Anti-Gun Ignorance From RECOIL And H&K

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 3 months ago

In the most recent volume (paper copy only), Jerry Tsai writing for RECOIL magazine waxes on about the H&K MP7A1 and how it’s a good thing that it isn’t available to civilians (h/t Loose Rounds):

“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands. It comes with semi-automatic and full-auto firing modes only. Its overall size places it between a handgun and submachine gun. Its assault rifle capabilities and small size make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”

The reaction has been so intense within the firearms community that Jerry has issued an “apology” on behalf of RECOIL.

I’d like to address the comments regarding what I wrote in the MP7A1 article in RECOIL issue 4.  First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for any offense that I have caused with the article. With the benefit of hindsight, I now understand the outrage, and I am greatly saddened that it was initiated by my words.  Especially since, I am an unwavering supporter of 2nd Amendment Rights.  I’ve chosen to spend a significant part of both my personnel and professional life immersed in this enthusiasm, so to have my support of individuals’ rights called into doubt is extremely unfortunate. With that said, I retract what I wrote in the offending paragraph within this article. It should have had been presented with more clarity.

In the article, I stated some information that was passed on to me about why the gun is not available for civilian purchase. By no means did I intend to imply that civilians are not responsible, nor do we lack the judgment to own such weapons, if I believed anything approaching this, clearly I would lead a much different life. I also mentioned in the article that the gun had no sporting purpose. This again, was information passed on to me and reported in the article without the necessary additional context. I believe everything published in RECOIL up to this point (other than this story), demonstrates we clearly understand and completely agree that guns do not need to have a sporting purpose in order for them to be rightfully available to civilians. In retrospect, I should have presented this information in a clearer manner. Although I can understand the manufacturer’s stance on the subject, it doesn’t mean that I agree with it.

Again, I acknowledge the mistakes I made and for them I am truly sorry.

It isn’t so much the lousy apology from Jerry that’s ridiculous, it’s also the ignorant nature of the comment itself.  Whether he intended it or was misled to include this statement because H&K persuaded him, if he is really knowledgeable about firearms he wouldn’t have written the statement at all except to lampoon it.

While ATF lawyers might disagree, for something to have a “sporting purpose” means nothing more than it can be taken to the range and operated by the owner to his or her entertainment or training.  The shooting skills – whether for official competitions such as IDPA or 3-Gun, or for unofficial activities such as regular range visits for the purpose of betterment at the science of firearms operation – are sports.  All of them.  Period.  This is non-negotiable.  If it is a firearm, it has a sporting purpose.

Next, all weapons can be used to “put down scumbags,” and you don’t want any of them in the “wrong, slimy hands.”  If Jerry’s comments are ignorant, these comments are offensive.  The elitist mentality with law enforcement versus civilians is why readers at reddit/guns are so outraged (see here, here, here and here).

Basically, anything that law enforcement has I should be able to have.  As for the practical uses of an AR, see my Do We Have A Constitutional Right To Own An AR, where I document multiple examples of two, three, four and five-man home invasions (see also No One Needs ARs for Self Defense Or Hunting?).

Finally, while it is rather odd to see firearms periodicals edited by people ignorant of firearms, there is the additional problem of H&K.  Their MP5s and MP7s have long been unavailable to the civilian population of the U.S.  My own view is that military personnel learn to live with whatever they are given and trained to use.  Failures are merely things to overcome.

But a weapon or weapon system can’t really be considered to be tested and fully vetted until it is released to the American civilian market and reviewed by enough shooters to cause the word-of-mouth feedback loop to increase or decrease sales.  Money changing hands is the real firearms review and testing.  It’s easy to design weapons for people who are ordered to use them.  It’s much more difficult to design them for people who have a choice.

As for H&K, I’m disappointed in their attitude.  A few months ago I had considered overlooking their elitist mentality in order to purchase that nice looking H&K tactical 9mm.  Not any longer.  They have lost any potential business they would have gotten from me.  There are enough good manufacturers (Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Rock River Arms, Ruger, etc.) that I don’t need H&K.  Perhaps I’ll reconsider when they learn to appreciate the civilian market.

UPDATE: Thanks to friend David Codrea for the attention.



  • Carlos Perera

    Dear Mr. Smith: You wrote a fine commentary on Jerry Tsai’s boneheaded piece in _Recoil_. I would only add that even self-defense is not the underlying rationale for the Second Amendment (though, admittedly, it is a desirable byproduct of the right to keep and bear arms); rather, it is the people’s right to oppose a tyrannical government with armed force (as the Revolutionary patriots had to oppose British tyranny). That rationale is explicitly stated in the _Federalist_ (No. 29), written by Alexander Hamilton, where the militia is defined as the “great body of the yeomanry and the other classes of the citizens.” Hamilton further states that they have a _duty_ to be armed, drilled, and ready to take up arms on behalf of the people. So, even if you live in a friendly little town that hasn’t had a violent crime since 1832, the Second Amendment is no less in vigor regarding your rights and duties as a citizen.

