump. Trump was a good POTUS, he just wouldn’t get out of his own way on social media.


He loses the middle. The way I see things, the DNC is already setting up Biden to be done in 4. The only viable candidate they have is Hakeem Jeffereies. Thats why Nancy stepped down, put him in a position of power and in a more public position. Trump cant beat him. Not sure any Republican can beat him.

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I don’t see that, since he is such a hard core leftist, not saying it can’t. That would be pretty catastrophic for our country.


Think back to Obama, he came from nowhere and was suddenly revered. He said a bunch of nothing but because of his tone and mannerisms, hes considered an amazing speaker. Now go watch clips of Jefferies, he’s Obama 2.0.

Either way, Jefferies or not Trump loses the middle and he cant win on his base alone. And right now his base is fractured.


I said this once before, somewhere, so I apologize for repeating myself… but yes, I have similar concerns that a Trump 2.0 campaign could give us another 4 years of Biden.

It’s not that I think Trump can’t run. He obviously can, and he had the votes in 2020 to prove it. The problem is that the GOP is very divided over Trump, right now. Some Republicans are still Never-Trump folks. Others don’t oppose him but have Trump fatigue. These two might not come to the polls if Trump is the nominee.

Other Republicans want Trump to run again, to varying degrees. Still others are die-hard Trump-or-Nobody supporters out to avenge what they believe was a stolen election in 2020. These folks might walk away if Trump is not the nominee, or vote 3rd party (remember Trump was a Reform Party candidate long before he ran as a Republican).

Either way, Biden gets re-elected.

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