Thursday, August 31, 2006

Flashlights

Recently, flashlights which use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of conventional lightbulbs have become available. LEDs have existed for decades, mainly as low-power indicator lights. In 1999, Lumileds Corporation [1] of San Jose, CA introduced the Luxeon LED, a high-power white-light emitter. For the first time this made possible LED flashlights with power and running time better than some incandescent lights. The first Luxeon LED "flashlights" was the Arc LS in 2001.

LEDs can be significantly more efficient at lower power levels, hence use less battery energy than normal lightbulbs. Such flashlights have longer battery lifetimes, in some cases hundreds of hours. At higher power levels, the LED efficiency advantage diminishes. LEDs also survive sharp blows that often break conventional lightbulbs.

LED flashlights are often electronically regulated to maintain constant light output as the batteries fade. By contrast a non-regulated flashlights becomes progressively dimmer, sometimes spending much of the total running time below 50 percent brightness level.

A common misconception about LED-based "flashlights" is that they generate no heat. While lower-power LED flashlights generate little heat, more powerful LED lights do generate significant amounts of heat. For this reason higher-powered LED flashlights usually have metal bodies and can become warm during use.

-

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Camouflage

Smaller, irregular units of scouts in the 18th century were the first to adopt colors in drab shades of brown and green. Major armies retained their color until convinced otherwise. The British in India in 1857 were forced by casualties to dye their red tunics to neutral tones, initially a muddy tan called khaki (from the Urdu word for 'dusty'). This was only a temporary measure. It became standard in Indian service in the 1880s, but it was not until the Second Boer War that, in 1902, the uniforms of the entire British army were standardised on this dun tone for battledress.

The United States was quick to follow the British, going khaki in the same year. Russia followed, partially, in 1908. The Italian army used grigio-verde ("grey-green") in the Alps from 1906 and across the army from 1909. The Germans adopted feldgrau ("field grey") in 1910.

Other armies retained brighter colors. At the beginning of World War I the French experienced heavy losses because the troops wore red (garance) trousers as part of their uniform. This was changed in early 1915, partly due to casualties and partly because the red dye was manufactured in Germany. The French army also adopted a new "horizon blue" jacket. The Belgian army started using khaki uniforms in 1915.


The Bronze Horseman camouflaged from the German aircraft during the Siege of Leningrad (August 8, 1941).The French also established a Section de Camouflage (Camouflage Department) in 1915, briefly headed by Eugene Corbin and then by Lucien-Victor Guirand de Sc vola. The camouflage experts were, for the most part, painters, sculptors, theatre set artists and such. Technological constraints meant that patterned camouflage uniforms were not mass manufactured during WW I. Each patterned uniform was hand-painted, and so restricted to snipers, forward artillery observers, and other exposed individuals. More effort was put into concealing larger pieces of equipment and important structures. By mid-1915 the French section had four workshops - one in Paris and three nearer the front - mainly producing camouflage netting and painted canvas. Netting quickly moved from wire and fabric to use raffia, hessian, and cocoa - the integration of natural materials was always recommended.

Units of Camouflage who were artists, designers, or architects in civilian life were also largely used by the forces of the United Kingdom (Camouflage Section established in late 1916 based at Wimereux) and the US (New York Camouflage Society established in April 1917, official Company A, 40th Engineers set up in January 1918 and the Women's Reserve Camouflage Corps) and to a lesser extent by Germany (from 1917, see, for example, Lozenge - possibly the earliest printed camouflage), Italy (Laboratorio di mascheramento established in 1917), Belgium and Russia. The word camouflage first entered the English language in 1917.

Camouflage added to helmets was unofficially popular, but these were not mass-produced until the Germans began in 1916 to issue stahlhelme (steel helmets) in green, brown, or ochre. Mass-produced patterned, reversible, cloth covers were also issued shortly before the end of the war, although hand-made examples were in use from late 1914. Net covering was also examined, either fitted with natural vegetation or with colored fabric strips called scrim.

Specialist troops, notably snipers, could be supplied with various items of camouflage, including patterned veils for the head and gun, hand-painted overalls and scrim covered netting or sacking - an adaptation of the rag camouflage used in Scotland by anti-poaching wardens, gillies, the first ghillie suits.


Two HMMWVs, one in desert "camouflage", one in woodland.The first mass produced military camouflage material was the Italian telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth") pattern of 1929, used to cover a shelter-half (telo tenda), an idea copied by the Germans in 1931. With mass-production of patterned fabrics possible, they became far more common on individual soldiers in WW II. Initially patterning was uncommon, a sign of elite units, to the extent that captured camouflage uniforms would be often 'recycled' by an enemy. The Red Army issued "amoeba" disruptive pattern suits to snipers from 1937 and all-white ZMK top-garments the following year, but it was not until hostilities began that more patterns were used.

The Germans had experimented before the war and some army units used "splinter" pattern camouflage. Waffen-SS combat units experimented with various patterns, including palmenmuster ("palm pattern"), sumpfmuster ("swamp pattern"), erbsenmuster ("pea pattern"), and also telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth") using fabric seized from the Italians in 1943 - the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler division often wore this pattern.

The British did not use disruptive-pattern uniforms until 1942, with the hand-painted Denison smock for paratroopers, followed in 1943 with a similar style M42 garment.


A Royal Norwegian Navy craft, in a splinter camouflage pattern.The US Corps of Engineers began wide-ranging experiments in 1940, but little official notice was taken until 1942 when General MacArthur demanded 150,000 jungle camouflage uniforms. A 1940 design, dubbed "frog-skin", was chosen and issued as a reversible beach/jungle coverall - soon changed to a two-part jacket and trousers. It was first issued to the US Marines fighting on the Solomon Islands. Battle-field experience showed that pattern was unsuitable for moving troops and production was halted in 1944 with a return to standard single-tone uniforms.

With the return of war camouflage sections were revived. The British set up the (camouflage) Development and Training Centre in 1940 at Farnham Castle, Surrey. Early staff included artists from the Industrial Camouflage Research Unit such as Roland Penrose and Frederick Gore, and the stage magician Jasper Maskelyne (later famous for his camouflage work in the North African campaign).

