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 Wilson Combat AR-15 (courtesy

So The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publishes the Modern Sporting Rifle Comprehensive Consumer Report [available to members]. The industry lobby group first surveyed some 22k assault rifle MSR owners back in ’10. They’ve updated the info for ’13. Not a lot’s changed. Most military-style weapon MSR owners use their gun for target practice and own more than one. “Most modern sporting rifles were purchased from an independent retail store, with the average cost $1,058, which is $25 less than the average from the 2010 study.” [NB: may not apply to Wilson Combat AR-15 above.] Despite Emily Miller’s contention on MSNBC that half of MSR owners are ex-military or law enforcement the actual stat is 35 percent, down from 2010’s 44 percent. Additional findings in the report include . . .

Of those who own only one MSR, 49 percent said they purchased their first in 2012 or 2013, with 82 percent of recent purchases AR-platform rifles.

The amount owners spent on accessorizing their ARs rose from an average of $211 to $381.

Those who own multiple MSRs are more active shooters, with 92 percent target shooting, almost 50 percent of them hunting and 19 percent using them in competition.

Those who own 4 or more MSRs are more likely to own an AK-platform MSR.

Over a third of MSR owners gained interest in the rifle through a friend.

YOU can be that friend! Meanwhile, we can safely say that the report establishes that assault rifles MSR’s meet the Supreme Court’s “common use” standard, as mooted by the Heller decision. Which is a stupid standard as federal regulation has made sure that fully automatic machine guns MSRs are not in common use. Another story for another time . . .

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  1. “The amount owners spent on accessorizing their ARs rose from an average of $211 to $381.”

    I just have trouble believing that. Well, of course the more budget oriented folks will go for the more affordable stuff, but I just now realized that after spending a good amount on a nice AR (black rain), I spent another $800 on stuff for the thing. And nothing overly tacticool or superfluous. Those things are an endless money pit. 🙂

    • One guy buys flip up irons another buys flip up irons and an optic. The third bought a gun with them already so he buys a sling or a ton of magazines. Average out. That’s my perspective from the retail firearms side of things.

      • Yeah, it didn’t have any sights, so a set of yankee hill flip ups and an EOTech set me back a nice amount. But they’re still accessories and if you’re not just buying some Magpul rail fillers, it can add up rapidly.

        • Well that is quite true but…rail fillers (while present on my rifle they came with it) are superfluous. The guys I know are satisfied with an optic and forward grip. And…pricing out a cheap optic like my buddy had and his grip is pretty smack dab in what they call average.

          Even me, I just want a set of QD rings and a 1-4x scope. The set I’m looking at versus the set the rifle deserves is a literal thousand dollars different but fact is until I can afford to shoot competition to win I can settle on a ~$300 optic setup instead of my dream set for $1300+.

          So…I would call the average accessory trip about $300, whether through taste or necessity as most AR owners don’t have a Cadillac rifle AND Cadillac gear set on their long arm. I’d love to…but can’t afford it or justify the expense.

          Just window shopping racks up the expense. After a $230 trigger and a laundry list to go…man…

        • Oops, with rail fillers I mean all the stuff you can buy, like grips, pods, light holders, cupholders and what not. I do have a small patch of the actual rail filler/rail ladder, but that’s because the rail was surprisingly sharp. It also makes the heat go less to my hand and more out the other holes. 🙂

          Oh yeah, change the trigger too. Well, the one on the gun is nice for me, but I can see why people want to change it in quite a few guns.

        • Note to LCJudas – if you haven’t bought an optic already, take a look at Leupold’s new “Mark AR” line of tactical scopes. They run about $375, and mine (MarkAR MOD 1: 1.5-4x20mm) has an illuminated ( five brightness levels) 0.3mil green dot in the center of the mil-dot reticle. Uses one CR2032 battery, and in the 1.5x mode it is a very fast-acquisition scope, with good eye relief. Rings/scope mount is extra. take a look at them on Leupold’s web site, under “Tactical scopes”.

  2. Just my personal opinion, but IMO, it is wrong for gun rights proponents to refer to AR-15s as “Modern Sporting Rifles,” as that fits right in with the gun control arguments about, “…weapons for ‘legitimate’ hunters and sport shooters are okay, but ban ‘battlefield weapons.'” What they all forget is that war is not just something that nation-states get into, it is something that individuals conduct against one another as well.

    If someone breaks into your home and is trying to kill you and/or your family, that person or persons have declared a state of war on you. And as such, you have a fundamental natural right to possess the basic tools of war to be able to make war back on that person in order to be able to defend yourself and/or your family.

    So if someone says to me about an AR-15 that I own, “That is a weapon of war!!” I’d say, “Absolutely it is. That’s one of the reasons why I own it…” and then proceed to give the explanation I just gave.

    I also think gun rights people are soft on the whole “weapons for defense” versus “weapons for offense” arguments. For example, politicians, police chiefs, etc…will say, “‘Assault weapons’ are weapons for offensive purposes, not defensive purposes,” i.e. only soldiers and police should have such so-called assault weapons. A standard counter-argument I have seen is for gun rights people to point out that police are trained to fight defensively, not offensively, and plenty of police officers carry AR-15s as patrol rifles, so it is most definitely a weapon for self-defense. And of course that such weapons fire at the same rate as various hunting rifles and most all handguns, and handguns are very much a weapon used for defensive purposes by police and regular citizens and soldiers.

