Tag Archives: ar15

Go ahead, spitball how many guns are in circulation

Of course, this is a moving target and in most cases would be considered something of a wild ass guess in most cases, but the NSSF, working with industry and regulatory data for the past couple of decades, came up with some interesting figures when it comes to the number of guns in private circulation in the U.S.

The big numbers: 434 million firearms, 20 million “modern sporting rifles” such as AR-15s, and 150 million magazines which are considered in eight or nine states to be “high capacity.”


More in my column at Guns.com.

Ukrainian AR love

Over the past several years, one of the most active units in the on-again/off-again asymmetric war with Russian proxies for the Donbas and Crimea has been the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (DPSU). Currently some 42,000-strong, they are fundamentally set up as light infantry equipped on the lines of Warsaw Pact foot soldiers from the 1980s, complete with AKs.

Note the AKMS, complete with wooden furniture, and the Ukrainian flash on his sleeve. The traditional “opolcheniye cross” DPSU insignia dates back to the 1800s (Photo: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine)

However, their new look is very western:

Photo: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

The DPSU reported earlier this month that the first units, the Dozor rapid-reaction teams, have moved to the new select-fire 5.56mm NATO caliber UAR-15 carbines and the whole force is expected to soon make the transition. The change is reportedly to make the service more compatible with EU and NATO standards. Best yet, the guns are made in Ukraine, with a little help from some household U.S. names.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Answering those AR selection questions

As I have gotten a lot of questions on how to select an AR-15 in recent months, I put together some 2,000~ of basic information as to what features to look for, what they mean (e.g. the differences between 8620 steel and S7 steel on bolts), and what to avoid on black rifles.

If you are curious, check it out in my regular column at Guns.com. 

Foldy Minis

For those who loved the old-school looks of the folding stocked Ruger-14, but found the $1K cost of hard-to-find O.E. stocks way over the top, New Hampshire-based Samson has finally come through.

You can almost hear, “In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit…” in the background.

Of course, they are still $279, but the new stocks are made in conjunction with Ruger– even drawing from the gunmaker’s in-house supply of walnut– and are reportedly a better product than the original.

For those who love it when a plan comes together, there is more on this in my column at Guns.com

That oft-overlooked AR-15 accessory: The weapon light


A SureFire Scout Light with RM45 & DS switch mounted on an AR-15 rail. Photo via SureFire

The bad part about things that go bump in the night is that by definition it is going to be dark out there dark out there –but for those who are prepared, having a decent weapon light on your AR can prove illuminating.

Why a light?

On a planet where we spend on average about half of our time in the dark and chose to live in homes that on occasion are more cave than greenhouse, it only makes sense to outfit your black rifle with a weapon light. You want to be able to identify those objects out there in the darkness and make sure of what you have in your sights long before you place a finger inside a trigger well. Typically, a light will be used more often in any sort of response you will have than the firearm itself.

However, there are many choices to make to keep you ahead of the game.


It is easy to be sucked into the trap of over-accessorizing an AR-15, filling up those nice long Key-mod and M-LOK rails up with all sorts of lasers and devices until you are left with a 20-pound rifle that has the ergonomics of a Christmas tree. Nevertheless, a light is possibly the most essential of all aftermarket add-ons to your rifle and, if positioned right, is exactly where you need it most.

When placing your light, you want to keep in mind the basic factor that you don’t want to obscure your line of sight or take your strong hand off the gun’s grip to activate it. With that being said, placing a light somewhere forward of the breech where the off-hand (e.g. your left hand if you are right-handed) can access the switch easily is ideal. Some instructors advocate keeping the light at the 12 o’clock position; however, this can occlude your field of vision or wash out your front sight in addition to often forcing your off-hand in front of your face when you manipulate the switch.

