Are AR-15s Common? Feinstein Says No, NSSF Provides Evidence Otherwise

Dianne Feinstein doesn’t think AR-15s are common firearms. Somehow, she’s convinced that only a handful of people own and shoot these guns on a regular basis. At least, that’s what she’s previously indicated in her deluded effort to try and claim the Heller decision doesn’t cover AR-15s.

Well, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has some numbers that prove just how wrong Sen. Feinstein is.

Figures researched by the National Shooting Sports Foundation show that just over 16 million semi-auto rifles such as AR-15s and AKs have been produced or imported into the country since 1990. Combing through figures from federal regulators and verifying the break out against companies who make selected semi-auto rifles with detachable magazines, termed modern sporting rifles by the industry, the group says guns like the AR and AK are white hot with consumers.

“Modern sporting rifles remain the most commonly purchased rifle by Americans today,” Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president, told

Keane explained the guns are popular in large part due to the inherent modularity of such platforms, which provide the ability to customize them to fit the individual owner and the wide variety of needs they can fulfill. “They are offered a wide variety of calibers and the design of the firearm allows beginners to quickly master safe and accurate marksmanship skills,” he said. “Modern sporting rifles are the choice for millions of Americans for hunting, recreational target shooting and self-defense.”

Subject to a federal ban on “assault weapons” that ran from 1994 through 2004, the NSSF found that the number of MSRs dipped to a low of just 70,000 produced and imported in 1996, but has been climbing ever since. By 1998, even while the ban was in effect, the figure doubled to 145,000. By 2003, the last year of the ban, the numbers of guns broached 380,000. Five years later, with the election of President Obama, numbers hit 633,000. Then, in 2009, a solid 1 million. In 2013, following the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and a wave of gun control legislation both proposed and enacted: 2.3 million.

Why it sounds like these are pretty damn common firearms, doesn’t it?

That’s because they are.

They’re among the most popular firearms in the country, to the tune of 16 million produced. That doesn’t count CETMEs, FALs, and M1As produced that fill a similar niche. It also doesn’t count the other 5.56 semi-auto rifles developed to get around various state restrictions on so-called “assault weapons.”

In other words, these types of weapons are all over the place. My guess is that you’re easily looking at 20 million rifles with tactical applications in civilian hands, and that’s probably low.

Based on the Heller decision, these guns should be protected.

Not that it’ll stop anti-gun zealots from doing their level best to undermine our efforts and claim these are dangerous and unusual firearms that need to be kept out of the hands of private citizens.

Frankly, I’m glad to see these rifles are common. I urge everyone to have one or two of these bad boys, if not more. They’re legitimately fun for the whole family, and they make all the right people’s heads explode. What’s not to love?