The Assault Rifle Ban of 1994 banned any magazine that held more than 10 rounds. Prior to the ban, Eagle Arms owed by Mark Westrom, was working on a new version of the AR10 rifle. Right around that same time, Westrom acquired the rights to the trademark name of Armalite. So the new Armalite company was now manufacturing the AR10 rifle. However, due to the ban, Westrom was unable to provide his customers with the 20 round high capacity magazines they desired. There was a severe shortage of original Armalite magazines from the 1960's and far fewer magazines for the SR25. After careful research it was found that the M14 magazine could be adapted to the new AR10 design.
Due to the severe large numbers of surplus of M14 magazines, Westrom found a way to make it happen. By purchasing M14 magazines and modifying them, every customer could have a rifle with a high capacity magazine that was in compliance with the Assault Weapon Ban, due to the fact the M14 magazines were all manufactured prior to September 1994. This went on through the sunset of the Assault Weapon Ban in 2004. Now Armalite was free to manufacture their own magazines.
Initial rifles stayed with the modifed M14 magazines, and now Armalite produced new magazines that were modified and functioned even better than the M14 magazines. However, there was an increased popularity of AR10 type designs from many other companies in the industry. They chose to go with the SR25 type magazines. There were multiple manufacturers of the SR25 type magazine, including Knights Armament Company, Magpul, C Products Defense, etc.
Due to customer demand, Westrom introduced the new AR-10A, which required modification of both upper and lower receivers to accept the SR25 pattern magazines. Since that time, Westrom has sold Armalite and the new company has chosen to discontinue use of the M14 type magazine in favor of full production of rifles utilizing the SR25 pattern magazine. So the AR-10A is now the standard model manufactured by Armalite. Armalite still provides modified M14 magazines, as well as the latter post-ban M14 based magazines to support existing customers. As a side note, the designer, Mark Westrom, felt then and feels now that the M14 type magazine is much stronger, more durable, and more reliable than the SR25 type magazines.
For being the most mass produced military rifle in the world there has been little done in the area of maintenance. Throughout the years, the rifles have come with a very crud cleaning kit consisting of: patch saver and nylon bore brushes. Common patches will be rags or part of someone's shirt, not to mention, complete lack of solvents and lubricants. The AK has always been touted as a rifle that you don't need to clean because it's just so reliable. Sorry to burst your bubble but every weapon needs to be cleaned.
Based on the legacy cleaning systems there has been a need for a modern and proper cleaning system for this family of weapons. Otis Technology has created the first true AK47/AK74 cleaning systems. One of the primary innovations of the system is the new chamber brushes. The chamber brush is manufactured of bimetal wire, a wire consisting of stainless steel and copper. This enables proper scrubbing of the chamber and throat of the barrel, and remove baked in lacquer and mouth sealant, which remains in the chamber from the military grade ammunition.
The other problem solved is how to deploy the chamber brush due to the barrel sitting below the rear of the receiver. The new flex adapter permits easy impregnation of the chamber brush into the chamber and being able to twist the chamber brush without damaging either a cleaning rod or the chamber. Also provided with the kit is a copper all purpose brush that will remove carbon fouling on the piston operating rod. This system also will work very well for the SKS family of weapons. The kit is available in both 7.62x39, as well as 5.45x39mm.
Over the last couple of decades there has been several attempts to manufacture AR upper and lower receivers out of polymers and carbon fibers. For the most part it has been a complete and utter disaster. The synthetic materials would not hold up to the operating dynamics of the rifle. American Tactical out of Summerville, South Carolina has completely rethought the polymer receivers and come up with a viable and reliable product.
The new OMNI MAXX series rifles use a patented system, which consists of metal inserts in the rear of the lower receivers, which prevents the rear of the receiver from snapping off, as found in previous generations of polymer lower receivers. The upper receiver has a metal insert in the front of the receiver, which the barrel nut is attached. In testing several rifles it has been found that there is no negative effect from the heat to the bonding of the metal insert and polymer from which its molded into.
The lower receiver has been found to be just as durable and reliable as any aluminum receiver. Although only a two ounce savings in weight there is a major difference in cost between the forged aluminum receivers verses the polymer lower receivers. American Tactical offers this rifle in several configurations, including pistol variations. They are offered in both 5.56mm and 300 Blackout calibers. The barrels are very high quality and very accurate.