From 1978 to the early 1980s, the American 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment stationed in Europe used a digital camouflage pattern on its vehicles. During 1979 and 1980 the Australian Army experimented with digital camouflage on helicopters. More recently, battledress in digital camouflage patterns has been adopted by the Canadian Army and Air Force (CADPAT), the United States Marine Corps (MARPAT), and much of the military of Jordan.

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AR15

In December of 1959, Colt acquired manufacturing and marketing rights to the AR15. In 1962 Colt was able to get the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) to test 1,000 weapons in its Vietnam-oriented Project Agile. An enthusiastic report led to more studies from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army, and despite strong Army opposition, Defense Secretary McNamara ordered 85,000 M16's for Vietnam, and 19,000 for the Air Force.

However, early reports showed that the M16 was not living up to expectations. These reports, presented to McNamara by the Ordnance Department, showed the M16 having reliability as well as accuracy problems. These reports in turn praised the Ordnance Department's own M14. While the M14 performed well, it was too heavy for the hot jungles of Southeast Asia, and its ammunition also would not allow more than 50-100 rounds to be carried on patrols, severely limiting its capabilities as an automatic weapon.

Further evaluation of the M14 and M16 was done by an independent agency. It concluded that M14 was not as bad as had been suggested by some, that the AR15 itself was not as good as its proponents had represented it to be. However, they did note that the " AR15" had greater capability for improvement, and that its small size and weight made it a handier weapon in Vietnam.

The M16 was issued w/o proper training and inadequate cleaning supplies. Combined with the humid jungle of Southeast Asia, this caused problems and the rifle gained a bad reputation. Because tolerances were tighter than in previous military arms, the M16 had to be kept extremely clean. War correspondents filed reports where the M16 was jamming, and many were shown on the evening news. It was reported that our soldiers were being killed by a faulty rifle.

This led to Congressional investigations which turned up two related problems. First, the cleaning issue. As training was provided, supplies issued, and some redesign, M16 performed more reliably. The second issue dealt with the use of ball propellants instead of IMR propellants. Remington had developed the 5.56mm round using one type of powder, but the specification was changed during military contract production to allow an alternate. This powder caused more fouling and increased the rate of fire.

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Flashlights

Recently, flashlights which use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of conventional lightbulbs have become available. LEDs have existed for decades, mainly as low-power indicator lights. In 1999, Lumileds Corporation [1] of San Jose, CA introduced the Luxeon LED, a high-power white-light emitter. For the first time this made possible LED flashlights with power and running time better than some incandescent lights. The first Luxeon LED "flashlights" was the Arc LS in 2001.

LEDs can be significantly more efficient at lower power levels, hence use less battery energy than normal lightbulbs. Such flashlights have longer battery lifetimes, in some cases hundreds of hours. At higher power levels, the LED efficiency advantage diminishes. LEDs also survive sharp blows that often break conventional lightbulbs.

LED flashlights are often electronically regulated to maintain constant light output as the batteries fade. By contrast a non-regulated flashlights becomes progressively dimmer, sometimes spending much of the total running time below 50 percent brightness level.

A common misconception about LED-based "flashlights" is that they generate no heat. While lower-power LED flashlights generate little heat, more powerful LED lights do generate significant amounts of heat. For this reason higher-powered LED flashlights usually have metal bodies and can become warm during use.

-

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Monday, August 28, 2006

AR-15

ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt in 1959 after which the AR-15 was adopted by the United States military under the designation M16. Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its semi-automatic variants. The "AR" in AR-15 parts comes from the Armalite name and does not in fact stand for assault rifle as is commonly believed. Today the AR-15 Accessories
and its variations are manufactured by many companies and have captured the affection of sport shooters and police forces around the world due to their low cost, accuracy, and modularity. Please refer to the M16 accessories for a more complete history of the development and evolution of the AR-15 parts and derivatives.

Some revolutionary or otherwise notable features of the AR-15:

Aircraft grade aluminum receiver
Modular design allows for a variety of accessories, renders repair AR-15 sight
Small caliber, high velocity round
Synthetic stock and grips do not warp or splinter
Front ironsight adjustable for elevation
Rear ironsight adjustable for windage and distance
Wide array of optical devices available in addition to or as replacements of ironsights
Semi-automatic and automatic variants of the AR-15 are effectively identical in appearance. Automatic variants have a rotating selective fire switch, allowing the operator to select between three modes: safe, semi-automatic, and either automatic or three round burst depending on model. In semi-automatic only variants, the selector only rotates between safe and semi-automatic.

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Rifle Scopes

Telescopic rifle scopes sights are classified in terms of the optical magnification and the objective lens diameter, e.g. 10 50. This would denote 10 times magnification with a 50 mm objective lens. In general terms, larger objective lens diameters are better (collect more light and give a wider field of view), the magnification power should be chosen on the basis of the intended use. There are also Adjustable Objectives sights where the magnification can be changed by manually turning one part, the syntax is the following: minimal magnification maximum magnification objective lens, for example, 3 9 40.

Telescopic rifle scopes sights come with a variety of different reticles, ranging from the traditional crosshairs to complex reticles designed to allow the shooter to estimate accurately the range to a target, to compensate for the bullet drop, and to compensate for the windage required due to crosswinds. Perhaps most flexible is the "mil-dot" reticle, which consists of duplex crosshairs with small dots at milliradian intervals in the field of view. (A milli-radian equates to 3.43775 MOA, that is, approximately 21.6 inches at 600 yards; each MOA equates to 1.0472" at 100 yards, often rounded to 1" at 100 yards for fast mental calculations.) A trained user can estimate the range to objects of known size, the size of objects at known distances, and even compensate for both bullet drop and wind drifts at known ranges with a reticle-equipped rifle scope.

