A Comparison of the AR10 vs. AR15! Which One Should I Go for?

There are a number of gun discussions that go on in most fora, with the AR10 vs. AR15 being just one of them. This discussion is geared towards helping gun enthusiasts, who want to have the prerequisite knowledge before owning or using either of the two guns.

It is important to know a little of the rifle’s histories before going down to the finer details. The AR10’s development started in 1994, just after the release of the lightweight AR-1 and the AR-5 survival rifle for the pilots and other aircrews. In 1955, the very first AR-5 was completed. Unfortunately, this rifle didn’t gain a significant market share. It is because of this eventuality that a downscale of the AR10 was designed, that is the AR15. The AR15 in return can be termed as the foundation of the M16 assault rifle.

Comparison and Contrast

The AR10

The AR10 rifle is an air-cooled lightweight rifle that is gas operated and comes with the 7.62mm (.308) barrel. It uses the standardized 7.62x51mm loads and has a standard 20-round detachable magazine box. The AR10 weighs something between 3.29kgs and 4.05kgs, without the magazine and ammo. The super-lightweight feature was as a result of the use of aluminum alloy extensively for the metal parts save for the steel bolt, barrel and bolt carries as well as the glass reinforce plastic on the pistol grip, butt stock, and hand guard.

Unlike most of the gas-propelled rifles, the AR10 uses the direct gas impingement mechanism, where the propellant gas goes through the rifle’s cylinder that runs parallel with the gun barrel thereby impinging the bolt carrier mechanism. This results in a high cyclic fire rate of about 700 rounds per minute with a 2,772 FPS/ 845 m/s muzzle velocity. The AR10 measures 40.5inches overall length with the barrel measuring 20 inches.

The AR15

Whereas the revolution began with the AR1 as the foundation, the AR15 greatly borrowed its design from the AR10. The rifle employs the same “direct gas impingement” operation as the one used in the AR10s but comes with little more developments as compared to the predecessor. The main difference is found in the fact that the weight of the guns is more in the AR10 vs. AR15. The latter features the 5.56mm lightweight structure whereas the AR10 comes with a full caliber 7.62mm caliber size. The AR15 mainly employs the use of lightweight “mylonite” materials for its construction, something that makes them weigh between 2.2 and 3.9kgs.

800 rounds per minute result from this gun, with a muzzle velocity of 3200 FPS or 975 m/s being realized to a maximum effective range of about 600 yards. On average, the rifle comes with a 39.63-inch length and a barrel length of about 20 inches.

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The Main Differences between AR10 vs. AR15


Whereas the AR10 features the .308 Win or 7.62x51mm NATO chamber, the AR15 features the .225 or 5.65 x 45mm chambers. In the AR10 platform, it is unsafe to load the .308 in a 7.62x51mm chamber but the .308 chamber can accept the 7.62x51mm loads. Similarly, you can load .223 cartridges in a 5.65 x 45 chamber of the AR15 but not the inverse.


When it comes to the magazine, the AR15 is more versatile as its magazines are interchangeable from one type to the other. However, the AR10 is a bit rigid as the Armalite design only accepts the AR-10 proprietary magazine, with its other counterpart, the DPMS model only being compatible with the DPMS, SR-25 or most of the third-party aftermarket magazines.


The AR10 vs. AR15 has got one of a universal trigger platforms as the trigger of one can be swapped with the other. The AR10 performs well with the triggers of the AR15 platform and the vice versa is also true. For accuracy when it comes to long range shooting, a two-stage trigger performs well with both guns.


The AR15 is more available than the AR10. In fact, it is almost among the most popular rifles in almost any town and village where guns are used. Go through any gun stores, both online and offline and you are sure of getting an AR15. The same can’t be said for the AR10. The availability of the loads is also something of consideration. Due to the popularity of the AR15, almost any gun store you step into will have lots of varieties and stock of the AR15 bullets and cartridges.


The AR10 has been designed for firing more powerful rounds thus as far as weight is concerned, it is heavier than the AR15, which is less powerful. Though the weight difference seems inconsequential, keep on having accessories that are a few grams heavier than the standard accessories and you will realize how one gram difference is consequential.


Since the AR10 is used to produce more force, for obvious reasons, it also has greater recoil than the AR15. The more powerful the round fired, the greater the resultant recoil force.

Pros and Cons

The AR10 vs. AR15 comes with its own share of benefits and drawbacks. It is important to note that both rifles have the benefits of being lightweight when compared with their contemporary counterpart rifles. This makes it possible for a hunter to carry more ammo as well as adding more gun accessories on your rifle. With the AR10 being slightly heavier than the AR15, more ammo can be carried with the latter than with the former.

The AR10 vs. AR15 has a better performance when as far as maximum damage is to be achieved but is edged out when it comes to speed. The AR15 calibers are smaller and lighter hence making them travel at a higher speed and for longer distances.

The higher mass of the AR10 bullets enables the projectile to store greater kinetic energy, which eventually will be translated to a high knocking or stopping power. The AR15 on the other side is characterized by higher fire rates that eventually translate to multiple hits.

Which One is better now?

The determining factor is what you want to use your rifle for, and how you want to use it. If you want to go hunting the big game, you really need something that produces a heavier-hitting, which makes the AR10 more preferable. The AR15, on the other hand, would be the best when you want to bring down smaller animals.

When it comes to home defense, the AR15 is a better choice to the AR10. This is because the AR 10 may have some more devastating damages due to over penetration. In addition, due to the light recoil that comes with the AR15, you are at a better place to produce faster and more accurate follow-up shots.

Many gun collectors have been attracted by the AR10 vs. AR15 rifles. Hunters are seeking to know, which one is best for their specific hunting needs, with sports shooters as well as law enforcers shopping for something that will enable their ventures to be successful. Since both rifles are lightweight enough, they are a soft landing for women and the teenagers as well, not forgetting those shooters with small stature.

The necessity 7.62x51mm bullet is obviously something to choose if you are going to hunt the bear. Law enforcers and the snipers will need the AR10 vs. AR15 rifle for them to get a good standoff range. This is due to the fact that the AR10 offers greater or rather wider search range than most of the other 22 rifles.


The AR15 is the best solution for varmint hunting and home protection as well as bring down the small game. It is also a good choice for public protection and security duties. In security and protection duties, one shot from the small caliber rifles has always proven to well accomplish the job.

The only reason why you may need the AR10 rifle is when you are in the woods and you don’t know what to expect, or you specialize in hunting the bigger animals. Whichever choice you go for, you can always convert your gun to have a military look before venturing out into the woods, fields or the streets to do what you have to do with the gun.



3 thoughts on “A Comparison of the AR10 vs. AR15! Which One Should I Go for?”

  1. This is a fluff piece. The question should not be AR10 vs AR15, but 5.56 vs 7.62. I have several of both. They are used for separate purposes and each has its own niche.

    One buys a rifle based on its caliber and its purpose. No one buys a rifle because it is lighter but accepts the caliber it come in.

    There are times where a 5.56 is preferred and others where a 7.62 is required.


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