What Your AR Says About You

What Your AR Says About You

Since its creation by Eugene Stoner in the 1950s and initial adoption by U.S. military forces during Vietnam, the AR in all its variations (AR-15, AR-10, M16, M16A1, M4 and more) has been used to kick the arses of countless enemies, both real and on the big screen. The rifle has evolved into one of -- if not the -- most versatile and reliable long arms in history, experiencing a shocking rise in popularity among American shooters. Its ubiquitous role on the range, in pop culture and in the hands of our most-capable military has left an imprint on the shooting world that likely can't be measured.

The AR you own and how you customize it says a lot about who you are, whether you use one to compete in 3-gun matches, tote one through the woods and prairies in search of game, or just want one around if intruders (or zombies) ever decide to invade your turf. So, we ask: What kind of AR owner are you?

The Operator

You've either seen action in America's War on Terror, or you've been watching movies like the recent Act of Valor. These make you wish you would have had the cojones to be a Special Forces operative, but thankfully you don't have to risk life and limb to have a wicked bad AR outfitted like the pros. After all this exposure to modern military weapons today, you not only want ARs, but also real mil-spec equipment. Your AR is outfitted with an EOTech or Trijicon ACOG optic, laser sights, side-mounted CQB open sights, a Surefire mounted tac light, forward vertical grip, single-point sling and quad rail with space to spend. It's easy to see not only do you know your stuff and don't mind spending big cash, but that you're definitely influenced by the folks who know best — our men and women in uniform.

The Historian

The Vietnam War is where the first AR-15s -- adopted for use by the U.S. Air Force as the M-16 and the U.S. Army as the XM16E1, and later standardized for all as the M16A1 -- became battle tested and proven. You will never forget those days and that style. Your AR comes with a fixed stock, slick, railless forends and A2 front sights and the iconic handle. You're always preaching that today's AR owners know nothing the reliability of this pioneering platform and the M-16 is the real 'modern sporting rifle ' for the ages. You never miss a chance to catch this rifle's star power on display in all your beloved Vietnam blockbusters: Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now and We Were Soldiers. After watching these, you never doubt that owning a classic AR is your patriotic duty.

The Predator Hunter

It's a freakin' invasion out there, and you're the man to take care of the job. Somewhere in the eastern hardwoods or the western prairie, there's a mangy coyote that is just begging for a case of lead poisoning. For this, you need a gun capable of delivering accurate shots at long range and at numerous targets. It's no wonder among the hunting community, you — the predator dude — are the first to go tactical with 1:12 ' twist barrels in ARs outfitted with 20- and 30-round mags, front-mounted bipods and large variable optics reaching the 16x and 20x range. When you hit the backwoods with your killin' tool, every coyote or like-sized, four-legged predator within range is about to meet its maker. Can you say, 'If it bleeds, we can kill it '?

The Survivalist

Whether it's breakdown in society due to invading zombies (not likely) or the simple precipitation of the end times due to war, natural disaster or political upheaval (frighteningly possible), the AR is the one rifle you must have in your arsenal. Ammo in 5.56/.223 is affordable and abundant, while the rifle itself is easy to care for and use. You know the low recoil of the 5.56/.223 round makes it a good option for women and children to shoot (hey, everyone must pull their weight in the new world order), plus multiple anchor points and available sling styles make the gun easily packable for roaming nomads, as well as perimeter-scouting bunker dwellers. You've seen all the apocalypse movies ever made, and you've already got your survival blueprint laid out. You've got every painstaking detail figured out — good thing the gun you carry won't be a problem.

The Plinker

Few guns are as fun to shoot as a high-capacity AR, which is why they're your favorite. You're looking for nothing more from your rifle than to blow off a little steam after a tedious week in the office. While the guys in accounting or from the help desk annoy you with constant emails, you dream of a range day with your friends and family that involves nothing but ARs, spent cases and targets that look like swiss cheese. You do your best to keep costs down by getting an AR that shoots .22 rimfire such as the Mossberg Tactical .22 or the S&W M&P15-22, but you're willing to pull the trigger on any AR that'll go bang. Even the non-shooting secretaries hook you up with extra sticky notes after you convince them to join you at the range.

The Home Defense Specialist

You are out to defend your family and your home at all cost — literally. You've invested a significant amount of money in an AR-15 with a collapsible stock for maneuverability in tight spaces, low recoil for quick follow up shots, ease of operation and rails for ready mounting of sunshine-casting tactical lights. These all produce a naturally intimidating look for all those who might invade your space. Many AR buyers out there love the gun for its domain-protecting features, and you're the first to follow that refrain. Your AR has one specific purpose, and hopefully that purpose is to send invaders fleeing before a shot has ever even been fired. Don't be afraid to admit it: You've always wanted to scream, 'Say hello to my lil' friend, ' as the burglar makes a break for the door.

The Competitor

Zombie shoots and 3-gun competitions are growing by leaps and bounds, and you just have to be part of the fun. You DVR absolutely every episode of History Channel's Top Shot, and have sent in more audition videos than a desperate American Idol groupie. Your AR is outfitted for speed and accuracy with its collapsible, buffered stocks, free-floating barrels, a 1-4x variable optic with illuminated reticle for distance shots and 45-degree mounted iron sights for a 1:1 view for close targets, Teflon handguards with large vents for allowing barrel heat to escape, and a JP Enterprises custom single-stage trigger — all of which make for a gun that gives you the ultimate competitive advantage. You shoot to win, bottom line.

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