The technology behind rifles : The story of how AR-10 become the most popular automated rifle

There has been sharp increase in the technology behind weapons of modern warfare. Gun designers are trying to develop firearms with a longer range, greater accuracy and much more rapid firing capacity. For example, the machine gun has been replaced by a squad automatic weapon (SAW) which is light enough for a three-man team to carry and fires seven times as fast. Infantry platoons now carry a twenty-round magazine, compared to their previous magazine of only ten rounds. In tis article, we shall learn about the technical advancement of oneof the most popular rifle AR-10.

AR-10 is known to be such a rifle that NATO extensively used. This model was first developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s and was later manufactured by ArmaLite used to be a division of Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When this model was first introduced in 1956, it used a creative straight stock/barrel design with the phenol composite and the forged alloy parts. It made it easier to control the rifle during automatic fire. During its production life, it was built in small numbers.

History and development

This rifle eventually became a progenitor for a wide range of firearms. In 1959, ArmaLite sold rights of AR-10 to Colt’s Manufacturing Company for its limitations in manpower and financial difficulties. Then the newly designed model of this rifle was adopted military of the US.

The prototype of this rifle was the 7.62 model that emerged in 1955. This rifle got the attention of the US army to enter their arsenal. The fourth prototype of this model was presented to the US military with some changes, which featured an oversized aluminium flash suppressor, rugged elevated sights, an adjustable gas system, and a recoil compensator.

In this final prototype model, lower and upper receivers were hinged takedown pins. This model was considered quite lightweight for a NATO rifle at that time. Due to a mishap, an aluminum barrel of this rifle was eventually replaced by the conventional steel barrel.

Design details

This rifle is an air-cooled, lightweight, gas-operated, and magazine-fed model that utilizes pistons within the bolt carrier with the rotary bolt locking mechanism. This model comes with a conventional layout featuring an aluminium alloy receiver, in-line stock, butt stock, handguard, along with fibreglass reinforced pistol grip. The modern version of this rifle was built upon its previous concepts and designs. The gas operation, straight line-recoil, and rotary bolt locking mechanism have enhanced the inherent accuracy of this rifle.

The receiver of this gun was made from machined and forged aluminium for reducing its weight. Bolt generally locks into an extension on barrel instead of a receiver, allowing for a lightweight receiver while not compromising the strength of the bolt locking mechanism.

Moreover, the stock of this rifle is made from the fibreglass reinforced phenol composite with the core of the rigid plastic foam. Pistol grip and hand-guard also used fibreglass plastic. As Fairchild happened to be an aircraft manufacturer, they extensively used aluminium, titanium, and plastic in their guns and rifles.

Different types of prototypes of this rifle were designed and developed with varied changes and alterations. The belt was fed by the feed-chute connected to 250 round ammo boxes carried on the user’s back in some versions. Each of these belt-fed prototypes had several issues with part breakages and feed malfunctions.


Thus, technology is helping in making modern weapons more sophisticated and lethal. It is a good trend in many aspect. However, it can also be used to gain victory at any cost. With this advent of technology, terrorism has changed its form and ways in more cunning manner and is constantly finding new methods of hitting at soft targets and damaging civil infrastructure. Due to its different functions, features, and specifications, this rifle has been used in different segments, fields, and battlegrounds over the years. Most of the modern guns and rifles were inspired by this model. This is why it is known as the grandfather of most of the modern rifles out there.