Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

When Exactly Did The Black Rifle Become So Popular?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by vtail, Jan 14, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. vtail

    vtail Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    339
    I'm trying to think back when the AR-15/Black Rifle became so popular and I really can't think when that was.

    Was it a gradual thing or was it triggered by a particular movie maybe?

    I know in the late 70's it was very rare to even see one, now they are/were sold in Walmart.
     
  2. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,297
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    The last AWB really kicked up interest in them -- nothing like telling Americans they can't have something. When the ban expired, black rifles really took off into the mainstream among gun owners, and then the rise of Obama amped that up even higher as people began to fear another ban.
     
  3. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,682
    Location:
    Iowa
    I would say within the last 10-15 years it's really caught on considering the current AR saturation, including aftermarket parts. I think it's been a gradual thing over the last 3-4 decades though. In light of recent panic frenzies, some would say that "negative attention is still attention."
     
  4. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    7,005
    Location:
    Frozen North
    Last 15 years
    they were 'banned'
    then you have all the guys cycling through the military (it's what we know'
    then all the gamers.....
     
  5. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,228
    Location:
    Southern Maine
    For guys like me, who are primarily sportsmen I love the AR because of the versatility it gives me. It is a system, allowing me to add and remove components as needed for the various game and conditions I face.

    The proliferation of wild hogs, coyotes and soon wolves has made the need for various accessories almost required and nothing allows this flexibility like an AR.

    Don't get me wrong, all of the above can be harvested with a long bow but I like my chances with an AR much better :)
     
  6. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,097
    Location:
    Georgia
    About 2 minutes after the 1994 AWB went into effect.
     
  7. 12131

    12131 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    God's Country (TEXAS)
    That sums it up.
     
  8. Pilot

    Pilot Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    6,635
    Location:
    USA
    Yep, Horsesoldier nailed it. In the early 90's when I really started to get into target shooting, CCW, and the shooting sports in general, AR-15, and AK's were an anamoly. You only really had Colt producing their "Sporters" and while they were an interesting aside, many, including myself, would just look at them and say "what are you going to do with that?" Even back then, before the first ban, they weren't cheap, around $700 if memory servers, for a standard Colt 20" AR.

    When the ban came, all of a sudden interest in them perked up, and many bought the no flash hider, no bayonet lug version and started target shooting with them. They found they were accurate, fun, and a potential hunting, and defensive firearm. When the ban was lifted, people felt good about buying what they previously could not. The rest is history.
     
  9. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Messages:
    7,932
    Location:
    Kingsport Tennessee
    When Exactly Did The Black Rifle Become So Popular?

    For the AR, I would peg it at the first semi-auto AR-15 marketed by Colt about 1963. I had been following development of the AR-10 and AR-15 through writings of WHB Smith (author editor of Small Arms of the World). John F. Kennedy owned an AR and shot floating targets from his boat for recreational shooting.

    More Important: Why did the black rifle become so popular?

    I feel a big part of AR popularity is the fact that people familiarized with the current service rifle after returning to civilian life want a gun that they are familiar with for self-defense, hunting, target shooting, whatever.

    We saw it after the Civil War when leveractions replaced singleshots (evolution of the 1860 Henry into the 1866 Winchester).

    We saw it after the Spanish-American War 1898 and WWI, when bolt-actions became popular.

    We saw it after World War II (side note to history: the Winchester team that produced the M1 Carbine worked afterhours on semi-auto designs for the post-war sports market; David "Carbine" Williams designed a semi-auto shotgun Model 50).

    Same thing has occured with the AR platform, starting slowly with the VietNam vets, but snowballing since then. The AR is the 21st Century 1866 Winchester.

    People familiarized with the current military service rifle as conscripts or volunteers, want a gun they are familiar with when they return to civilian life.

    The fact that the AR is modular and adaptable don't hurt either. An AR and accessories is like a box of Legos and an Erector Set bundled with a Tinkertoy set.
     
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    7,139
    Location:
    East TN
    I agree with what has been posted but will add...

    In the early 90s or so, the military, I think the Marines were first, started to use the M-16 for Service Rifle competitions. Folks found that the rifle had exceptional accuracy and it was easy to build it that way and easy to keep it accurate. Unlike the M1 and M-14 which take alot of effort to keep at high accuracy levels.

    It opened up a whole new market for the rifle platform than the tactical/home defense crowd.

    I was not interested in the AR-15 platform until I learned how accurate they could be. I got my first in 2000 for Service Rifle competition. My long, heavy barreled ARs are superbly accurate and not finicky about ammunition. Great rifles.
     
  11. bri

    bri Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    544
    Location:
    Mound, MN
    When did Magpul open it's doors?
     
  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,966
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    After the '94 AWB the growth in popularity shot up.
     
  13. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,409
    Location:
    Central Fla
    I think the "look" got folks wanting one. It also has some sort of "macho" appeal.
     
