“Write the book you’d want to read!”
That was the impetus for the original AR-15 Complete Owner’s Guide. To be honest, right through the ‘90’s I was disinterested in the AR-15 rifle. I very much preferred the Ruger Mini-14. During much of that time, the AR-15 market consisted of either pricey Colts or affordable small, dare I say, “no-name,” manufacturers. At least, that’s how I saw it. Then, after a time, the “ABC” brands became the “name” manufacturers: Armalite, Bushmaster, and Colt. The Armalite of that day was not the Armalite that had developed the AR-15. The Armalite company had ceased to exist many years prior. The owner of Eagle Arms tracked down the person who held the Armalite trademark and purchased the name.
In the late ‘90’s I decided to learn all I could about the AR-15 because by that point it couldn’t be ignored. True to form, I began to search for a book that would educate me. Remember, in the late ’90s the Internet was a novelty, and YouTube was just an idea. I couldn’t find what I needed. Thus, I determined that if I was going to read the book I needed, I’d have to write it myself. And so I did. Of course, the world changed between 1999 and the first decade and a half of the following century, and the Owner’s Guide became, shall we say, a bit long in the tooth by then. Thus, The NEW AR-15 Complete Owner’s Guide came to be and the original was retired.
Oh, and the first AR-15? It was a Bushmaster. Alas, I no longer have pictures of it, but it was pretty ordinary. I do have pictures of the AR on the cover of the original Owner’s Guide because I built it for the book. At the time I constructed the rifle, the 1994 Crime Bill with its Assault Weapons Ban was still in force. Without going into the details of that now-sunsetted law, if one were to build an AR with a pistol grip, other evil features had to be foregone. In this case, I was forced to omit a muzzle device or threaded muzzle to comply with the law. That’s why you see a 24” plain-muzzle barrel on the rifle I really consider to be my “First AR-15.”
BY WALTER JULIUS KULECK