This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Most Assault Rifles...Aren’t
Mike Ford 6/9/2021 3:06 PM
The above is not an assault weapon, and neither are most of the firearms now under attack by the left. Today’s offering is a little different than most of my usual pieces. It also has some different objectives. Today’s piece is meant not only to inform, but also to provide some handy source material for conservatives, who already know most of this. The other objective is my continuing effort to take back the language from the leftists, who as we all know, use the language to distort the terms of the discussion to their advantage while manipulating the voting public. In that regard, this will not be an exciting read, but I do hope it helps our team in the public debate regarding the Second Amendment.
Today, we are going talk about the Modern Sporting Rifle, commonly, erroneously and maliciously referred to by the left as an “Assault Rifle” or “Military Style Weapon/Rifle.” “Modern Sporting Rifle,” is the correct, accurate term for semi-automatic rifles in all calibers, built on the AR, AK and other frames like them.
To start off, we need to define, scope and assess...just what does make an ordinary rifle, an “Assault Rifle.” “Military Style” needs to be scoffed at when used. “Style” never killed anyone.
To properly assess features and capabilities that define a real “Assault Rifle,” we need to start with two authors, one fairly famous and one famous only to military historians. I am talking about German Field Marshal and Patton nemesis, Erwin Rommel and British Lieutenant Colonel John English. Rommel and English each wrote books on Infantry tactics, Rommel; Infantry Attacksand English; On Infantry.
Each of these warriors devoted significant ink to the battlefield environment in “the last 300 yards” to the objective. They wrote of an environment that required extreme maneuverability coupled with maximum firepower for an attacking Infantry unit to punch through a defender’s position and if necessary, take that position at bayonet point.
Although never specifically defined, both Rommel and English implied the need for the following characteristics in a standard Infantry weapon: Lightweight, Rapid firing, Rugged, Bayonet Stud and Easily Maintained.
When having these discussions in today’s charged political environment one huge factor almost always overlooked in this analysis of capability; is the era a particular rifle was used in combat. What was once the state-of-the-art Infantry rifle in one era, would be merely an interesting collectible today. One example of this is the Brown Bess Musket, standard issue for British Regulars and quite rightly credited with helping Great Britain establish and maintain a worldwide, Pax Britannica. Back in the day, it was Great Britain’s “assault rifle.”
Brown Bess Image: Wikipedia Commons
The Brown Bess shown above was for its time, lightweight and fast loading, enabling British Commanders to maintain a high volume of fire. Of course, it mounted a bayonet...all 17 inches of one.
Moving forward a few decades The U.S. “assault rifle,” was the Springfield Arms 1903. The ‘03 was a bolt action, lightweight weapon with a high rate of fire for its time. Note the bayonet lug. The Springfield ‘03 stayed in service throughout World War II as its eventual replacement the M-1 Garand, a semi-automatic rifle, was initially not in sufficient production to equip all U.S Forces.
Springfield '03 Image: Wikipedia Commons
Below is yours truly with my personal, Match Grade Garand. Note the bayonet lug and on the right-hand picture, one of the clips it uses instead of a box magazine (often mistakenly referred to by Leftists as a “clip”).
Now we come to Vietnam and the M-16A1. The M-16 is a select fire weapon capable of firing in both the semi and fully automatic modes. It also has a bayonet lug. Notice how the rate of fire has dramatically increased over the decades, going from 3 rounds per minute, to over 800 rounds per minute on today’s more sophisticated weapons.
The M16 has had a number of successors, the most common from my last years in the Green Machine, was the M-4. The M4, pictured below, 3rd from top, has is also capable of select fire—semi automatic and 3 round burst. It also has a bayonet lug.
Figure 2M16A1, M16A2, M4A1, M16A4 Image Wikipedia Commons
We have discussed the most critical features of an Infantry Assault Rifle—especially the features that make the weapon more lethal. Next up in this discussion, are some other features that the military finds helpful, but really don’t add to the weapon’s lethality, although they do help Leftists scare people with terms like “Military Style Assault Weapons.”
Here are some of those features:
Flash Hiders or Muzzle Brakes: These diminish the flash signature when the rifle is fired. They add not one drop of lethality to the weapon or its ammunition. Using them as a criterion that prohibits civilian ownership is foolish.
Pistol Grip: These make it easier to control the rifle and more accurately engage targets. Again, they do not make the rifle or its ammunition any more lethal.
Threaded barrel: Which makes it capable of mounting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer, none of which enhance the lethality of the weapon
Folding or telescoping stocks: Make transportation and use in confined areas easier. No impact on lethality.
Detachable Magazines: Enable a higher sustained rate of fire. By doing so, they can have an effect on lethality, but have been around a long time, used on a variety of weapons that don’t have the “scary look” that black metal Modern Sporting Rifles do.
Modern Sporting Rifles are not “Weapons of War” as touted by Democrats and other leftists. They are missing the two most important features and capabilities that are required in today’s era Military Assault Rifle, Bayonet Lugs and select Semi/Full/Burst fire.
Here is a picture of my AR-15. As you can see, it has no Bayonet Lug and by the close up, has only one firing mode...semi-automatic. It is a Modern Sporting Rifle. At no time, has any Army anywhere used this platform as its standard Infantry weapon.
Conclusion. Leftists use scary language to manipulate the voters into banning weapons that are no more lethal than a standard hunting rifle. They lie, obfuscate the truth and misuse emotion. They truly have absolutely no regard for the welfare of Americans. They believe that is just fine and dandy to deny law abiding American citizens the means of self-defense. Their objective is quite clear, to disarm the populace in order to make it easier to control.
One way we can resist this, is to take back control of the language. Stop using their terms. No conservative should ever use the term “assault rifle” unless in quotes, along with a phrase that states that the term is a false, leftist term. The term we all need to start using is, “Modern Sporting Rifle.” Remember, when we cede the terms of the debate to the leftists...we lose. Modern. Sporting. Rifle.
As I said in the beginning, this article isn’t much on entertainment. Its real purpose is to be a container of useful information to Conservatives. I hope it serves that purpose for you. In any case, please drop “assault rifle” from your lexicon (unless you are scoffing at a leftist pajama boy). Modern. Sporting. Rifle.
Most “Assault Rifles”...Aren’t.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes mainly on Military and Foreign Policy, while occasionally dabbling in Political and Economic matters. Ford has widespread experience, ranging from military, local law enforcement and developing technology solutions for special operations applications.
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