Gun Glossary - Letter
AAA: Acronym for Anti Aircraft Artillery, also known as "Triple A" and when the AAA is fired form a gun, often called "Ack Ack" or FLAK.
ABRAMS MAIN BATTLE TANK (MBT): Main Battle Tank used by the United States Military and some allies (in a special export variant). The Abrams M1 is a 60-ton armored vehicle that includes on a tracked (Caterpillar) chassis with a rotating turret encasing a crew compartment housing a 120mm smooth bore cannon. The M1A1 and newer M1A2 Abrams main battle tank is manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). The first M1 tank was produced in 1978, as the M1 and employed a 105mm rifled bore main gun.
M1A1: The M1A1 was produced in 1985 and included many upgrades most prominent was the up gunned 125mm smooth bore cannon. This variant was followed by the upgraded M1A2 in 1986. 3,273 M1 tanks were produced for the US Army. 4,796 M1A1 tanks were built for the US Army, 221 for the US Marines and 555 co-produced with Egypt. Egypt has ordered a further 200 M1A1 tanks with production to continue to 2005. 77 M1A2 tanks have been built for the US Army, 315 for Saudi Arabia and 218 for Kuwait.
M1A2 SYSTEM ENHANCEMENT PACKAGE (SEP): Upgrade Program, over 600 M1 Abrams tanks are being upgraded to M1A2 configuration. Deliveries of the M1A2 SEP began in 1998.
ACCOUTERMENT: All equipment carried by a soldier on the outside of their uniform, such as buckles, belts, canteens and other uniform adornments not including weapons.
ACK ACK: Slang for Air Defense Artillery. So named as the term sounds like the "ack ack" sound barking out from the World War II guns that fired in rapid succession. Around the world, guns are still an integral part of most air defense systems.
ACTION: 1. The combination of the receiver or frame and breech bolt together with the other parts of the mechanism by which a firearm is loaded, fired and unloaded. 2. The working mechanism of a firearm.
Various types of ACTIONS exist, including single-shot, multi-barrel, hinged) action, revolvers, slide or pump-actions, lever-actions, bolt-actions, rotating actions, semi-automatics and automatics. For more information see the details on Firearm Actions below.
HANDGUN ACTIONS: The working mechanism of the handgun. The term action specifically refers to the "actions" the moving parts and the shooter take that are required to make a firearm function. Thus "The Action" determines the process by which the handgun is cocked, fired, and reloaded. Common handgun action types are: Single Action, Double Action and Double Action Only.
Double Action Only is abbreviated DAO. Double Action/Single Action is abbreviated DA/SA.
See details and definitions on specific types of handgun actions below.
The Action of a Handgun: In order to fire most handguns, two specific actions must take place.
Long Gun Actions
ACCIDENT: An unexpected and undesirable event caused by circumstances beyond the control of the participant(s). The term Accidental Discharge or AD is often improperly used to describe a Negligent Discharge or ND. There are practically no firearms related "accidents." See Negligent Discharge.
ACCURACY: Term describing a firearm's ability to shoot consistently where aimed. Accuracy 2: In firearms using single projectiles, the measure of the dispersion of the group fired. The optimum would be one hole no larger in diameter than a single projectile hitting at the point of aim. In the United States, accuracy is typically measured in Minutes Of Angle or MOA at 100 yards. Using this methodology and terminology, a 1 inch group fired at 100 yards would be referred to as 1 MOA.
ACOG information and images courtesy of Trijicon, Inc.
ACP: Designation for a cartridge originally designed for the Automatic Colt Pistol. Today most commercially available .45 caliber ammunition is of this type. The basic .32 caliber is also .32 ACP but as there are no other common sizes of .32 the ACP is normally not used. Usage, "I need a box of .45 ACP."
ACTIVE SAFETY DEVICE: An active safety device is one which requires the user to actively engage or respond to the device for it to be effective. There are various gradations to these types of devices, from those which are totally dependent on the user, such as trigger locks, to those which act automatically but require a user to respond to the device, such as loaded chamber indicators.
ADJUSTABLE CHOKE: A device built into the muzzle of a shotgun to change the barrel from one type of choke to another. See Choke.
ADVANCED COMBAT OPTICAL GUN SIGHT: See ACOG above.
AFIS: Pronounced A Fizz - Abbreviation for Automated Fingerprint Information System.
AIMING AREA: The center area of the target as against an aiming point on the target which is extremely difficult to attain due to the universal presence of movement in the shooter's hold.
AIR GUN: Not a firearm but a gun that uses compressed air or CO2 to propel a projectile. Examples: BB gun, pellet gun, CO2 gun.
AIRLINE REGULATIONS: Federal Regulation restrict the ways one can travel by commercial airline with a firearm. However, you can legally travel in the U.S. with an unloaded firearm locked in checked baggage. You should contact the specific Airline for details. Some guidelines are below.
ALTITUDE: Distance or height above sea level (ASL), measured in feet or meters. Variable used in reloading and to evaluate or predict load performance.
ALUMINUM CASE: A cartridge casing made of aluminum. The case holds the bullet, powder and primer and can be made from various metals. Brass is the most common material used in ammunition cases, but aluminum is also popular. Unlike brass cases, aluminum cases cannot be reloaded.
AMBUSH: A military combat mission or maneuver characterized by a surprise attack by fire from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy.
AMMUNITION: is generally referred to as a "cartridge" or a "round of ammunition". The commonly used term "bullet" actually refers to the projectile itself, and not the complete cartridge that is loaded into the firearm. A complete cartridge consists of four parts : the bullet, the case, the powder and the primer. Ammunition 2. Generally refers to the assembled components of complete cartridges or rounds i.e., a case or shell holding a primer, a charge of propellant (gunpowder) and a projectile (bullets in the case of handguns and rifles multiple pellets or single slugs in shotguns. Sometimes called "fixed ammunition" to differentiate from components inserted separately in muzzleloaders. For specific Ammunition Specifications, see the detail blocks below.
