The Difference Between AR-15 and AR-10: Comparing Rifles

Jul 27, 2022


AR-15s and AR-10s are both popular choices for sporting rifles as civilian shooters like to use them for hunting, target shooting, and plinking.

Both use a gas-impingement operating system, as opposed to a piston system. This means that hot gases from the burning propellant are used to cycle the action.

The benefit of this design is that it is very reliable, relatively simple to maintain, and makes for a high-speed rate of fire.

However, there are some downsides to the gas impingement system.

One is that it can be dirtier than a piston system since the hot gases tend to blow debris back into the receiver area. Another downside is that the gas impingement system can add to the recoil of the rifle, making it less pleasant to shoot.

They share a similar basic design. Both rifles have a modular receiver that allows for easy customization. They also both use detachable magazines.

These rifles are alike in many ways, but there are also some important differences to be aware of.

AR-10: Larger Caliber, More Power

An AR-10 is a high-powered rifle typically used by military and law enforcement personnel who need a powerful rifle for long-range engagements. It is a magazine-fed rifle that is chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. It has a 20-inch barrel and a detachable magazine that can hold up to 20 rounds of ammo.

This is a semi-automatic rifle, meaning that it will fire one round per trigger pull until the magazine is empty.

These rifles use a larger caliber round. The most common caliber for this rifle is the .308 Winchester, while the most common caliber for the AR-15 is 5.56 NATO.

This difference in caliber means that it is generally more powerful than the AR-15. However, it also means that the AR-10 is more likely to experience feeding and reliability issues.

The AR-10 is a very accurate rifle, due in part to its large barrel. The longer barrel gives the bullet more time to spin and stabilizes its flight of the bullet. It is a very powerful rifle, with a cartridge capable of delivering a lot of energy to the target. This makes this firearm an ideal choice for long-range shooting and hunting.

Again, AR-10s are chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, which is a full-power rifle cartridge. The 7.62x51mm NATO has more muzzle energy and penetrating power than the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge fired by the AR-15.

Due to the AR-10 being a much larger and heavier rifle, it is more stable and accurate when firing. If you’re looking for a powerful, high-quality, and accurate rifle, this rifle is a great option to consider.

It is important to mention that due to its size and weight it may not be suitable for everyone.

It’s also important to note that this weapon is not legal in all states, so be sure to check your local laws before purchasing one.

AR-15: More Popular, More Customizable

AR-15 rifles are most commonly used as sporting rifles and for self-defense. They are also semi-automatic and used by military and law enforcement.

They are smaller rifles, which makes them lighter, easier to carry, and easier to use in close-quarters situations. The AR-10 is a larger rifle, which makes it more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

In comparison, AR-15s have a higher rate of fire than AR-10s. This gives them an advantage in terms of getting shots off quickly and accurately in a firefight.

Typically, they have more accessory options. This means that you can customize your weapon to better suit your needs and preferences.

They are generally more reliable than AR-10s. This means that they are less likely to malfunction in the middle of a firefight, which could be catastrophic.

The AR-15 has a shorter effective range. This is due to the fact that the 5.56 NATO round loses velocity more quickly than the .308 Winchester round used by the AR-10.


If you’re looking for a weapon that is lighter, more maneuverable, has a higher rate of fire, and is more reliable, then an AR-15 is likely the gun for you. However, if you’re looking for a weapon that is larger and more powerful, then an AR-10 might be your better option.

Despite their differences, both are popular choices of semiautomatic rifles for gun owners. They offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks, so we hope this helps you get a better understanding of their differences and help you identify the one that best fits your needs!

For more details, watch this comparison from Elliott Delp.

Check out our Build Your Own Rifle page for your next custom-built rifle, or call us today at (360) 559-6210 for more information.