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Choice: ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ or ‘Hello Kitty’ as your AR-15 theme?

He says that the AR-15 is more than a gun, it’s a gadget — and that is why it is so popular.

“fringe groups don’t adequately explain the roughly 5 million “black rifles” (as fans of the gun tend to call it) that are now in the hands of the public. No, the real secret to the AR-15′s incredible success is that this rifle is the “personal computer” of the gun world.

In the past two decades, the AR-15 has evolved into an open, modular gun platform that’s infinitely hackable and accessorizable. With only a few simple tools and no gunsmithing expertise, an AR-15 can be heavily modified, or even assembled from scratch, from widely available parts to suit the fancy and fantasy of each individual user. In this respect, the AR-15 is the world’s first “maker” gun, and this is why its appeal extends well beyond the military enthusiasts that many anti-gun types presume make up its core demographic.”

Maybe it’s the jalopy hobby for those who can’t afford the car hobby. You can still spend money but an average of 2.6 AR-15’s and $436 on accessories and customizations is a lot less capital than needed to do up a custom car.

Of course, hack-a-ability isn’t the only attribute. The weapon has a history as long as the modern ‘hate the military’ ethos and has been the standard military infantry rifle longer than any other. With a shorter barrel, large magazine, easy handling, and low recoil, it makes for a good personal defense weapon (despite the Vice President’s recommendations). The standard small calibre is usually not considered adequate for large game hunting but it does well for small game. The accuracy is sufficient that it is used for long range target matches.

“In bringing new, non-”tactical” shooters to the AR, the twin panics of 2008 and 2012 have also done much to heal the aforementioned schism between the black rifle and hunting crowds. For every hunter like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who shares the NRA old guard’s hostility for all things tactical, there’s another who hates the idea of the government banning the black rifle even more than they dislike the gun itself. Some of these hunters have gone out and bought an AR-15, and when they shoot their new toy, they’re most likely hooked for life.

From the morning that ArmaLite opened its doors in 1954 to the present, most of the innovation that has gone into the AR-15 has been aimed at making the gun as accurate and pleasurable to shoot as possible. The result is a gun that really is an order of magnitude easier to use effectively than many of the traditional wood-stocked rifles that black-rifle-hating hunters grew up with. For someone who enjoys shooting a $2,500 AR-15 from a company like Lewis Machine and Tool, Black Rain Ordnance, Daniel Defense, or KAC, is like a driving enthusiast sitting behind the wheel of an Italian or German supercar. It’s a revelation, and the experience doesn’t wear off quickly.”

As for those worried about government interference, the 3D printing technology is advancing quite nicely. Parts for the AR-15 make for a good target – see on a printed lowerMan Creates Working AR-15 with a 3D Printer at National Review – or 30 round magazine at ExtremeTech. Recipes are likely to be following the open source software model.

Of course, if a rifle isn’t enough, see DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels at the Atlantic. That’s a photo gallery of the weapons used in an insurgency where ‘make-do’ is about the only resource available.

what one can do in one’s garage workshop these days!

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