Ammunition Specifications Tables
AMMUNITION LOT NUMBER: Code number that identifies a particular quantity of ammunition from one manufacturer. It is usually printed on the ammunition case and the individual boxes in which the ammunition comes.
ANIB: Firearms abbreviation for "As New In Box". Used to refer to a firearm that is like new and still in the original box.
ANNEAL: The process of altering the structure of any metal so as to relieve its' working stresses and increase its' ductility.
ANNEALING: The process of making brass more malleable by controlled heating followed by rapid cooling. Usually applied to the neck and shoulder area of cases which are to be reformed to a caliber or design different from the original (makes them less prone to cracking during the reforming process ). This should not be done to the head of the case, since reducing the strength of this part may result in failures.
ANTI-MATERIEL RIFLE: A heavy caliber rifle
intended for long range attack on vulnerable high technology targets such as
communications centers, command vehicles, radar sets, parked aircraft or fuel storage
APERTURE SIGHT: A rear sight assembly consisting of a hole or aperture located in an adjustable rear sight through which the front sight and target are aligned.
APERT'URE SIGHT: Alternate spelling of Aperture Sight.
ARM: An abbreviation or slang of firearm.
ARMALITE: American Firearms Manufacturer currently located in Geneseo Illinois. ArmaLite manufacturers the AR-15, the AR-10 and the new AR-50 as well as many other firearms products. Like Colt and most other firearm manufacturers, ArmaLite has passed through a number of management and ownership phases. For a detailed history of ArmaLite see the detail box below.
Great American Gun
Few firearm manufacturers have captured the imagination of American Shooters as thoroughly as ArmaLite. ArmaLite first rose to prominence during the late 1950s, with a series of innovative rifles that looked unlike any produced before. Although ArmaLite itself was unable to reap the full benefit of their work, the ArmaLite design team created innovative designs that still are setting the standard by which new models are evaluated.
There is great interest in the history of ArmaLite. This document is a team effort that summarizes ArmaLite’s origin in 1954, its corporate shifts and changes over the years, and the developments that have taken place over that period. It ends with the current status of the new company today, 45 years later. It is the official corporate history of ArmaLite.
This document was established in an ArmaLite letter dated March 1974, and subsequently updated in 1998 and 1999. It includes information taken from ArmaLite documents whenever possible. It remains a work in progress, with information, updates, and corrections continuing to arrive from ex-ArmaLite personnel. This document is the copyrighted property of ArmaLite, Inc. It is released for private, individual use. All rights are reserved.
Like Colt and most other firearm manufacturers, ArmaLite has passed through a number of management and ownership phases. Each will be discussed, with the participation of company officials of the time used where available.
There had been very little fundamental development in the small arms industry for over fifty years. Increasing military use of the machine gun and production of semiautomatic rifles were the main significant changes. No fundamental change in military rifle doctrine had been made since the latter half of the nineteenth century, and production materials and techniques were also largely unchanged. ArmaLite believed that a ready market existed for firearms of advanced design featuring lightweight, modern alloys and plastics and economical production procedures.
The initial plan was to produce fine sporting firearms for the commercial market. It was considered likely that in due time some of the concepts used in the commercial firearms would have acceptance by the military.
Shortly after Fairchild established the ArmaLite Division, ArmaLite was invited to submit a rifle to the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for the then-standard survival rifle. A few weeks after receiving information as to this requirement, ArmaLite submitted the AR-5, .22 Hornet Survival Rifle for Air Force evaluation. The AR-5 was adopted and designated the MA-1 Survival Rifle.
The initial success with the AR-5 led Fairchild to reverse the strategy of focusing on the commercial market first, then entering the military market. With the adoption of the AR-5 and with a quantity purchase seemingly assured, ArmaLite decided to defer entry into the commercial field until such time as their reputation and financial position were established as a result of military sales. For the next five years almost all ArmaLite activity was directed to the development of military firearms.
The concept of using the latest technical advances in plastics and alloys was the idea of George Sullivan, Chief Patent Counsel for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Sullivan had started work in his own garage shop after WWII. This work came to the attention of Fairchild in 1953 when Sullivan and Fairchild’s Corporate Secretary, Paul S. Cleaveland, discussed the principles at a meeting of an aircraft industry committee. Cleveland called attention of this work to Richard S. Boutelle, Fairchild’s president and a long-time gun enthusiast.
In 1954, Eugene Stoner, who served in the Marines during World War II and who was something of an ordnance expert, became Chief Engineer for ArmaLite. Stoner had been working on small arms independently since WWII. Stoner’s patents form the basis of much of ArmaLite’s work.
From the beginning, Charles Dorchester directed and coordinated all development programs, first as General Manager of the ArmaLite Division of Fairchild, later as President of ArmaLite, Inc., and still later as Chairman of the Board. The combined efforts of these three individuals from this point on resulted in revolutionary changes in combat weapon concepts.
ArmaLite’s initial project, begun even before Sullivan brought ArmaLite to Fairchild’s attention, was the AR-1 Para Sniper, a lightweight bolt action rifle started in 1952. The 1956 success of the later AR-5 caused ArmaLite to shift its attention to military designs.
The AR-10 became the main focus of attention beginning in 1955. At that time the Army was considering the Springfield Armory T-44 (an updated Garand) and the T-48, a version of the FN FAL, as replacements for the M1 Garand. ArmaLite hoped to present a rifle capable of displacing both models.
The AR-10 was stunningly different than any previous design. It was produced with aircraft grade aluminum receivers, and therefore weighed less than seven pounds. The lightweight material was possible because the bolt locked into a steel extension on the barrel, not into the receiver itself. The stock and other furniture were plastic, while the T-44 and T-48 were of wood. The configuration of the rifle itself, with its integral carrying handle and charging handle distinctively mounted within it, sparked intense curiosity.
