If you have been following my Blog posts, from my review of authors Perry Cox and Bruce Kaufman’s wonderful new book, A Collectors Guide to the Colt AR-15 SP1 Sporter Rifle, you know that I am a longtime fan of the Colt AR-15 SP1 Sporter Rifle. When I bought my Colt SP1 in 1982 there were two choices in the purchase of the AR-15, a Colt SP1 Sporter rifle or a Colt SP1 Sporter carbine. That was it as there were no other makers. I chose the rifle. The price was $500. I shot my SP1 a lot back in the day and used that rifle to compete in early IPSC 3-gun matches. It remains one of my favorite rifles; it is accurate, light weight, and easy to shoot.
Colt production of the AR-15 SP1 rifle for the civilian market began in 1964 and ended in 1984 as they transitioned manufacture to the AR-15A2 rifle, which was the civilian version of the military’s newly adopted M16A2 rifle. Colt production of the AR-15 SP1 carbine began in late 1977 and was manufactured through 1984. By 1986 a few options other than Colt became available. In 1986 I bought an Olympic Arms SGW AR-15 carbine. If my memory is correct, it was priced about $100 to $200 below a Colt SP1 carbine. I wanted a carbine version, but still couldn’t afford another Colt. For me the lower price was the deciding factor in my purchase.
From the time I became aware of Colt AR-15s in the late 1970s through 1994 AR-15 rifles were far more prevalent than carbines. In fact you rarely saw a carbine version. I was one of very few people in my circle of shooting friends who owned a carbine. I still own that Olympic Arms carbine, although the upper has gone through a number of changes.
Several events dramatically changed the AR-15 from pre 1994 to post 2004. Those events were the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, the “sunset” of that ban in 2004 and the attack on 9-11 that led to the USA’s Global War on Terror (GWT).
Walt’s books “The NEW AR-15 Complete Owner’s Guide” and “The AR-15 Complete AR-15 Assembly Guide” are available on our website. We offer a Bundle of both titles at a reduced price for the pair.
BY SCOTT DUFF