It’s Time To Retire “Assault Rifle”

Pictured: A "No Assault Rifle Zone". Machine carbines, avtomats, and automatic rifles are still welcome. Thanks to Othais for the sweet graphic.

If you’ve spent any time at all in military history circles, you will have probably witnessed or been a participant in an argument about what, exactly, an “assault rifle” is, or whether a particular weapon qualifies as one. I, personally, have enjoyed this totally unproductive and thoroughly wasteful argument in one form or another more times than I could possibly keep track of. Although, maybe that says more about my memory than anything else…

Where was I? Oh yes, why do people argue about this so much? Well, yes, naturally it’s because people – myself included – love arguing for its’ own sake, but we don’t see the same arguments about, say, bolt-action rifles, or compact handguns. What makes “assault rifle” special enough that it sparks argument after argument over whether the FAL, M2 Carbine, or whatever rifle qualify to be put under that umbrella? Maybe we can blame the term’s country of origin? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time a German concept would be somewhat controversial.

Although many definitions of the term coexist with one another, with the rise of the Internet – and more specifically the universality of Wikipedia as a reference – it seems the majority of people today use this definition of “assault rifle”:

An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.

That’s great and all, but there’s a major problem with this definition: What in Great Heck is an “intermediate cartridge”?

An intermediate cartridge is a firearm cartridge that is less powerful than typical full-power battle rifle cartridges such as the United Kingdom .303 British, Russian 7.62×54mmR, German 7.92×57mm Mauser or United States .30-06 Springfield, but still have significantly longer effective range than pistol cartridges.

So… Which one is it less powerful than, exactly? .303 British is generally speaking less powerful than .30-06 Springfield, so is anything less powerful than .30-06 an “intermediate cartridge”, or does it have to also be less powerful than .303 British? How much less powerful does it have to be? .303 British produces roughly 3300 Joules of energy, so would a cartridge that produced 3200 Joules be an “intermediate cartridge”? That would include an awful lot of “full power” rifle cartridges, like 7mm Mauser, or 6.5 Swedish.

Oh yes, I won’t deny I am the reigning Emperor of Needless Quibbling, but think about how confusing it can get to have the definition of an assault rifle rest on the definition of the ammunition it’s firing. Take your select-fire G3 to the range and shoot German DM111 147gr FMJs (traveling at about 2,750 ft/s, for about 3400 J) through it and it’s not an assault rifle. Load it with rare 113gr 7.62x51mm CETME ammunition (traveling at about 2,600 ft/s, for about 2300 J), and suddenly it’s an assault rifle. DM111, not an assault rifle, 7.62 CETME, assault rifle. Now it isn’t, now it is; back and forth. Heaven forbid you alternate DM111 and CETME ammunition in the magazine; do that, and you have a weapon that defies categorization at 600 rounds per minute.

Clearly, we have a problem.

What do we do about it? We could argue over what definition to use, or try to define “intermediate cartridge” better by adding made-up performance bounds at the expense of making the definition accessible and immediately meaningful to introductory audiences – and potentially making some rifles qualify or not depending on what the temperature is outside. We could redefine the term, dropping the reference to intermediate power ammunition entirely, but I suspect this will only make arguments worse.

It’s clear what needs to be done. “Assault rifle” simply has to go.

Ah, well, that shouldn’t be too ridiculous of a suggestion, should it? After all, Adolf Hitler invented it, and he’s not been popular for years now. You don’t really want to be using a term that a dork like Hitler invented, do you? Of course not!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Goody

    I had a fool trying to tell me on facebook that AR15s count because it’s right there in the acronym. Assault Rifle 15!

    I told him about armalite and followed up with “since you’re clearly an expert on the issue kindly tell us more about your fantastic policy ideas”

    • Esh325

      Of course he’s wrong that it doesn’t stand for assault rifle, but I disagree that the AR15 couldn’t be classified as one. Consider the first AR15 ever was an assault rifle. Consider that gun manufacturers have labeled rifles similar to the AR15 in characteristics as Assault Rifle even though they are semi automatic only. In the USA, there is an attempt to rewrite history by people in the gun rights movement that that Assault Rifles cannot be semi automatic only.

      • nobody

        A few companies misusing a word doesn’t change that word’s definition.

        • G0rdon_Fr33man

          A “few” companies? The entire marketing around “tactical” firearms and gear are doing you (us) all a disfavour. The reason why our suppressors are left alone is arguably because they are not marketed as tacticool “full auto rated” SOCOM ninja-cans, but rather as environmentally friendly hunting accessories. We all know semi-auto rifles are just that, and that the looks don´t kill, but many don´t, and god knows European and American politicians alike knows sht about what they regulate.

          • Kivaari

            What does “TACTICAL” mean? Put camp tape on anything and all of a sudden it’s tactical.

          • Kivaari

            I like how we label barrel contours on AR15/M16s. Original barrels are “pencil”, then the “government” is the M16A2 having a pencil barrel under the handguards and a heavy barrel forward of the sight. Then we have the H-BAR full heavy contour. Now I head my COLT SBR has the “new SOCCOM” COUTOUR, which is a heavy barrel, like the H-BAR, but is only 11.5 inches long. My question is, is the SOCCOM barrel actually what the new M4A1 has? I’d go for a pencil diameter tube on Colt’s SBR. Yes, I’ve seen them, and I want one.

          • The SOCOM profile barrel isn’t quite as thick as a HBAR, but it is fat enough that it has to be notched under the handguards to clear the rear mounting brackets of the M203. The 14.5″ SOCOM profile is roughly 4oz heavier than the standard 14.5″ M4. However, a 16″ HBAR is roughly 6.4oz heavier than the 14.5″ SOCOM.

            The SOCOM profile barrel has been fitted to US military contract M4A1 since 2000, and by 2003, it became the standard profile for the M4A1.

          • Kivaari

            My SBR is heavier than my 16″ mid-length carbine having a pencil barrel.

          • Jim_Macklin

            I don’t like the zombie or walking dead marketing craze.


            Totally agree with G0rdon and Jim_ on this one… zombies etc is a fine reason to want to buy guns (everybody is entitled to whatever their reason may be) but it is a TERRIBLE way to actually sell guns.

            Did we learn nothing from Joe Camel? Are there any brits here who remember when alcopops were legal? Marketing to morons and children just debases a proud, dangerous, important industry. Have some respect for yourselves, fercrissakes. These are firearms. Not toys. And not TV shows.


          Mister nobody is just wrong on this one.

          Esh325 is correct. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

          It does a disservice to the entire gun industry and all of us who like, own, and safely shoot guns to have morons running around telling lies and blowing smoke up their own butts about what is and isn’t true. Most of the FUD comes from the gun nuts, sadly.

      • Evan

        AUG stands for “Armee Universal Gewehr”, or “Army Universal Rifle”. The correct German translation for that nonsense would be AUStG, “Armee Universal Sturmgewehr”. So yeah, Steyr calls it a rifle in German, not “assault rifle”

        • Esh325

          Why does the picture say Assault Rifle then?

          • Evan

            Who knows? Marketing maybe, or lazy translation, there could be any number of reasons.

          • Esh325

            Or that’s what they meant to say.

          • Evan

            So, basically what you’re saying is that it’s called one thing in German and something entirely different in English, because reasons.

          • Esh325

            No, that isn’t what I’m saying.

          • Evan

            Yes, it is. Steyr clearly calls the gun Gewehr, that is to say “rifle”, not “Sturmgewehr”, or ” assault rifle “. It’s in the name of the gun. You’re claiming that based on this picture that you found, which looks like Steyr marketing (though for all I know was put out by a third party), that they call it an “assault rifle” in English (they don’t). So yes, you are saying that they call it different things in German and English, because reasons.

          • Esh325

   It’s not third party and it is Steyr. Why do they call it an assault rifle if it’s not an assault rifle?

          • Evan

            They don’t call it an assault rifle. It’s AUG, not AUStG. One old ad said assault rifle for whatever reason; it isn’t marketed that way today. I’m going around in circles here, go talk to Bloomberg about your “assault rifles”, I’m done.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            It is not an ad, it is the manual.

          • iksnilol


            The manual disagrees with you.

        • Kivaari

          Remember it isn’t “awwg” or “aug”, it is A.U.G..

