The AR-10 is a very important firearm in the history of weapons. It served as the predecessor to the AR-15 and the AR platform as a whole. Without the AR-10, the AR platform would most likely never have existed. In fact, the AR-15 is simply an AR-10 scaled down to fire intermediate rifle cartridges (the AR-10 fires larger rifle cartridges like the. 308 ar10 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor).
The ArmaLite AR-10 was first designed and developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s. The AR-10 that was released back then bears a slightly different resemblance to the AR-10s seen on the market today in day. The Brown ells AR-10 BRN-10, discussed later, are an example of an AR-10 designed to replicate the look and function of the original.
When the AR-10 was first designed, it was at a time when the United States Army was looking for a new rifle to replace the semi-automatic M1 Garand that had been in service since 1936. Although this is a wonderful rifle that It also progressed through World War II, when most of the military relied on old bolt action rifles, by the 1950s the M1 was simply obsolete. By this time, most armies had switched to magazine-loaded select-fire rifles. Some examples are the FN FAL, the HK G3 and the AK-47.
A magazine-fed, select-fire rifle firing the .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO was, at the time, seen as the future of military service rifles. The West German military had switched from Mauser bolt-action rifles to the HK G3, and the UK had switched from the Lee Enfield to the FN FAL.
The AR-10 was designed by Stoner as a possible new rifle for the United States Army to replace the M1 Garand. And while the Army eventually settled on the M14 rifle, which was essentially an M1 Garand reloaded for the .308 and designed to use detachable box magazines rather than block magazines, the M14 also had a very short life as a service rifle Major for the US Army.
Later in the 1960s, the military switched back to the M16, which was simply a scaled-down AR-10. The influence of the original ArmaLite AR-10 cannot be overstated.
The AR-10 was originally designed with forged alloy parts, which made it much lighter than most other infantry rifles of the time. The original AR-10 was made in small numbers of only about ten thousand, but the rights were sold to Colt Firearms in 1959, which developed the platform into the more modernized AR-10s and AR-15s we know today day.
Colt became the only manufacturer of rifles with the AR platform until the patent expired, at which point a host of other manufacturers began producing their versions of the rifle as well. Today, the AR platform is the best-selling rifle platform in the United States, and one of the most successful rifles among the military, law enforcement units, and civilians alike.