In the end, the AR-10 wasn’t able to catch up; the T-44 was adopted as the M-14 rifle in 1959. The AR-10 fell victim to both its own weaknesses, (normal in early models of any product) prejudice within the Army Ordnance Corps, and the head start of the other rifles.
Based on what they saw in the AR-10, however, other Army officials asked ArmaLite to develop a smaller version of the AR-10 in 1956. The ensuing rifle was called the AR-15. Like the AR-10, it was a developmental model. Not only was it too late to be considered against the T-44 and T-48, it didn’t match the long-range marksmanship doctrine of the day.
Early Colt AR-15s, their magazines, and their operators manuals were marked with ArmaLite’s name. Colt’s retained the AR-15 designation on commercial rifles. To this day Colt’s has a model designation with the letters AR, which stands for “ArmaLite”.
The mid to late 1950s was a period of intense development at ArmaLite. The engineering staff was especially strong, with Eugene Stoner, James Sullivan, and Robert Fremont present at the same time. Development of the AR-17 12 Gauge Shotgun was started in the mid-1950s. In 1959 ArmaLite developed the AR-7 .22 caliber survival rifle, which exploited some of the features of AR-5. The rifle entered Production for the commercial market. Small numbers were sold to various military forces for use as survival rifles.
In 1959 ArmaLite began developing the AR-16, a sheet metal version of the AR-10. Three specimens were produced. The adoption of the M-14 by the Army and ArmaLite’s focus on the AR-10 caused the AR-16 to be dropped.
The engineering team started to split up at the end of the decade. Fremont left for Colt in 1959. Sullivan left in 1960, and Stoner left in 1961 to serve as a consultant to Colt. ArmaLite was late with the AR-10 and, in a way, early with the AR-15. With both models gone ArmaLite was in trouble. It’s only rifle in production was the .22 caliber AR-7. It wasn’t enough. The second phase of ArmaLite’s history therefore began in early 1961.
In 1961 Fairchild was undergoing financial troubles, and the original principals of ArmaLite acquired ArmaLite from Fairchild, including rights and title to all ArmaLite designs except the AR-10 and AR-15, which had previously been licensed to Colt’s.
The organization continued from this time on as ArmaLite, Inc., with substantially the same nucleus of key personnel. From the latter part of 1962 until near the end of 1971 the major portion of the ArmaLite development programs were funded by Capital Southwest Corporation of Dallas, Texas. In November of 1971 Charles Dorchester, Chairman, and Richard Klotzly, President, acquired the majority common stock position in ArmaLite held by Capital Southwest Corporation.
It was obvious from Army purchases of the AR-15 that Fairchild had erred in selling the AR-15 in 1959. To recover from that error, ArmaLite set about to develop a new rifle that wouldn’t violate the Stoner gas system patents, which now belonged to Colt’s. The result was the AR-18, which began development in 1963. The combat effectiveness of the .223 caliber cartridge was now well proven. ArmaLite hoped to build a new rifle capable of displacing the AR-15 in the hands of the Army. The AR-18 combined the lessons of the AR-15 and the AR-16 in a rifle capable of competing for the many expected contracts for new rifles.
The AR-18 is best described as a sheet metal AR-15, with a different gas system. It was to prove the main focus of ArmaLite’s efforts for the next two decades.
ArmaLite arranged exhaustive tests by the H.P. White laboratory of Belair, Maryland, to verify their claims for the AR-18 with the hope of attaining DOD and State Department endorsement of the rifle toward filling the void existing for a modern combat rifle for friends and allies around the world.
The Army conducted tests of ten prototype rifles at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, and at Ft. Benning, Georgia, during 1964. The rifle was considered as “having military potential.” The Army requested an additional 29 rifles in1964 for further testing. These 29 rifles, with a detailed operator’s manual, were produced on a tool room basis in a four-month period in compliance with the government contract. The tests were conducted as part of the Army’s Small Arms Weapons System (SAWS) tests. Not surprisingly, the early rifles needed further development.
With the military market going nowhere fast, sales were shifted to the commercial market. A commercial, semiautomatic-only version of the AR-18 was produced as the AR-180.
In 1967 production of the AR-18 was started at the Howa Machinery Company of Nagoya, Japan. For Japanese political reasons the Howa rifles were allowed to be sold only to non-combatant nations, and even then only to non-Asian nations. During the Vietnam War, the AR-18 could not even be exported to the United States.
As a result of continued ArmaLite effort, the Army was directed to re-evaluate the AR-18 during at the end of 1969. It was too late. By the end of 1969 the Army had already standardized the M-16, and the AR-18 was unable to displace it. Further efforts focused on overseas and commercial domestic sales.
The AR-18 suffered similar results in the United Kingdom a well. The Ministry of Defense first evaluated the AR-18 in March 1966. It was found to be attractive in terms of its light weight and ease of manufacture. It suffered, in the eyes of the British, from lack of gas adjustment and the lack of a buffer system. Automatic accuracy was considered somewhat inferior, and it was considered unsatisfactory in mud and “drag sand” conditions. The rifle was modified with reinforcement of the hinge area of the lower receiver, addition of an ejection port cover and an improved muzzle brake/flash suppressor and re-tested in August of 1966. The strengthening was appreciated, but the sand and mud test results were largely unchanged, and the lack of a buffer continued to be criticized.
A Howa version was evaluated by MOD in January 1969. While it again failed the mud test, most criticism concerned minor physical characteristics that could be readily resolved.