          • Evan

            Exactly. At least someone else besides me knows how to pronounce it correctly. Calling it the “awg” makes no sense anyway, if the acronym was meant to be pronounced as a word, it would be pronounced the German way, which would be “owg”. Anyway, I’ve wanted one ever since I saw Die Hard; then when I knew some Australian soldiers during my time in the Corps, they all spoke very highly of it and made me want one even more. Still never shot one though. I’ve never had the right combination of enough money and residence in a normal state to buy the rifle plus a left-hand bolt, and haven’t run into one on a range or anything either.

          • Kivaari

            You aren’t missing much. They are interesting. I’d take an AR15-type rifle over any bullpup.

          • Evan

            Only bullpup I’ve ever shot was a Tavor. Some guy on a range let me put a few rounds through it for a few rounds through my M14. I’m left-handed, and the brass cut my chin, and he was running an Aimpoint, which I despise, but I must say I was intrigued. I loved the ergonomics; I’ve never shot any rifle that felt more natural, like an extension of the body.

      • Kivaari

        Marketing to a civilian crowd easily impressed with “assault rifle”.
        Automatic Universal Rifle, when translated from the German.

        • Esh325

          The manual is usually something a person sees when they’ve already bought the gun.

          • Kivaari

            I suspect if you were able to dig up the magazine advertisements they would include that little sales angle.

          • Denis

            I always read the manual of a gun before I buy it. I want to understand the maintenance requirements, some things about the guns operating system long stroke, short stroke, DI, ect. Does the gun seem logically engineered, or is it overly Complex possibly causing malfunctions. There is also the possibility that it was incorrectly translated, it happens quite frequently in manuals.

        • Evan

          Army Universal Rifle. In German, Armee Universal Gewehr.

      • Jim_Macklin

        The Southern Policy Law Center and Josh Sugarman defined the rifle in order to confuse the public and make banning such rifles possible. Then Congress, think Schumer, define guns as illegal assault rifles.
        I like the term, selfloading or even better, self-defense militia arm.

        • Esh325

          The term assault rifle existed long before those two existed. Why does Steyr call them assault rifles?

      • Goody

        I think the standard definition goes something like “Select fire, intermediate cartridge” but it doesn’t really matter – we’re just pushing back against a media that thinks anything black is full auto.

  • Beju

    It’s like hard-core pornography. I know it when I see it.

    • Beju

      But if I really had to define an ‘intermediate cartridge’ in numbers, going by overall cartridge length (say, sub 60-65mm) would probably make more sense than some measure of muzzle energy.

    • Twilight sparkle

      That is a very interesting way to put it and I think I’d probably have to agree, though now I kinda see why some people consider things assault rifles that aren’t, some people would consider all porn “hardcore” just because they don’t have that much experience with it… I’m assuming it would be the same for people without much firearms experience.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      I find it frightening that in several states you can buy a standard, .22 LR caliber “Ruger 10-22” target/plinking rifle, then add some aftermarket plastic or wooden accessories that simply change the way it looks, and be convicted of possessing an assault rifle, even still using the factory standard 10 round magazine.

      Our government has become an idiocracy!

      I think the only definition of assault weapon that means anything is the one that gets you 10 to 20 in a state or federal prison.

      • gunsandrockets

        It’s even worse than you know.

        In many cities and counties of the state of Illinois, an ordinary Marlin Model 60 (a .22 rimfire rifle with a 14 round tube feed fixed-magazine) is defined as an “assault weapon” and illegal to possess!

        • Don

          What… What are you smoking… I lived in Aurora for 18 years, and I’ve had my older Model 60 with the longer magazine tube since the 80’s, not once have I ever seen it called or listed as an “assault weapon”. Several of my friends are Aurora cops, friends that shot that same rifle with me at everywhere from Buffalo Rock to Gat Guns, and not one of them ever told me that I have an illegal assault weapon in my possession. And anyone from the area knows that “assault weapons” are banned in Aurora…

          • gunsandrockets

            There is also state preemption for “the regulation of the possession and ownership of assault weapons”, except for laws passed before July 20, 2013, which are grandfathered in.[16] In other areas of gun law, some local governments have passed ordinances that are more restrictive than those of the state.

            Chicago has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it defines as assault weapons, as well as long gun magazinesthat can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.[44]

            Cook County has banned the possession of certain semi-automatic firearms that it has defined as assault weapons, and magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.[51][52]

            The possession of firearms that have been variously defined as assault weapons is also illegal in Lincolnwood, Skokie, Evanston, Highland Park, North Chicago, Melrose Park, Riverdale, Dolton, Hazel Crest, Homewood, and the part of Buffalo Grove that’s in Cook County. The storage or transportation of assault weapons is restricted in Morton Grove, Winnetka, Deerfield, Country Club Hills, and University Park.[59][60][61][62][63][64][65] Sales and transfers of assault weapons are prohibited in Niles.[66][67]

          • Kivaari

            At least we know which places are run by the lunatics. It’s funny to see Morton Grove still being wrong on more gun legislation. Thinking back 40 years when they were “leaders” in violating common sense and the rights of good people.

          • gunsandrockets

            From 12-7 Chicago Tribune

            The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to take up a challenge to Highland Park’s ban on assault weapons protects similar restrictions in Chicago and other parts of Illinois and sends a message that municipalities have the right to determine how to best protect their communities, according to legal experts.

            The case placed Highland Park, a mostly affluent suburb on the North Shore, in the midst of the heated battle over Second Amendment rights, but city officials said their goal always has been simply to keep mass shootings such as the one in Newtown, Conn., from happening there.

            With its ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines intact, Highland Park Mayor Nancy R. Rotering said the city and other cities and villages in Illinois are now better equipped to protect their citizens.

            The Supreme Court effectively let stand the decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that Highland Park and about 20 other Illinois cities hurriedly passed two years ago.

            Attorneys for Highland Park argued that “military-style” weapons with high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition were a threat to the public and that banning them was the city’s best effort to prevent such a massacre.

            Assault weapons have been a heated issue in Illinois since 2013, when the General Assembly declined to include a ban in the Illinois concealed carry law. In a compromise, the legislature gave cities 10 days after the bill’s passage to enact their own bans or forfeit the right.

            Chicago, which already had a ban in place, strengthened its restrictions. Cook County, which initially upgraded its assault weapons ban in 2006, moved to strengthen the law and its penalties in 2013. The county’s 2006 law already was being challenged in the state courts. The Illinois Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether it violates the Second Amendment.

            The Highland Park ordinance, which is based on the Cook County ordinance, prohibits the sale, purchase or possession of semi-automatic weapons that can hold more than 10 rounds in a magazine. It also bans semi-automatics equipped with a folding, telescoping or thumbhole stock; a shroud attached to the barrel; a muzzle brake or muzzle compensator; a protruding pistol grip; or a pistol grip with a stock attached. It also prohibits the sale and possession of magazines that fire more than 10 rounds.

          • gunsandrockets

            Many of these bans were passed in 2013. The Highland Park version was challenged in Federal Court, and the Supreme Court just turned down an appeal to hear the case, so the law stands.

            You can google the Highland Park city ordinance for yourself and see how broad the ban is. I copied the portion defining banned “assault weapons” which clearly includes the Marlin Model 60 .22 rimfire rifle.
            (1) “Assault Weapon” means

            (b) A semiautomatic pistol or any semi-automatic rifle that has a fixed magazine, that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition;


            Possession is a misdemeanor violation, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $1000.

  • Fruitbat44

    People could adopt the definition of assault rifle which seems to be popular in the media i.e. it goes bang and looks *mean* . . . .

    • mikee

      How about renaming the MSM – “assault media”. After all the MSM is an assault on logic in all manner of things. Media motto 101 – never let the truth stand in the way of a good story! Media 101(a) – if it bleeds it leads!

  • CTFish

    How about carbine?

    • Edeco

      Eh, but varmint AR15’s seem rifle-y to me. My thing ATM is to call the guns were probably talking about “autoloading rifles”. I had been saying “contemporary autoloading” but then, I think even that is a needless concession, like admitting “yeah its the kind some find extra scary”.

    • Meathead

      ………….And bullpups

  • 6ShotsOr5?

    I dont have ARs or bolt actions. All of my rifles are FUs.

  • mechamaster

    Well, to be honest the definition of “battle-rifle”, and “Personal Defence Weapon” is more confused than “assault rifle / carbine”. ^^

    • UnrepentantLib

      I have a baseball bat in my closet, just in case. Does that qualify as a “Personal Defense Weapon”?

      • “PDW” is more of a role than a class, so sure. Originally the M9 was designated a “Personal Defense Weapon”, for example.

