Come learn all about the Modern Sporting Rifle aka the AR-15!
What is an AR-15? Why does everyone talk about them? Are they an automatic rifle as scary and bad as the news portrays? Are they hard to shoot and maintain? Why would I want one? What should be on my rifle? How can a rifle be customized? Are you looking for other rifle training? We offer in-person AR-15 Rifle training near the Austin, Texas area. Come to us to fast-track your rifle training!
What is an AR-15?
To listen to the news, AR stands for automatic rifle. It doesn’t! This type of rifle was desinged by Eugene Stoner at Armalite Rifles. The correct term for this rifle is “Modern Sporting Rifle” or MSR. This rifle is semi-automatic which means only one bullet is fired out of the muzzle per trigger pull. It operates exactly the same as a semi-automatic pistol. The AR style rifles us a gas-operated action which means that part of the gas generated during firing is used to operate the action to eject the old brass case and insert a new cartridge from the magazine. It doesn’t fire again until the trigger is pulled back.
Why does everyone talk about them?
The AR platform, or correctly termed MSR, has become a big bad boogeyman to the gun-control crowd. By portraying these rifles as the issue, they’ve made an entire swath of the population unnecessarily scared of these rifles. According to the most recent FBI crime data (2021), more people are killed with blunt objects (7563), knives (16362), personal weapons (29025) asphyxiation (2620) than with rifles. In fact, semi-automatic rifle deaths across the country were only 142. Versus thousands with knives and another 1000 with blunt objects. Any deaths are sad but we have to look at the root cause of the issue and that’s people, not ANY inanimate object. So, you have to ask yourself why? This is not a political post! This is to help explain the misconceptions around these rifles.
Are they an automatic rifle?
As stated above, the MSR is a semi-automatic rifle. You have to pull the trigger back for every single bullet that comes out of the muzzle. Just like a semi-automatic pistol. All semi-autos have a magazine that holds the ammunition. As the action cycles from the firing, the action moves back and forth to fire, eject the old case, cock the trigger again, feed another cartridge into the chamber and lock the chamber in preparation to fire again. A fully automatic rifle is illegal to own unless you have an expensive permit from the government. Those are few and far between and heavily regulated. All MSRs you see on the news are all semi-automatics and mislabeled as automatic rifles most of the time.
Are they as scary and bad as the news portrays?
Absolutely not! They are very fun to shoot and operate, easy to break apart and clean and are completely customizable. These MSRs are a real game changer for women too! A standard rifle (what a traditional hunting rifle looks like) is designed around a man’s size and strength. They can be very heavy and hard to carry around and fire for most women. But the MSR can be adjusted to fit it’s owner. The barrel is also shorter. The stock that goes against your shoulder has 6 different length adjustments so that it fits much better and is easier to hold up. The gas system can be cusomized so you feel much less recoil.
The body of the rifle can be much of very light materials such as aluminum and the bolts can be titanium and other lightweight metals to help cut the weight. These MSRs can also accept a lot of customizations in optics, accessories, sling mounts and much, much more. But, none of these things make a rifle scary!!! What makes a rifle scary is a bad person with horrible intent. People use millions of these rifles every single day for a lawful purpose such as recreational shooting, hunting or competition. And, yes, home defense as well.
Are they hard to shoot and maintain?
No! In fact, they are incredibly easy to shoot and maintain. You poke a few pins out and the barrel separates from the frame. From there you can access the trigger group, the charging handle, the bolt and more. Its a lot easier to keep the barrel clean when you can take it off the frame and handle just that. This rifle is very simple to maintain.
Because you can adjust the stock on your shoulder, it’s also incredibly easy to shoot. Most people can shoot them right away with just a few adjustments. Because the barrel isn’t as long as a traditional rifle its a lot easier to carry it around in the field, at a competition, or in its case going from house to range. I use a backpack case that lets my hands carry other things.
Why would I want one?
Several reasons! It’s your constitutional right! It’s fun to shoot. You can compete with it, and hunt with it just to mention a few. Lots of people hunt with these and they are very accurate inside of 300 yards. You can get literally everything on this rifle customized for you and your needs.
What do I need to put on my new rifle?
There is a LOT of gear and accessories you can add to your rifle such as an optic, forward grip, light, magnifier, sling, bipod and much, much more! It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look at the options. My advice is to keep it very simple until you determine another accessory is needed. What’s on my rifle? Foldable iron sights, a red dot optic and a 2-point sling. That’s it. The more you add, the more weight you add to the rifle. Ounces are pounds when you are holding the rifle up or carrying it around.
Other ways to customize your AR-15
One of the ways you can customize your rifle is to upgrade the factory parts it comes with. This always makes the gun easier to operate. Some examples are a trigger upgrade from the heavier pull of a mil-spec trigger and an ambidextrous charging handle. Those 2 upgrades can really make a difference in how your rifle performs. I like the ambidextrous charging handle because I can grap it easily with either hand and rip it back. And, the match trigger installed in my rifle? Let’s just say, it made a HUGE difference!
Where can I learn more?
Here at Southern Charm Firearms Academy we offer several classes using the Modern Sporting Rifle on a regular basis. Those classes include Getting Started, Zeroing your Rifle and Shooting Basics, Building Foundational Skills, Advanced Concepts and Skills and Cleaning & Maintenance. You can bring your rifle or use one of ours. More information on this class is available here: