The Colt AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, air-cooled semi-automatic, gas-operated rifle with a rotating bolt. It was designed to be manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials. Introduced in 1964, Colt has made many different types of AR-15 rifle and carbine models: including the AR-15, AR-15A2, AR-15A3, Sporter, HBAR, Government, Target, Match and many other models.

It is based on the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle, a select-fire weapon intended for military sales. In 1959, ArmaLite sold the design to Colt due to financial difficulties. After some modifications, the rifle eventually became the United States military M16 rifle. Shortly thereafter, Colt began to make semi-automatic versions for civilian sales. The term “AR-15” is a Colt registered trademark, which they use to denote only the semi-automatic rifle versions available for civilian and law enforcement sales.

The term “AR-15” signifies “Armalite rifle, design 15”.Other manufacturers make AR-15 clones and variants marketed under separate designations, although these are frequently referred to as AR-15s. This article discusses the semiautomatic version manufactured by Colt.

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Weight 2.27 kg–3.9 kg (5.5–8.5 lb)
Barrel length
  • 20 inches (510 mm) (standard)
  • 16 inches (410 mm) (carbine)
  • 14.5 inches (370 mm) (Restricted under current NFA rules)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO, 7.62×39mm, 9mm Parabellum
Action Direct impingement
Effective firing range ~550 metres (600 yd)
Feed system Detachable magazine
Sights Adjustable front and rear iron sights


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