        • ostiariusalpha

          I’d say it gets slightly more complicated than that. What many people consider as a PDW (as it is used in the pantheon of military acronyms) is strongly influenced by the few SMGs that fire rounds created to meet the preliminary criteria of NATO document AC/225-D/296.
          While the term PDW just describes an individual carry weapon fulfilling the role of defending one’s person in emergency situations while being unobstructive to one’s regular duties (the Army’s definition, baseball bats need not apply), the use of the acronym in a more formal sense dates from the SASA (Small Arms System Agency) program created in August 1969 to develop a firearm (preferably a pistol) for helicopter pilots that would be more effective than the M1911A1; they also worked on CSWs and for a short while an LMR (Low Maintenance Rifle) concept. Much investigation into squeezebore .45 bullets and other experimental rounds ended in, surprise, the selection of a 9mm autoloading pistol as the most expedient solution. Pretty much as you’ve characterized it.
          And yet the PDW term has never been at all common outside the military until the P90 showed up, so it’s understandable that most know it only through that confined D/296 lens.

          • Right, you’ve got the term being adapted to mean dedicated, purpose-designed PDW; in other words an MP7 or P90 or something like that which marries the shootability of a rifle with the handiness of a pistol.

            The term still has its origins as a role, rather than a class, though, and if this distinction is forgotten then a lot of confusion and needless dickering can result.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Right on. I’d say PDW is still just a role, with the D/296 PDWs being a class of weapons meant to achieve a certain level of performance in that role. It’s just like the AR-15 and direct impingement, informal terms & definitions always seem to get entangled with technical ones till they’re a pain to pull apart again.

      • mechamaster

        Hahaha.. yes.. it is.. ^^

    • I discuss here how “battle rifle” was basically made up to market M1As.

      • mechamaster

        Hmm.. interesting…

      • gunsandrockets

        The first time I saw the term ‘Battle Rifle’ was in articles appearing in American periodicals dedicated to firearms, published during the mid 1970’s.

        My memory may be hazy, but I believe the primary original promoter of the term was survivalist writer Mel Tappan, and in particular an article he wrote (around 1975?) which endorsed the M1A and G-91 as the best choices available (at the time) for an American survivalist.

        However, I don’t think Mel Tappan used that term to distinguish a .308 rifle from a .223, that may have been a somewhat later evolution of the meaning of the term. I think Mel Tappan used that term as a means of distinguishing self-defense rifles from sport-hunting rifles.

  • Evil13RT

    I think we need to keep it.
    The inability of the left to notice the differences between indefinable “assault weapons” and the already highly restricted “assault rifles” has made their attempts at legislation self defeating.
    As they say: Never stop your enemy if he’s making a mistake.
    (and its not like they’ll give up the terminology, since they only use it for its emotional value)

    • BattleshipGrey

      The term didn’t defeat itself or lend us any favors in 1994, or more recently in Connecticut, California or any other states that have used the term “assault rifles” to define “evil-looking” features.

      I think we can explain different terms and meanings all we like ’til we’re blue in the face, but the media and anti’s aren’t listening to us that are knowledgeable and they don’t really care for truth and logic.

      I think we should tell people that whatever they call it, it’s not going away, ever.

    • Esh325

      It’s interesting many people in the USA in particular play this semantics game with Assault Rifles when it comes to talk of banning them. In other countries some 7.62×51 rifles are labeled assault rifles! Like the SCAR-H.… And here is Steyr refering to a semi auto only rifle as an assault rifle. You say its your left in America and the media, but why are gun manufacturers calling semi auto rifles as assault rifles?

      • Edeco

        Considering the source I’d guess slightly tone-deaf translation. If it were a US company, I could see someone using that term for the proverbial lolz.

        • Evan

          Correct. The translation of Armee Universal Gewehr (AUG) would be “Army Universal Rifle”.

        • Esh325

          The source which is the company that manufacturers the rifle?

          • Edeco

            Um, yeah, them too.

            Ha, kidding 🙂 Yes, the company, Steyr.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, a company in Austria might not have the best English skills. Try reading a manual from Kalashnikov.

          • Edeco

            I mean, heck, they put the company name in quotes, having the leading quotation mark low, and appear to use a comma for the decimal in ‘5.56’. This is unusual in US English. So we have evidence of a translation that’s a bit clunky, at least vis-a-vis the US reader.

          • Esh325

            We can just say every term we don’t agree with is a mistranslation.

          • Edeco

            What do you mean every term? I only see one. Do you count is as another term every time you post a picture of that manual?

      • Tuulos

        To part fools from their money. After all, assault rifle sounds much fancier than semi-automatic sporting rifle.

        • Esh325

          Most people have already bought the gun already and then look at the manual.

      • gunsandrockets

        1)that Styer manual you keep displaying, is it unique to the civilian semi-auto version of the UAG? Or is it a lightly revised version of a manual first published for the military fully automatic UAG?

        2)the term the American Left invented and prefers in the gun control debate is “assault weapon” not “assault rifle”.

        Just google — josh sugarmann assault weapon — to see all the gory details.

        “The public’s confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is presumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

  • The Stig

    Strangely, In the actual military, I’ve never heard any weapon referred to as an “Assault Rifle.” We have rifles, and carbines.

    • MikeF

      We always referred to them as “Weapons” in the US Army.

    • kyphe

      That is not surprising really. If you think about it, the term assault rifle was only needed to distinguish the specialist new weapon from the standard bolt action and semi auto service rifles still in mass usage. Once select fire light rifles become the standard then they simply become the rifle.

    • Major Tom

      And the guy who carries the 249 or 240 (or M60 before that) is referred to as “Automatic Rifleman” in official terminology in the US Army and Marine Corps.

      It’s a holdover from the days of the BAR.

      • Kivaari

        How about all those soldiers calling the .50 caliber M2HB machinegun the “M50”. Everyone called it the “M50”. When I told them it was an M2 HB they glassed over, like I did when they were “correcting” the youngsters. Then remind them that the M16 is a machinegun and they start shaking.

        • Evan

          Don’t know when you were in, but when I was in the Corps (2003-07), we either called it the Fifty (never M50) or the Deuce.

        • Evan

          M16 is a machinegun in the ATF legal sense, not in the military sense.

          • Kivaari

            Well, When I was in both the Army and Navy we knew our machineguns were machineguns. A machinegun is a weapon that fires 2 or more rounds with the single pull of the trigger. An M16 is a machinegun having the ability to be fired semi-automatically. I find it odd that you confuse belt-fed machineguns as being different in a military sense. WE had BARs (automatic rifles), M1A1 submachineguns that were select-fire, M2HB heavy machineguns, and M1919 light machineguns. In the army we had select-fire M16A1 rifles, M60 (old) belt fed machineguns (in the class of GPMG), M2HB. and M3A1 submachineguns. Trust me. We knew that our select-fire M16A1 rifles were machineguns. It simplifies things by labeling it a rifle. Just like the M4 carbine is a machinegun.

          • Evan

            I disagree. You’re using the ATF definition, which is the legal definition for civilian ownership, but I would define a machinegun by its use rather than the fact that it’s an automatic weapon. An M16A4 with the option of firing semi or three round burst is not a machinegun. I wouldn’t even consider an M4A1 with the full auto capability a machinegun. An M240, M249SAW, M2, Mk19, certainly, those are machineguns. None of those weapons are usable as a rifle, their purpose is to put a whole lot of lead downrange very quickly, not to take well-aimed shots at point targets.

            There is a gray area in my definition as opposed to yours/ATF’s; For instance, the RPK counts as a machinegun, although it is essentially just an AK with a longer barrel, and I wouldn’t consider an AK a machinegun. The M27 IAR that the Corps recently adopted is another gray area. But based on your definition, a break-barrel shotgun that fires both barrels with one trigger is a machinegun. I think we can agree that this is not so.

          • Kivaari

            You have drifted too far regarding the definition of a machinegun.

          • Evan

            I feel that you have broadened the definition of machinegun to the point where it isn’t a useful term anymore. An M2 or a DShK is obviously a machinegun, a select fire M16 or AK, not so much.

          • Kivaari

            Well then. Why does Colt sell M16 variants world wide as SUBMACHINEGUNS? Why does the People Republic of China sell the standard AKM as a SUBMACHINEGUN? Well, it is because to the worlds police and military they are machineguns. I know your point, but that point is quite narrow dealing with troops that only need to know how to use the weapon filling their hands. The next time I’m in town I’ll see if they will sell me a new machinegun. can’t afford the old ones. As much as I like the M16A1 I am not paying $20,000 and $200 FET to register my desired machinegun.