In fairness to the AR-18, the MOD evaluations are somewhat suspect. The Royal Small Arms Factory could hardly be considered objective evaluators. The relationship between Sterling and RSAF was rocky at best, with RSAF benefiting from government preference and a willingness to appropriate the work of others. It’s especially interesting to note that the RSAF’s later 5.56mm rifle, the SA-80, (later adopted as the L85) was nothing more than a bull pup version of the AR-180. That rifle is now regarded as probably the worst of the recent military rifles. Lessons learned during evaluations of the AR-180 were ignored in the development of the L85, and ArmaLite’s knowledge of the mechanism wasn’t available.
Nonetheless, it was apparent that the AR-18 had not benefited from the intense field use, criticism, and rework that had been lavished on the AR-15. Major elements of its design have reappeared in several other rifles, but the AR-18 itself remains an unfinished work.
The Irish Republican Army illegally acquired a number of Howa AR-180s in the early 1970s, and in 1973 the Japanese government halted all exports of AR-18 and AR-180 rifles. Howa produced 3,927 AR-180s between October 1970 and February 1974.
In mid-1968 ArmaLite set up pilot production in its Costa Mesa plant. ArmaLite produced 1,171 AR-18s and 4,018 AR-180s at its Costa Mesa plant between July 1969 and June 1972. The Japanese government subsequently eased it restrictions and allowed the commercial, semi-automatic AR-180 to be exported to the U.S., and by the late 1970s U.S. production halted.
In order to concentrate full effort on the military sales program, ArmaLite elected to discontinue its other commercial firearm activities. In mid-1973 ArmaLite sold the AR-7 rifle to Charter Arms.
The Japanese restrictions on export of the AR-18 and AR 180 forced ArmaLite to move the production machinery to a new licensed producer. In 1974 Sterling Armament Company of Dagenham, England, was licensed to produce ArmaLite’s rifles. It took 15 months to complete setup and begin production. ArmaLite imported the Sterling rifles into the U.S., and Sterling and ArmaLite both tried to market the rifles around the world. Sterling manufactured 12,362 AR-180s between the 1975 and 1983, when ArmaLite and Sterling were both sold. 10,946 AR-180s were exported to the United States.
The AR-18 was highly regarded, but didn’t find the favor that it could have. Even as ArmaLite marketed the new small caliber rifle, FN and HK were selling more traditional 7.62mm rifles around the world. Colt was selling AR-15s. The AR-18 remained somewhat prone to breakage, and never enjoyed the success ArmaLite expected.
The AR-18, however, has proven to be another seminal weapon from ArmaLite. A number of later rifles, including the problem-plagued L85 (UK), the more reputable SA-80 (Singapore) and the new G-35 (Germany) were derived from the AR-18.
With the floundering of the AR-18, ArmaLite’s owners elected to sell the company. In 1983 ArmaLite was sold to Elisco Tool Manufacturing Company, of the Philippines.
ArmaLite Division of Elisco Tool
The short-lived third phase of ArmaLite’s history began with Elisco Tool Manufacturing’s 1983 purchase of ArmaLite. The new ArmaLite operation was headed by an Englishman hired to serve as interim President, Mr. Bruce Swain. Mr. John Ugarte later replaced Swain. ArmaLite continued to market existing rifles and parts manufactured by Sterling under the leadership of the new vice-president of Marketing, Mr. Joe Armstrong.
Elisco Tool had successfully produced the M16A1 for the Philippine armed forces and police. Difficulties with Colt over M16 licensing prompted Elisco to seek another 5.56mm rifle, and the AR-18 was the only real contender.
Inventory, tooling, and machinery were therefore dispatched from Sterling’s plant to the Philippines. The process fell apart not in the U.S. market, but due to political events in the Philippines themselves. In short, Ferdinand Marcos was overturned and went into exile. The political and economic links of the government were dramatically shifted, and Elisco was unable to carry out the AR-18 production. The U.S. arm of the operation was closed in 1987.
Lewis had manufactured a wide variety of both commercial and military parts for M-16 rifles, and Eagle Arms assumed the increasingly distracting retail business from Lewis’ company, Lewis Machine and Tool (LMT). Eagle Arms initially marketed M16 and AR-15 type rifle parts. The early Stoner patents had expired, and Eagle was able to build both parts and complete rifles. In 1989 Eagle commenced production of complete rifles, with LMT serving as the major supplier.
In January 1994 Mr. Mark Westrom purchased the company. Westrom was a former Army Ordnance Officer and a civilian employee of the Weapons Systems Management Directorate of the Army’s Armament Materiel and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) at nearby Rock Island Arsenal.
After the purchase, he continued producing Eagle Arms EA-15 rifles. Plans were made to add a line of telescopic sights to the product line. Westrom’s background in military Service Rifle competition produced a focus on high grade target rifles even before the AR-15/M-16 rifles came to dominate American Service Rifle competition in the mid-90s.
In November 1994 Westrom decided to initiate the design of a .308 caliber AR-10 type rifle, to be called the “M-10” in line with Eagle’s production of .223 caliber “M-15” rifles. Work on the project began in November 1994. The bulk of the engineering work was contracted out to LMT, with an experienced Quality Assurance expert, Mr. David Dorbeck, doing the bulk of the work.
By coincidence, the president of the company manufacturing telescopic sights for Eagle, Dr. John Williams, had worked for ArmaLite in his youth. He introduced Westrom to the former Production Manager for ArmaLite, Mr. John McGerty. McGerty led Westrom to John Ugarte, the most recent President of ArmaLite.
With the reorganization as ArmaLite, the M-10 rifle was renamed. ArmaLite/Fairchild had already used the AR-10 designation with its 1950s era .308, and had developed the AR-10a as an improvement on it. The planned M-10 rifle series was designated the AR-10B series, and deliveries commenced in January 1996.
The AR-10B rifle was developed using unusual reliance on computer design and simulation. In fact, the rifle was never prototyped. Individual sub-components were tested on a special lower receiver made of two slabs of aluminum fitted to an SR-25 upper receiver assembly. The full prototype AR-10B was the first rifle off the production line.
