Black Rifle – AR15
The “black rifle” or more properly named tactical rifle has burst upon the gun and hunting scene in recent years. It is the fastest growing category of firearm in history. As with most popular things, the black gun has its detractors as well as fans.
The detractors have characterized this weapon as an “assault rifle”, a machine gun and as a weapon built only to kill people. Originally designed as a military weapon, today it is none of these. Then so have all sporting arms. The popular bolt action so popular with hunters was built on the Mauser action of World War I and II. It you want to go back further in time, the bow and arrow so popular with hunters today came from the many wars fought in ancient Asia.
The black rifle of today begins on the AR 15 platform. But it is a gun that meets virtually any purpose. It is a weapon built with modular construction, that can be serviced, customized and be turned into virtually whatever the shooter desires. The name black rifle comes from the color of the weapon.
The AR 15 platform is a semi-auto carbine or rifle. It has been in production since the early 1960’s and is the most popular of the black rifles. Most come in .223 or .308 calibers. The folding stock and vast array of accessories make it possible to customize the weapon to the owner’s preference. Regardless of the appearance of the gun, the core function remains the same as traditional semi-auto long guns.
Being candid, I never paid much attention to tactical weapons until recently. Being a lifelong hunter of over 55 years, I had my own built in prejudice toward black guns. I could not see what people saw in them.
Tom Gresham of the Gun Talk Radio Show provided an education and an eye-opening session on the shooting range.
Gresham pointed out the relationship between military weapons and hunting weapons. He explained that all sporting weapons come from a military platform. He also gave a reason for the popularity of the AR platform with the statement, “just look at the weapons you see in movies, TV and with computer games.” “It is only natural young people want this platform in their sporting activities,” explained Gresham.
Learning to shoot the AR 15 has a short learning curve. The simplistic loading, safety and shooting process makes it popular and safe for even a novice shooter. Its accuracy makes it a good hunting weapon in the .308 caliber.
It is this simple ease of operation that has endeared the black rifles to hunters, target shooters and those wanting a home defense weapon. For every dollar spent on black rifles and equal amount is spent on customizing it for the buyer’s desires.
Gresham reported that for gun-control advocates, the black rifle is an assault weapon under a different name and as dangerous as they were when Congress instituted a ban on some of them in 1994. The ban, which expired in 2004, did not eliminate black rifles. Manufacturers were able to make minor changes to comply with the law and continued to sell them.
On the range shooting both the .223 and the .308, the first thing you notice is the extremely light weight of the weapon. The accuracy of both guns is impressive shooting at 100-yards and 200-yards respectively. It is easy to produce tight groups. The lack of recoil is welcome. The adjustable stock and pistol grip are popular features of the gun. I liked the stock but did not care for the pistol grip. I have not lost all of my prejudices. Overall, I like the gun and the way it shoots. It was fun to shoot.
The people who shoot these guns are the same as those who hunt and shoot any other type of weapon. They are regular folk who shoot them because they are fun to shoot. But, the bottom line is that we must defend the right to shoot and hunt. It is not the type of gun we use that we must defend it is the right to shoot any gun we choose.
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