  • Lina Inverse

    The shooting skills – whether for official competitions such as IDPA or 3-Gun, or for unofficial activities such as regular range visits for the purpose of betterment at the science of firearms operation – are sports. All of them. Period. This is non-negotiable.

    If only the BATF and company agreed with this interpretation of the GCA of ’68. We’re still living under G. H. W. Bush’s assault rifle import ban, where modification of a standard SKS ignoring the regulations using 18 USC 922(r) makes you a felon. Or replacing too many Made in USA parts with Swiss ones on your SIG 556. Or importing semi-auto assault rifles, instead of just enough parts then adding enough Made in USA ones, including of course the receiver (as I recall).

    Good to see this totally obscure magazine slapped down, and of course H&K’s “You suck and we hate you” attitude has justifiably turned a lot of people off. The only thing I’d add is that the healthy FN 5.7×28mm ecosystem makes that article particularly silly, since FN is happy to sell us guns with a comparable cartridge, except their personal defense weapon version is well designed and looks very nice compared to the MP7 (albeit with slower magazine changes).

    Given the weakness of the rounds in question, though, I consider these more curiosities than practical defense weapons, since the Hughes amendment to the FOP of ’86 forbids us from buying the intended full auto versions. Not that this would be advisable, using a MACHINE GUN!!! in self-defense would in many if not most parts of the country set you up for crucifixion in court. We’ve got at minimum 2 generations of work in changing the culture before we get this fixed. Maybe more, this antipathy goes back to the ’20s and early ’30s….

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  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Yes Carlos, you’re correct. I didn’t emphasize that aspect, although I familiar with the Federalist papers.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Oh, one more think Lina. I think the FN P90 is an ugly firearm. Just my opinion.

    I WOULD have a RRA AR type pistol (7″ or 10″) with buffer spring, modified with butt stock (although I would have to pay for a tax stamp and get ATF papers prior to this modification). That wouldn’t be an ugly weapon.

  • Lina Inverse

    Oh, I think the P90 is a bit ugly, but its coolness overwhelms that, and it’s a clearly well thought out integrated whole that seemed to handle well when I checked a PS90 out. Just looking at the MP7 I can tell it’s kludge piled upon kludge, therefore ugly in multiple ways and therefore definitely looks uglier than the P90.

    I’ve always thought the AR-10/15 family to be ugly (I thought the indisputably ugly M3 Grease Gun was about as ugly) … then I learned about the horrors of direct impingement. What you desire is also a kludge due to the location of the recoil spring, which makes it even uglier :-).

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Sacrilege! DI has worked flawlessly for me. In all of the machines I have ever owned – and I’m 53 and have owned a ton of them – the RRA AR is by far and away the most reliable I have ever owned. Hands down.

    And I still believe that Eugene Stoner was a genius.

  • Jose

    “We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on.”

    Gosh, I guess I’ll have to trust Drew Peterson and his ilk.

  • Robbie

    I find the righteous response by 2nd Amendment defenders to be very encouraging. Recoil Magazine is finished and I’m finished with HK.

    One historical note…

    HK was once happy to send us all the 91, 93 and 94 rifles we wanted until a “conservative” named G. H. W. Bush banned their importation by executive fiat, paving the way for California’s 1989 AWB and all the rest of the crap that followed.

  • Lina Inverse

    G. H. W. Bush wasn’t very “conservative” by any useful metric I’m familiar with (to the right of Micheal Dukakis is not terribly useful…). He explicitly repudiated Reagan and his legacy (“a kinder and gentler nation”, firing all the Reagan staffers), he raised taxes despite an (in)famous pledge not to … just ask if you want me actively dredge up more examples.

    But your point about H&K is well taken, their current attitude could be based on the “once burned, twice shy of the fire” principle. Weren’t they a recent entrant in the American market? I.e. they’re not like FNH with it’s 8 decades or more history of happily selling guns to American citizens.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    I hope this is like the awful example with S&W. Get in close with the LEO market and sell only to them, and the rest of us will boycott you based on principle. This attitude is just terrible, and doesn’t sit well with me or any of my readers.

    Furthermore, H&K must … MUST … find a way to compete viz. pricing. They are way, way too expensive for the quality and products they offer. I can purchase two handguns for the price of one (for the same amount of money I would spend on an H&K semi-, I can go buy an XDm and a Ruger wheel gun).

    They have a lot to learn if they want to sell in the U.S. market. Hopefully, this is the first hard lesson. Finally, a firearms manufacturer cannot allow the government to swing them around like a wet towel. They must get into the fight with us and protect 2nd Amendment rights. The other manufacturers do this. H&K must enter the fight as well.

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You are currently reading "Anti-Gun Ignorance From RECOIL And H&K", entry #9022 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns,Second Amendment and was published September 10th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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