Eugene Stoner would not have realized upon making the AR-10 nearly 55 years ago exactly how prominent the base platform of the AR series would become. While the AR-10’s time in foreign service would soon fade, the weapon retroactively considered as too advanced for its own good in the 1950s, the precepts of the design led to the legendary AR-15 platform, which revolutionized the entire world of firearms.
The AR-15 design, soon splintered into parallel military and civilian platforms, utilized a simple concept: modular upper and lower receivers. In theory, any upper receiver made to military standards would be able to work with any lower receiver. The level of interchangeability has helped to ensure the platform’s continued success even to the present day. AR-based rifles have been used for anything and everything, from military and police use to hunting, self defense, and target shooting.
The concept of modularity, despite being quintessential to the AR, has surprisingly not been the most well accepted idea in the firearms world. Few firearms share the simplicity of being able to pull out two pins and break the gun down into its main components – let alone be able to swap parts made by dozens of manufacturers into the same gun with no risk of incompatibility.
In the world of 3D printed firearms, the AR-15’s compatibility has allowed for many parts of the AR platform to be made for pennies of plastic. AR magazines, pistol grips, stocks, lower receivers, auto sears, carrying handles, handguards, bumpfire stocks, bullpup conversion kits, and even full lower and upper receivers(the latter showcased by the PolyPlinker) can be churned out on a printer and used to make an AR-platform rifle. Both FOSSCAD and DetDisp have worked tirelessly to create parts based off the AR – DetDisp member FreeMenDontAsk recently released a version of the vz. 61 Skorpion submachine gun capable of using AR grips and fire control group parts, and the group is working on more guns based around America’s most common gun parts.
Thanks, Mr. Stoner, for your contribution to freedom.