    But what I would argue is that:

    1) There really is no such thing as a weapon for offense versus a weapon for defense—all weapons can be used either way

    2) Sometimes, engaging in defense means fighting in offense. For example, a gang of armed thugs breaks into your home. You must fight them off with your AR-15. I most certainly am not going to try to fight defensively, I would try to go on the offense, so that the intruders are overwhelmed and hi-tail it out of there. Fighting defensively is a losing strategy. That means the enemy is on the offensive.

    So even if there WERE guns specifically designed for offensive uses, such guns very much can be used for defensive purposes, because defense can require offense.

    So I think gun rights people should emphasize that AR-15s are very much weapons of war and weapons for offense, and just make sure to explain the details to people.

    • I would also point out to people that the right to keep and bear arms also is to protect against a tyrannical State, and the 2nd Amendment protects that right and also so that the militia (i.e. the general population) can serve as a replacement and/or supplement for the military for the security of the nation. As such, the right to keep and bear arms most definitely means the right of the people to possess the same arms the military uses. I’d point out that not all weapons of war are arms, but all arms are weapons of war, a type of weapon of war that people have a fundamental right to possess.

      • Thank you, Kyle. I think you nailed it.

        This is also why I think DO think that “common use” standard can be applied to automatic weapons as well. The are widely used by the Military and Law Enforcement.

        • This. I bet we can argue that no one weapon in the United States is more commonly used than the fully-automatic black rifles our military uses quite commonly. When will this point hit the supreme court?

    • The problem with this line of thinking is that the media and the Leftists will twist and turn this all up into a giant clusterfuck of whatever that will, in the end, make you look like some paranoid gun owner scared of the state. It falls precisely into the media narrative and it doesn’t help our cause at all. We need to really start out-witting them instead of falling into this label that they keep trying to force on us, no matter how we feel otherwise

      • They already do that to us. No amount of clever acting or moderate rhetoric on our part will make them stop. The best we can do is follow Kyle’s advice and be honest about what we mean. In this way we will rally people to our cause who are passionate about freedom, and even awaken that passion in others who have heretofore been during on the fence.

        The America that was founded in 1776 is the one where the general attitude about firearms it’s similar to Kyle’s. That’s the America I want, not one that simply tolerates our weapons of war because we’ve convinced the courts (fickle things, the courts) that they’re actually “modern sporting rifles.” This is a culture war, a war of fundamental ideas. We won’t have any real success if we cater to the other side’s culture.

    • 1911, Berreta M9, .38 revolver, Mossberg 590, Remington 700, M1 Garrand, Winchester model 70, all used by our military on the battlefield.

      “Weapons of war” is a very loose definition

      • Some people get nervous when they see the standard text on my EOTech sight: “For law enforcement / military use”. I just smile and ask if I can still go to Krispy Kreme.

  3. I still want one but don’t need one.
    I have enough money pits to play with as is.
    When one can be bought for the price of your average handgun.
    Not a top name brand hand gun mind you.
    Ill take another look.

    • In same category, but the other day I see S&W M&P Sports (a very plain jane, generic starter rifle, but I read many good reviews) for sale online for $650. Drops a bit more, and then i’m springing.

  4. The AR-15 is the Barbie doll of firearms. First you buy Barbie, then you realize that Barbie must have a full complement of clothing and accessories. It never ends.

    • It only ends once you double the original price of the rifle in accessories. Then…your accessories need a more suitable host and outgrows those accessories as a superior host rifle. The cycles seem to stop at stuff so tac’d out you could hit field mice at 100 yards at night.

      Yes I have priced night vision scopes and yes…they are both ridiculous and desirable.

  5. This is great news! With the 25 bucks you save on the rifle, you can buy yourself a whole quarter of a box of ammo.

  6. The more important question is: how much are they down since January? Damn near 100%, from what I’ve seen.

    This should have been the article, not how much they’re down since a meaningless time in 2010. When you ask the wrong question, you get a meaningless answer.

  7. Oooh, a whole $25 huh. Well when I get the fund, I’ll just build one and have exactly what I want from the get go. Non of that buy a factory rifle, and then swap half the parts nonsense.

  8. Greetings to all, I just bought my first Ar15 an SRC made by Windham Weaponry. It was a real bargin for what I consider to be a very good quality AR and only $850.00. It does pay to shop around though because there are always places that will sell the rifle for between $200, even $400.00 more. If you don’t have the cash the next best thing and get an SKS, the cheapest thing going as far as I know for a semi automatic rifle. I have a 60 year old Russian version and it’s a blast to shoot it. You can pick one of those up here in SOCAL for between $350 and $ 400. I know a lot of you got them cheaper, some as low as $60.00, but that’s the reality today and still a good deal for a great rifle.

  9. My criteria for an AR was reliability and ability to shoot most available ammo. The fact that it was modular was a bonus. It allowed me to add a dedicated .22 LR upper that was rifled for the .22 rimfire cartridge at 1:16 rather than relying on rifling for the .223/5.56 as well as a dedicated bolt/carrier.

  10. “So The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publishes the Modern Sporting Rifle Comprehensive Consumer Report [available to members].”

    The price for the publication to non-members is quite a monument to creative membership recruitment. I wasn’t able to learn how much it costs for an individual to join, but the asking price for the book is $5000.

    I’d probably have joined if they’d actually given an amount prior to asking for my personal info.

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