Tuesday, March 12, 2013

America's Rifle: Rise Of The AR-15

*CAR-15 Vietnam Era*
Excellent short course on the rifle, still a few gaffes here and there  but overall gets the job done with less bias than the usual suspects. Kudos to Dan Haar for making the effort.  One of my personal favorite historians, Prof. Richard Slotkin is quoted here also, a pleasant surprise -  (S9)

It was 50 years ago, in 1963, that Colt Firearms sought and later got federal permission to modify its automatic AR-15 for sale to civilians as a semi-automatic rifle. Since then, especially with an explosion in the last 10 years, the weapon has gained popularity in a sweep of events that reads like a cultural history of the last half-century — because that's what it is.The rifle first became familiar during the Vietnam War, through grainy, televised images of the M-16 (the military version of the AR-15) in the jungles of Southeast Asia. That was followed by a string of high-profile incidents and movies such as "Rambo" in the 1980s; an end to imports of the Uzi and the AK-47 in 1989 and a partial federal ban on semi-automatic firearms in 1994; the wars inIraq and Afghanistan, with returning servicemen eager to have their own versions of the rifles they carried; the rise of realistic video games and a target-shooting sport called "three-gun competition"; and, finally, the election of President Barack Obama, coinciding with an anti-government movement of gun-rights advocates convinced they must be ready to defend themselves.
Those cultural tides raised the AR-15's popularity, as did gun control debates. The greater the threat to its existence, the more the gun sold...  the AR-15 is heir to a tradition of popular guns first designed for military use, icons like the Winchester 1872 and the Colt Peacemaker...And, more deeply, it's part of a history of firepower in the hands of American citizens, said Richard Slotkin, a cultural historian and retired Wesleyan University professor of American studies.
The tradition stems from the nation's foundation on individual freedom and from the expectation that violence will happen — sometimes justified, sometimes not. "In a sense it goes back to the handgun," Slotkin said. "We lived in a violent society for a long time." Between the Civil War and the New Deal, Slotkin said, we saw the development of automatic weapons and vast production of firearms at a time when there was no gun control..."I bought it because I was comfortable with it," said Fields, who founded and runs the King 33 firearms training center in Southington. That natural transition is especially true of veterans with longer years of service, he said, and they are the core of a new breed of target shooters at the ranges...And at the center of it all is the AR-15 itself, which is as much a product of technology and innovation as culture and marketing. "Semi-automatics have been around since the turn of the 19th century,"...The AR-15, "is an extremely competent package,,,nothing evil — it's just a firearm that works."
Full Article HERE

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