“Controversial” Virtual Reality AR-15 Revealed

“It’s not a real AR-15,” motherboard.vice.com asserts, “but it sure looks and handles much like one. Anton Hand created it for the HTC Vive virtual reality headset using custom-made parts by his friend Nightfrontier, and he uses the Vive’s motion tracking controllers to handle it much as someone would handle a real weapon. The main differences are concessions allowed for interactive feedback, such as the way the rifle makes an audible ‘click’ when you try to fire it with the safety on. As Hand admits in the Reddit thread announcing the rifle, real one wouldn’t.” So, other than OCD gun nerd stuff, what’s the problem? Glad I asked . . .

It’s also potentially controversial territory, particularly since the AR-15 has been the weapon of choice in the numerous mass shootings of recent years. Gunmen used it to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary and a dozen at the Colorado theater shooting in 2012, 14 people in San Bernardino, and nine people just last October in Umpqua, Oregon. Just last Thursday, an editorial went up in The Washington Post from Mark and Jackie Barden, whose son Daniel died at Sandy Hook, arguing that the sale of AR-15 rifles should be banned in the United States.

As such, it presages future debates over the meaning of violence in video games if this kind of thing ever makes it to the big-name shooters.

Huh? It’s not as if the AR-15 — and “worse” (i.e. better) — aren’t featured in all the popular firearms-related video games. Why would a more accurate AR-sim cause conniptions? Because guns! Yes, well, the video game biz is worth about $55b per year compared to annual firearms and ammunition sales of $13.5b, that signal ain’t gonna be stopped.


  1. avatar other chris says:

    Politics aside, that is pretty cool

    1. avatar hambergerer says:

      Shoulda put an orange cap on the muzzle. That would keep us all safe.

  2. avatar Jaffas says:

    A question could be… How far do you go??
    Similiators , very real similiators have been around for years and are capable of producing true life like experience….for good or bad.
    As a pilot of 30 plus years I am familiar with many types of flight similiators that produce incredibily real graphics.
    The terrorists from 09-11-01 were trained at a facility I was given a tour of in one or more of their flight Sims.
    I really don’t think a good AR Sim is a big deal in the scheme of things except a gun is easier to get than a commercial airliner.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      The new VR set is on pre order for $800, which by my calculations is about $200-$400 more than a base model real AR-15. What the hell is the point of paying more money to train virtually when you can just get the real thing? More importantly, how does training virtually hurt anyone at all?

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        1. You never run out of ammo. In fact, you never have to BUY ammo.
        2. You don’t have to find a range in the middle of the night that allows you to shoot.
        3. You can shoot it in your own home and the neighbors won’t mind.
        4. You can SBR it without a tax stamp.
        5. You don’t have to worry about licenses, background checks, bullet buttons or mag restrictions in states that “care” about such things.
        6. You are not restricted to a square range.

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          Except theres no evidence that virtual gun training translates to real world proficiency, so you might as well either buy the real thing or stick to playing call of duty for 1/3 of the price.

        2. avatar anon says:

          You do realize that this guy is wearing a VR headset and some gloves and moving his hands around? He’s not holding anything. It cannot be used for training at all. And airsoft toy, a rubber duck, or a even a 2×4 would be a better training tool.

        3. avatar Bobiojimbo says:

          @Anon – Except that you’re forgetting that AR-15 like game controllers have already been created and produced. If they can figure out a way to take that airsoft rifle, and turn into a controller, you’d have a very realistic training simulator.



  3. avatar James69 says:

    Wait till they discover “Call of Duty” 1 through 23. Too funny. The last COD I played was World at War. Cool game. The Metro games are fun though. Now pretty much if it’s not Fallout I’m not interested.