This approach was risky, but required by the limitations on cash at that time. It proved stunningly successful. Results from the prototype and the first production rifles disclosed that the only error was in not installing a firing pin retarding spring. The spring was planned early in the development, but left out of the final design because there seemed to be no need for it. Subsequent problems with the surplus ammunition used by some customers required manufacture of the spring. Fortunately, space for the spring was built into the Bolt Carrier, and it was quickly dispatched to the field and the production line. Subsequent adjustments to dimensions and tolerances of the AR-10B have been minor.
In late 1997 ArmaLite began development of a new rifle, the AR-50 .50 caliber rifle. Chambered for the Browning Machine Gun cartridge. this innovative single-shot rifle was designed strictly for the commercial market. It was introduced to the industry at the 1999 SHOT Show, and is in production at the time of this writing. The AR-50 is an innovative single shot rifle conceived by Mark Westrom and the design team of George and Paul Reynolds.
George Reynolds also brought two new projects of his own to ArmaLite in 1997: a Blank Firing System and Sub-Caliber Device for the Mk 19 Mod 4 Grenade Machine Gun. These projects have been designated the AR-22 and AR-23.
ArmaLite continues to produce firearms and design new ones. It has shipped far more .223 caliber rifles than ArmaLite did during its first through third phases. It has shipped more AR-10s than ArmaLite/Fairchild and Artillerie Inrichtingen combined. There are more active development projects in process today than any time since 1961.
Throughout the past 45 years, ArmaLite’s durability has been based on one core theme: the innovation present in its firearms. That theme continues to serve both as the basis of ArmaLite’s corporate strategy, and as a challenging image to maintain.
The following firearms were developed or produced by ArmaLite. Other AR family firearms were designed by Eugene Stoner but not developed by ArmaLite, and aren’t listed.
“Parasniper” rifle, using either military or sporting calibers, including 7.62 NATO. The Para Sniper is a very high quality, lightweight bolt action rifle designed as a fine sporting rifle or for special military sniping operations.
A bolt action, four shot magazine, .22 Hornet survival rifle adopted by the Air Force in 1956. It weighed a mere 2 ¾ pounds.
It distinguishing characteristic was the ability to detach the barrel from the action, and the action from the stock, and place both within the stock. With the butt cap replaced, the rifle would float. The government specification for the MA-1 called for a second, .22 long rifle barrel to be attached outside the stock.
After adopting the AR-5 as the MA-1, the Air Force failed to follow through with a purchase. The main effect of the AR-5 was to whet ArmaLite’s appetite for government business. It led to development of the AR-7.
The AR-7 Explorer was the first commercial item to be put into production by the ArmaLite Division of Fairchild.
This rifle is the civilian version of the Air Force adopted AR-5 Survival Rifle. The AR-7 fires the popular .22 long rifle rim fire cartridge. The rifle disassembles without the use of tools and stows inside its plastic butt stock. The AR-7 weighs as little as 2 ¾ pounds and will float in water, either assembled or in the stowed configuration. The action is semi-automatic and is fed from an eight-round magazine.
It has been in intermittent production since. ArmaLite reintroduced it in early 1998.
Basic infantry rifle, caliber 7.62mm NATO. The AR-10 was conceived by Eugene Stoner, and was tested by US. Ordnance as early as 1956 at Springfield Armory. It was licensed to Artillerie Inrichtingen in Holland in 1957, and with the AR-15 was licensed to Colt’s Patent Firearms Company in 1959.
The AR-10 combined a number of previous features with a new gas system patented by Stoner. In the Stoner system, gas ported off the barrel travels down a tube back into the upper receiver, and into the bolt carrier. It enters an expansion chamber, where it expands and drives the carrier to the rear. The rearward movement of the carrier transferred by a cam pin riding in a curved path and engaging the bolt, forces the bolt to rotate to unlock.
(Common reports that the Stoner system is copied from the Swedish Ljungman system are incorrect: the Ljungman system has a tube carrying gas ported off the barrel, but the tube simply directs the gas into a cavity in the top of the carrier to blow the carrier to the rear.)
The AR-10 was later improved with lessons learned from the early AR-15s. The new model was designated the AR-10A. It was produced in prototype form only.
The AR-10 was intended to compete with Springfield’s M-14 rifle and FN’s FAL. It was, unfortunately, a bit too late. Although it showed great promise during tests, it required a bit of further development. It was too late.
The major effect of the AR-10 was to lead to Army interest in a similar rifle of smaller caliber. That rifle became the AR-15.
An update of the AR-10 placed in production in 1996.
The AR-10 was fielded in very small numbers: less than 6,000. Despite the small numbers, the fame of the rifle grew to take the rifle to cult status. It was, after all, the more powerful and rare precursor to the AR-15. Civilian shooters took great pains to recover used AR-10s from the surplus market and convert them to civilian rifles by means of new, semi-automatic only receivers.
The popularity of the AR-10 rifle led Knight’s Manufacturing and, later, ArmaLite to return it to production. Knight entered the market first with an AR-10 derivative called the SR-25.
The SR-25 combined features of the AR-10 with as many parts of the AR-15 as could be used. The ArmaLite AR-10B was then patterned on the SR-25 rifle. To improve function, the ArmaLite AR-10B employs far fewer parts from the M-15/M-16 rifles than the SR-25, and uses a modified version of the proven M-14 rifle magazine.
Basic infantry rifle using ArmaLite developed .223 caliber ammunition. The AR-15 was licensed to the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company in January 1959.
The U.S. Air Force completed tests of the AR-15 in January 1961. The Air Force procured 8,500 rifles in 1961 and standardized the AR-15 in 1963. 85,000 rifles were purchased in that year. The military designation of the AR-15 is M-16.
