Military assault weapon?

Civilian tool?

Hackable device (like an Android phone)?

What drove (and is currently) driving sales of the AR15? Why the AR15?

Of course, the easy answer as to why the current sales of the AR15 are skyrocketing is simple. There's a proposed ban (DiFi's AWB) that would cover the AR15. So the firearm industry gets another reason to love this presidency (since President Obama has come out in support of an AWB; though Bush said he'd sign an AWB if it made it to his desk...funny, that).

Where was I? Oh yeah, reasons why the AR15 became popular before the threat of a ban.

I am a big fan of wired.com since I am a tech NERD. I do the computer 'thing' for a living (ranging from computer repair, customer support, to implementing SS7 [or trying to]) and as probably everyone else knows here on DK, I'm also a gun enthusiast. So seeing this article definitely tickled my fancy this morning.

First, the link.

Now, what three paragraphs to pick out...

Now that the post-Newtown nation has suddenly woken up to the breakout popularity of the AR-15, a host of questions are being asked, especially about who is buying these rifles, and why. Why would normal, law-abiding Americans want to own a deadly weapon that was clearly designed for military use? ... Preppers, militia types, and SEAL Team 6 wannabes are certainly represented in the AR-15′s customer base. But fringe groups don’t adequately explain the roughly 5 million “black rifles” (as fans of the gun tend to call it) that are now in the hands of the public. No, the real secret to the AR-15′s incredible success is that this rifle is the “personal computer” of the gun world.
I'm not a fan of the AR15 myself (don't like the sights, the way it feels, or the 'normal' .223/5.56 cartridge). I tried changing things out to get it the way I wanted (as described later on in the wired article) but I could never get it quite right for me. I guess I'm just a bigger fan of Soviet technology [at least when it comes to rifles].

But it looks like I'm most definitely in the minority.

“I always tease that it’s like Legos for grown men,” Duncan elaborates, “because there’s plenty of guys that get one, two, six ARs. And they’re constantly tinkering with them — changing barrel lengths, changing optics, putting different sights on them. It’s the same reason that a guy gets into remote-controlled cars or fly tying. Because it’s a fun hobby, and it’s a distraction from reality sometimes.”
Wired links to an NSSF survey that backs up the picture Duncan paints of an AR15 owner. Let's take a couple of bullet points from the survey and throw them down here:
Recreational target shooting (8.9 out of 10) was the No. 1-rated reason for owning a MSR in terms of importance. Home defense was next (7.7/10), followed by collecting (6.28/10) and varmint hunting (6.23/10).

84 percent of MSR owners have at least 1 accessory on their rifle, and they spend an average of $436 on after-market accessories and customization.

60 percent of MSR owners that responded to the study own multiple MSRs, with the average owned being 2.6.

So the post Newton story of AR15 sales?
Both of these panics have brought a massive influx of new shooters to the AR, people who would never have considered a black rifle before. I visited a number of gun shops in the Bay Area and in Houston, Texas in the days and weeks after Newtown. As the walls grew more barren and the lines longer, I heard the same story again and again from first-time AR buyers: “I never really wanted one of these before. I’ve only owned and shot hunting rifles and shotguns. But now that they’re about to be banned, I’d better go ahead and get one while I can.” The SHOT attendees I spoke with all had similar stories of empty gun store walls and panic-buying doctors and lawyers paying $5,000 for what would have been a $2,000 gun just a week earlier.
And finally, my closing point for this article:
In bringing new, non-”tactical” shooters to the AR, the twin panics of 2008 and 2012 have also done much to heal the aforementioned schism between the black rifle and hunting crowds. For every hunter like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who shares the NRA old guard’s hostility for all things tactical, there’s another who hates the idea of the government banning the black rifle even more than they dislike the gun itself. Some of these hunters have gone out and bought an AR-15, and when they shoot their new toy, they’re most likely hooked for life.
Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a DKos group of second amendment supporters who have progressive and liberal values. We don't think that being a liberal means one has to be anti-gun. Some of us are extreme in our second amendment views (no licensing, no restrictions on small arms) and some of us are more moderate (licensing, restrictions on small arms.) Moderate or extreme or somewhere in between, we hold one common belief: more gun control equals lost elections.  We don't want a repeat of 1994. We are an inclusive group: if you see the Second Amendment as safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms individually, then come join us in our conversation. If you are against the right to keep and bear arms, come join our conversation. We look forward to seeing you, as long as you engage in a civil discussion.  
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