Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Assault Rifles" and the Truth

So the People Who Care have determined it wasn't an Islamic madman who killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando.

It was an "Assault rifle."

Since no one knows exactly what that is, we'll assume an "Assault rifle" is a rifle capable of shooting a continuous stream of projectiles ("automatic") and is used by military forces.

Those Mean Black Guns

Military M-16

The usual bogies are the "AK-47" and the "AR-15."

AK-47s are an ancient Russian design long-since surpassed in accuracy, capacity, longevity, and all the other -ities.


In the last 80 years, legally registered machine guns have accounted for TWO deaths.


In 80 years.

Not one person has been killed by an AK-47 in the United States.

Automatic weapons are typically collectors items, expensive to shoot, and restricted by highly regulated and expensive fees for transfer.

"But what about the AR...?"

The AR-15 looks like the military M16, but is NOT an "Assault rifle."

The military M16 has a selector switch that enables Single Shot, 3 round burst, and Automatic fire.

The AR-15 is a single shot firearm.

AR-15s have become popular as many of us were issued M16s in the military. We know it, appreciate its ergonomics, and like shooting something that is familiar.

The M16 was the product of millions of dollars of R&D on the initial design. The rifle was refined with variants after feedback from tens of thousands of soldiers who have carried them all over the world.

Like the M-16, the AR-15 platform is very customizable. There's an entire industry devoted to AR platform upgrades and add-ons. Many hobbies thrive on the quest of the hobbyist to revise and improve his or her boat, bike, plane, jet ski, skateboard, car, skis, scooter, train set, interior decor, cooking utensils.....

"They're only meant for killing..."

Most (not all) AR models fire the .223 or 5.56 NATO cartridge. It is no more "powerful" than any other hunting round. Few knowledgeable riflemen would describe a rifle as more or less "powerful," anyway. All rifle rounds are a compromise between weight, trajectory, expansion, speed, ease of manufacture, material availability, etc. "Power" is usually the ad hoc assessment tossed out by amateurs.

AR-15 shoots a .223. A popular hunting round is the .30-06
Some states require a minimum caliber to hunt big game, as the smaller calibers -- such as the .223 -- are insufficient to humanely harvest elk, deer, caribou, moose, bear, and mountain goats.

The Military choose the 5.56/.223 as it was small and light enough to permit soldiers to carry more rounds then the WW2 era .30-06.

Some have argued that the 5.56 is intentionally less "powerful" as a wounded soldier removes two enemy fighters from the battlefield -- the wounded and the one caring for the wounded.

Why do civilians need military rifles anyway?

Notice the .30-06 round in the image above?

It was the primary round used by US military force since World War Two.

Guess what all those soldiers used for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense after the war?

Yep -- the .30-06.


They were used to it. People like what they're used to.

The round worked, factories could crank out many rounds cheaply (keeping costs low), and the caliber became a standard by which all others were assessed.

So the .30-06 was the most popular rifle round for several decades.

Doesn't AR mean "Army Rifle" or Automatic Rifle?"


The AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite Rifle: the company that designed the original in 1957: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArmaLite


...even the New York Times had to admit there's an "Assault weapons myth.

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