September 12, 2004, 04:53 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the AR15 actually sold as a "sporting" rifle before being adopted by the U.S. as a service rife. Wasn't it designed, rejected by the military and made commercially available before being accepted?
September 12, 2004, 05:04 PM
Are you perhaps thinking of the AR-10? The AR-10 was proposed when the military wanted to replace the M1 Garand, but it lost out to the M14.
September 12, 2004, 05:54 PM
It was designed for the military but the semi-automatic version was made available to civilians before any branch of the military officially adopted the rifle.
According to historians, the first SEAL teams were stood up with AR15s bought at Sears in 1962.
September 12, 2004, 06:41 PM
Not true, from my knowledge of the history of Armalite and it's relationship with Colt.
Armalite pitched the AR-10, and then the AR-15, to the then Ordnance Corps of the US military. Their push of the AR-15 began in 1957. The rifle they were pitching was selective fire, so I DOUBT they were attempting to push that same rifle on the open (civilian commercial) market.
Once Colt got the marketing rights to the AR-15 (through Cooper-Macdonald), they still initially were pushing the select fire variant in their first "round the world tour" in 1959.
Sometime AFTER that tour, but before the US DOD made a "one time buy" of rifles, Colt took the rifle to the civilian market. That's somewhere between 1962 and 1964, if I have the timeline figured correctly.
The website AR-15.com lists the first commercial model "SP1" semi-auto variants as shipping in 1963. That's CERTAINLY later than the first select fire rifles were available.
For more details, see the book "The Black Rifle", by Stevens and Ezell.