For example, with a typical Leupold "rifle scope" brand duplex 16 MOA reticle (of a type as shown in image B) on a fixed power scope, the distance from post to post (that is, between the heavy lines of the reticle spanning the center of the scope picture) is approximately 32 inches at 200 yards, or, equivalently, approximately 16 inches from the center to any post at 200 yards. With a known target of a diameter of 16 inches that fills just half the distance from scope center to post, the distance to target is approximately 400 yards. With a known target of a diameter of 16 inches that fills the entire sight picture from post to post, the range is approximately 100 yards. Other ranges can be similarly estimated accurately in an analog fashion for known target sizes through proportionality calculations. Holdover, for estimating vertical point of aim offset required for bullet drop compensation on level terrain, and horizontal windage offset (for estimating side to side point of aim offsets required for wind effect corrections) can similarly be compensated for through using approximations based on the wind speed (from observing flags or other objects) by a trained user through using the reticle marks. The less-commonly used holdunder, used for shooting on sloping terrain, can even be estimated by an appropriately-skilled user with a reticle-equipped scope, once the slope of the terrain and the slant range to target are both known.

Ghillie suit

Snipers and hunters with extreme requirements for camouflage use a ghillie, or yowie suit. The ghillie suit was originally developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind. The name derives from ghillie, the Scots Gaelic for "boy", in English especially used to refer to servants assisting in hunting or fishing expeditions. A ghillie dhu is a type of brownie which is supposed to disguise itself in leaves and vegetation.[1]


A US Marine sniper wearing a ghillie suits suits can be constructed in many different ways. Some services make them of rough burlap (hessian) flaps attached to a net poncho. US Army Ghillie suits are often built using a pilot's flightsuit, battle dress uniform (BDU), or some other one-piece coverall as the base. Ponchos made of durable nylon netting can also be used. Unscented dental floss is used to sew each knot of fishnet to the fabric, in the areas to be camouflaged. A drop of 'Shoe Goo' is applied to each knot for strength. The desired jute is applied to the netting by tying groups of 5 to 10 strands of a color to the netting with simple knots, skipping sections to be filled in with other colors. Making a ghillie suit from scratch is time consuming, and a detailed, high-quality suit can take 100 hours to manufacture and season.

A ghillie suits is usually prepared by assembling it, beating it, dragging it behind a car, and then rolling it in cow manure or burying it in mud and then letting it ferment. This makes it very much like wearable humus. A ghillie suit that closely matches the actual terrain of the zone of operation will stand out less, so elements of that general environment (local foliage or other matter) may also be included in the netting.

An inherent problem with ghillie suits is internal (and sometimes, external) temperatures. Even in relatively moderate climates, the temperature inside of the ghillie suit can soar to over 50 C (120 F).

High quality "ghillie suits" can be purchased online, but traditionally, soldiers in the armed forces construct their own unique suits.

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streamlight's Journal
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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Flashlights

Recently, flashlights which use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of conventional lightbulbs have become available. LEDs have existed for decades, mainly as low-power indicator lights. In 1999, Lumileds Corporation [1] of San Jose, CA introduced the Luxeon LED, a high-power white-light emitter. For the first time this made possible LED flashlights with power and running time better than some incandescent lights. The first Luxeon LED "flashlights" was the Arc LS in 2001.

LEDs can be significantly more efficient at lower power levels, hence use less battery energy than normal lightbulbs. Such flashlights have longer battery lifetimes, in some cases hundreds of hours. At higher power levels, the LED efficiency advantage diminishes. LEDs also survive sharp blows that often break conventional lightbulbs.

LED flashlights are often electronically regulated to maintain constant light output as the batteries fade. By contrast a non-regulated flashlights becomes progressively dimmer, sometimes spending much of the total running time below 50 percent brightness level.

A common misconception about LED-based "flashlights" is that they generate no heat. While lower-power LED flashlights generate little heat, more powerful LED lights do generate significant amounts of heat. For this reason higher-powered LED flashlights usually have metal bodies and can become warm during use.

-

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

AR15

A. Origins. The AR15 Rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and his team of engineers in the 1960 s for entry into U.S. military trials for a new battle rifle to replace the M-14. Mr. Stoner, working at the time for ArmaLite (a division of the Fairchild Aircraft & Engine Corporation), engineered a revolutionary new rifle utilizing non-traditional rifle materials such as aluminum alloys and plastics. It was initially designed around the .222 Remington cartridge. It was later, at the request of the Army, re-chambered in .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) which propelled a 55-grain bullet out of the AR15 at roughly 3000 ft.-plus per second. With the .223-calibered AR15 sight rifle, for the same weight, a soldier could carry more ammunition than the older .308 Win (7.62x51mm) ammunition for the heavier M-14 rifle.

After lengthy evaluation and revisions, the AR15 rifle was only adopted by the U.S. Air Force for use by its base security personnel. For a variety of political reasons, the Army did not select the rifle. However, as America became involved in the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense James McNamara cut through the Army Ordnance Department s red tape and selected the AR15 for issuance to troops. The Army gave it the military designation of "M16".

In the Vietnam War, the rifle initially earned a reputation as being prone to jamming and stoppages. This was, in hindsight, due to three primary factors: 1) insufficient training of the troops on weapons maintenance, 2) poor-to-non-existent distribution of cleaning kits to those same troops in the field, and 3) improperly formulated .223 Remington ammunition which caused heavy fouling (a primary cause of stoppages). Eventually, the situation was recognized and remedied as troops were properly trained to keep their weapons clean and well-lubricated, issued proper cleaning kits, and issued .223 Remington ammunition that was properly formulated to burn cleanly.

B. The AR15 Legacy. Today, the AR15 rifle has become really one the most highly engineered and refined battle rifles of modern armies. It has since earned a reputation for reliability and accuracy. It has been in service in all branches of U.S. Armed Forces now for nearly 30 years. In the process, it has been upgraded from the "M16", to the "M16-A1", all the way through the latest "M16-A4". The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the U.S. Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM) also currently issues to its troops, the M-4 rifle, which is essentially an M-16 with a 14.5" barrel, collapsible stock, detachable carrying handle, and other special accessories such as laser/infrared sighting systems, reflex-type optics, grenade launchers, flashlight attachments, etc. For these Special Forces, the M-4 has also been in certain instances reconfigured to fire "full auto", as opposed to "tri-burst".

