For far too long the FN FAL has held the title, “The right arm of the Free World” due to it’s use by over 90 countries in the past. The reign of the FAL has passed. About seven million were made by about fifteen counties.
Between the US, Canada, and China we have made more than eight million AR15s. That doesn’t include all the other countries making them. More than 80 counties have used the M16, or a variant. As far as I can tell, that 80 countries number does not include many users of the M4 and similar.
You have countries like New Zealand, who switched from the M16 to the AUG and then back to an AR, the LMT MARS. France switched to the HK416.
Many countries that don’t use an AR15 variant for their standard army, use them for their special forces. UK Special Forces use the L119A1 (Colt Canada C8SFW), Australian special forces use the HK416.
Derivatives of the AR are seen around the world as well. From the Daewoo K2, Norinco CQ, etc. 9mm AR submachine guns have been used by Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Israel, Malaysia, and others. The SIG MCX, a gun that is based off the AR, but changes even more of the design, has been used by at least 12 countries.
Shawn loves to point out a great argument about the marketability of the AR. Look that companies that make competetors to the AR15. Most of them still make AR15 also. FN makes the F2000 and the SCAR-L. They still make AR15s. IWI just added an AR15 to compete with their Tavor for market share. Stateside, companies that has less popular .223 rifles like the Ruger Mini-14, now also make and sell AR15s. Companies like S&W got into the AR15 market to get some of that massive amount of money being throw around for the AR15.
Companies all around the world make AR15s locally for their respective markets. A couple of examples: Oberland Arms or Schmeisser for Germany. In Russia, Molot made the Vepr-15 aka VPO-240. Now ADAR in Russia is building AR15 from Molot barrels and outsourced parts.
Hell, search the news, you can find articles of shipping containers of AR15 parts made in China being confiscated because of the parts are being imported illegally into the US. Where else did you think some of these super cheap parts were coming from?
The commercial market loves the AR15. These can be found nearly anywhere in the world, and most of the western world has individuals trained and ready with some form of the AR15 to fight on their behalf. You will find that the majority of elite professional gunfights in the Western World are using the AR15.
The FAL had its’ day. It is time to correctly call the AR15 the right arm of the Free World.