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Updated: 08/21/2014 08:00:03AM

Know your modern sporting rifles

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shooting straight • ryan ingle

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This week we are going to take a look at the modern sporting rifles (MSRs) — the AR-15 and its variants. The AR in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” AR-15-style rifles are not “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934. If someone calls an AR-15-style rifle an “assault weapon,” he or she either supports banning these firearms or does not understand their function and sporting use (or both). Please correct them. “Assault weapon” is a political term created by California anti-gun legislators to ban some semi-automatic rifles there in the 1980s.

Now with all that being said, let’s go over some differences in terminology you will often hear when talking about them. You will hear the term mil-spec. This means a weapon or part is made to U.S. military specifications. Then you will hear the term mil-standard, which basically means “tighten up mil-spec.” Reputable companies will often exceed mil-spec by making vast improvements over all areas of the rifle, including the accuracy.

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