AR-10 vs AR-15

Assault Rifles (AR’s) are complex weapons because of their diversity, their technology, and customization options. However, in this in-depth AR-10 vs AR-15 comparison, we will show you some important criteria that will help you make the best choice between both options. But first, some general details…


The Caliber

The historical caliber of the AR is 5.56 NATO and then .223, which is a civil declension. But beware, a 5.56 gun can fire .223 rounds, but not the other way around.

AR-10 vs AR-15

AR-10 vs AR-15 Technology

The historical technology is the borrowing of gas, i.e., the recovery of the flue gases in the barrel to be returned to the cylinder head to create a rearming movement.

The direct gas borrowing technology has made its reputation for good and bad. It’s a small metal tube that connects the barrel to the breech, and that’s where the problems come from.

In the military, the infantrymen, when tramped, did not always have the time to disassemble their weapons to clean this conduit or the breech. So it ended up getting dirty with powder or other residues (dirt, mud, etc.)

Not to worry, the piston and the tube has been replaced by an adjustable spring-piston in newer on-the-market models. This newer technology brings advantages but also some disadvantages. As there is more gas circulating, fouling decreases, but the biggest advantage is that it is adjustable in three positions:

  •  standard for automatic fire
  •  reduced for the use of semi-automatic fire, and
  •  neutral for single shots per trigger pull)

It, however, has two disadvantages in that there is a slight increase in weight and more complex disassembly.

The Customization

We recommend choosing a barrel length type depending on your shooting requirements (short barrel for regular gun range target practice) or for a longer distance (long barrels for hunting). Additionally, make a choice according to the length of the barrel and the weight of the “warheads.”

After this, there is a multitude of pieces depending on what you want to attach to the weapon. We can divide these into four groups: target organs, butts, loaders, and Picatinny rails. Then each group to its multitude of sub-groups.

What brand to buy?

  •  For AR-10 vs AR-15 brands, it’s not complicated:
  •  Top-end: Knight’s Armament, HK and ADCOR Defense
  •  Mid-range: S & W, COLT, GIS, RUGER etc.
  •  Low-end: Norinco, V-AR

The Story Of The Creation Of The Assault Rifle – AR-10

The AR-10 assault rifle was developed by Eugene Stoner. He worked for Armalite, a division of the American corporation Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp, in 1955. The rifle was intended to participate in the competition for a new 7.62 mm caliber rifle for the US Army, to replace the obsolete M1 Garand rifles.

However, the AR-10 rifle was late for the start of the competition. Also, its design was too advanced for the very conservative American military of that time. In any case, in 1957, the Americans adopted the M.6 7.62 mm automatic rifle, and the AR-10 was brought to production only in the early 1960s.

It does not end there…

Actually, in the USA, the production of this rifle was minimal. This was because Armalite “slipped” the production of ready-made weapons, quickly switching to the development of a new small-caliber (5.56 mm) automatic rifle for the US Army based on it.

Further, the development line of the classic 7.62 mm AR-10 moved on only in the form of its small-caliber descendant, and a series of famous AR-15 / M16 rifles. And for a couple of decades, they practically forgot about the existence of the AR-10.

Production continued only in the Dutch arsenal of Artillerie Inrichtingen, where the AR-10 production license was sold. In total, by the beginning of the 1960s, approximately 10,000 copies had been issued, settled in both Dutch and Sudanese and Portuguese arsenals.

AR-10 Rifle

The New Life Of The Old AR-10 Rifle

By the early 1980s, the reorganized Armalite (already without Stoner) decided to re-conquer the American arms market. Fighting with the M-16 in the military weapons market was pointless, so the emphasis was on the civilian and police weapons market. And the AR-10, which was forgotten twenty years ago, was to become the “flagship.”

Modifications & Options For The Assault Rifle AR-10

– AR-10 is the original 1955 model. Army model assault rifle chambered for 7.62 mm. Undeservedly forgotten ancestor of the M-16.

– AR-10B is a “civilian and police” model of the early 1980s. And “reverse evolution” from M-16 to AR-10. It differs from the original AR-10 in the use of many structural elements from the M16, including sights, a pistol grip, the fore-end attachment to the receiver with a spring-loaded ring, etc. There is no automatic fire mode.

– AR-10A2 – NATO semi-automatic rifle chambered for 7.62 × 51 mm with a 508 mm stainless steel barrel and carrying handle, equipped with magazines for 10-20 rounds.

– AR-10A2C – AR-10A2 version with a shortened to 488 mm barrel and telescopic butt.

– The AR-10A4 SPR is a NATO semi-automatic rifle chambered for 7.62 × 51 mm with a 508 mm long barrel made of chrome steel and a Picatinny rail instead of an integrated carrying handle. An additional bracket for installing a removable front sight post is located on the gas outlet assembly. There is an option for a hunting cartridge .243 Winchester (6.2 × 52 mm).

Other options included…

– AR-10A4C – option with a shortened to 406 mm barrel and telescopic butt.

– AR-10 ( T ) – a “sniper” semi-automatic rifle with a heavy barrel of improved processing made of 610 mm long stainless steel. As well as a cylindrical fore-end attached to the receiver using a spring-loaded ring of a modified design. And the ability to mount an optical sight and a modern trigger mechanism.

