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Guide on How to Use an AR-15




Despite how it looks, the AR-15 is quite easy to operate. Most rookies exaggerate the difficulty of learning how to use an AR-15 because of its extremely aggressive, intimidating stance. When in reality, even beginners can master this military rifle.

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Basic Step-by-Step Guide on How To Use an AR-15

Step 1: Load the Bullets Into the Magazine

High capacity 30 round bullet magazines | how to use an ar 15 sling

Lay down the rifle and bullets on a table. Make sure you use a sturdy table underneath so you can press the magazine against it while loading the rounds.

Once you're ready, grab the AR-15 magazine with your dominant hand and grab one with the other. Next, carefully align the round onto the top of the magazine. Beginners might have trouble with this at first, especially if they have shaky hands and aren't used to heavy rounds.

Afterward, press on the round until it sinks into the magazine. To prevent jamming in between shots, slide the round back to align it with the magazine's back.

Repeat until you fully load the magazine.

Step 2: Insert the Magazine Into the AR-15

AR-15 closeup of trigger and grip on glass | how to use an ar-15

Grab the AR-15 rifle, align the fully loaded magazine with the magazine well, then push until the magazine locks into place. Tug on the magazine a bit to test if you inserted it correctly.

Pro Tip: Do not store your rifle loaded. If you're learning how to use an AR-15 for home defense, we strongly suggest practicing loading the magazine as quickly as you can.

Step 3: Load a Round

Man with a semi automatic rifle | how to use an ar 15

Once you lock the loaded magazine, pull the chamber to load a round into the rifle. As you cock the charging handle, you should see the round entering the chamber through the ejection port and upper receiver gap.

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Step 4: Identify the Target

Man Firing Machine Gun With Sniper Scope | how to use bushnell equinox z on an ar 15

Next, it's time to identify the target. AR-15 shooters generally have two choices when it comes to aiming; you can either use optics or iron sights. If you're using the default iron sights, simply flip the sight up, then aim at your target.

Optics, on the other hand, require a bit more work. Calibrate your optics correctly, check the batteries, and see if the reticle's appearing on the optic screen.

Step 5: Fire the Rifle

Man with green shirt shooting black rifle on range | how to use an ar 15 for home defense

Once you have your target locked, assume the correct shooting stance, switch the safety lock off, then pull the trigger while aiming at the target. Do not close your eyes midway through the shot—even if the loud shot shocks you a bit.

Check out this video by Lucky Gunner Ammo where they give a visual demonstration of how to use an AR-15:

Diligent practice plays a key role in learning how to use an AR-15 properly. Admittedly, it has an aggressive, intimidating appearance, but the weapon itself takes little effort and knowledge to master. In fact, the military prefers these rifles for their convenience and functionality.

Just make sure to do your practice shooting in a safe, faraway location. The AR-15 is a powerful rifle that can take down even large beasts, such as bears, tigers, and lions. Inaccurate shots can definitely lead to life-threatening consequences.

Did this guide help you understand the basics of how to use an AR-15? Post your questions in the comments section below!

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  1. John

    May 22, 2021 at 10:47 AM

    I had several military rifles while on active duty. NO AR 15 would qualify. Rookie author needs education

  2. Sean Breslin

    May 21, 2021 at 10:46 PM

    An AR is not what I would call a high powered rifle, if I were fighting off a bear I would wish for a more substantial round to fire at him, sure you can take down an aggressive wild hog or deer but a bear??? not sure about that.

  3. David Williams

    May 21, 2021 at 4:02 PM

    Pretty simple to take down and reassemble le. I carried a M16 for almost 4 years duringwhi h one was in Viet Nam. It only jammed on me 1 timeand I don’t know how many y hundreds of rounds when thru it. As long as you kept it clean and that is for every weapon, be it pistol rifle or shotgun, there was usually no proble
    with it! Field stripped the M16 too many times to keep count!

  4. CPO Bill

    May 21, 2021 at 3:41 PM

    As retired military I had M-14’s and M 16’s. You AR instructions are spot on. They just have to be used.


    May 21, 2021 at 2:53 PM

    Please do not refer the AR-15 as a “military rifle”. It is NOT a military weapon.
    It is nobody’s best interest to call this a military weapon.

  6. Jim Baehr

    May 21, 2021 at 1:53 PM

    Please do not refer the AR-15 as a “military rifle”. It is NOT a military weapon.

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