Stop Arguing Over The Features Of The AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

Our stolid friend James Fallows at The Atlantic has yet another dense post up mainly consisting of letters to him and a few lines in reply.  There’s not much to see, except that he does make an admission that brings a much-needed breath of fresh air.

I understand that the AR-15 is not functionally unique. Thus anyone who argues that the AR-15 should not be in civilian hands should be willing to extend the argument to similar weapons. That’s what I think about the AR-15, and and I say the same thing about functionally similar weapons.

Good.  It’s a healthy and helpful thing to speak honestly about such matters.  This whole thing began some years ago with arguments over select-fire and the definition of assault rifle, the smaller caliber cartridge and whether it is any good for deer hunting, the value of a pistol grip, the “scary looking” features of the AR-15, the standard capacity magazine, its semi-automatic design, and on and on it went.

These were merely the first steps in the dance.  We’re way past that now.  Honesty has demanded that the progressives admit their demands, and honesty has demanded that we reply.  The definition of “military” is nonsensical anyway, and we all know it.

There was an article recently about Glock making their “military-grade” pistol available to civilians.  This means that it’s a Glock with a flat dark earth finish and pretentions of being modular.  Nothing more.  And truthfully, all weapons are “military grade.”

Let’s talk 30-06 bolt action deer rifles.  Yep.  Ask those whom Carlos Hathcock killed in Vietnam to speak from the grave and tell you all about that 30-06 round that hit them from a Winchester bolt action gun.  Marines were still using Winchester bolt action rifles for DM guns at the beginning of OIF, and most sniper rifles in military use today are bolt action.  How about 30-06 semi-automatic?  Yep.  The M1 Garand.  WWII.  And how about semi-automatic or automatic carbine?  Yep.  The M1 Carbine.  WWII.

How about shotguns?  Yep.  The Marine Corps was using Benelli M4s for room clearing in Now Zad, Afghanistan, during OEF.  How about revolvers?  Yep.  They were the sidearm for many years, and today .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum wheel guns are still in use defending homes and against big predators in America.

No one who knows anything should have to ask about Browning’s best design of his life, the 1911, which is still the most expensive handgun that can be purchased.  The point is that there is no such thing as a weapon that hasn’t been used on the field of battle between countries or various actors, and it makes no sense to argue over whether something is called “military grade.”  We’ve got virtually everything the military has ever had, and vice versa (except that the professional precision rifle shooters probably have better guns than the military).

The freshness about what Fallows said is that he admits that there is no stopping point, and that’s good, because logically he’s right.  And the freshness for us is actually not all that fresh, I just don’t think Fallows is hearing it, or perhaps he’s hearing it, but he just doesn’t believe it.

No.  We won’t give them up.  Period.  Your move.


  1. On March 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm, moe mensale said:

    Well, isn’t that the eventual end game if the gun grabbers would only be honest about it?

    “Hey, look, we’re going to ban all your AR-15 type guns because they’re scary and all. But you know what? Now that we’ve done that why don’t we just follow along with banning ALL semi-auto firearms – rifles, pistols and shotguns – too? After all, functionally, they’re all the same.

    And …….. it’s just good, common sense.”

  2. On March 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm, Fred said:

    And, Donald “Take the guns first” Trump just banned a very specific type of AR stock. So I guess flash hiders, pistol grips, trigger reset springs, triggers themselves, buffer springs, mag wells, sights, uppers, fixed stocks, lowers, barrels, multi position stocks, and mags are next…for the children.

    “A well managed gulag being necessary to the enslavement of a communist state, the right of the people to take and destroy arms shall not be infringed.”

    Who knew?

  3. On March 30, 2018 at 11:22 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “The point is that there is no such thing as a weapon that hasn’t been used on the field of battle between countries or various actors, and it makes no sense to argue over whether something is called “military grade.”

