Artificial appreciation? The AR-15 / .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO)

Artificial appreciation? The AR-15 / .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO)

This is a discussion on Artificial appreciation? The AR-15 / .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO) within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; All so often the popularity of a firearm, or caliber, is often equated with quality. I think this has to be true to some extent, ...

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Thread: Artificial appreciation? The AR-15 / .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO)

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Artificial appreciation? The AR-15 / .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO)

    All so often the popularity of a firearm, or caliber, is often equated with quality. I think this has to be true to some extent, because at some point an ineffective caliber or firearm prone to serious problems would lose the popularity.

    For example, 9mm and 40 S&W. Both great calibers, however if they were not so commonly used by LE or the military, would they lose some of the luster? Hard to say, because a caliber fits a roll based on the needs of the shooter.

    Now consider handguns. I don’t think I could be convinced the popularity of the Beretta 92F 9mm is not related to the M9 Beretta pistol. As a Glock owner, I must also admit, I don’t think the Glock would be as popular if not for LE use (vs. other polymers). However with the Glock, you do get a firearm at a completive price, no manual safety vs. those other polymers.

    Now consider the AR-15 and the .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO) caliber. Is the appreciation artificial?

    If the military were to switch to the 7.62x51mm NATO, would the .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO) lose the majority of its following. I imagine you would see fewer 5.56x45mm NATO rounds, but somehow I think .223 Rem plinking would continue. I think you would see an increase in the 7.62x51mm / .308 (and to a lesser degree 7.62x39mm) as the go to home SD round in a rifle, as the .223 / 5.56x45mm would begin to drop as a home SD rifle round.

    So how about the AR-15, M-16, M-4. For example, would the AR-15 lose popularity if the FN Scar was selected as a replacement for the M-16 / M-4? I’m starting to think there is a bit more hype to the AR-15 due to the military cousins and LE usage. If no longer used by the military, I think cleaning and maintenance concerns for the AR platform would begin to take more consideration.

    Note: I don’t think anything is likely to change given the econ and deployments overseas. I feel strongly about this when it comes to caliber. Advantages are minimal between the calibers being considered. The special forces community needs options, and those options can be provided in caliber, without changing the standard cartridge for the majority (in addition there are NATO considerations).

    Gun rags / magizines have upped the conversation, but I see the critics point that the FN SCAR (MK16 / MK 17) is a bridging-the-gap solution, and for all the hype, is not truly revolutionary. I doubt there will be a massive switch do to funding. Still, the more likely change is the rifle, as the number of dust related stoppages could be related to troop morale. Sometimes the one thing that works from the bottom up in the military is the confidence the user has with the tool.
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  2. #2
    BAC
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    Many people are formally trained on the weapons carried by police departments and the U.S. armed forces; these are people who often come to trust these weapons under pretty dire circumstances, circumstances that most folks can't duplicate outside of uniformed service with personally-owned, non-standard-issue weapons. You go through war, and if you learn to trust the weapon you're issued by the end of your time in that war, do you think when you head back to civilian life that you'll have the opportunity to roll around in the mud and grit with, say, a Ruger Mini-14? Probably not. This appreciation is very real, and not artificial.

    Other people who did not serve look to those who have for experience regarding firearms. Those with such experiences can (and do) pass on their opinions with those experiences. The appreciation for the service weapons spreads to folks who haven't relied on them in life and death situations, but is no less real. The rifle you just bought is exactly like the one your dad/cousin/friend/etc. carried into war, or on their police belt. It worked for them, it'll probably work for you.

    For what it's worth, I don't believe a poor-quality weapon has ever achieved significant popularity. That alone should say something.

    The M9 is an okay pistol. It's not great, but it's not terrible either. Like the AR platform, does it surprise you that the civilian equivalent sells quite well and is widely distributed? While I agree that it's an item that could (should) be upgraded, it's not so big a deal that it hasn't yet been.

    If the military went away from the 5.56 NATO and/or AR-15 platform rifle, yes, there would be a significant effect seen in the civilian firearms industries. However, unlike in any other time in history prior to now, we have dozens of companies in an enormous industry making these rifles; a far cry from the .gov owned and/or operated manufacturing plants cranking out M1s, M14s, and Springfields. In the past we'd see interest drop off fairly quickly, but I highly doubt given the market momentum that we'd see the same drop-off if .mil changed its weapon or ammo.

    Yes, there are better options than 9mm, .40 Short & Weak, .223 Remington, and 5.56 NATO. Among handgun calibers, the differences are mostly academic, but among rifle calibers they can be significant. That being said, none of the above calibers are lacking in the ability to take lives, and prove this consistently. Police is generally good in recent years about switching to pretty proven pistols; Glocks, M&Ps, Sigs, etc. The military has so much invested in current weapon systems it'll take an act of God and actions not unlike those that got the M-16 fielded in the first place to field a new rifle (and for several reasons I don't think the FN SCAR will be that rifle).


