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AR-15 Facts Without Politics

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Big Media, Big Politics, and Big Business all profit financially and politically when they keep the public worked up in fear and/or outrage. They are not our friends. Let’s take some of their power back with a few facts. The current focus for outrage and fear is the AR-15 and “assault rifles.”




Throughout “American” media, a war is raging over the availability of the AR-15.* Some condemn it as an unnecessary “assault rifle” that is killing our children. There seems to be widespread belief that the AR-15 is an automatic weapon used by the US military. On the other side, many praise it as a fine-tooled machine that is actually far less dangerous than most rifles.


*   The AR-15 is a “semiautomatic” rifle,” meaning one trigger pull = one shot.

 *   It fires .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO ammunition. These calibers are less powerful than most calibers of ammunition commonly used in hunting rifles.

 According to the US National Institute of Justice, the 5.56 NATO ammo is one of the types of ammunition that can penetrate NIJ Tier II body armor (soft armor), but it does not penetrate NIJ Tier III body armor. (See  NIJ Body Armor Protection Levels)

*   Cartridges are loaded into a magazine, not a “clip,” and the magazine is loaded into the rifle.

*   The standard AR-15 magazine holds thirty rounds.

*   The US military does NOT use the AR-15.

*   The AR-15 is considered a starter rifle by many shooters, and kids and adults at rifle clubs often use them for target shooting competitions because they are lightweight, low caliber, and easy to control.


CA-legal AR-15 w/Stag receiver and fixed 10-round magazine Image by TheAlphaWolf, public domain.

CA-legal AR-15 w/Stag receiver
and fixed 10-round magazine
Image by TheAlphaWolf, public domain.


*   The letters “AR” do NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” The letters “AR” stand for “ArmaLite rifle” after the company that developed the rifle in the 1950s.

*   The AR-15 has no automatic weapon capabilities.

*   Automatic weapons, which are weapons that fire more than one round per trigger pull, can only be acquired legally in the United States in two ways since the ban of 1986. First, a person can get a special tax stamp that allows the purchase of one made before the 1986 ban, or second, they can obtain a firearms manufacturing license and get a conversion kit to modify a semiautomatic rifle for automatic firing. Both processes are expensive and tedious.

*   The AR-15 is frequently referred to by politicians and the media as an “assault rifle.”

*   The origin of the term “assault rifle” is widely attributed to Adolf Hitler. Hitler used the German word “Sturmgewehr” for propaganda purposes to refer to the Stg44, which was a select fire military rifle used by the German Wehrmacht. “Select fire” means it can be switched from firing one bullet for each trigger pull to firing more than one bullet for each trigger pull. The translation of sturmgewehr is “storm rifle,” or “assault rifle.”

*   The AR-15 is not a select fire rifle.

*   The term “assault rifle” has no universal definition and is interpreted differently by each state.

*   There is no special attribute to the AR-15 that distinguishes it as an “assault rifle.” 


Bayard & Holmes Opinion

This is an election year, and the AR-15 is at the center of a propaganda war with much political posturing. We must all keep in mind that just because we might agree with the goal of propaganda, whatever that goal may be, it is still propaganda. In this war of agendas, we are the prize.

We encourage everyone to thoroughly research their topics beyond the click bait and meme fodder of Western media and social media and to remember that conclusions reached in ignorance, whatever those conclusions, only compound the problems.

All the best to all of you as you navigate the Misinformation Highway.

Please Note: This is NOT a gun control post, but rather a post designed to combat propaganda and ignorance. No matter what your opinion is about gun control, please DO NOT share it in the comments.

*We put the word “American” in quotes when referring to media because some of the largest stockholders in “American” media are foreigners with their own political alliances and agendas to push–something to keep in mind when evaluating information.

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Piper Bayard is an author and a recovering attorney. Jay Holmes is a forty-year veteran of the military and intelligence communities. Together, Bayard & Holmes write espionage fiction and nonfiction. Their upcoming nonfiction release, SPYCRAFT: Essentials for Writers, covers everything from what the main intelligence agencies do and where they operate to honey pots, sleeper agents, enhanced interrogations, and more. Now on pre-sale at Amazon!

15 thoughts on “ AR-15 Facts Without Politics

  1. on ,
    Michelle Morrison said:

    Unfortunately there is nothing new about government or political propaganda. Thank you for providing information to help when making decisions.

  2. Thanks for this post, Piper. Since my wife buys into the ‘assault weapon’ propaganda, I’m forwarding this link to her. I hope she’ll read it.

  3. on ,
    Ed Gomeau said:

    Nice to hear a voice of competency and reason for a change. All the Way! Keep up the good work.

  4. Pingback: Talking About Guns - Lynette M Burrows

    • Thank you for sharing on FB. I don’t see any links, but since these are just AR-15 facts and not “perspective” or gun control arguments, I’m not sure what comments of ours would be relevant.

      • I don’t know what happened to the link – here it is again: https://donofalltrades.com/2018/02/25/apathetic-is-pathetic/ – the blogger is Don of all Trades.
        I’m not inviting you to engage in a gun control argument … I’d be interested in your opinions, because I’ve noticed that most of what you write is fact-based, but as you state that’s a separate issue. Don’s post shares his opinions, but he goes into a fair amount of technical detail about the AR-15, which made it sound more scary than your post does. I don’t know enough to be able to judge whether he’s saying something different from you, or just approaching the data from a different perspective. I asked his opinion on your post in the comments, and he confirmed that what you’d written was essentially accurate… 🙂

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