The current generation of military M-16 s and civilian AR15 accessories models differ from the originals in many ways, reflecting the improvements and refinements of the rifle over the last 30 years. Current Military Specifications (Mil-Spec) for the rifle s barrel is for a heavy barrel (HBAR), replacing the original lightweight barrel which was prone to overheating and bending. Nearly all current civilian AR15 sights now are built with Mil-Spec HBAR s. The original triangular-shaped, non-perforated handguards have been replaced by rounded, perforated, and heat-shielded handguards for rapid heat dissipation of the barrel. Other changes include; a tri-burst sear on the M-16 replacing the fully automatic sear of the original, adding a brass deflector to keep spent cartridges out of left-handed shooters faces, adjustable front sight and fully adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, detachable carrying handles, etc.

Today s military contract for the M-16 variants has been awarded to Fabrique Nationale d Armes de Guerres (FN) of Belgium (though the actual rifles are built here in the United States). Colt s Manufacturing s Co., which lost the lucrative M-16 contract, has retained the smaller contract for the M-4 rifle mentioned above. It has been reported that prior to Colt s obtaining the M-4 contract, Bushmaster Firearms Co. had manufactured a limited run of M-4 s. (Note: According to recent firearms industry news, as of December 1997, Colt is currently in the process of acquiring FN.)

C. What s in a Name? The name, "AR15", in general is used by the shooting public in reference to all current rifles (regardless of manufacturer) made to look, function, and swap-parts with the AR15. Non-military contract AR15 s are also commonly referred to as "clones". The actual and original "AR15", manufactured by ArmaLite and then Colt (after buying the manufacturing rights from ArmaLite) has been discontinued for political reasons. Each manufacturer of AR15-patterned rifles now has its own moniker for the rifle these days; like Colt s "Match Target", Bushmaster s "XM15E2", DPMS s "Panther", and the hilarious Olympic Arms "PCR" for "Politically Correct Rifle".

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Ghillie suit

Snipers and hunters with extreme requirements for camouflage use a ghillie, or yowie suit. The ghillie suit was originally developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind. The name derives from ghillie, the Scots Gaelic for "boy", in English especially used to refer to servants assisting in hunting or fishing expeditions. A ghillie dhu is a type of brownie which is supposed to disguise itself in leaves and vegetation.[1]


A US Marine sniper wearing a ghillie suits suits can be constructed in many different ways. Some services make them of rough burlap (hessian) flaps attached to a net poncho. US Army Ghillie suits are often built using a pilot's flightsuit, battle dress uniform (BDU), or some other one-piece coverall as the base. Ponchos made of durable nylon netting can also be used. Unscented dental floss is used to sew each knot of fishnet to the fabric, in the areas to be camouflaged. A drop of 'Shoe Goo' is applied to each knot for strength. The desired jute is applied to the netting by tying groups of 5 to 10 strands of a color to the netting with simple knots, skipping sections to be filled in with other colors. Making a ghillie suit from scratch is time consuming, and a detailed, high-quality suit can take 100 hours to manufacture and season.

A ghillie suits is usually prepared by assembling it, beating it, dragging it behind a car, and then rolling it in cow manure or burying it in mud and then letting it ferment. This makes it very much like wearable humus. A ghillie suit that closely matches the actual terrain of the zone of operation will stand out less, so elements of that general environment (local foliage or other matter) may also be included in the netting.

An inherent problem with ghillie suits is internal (and sometimes, external) temperatures. Even in relatively moderate climates, the temperature inside of the ghillie suit can soar to over 50 C (120 F).

High quality "ghillie suits" can be purchased online, but traditionally, soldiers in the armed forces construct their own unique suits.

-

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Monday, August 21, 2006

AR15

ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR15 to Colt in 1959 after which the AR15 was adopted by the United States military under the designation M16. Colt continued to use the AR15 trademark for its semi-automatic variants. The "AR" in AR15 parts comes from the Armalite name and does not in fact stand for assault rifle as is commonly believed. Today the AR15 Accessories
and its variations are manufactured by many companies and have captured the affection of sport shooters and police forces around the world due to their low cost, accuracy, and modularity. Please refer to the M16 accessories for a more complete history of the development and evolution of the AR15 parts and derivatives.

Some revolutionary or otherwise notable features of the AR15:

Aircraft grade aluminum receiver
Modular design allows for a variety of accessories, renders repair AR15 sight
Small caliber, high velocity round
Synthetic stock and grips do not warp or splinter
Front ironsight adjustable for elevation
Rear ironsight adjustable for windage and distance
Wide array of optical devices available in addition to or as replacements of ironsights
Semi-automatic and automatic variants of the "AR15" are effectively identical in appearance. Automatic variants have a rotating selective fire switch, allowing the operator to select between three modes: safe, semi-automatic, and either automatic or three round burst depending on model. In semi-automatic only variants, the selector only rotates between safe and semi-automatic.

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AR15

In December of 1959, Colt acquired manufacturing and marketing rights to the AR15. In 1962 Colt was able to get the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) to test 1,000 weapons in its Vietnam-oriented Project Agile. An enthusiastic report led to more studies from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army, and despite strong Army opposition, Defense Secretary McNamara ordered 85,000 M16's for Vietnam, and 19,000 for the Air Force.

However, early reports showed that the M16 was not living up to expectations. These reports, presented to McNamara by the Ordnance Department, showed the M16 having reliability as well as accuracy problems. These reports in turn praised the Ordnance Department's own M14. While the M14 performed well, it was too heavy for the hot jungles of Southeast Asia, and its ammunition also would not allow more than 50-100 rounds to be carried on patrols, severely limiting its capabilities as an automatic weapon.

Further evaluation of the M14 and M16 was done by an independent agency. It concluded that M14 was not as bad as had been suggested by some, that the AR15 itself was not as good as its proponents had represented it to be. However, they did note that the " AR15" had greater capability for improvement, and that its small size and weight made it a handier weapon in Vietnam.

