The Patrol Rifle

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The AR 15 platform has been called many names, some of which aren’t worth repeating, but in law enforcement the AR 15 is referred to as the “Patrol Rifle“. While many rifles were considered in choosing the best rifle for law enforcement, the AR stood out for its many benefits it brings to the force. The semi-automatic firearm is a useful tool for officers that provides effective application when necessary. The Basic Firearms Instructor Course from the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee makes some great arguments for why the patrol rifle is a good addition to law enforcement. The course guide goes over benefits, comparisons and more. Here are a few points brought up by the course.



As stated in the Basic Firearms Instructor Course, “We have found most officers have difficulty hitting the MPTC Q target with regularity using their service pistol at distanced further than the 10 yard line”. This accuracy of course decreases in a real life situation where stress is high and factors are ever changing. The AR 15 platform, with its longer sight radius, provides increased accuracy with distances 3-4 times more than what is capable of a handgun. You can imagine the difference this can make in the field.



Relating with the increased accuracy, with a rifle, you don’t need to close the distance between an officer and a threat to successfully engage like you would with a handgun. Distance is a police officer’s friend. It gives an officer time to think and react which proves to be much safer for the officer. Also, in the case that the officer does need to advance, the use of the AR 15 will provide the confidence that the officer will be able to handle any threat that they may encounter.

Benefits Over Both the Handgun & Shotgun


As discussed previously, the AR has many advantages over the handgun for distance and accuracy, but what about the shotgun? Well while the shotgun’s buck shot may have more hit potential, the instructor course states that “Past 18 yards the shot spread will begin to exceed the width of the torso” This being said, you also have to consider the accountability for all rounds down range that could be dangerous to others. The manual operation and recoil of the shotgun also proves to have more issues for law enforcement use.


A part from being more accurate at greater distances, the patrol rifle gives a lone officer the ability to deal with multiple adversaries, this is critical to first responders in the event that they are outnumbered. Compared to both the shotgun and handgun, the AR 15 rifle also has more available rounds with the use of its standard 30 round magazine. I think it goes without saying how important this is to be able to stay in the fight longer.


With all of the advantages the AR 15 rifle or “Patrol Rifle” can bring to the police force it is no wonder so many officers are carrying it in the back of their patrol cars. The Basic Firearms Instructor Course says “the ideal choice for the patrol rifle is a semi automatic rifle chambered in 5.56mm or .223 Remington”. Whether it is a stand-off situation, one officer against many, or needing a tool that is both accurate and good at long distances the AR 15 rifle is sure to be the go to firearm to stop threats and protect citizens. As a manufacturer of piston AR 15’s we can’t help but to point out the huge benefit to using piston AR’s in the force. Decreased maintenance and increased reliability means less malfunctions and a cost effective alternative to replacing costly systems. What could be better?

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