So, the Left is looking to lock horns over shootin’ irons are they? They have rolled out all the tired, time worn, threadbare clichés once again. You know the ones, “Why do you need an assault rifle?” or “No one needs high capacity magazines.” Well it seems that we have let them set the terms of this “war of words” long enough. What do I mean by “set the terms”, you ask? Well just pull up a chair and sit a spell while I unravel this dastardly butchery of words that these polecats have perpetrated.
Let’s start with the myth of the “High Capacity Magazine” shall we? By its very nature the High Capacity magazine is one that holds beyond the “Standard Capacity”. So what, exactly, defines Standard versus High capacities? Standard would be what the firearm was designed with and sold with, High Cap would be anything larger than the Standard. Let’s look at a few examples. (I’ll even throw in pictures).
Some variants built by some manufacturers are built around larger double stacked magazines. Para-Ordnance of Canada is one such example fielding 1911 variants that hold 12 (the Model P-12) or even 15 (Model P-15), as they are purpose built around these larger magazines, the magazines are then actually, Standard Capacity.
Caliber: 9×19 mm
Standard Magazine: 13 rounds
The Beretta 92
So, let’s turn our attention to longarms (rifles, to those unfamiliar with the term) the ubiquitous “evil black rifle” or EBR.
Sexy ain’t she? (sorry a little levity there) Okay, seriously here, the AR-15 a semiautomatic rifle, which means boys and girls, that she is only capable of spitting out one round at a time. No matter how fast you pull the trigger.
No, the “AR” does not stand for “Assault Rifle”, what it does denote is the rifle’s origins, the “AR” stands for Armalite Rifle. It is available in a wide variety of chamberings from .22 Long Rifle up to .338 Lapua and .300 Winchester Magnum, it is most commonly chambered for 5.56mm NATO and or .223 Remington (the two are nearly identical).
It also has the distinction of having two (that’s right, two) Standard Magazines, a 20 round and 30 round in its native caliber. High capacity magazines for this rifle at the moment consist of 40, 50, 60 and 100 rounds. Yes, I said 100, that’s not a typo, if you are considering one of those monsters, I suggest duct taping a 15 lbs dumbbell to your rifle and walk around the house for 30 minutes. I know a guy that paid a premium for one of those 100 round BETA magazines (he used it exactly once).
Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic
“Automatic” is perhaps the most widely misused term when it comes to firearms, even seasoned firearms folks are guilty of this (I’ve been guilty of it my own self). So, what’s the difference?, you might ask. Well huckleberries, pull up a stool and I’ll bend yer ears a bit.
Automatic, also referred to as “Auto” or “Full Auto” simply means that when you squeeze the trigger the weapon will fire and continue to fire until one of two things happen. You release the trigger or, you expend all the ammo in the magazine.
Semi-Automatic, or “Semi” simply stated means that when you squeeze the trigger the weapon will fire one round and reload itself. If you continue to hold the trigger, nothing will happen. You have to release and squeeze again to fire each subsequent round (rinse and repeat).
While we are dealing with “terms” let’s address another, “Assault Rifle”. This is a somewhat nebulous term that the anti-gun crowd has latched onto and misused for years. It originates with the military as near as anyone can say with any modicum of certainty. The military, as any veteran can tell you, loves to “classify” things, and this term is one such example.
These are a military weapon, select fire, chambered in a “minor” rifle caliber, 5.56mm NATO in this case. All “Select Fire” refers to is the capability of the rifle to operate in either Semi-Automatic or Fully Automatic modes. Examples are the M-16, HK33 and the Israeli Galil. The AR-15 is not such a rifle.
Another military weapon, again capable of select fire, but, in a major caliber such as 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester to you “civies”) Examples of this class of weapons are the M-14, FN FAL, and the G-3. You will once again note the absence of the AR-15.
These animals come in a few differing flavors.
First off we have the Sub-Machine Gun, these are Fully Automatic (Just pull the trigger and hang on son), pistol caliber weapons. Such as the UZI, H&K MP5, MAC-10 & 11 et cetera.
Weapons like the M-249, MK48, Stoner 63 and the M-60 are known as “Light” Machine Guns, chambered in 5.56mm and 7.62mm.
Atop the heap you find the Heavy Machine Guns, like the beloved “Ma Deuce” or properly the M2HB Browning .50 caliber. Nope, no AR-15s here either.
These military weapons are not readily available to the public at large, they are strictly regulated and ownership requires a lengthy and expensive permitting process, that’s in addition to the cost of the weapon itself. You could buy yourself a very nice automobile (think Porsche 911 Turbo or better), fully equipped, for what one of these would set you back. Briefly, you can only purchase one that is already in the BATFE’s registry, and that registry is closed, in otherwords what’s available is already out there and no more will be added.
We have let the anti gun crowd “set the terms” of this conversation for far too long. It’s time we “set the terms” and corrected their blatant propaganda with the facts, and correct nomenclature is the best starting point.