– AR-10 (T) Ultra Mag – AR-10 (T) variant chambered for .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Mag.

– AR-10T Super SASS – option AR-10 (T) chambered for 7.62 × 51 mm with thread for installing a silencer, gas regulator, bipod, ArmaLite Floating Rail System forend, and a modified stock.

– Z-10 – AR-10 variant in the form of a semi-automatic rifle with Picatinny rail sight. But without the usual mechanical sights.

Need a scope?

If you’re interested in finding a scope for an AR-10, then please check out our in-depth reviews of the best scope for AR 10 rifle.

AR-10 Rifle

The AR-15

Our AR-10 vs AR-15 comparison continues with a discussion about the AR-15. The AR-15 rifle was developed and launched in the United States in the late 1950s. In terms of M4 carbines, in the US armed forces alone, there are 580 thousand barrels. As well as the M4, the US military has many other weapons of the AR system.

In addition to the armed forces in the United States, there is also a huge civilian arms market. This contains an unthinkable number of guns of the AR-15 system, which are in great demand among civilians.

A popular model?

Moreover, the US population in most states is not limited in their choice of carbines, but most often, they choose an AR-15. In addition to the United States, there are also many other countries where the AR-15 is also in service in the army and in law enforcement agencies, as well as in the hands of civilians.

Both in the USA and in other countries, many special forces, having a large selection of weapons, prefer AR-15’s. Around the world, there are many factories and manufacturers that produce both the AR-15 rifle itself and all kinds of accessories for it.

That’s not all…

The popularity of AR around the world is very high. And in total, more than 8 million AR-15 rifles have been produced. But at the beginning of the appearance of the AR-15, no one, including the developer Eugene Stoner himself, had any idea what popularity the AR-15 would gain 60 years of existence.

Reliability Of The AR-15

One of the main indicators of any weapon is its reliability and durability. A weapon that does not work as it should, or that fails, will deprive the hunter of the prey that he has been tracking for a long time. As well as the athlete will be deprived of the results of the match for which he had been preparing for a long time

And finally, also a law enforcement officer or soldier will be deprived of the opportunity to continue the task, possibly endangering even his life. Therefore, all who acquire weapons, first of all, try to look for reliable weapons.

Reliable weapon?

In the case of AR, its reliability did not immediately become apparent. The Colt company launched the AR rifle into mass production for the needs of the American army. And for advertising purposes, greatly overestimated the quality of the rifles in its statements.

The new AR rifle was really reliable. In terms of reliability, it surpassed the M14 rifle, which was then in service with the American army.

But, there was a catch…

As a result of the advertising campaign, fantastic ideas about the rifle formed in the army. The main one being that the AR rifle supposedly does not need to be cleaned. One can imagine how powerful the advertising campaign would have been if it exceeded the entire experience of the military people of the American army (including the generals).

Those whose activities are closely related to weapons, convincing the army of the impossible properties of firearms.

American soldiers in Vietnam, having believed in these properties, stopped cleaning their AR rifles. As a result of such treatment, the AR rifles began to give out delays after some time. And the situation was aggravated by very poor-quality cartridges that were supplied to the army.

As a result, the initial opinion on the reliability of the new AR rifles was negative. However, soon these misunderstandings were corrected, and the rifle showed its reliability. The military began to prefer the AR-15, as they do today, even with a rich choice of weapons. Many tests of the AR-15 were carried out, and the rifle went through with flying colors.

Newfound love?

Over the past decades, the design of the AR-15 has been improved. The rifle continues to be tested today, and it is tested by the manufacturers themselves and agencies purchasing rifles. Moreover, curious American citizens who find it easy to acquire new weapons, and do not mind to part with the old, run the AR-15 rifles intentionally on real crash tests.

They do this just to see what the rifle is capable of and what is the limit of its strength and reliability. And at the same time to shoot an interesting video and put it on YouTube.

And AR-15 shows excellent results, continuing to work after the most severe bullying. The reliability of the AR-15 has been tested and proven many times, and there is no doubt about that.

It is very simple in terms of design. And it is relatively easier to disassemble and assemble in comparison to the AR-10. Incomplete disassembly is carried out without any tools. As a result, the rifle is easy to maintain. In operation, it is also uncomplicated, which also contributes to its popularity.

What’s more?

In addition to the AR-15 itself, there are many modifications and other weapon models based on the AR-15 scheme. These include versions for precision shooting, as well as versions of smoothbore weapons.

The AR-15 is one of the best weapons available. This is thanks to its modularity, versatility, and multi-caliber, which allows you to use it not only in war but also in hunting and in sports. It will continue to remain popular well into the future. And will go down in history as one of the best and most popular weapons created.

Need some accessories?

If you need anything for your AR-15, we have probably covered it on this site. These include the best AR 15 Hard Soft Cases and the best Iron Sights for AR15. As well as the best lube AR15, the best AR 15 ACOG Scopes, and the best AR 10 Lower Receiver for the money.


In conclusion, at the medium range (say up to 600m), the .223 offers all the precision you need, it is less expensive to use, and there are as many reloading possibilities as in .308.

However, for target shooting, we personally do not see much benefit with the AR10. It is more expensive, has less choice in components, and is less comfortable. And we can even have fun with the calibers with the AR15. Since there are uppers in 7.62 x 39, in .22 and even with pellet bullets!

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