Top Myths About the AR-15

Democrats have spread a lot of myths about the AR-15. Here are the top 11 myths you might come across.

1) The AR-15 or Semiautomatic rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shooters: This is false. Although, semiautomatic rifles have been used in some very high profile mass shootings, handguns are still the most common firearm used in mass shootings. According to Statista, “handguns are involved in about 75 percent of mass shootings” between 1982 and July 2022.

2) The AR-15 is a high caliber rifle: This isn’t the case. The majority of AR-15s are chambered for 5.56 NATO rounds. 5.56 NATO rounds are not very high powered compared to other rifle rounds. Typical hunting rifles are chambered in much larger calibers like .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, or 7mm-08 Remington.

3) An AR-15 is an Assault Rifle: By definition, an AR-15 is not an Assault Rifle. An Assault Rifle has selective firing modes. That means that the user can switch between multiple settings; semiautomatic, burst fire, and automatic. The AR-15 has only one mode, which is semiautomatic— meaning one pull of the trigger equals one round being fired.

4) The ‘AR’ in AR-15 stands for ‘Assault Rifle‘: This is false. AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, named after the company that developed it. AR does not stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”

5) The AR-15 is a military weapon: This is incorrect. The actual standard firearm for the military is the M4 carbine. Weapons used by the military generally have selective firing modes. Meaning they can be adjusted to fire in semi automatic, fully automatic, or burst mode. AR15s are incapable of firing in fully automatic or burst mode.

6) The AR-15 rifle is a machine gun: An AR-15 is not a machine gun. According to a definition by the ATF, a machine gun is “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” An AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle. An AR-15 is not a fully automatic weapon.

7) The AR-15 is responsible for a large portion of gun deaths: this is absolutely false. Rifles in general are only responsible for a fraction of gun deaths. There’s about 455 rifle homicides per year out of a total of 13,663 firearm homicides. An AR-15 is just one type of rifle, so the number of deaths per year is even less than 455. You are more likely to be beaten to death or killed by a knife.

8) AR-15s are not used for hunting: This is incorrect, AR-15s can be used to hunt small game, like coyotes, rabbits, foxes, and varmints. The AR-15 is not generally used for larger animals due to the fact that the AR-15 is too underpowered.

9) The AR-15 is not used for defense: This is false. The AR-15 has been used multiple times to defend against armed attackers. Due to it’s stopping power, magazine capacity, and accuracy, an AR-15 is the perfect weapon to use against multiple armed attackers.

10) Most people use AR-15s for crime: This is absolutely false. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates there are roughly 5 million to 10 million AR-15 rifles owned in the United States. Out of the 5 million to 10 million AR-15 rifles, there’s roughly less than 455 rifle homicides per year. This demonstrates that 99.9% of AR-15 owners don’t use it nefariously. Here’s a fun fact, you’re about as likely to die falling out of your bed as you are being killed by a rifle.

11) There’s no other rifle like an AR-15: This is also incorrect. There are many guns that are very similar to the AR-15. For example, there’s the Ruger Mini 14. Just like the AR-15, the Mini 14 is a semi-automatic rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO, with a 30 round magazine capacity. Other firearms similar to the AR-15: Robinson Armament XCR, Sig Sauer MCX, Steyr AUG, BRN-180, and CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine.


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Firearms – Guides – Importation & Verification of Firearms – National Firearms Act Definitions – Machinegun. (2018, April 26). Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Cercone, J. (2022, May 27). FBI data shows more deaths by ‘hands, fists, feet’ than rifles. but there’s more to know. Politifact. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Guns used in mass shootings U.S. 2022. Statista. (2022, July 27). Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Schoen, J. W. (2016, June 14). Owned by 5 million Americans, AR-15 under renewed fire after Orlando Massacre. CNBC. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Spencer, D. (2018, March 6). Is the AR-15 an assault rifle? Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

McHale, T. (2019, December 3). AR-15 Part 1: Myths dispelled. America’s 1st Freedom . Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Pike, T. (2022, March 22). Best 5.56 rifles that are not AR-15s. Pew Pew Tactical. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

Sigler, D. (n.d.). Five myths about AR-15s . Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

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