    The debate over whether a given small arm is suitable for military use or not is, as noted, somewhat ridiculous. Soldiers in all armies throughout time have sought to arm themselves with weapons which give them an edge over their enemies on the field of battle. If such weapons were not available in military arms lockers and armories, those soldiers with the latitude to do so would seek them elsewhere.

    Special Forces A-Teams in Vietnam were given the discretion to arm themselves with captured enemy weapons – or those of non-U.S. manufacture – and many Green Berets did so. And they were far from the only troops to do so.

    The fighters of the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1944 not only armed themselves with captured Germany and Soviet weapons; they used whatever they could get their hands on – including “civilian” small arms. Necessity being the mother of invention and so forth. Likewise, the British Home Guard was so short of weapons in the spring/summer of 1940 that they were drilling with broomsticks for rifles. Even a civilian M1917 30-06 bolt-action sent from America was rightly seen as a God-send.

    Re: “We’ve got virtually everything the military has ever had, and vice versa (except that the professional precision rifle shooters probably have better guns than the military).”

    Yes and no. While it is absolutely true that in recent years, civilian R&D and innovation have driven military small arms development, it is false to claim that ordinary citizens have anything like parity of firepower with the federal government and/or the armed forces, even in small arms, let alone more-advanced weaponry.

    The original intent of the Founding Fathers, intentionally hidden or ignored over the years by leftists and statists of every strip, is that the Framers intended the militia – i.e., all able-bodied men capable of bearing arms – to have parity of arms with the military, in particular the standing army and police forces.

    Leftists have, down through the years, sought to distort their original intent into a justification for the National Guard, but such is clearly false, since the National Guard can be mobilized by both state and federal orders, the latter folding National Guard ground forces into the U.S. Army at the stroke of a pen.

    Ordinary citizens – those whom the Founders believed to constitute the militia – have not had anything like parity with the regular armed forces for well over a century, probably since the 1880s and the invention of the first practical crew-served automatic weapons, such as the Maxim Gun.
    The development of tanks, aircraft and field artillery of the kind used in World War One, widened the gap even further. The National Firearms Act of 1934 was simply the nail in the coffin used to bury parity altogether, as it effectively outlawed automatic weapons in the hands of civilians altogether.

    Today, the federal government – through its various law-enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies/the national security state, as well as via the regular armed forces – has a disproportionate advantage in firepower over the American people – which is just the way our would-be lords and masters like it.

    Obama spoke often of his phone and his pen – all of the tools he needed to authorize a drone strike to “terminate” someone the deep-state wanted zapped. Thanks to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court), the formerly cumbersome legalties of obtaining sanction to launch such strikes have now been streamlined into virtually non-existence. If POTUS wants you dead, you’re probably going to get an unexpected Hellfire missile (launched from over the horizon and beyond visual range) through your bedroom window – courtesy of the U.S. government.

    Well, one certainly has to acknowledge the enormous chutzpah of the powers-that-be who complain that the average American is too well-armed. Well-armed? This from a government which possesses everything from nuclear missiles to ICBM-capable submarines (the most lethal weapons platforms in existence) to drones and other UAVs, to the most-advanced surveillance technologies on the planet, to tanks, AMCs, troops with NVGs and IR gear, and on and on and on. And that doesn’t even get into the pipeline of taxpayer revenue which funds and perpetuates all of this.

    Whatever else one may say about, one ought not to say that it is anything less than extremely well-armed.

  4. On March 31, 2018 at 4:14 pm, moe mensale said:

    “…it is false to claim that ordinary citizens have anything like parity of firepower with the federal government and/or the armed forces, even in small arms, let alone more-advanced weaponry.”


    Is parity of firepower really an issue? I think our little adventures in places like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan showed and continue to show otherwise. Particularly when your presence isn’t “appreciated.”

  5. On March 31, 2018 at 4:19 pm, moe mensale said:

    Not to mention that once-esoteric kit like NV and IR capabilities are no longer limited to mil and le use.

