One of the most popular posts on this site remains my 2004 review of the Bushmaster AR-15. Looking back on it, there are a few things I would add in the current debate.
The first is that ARs are now far more modular than they were. With the expiration of the badly named "Assault Weapons Ban", manufacturers were free to introduce whatever cosmetic changes they wished. The result was an proliferation of features to improve the ergonomics of the devices.
For example, a telescoping stock allows users to achieve the optimum fit, enhancing accuracy. It also makes it possible for shooters of widely differing stature to use the same rifle without any awkwardness.
The alternative is to have multiple versions of the same long weapon with different-sized stocks.
People with no knowledge of shooting - this by definition includes gun control supporters - don't understand this. But anyone who has ever picked up a rifle or shotgun knows that the shape and length of the stock is very important to achieving a comfortable position. Adjustable stocks are therefore a great way to for multiple people of different sizes to use the same rifle with ease and comfort.
Similarly, pistol foregrips increase the user's control and enhance accuracy.
Add in the modular nature of the AR platform, which can be converted to a different caliber in a minute, and you have one of the most flexible and ergonomic firearms ever devised.
Now gun control supporters look at comfort and ease of use as a bad thing. These paragons of virtue would prefer that firearms remain as they were 70 years ago - heavy, massive implements of wood and steel firing massive cartriges with punishing recoil.
What this would do is effectively reduce the shooting sports to an almost entirely male-dominated activity - no women need apply.
This is of course deeply ironic considering how many self-identified feminists support gun control. Because firearms are the great equalizers, women derive a far greater benefit from their use than men.
Women would effectively be forced to rely on men for self-defense - a situation that should be intolerable to any self-respecting proponent of sexual equality. Then again, we by now know that gun control has nothing to do with guns and everything to do with control.
The surge in AR-15 sales is therefore very understandable and was underway long before the current Presidential saber-rattling over gun control. Indeed, if it were not for the blatantly obvious ignorance of the gun control lobby regarding every aspect of firearms, one could argue that the attempt to outlaw these ergonomic features was a last-ditch attempt to stop women from becoming irrevocably attracted to the shooting sports.
Once guns become widely used by husbands and wives, sons and daughters, the constituency for banning them shrinks even more. Can't have that.
(Isn't it interesting that the President never let his daughters participate in his alleged skeet shooting. Why? Was it not lady-like enough? Are guns a "boy" thing? How sexist. Someone should ask him when they are going to get their shooting lessons.)
Of course gun control supporters aren't that clever. Their policies are the result of emotion, not reason. Engage any of them in serious debate, particularly the downstream consquences of their policies and they quickly fall back on "you want children shot dead!" style arguments.
That is how they are able to ignore the fact that the practical effect of their policy is always greater violence against the weak. This does not bother them since they have body guards and/or live in affluent low-crime areas.
The AR-15 is a threat to their vision of a weakened, helpless world because it is so useful. One rifle can serve the shooting needs of the whole family. It can be fully tricked-out to fire pistol rounds, heavier rifle rounds, adjust the stock and optics and will, and even switch the foregrips for differing degrees of control.
Even the bayonet mount - villified for its evil intent, is highly useful. Instead of a knife, one can mount a flashlight - very useful for home defense when someone breaks in at night. Thus even here we see something that is supposed to be sinister is actually extremely useful for law-abiding citizens.