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The ArmaLite AR-15 is a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed assault rifle manufactured in the United States between 1959 and 1964, and adopted by the United States Armed Forces as the M16 rifle. Designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956, it was based on its AR-10 rifle. The ArmaLite AR-15 was designed to be a lightweight assault rifle and to fire a new high-velocity, lightweight, small-caliber cartridge to allow infantrymen to carry more ammunition.
In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt due to financial difficulties, and limitations in terms of manpower and production capacity. After modifications (most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle like AR-10 to the rear of the receiver), Colt rebranded it the Colt ArmaLite AR-15. Colt marketed the redesigned rifle to various military services around the world and it was subsequently adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 rifle, which went into production in March 1964.Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its line of semi-automatic-only rifles marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers, known as Colt AR-15. The Armalite AR-15 is the parent of a variety of Colt AR-15 & M16 rifle variants.

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