The Army also ordered 85,000 rifles in 1963. An additional 35,000 were ordered in 1964, 100,000 in 1965, and 100,000 in 1966. These rifles were initially issued primarily to combat troops in the Dominican Republic and to Special Forces, Airborne, helicopter crews, Air Commando and other special category troops in Vietnam. The M-16 was type classified standard A in 1965 and became the military’s basic service rifle.
The folding stock equipped AR-16 is a basic infantry rifle of 7.62mm NATO caliber and capable of launching rifle grenades "without modifications or attachments" to the rifle.
The primary reason for the development of the AR-16 was to produce a weapon with the performance capabilities of the AR-10/AR-15 series, but at a greatly reduced production cost.
Another consideration was to make a rifle less difficult to produce in countries without advanced technological resources.
Although the AR-16 didn’t enter production, elements of its design influenced the 1995 design of the AR-10B.
The AR-17 is an innovative semi-automatic shotgun featuring a hard-anodized aluminum receiver and barrel and a brown wood grain plastic stock. The barrel was equipped with replaceable chokes. The AR-17 was called the “Golden Gun” due to the color of the aluminum components.
The AR-17 never met commercial success; it was semi-automatic, but held only two shots. It was lightweight, but was marketed to trap and skeet shooters, who normally fire many shots per day.
Just as the AR-16 is basically a sheet metal version of the AR-10, the AR-18 is a sheet metal version of the AR-15.
The AR-18 was an effort to correct the 1959 mistake of selling the AR-15 to Colt’s. As the AR-15 became successful, ArmaLite needed a rifle that could compete in the same market.
The AR-18 is a .223 caliber, gas operated, 6.9 pound rifle equipped with a folding stock. It is capable of both full and semi-automatic fire.
The AR-18 uses steel stampings instead of alloy forgings, this simplifying manufacture and greatly reducing production costs. The main functional differences include the use of a Tokarev style sliding gas cylinder under the hand guards that avoided violating the Stoner gas system patent that was sold to Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. The new system had the advantage of keeping powder residue out of the action. The second difference was the use of dual operating springs on rods in the upper receiver, which allowed the stock to fold to the side.
AR-20 (under development)
The AR-23 is a Sub-Caliber Training Device for the Mk 19 Mod 4 Grenade Machine-gun. It will employ a special tracer cartridge designed to follow the same ballistic arc of the 40mm grenade.
The AR-23 was conceived by CW4 John Miller, and designed by George Reynolds. Like the AR-22, Reynolds brought it to ArmaLite when he began work on the ArmaLite AR-50 rifle (see below).
The AR-30 is a unique rifle sharing many of the technical features of the ArmaLite AR-50 .50 caliber rifle. The rifles are based on an aluminum stock that merges a machine rest with a rifle stock for stunning stability. It is intended for high-accuracy use such as varmint hunting, advanced target shooting, and law enforcement.
The machine rest elements consist of an octagonal receiver, a matching V-shaped channel in the stock, and a recoil wedge. Conventional action screws draw the action down into the stock, and the recoil wedge forces the recoil lug into intimate contact with the stock. No hand fitting or bedding compounds are required, and the action can be removed and re-installed without significant loss of zero. It is immune to changes in temperature or humidity.
Two versions of the AR-30 are under development: a conventional turn bolt action, and a fast straight-pull action. The receivers are equipped with special mounting slots in addition to conventional threaded holes. The slots mate with ArmaLite’s special sight bases in a way that removes all recoil loads from the scope mount screws. The AR-30 will be available with optional integral bases.
A later, larger version of the AR-30 will be built to handle calibers up to .338 Lapua.
ArmaLite’s normal pattern of sequential designation of models was altered for the AR-50. The model reflects the rifle’s caliber. It is chambered for the .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun cartridge, and is capable of being built to accept the more powerful Russian 12.7mm cartridge. It features a unique stock made largely of aluminum. The forend, in particular, is interesting. It is extruded with a V cross section that mates with an octagonal receiver. This allows precise, repeatable bedding with no hand labor. The butt stock includes a vertically adjustable butt pad and adjustable cheek rest.
The initial AR-50 departs from ArmaLite’s normal trend towards lightweight rifles: it weighs 41 pounds. It is intended for the commercial market, where the weight adds comfort when firing the powerful cartridge. Shorter and lighter versions are in development.
ArmaLite has a number of models in development or under consideration. They will be announced as soon as practical.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD?
As noted above, this is a document in transition. ArmaLite is seeking additions or corrections to this record, and is focusing especially hard on participation by previous ArmaLite employees. If you have information to add, historical documents, photographs, or hardware, please contact ArmaLite at:
Email: [email protected]
ArmaLite Incorporated - On the Web at http://www.armalite.com
ARMOR: A protective coating or shield used in combat. 2. A defensive covering for the body as in Body Armor. See Bullet Proof Vest.
ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION: By federal definition, "a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium. Such term does not include shotgun shot required by game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Secretary finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Secretary finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device."
- Armor Piercing Ammunition 2: Ammunition utilizing a projectile specifically designed to penetrate hardened, or armor-plated targets such as tanks, trucks, and other vehicles. Depending on the definition used for "armored" any small arms ammunition could be considered armor piercing. As an example, a target designed to resist pistol fire can be penetrated by rifle ammunition, or a target designed to resist rifle fire can be penetrated by a light cannon. Thus the term "bullet proof" is improper and the term "bullet resistant" should be used.
ARMOUR: Alternate spelling for Armor. British English.
ARMORER: One that repairs, assembles and test firearms. 2. One that makes arms or armor.
ARMOURER: Alternate spelling of Armorer. British English.
ARMORY: A place where arms and are military equipment are stored. 2. A place where arms are manufactured as in Springfield Armory.
ARMS MOUNT: See A.R.M.S. MOUNT below.
