Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Awful Truth About the AR-15

After my post on banning Assault Rifles, I had a few people grouch at me for listing the AR-15 as an assault rifle. I listed it because most people are familiar with it, and most people, particularly those I hope would read that article do classify it as an assault weapon.

But the more I have thought about it, I have come to realize that this was inappropriate. Just because It is an accepted fallacy does not justify my perpetuating the fallacy.

So here is a follow-up with a few facts about the AR-15 (Note, I am not a "Gun Nut"). It is possible there are mistakes here, if you see an Error, please let me know so I can correct it.

1. True or False The "AR" in AR-15 stands for "Assault Rifle".

False. It stands for ArmaLite Rifle. ArmaLite is a firearms manufacturer. they designed a number of guns, including the AR-5, AR-7, AR-10, and AR-15.

2. True or False, the AR-15 is a civilian remake of the military M-16

True and False. The original AR-15 system was developed by ArmaLite, driven by military research which determined that most hit in combat were at close range and random. As such, they were looking for a small caliber, high velocity  weapon which would deliver a salvo of projectiles, either all at once (Shotgun style) or in rapid succession. The AR-15 was ArmaLite offering, which was Rejected in favor of the Colt M14, a larger caliber weapon which was already in service. Some years later, ArmaLite sold the Design and Name to Colt, who then successfully marketed the Weapon to the Military as the M-16. Colt then manufactured a semi-automatic variant of the M-16 under the AR-15 moniker for sale to the civilian population.

3. True or False, the AR-15 is a "Heavy Weapon".

False. The AR-15 is considered a light rifle. This is not a reference to bullet size, but the gun itself. With respect to Bullet size, most AR-15's are designed to fire the .223 round or the 5.56 mm, which are small. There are variants of the AR-15 which fire larger rounnds (such as .50 BMG rounds).

4. True or False, the AR-15 is an automatic weapon

True and False. The original Armalite AR-15 was designed to be a selective fire weapon. This was then relabeled the M-16 by colt. Colt then created a semi-automatic version, using the original AR-15 name. Most of the time, when people are talking about an AR-15, they are referring to this reincarnation of the AR-15, which is not automatic.

5. True or False, the AR-15 is only good for killing people

False. Yeah, I was a skeptic on this one. But the AR-15 is generally rated with a maximum effective range of 600 yards. And I have read enough anecdotes from people who hunt with AR-15's (Feral Boar seems to be of particular interest, though there are plenty of Deer, Coyote etc. stories as well), that I am now a believer.

So... yeah.... There is the awful truth. Sorry for my previous error in editorial judgement.

a couple references:

Media Rant

How is it that in this day and age, with the internet, cell phones, cameras, etc... That our Media system is so hopelessly incompetent?

After a friend recently posted about an AR-15 not being used, followed by partially retracting said post, I did some looking around at various media sources, and here is what I have found:

  • The shooter had two pistols and an AR-15.
  • The shooter had two Pistols, and there was an AR-15 in his car.
  • The shooter had two pistols and an AR-15, and there was a second AR-15 in his car.
  • The shooter had two pistols and an AR-15, and there was a shotgun in his car.
  • The shooter had four pistols and an AR-15
  • The shooter had four Pistols, and there was an AR-15 in his car   
  • There was only one shooter.
  • The police arrested a second suspect in the woods nearby.
  •  The police arrested two additional suspects in the woods nearby.

C'mon, did no one have a camera phone? Was there no one there capable of counting higher than two?! Do the police there not have a procedure for documenting an incident? How can so many be so incompetent for so long and still be employed?

And it isn't just that. This morning I was listening to a bit on the inauguration on the radio in which the reporter said, "There are many people here. People like <I dont'remember the name they said>  <2 second pause> an African American woman <5 second pause> and her...

Really? Did that actually serve any purpose?

Then this evening on the way home I here this bit about Sloane Stephens beating Serena Williams, and one of the reports say "It's important to note that both Sloan and Serena are AFRICAN AMERICAN <yes she emphasized it, and yes followed it up with a long pause for dramatic effect...".

Talk about racist...

Billions of dollars in information infrastructure and this is the kind of crap that I get... What happened to unbiased? informative? accurate? It is pretty bad when the weatherman is the one you trust the most.