My AR-15 Journey: The 1994 Assault Weapon Ban & the Global War on Terror (Part 1/3)

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.



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