A.R.M.S. MOUNT: Atlantic Research Marketing Systems, Inc. - Manufacturers of the Finest Mounting Hardware in Service Throughout The Free World. A.R.M.S. has the mounts that everyone tries to imitate, but are never able to duplicate. The reason is that A.R.M.S. products have set the standards for interchangeability, accuracy and reliability. A.R.M.S., Inc. specializes in advancing the capabilities of small arms weapons in function, reliability and accuracy. A.R.M.S., Inc. has mounting systems available for the M16 - AR15, M16A3 Flat Top Receiver, M4, M21/14, and many more. A.R.M.S. has mounts, rings, and adapters to accommodate Day Optics, Night Vision, and Lasers. http://www.armsmounts.com
ARSENAL: A manufacturing or storage facility for arms and ammunition. Government facility where firearms and ammunition are stored, repaired, or manufactured. Best known in the United States for their development work are Frankford Arsenal, Picatinny Arsenal and Watertown Arsenal. Also a term applied to the collection of firearms owned by an individual or a group.
ARTILLERY: A term now applied to heavy firearms, as distinguished from SMALL ARMS. It came into use in the mid-14th cent. with the introduction in Europe of GUN POWDER, which had been discovered many centuries earlier in China. First employed mainly against fortifications, artillery was increasingly used in the field from the early 17th cent. It was characteristically smooth-bore and muzzle-loaded, firing solid, round shot, until the late 19th cent., when breech-loaded, rifled, and shell-firing artillery became standard. Modern artillery includes a variety of long-range guns that fire their shells with rapid muzzle-velocity in a low arc; howitzers, which fire on a high trajectory at relatively nearby targets; antiaircraft guns, which fire rapidly and at high angles; armor-piercing antitank guns; and many field-artillery pieces and small tactical rockets used in support of infantry and other ground operations. Mobility has become a key factor in the usefulness of heavy firearms, most of which now either are self-propelled or can be towed.
ASSAULT RIFLE: By U.S. Army definition, a select-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power. When applied to any semi-automatic firearm regardless of its cosmetic similarity to a true assault rifle, the term is incorrect. Real "Assault Rifles" as defined by the Department of Defense are Select-Fire Machine Guns. The term has been stolen by Anti-Gun advocates to increase fear of legal firearms and to promote an anti-gun agenda. Modern military assault rifles are typified by the Soviet AK 74, the Heckler & Koch G36 and the U.S. Army M-16. Modern assault rifles are chambered for an intermediate cartridge, have barrels under 20 inches, make extensive use of plastics, synthetics and stampings for light weight and ruggedness. Most modern military assault rifles use gas operation with a locked breech, fire from a closed bolt and have magazine capacities of 30 to 50 rounds with weights from five (5) to ten (10) pounds and are relatively light weight and compact.
ASSAULT WEAPON: Any weapon used in an assault (see Weapon).
ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN:
ASSEMBLY AREA: The designated zone in the rear of the firing line, approximately 25 yards, where the next relay of competitors can complete their preparations for the match and receive instruction and advice from their coach or team captain.
AT4: The AT4 is a recoilless, preloaded disposable Anti Tank (AT) weapon with a reliable and safe firing mechanism and its safety catch and trigger placed for quick and easy operation. It's also ruggedized, maintenance free, has a very long shelf life and can be used in urban warfare, in any terrain or climatic conditions without losing its effectiveness.
AT4 CS (CONFINED SPACE): The AT4 CS is an anti-armor weapon that has special internal ballistics, allowing it to be fired from confined spaces; tight jungle, in front of obstacles or even with own troops in close vicinity. It has also a high hit probability out to 300 m. Both these features make it the only anti-armor weapon in the world that can be used to full potential in urban combat or in confined space.
ATF: Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau, also know as the BATF or Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. The ATF is the primary federal enforcement agency for alcohol tobacco and firearm products. Their official mandate is stated "ATF is a law enforcement organization within the United States Department of the Treasury with a unique combination of responsibilities dedicated to reducing violent crime, collecting revenue, and protecting the public." For more details see the ATF info block below.
ATTACK: Amilitary maneuver characterized by offensive action using unit or personnel movement supported by fire.
Great Guns of the World
Quality, Accuracy, Dependability, Versatility
Just a few reasons why the Steyr AUG (Armee Universal Gewehre) family of weapons are perfectly suited to the special weapons needs of today's military, special operations & law enforcement community. The Steyr AUG weapon system is an example of modern manufacturing technology, the use of state-of-the-art materials, and forward thinking design innovations. Since the time of its introduction, the Steyr AUG has been the answer to a need for a modern, ergonomic, durable and accurate combat rifle. First fielded with the Austrian Army, the AUG in its various forms has been adopted by over 18 countries for use in their militaries and special forces units. Additionally the AUG has seen use in countless numbers of law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Steyr AUG Family
Short Overall Length
The Steyr AUG is designed on a "Bull Pup " principal which makes it 25% shorter than other rifles with similar barrel lengths without compromising ballistic performance. The Bull pup design does away with the folding stock feature found on many weapon types, allowing the AUG to be instantly available for accurate shoulder firing. A shorter overall length means unmatched maneuverability which gives the user faster target engagement and allows the AUG to be easily maneuvered through small spaces such as a patrol car, SWAT vehicles, and APC's. Additionally the shorter overall length gives the user a decisive advantage when close quarter environments are encountered. The Bull pup design also allows a longer barrel length thus enhancing accuracy and increasing the terminal velocities of the ammunition. Therefore the AUG has an advantage over conventional weapons which depend on a shorter barrel to decrease the overall length of the weapon.
