Over on arfcom yesterday I ran across a thread with a poll asking members what they thought the biggest advancement has been for AR15s. The thread poster then gave a list of choices for readers to vote on. See above. Sadly most of the option were eye roll inducing or not really even worth mentioning. It did get me thinking about the subject though which is rare for something posted on arfcom GD.
First I want to talk about the choices.
1.Red dot sight. While the use of durable, reliable and simple red dot sights have been a great leap forward in helping average dude with hitting it had to have something else that facillitate that. ore on this later.
2. The accessory rail. Primarily this would be the Knights Armament RIS/RAS. Yes there was other but the KAC rails for the M4/M16 was what really kicked it off because it was the rail the military went with. This allowed for a now unlimited variety of force multiplier to be attached to the rifle. A great contender for the number one spot in my opinion and a good argument could be made that it is. But like the first choice something had to come before.
3.Piston. No. An unneeded “advancement” Colt already developed in the 60s that solved a problem that doesn’t really exist.
4. Too idiotic to even address seriously
5. Polymer magazines like the Pmag, Lancer etc. An advancement to be sure. Have we all given up on USGI spec aluminum though? I don’t know anyone that has. Would the AR be less if they never come along? I don’t think so. I think they fall some where with the red dot sights but I would like to hear your opinion on this one.
5. The arrival of the used car salesman equivalent of gun companies. Is this an advancement? I would submit to you this is actually something that is hurting things. More than one first rate Mfg. has told me that PSA and their like are causing them to offer more and more cheap shit models with cost cutting measures to compete. You may view this as a good thing but I don’t think a world of mainly DPMS “sportical” ARs being sold by every company other than the boutique makers as a good thing.
Now. What do I think is the greatest advance for the AR15? The “flattop” upper receiver and the development of the M1913 rail of course. It wasn’t the first of its kind of course, but it was the one the US standardized and adopted. There was attempted at weaver type rails and the Canadians had a version but once Dick Swan and Colt came up with the current rail everything changed. Slowly at first but then like a snowball rolling down hill. The rail led to being able to mount optics lower. This lead to the Ar15 being better developed for precision use for more than just service rifle competition. The 1913 standard helped with the handguard rails like the KAC and on and on and on. Yeah yeah, the MLOK and KEYMOD and whatever MOD are a big thing now, but not on the top of the receiver it ain’t. The flatop upper has doubled the modularity of the AR15 maybe tripled it or more.
A couple of other factors that spurred development in a big way. 1. The 1994 AWB and its end 2. the GWOT. These two aren’t changes to the gun itself from a technical or mechanical standpoint but they sure did speed that up. I think I will leave that for another day or Howard can tackle that if he wants to add to this.
Some smaller things that I think advanced the system in increments. The change over to the then not all that popular but now very useful 1/7 twist and related ammo that followed . At first we got the arguable smaller step up to the 62 grain M855. Meh. Then we got the 69, then 77grain and now 80 and 85 grain bullets. The outstanding accuracy and lethality of the heavier rounds can not be ignored. Of course the ammo was developed for competition at first then as a more accurate round for the MK12 which came about because of the ability to mount optics to the flat top upper.
While not an AR15 but something related, companies finally working out the kinks to get us reliable, durable and accurate SR25 pattern 7.62MM ARs. People forget that while the Stoner SR25 and the “armalite ” ( read eagle arms) AR10 had been around for a while, it wasn’t really until about 09 that we started to see 762 rifles and carbines that you could shoot at a high round count schedule like an M4, be reliable and accurate. And now we have most of them using the SR25 pattern magazine like God and Eugene intended. But that’s a talk for another day.
I’d really like to hear some thoughts and comments about this. What do you think was the biggest advancement. Please don’t count the AR15 itself because of course it was. Some discussion on this would be much appreciated .
If you want to read what the expurts had to say on arfcom. Link below. Though you can save yourself the trouble if you saw the poll image screen shot above on how they voted. Some posters offered up much better possibilities than the original posters nearly joke like selection though.