Was the AR-7 rifle ever adopted by the Air Force?

I’m trying to flesh out the Wikipedia page for the AR-7 rifle. I’ve improved it much from when I found it, even added a picture of my own. However, as another editor pointed out, The rifle seems to have never actually been adopted by the USAF, inspite of what I had thought. The new manufacturer (Henry Repeating Arms), spins it as “developed for the USAF”. Which I take to mean they built it and tried to sell it, but USAF wasn’t buying.

Anyone have any more information on whether this rifle had any military service? Any other info that isn’t in the article would be appreciated as well. Or just go and add it yourself. :slight_smile:

Didn’t they go with the M6 instead? I have a book on military firearms that mentions the Bushmaster Arm Gun, but I don’t remember if it was used at all.

Following a period of production exclusively for the military, the AR-7 was introduced to the public market.

On the other hand, the ArmaLite history page is less clear about the actual events:

There seems to be consensus that the earlier AR-5 was adopted by the USAF as the MA-1. The AR-7 history is pretty poorly documented on the web.


My dad was a bombadier / navigator on a b-47 during the 50’s and standard equipment in the survival kit was an AR-7.


During what part of the 50’s? If it wasn’t developed until 57, then that doesnt give much time. Not saying hes lying, just trying to get at the facts.

heres a cool page. claims some were built for the air force but it was never officially adopted. at the very least, it has some nice pictures



This site claims that the AR-7 is the commercial variant of the AR-5/MA-1. Chief difference being that it is semi-auto

On the right hand side of the page, under the first picture, there is a bar that says “AK-47”. Is that supposed to be there?

Oops. No. That’s what happens when I copy/paste a template. :smack:

He was in the air force from 1955 - to sometime in the mid 60’s. He was in SAC.


I’m reading a UPI newspaper article from November of 1958 right now. It’s an interview with “Lucian Cary, gun editor of True Magazine.” The article, I think, is based on a story in “the current issue of the magazine” and Cary says


So, there you have some documentation that the gun was in production, just not being ordered by the Air Force * in quantity*. But perhaps that might lend support to Daylon’s story about his dad.

Did the article name the weapon? It sounds as though it could have been referring to the AR-5/MA-1.

(I will defer to actual gun authorities on the topic, but I have a hard time accepting the AR-7 as the “civilian version” of the AR-5. The changes between the two weapons are (at least) that they went from a bolt action to semi-automatic, from a four round magazine to an eight round magazine, and (if I read the stuff above correctly) changed the round (although not the calibre) between the two weapons. To me, that says “new weapon” rather than “civilian version.”)

Guess I did read a bit quickly. The newspaper article does NOT actually mention the model. I wonder if more detail was given in the original story in True magazine?

Back to looking.

from theWikipedia article on the AR-5.

Did I miss something? Were there only twelve AR-5’s produced? Or is the article just not clear?

The quote says nothing about the number of rifles produced, only the number purchased by the Air Force. Possible that more were produced, or that more weren’t. shrug

I didn’t mean that the -7 was a civilian version per se, just that Armalite developed the very similar -5 for the USAF, and then expanded on that design and sold it to the public.

I don’t have any supporting story or anything like that. All I know what that my dad was a SAC bomber/navigator assigned to a b-47 during the late 50’s.

He’s gone now, but he told me that the standard issue survival kit consisted of a few ‘pemmican’ bars, a collapsable .22 rifle (which I assumed was an ar-7 - sorry might have been the ar-5) a box of 50 .22 shells, a sidearm (.45 colt 1911) one clip, waterproof matches, and a compass…


No prophylactic, miniature combination Bible and Russian phrasebook, lipstick, or nylons? How’s a fella supposed to have a pretty good weekend in [del]Dallas[/del]Vegas with that?


Blech, please tell me they weren’t the “Meatless Pemmican Bars” they gave us at Philmont :eek:

My dad was in a munitions and maintainence squadron assigned to the B-47’s at Whiteman AFB in 59,60, & 61. He also says that the AR-7 was standard issue in the “survival kit”.