Integral Optical Sight
The Steyr AUG comes standard with a 1.5x optical sight which is built-in to the receiver and is fully protected from damage by the aluminum receiver housing. Additionally, the optic is sealed in its housing and is waterproof to a depth of 30 feet. The optical sight housing also acts as a carrying handle for the weapon. The use of the optical sight has been proven to increase hit probability and decrease target acquisition time (spotting and identifying the target) and engagement time (the decision to fire and put a round on target). Target acquisition and engagement time with the AUG optical sight has been estimated at 1.5 seconds (where only two points are aligned) versus the conventional open sight at 3 seconds (where three points must be aligned). Target acquisition time is decreased by one-half which means the user is faster and therefore has a decisive advantage in the field. In low light or night environments optical sights have proven far better than conventional sights, and target acquisition is possible for the AUG long after the ability to use a conventional open sight has passed. The 1.5x magnification of the AUG optical sight allows the user to fire the weapon with both eyes open eliminating the worry of losing peripheral vision and developing "tunnel vision" while sighting through the optic. Additionally, the optical sight on the AUG decreases training time for the user - thus greatly reducing ammunition and training costs.
When the Steyr AUG was designed, special attention was paid to the shape of the weapon and how it would interact with the human user. The end result is a perfectly balanced and human engineered weapon. The AUG's center of balance is directly centered at the pistol grip allowing it to be operated with one hand if necessary as opposed to other weapon types which tend to be front heavy and cumbersome. Additionally, the safety mechanism is operated by the thumb and index finger and is fully ambidextrous, allowing it to be manipulated at will. This gives the AUG an advantage, as the safety may always be in the "on" position; at the moment the user has acquired a target and is ready to fire, the safety can be deactivated, the weapon fired, and the safety reactivated without any noticeable loss in target engagement time. The left handed person was also kept in mind, as the AUG can easily be adapted in seconds for left handed users with the installation of a left hand bolt assembly. The user does not have to think about looking for a fire selector on the AUG. Modes of fire are selected by the AUG's two stage trigger, short pulls of the trigger provide single shots and a long pull to the rear provides full auto or burst fire. Additionally the AUG selective fire rifles can be equipped to fire semi-auto only by the installation of a semi-auto hammer group.
The Steyr AUG has been designed to be the most durable and dependable weapon available today. More than 23 components of the AUG system including the stock, magazine and hammer mechanism are made of high-impact, extremely-rigid, synthetic material . These parts are friction resistant and need no lubrication to operate, giving them a very long life cycle. The receiver is made of a precision cast and machined high strength alloy which is corrosion resistant and easy to maintain. This receiver encloses a cold hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel with a minimum service life of 15,000 rounds. The AUG is easily disassembled to major components without tools, and most parts require no fitting. This decreases basic maintenance cost, as armory training is very simple.
The AUG weapon system is completely modular. All components, including barrels, receivers, and spare parts are completely interchangeable from weapon to weapon. This is an advantage, as with the addition of special equipment and accessories, a single AUG can be tailored to suit a wide variety of operational requirements. Using a "building block" principal, the user can configure the AUG in any of its various forms.
The Steyr AUG, An Obvious Choice
No other weapon system available offers quality, dependability, versatility, firepower, accuracy and ergonomic design in a package as compact as that of the AUG. These advantages of the Steyr AUG render it the obvious choice of Military, Special Operations and Law Enforcement professionals.
AUTO: Slang for automatic or more likely semi-automatic firearm.
AUTO LOADING: See semi-automatic.
AUTOMATED FINGERPRINT INFORMATION SYSTEM: Often referred to as A`Fis - AFIS is a new fingerprinting system that use an electro-optical scanner to take digitized images of a persons fingerprints. The system is also capable of sharing the fingerprint information with a national network and doing matches and searches with specific criteria. Many departments have recently switched to this system and many states now require this system of fingerprinting for application for a Concealed Carry or Federal Firearms License.
AUTOMATIC: A firearm designed to feed cartridges, fire them, eject their empty cases and repeat this cycle as long as the trigger is depressed and cartridges remain in the feed system. Examples: machine guns, submachine guns, selective-fire rifles, including true assault rifles. This term is also commonly used for Semi-Automatic Pistols [see below] and Rifles in lea of the term
- Fully Automatic. A "Fully Automatic" firearm is capable of firing multiple rounds of ammunition with a single pull of the trigger. The speed at which it can fire is known as its cyclic rate. As an example, the Colt M16 rifle used by the armed forces has a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute. While that may sound like a lot, you must keep in mind that the firearm can only hold a limited number of rounds. At 600 rounds per minute, an M16 with a typical 30-round magazine fired in full-auto mode will be out of ammunition in 3 seconds. Full-Auto fire is generally considered inaccurate and is used primarily for suppressive purposes (i.e. to keep opponents hiding behind cover rather than as effective fires). In untrained hands, this phenomena is even more pronounced. The concept that a fully-automatic firearm will instantly transform someone into a formidable opponent is highly over-rated due to Hollywood fiction. This fact was recognized by U.S. Armed Forces personnel who now place greater emphasis on "trigger control" and aimed, precision fire. The most modern variant of the U.S. Army M16 has a 3-shot burst where only three rounds are fired with the single pull of the trigger. The possession, use, and transportation of automatic firearms have been tightly controlled under federal law since 1934. See NFA 34.
AUTOMATIC COLT PISTOL (ACP): Pistol and Sub-Machine Gun cartridge designation for the M1911 Colt Pistol. Abbreviated ACP as in .45 ACP.
AUTOMATIC PISTOL: A term used often to describe what is actually a semi-automatic pistol. It is, technically, a misnomer but a near-century of use has legitimized it, and its use confuses only the novice.
AVTOMAT KALASHNIKOV (AK): From the Russian for Automatic Kalashnikov also called the Kalashnikov Avtomat. Famous Assault rifles designed by Kalashnikov including the AK-47, AK-74 and others. Kalashnikov rifles are used world wide in the millions and were exported and manufactured in great numbers by the former Warsaw pact countries.