What Do You Know About AR-15s?

AR 15 Rifle AR 15 Components

AR-15 Rifle Introduction

The AR-15 rifle is a popular and versatile rifle that has garnered significant attention in recent years. Known for its modular design, ease of customization, and widespread use among civilians and law enforcement alike, the AR-15 rifle operates on a straightforward yet efficient mechanism. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or new to firearms, understanding how an AR-15 functions and AR-15 components can deepen your appreciation for its engineering and performance capabilities.

But isn’t it an assault rifle?

 A frequent misconception about the AR-15 rifle, for instance, is that the “AR” in the name stands for “assault rifle.” This is incorrect! AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, reflecting the company name (ArmaLite) of the original manufacturer of the weapon. ArmaLite sold the design of the rifle to Colt in 1959, however, the term “AR-15” has remained in use as a catch-all for similar guns.

Key Components of an AR-15

  1. Upper and Lower Receivers: The AR-15 is built around two main components: the upper and lower receivers. The upper receiver houses critical parts like the barrel, bolt carrier group (BCG), and handguard, while the lower receiver contains the trigger group and magazine well.
  2. Barrel and Gas System: Upon firing, the bullet travels down the barrel, which directs the gas generated by the ignited gunpowder into a gas block. This gas block redirects the gas into a gas tube that runs back into the upper receiver.
  3. Bolt Carrier Group (BCG): The BCG plays a pivotal role in the cycling of an AR-15. When the rifle is fired, the gas pushes the BCG rearward against a buffer spring and buffer in the stock, ejecting the spent cartridge casing and cocking the hammer.
  4. Charging Handle: To prepare the AR-15 for firing, the charging handle located on the upper receiver is pulled rearward, which pulls the BCG rearward, compressing the buffer spring.
  5. Trigger Mechanism: The AR-15 uses a semi-automatic firing mechanism, where each pull of the trigger releases the hammer, striking the firing pin, and igniting a new round from the magazine.
  6. Safety Selector: Located on the lower receiver, the safety selector allows the user to choose between safe, semi-automatic, and, in some models, fully automatic firing modes.

Functioning of an AR-15

  • Firing Sequence: When the trigger is pulled, the hammer strikes the firing pin, which in turn strikes the primer of the cartridge. This ignition causes the gunpowder to combust, propelling the bullet down the barrel and cycling the action as described.
  • Semi-automatic Operation: Most AR-15s are semi-automatic, meaning one round is fired per trigger pull. After each shot, the BCG resets the hammer and extracts and ejects the spent casing, preparing the rifle for the next shot.
  • Customization and Modifications: One of the AR-15’s defining features is its adaptability. Owners can customize their rifles with various accessories such as optics, grips, stocks, and handguards to suit personal preferences or specific applications like hunting, competitive shooting, or home defense.


Understanding the mechanics of how an AR-15 rifle works enhances your appreciation for its design and functionality. As a versatile firearm celebrated for its accuracy, reliability, and customizable features, the AR-15 continues to be a preferred choice for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

For more insights into AR-15s, firearm safety, and related topics, stay updated with reputable sources and engage in responsible firearm ownership practices.

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