Friday, January 04, 2013

Shouldn't We Talk In Reality About Guns?

Just suppose now that Sandy Hook has been more than a couple days ago we talk about firearms with some kind of emphasis on facts about the guns at issue?  Make no mistake at this outset, I'm horrified by the terror inflicted on those children and I have no intention, whatever, of doing "talking points" in this discussion.  I want to address the absolute ignorance that's been on display about the actual articles in question.

Let's start out with this theme of "death dealing machines that are useless for hunting."  Big game rifles are just exactly "death dealing machines."  Their intent is the "one shot - one kill."  While that may not always happen, they are designed to be powerful and accurate and to kill things the size of or larger than humans quite efficiently.  Hunting rounds will defeat most body armor because that is what they are designed to do, get in and do damage even with a less than optimal shot.

There is a lot of misused terminology surrounding "assault rifles," the first being the term.  They look like the military assault weapon but they are not that thing.  They are not "automatic," which is a machine gun type operation, they are semi-automatic which means each trigger pull fires one round and chambers the next.  Semi-automatic is just that, fire and load a round and it is scarcely applicable to only "assault weapons."  Many hunting rifles are semi-automatic.  In point of actual fact in regards to function, all double-action revolvers are semi-automatic.  Yes, the round cylinder six shooters are semi-automatic.

None of this is to minimize the deadliness of rifles, or for that matter any firearm.  A B-B gun might kill someone, a rim fire .22 certainly can.  An "assault rifle" is deadly, just as any fire arm is.  The appearance of the firearm is not what makes it deadly.  What matters is the realities of how a gun functions, not what it looks like as far as how much damage it can do.  Semi-automatic or self-loading increases the firing rate.  Just how much of an increase has a lot to do with the shooter and making a lot of noise doesn't mean you hit anything.  Thanks to weapon recoil the chances go way down as fire rate goes up - no matter how skilled the operator.

Ammunition capacity may well be one of the things that is addressable in regards to firearms that has nothing to do with the bullshit of appearances.  In many states that have rifle or center-fire hunting there is a limit on ammunition capacity, typically 5 rounds for big game.  They don't care what the gun looks like or if it is semi-automatic, they care that the caliber will do the job and that it doesn't carry a boatload of ammo.  In regard to assault weapons the one thing that applies to most is the detachable magazine, which in stock form is 10 rounds.  It takes time to eject a magazine and load one and cock the weapon, during which the firearm is nothing more than a club.  Yes, in a semi-automatic the first round in an empty gun must be manually loaded with a cocking mechanism.  The detachable magazine is not exclusive to "assault weapons."

As far as the utility of "assault rifles" in hunting goes, they would not be my choice for big game because they are underpowered for that application.  A properly placed .22 rimfire will do the job, but that qualification means in practicality it isn't a good choice and the same applies to the assault rifles.  Small game and varmits are another thing completely, as is target shooting.  The AR-15 "assault rifle" is the gun of choice for National Match shooting.  I used an M-1 Garrand for it as many do, but for reasons beyon this discussion the AR-15 is superior.

I have owned all sorts of rifles and handguns and still do.  One reason I own a variety is because I like a tool that is good at the application I'm using it in.  I build my own rounds because there are a variety of rounds that are good for one thing and not another depending on how they are built.  I wrote this article bacause emotional bull shit responses to a situation do not accomplish useful ends, those ends are served by starting from facts and realities and addressing those.

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