Vickers Guide—AR-15: Volume 1

posted on September 28, 2017

Since the sunsetting of the so-called “assault weapons” ban in 2004, the popularity of the AR-15 has skyrocketed to unprecedented heights. Today it stands unopposed as America’s rifle, with millions in the hands of law-abiding citizens and nearly every major domestic firearm manufacturer, and countless smaller firms, offering their own rendition of the platform. Written by famed Special Operations veteran, combat marksmanship instructor and firearm industry consultant Larry Vickers, with photography by James Rupley, Vickers Guide—AR-15: Volume 1 tells the story of the early development of Eugene Stoner’s gun—while offering many insights into why the AR-15 has so thoroughly captured the attention of the modern American gun community.

AR-15: Volume 1 is a coffee table book to be sure, the 351 pages dominated far more by its 238 pieces of high-resolution photography than its text, but to simply dismiss it as a picture book would be a disservice. Photographed within are many guns of great historical significance—from each of ArmaLite’s original five AR-10 prototypes to Colt’s first production Model 601 to H&R and Hydra-Matic M16A1 variants made when Colt was unable to meet demand during the Vietnam War—and accompanying each entry is an informative passage either explaining its importance or relaying an interesting anecdote.

The first in a two-book set, Volume 1 focuses mainly on the origins of the design through the late 1980s, covering: the rifle’s pre-Stoner ancestors; the progression of the AR-10; the downsizing of the platform in order to accommodate the .223 Rem. cartridge; the growing pains associated with jungle warfare; the eventual developments of the M16A1 and M16A2 patterns; and curious variants like 9 mm Luger-chambered submachine guns and heavy-barrel, belt-fed prototypes. Volume 2, which will complete the timeline into the modern era, should reach bookshelves shortly.

Anyone remotely interested in the early development of the AR-10/15 platform will find Vickers Guide—AR-15: Volume 1 to be an engaging read; diehard collectors, historians and researchers will likely love it. Price: $95. Contact: Mott Lake Publishing;


Walther WMP
Walther WMP

Review: Walther WMP

Near the end of 2022, Walther took its handgun lineup in a fresh direction with the release of the sporting WMP pistol chambered in .22 WMR, designed for field use as a "kit gun."

Rifleman Report: Individual Liberty & Innovation

When it comes to the design, manufacture and sale of innovative firearms, the intuition and innovation of unique personalities are often the common threads that result in success.

Henry Salutes America’s Most Decorated Living Veteran

Henry Repeating Arms honors U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, our most decorated living veteran, with a limited edition rifle, which underscores the brands commitment to American heroes, past and present.

I Have This Old Gun: Jo.Lo.Ar Pistol

It was in 1919 when José de Lopez Arnaiz cleverly devised a unique single-action pistol with a moveable lever (palanca) of which enabled shooters to single-handedly chamber and cock the gun using only the index and middle fingers.

The Armed Citizen® May 27, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Preview: Camp Chef 9 Piece Professional Knife Set

In order to make the most out of harvested game, you need a set of quality food-prep tools like Camp Chef offers in its 9 Piece Professional Knife Set.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.