Modern Sporting Rifle Pocket Fact Card

As I prepared to record a fresh podcast with Carrie Lightfoot for The Women’s Gun Show, I ran across this resource from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) on ARs — a type of rifle that is coming under attack and being labeled as an “assault rifle” by people who want this firearm banned. Also known as the “modern sporting rifle (MSR),” this rifle only fires when you pull the trigger — like all other semi-automatic guns. It is neither a military gun, nor is it a scary black gun. In fact, the NSSF has created a Modern Sporting Rifle Pocket Fact Card, which is helpful as a primer or a refresher for those of us out here who find ourselves defending not only this type of firearm, but also the way of life we associate with it.

Modern sporting rifle

Barbara Baird on the line at Gunsite Academy with an MSR.


  • AR-15-platform rifles are among the most popular firearms being sold. They are today’s modern sporting rifle.
  • The AR in “AR-15” rifle stands for ArmaLite, after the company that developed the firearm in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”
  • AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles, which fire one round with each pull of the trigger, are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.
  • If someone calls an AR-15 or other semi-automatic rifle an “assault weapon,” he or she either supports banning these firearms or does not understand their function and sporting use, or both. Please correct them. “Assault weapon” is a political term created by California anti-gun legislators to ban some semi-automatic rifles there in the 1980s.

Download your own Modern Sporting Rifle Pocket Fact Card:

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  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at