The AR-15 pistol is a lightweight semi-automatic version based on the Colt AR-15 or M16 Military design. In 1956, ArmaLite designed a lightweight assault rifle for military use and designated it the ArmaLite Rifle-15, or AR15. A marketplace emerged with many manufacturers producing their own version of the AR-15 design for commercial sale. They are referred to as modern sporting rifle by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. AR-15 rifles and AR 15 Pistols have become one of the most beloved and most vilified firearms in the United States. The rifle has been promoted as "America's rifle" by the National Rifle Association. The AR Pistol in recent years has become increasingly popular due to it's compact and lightweight size.