AR does not stand for Assault Rifle. It is Armalite Rifle. Many refer to it as an MSR – Modern Sporting Rifle. Regardless, it just comes down to the fact that it is only a gun. Semi-automatic it has been chambered in everything from 204 Ruger to 50 Grendel. With a quick change of the upper you’re ready for bear or varmints. All of these calibers are designed to operate within the constraints of the AR-15’s 2.26 inches magazine length, base to bullet nose.
Close Quarters Combat Weapon
The US Army is considering a change in caliber. From 11-14 inches of M4 Carbine, the 5.56 NATO losses much of its effectiveness. As most combat is in closer quarters a CQC or close quarters combat weapon is being considered along with a new SAW or light machine gun. The caliber is the 6.8mm (.270 inch) at a 115-grains. Longer bullets to fit the overall cartridge length restrictions would have to be loads so that protrudes into the case and reducing the case’s powder capacity. Problem is the 115-grain bullet while effective at close range drops of dramatically with range increases. CQC is combat at under a 100-meters.
Let’s go back to WWII. The ‘Assault Rifle’ concept led by the Germans, was conceived as a more practical solution for combat than the full powered ammo in use at that time. Studies have proven that most combat takes place at under 350 yards. The 5.56 NATO is about a 400-meter weapon and works within these boundaries from a 20-inch barrel. But the short M4 makes the performance drop of dramatically and lowering wound effectiveness. All bullets tumble, some more than others. Because of the malnourished enemy combatants, it was found that the 5.56 NATO at the most tumbled once in passing through the torso’s of the enemy, and wound effectiveness was down unless bone was hit. In many incidents it was found that many confrontations were occurring within a range of under 100-meters, hence the birth of the close quarters combat doctrines. CQC is not the same as urban warfare, but there is an overlap. CQC is what SWAT, hostage rescue and similar missions are about. The thing about combat is that your primary concern is to disable or kill your antagonist. This is done by causing damage to the internal organs, bleeding and disruption of the central nervous system. At the lower velocities of the M4 the 5.56mm NATO round was proving to be unimpressive. Ok from a 20-inch barrel but not a 11-inch barrel. Enter the 6.8 SPC.
Remington introduced the .30 AR and tried to remedy the problem, but there has been little interest. The 450 Bushmaster and 50 Grendel are at the pinnacle of the AR cartridges. Used by the military and police at vehicle check points the big heavy but slow-moving projectiles can kill an engine and have proven effective in this role. If you must engage personnel, we’ll that just say these two cartridges in an AR platform are popular bear country backup weapons.
The AR-15 is a versatile weapons platform for military, police and sporting purposes. National Service Rifle matches are shot with either an AR-15/M16, M14/M1 Springfield or the M1 Garand. The are also found and used in the tactical division matches of the USPSA and IPSC practical shooters groups. AR-15 as just another configuration for a semi-auto, it is not an assault rifle. How about the survivalist? Most preppers heading out feel better of with a Ruger 10/22 and a couple of bricks of 22LR rimfire. The humble 22 Rimfire is probably the weapon of choice for survival.