What is an AR-15 Rifle?

SAL GUNSALES PICOn the heels of the nation’s worse mass shooting in history, many gun stores across the nation are reporting huge increases in the sale of AR-15 rifles. The AR-15 was used in the tragic shootings of Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; San Bernadino, California; and most recently, the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida that killed 50 people and injured that many more.

Even with the uptick in sales, many people are still wondering what an AR-15 is and why they are so commonly used for this type of massacre.

The H&H Guns and Then Some store in Butler County is one of the few stores not experiencing this rush of new customers.

“We have seen a few extra calls, regarding that type of firearm,” says store owner Chris Hilliard. “But not an outrageous increase in sales. It’s a good seller, there’s a constant demand for them, but not any kind of outrageous demand based on the Orlando shooting.”

SAL GUNSALES PIC2Hilliard has been around firearms most of his life, and has a hard time understanding why such a popular rifle has such a bad reputation.

“It is a very common firearm,” he says. “It gets a bad rap because of the way it looks. It’s a simple semi-automatic firearm. It shoots a relatively small caliber, as hunting rifles go. The capacity is not out of range for other firearms. Many 22s have the same physical characteristics as the AR-15 platform.”

Hilliard explains the main difference in the AR-15 and the more common 22 caliber rifle are their appearance and size of ammunition. Both have detachable magazines, both have 16-inch barrels, both are semi-automatic, but the AR-15 usually comes in all black and looks like a “military weapon,” as he puts it.

The National Rifle Association claims the AR-15 is the nation’s most popular gun, and Hilliard agrees. He says his customers have been coming into his store to buy AR-15s for years, regardless of mass shootings. Hilliard sees a spike in sales mainly after the government starts to get involved in gun control.

SAL GUNSALES PIC3“If we see, additional legislation coming down, then yes. You will see a significant increase in sales and demand for the AR-15 rifles here. But not so far,” he adds.

Some major retailers, like Academy Sports, that have moved AR-15s off the display shelves and into the back of stores.

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