  6. On March 31, 2018 at 8:35 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Is parity of firepower really an issue? I think our little adventures in places like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan showed and continue to show otherwise. Particularly when your presence isn’t “appreciated.”

    My intent was not to discuss the finer points of asymmetrical warfare and 4GW, but rather to illustrate the arms gap which has opened up between civilians and those who would rule them.

  7. On April 1, 2018 at 3:08 pm, Buck Wheaton said:

    If you look at the perfect federal law that liberals passed the last time they had the power to do so, they passed one that had a points system, by which a rifle would turn into an “assault weapon” when its feature set rose to a certain number of points.

    And so look at what counted: a pistol grip, bayonet mount, grenade launcher (never mind that grenades are “destructive devices” effectively forbidden to civilians) an adjustable stock, a detachable magazine, a threaded muzzle, etc. They were apoplectic when people started to sell AR15s that lacked sufficient features to qualify. But the effect of their ban was to ban guns that looked scary. Never mind any of the things that really counted towards lethality.

    And even today the lowly Ruger Ranch Rifle wil chamber the 5.56, and accepts a detachable magazine. Yet, I have never seen any liberal complain about it. It has pleasant traditional walnut furniture.

    So, these people are proving what counts to them and once again it is all about appearances. If they were really concerned about the death of innocent people, they would be holding all manner of clinics and intervention rallies in Chicago to stop the madness and bloodshed up there. But not a word. They are not worthy of the time of day. They make me SICK for their sanctimony and virtue signals.

  8. On April 2, 2018 at 12:08 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “So, these people are proving what counts to them and once again it is all about appearances. If they were really concerned about the death of innocent people, they would be holding all manner of clinics and intervention rallies in Chicago to stop the madness and bloodshed up there. But not a word. They are not worthy of the time of day. They make me SICK for their sanctimony and virtue signals.”

    Your post is yet another reminder that the fundamental issue with “gun control” isn’t firearms, per se, but control of people.

    Firearms in the hands of ordinary private citizens serve as a check upon government power – perhaps the single most-important of all. It is much more-difficult to tyrannize and subjugate an armed populace than an unarmed and helpless one – as countless examples in history illustrate.

    The communists have told us what they believe, sometimes directly, sometimes not. Mao Zedong – the former Chairman of the Communist party of China and a man who sent tens of millions of fellow Chinese to their deaths – once famously said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” – and his comrade in the Soviet Union – Premier Josef Stalin – certainly seemed to agree, saying, “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why would we let them have ideas?”

    Stalin – a man who also sent tens of millions of his fellow countrymen to their deaths – really got down to business when he said, “Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” He, too, commented on the gun, saying “The only real power comes out of a long rifle.”

    Not surprisingly, Mao and Stalin were both proponents of gun control, and moreover, of a heavily-armed and all-powerful central state. Indeed, Stalin famously said, “If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

    We can easily discern from these and similar statements that the real purpose of gun-control isn’t protection of the helpless or mercy for the weak; it is instead a power-play always calculated to strengthen the state and weaken those it intends to prosecute, victimize and ultimate liquidate.

    If the gun-banners actually abhorred guns and gun violence as they claim to do, they would begin by disarming themselves and the apparatus of state security which surrounds them – heavily-armed security guards, private contractors, secret police, and paramilitary units of the kind which have always infested dictatorial governments down through time. The emperor is always surrounded by a Praetorian Guard, the tyrant by his secret police.

    Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and their kind do not care about children, save perhaps their own. Indeed, they are callous in regard to them, and perfectly willing to use them as pawns in their ruthless games of power. They regard gun-owners not only as political opponents, but enemies they wish disarmed and imprisoned, if not dead. As the redoubtable Matt Bracken quipped, “Gun Control: Because the box-cars will not load themselves!”

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You are currently reading "Stop Arguing Over The Features Of The AR-15", entry #18906 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Firearms,Gun Control,Guns and was published March 29th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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