Mounting the light at the 9- or 10-o’clock position (or 2- or 3- for southpaws) can help eliminate the pitfalls of the above. No matter where you place the light, there will be a shadow caused by the rifle itself, so experiment with a combination that gives you the biggest cone of light projected forward and mounted in a place where you can access it with a minimum of fumbling. Keep in mind your sling and other AR-15 accessories (backup sights, etc.) can interfere with your light manipulation, which is a bad thing, so get this worked out ahead of time and test switching your light on and off while up on the target to help you figure it out.

A pressure switch mounted in the six-o’clock for a 9/10 or 2/3 mounted light can help give you the best of both worlds while keeping your off-hand out of your face and on your rifle.

For more tips, and suggestions on lights, head on over to my column at Tac44.com.

20+ different AR15 mags in 6 minutes

From the common STANAG, HKs and PMAGs to such brands as Thermold, Hexmag, MSAR, Easymag, Troy, CAA Countdown and Plinker Tac, mpk1414 walks you through their experience.

Of course, your mileage may vary and they have a dim view of polymer mags, but they generally have links to torture test videos (turn annotations on) for in-depth mag tests for each of these.

Apparently, it took them three years to run through all these.

An innovative (and probably effective) way to ban ‘assault weapons’

"Kanarejka” (Canary) system, mounted below the AKS-74U assault rifle.

“Kanarejka” (Canary) system, mounted below the AKS-74U assault rifle. Now this is a real assault rifle. An “assault weapon” is a political term.

“Assault weapons bans” go back a quarter century with California implementing the first such restrictions in 1989. The the California Department of Justice’s assault weapon list has some registered 145,253 firearms  as of last year when I did an in-depth report on them. However, the AWB, although tweaked continually, focuses on named models and arbitrary cosmetic features such as hand grips, barrel shrouds, and threaded muzzles, deeming such guns “assaulty” while they accidentally wind up making such innocent models as the Marlin Model 60, a tubular magazine .22LR popgun, illegal in some states.

Such bans aren’t very efficient, nor do they reduce crime, as witnesses a decade after in a postmortem on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which sunsetted in 2004.

Even the sometimes left-leaning New York Times noted that, “The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle.”

Further, manufacturers can just rename their guns and delete cosmetic features, selling state-compliant models. As such, you can still very much buy modified AR-15-ish rifles in California legally over the counter. Sure, they have bullet buttons and look funny, but at their heart they are still ARs.

A state-compliant AR

A state-compliant AR. Even these abominations are banned in Massachusetts, at least for now.

However, Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Maura Healey last week flipped the script and decided to re-interpret the state’s 1998 ban to include an interchangeability test on the gun’s action, as ruling whether it is banned under state law. For instance, if Mass-compliant 5.56mm semi-auto rifle accepts the same bolt carrier group and magazine of the banned AR-15, it is banned as well.

So now components, such as the bolt carrier group and charging handle, define what make up an "assault rifle" under Healy's interpretation of Mass law....not the gun itself.

So now components, such as the bolt carrier group and charging handle, define what make up an “assault rifle” under Healy’s interpretation of Mass law….not the gun itself.

Gun grabbing genius this is. Because of the extremely broad strokes used to issue her office’s new guidance, most semi-auto centerfire rifles with the exception of a few (Ruger Mini-14, Remington 7400, Winchester 1910, etc), can be outlawed.

The thing is, Healy may have overstepped her authority and there has been a run on stores by gun owners fearing it will stick and some are promising legislation and litigation to short circuit her effort.

Either way, you can bet it is a blueprint for future moves by lawmakers to place a much more restrictive gun prohibition in the works.

Happy St. Paddy’s: Those ‘red-headed’ AR18 rifles

And here is a bonus in honor of all those who wore green to work today…

Ireland never really had that much of a firearms industry, but when you mention the AR18 across the pond, you should know that it was (almost) the most iconic rifle of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland during the last part of the 20th century

female ira terrorist with AR180 ar-18 ar18 rifle

More in my column at Guns.com