          • Evan

            I must say I know nothing of Colt’s international marketing, and even less of the PRC’s. However, I don’t take ATF legal definitions as gospel. That an AR with a 7″ barrel and a Sig brace instead of a stock is a “pistol” is a legal fiction. I would say the same of a select fire AR being a “machinegun”.

            Also, a submachinegun and a machinegun aren’t the same thing. I wouldn’t consider a Thompson or an MP5 “machineguns” in any sense other than NFA. They’re both clearly SMGs, but I don’t think that an SMG and an M240 are the same thing. Really the only similarity is the capability for automatic fire. You must admit that there is a HUGE difference between an M2 and an MP5. Using the term “machinegun” for both just muddies the waters, it does not explain the respective weapons.

          • Kivaari

            That’s quite odd. The subMACHINEGUNS fire full-auto. Do you know why a submachinegun in the American sense is? Traditionally it is a pistol caliber shoulder weapon. I was issued an MP5A2 select fire sub MACHINEGUN. If you think a Thompson or HK MP5 is not a machinegun, you need to study up a bit more. Go read Chin’s books on machineguns. Do you want more confusion? What is a 40mm Bofors gun? A cannon? It is, but it is a machinegun. You need to
            abandon your very narrow military experience and accept that a Marines narrow view of machineguns as being a ground mounted or vehicle mounted belt fed full-auto machineguns doesn’t magically convert smaller or bigger machineguns into something other than a machinegun.
            You do know that the A10’s 30mm cannon is a machinegun don’t you?
            Colt markets the Colt Commando in the US and around the world as a submachinegun. That flies in the face of the “traditional” American definition requiring the use of pistol ammo.
            My Colt M4 Commando is a semi-auto variant of the machinegun.
            If you can get the ATF to review and adjust to what you think, maybe we can all buy the real thing.
            The SIG brace application is just a bit of fun people are having with the ATF. Especially when installed with a recoil spring housing with a step that puts the brace another 2 inches rearward. People are pushing the limits of a SBR. I considered buying a SIG pistol then doing an ATF Form 1 and adding a carbine butt. But it was $700 cheaper for me to do a form 1 on an existing M4. In checking Colt’s models, the Commando’s are made with all the barrel weights out there. Same with the uppers, being A1, A2 or A3.

          • Evan

            As far as I’m concerned, a machinegun is a support weapon. A fully automatic carbine, be it pistol caliber or intermediate caliber, just doesn’t qualify for me.

            I fully understand that my definition and that of the ATF are entirely different; my definition of a machinegun is based on its military purpose as opposed to the ATF’s, which I consider arbitrary.

            As far as NFA items go, I don’t actually own any. I live within the city limits of Philadelphia (albeit in a nice, suburban neighborhood), and the CLEO here isn’t gonna sign any paperwork. I don’t have a trust, though I’ve been meaning to get one since I moved here from New York two years ago. I do, however, know the laws concerning NFA items. The ATF has one definition of machinegun; the military has another. I prefer to use the definition of the governmental agency that isn’t specifically designed to curtail the Constitutional rights of American citizens.

          • Kivaari

            Like I said, you have too narrow of a view. The world seems to be on the side of the ATF as far as definitions go. I suspect most of the people reading TFB would like to own a few of those guns you refuse to accept as machineguns.

          • Evan

            I believe you have too broad a view. I can imagine most of us would like to own fully automatic weapons (I sure would), but that doesn’t mean I endorse the ATF definition of machinegun. Yes, for legal purposes in the civilian world, it stands – I get that. But that doesn’t mean that the legal definition and the practical definition are one and the same. Your argument essentially validates the insane notion that a standard, out of the box AR, which in a normal state is just a regular rifle, suddenly becomes an evil, banned COMMANDOSTYLEASSAULTMACHINEGUN as soon as it passes an imaginary line.

          • Kivaari

            How did you get there? An AR15 semi-automatic rifle is not an assault rifle. You should look back to a time when the ATF did not exist. In the world between 1890 and 1934, there were quite a few machineguns being sold that were not crew served belt fed guns. You may remember Colt-Auto Ordnance adds with the cowboy driving off rustlers with his M28. Or Chicago gangsters could buy Colts SMGs but couldn’t buy a handgun.

          • Evan

            I actually agree with the gist of what you’re saying. ATF definitions are nonsensical legalese. What I disagree with you on is that you buy the ATF standard that any weapon capable of firing more than one round per trigger pull is a machinegun in substantive terms as opposed to ATF terms. I also agree that belt-fed is not the standard for a machinegun (Bren, Nambu, etc). I would say that a machinegun is defined by its role rather than the fact that it is capable of automatic fire. I don’t consider SMGs “machineguns”, they’re SMGs, which is a separate category. Will you at least agree that an M16 that has a burst option is substantially different from an M2?

          • kyphe

            Can I just say that you are right in one sense calling all fully automatic guns machine guns, but by the same rule all guns with rifled barrels are rifles regardless of what they are attached too. So all automatic cannon, machine guns sub machine guns Machine carbines and machine pistols (which was the proper term for pistol caliber SMG before Thompson threw military convention out of the window and still is the proper term for an MP5) are also rifles Unless they have a smooth bore. However, in a practical and military sense Gun! is a term traditionally reserved for artillery! and by extension crew served weapons. The definitions change with the emergence of light non crew served machine guns which are really belt fed or pan mag fed heavy automatic rifles. They were called light machine guns as their role on the battle field was the same as crew served machine guns which from that point altered the convention of definition from a particular form to a particular function.

          • Kivaari

            Well, I agree. It is why our 5″-54 deck guns, cannons, full automatic machineguns, were technically Naval Rifles. I’d like to know if a rifled 12 ga. shotgun, can be cut to the 16 inch limit for rifles? Especially because rifled shotguns don’t shoot bird shot or buckshot well. It’s one of those quandaries I have. Like the Civil war rifled-muskets were converted smooth bore muskets. Then after the war many rifles were muskets. Or the French description of the M97 and M12 Trench guns, are trench “fusils” and trench “brooms”, as the proper word didn’t exist at the time. Semantics are often unique to the environment.

          • Jim_Macklin

            Stupid US law, a shotgun with a rifled barrel is a destructive device and NFA weapon. Get your checkbook out.
            Smoothbore shotguns shoot Foster slugs with a hollow base and “rifled outside.” Other type slugs are stabalized similarly to a 120mm smoothbore cannon on an M1

          • iksnilol

            Is a rifled barrel in a 12 gauge a destructive device?

            A lot of slug barrels out there with no tax stamps.

          • manBEar

            Wait huh? Exactly what I was thinking… I know a crap-ton of people deer hunting with destructive devices if this is the case … Not me of course

          • Kivaari

            No, they are exempt. I’d still like to know if a 12 gauge 16″ rifled barrel is a rifle or a shotgun. But, having a 1 ga. that can only shoot slugs or sabots is pretty useless. Unless your favorite hunting spot is limited to shotguns and muzzle loaders.

          • manBear

            Still shotgun according to Indiana at least … as Indiana is shotgun//ML exclusive. I’ve got a couple 12g slug throwers setup just for deer

          • Kivaari

            Except the law exempts shotguns from the DD classification. I have never heard an explanation of the rifled shotgun, being a rifle.

          • manBear

            Haha ^^ this comment… “A shotgun that fires both barrels with one pull of the trigger is called BROKEN” You win sir.

          • iksnilol

            What about select fire belt feds? By your system the Negev is the same as the M16 (select fire).

          • Kivaari

            My idea is that if the weapon is capable of firing automatically, it is a machinegun. Then we break them down into carbines (short rifle), rifles, sub machineguns, light machineguns, mediu machneguns, General purpose machineguns, heavy machineguns, automatic rifles, SAWs. etc. The common link to all machineguns is the ability to fire more than one shot per pull of the trigger. The military manuals on the M16 refers to it being a select-fire rifle.

          • Kivaari

            Well, they are machineguns. One may be box magazine fed, belt fed, hopper fed or a combination. Like the M249 accepting belts and M16 magazines. Except for Evan, it appears that the worlds popular opinion is those full-auto firearms are machineguns.

          • Kivaari

            Funny. In the field manual it is a select-fire rifle capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire.

