AR-10 vs AR-15: What’s the Difference?

An AR is a fine piece of equipment that has been around for more than fifty years. If you know anything about these guns, you know the “AR” actually stands for the original manufacturer’s name for the firearm: ArmaLite Rifle.

So what’s the difference in an AR-10 and an AR-15?

AR-10s vs AR-15s: Know Your History

When comparing these rifles, it helps to know a little history on the AR-10s. These guns were designed as a military rifle, but setbacks in securing military contracts meant the company needed to refine their design.

Enter AR-15s. Setbacks in securing contracts meant ArmaLite sold the patent to Colt. Colt mass-produced these guns and they finally became a standard-issue during the Vietnam War. Then, when the patents from Colt expired, other manufacturers began making their versions.

AR-10s vs AR-15s have a lot of similarities and interchangeable parts because the AR-15 was built based on the AR-10. They do have a few key differences.

Differences in AR10s and AR-15s

Caliber and Weight

The main difference when comparing these two rifles is the caliber. AR-10s traditionally utilize a .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO, and AR-15s traditionally use a .233/5.56×45. This means the AR-10’s magazine walls are larger to house the larger rounds. This makes the 
AR-10 lower receiver and other key parts bigger than the AR-15s and means AR-10s are usually heavier.

What You Aim to Shoot

wild pig on path

When thinking about AR-10s vs. AR-15s, don’t forget to consider what you want to use the gun for.
If you need stopping power combined with long-range accuracy — to take down a charging boar, for example — an AR-10 with traditional chamberings will suit you slightly better.

If your main usage of the gun is at the range or for use in home self-defense, you’ll get similar accuracy with an AR-15 with the benefit of the lighter weight and recoil. Additionally, AR-15 ammunition is less expensive, making it a slightly more accessible weapon.

The versatility of these guns means you can design the ARs to shoot practically whatever you want. AR-10 rounds tend to excel in long-range shooting and AR-15s tend to win in the weight category.

AR-10s vs AR-15s: Final Thoughts

Whether you need a reliable hunting rifle or a respectable at-home gun, you can’t go wrong with a member of the AR family, especially if you’re putting your gun together yourself.

At JSD Supply, we know the value in DIYing your own firearm, so we sell the parts and kits to build your gun from the ground up in the privacy of your own home. No background checks, paperwork, or nosy neighbors can stand in the way of you customizing your gun to your precise specifications.

Contact us today to place an order or with any questions you have. Trust us — we’ve been the experts in the field of DIY gunsmithing since 2013.