Pictured from L to R - a 9mm pistol round, a .223 Remington (also known as 5.56mm NATO) rifle round, which is the most common round used by the AR-15, and a 7mm Remington Magnum round. $5 bill for size comparison. Lately, the media and people who know very little about firearms have claimed that the AR-15 is a “high power rifle.” This is simply not true. The 7mm round pictured is suitable for deer and elk, and would be considered a “high power rifle.” Because of its relatively low power, the .223/5.56mm cartridge isn’t legal for hunting anything larger than a coyote in most states. Yes, the US military carries this round, but that alone doesn’t make it a powerful cartridge. As an infantryman 15 years ago, the standard loadout was 270 rounds of 5.56mm. Why the 5.56 if it is a low power round? Primarily because an infantryman can carry a lot of it, which means he has a better chance of hitting an enemy. Being shot once by a 5.56 can be lethal over time (blood loss, sucking chest wound, organ damage) but it very rarely completely incapacitates a determined enemy with a single shot. .
As a mathematical comparison, at 100yds, a 5.56mm NATO round has roughly 895 ft/lbs of force. The 7mm Remington Magnum pictured has roughly 2498 ft/lbs at the same distance. That is why when someone refers to an AR-15 as a “high power rifle” I immediately know that they don’t know enough about firearms to have a rational, common-sense conversation about them. .