The M16 was issued w/o proper training and inadequate cleaning supplies. Combined with the humid jungle of Southeast Asia, this caused problems and the rifle gained a bad reputation. Because tolerances were tighter than in previous military arms, the M16 had to be kept extremely clean. War correspondents filed reports where the M16 was jamming, and many were shown on the evening news. It was reported that our soldiers were being killed by a faulty rifle.

This led to Congressional investigations which turned up two related problems. First, the cleaning issue. As training was provided, supplies issued, and some redesign, M16 performed more reliably. The second issue dealt with the use of ball propellants instead of IMR propellants. Remington had developed the 5.56mm round using one type of powder, but the specification was changed during military contract production to allow an alternate. This powder caused more fouling and increased the rate of fire.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

AR-15

In December of 1959, Colt acquired manufacturing and marketing rights to the AR-15. In 1962 Colt was able to get the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) to test 1,000 weapons in its Vietnam-oriented Project Agile. An enthusiastic report led to more studies from the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army, and despite strong Army opposition, Defense Secretary McNamara ordered 85,000 M16's for Vietnam, and 19,000 for the Air Force.

However, early reports showed that the M16 was not living up to expectations. These reports, presented to McNamara by the Ordnance Department, showed the M16 having reliability as well as accuracy problems. These reports in turn praised the Ordnance Department's own M14. While the M14 performed well, it was too heavy for the hot jungles of Southeast Asia, and its ammunition also would not allow more than 50-100 rounds to be carried on patrols, severely limiting its capabilities as an automatic weapon.

Further evaluation of the M14 and M16 was done by an independent agency. It concluded that M14 was not as bad as had been suggested by some, that the AR15 itself was not as good as its proponents had represented it to be. However, they did note that the " AR-15" had greater capability for improvement, and that its small size and weight made it a handier weapon in Vietnam.

The M16 was issued w/o proper training and inadequate cleaning supplies. Combined with the humid jungle of Southeast Asia, this caused problems and the rifle gained a bad reputation. Because tolerances were tighter than in previous military arms, the M16 had to be kept extremely clean. War correspondents filed reports where the M16 was jamming, and many were shown on the evening news. It was reported that our soldiers were being killed by a faulty rifle.

This led to Congressional investigations which turned up two related problems. First, the cleaning issue. As training was provided, supplies issued, and some redesign, M16 performed more reliably. The second issue dealt with the use of ball propellants instead of IMR propellants. Remington had developed the 5.56mm round using one type of powder, but the specification was changed during military contract production to allow an alternate. This powder caused more fouling and increased the rate of fire.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

AR-15

A. Origins. The AR-15 Rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and his team of engineers in the 1960 s for entry into U.S. military trials for a new battle rifle to replace the M-14. Mr. Stoner, working at the time for ArmaLite (a division of the Fairchild Aircraft & Engine Corporation), engineered a revolutionary new rifle utilizing non-traditional rifle materials such as aluminum alloys and plastics. It was initially designed around the .222 Remington cartridge. It was later, at the request of the Army, re-chambered in .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) which propelled a 55-grain bullet out of the AR-15 at roughly 3000 ft.-plus per second. With the .223-calibered AR-15 sight rifle, for the same weight, a soldier could carry more ammunition than the older .308 Win (7.62x51mm) ammunition for the heavier M-14 rifle.

After lengthy evaluation and revisions, the AR-15 rifle was only adopted by the U.S. Air Force for use by its base security personnel. For a variety of political reasons, the Army did not select the rifle. However, as America became involved in the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense James McNamara cut through the Army Ordnance Department s red tape and selected the AR-15 for issuance to troops. The Army gave it the military designation of "M16".

In the Vietnam War, the rifle initially earned a reputation as being prone to jamming and stoppages. This was, in hindsight, due to three primary factors: 1) insufficient training of the troops on weapons maintenance, 2) poor-to-non-existent distribution of cleaning kits to those same troops in the field, and 3) improperly formulated .223 Remington ammunition which caused heavy fouling (a primary cause of stoppages). Eventually, the situation was recognized and remedied as troops were properly trained to keep their weapons clean and well-lubricated, issued proper cleaning kits, and issued .223 Remington ammunition that was properly formulated to burn cleanly.

B. The AR-15 Legacy. Today, the AR-15 rifle has become really one the most highly engineered and refined battle rifles of modern armies. It has since earned a reputation for reliability and accuracy. It has been in service in all branches of U.S. Armed Forces now for nearly 30 years. In the process, it has been upgraded from the "M16", to the "M16-A1", all the way through the latest "M16-A4". The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the U.S. Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM) also currently issues to its troops, the M-4 rifle, which is essentially an M-16 with a 14.5" barrel, collapsible stock, detachable carrying handle, and other special accessories such as laser/infrared sighting systems, reflex-type optics, grenade launchers, flashlight attachments, etc. For these Special Forces, the M-4 has also been in certain instances reconfigured to fire "full auto", as opposed to "tri-burst".

The current generation of military M-16 s and civilian AR-15 accessories models differ from the originals in many ways, reflecting the improvements and refinements of the rifle over the last 30 years. Current Military Specifications (Mil-Spec) for the rifle s barrel is for a heavy barrel (HBAR), replacing the original lightweight barrel which was prone to overheating and bending. Nearly all current civilian AR-15 sights now are built with Mil-Spec HBAR s. The original triangular-shaped, non-perforated handguards have been replaced by rounded, perforated, and heat-shielded handguards for rapid heat dissipation of the barrel. Other changes include; a tri-burst sear on the M-16 replacing the fully automatic sear of the original, adding a brass deflector to keep spent cartridges out of left-handed shooters faces, adjustable front sight and fully adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, detachable carrying handles, etc.

Today s military contract for the M-16 variants has been awarded to Fabrique Nationale d Armes de Guerres (FN) of Belgium (though the actual rifles are built here in the United States). Colt s Manufacturing s Co., which lost the lucrative M-16 contract, has retained the smaller contract for the M-4 rifle mentioned above. It has been reported that prior to Colt s obtaining the M-4 contract, Bushmaster Firearms Co. had manufactured a limited run of M-4 s. (Note: According to recent firearms industry news, as of December 1997, Colt is currently in the process of acquiring FN.)

