With the debate raging across the land about whether we should even be allowed to own them, I have been thinking more and more about how I came to own the black rifle. I happen to know where to find about a dozen variations, and more calibers than sense would dictate. I love Eugene Stoner’s wonder weapon, though it hasn’t always been this way.[caption id="attachment_21513" align="alignleft" width="300"]
Kalashnikov and Stoner with their respective rifles[/caption]Like many Vets, I never intended to own one. My thought process was, why buy something I already have at work? And whatever the technicalities of nomenclature, the AR-15 does share many similarities to the M-16/M-4 family of weapons. (In a political side of this debate, one of two things usually happens. The anti-gun crew tries to equate the AR with a battlefield weapon, the pro-gun crew tries to say it is no such thing. "Modern Sporting Rifle" is one such name dodge. I take a different path. I’m pro-gun as the day is long, and readily acknowledge my AR-15 is capable of being a weapon of war. Why the fuck do you think I bought it?) As a young trooper, I had much more interest in pistols, or "exotics" if we wanted to talk rifles.Eventually I came around. For a variety of reasons, but mostly “just in case.” Hurricane Katrina was a wake up call to many of our generation. It was the first time in our adult lives we saw a disaster so bad, help wasn’t coming. At least not any time soon. Looting was rampant across the affected area, and quickly spread from stores to individual houses. While I wasn’t in the affected area, it was hard to miss that it could very well happen anywhere. And if things go well and truly pear shaped, it is best to have a familiar friend by your side.The nice thing about an AR, particularly for us Vets, are the similarities to our issued gun. We already know how to use it. We know how to troubleshoot it if it doesn’t go bang. We can take it apart and put it back together on autopilot, and likely blindfolded, if need be. And oh that use…Like I mentioned above, many decry the inherent lethality of the AR-15 as a reason to ban it. I offer this counterpoint. Of course it is lethal. That is what a weapon does. An un-lethal weapon, or one that doesn’t offer you a decisive advantage, is a defective weapon. If I wanted to be in a fair fight, I’d go to a boxing gym.If I ever find myself in dire situation, particularly one where all government authority is completely absent, I want the most unfair weapon possible. If goons armed with screwdrivers and box cutters come to steal my kid's last can of "SpaghettiOs," my first choice to repel them would be an AC-130 Gunship with an artillery section in support. But that is a little outside my budget, so AR seems to be a pretty good compromise.I have yet to need it, but I have slept well more than a few nights because I had it. If nothing else, it reminds me of my security blanket in far away lands. It provides a level of comfort in rough times that is worth its weight in gold. I love my AR-15. All of them.