          • Kivaari

            It IS a select-fire rifle allowing semi-automatic and AUTOMATIC firing. A military that likes to call it simply a rifle while acknowledging its ability to deliver both kinds of fire sounds like a personal issue. Using your thoughts I guess the M1918 BAR, is just a rifle.

          • Referring to anything that is capable of fully automatic fire as a “machine gun” is hardly an invention of the US legal system:

        • RISKY

          Any jar head knows that it’s the ma deuce!

        • Logic Rules

          What is a Machinegun???
          — ATF Definition (Legal): Anything under the sun that is capable of fully automatic fire.
          — Military Terminology: A weapon intended and designed to be used primarily in fully automatic mode (not merely capable of it) for the purposes of fire support and supression.

          • Kivaari

            Yep! I’ll visit my favorite gun store and tell Bob I ant to buy an M16, because some people refuse to accept the fact that it s a machinegun. He has a really beautiful BAR and a M1A1 .45, that I’d like as well. Ask a drill sergeant if that M4 carbine he stuck in your hand is a rifle, carbine, submachinegun or machinegun. Since an M4 is all of those things, it might give a marine time to stammer. I do know that when I was in the service(s) my full-automatics were machineguns.

          • Logic Rules

            ****I’ll visit my favorite gun store and tell Bob I ant to buy an M16, because some people refuse to accept the fact that it s a machinegun.****

            Are you even capable of comprehending what people are writing in response to you?????

            Everyone here IS AGREEING WITH YOU that an M16 is a machinegun under U.S. law, which is what your “favorite gun store” operates by. On that point, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY 100% CORRECT!!! And since no one disagrees with you on that, you are basically arguing that the sky is blue. But you also keep pointing to a blue sky on earth [and legal terminology] to make a claim about the color of the sky on Venus [and military terminology].

            Legal definition DOES NOT EQUAL Military definition!!!

            The point on which people are disagreeing with you is the military terminology with respect to what is considered a machinegun. I’ve unfortunately experienced both Drill Sergeants and Drill Instructors and every single one of them would smoke or quarterdeck the snot out of me if I insisted on calling an M4 or M16 anything other than a rifle or a weapon (although one of them also said that the 1/7 marking on the barrel meant that the bolt made a 1/7th turn to lock, so that proves that some “experts” don’t know what they’re talking about). And it’s not just in a schoolhouse environment that keeps reinforcing doctrine. If you ever use “machinegun” to refer to an M4 or M16, you will be swiftly corrected. If your CO’s direct fire plan calls for a “machinegun” to be emplaced in a specific position, and you report back that the task is complete because there’s a Joe with an M4 there, then you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.

            I’ll give you this. If you steal a military issue M4 or M16, you will be criminally charged by civilian law enforcement for the illegal possession of a machinegun. But that still doesn’t mean that the military considers it to be a machinegun.

            BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some old FM or TM that used “machinegun” in reference to an M2/M14/M4/M16, but that also wouldn’t overrule the doctrinal terminology in use today.

          • Kivaari

            Evan isn’t agreeing. He still thinks M16s or other rifles are not machineguns. Well, we did call our M2HB and BARs machineguns. Crew served MGs are fine. I used the M2 and M60, both are machineguns. I was issued M16A1 and they were machineguns as well. Regardless of what any person says it’s a machinegun. Even in the Army.
            The manuals refer to the M16 as being capable of delivering “semi-automatic and automatic fire”. If a soldier doesn’t know the difference, that’s a personal issue.

    • Kivaari

      Throw in the RPG 7, and I bet almost every place calls it the “rocket propelled grenade” launcher. When it is handheld anti-tank grenade. RPGs in WW2, were hand thrown anti-tank grenades. We hear lots of inaccurate names where ever we go and talk guns. The biggest pool of gun misinformation is the military.

      • Evan

        An RKG is a handheld antitank grenade. I’ve never heard of an RPG being anything other than an RPG (then again, I don’t know QUITE everything). And what gun misinformation comes from the military? The military is where my basis of knowledge of guns comes from; these are the people who use guns for work on a daily basis FAR more than anyone else (at least the infantry does). I served in the Corps for four years, I’ve been out for eight now, and I can’t think of a single thing I learned about guns in the Corps that doesn’t hold true today. Granted, military knowledge of guns can be narrow, as we focus specifically on the weapons we use as opposed to firearms generically, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who has a better practical knowledge of firearms than some 19-year-old grunt in either the Corps or the Army.

        • kyphe

          Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot, is Russian for Hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher.

          However the English bacromym of rocket propelled grenade is more accurate as the RPG7 now has non anti tank warheads making it a multi role weapon

          • Evan

            Didn’t know that. I can read Cyrillic, but my Russian is basically limited to profanity (which I have quite an extensive vocabulary of), and I have no idea what the Soviets/Russians call any of their weapons; I just know the American terms for them.

          • Kivaari

            It started primarily in Vietnam. The PAVN and VC used the B40 (an RPG 2). In our usual fashion Americans put labels on things – that are easy to use but have no basis in fact.

        • Kivaari

          Well you and I would have to disagree on the gun smarts of military personnel, especially 19 year old marines or spec4 army types. I served n both the Navy (Vietnam) and peacetime Army national guard (81-82). I repeat, the most ignorant people I ever met regarding “guns” were in the military. Every myth, war story, and BS that you can come up with will be heard where ever regular troops congregate. Trust me, being a Marine may leave a man knowing how to shoot an M16/M4. Getting a famfire on other guns doesn’t impart great wisdom. In the military the only guys with adequate training in the use of

          • Evan

            Based on my experience, military types may not know how to build an AR, or know (or care) about the differences in high-end BCGs or whatever, but as far as function goes, I would trust someone who uses a rifle as a weapon in life or death situations any day over some three-gun shooter who may know more technically but uses absurd grips with the support hand way up at the front sight and just lets mags fall to the ground. I’ve never heard any myths in the Corps that weren’t proven either by me or someone I knew. Yeah, I’ve seen YouTube videos of AR torture tests, but I and every other grunt who ever fought in the desert knows that when you get too much gunk in the receiver, that rifle will not work. I tend to believe my own experience and the experience of guys I know and trust over the advice of “experts”. The one thing I’ve really changed my opinion on since I got out is the efficacy of the 5.56 NATO round in general. When I was in, I considered it a dinky varmint round that was basically useless in combat (I have seen people hit by multiple rounds not falling down and continuing to fight), but I now know that the green-tip we were using is junk, and the caliber itself has potential with a good load. In general, I trust the military word on any given gun more than the word of people whose lives don’t depend on it.

          • Kivaari

            I repeat myself. MOST military people have almost no knowledge of guns beyond barracks talk. Every myth you can think of is still alive in the military. Keep in mind many of us have been there and done that. Some of us are quite old and have heard every war story about how effective the .45 is. You know the hit the pinky finger and the man does back flips. We hear how men shot the gook with 20 rounds and he kept on coming. It is all old news and almost always wrong.

          • Evan

            I’m only interested in the infantry, what some admin POG says is irrelevant. And I can’t say I’ve ever heard those kinds of stories. I was in the infantry in wartime, we all got to know our weapons systems and what they could and could not do. I do know of stories where a hajji takes 8-10 shots and keeps coming; I’ve seen them with my own two eyes. As I said, I blame the green-tip ammo, which tends not to do anything but icepick through.

          • Kivaari

            Nothing is reliable in the desert. The AKs you likely came across in the box, were often plugged with sand. In particular when magazines are contaminated even the AK, M14, M16, Israeli FAL, Hakim and Uzi will stop working. The M16 family is better sealed than most. But every soldier needs to care for his rifle. It’s a given.

          • Evan

            I’ll agree that nothing is reliable in the desert, but I’ve also shot AKs that should not have been able to fire and did. Any time a tank rolled past me, I hugged my receiver for dear life trying to keep the dust out, and cleaned my rifle as soon as I got the chance. AKs that didn’t fire, in my experience, were always either due to horrendous ammo quality (like, bullets not properly fitted in the casing and similarly bad quality), or someone deliberately breaking them.

          • Kivaari

            During the ’67 War, Galili (of Galil rifle fame) observed that the AK/AKM rifles used by the Egyptians were non-functioning most of the time. Upon inspection the magazines were full of sand. In that same punch up the FALs used by Israel experienced similar failures. Sand intrusion stops every thing. In that regard the M16 is better protected than most rifles. The AKM (sheet metal receiver) was easily crushed. It is why the Galil rifle has a milled receiver. It is also why the Yugoslav M70s have a 1.5mm thick sheet metal receiver compared to the Soviet’s 1mm. All of them need to be kept clean.

