The Armalite/Colt AR-15 series of assault rifles are a staple of the GTA series, first appearing in GTA III, and then in every GTA game since. The AR-15 is useful in almost any situation, boasting accuracy, power and magazine capacity. Since the rifle fires the relatively powerful 5.56mm NATO round, it has noticeable recoil, albeit not nearly as much as the bigger AK-47. Throughout the games, the models of the AR-15 derivatives differ slightly, along with zoom capability, fire-rate, and power.
In Grand Theft Auto III, the firearm is an 'exaggerated' M16A1, with an extremely high rate of fire and a 60 shot magazine. In GTA Vice City, the weapon is rendered more realistically — it resembles a Colt Model 733, although it is referred to as the "M4".
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Liberty City Stories share the same M4. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories an original M-16 is used to maintain chronological accuracy.
In chronological order:
GTA Vice City Stories (1984): An M16, named "Assault Rifle" in-game. It is chronologically accurate, and its rate of fire is true to real-life M16s. Lance Vance mentions the M4 during a mission, which is an anachronism.
GTA Vice City (1986): A Colt Model 733, incorrectly titled "M4" within the game (the M4 was not introduced until 1995).
GTA San Andreas (1992): A Colt Model 733, again incorrectly titled "M4" in-game. This version has an unrealistic reload animation wherein CJ charges the weapon with his left hand — real M733s are charged with a rear-mounted handle. This rendition holds a 50 rounds per magazine, not possible with real-life M733s. In the mission Stowaway, a government agent is shown holding a Colt M16A1; this, however, is never available to use in-game.
GTA Liberty City Stories (1998): A Colt Model 733, again titled "M4" in-game. Has a realistic rate of fire, unlike its GTA III counterpart, but, like the San Andreas rendition, the reload animation is inaccurate.
GTA III (2001): An M16A1. This version is a highly inaccurate and exaggerated weapon, with a 60-round magazine and an exceptionally high rate of fire. It is also missing the delta ring and is very boxy due to its low poly-count.
GTA IV (2008): An M4A1, titled "Carbine Rifle" in-game, this version is accurate both in timeline and overall features, although it sports a peculiar rear sight design and lacks a carry handle, giving it some resemblance to the similarly-designed Heckler and Koch HK416. It is the longest-ranged non-sniper weapon in the game. It has "Property of Liberty City Arms" stamped where the magazine release is normally found.
GTA Chinatown Wars (2009): Referred to as the "Carbine Rifle" in-game, it is difficult to identify this gun, however it has a full stock and long barrel, and its triangular hand guard on the HUD suggests a Colt M16A1. It has tremendous power, more akin to that of a machine gun.
GTA Vice City
GTA San Andreas
GTA Liberty City Stories
GTA Vice City Stories
Grand Theft Auto IV
The AR-15 in Grand Theft Auto IV is referenced in-game as the Carbine Rifle. It can be purchased from the back-alley gun shops for $5,000 and each additional magazine will cost $100. It can be purchased from Little Jacob for $3,500 and each additional magazine costs $70. The Carbine Rifle can also be acquired from NOOSE officers and certain LCPD officers. This weapon is unsurpassed in clip capacity and power, with range and accuracy surpassed only by the sniper rifle. It cannot be fired from cars. This weapon can kill with two headshots in multiplayer and single player, and is highly effective during Team Deathmatch.
- Algonquin Bridge - Can be found atop the roof of the pedestrian walkway on the Algonquin side, from the monorail station entrance.
- Easton - Can be found well-hidden behind some trash cans on the east side of Grand Easton Terminal. The trash cans can be reached quickly through an alley on Jade St.
- Leftwood - Can be found underneath the pier where the strip mall is situated off Beaverhead Ave. The strip mall can be seen from the cliff where Niko executes Aiden O'Malley during the mission Tunnel of Death.
- Tudor - Can be found in a small loading dock area on the north side of the old Sprunk factory.
- Tudor - Can be found atop the northern superstructure of the old rail bridge that spans the river which divides Tudor and the Acter Industrial Park.