Differences Between the M-15 and AR-15

Differences Between the M-15 and AR-15

The name “AR-15” has become synonymous with inexpensive, accurate and highly customizable.

This weapon has become a household name, even being called “America’s rifle” due to the sheer amount of rifles sold.

It’s useful for everything from hunting to self-defense and especially great for combat and survival situations.

But along with its popularity, also comes a wave of questions like “What makes the __-15 different from a regular AR-15?”

Let’s break down these differences, looking especially at the M-15 and AR-15.

Some History on the AR-15

In the early 1950s, the company Armalite designed the first semi-automatic version of an M-16 and dubbed it the AR-15.

One common misconception about the AR-15, is that the “AR” stands for “automatic rifle” or “assault rifle.” Neither of these are accurate. The “AR” in the name simply stands for “Armalite Rifle.”

In 1959, Colt purchased the AR-15 trademark from Armalite and just kept the name.

But in the ’70s, the trademark on the name “AR-15” expired, and other companies began mass-producing the popular style of the rifle.

There were so many nearly-identical designs of Armalite’s rifle, that “AR-15” became a generic term for any semi-automatic weapon styled after the Armalite original.

AR-15 and Ammo and Mag

The M-15

In 1994, the assault weapon ban specifically outlawed the “AR-15.” This led to many companies renaming their semi-auto rifles to avoid the stigma now attached to an AR.

Bushmaster came out with its “XM-15,” Smith & Wesson with its “M&P15,” and DPMS with the newly named “A15.”

Colt followed suit, and named their weapon the “M-15.” But, in all reality, it was just the same AR-15 with a different label carved in the aluminum.

So, the short of it is this: An M-15 IS an AR-15. In fact, it’s the version most closely designed after the original namesake.

AR-15 with optic

Characteristics of the M-15

Most guns that are thrown in the “AR-15” category have similar features. Here are some of the major characteristics of an M-15 that mirror most other AR’s:

But, probably the best-known characteristic of an AR is the potential for total customization. Nearly every component of this weapon can be replaced with whatever works best for you.

Ar-15 with mags and scope


So, the title of this article may be slightly deceiving because, in reality, an M-15 is an AR-15. And being one of the most popular weapons on the market, the AR-15 is truly “America’s rifle.”

Do you own an M-15? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments down below!


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