  4. avatar c4v3man says:

    It’s only controversial if you can hit a button and send it to a 3d printer or cad machine and pop one out on demand… until then it’s just bits in a computer system, and just another digital gun like the thousands/millions already created. I can see controversy if it was a “high school simulator” and they threw this in one of the bathroom stalls or something, but is this something any reasonable person could possibly consider “controversial” in a world where a significant portion of games feature guns, and many big-budget titles already have AR-15/M16/M4 variants in them?

  5. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Well lets get term correct here. A select fire AR 15 is actually by definition an M16. The ONLY real differance between an AR 15 and a M16 is the select fire. However with that out of the way. This whole thing looks like fun. Just my 2 cents worth.

    1. avatar Machinegunner says:

      As a machine gun collector, that’s not correct.

      Not all select fire ARs are M16s, and the term ‘M16’ is not a catch-all for select fire ARs.

      The M16 is simply a roll stamp for certain AR patterned rifles that use a GI auto sear. There are many select fire ARs that do not use a GI auto sear, but rather use a registered drop in auto sear or a registered lightening link (if we are talking post sample or gov/LE, just remove the ‘registered’). The select fire ARs that use the RDIAS or RLL are not properly referred to as ‘M16’.

      There are certain AR type rifles that use a GI auto sear, but are not roll stamped M16. These are known as registered receiver ARs. The price difference to a machine gun collector can be $5000-$20,000, depending on the M16 variety being compared.

      I’m being picky, I know…

      1. avatar cloud_1911 says:

        You better unload your collection while it’s still worth something.

        1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

          If Hillary Clinton is elected they will lose their value alright but not in the good way of more MG’s….

  6. avatar anonymoose says:

    When this comes out on Steam, I will buy it. 😀

  7. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Another breakthrough for the pro-gun side. Probably help sell a slew of real AR-15s.

  8. avatar Avenger says:

    Shut up and take my money!

  9. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Good on him, it’s appreciated when there is actually real attention paid to any detail in a work, whether it’s a game or not, whether the detail is paid to firearms or other objects. He’s taken an objective approach, just as he should: it’s an object. I do wonder if the detail further extends to the magazine, and if it shows as empty, and if it shows bullets on the left and right sides for even and odd number rounds. OCD? Very much so, but since we’ve already been treading there with this attention to detail let’s just go all in.

    This did remind me of that game, Receiver, however. To some extent. And reminded me that I haven’t played it yet, thankfully it’s only $5 on Steam…

  10. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Ummm…looks like GUN PORN. Try banning real porn. Good luck…

  11. avatar Lincx says:

    Just buy gas blowback airsoft ar15..
    Bolt locks back after last round, recoils about as much as AR15 in .22cal, all the controls and everything is just like on real AR…
    Google: WE M4A1 GBBR
    Its closest thing you can get to AR15 in UK….
    it even field strips like real AR..

  12. avatar Wrightl3 says:

    Ban these before a virtual person gets shot. FOR THE CHILDREN!

  13. avatar Chris says:

    I have no idea what I am looking at here.

  14. avatar Arod529 says:

    Wow, a VR demo that actually showed VR off as something immersive, dynamic and cool, but most importantly exceptionally powerful if put in the right hands. This is the kind of development that will take VR far.

  15. avatar Red in CO says:

    Well shit, I really don’t see what the hand-wringing is about. For decades, you’ve been able to buy GBBR (gas blowback rifle) airsoft guns in such platforms as M4s and SCARs. And while the more common AEG’s (automatic electric guns) function similarly though not identically (as they don’t have bolts, and thus the only manipulation you need to do is changing magazines and fire modes)) to their real steel counterparts, GBBR’s function identically. The only real difference (aside from the difference in lethality, obviously) is that the propellant is stored in the magazine of a GBBR rather than in a cartridge. So the operation is identical, right down to releasing the bolt when you swap an empty magazine for a full one.

    And with the proper upgrades, they can even be made to have decent recoil, roughly on par with a .22 rifle. So yeah, this hand-wringing about the virtual reality AR is asinine.

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