|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||United States Air Force|
|Feed system||5-round detachable box magazine|
The ArmaLite AR-5 is a lightweight bolt-action takedown rifle chambered for the .22 Hornet cartridge and adopted as the MA-1 aircrew survival rifle by the United States Air Force. It was developed by ArmaLite, a division of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation in 1954.
The U.S. Air Force needed a compact, lightweight, accurate rifle for the new XB-70 manned bomber aircrew's survival kits. Since the M4 and M6 aircrew survival weapons were no longer in manufacture, the Air Force put out a request for a new survival weapon. Shortly after Fairchild established the ArmaLite division in 1954, ArmaLite designed and submitted the AR-5 in response. The Air Force officially adopted the AR-5 as the MA-1 in 1956. But due to the cancellation of the XB-70 fleet, the Air Force never received funding to buy more than the original 12 test models. So the M4 and M6 aircrew survival weapons already in inventory were sufficient for existing Air Force needs. However, adoption of the MA-1 established ArmaLite as a recognized firearms company, leading to several other rifle designs of varying success (e.g., the AR-7, AR-10 and AR-15).
The earlier M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon is a superposed ("over-under") break action combination gun with a .22 Hornet single-shot rifle barrel over a .410 shotgun barrel. While there is versatility to such a combination, the AR-5's detachable box magazine fed bolt action has the advantage of rapid fire capability. The AR-5, like the M4 Survival Rifle and M6 US Air Force survival rifles, used the .22 Hornet cartridge which has 2.3 times the muzzle velocity and 7 times the energy of the common .22 Long Rifle (when comparing 40 gr bullets), and yet still has a light recoil in such a light rifle (2.5 lb).
Designed to be stowed in cramped aircraft cockpits, the rifle had a takedown design and was made from lightweight plastics and aluminum alloys. The AR-5 was unique for being able to be disassembled with all working parts stored within the stock. When stowed in this manner, the rifle was able to float.
Armalite used the research and tooling for the AR-5/MA-1 to develop the Armalite AR-7, an eight-shot semi-automatic takedown rifle chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. Released in 1959 as a civilian survival weapon and in continuous production since then, the AR-7 is related to the AR-5 in terms of its overall layout, and retains the same modular takedown, storage in stock, and the ability to float.
- List of ArmaLite rifles
- M4 Survival Rifle
- M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon
- Marble Game Getter
- List of individual weapons of the U.S. Armed Forces
- List of firearms
- Gordon L Rottman (20 October 2013). The Book of Gun Trivia: Essential Firepower Facts. Osprey Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-78200-620-6.
- Bierman, Harris (1971). "Armalite AR5A". GUNS & AMMO ANNUAL. Petersen's Publishing. p. 298.
- "ArmaLite history" (PDF). Archived from the original on 1 October 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Long, Duncan (1990). AR-7 Super Systems. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press. pp. 4–5.
- Frank Miniter (11 August 2014). The Future of the Gun. New York: Regnery Publishing, Incorporated, An Eagle Publishing Company. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1-62157-244-2.
- Stevens, R. Blake & Edward C. Ezell (1987). The Black Rifle: M16 Retrospective. Cobourg, Canada: Collector Grade Publications. p. 22.
- Design patent #179499 (January 01, 1957) George C. Sullivan (Inventor), United States Patent & Trademark Office, AR-5's gunstock design patent
- links to images of and/or articles about the AR-5 here and here