Yet another question from the uninformed. When discussing A1, A2 etc, etc; what features determine these different generations or design changes. Is there a site that gives this information? My Olympic has a fixed carry handle, round forward assist and case deflector. What does that tell me about my AR?
Your's is probably an A2. There are not a ton of differences between them all. Along when several little changes and changed within models.
A1: A1 sights, which are pretty rudimentary, but they worked. The A1 sights were contained within the carry handle. Can be id'ed by a large wheel on the right side of the carry handle. Little bit shorter butt stock. Different pistol grip.
A2- Newer sight system windage and elevation adjustable. What you find most common today if not a flat top. Different pistol grip, added "fingergrooves". Slightly longer buttstock.
A3- Removeable carry handle aka flat top upper.
In the early years, they had slabside lowers. Which meant they did not have a mag fence and didn't have material in some areas. Also, slickside uppers which were minus the forward assist. They added the forward assist, which was tear drop shaped when the A1 was still top dog and added the mag fence during this time also.
I'm fairly certain the brass deflector didn't come around until the A2, but I could be and probably are wrong on that one. The charging handles were more of a delta shape on some models, versus the straight design now. Another big one is the flash hider. They had the three prong, then the A1 birdcage, then the A2 birdcage. The A1 had slots all the way around, the A2 has a solid bottom. From what I understand this was done to prevent dust from being kicked up from the muzzle blast when shooting prone. The three prong was just that, resembled some kinda demented hot dog cooking utensil.
Find a good book on the Ar15 or M16 and read away, there's a lot of history on these weapons. Makes for good reading.
Sights dont necesarily dictate A1 or A2 as some colts are A2 uppers with A1 slab side lowersWhile there are A2s with A1 sights..esentially all the A2 improvements with A1 rear sight.A2 is not only sights but thicker barrel past FSB,dleta ring,5 slot closed bottom flash hider,brass deflector,round forward assist,lower was strenthend at the front pivot area and rear of the lower that stock extension conects into..more meat,new pistol grip,furniture made of super tough nylon..43% glass filled.A4 model is a flat top full size rifle but with M4 type rails and accesories and is the Marines standard rifle.A3 is the civilian rile term for a flat top while the military is simply M4A1 wich is a flat top carbine and M4 wich is the first but short lived fixed loop A2 carbine before the flat top replaced it.A1s have tear drop forward assist,simple field sights,6 slot supressor,Phenolic resin weaker handguards,round delta ring and unstregnthed lower.Black rifle 2 a great source and read as well as black rifle 1.
There is also the military A3 which is the same as the A2 but with auto instead of burst.
The Army also uses the A4, not just the Marines.
The A2 has different sights, a thicker, contoured barrel, different rifling rate, burst instead of auto, closed bottom flash hider, a built in brass deflector, and a slightly longer stock with the trapdoor to hold a cleaning kit.
The A3 is the full auto version.
The A4 is the flat top version, that can become the M16A4 Modular Weapon system when the rails are added.
The M4 is a shorter version of the A4, and the M4A1 is the full auto version. Both become modular weapons systems with the addition of the rails.
What units have issued the hybrid versions? Are you talking military or civillian terms? In the Army at least, an A2 has the newer sights.
Thanks for all the info. I can see I need to do some serious reading on this with all the changes and improvements over the years.
the above info is good
You can check out the Black Rifle Book II if you want the consummate resource for the AR15.
IIRC, the A2 had 10 or so changes over the A1
Buttstock lengthened and strengthened
Rear sights include elevation in A2
FH has closed bottom eliminating dust signature from prone shooting
reinforced rear lug area on lower receiver (A2)
hand-guard changes - from triangular to round (?)
pistol grip - A2 included formed grip and more tacky material
Delta ring became angled on A2 to assist in field maintenance
need my book to recall the last ones
Check out BR II
I will definitely find that book!