  14. Roadkill

    Roadkill Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    1,262
    Location:
    Alabama
    I agree with all the above but will add that the economic boom under Regan provided more disposable income for expensive toys. Simply put more people could afford one.
     
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,097
    Location:
    Georgia
    Not "After", but during. Remember the AWB actually banned nothing, but simply defined rifles. Finding mags for most guns was simple enough, albeit a bit more expensive. Every manufacturer simply made slight modifications to existing rifles and production skyrocketed. There were far more black rifles made and sold between 1994-2004 than during the previous 20-30 year period combined.

    That growth coninued post 2004, but now with flash hiders, telescoping stocks, bayonette lugs and reasonably priced magazines.
     
  16. shep854

    shep854 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    952
    Location:
    Birmingham AL
    What makes this thread interesting to me is that the ARs were so long denigrated as unreliable junk, based on its early troubles in Vietnam. When intermediate-caliber rifles became popular, the AK was king, due to its legendary reliability.
    The ease of customizing and tuning ARs, plus (belated) recognition of its reliability and accuracy under harsh combat conditions helped it take off in the last decade. It's historical significance as the US combat rifle also helped its appeal.
    Poking the anti-gun leftists and possibility of a ban are of course drivers of sales as well.
     
  17. Isaac-1

    Isaac-1 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    SW Louisiana, not near N.O.
    I would say it is a more complicated trend, starting to build with cheap SKS's and AK's that showed up on the market in the early 90's, sure the AR's were out there before then, but I remember going to gun shows in the mid 1980's and seeing a handful of AR's at the tables, but there certainly was not an AR in every home mentality. I think this popularity for the AR slowly grew through the 90's during the AWB years we still had some neutered options, then the real popularity took off in the last 8 years since the ban expired.
     
  18. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Tidewater
    The EBR, also known as "the closest thing to a military infantry long gun that's legally obtainable by the non-wealthy civilian," began to be popular in the 15th century.

    The fact that these matchlock muskets were not made of black plastic is irrelevant. The ones the average European citizen could own were as lethal as anything their armies wielded.
     
  19. j.kramer

    j.kramer member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    89
    i bought my ar 10s in the 80s when true value hardware sold them
    they were to the right side of the bazookas behind the counter

    ar 10 is very light ar 15 to wimpy for me
     
  20. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    19,285
    Location:
    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    Late September of 2004 when the old ban expired and a decade's worth of pent-up demand was unleashed.
     
  21. vtail

    vtail Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    339
    I agree with telling someone not to do something only to have them want to do it even more.

    I remember when we were about three or four years old, my cousin and I were watching our parents sort through a pile of dried beans before cooking them to remove rocks/bad beans, when someone told us to don't even think about putting one of those beans up our nose.

    Of course, the first thing my cousin did was stick one up his nose, which resulted in a trip to the ER to remove it.

    Now if they hadn't said that, I don't think he never even would have even thought of sticking one up his nose.
     
  22. nathan

    nathan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,067
    I almost bought a Colt SP1 with the pencil barrel used from a USAF sgt in 1998. We met at a parking lot and he showed me the gun. It didnt have the forward assist and in VG condition. THe upper and lower were so loose that kind of turn me off. He was asking $700 for it. I passed it in a heartbeat.
     
  23. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    8,575
    Location:
    Down East in NC
    I wasn't into AR's at the time due to lack of funds, but as I recall, AR's were something of an enthusiasts' rifle by the early '90s. They were common enough to be occasionally seen at the range, and our local Walmart carried them, but they were *very* expensive and there weren't many options; I knew a guy with a couple of Colt 20" HBARs around 1989, but they were ~$1K, were very front-heavy, and your optics options pretty much sucked. SKS's were all over the place and AK's were reasonably common, but the AR was somewhat elite due to its price point. In perspective, a $1K AR was the equivalent of 14 $69.95 SKS's, or 3 mini-14's or AK's.

    I'd say the surge in popularity began in the early '90s due to the Feinstein/Schumer mudslinging and really took off after 1994. I think it was in the mid 1990's that the "M4gery" configuration became dominant, and flattops followed soon after. I'd say by the time the 1994 AWB non-ban expired in 2004, if the AR was probably in the top 3 selling centerfire rifles in the USA and may have even been #1, I don't know.

    One thing that happened in the '90s was that the market exploded with new manufacturers. In 1990, I can't remember any other manufacturers besides Colt, but that number had increased to 30 or so by 2004.
     
  24. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Location:
    Vermont
    While I know that video games have been a whipping boy of late, I think that a factor in the popularity of 'black rifles' has to be linked to the rise of these weapons in entertainment.
     
  25. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    7,388
    Location:
    Alabama
    That when I bought my first one. Didn't really want one until then and truthfully still don't care a whole lot for them. Just don't tell me I can't have one.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page