Skip to Content

Can an AR-15 Shoot Underwater?

The AR-15 can come in a variety of calibers but the most popular is 5.56/.223 by far. These rounds have plenty of power moving around 3000 feet per second. But what about underwater?

Yes, an AR-15 can shoot underwater without malfunction. However, it is not recommended to do so with prolonged use. The fired rounds are not effective past a few feet underwater and the increased back pressure can cause failure of the firearm.

Although you can successfully fire an AR-15 underwater, it is not recommended. There is a possibility that your rifle will experience a catastrophic failure, destroying your firearm and injuring the user.

Can You Fire a Rifle Underwater?

Even though you can fire most rifles underwater, some will have issues, while others rifles are specifically made for that.

Here’s a quick video of an AR-15 chambered in .223 being fired underwater:

As you can see, the answer is yes, you can fire a rifle underwater. However, some rifles will perform better than others underwater. In general, tighter more accurate guns will have a harder time underwater because of the increased back pressure.

Here’s a longer video showing the difference between the AR and AK platforms underwater:

How Far Will a 5.56 Bullet Travel In Water?

A 5.56 mm bullet will travel, on average, 5 feet if fired underwater. It fired outside of the water but the bullet travels into the water after being fired, it will go farther. The water being in the barrel when the weapon is fired makes a huge difference.

A subsonic 5.56 mm round will only travel a 2 to 3 feet underwater. Any ammunition that uses a heavier bullet with less explosive gun powder or accelerant will not travel as far.

Here’s another interesting post to check out: Can an AR-15 Shoot Through Brick?

Are AR-15s Waterproof?

No, AR-15 rifles are not waterproof and will need to be completely dried and oiled if they get wet. However, they can be briefly submerged under water. The weapon will rust and experience parts failures if left submerged underwater for extended periods.

In general, its best to keep firearms away from moisture. They even make dehumidifiers specifically for gun safes to keep moisture away from the firearms during storage.

Rust is your enemy. Not only for parts failing to operate normally but also barrels can get rusted to receivers and gas blocks making disassembly impossible.

Are There Guns That Can Shoot Underwater?

There are guns that can shoot underwater, they are called amphibious rifles. These types of rifles are designed to take two types of ammunition, one of which being a supercavitating type of round that works best underwater.

In order to gain the most from those amphibious rifles you’ll need to carry both types of ammunition. One for normal operation, and another round for use underwater.

However, even the best underwater ammunition is only accurate out to 50 meters. Most underwater ammunition is only effective out 15 to 25 meters.

Can Guns Work After Being Submerged In Water?

Yes, most guns can work after being submerged underwater, however, it is not recommended to get firearms wet. If a gun rusts or parts become damaged due to being submerged underwater the gun may not operate anymore.