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The AR-15 was first built in the 1950s by a former Marine named Eugene M. Stoner. Mr. Stoner was the lead gun designer at the ArmaLite Division of the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation.

Unlike other rifles manufactured from metal and wood, the AR-15 was unusual because it was made from lightweight plastics and aluminum. Also, it shot .223-caliber bullets, which were different from what typical rifles shot at the time.

How the AR-15 Became Popular in America

In the 1960s, the Pentagon, under the direction of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, bought AR-15s in bulk and the name of the weapon was changed to M-16. The weapons became standard issue for American Ground Troops in Vietnam.

At the same time, a civilian version of the rifle, one that was semi-automatic and not automatic, became available for purchase in the U.S. By the 1980s, the AR-15, along with AK-47s and the many descendants of both firearms, were well known throughout the world. Today, dozens of companies manufacture their own version of AR-15s and these weapons continue to be central to almost every war.

The U.S. government doesnäó»t keep track of how many AR-15s are made, but gun experts estimate there are nearly 7 million AR-15s in rifle racks in gun safes today.

Top AR-15 Manufacturer Brands:

Daniels Defense

This is a top tier AR-15 manufacturer that does not cut corners. Daniel Defense produces near 100% reliable guns. Expect to pay over $1,000 for a complete rifle. For a first rifle, the 16-inch DDM4 V3 (~$1700) is a good choice. For railed systems in mid-length, the 16-inch DDM4 V5 (~$1600) or the 14.5-inch carbine gas system DDM4A1 (~$1700) are good choices. Daniel Defense is high quality but also expensive. Daniel Defense makes their own accessories for their rifles.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson is a mid tier AR-15 manufacturer. We recommend putting at least 1,000 rounds through with varying conditions, ammo, and magazines before you trust a gun with your life. Expect to pay $500. Youäó»re paying for quality of materials, quality control, and R&D. Smith & Wesson is a well-known name in the handgun world. This brand is more budget friendly than other well-known brands. The Smith & Wesson entry-level 16-inch carbine gas M&P 15 Sport (~$650) is extremely popular. The Sport is a throwback AR because the style is very basic. The Sportäó»s key characteristics are dependability, accuracy, and durability.


Bushmaster is a budget AR-15 manufacturer. AR-15s by Bushmaster are great starter ARs because the guns are affordable and capable of being reliable. We suggest testing the guns out first. The Bushmaster XM15-E2S is a classic AR-15 with no accessories. The gun has a 20-inch barrel, is accurate, and durable. It weighs 8.6 pounds.


This is a top tier AR-15 manufacturer that does not cut corners. Noveske produces near 100% reliable guns. Noveske applies an extra thick chrome lined layer, making the barrel more durable than most others are. Each rifle is hand-fit by just one person. Noveskeäó»s Gen 1 RECCE basic rifle, starting around $1,700, has a shot-peened and MP-tested bolt and a staked carrier key. It also has a Noveske Signature rear back up iron sight made by Troy Industries and Magpul furniture.

What Makes AR-15s Really Special?

AR-15s have gas-operated systems, which makes them fast and accurate. An experienced shooter can shoot as many as 8 round per second with an AR-15. These firearms are lightweight, because they are made from plastic and aluminum. Plus, theyäó»re small. This makes them easy to carry around while hunting and maneuverable for any type of situation.

AR-15s Are Completely Customizable

You can easily accessorize your AR-15 with custom add-ons like flashlights, infrared scopes, and a variety of grips. According to a survey put out by the National Shooting Sports Foundation in 2010, owners of AR-15s typically own 3 different versions of AR-15s and spend more than $400 on accessories for each weapon.

Buy AR-15s From Deguns Today

Discount Enterprises, or, offers AR-15s for as low as $469.99. Check out Degunsäó» offering of AR-15s and reach out to us if you have any questions concerning AR-15 style rifles, accessories, or how to purchase a firearm online. Call us at 402-875-6500 or fill out our online contact form.