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Every time a criminal murders innocents with an AR-style rifle, people ask what other purpose such firearms serve. As I’ll illustrate below, if you have a particular purpose — or even an aesthetic preference — you’ll find what you need in the AR.
In fact, one of the primary reasons the AR is so popular is the immense amount of customization available in sights, barrel lengths, optics, grips, flashlights, lasers, disco balls, magazine capacity, colors, stocks, and caliber. Indeed, it’s important to understand that there is no single manufacturer of the AR rifle, and that nearly everyone — from a local gunsmith who creates custom rifles to mass-market behemoths like Smith and Wesson — offers some version of it these days.
Hunting: The AR is a popular hunting rifle. While its traditional caliber (5.56/.223) is fine for small game, some AR rifles come chambered in Winchester .308 or other calibers suitable for hunting large game such as moose and wild hogs.
Self-Defense: The customizability of the AR platform means that producers can craft very specialized rifles for a variety of self-defense situations such as home defense. Sure, you can use a standard, mass-produced 5.56 AR with a 16″ barrel for home defense, but why not get something more purpose-built? For example, consider Wilson Combat‘s 9mm AR, which should be very well suited for home defense:
Competition: I shoot competitively and can tell you with metaphysical certitude that American competition shooters love their AR rifles, and competition is where the customization really shines. There are too many competitive shooting disciplines to list here, but one of the fastest-growing shooting sports is 3-Gun shooting, where you see customization based both on performance and, frankly, appearance. As any proper competitive shooter knows, looking cool is at least half the battle.
Revolution: We’re not even close to having this be an issue and are still able to make a myriad of electoral choices at the ballot box (even if we don’t necessarily make the greatest choices). But if some horrible day were to come and a totalitarian government were to deprive us of our liberties, we’d be in an awful situation where rifles such as the AR would be tools to regain our freedom and re-establish a consensual government.