C. What s in a Name? The name, "AR-15", in general is used by the shooting public in reference to all current rifles (regardless of manufacturer) made to look, function, and swap-parts with the AR-15. Non-military contract AR-15 s are also commonly referred to as "clones". The actual and original "AR-15", manufactured by ArmaLite and then Colt (after buying the manufacturing rights from ArmaLite) has been discontinued for political reasons. Each manufacturer of AR-15-patterned rifles now has its own moniker for the rifle these days; like Colt s "Match Target", Bushmaster s "XM15E2", DPMS s "Panther", and the hilarious Olympic Arms "PCR" for "Politically Correct Rifle".

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Rifle Scopes

Until the 1990s, military use of telescopic Rifle Scope was restricted to snipers because of the fragility of optical components, though they had been used as early as the American Civil War on rifles, and even earlier for other jobs. The glass lenses are prone to breakage, and environmental conditions such as condensation, precipitation, dirt, and mud obscure external lenses. The scope tube also adds significant bulk to the rifle. Snipers generally used moderate to high magnification scopes with special reticles that allow them to estimate range to the target.

Telescopic Rifle Scopes provide some tactical disadvantages. Snipers rely on stealth and concealment to get close to their target, and a telescopic sight can hinder this. Sunlight may reflect from the lens and a sniper raising his head to use a telescopic sight might reveal his position. The famous Finnish sniper Simo H yh preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present less of a target.

The Israeli military began widespread use of telescopic sights by ordinary infantrymen to increase hit probability (especially in dim light) and extend effective range of standard issue infantry rifles. Palestinian militants in the al Aqsa Intifada likewise found that adding an inexpensive Rifle Scopes to an "AK-47" increased its effectiveness.

Today, several militaries issue telescopic Rifle Scopes to their infantry, usually compact, low-magnification sights suitable for snap-shooting, like red dot sights. American GIs in Iraq frequently purchase their own and carry them from home. The British army fielded the SA80 rifle with a 4 optical sight as standard issue to allow average shooters to fire more accurately. The Canadian Forces standard C7 rifle has a 3.7 optical sight.

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Surefire

Surefire is a California-based company specializing in the production of high-quality "flashlights". Commonly found within the law enforcement and military fields, Surefire flashlights are also used in the civilian market for personal, occupational, and self-defense purposes. Their lights are often featured in TV shows and movies, such as the television show CSI.

Surefire models range from a typical 2-cell Xenon light to a large 20-cell HID model. They have also recently introduced a line of LED flashlights which offer several unique features such as electronically-controlled power regulation and modular assembly.

Most of their flashlights are powered by Lithium 123 A batteries that allows for compact size and weight while maintaining high power output and long runtime. The main material used in the construction of Surefire flashlights is CNC machined aerospace grade aluminum, with an option for mil-spec anodizing. Some models use Nitrolon, a proprietary impact-resistant, non-conductive, glass reinforced polymer.

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Surefire

Surefire is a California-based company specializing in the production of high-quality "flashlights". Commonly found within the law enforcement and military fields, Surefire flashlights are also used in the civilian market for personal, occupational, and self-defense purposes. Their lights are often featured in TV shows and movies, such as the television show CSI.

Surefire models range from a typical 2-cell Xenon light to a large 20-cell HID model. They have also recently introduced a line of LED flashlights which offer several unique features such as electronically-controlled power regulation and modular assembly.

Most of their flashlights are powered by Lithium 123 A batteries that allows for compact size and weight while maintaining high power output and long runtime. The main material used in the construction of Surefire flashlights is CNC machined aerospace grade aluminum, with an option for mil-spec anodizing. Some models use Nitrolon, a proprietary impact-resistant, non-conductive, glass reinforced polymer.

Surefire's most popular product is the 6P Original. It is very compact, at only 5.1 inches (130 mm) long and weighing 5.3 oz (150 g). It uses two Lithium 123 A batteries to produce 65 lumens of light, which is roughly twice the output of a typical three D-cell flashlight.

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AR15

A. Origins. The AR15 Rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and his team of engineers in the 1960 s for entry into U.S. military trials for a new battle rifle to replace the M-14. Mr. Stoner, working at the time for ArmaLite (a division of the Fairchild Aircraft & Engine Corporation), engineered a revolutionary new rifle utilizing non-traditional rifle materials such as aluminum alloys and plastics. It was initially designed around the .222 Remington cartridge. It was later, at the request of the Army, re-chambered in .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) which propelled a 55-grain bullet out of the AR15 at roughly 3000 ft.-plus per second. With the .223-calibered AR15 sight rifle, for the same weight, a soldier could carry more ammunition than the older .308 Win (7.62x51mm) ammunition for the heavier M-14 rifle.

After lengthy evaluation and revisions, the AR15 rifle was only adopted by the U.S. Air Force for use by its base security personnel. For a variety of political reasons, the Army did not select the rifle. However, as America became involved in the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense James McNamara cut through the Army Ordnance Department s red tape and selected the AR15 for issuance to troops. The Army gave it the military designation of "M16".

In the Vietnam War, the rifle initially earned a reputation as being prone to jamming and stoppages. This was, in hindsight, due to three primary factors: 1) insufficient training of the troops on weapons maintenance, 2) poor-to-non-existent distribution of cleaning kits to those same troops in the field, and 3) improperly formulated .223 Remington ammunition which caused heavy fouling (a primary cause of stoppages). Eventually, the situation was recognized and remedied as troops were properly trained to keep their weapons clean and well-lubricated, issued proper cleaning kits, and issued .223 Remington ammunition that was properly formulated to burn cleanly.

