Can You Make an AR-15 into a Pistol? Ruger Did!

The AR-556 is Ruger’s revolutionary creation which packs the power, accuracy, and low recoil of the AR-15 into a short-barreled pistol. The AR-15 is arguably one of the most popular semi-automatic hunting rifles on the market, and one of the top picks for home defense and target shooting. The technology of the AR-15 cycled down into a pistol-sized firearm is an intriguing development for the gun industry.

The AR-15 itself has been coined as “America’s Most Popular Rifle” by the NRA, and with good reason: It is lightweight, easy to aim and shoot, and the velocity of the bullet allows for long-range target practice and home defense purposes. After the patents for the original AR-15 models expired in the 1970s, many gun manufacturers turned to creating their own versions of these semi-automatic hunting rifles. This has led to AR-15 becoming more of an umbrella term for these styles of rifles, rather than the true ArmaLite Rifle.

History of the AR-15

There’s a general misunderstanding of the meaning of “AR” model rifles, especially in the media who commonly says that it stands for “assault rifle.” Adding two or more modifications to any semi-automatic handgun or rifle raises its classification to an “assault weapon.” AR, on the other hand, stands for ArmaLite Rifle, which was originally developed as an improvement to the M14 standard-issue U.S. military rifle during the Vietnam War.

The deviation from the M14 arose from the need for a higher-capacity, lightweight automatic rifle because of confrontations between U.S. soldiers and AK-47s, which outmatched the M14s. The M16 was the original name for the Colt-designed AR-15 military issue weapon in the 1960s. Eugene Stoner designed the AR-15 as a .223 caliber rifle which featured a high-velocity cartridge and a larger magazine capacity.

The AR-15 replaced the larger AR-10 model and was intended to also replace the .30-06 M1 Garand which was standard-issued since World War II. When the M16 was later modified into a semi-automatic rifle for the general public, it officially became known as the AR-15 model.

Composition and features of an AR-15

The AR-15 is an interesting gun to shoot, primarily because the velocity of the bullets can reach at least 3,000 feet per second and there is relatively little recoil. This is because of the gas-operated direct impingement firing system. It’s an incredibly lightweight rifle, and customizable with all sorts of barrels, optics, carbine lengths, and stocks. It’s one of the best semi-automatic hunting rifles available.

The standard AR-15A4 rifle is designed to hold up to 30+1 rounds, although this now differs in some states after more recent gun legislation. The caliber for the AR-15A4 is .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, and the barrel length is around 20″ long. The rifle only weighs in at 7.7 pounds, and it has a 1:7″ twist. The trigger pull is light and crisp at only 6.6 pounds.

How the AR-15 became the AR-556

The Ruger AR-556 features a modified gas system which allows for a shorter barrel length of 10.5 inches. It’s longer than a standard pistol but definitely shorter than a rifle. Since the AR-556 is classified as a pistol, it is not subject to the same short-barreled rifle regulations. The AR-556 uses the same magazines as the AR-15, which allows versatility for the AR-15 enthusiast to move between firearms easily. This also allows for a larger-capacity magazine of 30+1, which isn’t found in many pistols.

The AR-556 features a Picatinny-style rail for any accessories you want to set up, including optics and sights. While there are other AR-style pistols on the market, or custom-built by AR-15 enthusiasts themselves, the AR-556 is unique in its ability to optimize the AR-15 gas system to be used with such a short barrel. This brings the power of the AR-15 into a smaller, yet still-accurate package.

“America’s Most Popular Rifle” just became “America’s New Favorite Pistol.” If you’re in the market for a “pistol,” this is going to be one of the most powerful handguns for sale you can find.