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array bbqgrill's Avatar
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    Great discussion, never really thought about it

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    All so often the popularity of a firearm, or caliber, is often equated with quality. I think this has to be true to some extent, because at some point an ineffective caliber or firearm prone to serious problems would lose the popularity.
    Quality is a big part but value is more important to most people so there is a balance between quality and price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    If the military were to switch to the 7.62x51mm NATO, would the .223 Rem (5.56x45mm NATO) lose the majority of its following.
    Possibly, if that move caused surplus low cost ammo became completely unavailable. On the flip of that the 7.62x51 was the standard for only a brief period (m-14 era) yet it remains a very popular cartridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    So how about the AR-15, M-16, M-4. For example, would the AR-15 lose popularity if the FN Scar was selected as a replacement for the M-16 / M-4? Iím starting to think there is a bit more hype to the AR-15 due to the military cousins and LE usage. If no longer used by the military, I think cleaning and maintenance concerns for the AR platform would begin to take more consideration.
    Well there are so many AR platforms that I would think that after market parts will be available for a very long time. Also as for popularity I don't know but if you think about the continued popularity of: M1 Garand, M1906 Springfield, M14/M1A, M1 carbine and M1A1 Thompson and variants; I think that a solid platform will endure long after it is retired from "active" service.

    As for me my AR is 7.62x51 and I have an M1A also 7.62x51 I am not a huge fan of 5.56mm but iI think it will endure for a long time.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

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    Distinguished Member Array GWRedDragon's Avatar
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    Personally I see the difference between 5.56 and .308win as analogous to the difference between 9mm and .45acp. 9mm and 5.56 sacrifice a little bit of ballistics in exchange for higher capacity and less weight (meaning you can carry more rounds).

    Just as I use a 9mm handgun now, I would likely choose a 5.56 defensive carbine even without taking into account what the military uses. I like the idea of having more rounds in a SD situation.

    On the other hand, if I could not use hollowpoints or magazines over 10 rounds I would certainly choose .45acp over 9mm...and if I thought I needed to be able to make precise shots at 200yds or penetrate body armor I would go with .308 over 5.56.

    My point is, there are pros and cons to both. It just so happens that the military has chosen a set of tactics which fall more closely in line with what I believe might be realistic for my use, so 5.56 is a good fit for me.

    As for the AR itself, I think your point may be valid. My primary reasoning behind buying one (aside from the fact that I know people who have trusted them in combat) is that it is what everyone else has. Because of that, I know that it will always be easier to get spare parts and accessories.
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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    (and for several reasons I don't think the FN SCAR will be that rifle).


    -B
    Would you mind elaborating on those reasons? I'm no military rifle expert, but there was an article on the FN recently in American Rifleman and they opined that it would replace the M16. Alot of the technical jargon about the FN was over my head and I'm afraid to venture into the dark, infinite abyss of research and info gathering about said rifles, for fear that I will contract the awful disease and in a state of hoplessness, give in to what I cannot fight and BUY ONE!
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    Senior Member Array Sergeant Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    Many people are formally trained on the weapons carried by police departments and the U.S. armed forces; these are people who often come to trust these weapons under pretty dire circumstances, circumstances that most folks can't duplicate outside of uniformed service with personally-owned, non-standard-issue weapons. You go through war, and if you learn to trust the weapon you're issued by the end of your time in that war, do you think when you head back to civilian life that you'll have the opportunity to roll around in the mud and grit with, say, a Ruger Mini-14? Probably not. This appreciation is very real, and not artificial.

    Other people who did not serve look to those who have for experience regarding firearms. Those with such experiences can (and do) pass on their opinions with those experiences. The appreciation for the service weapons spreads to folks who haven't relied on them in life and death situations, but is no less real. The rifle you just bought is exactly like the one your dad/cousin/friend/etc. carried into war, or on their police belt. It worked for them, it'll probably work for you.
    Well said.

    I don't think that the AR-15 platform is the end-all, be-all weapon system.

    (but it's damned sure the one I'm most familiar with)

  7. #7
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I don't think the AR-15 in 5.56 (or .223) will ever loose it's popularity no matter what. It can't. Just like the Colt 1911. Burned onto the hard drive of history. The reason humanity got to this point in time is because we learned to use tools. Calibers and platforms are tools. Sure...every now and then you'll see a tool marketed to replace ten other tools. I have some of those, but I still keep my specific tools for specific jobs. What good is a toolbox if you only have one tool? .308 or .223? I would always have at least one of each, and as designed I firmly believe the .308 is best in the bolt action (other than a belt fed machine gun) and the .223 best in the semi auto. I've also been a fan of the 6.5mm cartridges for a very long time. There are some things that just can't be replaced, and then there are things that shouldn't be replaced for good reasons. Sometimes there's compromise, but that still doesn't lead to replacement. When all else fails where do you end up going? Back to the basics. The M16/AR15 and I go way back......part of me that can't be replaced and has nothing at all to do with popularity.

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