B. The AR15 Legacy. Today, the AR15 rifle has become really one the most highly engineered and refined battle rifles of modern armies. It has since earned a reputation for reliability and accuracy. It has been in service in all branches of U.S. Armed Forces now for nearly 30 years. In the process, it has been upgraded from the "M16", to the "M16-A1", all the way through the latest "M16-A4". The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the U.S. Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM) also currently issues to its troops, the M-4 rifle, which is essentially an M-16 with a 14.5" barrel, collapsible stock, detachable carrying handle, and other special accessories such as laser/infrared sighting systems, reflex-type optics, grenade launchers, flashlight attachments, etc. For these Special Forces, the M-4 has also been in certain instances reconfigured to fire "full auto", as opposed to "tri-burst".

The current generation of military M-16 s and civilian AR15 accessories models differ from the originals in many ways, reflecting the improvements and refinements of the rifle over the last 30 years. Current Military Specifications (Mil-Spec) for the rifle s barrel is for a heavy barrel (HBAR), replacing the original lightweight barrel which was prone to overheating and bending. Nearly all current civilian AR15 sights now are built with Mil-Spec HBAR s. The original triangular-shaped, non-perforated handguards have been replaced by rounded, perforated, and heat-shielded handguards for rapid heat dissipation of the barrel. Other changes include; a tri-burst sear on the M-16 replacing the fully automatic sear of the original, adding a brass deflector to keep spent cartridges out of left-handed shooters faces, adjustable front sight and fully adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, detachable carrying handles, etc.

Today s military contract for the M-16 variants has been awarded to Fabrique Nationale d Armes de Guerres (FN) of Belgium (though the actual rifles are built here in the United States). Colt s Manufacturing s Co., which lost the lucrative M-16 contract, has retained the smaller contract for the M-4 rifle mentioned above. It has been reported that prior to Colt s obtaining the M-4 contract, Bushmaster Firearms Co. had manufactured a limited run of M-4 s. (Note: According to recent firearms industry news, as of December 1997, Colt is currently in the process of acquiring FN.)

C. What s in a Name? The name, "AR15", in general is used by the shooting public in reference to all current rifles (regardless of manufacturer) made to look, function, and swap-parts with the AR15. Non-military contract AR15 s are also commonly referred to as "clones". The actual and original "AR15", manufactured by ArmaLite and then Colt (after buying the manufacturing rights from ArmaLite) has been discontinued for political reasons. Each manufacturer of AR15-patterned rifles now has its own moniker for the rifle these days; like Colt s "Match Target", Bushmaster s "XM15E2", DPMS s "Panther", and the hilarious Olympic Arms "PCR" for "Politically Correct Rifle".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Camouflage

Smaller, irregular units of scouts in the 18th century were the first to adopt colors in drab shades of brown and green. Major armies retained their color until convinced otherwise. The British in India in 1857 were forced by casualties to dye their red tunics to neutral tones, initially a muddy tan called khaki (from the Urdu word for 'dusty'). This was only a temporary measure. It became standard in Indian service in the 1880s, but it was not until the Second Boer War that, in 1902, the uniforms of the entire British army were standardised on this dun tone for battledress.

The United States was quick to follow the British, going khaki in the same year. Russia followed, partially, in 1908. The Italian army used grigio-verde ("grey-green") in the Alps from 1906 and across the army from 1909. The Germans adopted feldgrau ("field grey") in 1910.

Other armies retained brighter colors. At the beginning of World War I the French experienced heavy losses because the troops wore red (garance) trousers as part of their uniform. This was changed in early 1915, partly due to casualties and partly because the red dye was manufactured in Germany. The French army also adopted a new "horizon blue" jacket. The Belgian army started using khaki uniforms in 1915.


The Bronze Horseman camouflaged from the German aircraft during the Siege of Leningrad (August 8, 1941).The French also established a Section de Camouflage (Camouflage Department) in 1915, briefly headed by Eugene Corbin and then by Lucien-Victor Guirand de Sc vola. The camouflage experts were, for the most part, painters, sculptors, theatre set artists and such. Technological constraints meant that patterned camouflage uniforms were not mass manufactured during WW I. Each patterned uniform was hand-painted, and so restricted to snipers, forward artillery observers, and other exposed individuals. More effort was put into concealing larger pieces of equipment and important structures. By mid-1915 the French section had four workshops - one in Paris and three nearer the front - mainly producing camouflage netting and painted canvas. Netting quickly moved from wire and fabric to use raffia, hessian, and cocoa - the integration of natural materials was always recommended.

Units of Camouflage who were artists, designers, or architects in civilian life were also largely used by the forces of the United Kingdom (Camouflage Section established in late 1916 based at Wimereux) and the US (New York Camouflage Society established in April 1917, official Company A, 40th Engineers set up in January 1918 and the Women's Reserve Camouflage Corps) and to a lesser extent by Germany (from 1917, see, for example, Lozenge - possibly the earliest printed camouflage), Italy (Laboratorio di mascheramento established in 1917), Belgium and Russia. The word camouflage first entered the English language in 1917.

Camouflage added to helmets was unofficially popular, but these were not mass-produced until the Germans began in 1916 to issue stahlhelme (steel helmets) in green, brown, or ochre. Mass-produced patterned, reversible, cloth covers were also issued shortly before the end of the war, although hand-made examples were in use from late 1914. Net covering was also examined, either fitted with natural vegetation or with colored fabric strips called scrim.

Specialist troops, notably snipers, could be supplied with various items of camouflage, including patterned veils for the head and gun, hand-painted overalls and scrim covered netting or sacking - an adaptation of the rag camouflage used in Scotland by anti-poaching wardens, gillies, the first ghillie suits.


Two HMMWVs, one in desert "camouflage", one in woodland.The first mass produced military camouflage material was the Italian telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth") pattern of 1929, used to cover a shelter-half (telo tenda), an idea copied by the Germans in 1931. With mass-production of patterned fabrics possible, they became far more common on individual soldiers in WW II. Initially patterning was uncommon, a sign of elite units, to the extent that captured camouflage uniforms would be often 'recycled' by an enemy. The Red Army issued "amoeba" disruptive pattern suits to snipers from 1937 and all-white ZMK top-garments the following year, but it was not until hostilities began that more patterns were used.

