No, I’m not talking about how it’s a purpose-built weapon of war or any of the other nonsense that the anti-gun crowd tends to spew. Rather, I’m talking about how economical and effiecniet it is when it comes to military supply chains.
For instance, the Israeli military is phasing out their home-grown rifle, the Tavor, in favor of the M4. The M4 is the fully-automatic cousin of the AR-15. Is the Tavor a bad rifle? No, quite the opposite. It’s probably the best bull pup style rifle in service today. It’s smaller overall than the M4, a handy feature in urban combat, and it’s ruthlessly reliable.
However, I’d be willing to bet folding money that it costs significantly more to make a Tavor than it does an M4, and that’s where the real genius of Eugene Stoner comes into play. Stoner created both the AR-10 and the AR-15 with processes and materials that were common in his day job in the aerospace industry. As a result, the economy of scale for the M4/AR-15 is similar to that of an assembly line rather than a gunsmith’s shop.
The AR took over the rifle market in the U.S. because it could adapt faster and easier to the design restrictions of the Assault Weapons Ban. In the same way, the ease of assembly and low cost of production for the M4 makes it a very attractive option for any army who is not welded to the AK platform for their military.