          • Evan

            I do know that Egyptian AKs (or at least AKs with Arabic writing on them, we assumed they were Egyptian) are horribly made. The workmanship on them is clearly atrocious. As for mags, I never had a problem with sand getting in them, but I do know that some are better than others. The crummy tinfoil O-Kay mags suck. The feed lips get bent and they don’t feed properly. I really liked the steel HK mags (we didn’t have any polymer mags), they had strong springs and didn’t ever have problems. I had probably 20-someodd mags, I threw a bunch of them away due to poor quality, mostly bent feed lips. My maximum load was 15 mags loaded with 28 rounds each, and I made sure all those mags worked.

            Never crushed an AK receiver, I would always break the gas tube.

          • Kivaari

            The Egyptian AKMs were as close to a Soviet pattern rifle as I ever saw. Down to the black enamel paint over Parkerizing. They shot as well as any AKM. Not as good as the heavier Yugoslav or milled receivers on the Finn and Israeli rifles.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The real difference in reliability between the AK and AR type rifles is that the AK can take a bit more crap in the FCG than the AR. The M16/M4 is a little overcrowded in that department, especially with the 3-round burst mechanism installed. The AKM/AK-74M have much roomier clearances in the FCG, and debris escapes from there almost easier than it gets in. I still prefer the AR.

          • Kivaari

            It appears the 3-shot burst feature is going away. The M4A1 being without that terrible feature. It is offered as an option from the various makers. I never saw a need to have it.

          • iksnilol

            Um, we used 1.5mm receivers because we were l̶a̶z̶y̶ streamlining production.

          • Kivaari

            Yugoslavian AK rifles were better made than most. In addition to using the 1.5mm sheet metal they used the stronger trunion, as used in the RPK LMG. Other than being heavy the Yugo rifles used what is now called a “NATO” length stock. Making them too long for many shooters. A tall man can use a short stock better than a short man can use a longer stock. I preferred the conventional length stocks. it makes them faster to use. Then my 6-5 partner complains about it being too short, but he can still shoot it just fine. Like the M16A1 v. M16A2. The A2 is 3/4 inch longer and I don’t like it. I put A1 length stocks or set the telescoping stock one notch shorter.

          • iksnilol

            See the comment you replied to. Yugo AKs and RPKs are basically the same, only real difference is that that the RPKs have a longer/heavier barrel and a bipod. Everything else is the same. This was done so that the tooling would be easier to set up and cheaper in the long run (making one type of receiver and one type of trunnion is always cheaper than two different receivers and trunnions).

            Yugoslavia did lots of cool stuff. Even an RPK with a quick detach barrel (the handguard, gas tube and barrel were one unit that could be detached from the receiver.).

            I think that while more expensive a 1 or 1.2mm milled receiver should be just as strong as a 1.5 or 1.6mm stamped one. Don’t know what the weight difference would be. I’ve heard of milled Arsenal AKs being as light as 3.2kg (7 lbs) unloaded.

          • Kivaari

            I had several Yugos including a 7.62mm NATO “sniper rifle”. The are excellent firearms. My friends have the best gun collection I ever owned.

          • iksnilol


            Those are good. Kinda want to try one out at longer distances with a good scope and possibly a good trigger.

          • Kivaari

            I think it was a M78. The M77 I remember was in 7.92x57mm.

          • Zastava offered their M76 in both 7.92x57mm and 7.62x51mm. As for the M78 designation, you may be thinking of the Valmet M78, which was offered in several chamberings including 7.62x51mm.

          • Kivaari

            Yes. I had Valmets and Yugos and Galils all at the same time. I should kept some of them. Now I am down to some nice ARs and intend to keep them. Old age has grabbed me, so I wont be running out buying every new rifle or pistol that comes out. In my youth, I had to have all of them.

          • iksnilol

            M76 is 8mm Mauser. M77 is what the 308 is called.


            Strangely enough they stopped making a “sniper” version of it. Though the LMG version still has the side rail, so pop a scope on it and enjoy.

          • Carlos Eduardo Gutierrez

            Yep. Most military people are not the brightest when it comes to firearms. Everyone dismissed anything I said about firearms due to my rank being private. So I had to suffer hearing NCOs and E4s talk about how “Black Talon HPs would go through our armor”, “5.56 ricochets around inside the body like .22lr”, “AK47s are not accurate beyond 20ft because they have smooth bore barrels, “the little skinny RPG warheads are anti-armor and the fat cone shaped ones are anti-personnel”, “if you don’t ever take the barrel off the M2 you don’t have to recheck head spacing”, etc. Knew otherwise before I even joined.

          • Kivaari

            Yep, they are gun-dumb.

        • Kivaari

          Evan, Look up what we are talking about. An RPG 42 and similar grenades are hand delivered. Some had a parachute drag system others shape charges using magnets. I refer you to the Soviet Army and the current Russian Army. The Soviets did not have a system like a US or German rocket launcher. At the end, they were picking up the various Panzerfaust 60 and 100. From those they came up with the RPG 2 system. Improved to the RPG 7 and now even better. Even the US has played with an improved variant of the 7. Sometimes the other guys stuff is better. I still like the Carl Gustav 84mm firing the conventional RCL round or the rocket assist variant. Neither of them are lightweight. An RPG 7 hit 30 pounds. An AT84 does the job. There is a liking for disposable launchers. I like the heavier ones, as long as someone else is packing it. My unit used TOW and had Dragons in use in 81-82. The pop-pop-pop of the Dragon going down range was fun to see.

          • iksnilol

            What does hand delivered mean? RPG-42 doesn’t exist, RPG-43 is a hand grenade thingy.

          • Kivaari

            They required a person to either throw the device, with a drag chute streaming from the rear, so it orients the shaped charge correctly. The second, a cone like bomb, had to be delivered by a person getting close enough to place the device on the tank It was held in place by magnets. If you look at late war German tanks they had a ribbed anti-magnetic coating, resistant to the magnets. Both took balls to use. The Brits also had the “sticky bomb”, the globe-shaped grenade with a handle and fuse. Removing the protective shell around the tar-like sticky stuff (technical stuff) exposed the rather large chunk of explosive. The idea being throw it at a tank and it sticks. Don’t let it touch you or anything close as it will stick, real bad news if the fuse is burning. If you look at the German armor the stuff coating many is like plaster or cement put on with a tooth trowel. That is a good example of for every new protective feature the enemy will develop a means around it. A simple thing like sloped armor improved the protective ability of armor over flat surfaces. I never could understand why so many tanks from the inter-war years used box-shaped sides. Everyone knew a bullet was more likely to skip off a sloped surface.

          • Kivaari

            I did the ’42 from memory. That part of my reference library is under the house.

          • iksnilol

            Must’a been a typo. Searching for the RPG-42 only leads to Arma (the videogame) wiki.

          • Kivaari

            I dug out the book. It is the RPG43. The magnet device was German made. I only saw images of Soviet troops using them, as they did with anything they captured. The Heft Hohladung Granate in sizes of weighing 2 to 10 kg. The coating for German tanks was Zimmerit-paste. The allies never fielded the magnetic grenades.

      • iksnilol

        Well, it kinda does fire a rocket propelled grenade.

        • Kivaari

          Yes they do. But the launcher and the projectiles each have their own names-numbers. Some places and artillery projectiles are referred to as being grenades. It would help if Americans would accept the names used by the others. Or at least include the original name and our choice of name.
          Look back at the Panzerfaust series. They launched a warhead without a rocket motor. A single blast of old-time black powder propelled the missile in a fashion more like a recoilless rifle. The US went to 57mm shoulder held RCL and then to tripod or vehicle mounted 75mm and 106mm variants. Then we went to the 90mm and 84mm variants. The Carl Gustav can deliver conventional RCL loads and rocket assisted missiles. Our 2.36 inch and 3.5 inch rocket launchers were supposed to burn the entire load of propellant within the tube. In cold weather they tend to spray the user with burning material. The German 88mm launcher was well known for spraying propellant out, and that is why it has a blast shield. Early RPG 2, didn’t have a rocket engine, just a better version of the Panzerfaust.
          The RPG 7 has an engine that keeps burning and fins for stability. Those are pretty good weapons. In a strong cross wind a counter- intuitive method of aiming is needed. Instead of adjusting for the wind, like using a rifle or cannon, you have to do it backwards. The fins on the rocket are pushed in the direction the wind is blowing and the engine actually moves it so it will fly into the wind. If the wind is from the left, you aim to the right. It takes skill to know how to make hits.