The Germans had experimented before the war and some army units used "splinter" pattern camouflage. Waffen-SS combat units experimented with various patterns, including palmenmuster ("palm pattern"), sumpfmuster ("swamp pattern"), erbsenmuster ("pea pattern"), and also telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth") using fabric seized from the Italians in 1943 - the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler division often wore this pattern.

The British did not use disruptive-pattern uniforms until 1942, with the hand-painted Denison smock for paratroopers, followed in 1943 with a similar style M42 garment.


A Royal Norwegian Navy craft, in a splinter camouflage pattern.The US Corps of Engineers began wide-ranging experiments in 1940, but little official notice was taken until 1942 when General MacArthur demanded 150,000 jungle camouflage uniforms. A 1940 design, dubbed "frog-skin", was chosen and issued as a reversible beach/jungle coverall - soon changed to a two-part jacket and trousers. It was first issued to the US Marines fighting on the Solomon Islands. Battle-field experience showed that pattern was unsuitable for moving troops and production was halted in 1944 with a return to standard single-tone uniforms.

With the return of war camouflage sections were revived. The British set up the (camouflage) Development and Training Centre in 1940 at Farnham Castle, Surrey. Early staff included artists from the Industrial Camouflage Research Unit such as Roland Penrose and Frederick Gore, and the stage magician Jasper Maskelyne (later famous for his camouflage work in the North African campaign).

From 1978 to the early 1980s, the American 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment stationed in Europe used a digital camouflage pattern on its vehicles. During 1979 and 1980 the Australian Army experimented with digital camouflage on helicopters. More recently, battledress in digital camouflage patterns has been adopted by the Canadian Army and Air Force (CADPAT), the United States Marine Corps (MARPAT), and much of the military of Jordan.

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AR-15

A. Origins. The AR-15 Rifle was designed by Eugene Stoner and his team of engineers in the 1960 s for entry into U.S. military trials for a new battle rifle to replace the M-14. Mr. Stoner, working at the time for ArmaLite (a division of the Fairchild Aircraft & Engine Corporation), engineered a revolutionary new rifle utilizing non-traditional rifle materials such as aluminum alloys and plastics. It was initially designed around the .222 Remington cartridge. It was later, at the request of the Army, re-chambered in .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) which propelled a 55-grain bullet out of the AR-15 at roughly 3000 ft.-plus per second. With the .223-calibered AR-15 sight rifle, for the same weight, a soldier could carry more ammunition than the older .308 Win (7.62x51mm) ammunition for the heavier M-14 rifle.

After lengthy evaluation and revisions, the AR-15 rifle was only adopted by the U.S. Air Force for use by its base security personnel. For a variety of political reasons, the Army did not select the rifle. However, as America became involved in the Vietnam War, Secretary of Defense James McNamara cut through the Army Ordnance Department s red tape and selected the AR-15 for issuance to troops. The Army gave it the military designation of "M16".

In the Vietnam War, the rifle initially earned a reputation as being prone to jamming and stoppages. This was, in hindsight, due to three primary factors: 1) insufficient training of the troops on weapons maintenance, 2) poor-to-non-existent distribution of cleaning kits to those same troops in the field, and 3) improperly formulated .223 Remington ammunition which caused heavy fouling (a primary cause of stoppages). Eventually, the situation was recognized and remedied as troops were properly trained to keep their weapons clean and well-lubricated, issued proper cleaning kits, and issued .223 Remington ammunition that was properly formulated to burn cleanly.

B. The AR-15 Legacy. Today, the AR-15 rifle has become really one the most highly engineered and refined battle rifles of modern armies. It has since earned a reputation for reliability and accuracy. It has been in service in all branches of U.S. Armed Forces now for nearly 30 years. In the process, it has been upgraded from the "M16", to the "M16-A1", all the way through the latest "M16-A4". The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the U.S. Military Special Operations Command (SOCOM) also currently issues to its troops, the M-4 rifle, which is essentially an M-16 with a 14.5" barrel, collapsible stock, detachable carrying handle, and other special accessories such as laser/infrared sighting systems, reflex-type optics, grenade launchers, flashlight attachments, etc. For these Special Forces, the M-4 has also been in certain instances reconfigured to fire "full auto", as opposed to "tri-burst".

The current generation of military M-16 s and civilian AR-15 accessories models differ from the originals in many ways, reflecting the improvements and refinements of the rifle over the last 30 years. Current Military Specifications (Mil-Spec) for the rifle s barrel is for a heavy barrel (HBAR), replacing the original lightweight barrel which was prone to overheating and bending. Nearly all current civilian AR-15 sights now are built with Mil-Spec HBAR s. The original triangular-shaped, non-perforated handguards have been replaced by rounded, perforated, and heat-shielded handguards for rapid heat dissipation of the barrel. Other changes include; a tri-burst sear on the M-16 replacing the fully automatic sear of the original, adding a brass deflector to keep spent cartridges out of left-handed shooters faces, adjustable front sight and fully adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation, detachable carrying handles, etc.

Today s military contract for the M-16 variants has been awarded to Fabrique Nationale d Armes de Guerres (FN) of Belgium (though the actual rifles are built here in the United States). Colt s Manufacturing s Co., which lost the lucrative M-16 contract, has retained the smaller contract for the M-4 rifle mentioned above. It has been reported that prior to Colt s obtaining the M-4 contract, Bushmaster Firearms Co. had manufactured a limited run of M-4 s. (Note: According to recent firearms industry news, as of December 1997, Colt is currently in the process of acquiring FN.)

C. What s in a Name? The name, "AR-15", in general is used by the shooting public in reference to all current rifles (regardless of manufacturer) made to look, function, and swap-parts with the AR-15. Non-military contract AR-15 s are also commonly referred to as "clones". The actual and original "AR-15", manufactured by ArmaLite and then Colt (after buying the manufacturing rights from ArmaLite) has been discontinued for political reasons. Each manufacturer of AR-15-patterned rifles now has its own moniker for the rifle these days; like Colt s "Match Target", Bushmaster s "XM15E2", DPMS s "Panther", and the hilarious Olympic Arms "PCR" for "Politically Correct Rifle".

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