    • Kivaari

      It wasn’t part of the vocabulary unless we were just sitting around discussing guns. There is a lot of mythical-talk that takes place off the range. Your average soldier, sailor or Marine is uninformed about weapons. hey may know how to use his infantry weapons, but not much else.

    • COL Bull-sigh

      In the U.S., “assault rifle” is a favorite term for Hitlerite anti-gunners like Hitlary and Obuma. They are ignorant enough to think that Special Forces “Assault” teams would go into a den of skirt-wearing mudslime pervs, while armed with semi-autos like the MAK-90 or the AR-15. Semper Fi!

    • Zobeid

      In an active military context the term “assault rifle” is nearly obsolete since it’s the only kind of rifle that most modern militaries issue anymore, outside of specialized sniper or anti-materiel weapons.

      Carbine, on the other hand, has a long history of being a vague term that morphs in meaning depending on circumstance, but generally it’s just any shorter-than-usual rifle.

  • YS

    >rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge

    So, “high powered assault rifle” is an oxymoron?

    • rayward


    • Jrggrop

      No more so than rifled-muskets.

      • ostiariusalpha

        No, all long gun rifles are muskets, not all muskets are rifled. The distinction is irrelevant, not oxymoronic.

        • Jim_Macklin

          Even breech loading rifles are muskets. A carbine is a musketoon.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I know, but I didn’t want to blow his mind. ?

      • Kivaari

        Ahhh. A “rifled-musket” in the antebellum sense was a formerly smooth bore musket that had been return to the arsenal to be rifled. A “rifle” was a rifle in the beginning. That’s the technical meaning. But, the use of musket, musketoon and similar names is still used. Even civilian rifles were often marketed as muskets, if they were fitted with full-length wood and barrel bands similar to military rifles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The words just fell out of common favor. The musket variations of Winchesters lever action rifles and carbines usually have added value to collectors. I personally would be more inclined to buy the musket models, they have that extra appeal.

    • Jim_Macklin

      Anybody remember Stockton? Nut case legally bought firearms and the shot 34 kids as I recall. Twenty-nine survived.
      A definition of modern military doctrine is a wounded survivor is of more military value since it take several combatants off the battlefield.
      The M1 Carbine was the “first” American light carbine. The M2 was select-fire and had a 30 round magazine. It was so low powered it was not legal for deer hunting in most states

      • Kivaari

        And a man with a single shot .22 could have done more damage. Or had that idiot drove his GMC car through the school yard he would have been more effective.

        • Jim_Macklin

          Or a H&R Topper 12 gauge with a box or two of 00 buck.
          When will school administrators realize that allowing arming teachers and bus drivers is the best security [ office staff too] since all already pass a background check. We would need a million armed security guards to cover all the public schools at a minimum level.
          The Answer: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 98,817 public schools during the 2009-2010 school year. For more information, see other U.S. education facts. —The Editors.

          We can’t afford that in the budget.

          • Kivaari

            When I was serving on a newspaper board, it was during the Stockton event. I suggested they count up the rounds he fired (around 115) and then look at a 12 3 inch 00-buck (15 pellets) and see the damage inflicted. That being with one of the last guns to be prohibited by gun grabbers. Shotguns are civilized as long as they have O/U or SBS barrels. All it takes to make them bad guns was a hacksaw and a sick mind. Then we had Buford Furrow the LA shooter that used a converted Norinco Uzi to shoot up the Jewish community center (not killing anyone) and then a Glock 26 to kill Ileto the mailman. All the shooting he did, he killed one person with the most underpowered gun he had. Most mass killers are really bad shots. Some aren’t.

          • Jim_Macklin

            When California passed their first assault weapons ban, the expert board looked through a catalog, possibly the SHOOTER’S BIBLE. They banned guns by name based on how they looked. One gun they banned was a single shot 12 gauge trap gun. Looks evil doesn’t it?

        • iksnilol

          A girl with a .22 did actually do something like that. Can’t recall if it was in the US or Canada. She shot people from her window, claiming she was bored.

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    Quick change barrels confuse the issue even further, as a shorter barrel can drop MV easily into “assault rifle” territory.

    Unfortunately, “assault rifle” is entrenched in academic and specialist circles just as it is in everyday use, so whilst I do see your point, I fear you’re tilting at windmills here.

    • Hi Jonathan,

      Just having a bit of fun while trying to get the point across. I don’t at all expect that everyone is going to stop using “assault rifle”, but hopefully this and other articles I’ve written can help convey to readers that these terms get pretty messy on the edges.

  • Gabe Is Fat

    Weren’t you just calling a russian shotgun an “Assault Shotgun” the other day?

  • Sheeple shepherd

    Honestly I like the phrase and if we stop using it the gun grabbers win.

  • Joe

    Modern Utility Rifle/Modern Sporting Rifle are two obtuse terms I’ve read.
    We need something simple, catchy.
    I’d tie into the Revolution, but “Patriot Rifle” or something similar is too political.
    Acronym would probably work best; create some acronyms and reverse-engineer the words.
    I just pulled this out of my butt: “Triple M” firearm = “Modern Minuteman Musket”.
    We have ample source material from our opponents, we just need to rewrite the narrative.
    And the phrasing and terminology definitely matter.

    • David

      Modern Musket is catchy. In a similar theme – black bess 🙂 The brown bess was wildly popular.

    • OBlamo Binlyen

      Might I suggest the BDR, short for Barbie Doll Rifle. Face it, we dress them up, we change them, we feed them different ammo. We take them out more often than our wives and girl friends. We even have trophy BDR’s. Plus, just imagine a gun grabber trying to make BDR sound evil.

  • albaby2

    Anything can be an assault or defense weapon. It depends on intent of the person holding it. Even a screwdiver or hammer or chain saws. Britain wants to ban pointed kitchen knives. There is no end to liberal nonsense.

  • Twilight sparkle

    Assault rifles seem pretty easy to recognize, what really gets confusing is when you’re splitting hairs about what’s an assault rifle and what’s a commando.

    • Edeco

      A commando rifle to me is something heavier at the receiver than an assault rifle, but shortened, like the stubby M249 or those Johnson rifles. The kind of thing to be used by the designated-sexual-tyrannosaurus or -tyrannosauri of the team or platoon.

      • Twilight sparkle

        I was thinking something more along the lines of an xm177 and just other radically shortened assault rifles like an aks74u

        • iksnilol

          Those are SMGs.

          Never heard the commando designation before.

          • Twilight sparkle

            They can’t be sub machine guns because they don’t fire a pistol cartridge, they may fill the roll of one but that’s not what they are.

          • iksnilol

            Uh, yeah they are. Just look past inferior Western definitions.


            Submachine gun = really small machine gun (small dakka)
            Automat = Small machine gun (Occasional dakka)
            Machine gun = machine gun (mostest dakka)

          • Twilight sparkle

            I believe you mean eastern definitions… Check out the Wikipedia page on submachine guns, it says this ” In addition, some compact assault rifles, such as the Colt XM177, HK53 and AKS-74U, are also referred to as SMGs, because they are used in the submachine gun role.” notice that it defines them as assault rifles and states that some people call them submachine guns… even though that’s not really what they are. Also try finding a copy of Janes guide to recognition of modern firearms and specifically check out the page on the aks74u, it says something along the lines of it being common for people to mistakingly call it a submachine gun.

          • iksnilol

            I meant “Look past inferior Western definitions” as in “DON’T USE THE DAMN INFERIOR WESTERN DEFINITIONS”.

            Really small machine gun = SMG

            I stand by it. 😛

          • Twilight sparkle

            To each their own I guess lol

            I support the idea of calling them a pdw instead, it still incompases the idea of being really small but not necessarily having to fire a pistol cartridge. I believe the AAC honey badger was being called a pdw wasn’t it?

          • iksnilol

            Why more terms when you’ve already got a perfectly fitting term, though?


          • Twilight sparkle

            Because it’s not perfectly fitting, smgs fire a pistol calibre.

          • iksnilol

            That’s going with one definition of the word.

          • Twilight sparkle

            That’s not one definition, that’s THE definition.

          • iksnilol

            One definition is the pistol cal automatic. Another definition is the “automatic small caliber firearm fired from the hip or shoulder”.

            5.56 and 7.62×39 are certainly small caliber in a sense.

        • Edeco

          Hmmm, I see. Hadn’t known of the xm177. Kind of a historical-technological blind-spot for me because short barrels with rifle cartridges drive me bonkers, and the widely adopted M4 is already in the range that I’m like “OK, whatevs, not my zoo not my monkey”.

          • Twilight sparkle

            It’s a lot more maneuverable that size

          • Edeco

            Yep. But the disadvantages O.O …especially with an AR.

            I’m not saying the military is secretly crippled by the M4 and only I can tell. I guess it works as part of the larger machine. But looking just at the gun, yech. Bleh.

          • Twilight sparkle

            When it comes to clearing houses it’s a lot nicer to have something that you can get around corners easier, plus you lose little to no accuracy and not that much velocity. If you’re shooting at distances above 200 meters then a full sized m16a4 would have a slight edge over an m4a1 but it’s not enough to justify the massive advantage of the m4 in more urban environments.

          • Edeco

            All valid points as far as I can tell. But if I were starting from a blank slate, and people needed stubby rifles to kill houses, at the very least I’d be thinking piston instead of direct gas. Probably different cartridge as well.

            I know the military can’t just switch to whole different weapon like it’s nothing. If they announced they were switching to to piston tomorrow I’d be unhappy because I’d be thinking “hey, the M4 is probably good enough, don’t spend money to change.” Nonetheless, the M4 as we know it is designed my committee, if you know what I mean…

          • Twilight sparkle

            Short stroke Pistons in an ar platform can actually cause carrier tilt and induce malfunctions, it’s just not a good idea. What we call direct gas impingement isn’t actually direct gas impingement, it’s a gas piston system where the bcg acts as the piston and gas expansion chamber. That’s why there’s 3 gas rings on the bolt itself. A long stroke system would keep debris away from the action which is the main complaint with the standard ar operating system and it would minimize carrier tilt but it would make it slightly more complicated to disassemble. If anything major was worth changing then the army would be looking for a new weapon system, the tavor seems like a good battle proven system to me if that was going to happen.

  • BrianZ

    Point taken. As you have readily admitted you have once again sparked endless debate over a non definable term. Congrats!

  • Major Tom

    How about we just redefine the term?

    Assault Rifle: A rifle used in the assault role.

    Which would include all manner of semi-auto, full-auto, burst, bolt action, lever action and even single-shot only types of rifles. Yes that old Winchester your great-great grandfather had in the Old West could be classified as an assault rifle since it could be used in the assault role.

  • W.P Zeller

    Think I’m going to have to quibble about that “emperor” designation.

  • mechamaster

    Well, maybe let’s make the definition of “intermediate cartridge” topic first rather the weapon that shoot it ( the intermediate cartridge )…

    Maybe something like “the cartridge that’s designed ( only ) to be effective in engagement range of approximate ± 100 – 600 meters and easy to control in rapid-fire / automatic fire mode, and more lightweight than full-power cartridge “

  • Tim Pearce

    How about we stick to calling fully automatic weapons of intermediate caliber that hold 20+ rounds “assault rifles,” as that is a legitimate term?
    Things like AR-15s, semi-auto AKs, etc, I just refer to as Modern Rifles. As in, in the over a hundred years that we’ve been using rifles, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to make them work better for the shooter, and Modern Rifles incorporate those solutions. Firearms like your typical hunting rifle would be Traditional Rifles, as they stick to older, traditional, forms.

  • Alexandru Ianu

    The definition is somewhat nebulous, but still relevant (like most others – DMR, Sniper Rifle, etc). What I use as a discriminant is an actual muzzle energy rating for intermediate rounds: 1000-1800 ft-lbs from an 18 inch barrel*. Or 950-1800 if I want to include .30 Carbine. That would put the likes of .220 Swift, .357 Magnum, .351WSL (Winchester 1907), 5.56×45, 5.45×39, 7.62×39, 8mm Kurz, .300 Blackout, .250 Savage, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel in the intermediate category, and others like .45 Auto, 10mm Auto, 6.5 Swedish/Japanese/Mannlicher, or 30-40 Krag either below (pistol) or above (full power rifle).

    *using basic mass-produced rounds, not specialized ones.

    • Couple of problems with that method. First, it is an extremely technical definition dependent on having accurate data for each rifle/cartridge combination and failing to serve as an understandable shorthand for introductory audiences. Second, it would include some weapons, but exclude some other, very similar weapons (either due to barrel length or having slightly more or less powerful ammunition. Third, it would include some weapons that are less capable than other weapons it would exclude, because muzzle energy is not necessarily indicative of downrange performance (e.g., a short barreled AR-15 has longer range, more penetrating power, and better lethality than an M1 Carbine). Fourth, it still suffers from problems of one weapon qualifying with one load of ammunition, but not when firing another (keep in mind that the Japanese and Spanish both mass-produced reduced power 7.62 NATO for their rifles). Fifth, the

      • Alexandru Ianu

        It’s the only way to get a consistent technical definition. Good data on the round is a must for designing the gun anyway. Reduced power 7.62 NATO is irrelevant, because it’s not classified the same – it’s 7.62x51mm CETME – and you go by what the guns are primarily intended to fire, not everything that they are capable – rifles can fire grenades as well, and we don’t call them grenade launchers.

        Oh, and I wasn’t suggesting using muzzle energy out of the rifle in question, but an abstract muzzle energy rating based on a fixed barrel length (18″), so there’s would be no difference in classification between a 10″ and 20″ select-fire AR, so a short AR would be middle of the road assault rifle, and an M2 carbine either wouldn’t or would be at the low end of the category.

        • Here’s a suggestion: Drop the bit about “intermediate cartridges” entirely. That still gives you a class of weapons that all have roughly similar capabilities.

          If the G3 can fire both the 7.62×51 CETME and the 7.62×51 NATO, then is it an assault rifle or a battle rifle? Same problem, see? Keep in mind, the G3/CETME was originally designed to shoot the lighter-weight ammunition and NATO-standard ammo, alternately.

          …Erm, but yes they do. If the rifle has a grenade launching device attached, that device is called a grenade launching adapter. Keep in mind, too, that Enfields with grenade launching devices attached were actually called “Grenade Launchers”.

          By your definition, a .30 Carbine with an 8″ “Enforcer”-style barrel would be an “assault rifle”, despite having ballistics like a hot 9mm at that point.

  • Geoffry K

    An “assault rifle” would have to be actual “weapons of war” and since I don’t know of ANY military that use the AR-15 semi-auto it cannot be an “assault rifle”. But since my 1942 Mosin Nagant was used by the Russians in WWII, I guess it can be an “assault rifle”.

    • Porty1119

      Mark 12 SPR. Not as a service rifle, but semi-only ARs are in use.

      • Geoffry K

        I looked it up on Wikipedia, Special Purpose Rifle, for I would think covert operations, not on the battlefield.
        You are nitpicking.
        en dot wikipedia dot org/wiki/Mk_12_Special_Purpose_Rifle

  • J.K.

    Stop your ATF voodoo magic! How dare you instantly change a rifle to an assault rifle by the wave of a different magazine?!

  • Brocus

    If feminist political correctness were applied to guns we’d soon argue to do away with “assault rifles” and similar terms because reasons. … oh!

  • Bill

    It’s one of those terms like jeep, band-aid and xerox machine that identifies a generally accepted class of things.

    • Edeco

      Yeah, but words and phrases can have connotations; flavors of the words, if you will. Also they can be more or less firmly defined. If you answer to a word with no firm definition and a adverse connotation, you’ve just treated yourself to a philosophical neck-millstone.

      • Bill

        Assault rifles are what they are, trying to mask their nature through creative articulation is disingenuous. If you want to define an AR accurately, it’s a “Derivative U.S. Air Force Base Defense and Security Weapon, Type Gas-Operated Box Magazine Fed Carbine.” A Chinese AK would actually be an Assault Rifle or Carbine, given Chinese human wave offensive military doctrine. If they are “Modern Sporting Rifles (gag)” what’s the military and police using them to shoot people for?

        • Edeco

          I’m not trying to mask anything. It’s an unnecessary dichotomy between “assault rifle” and whatever other terms. There are other nicely defined, emotionless terms I’d use but that’s not my point. My point is “assault rifle” is a useless term, due to being emotional and imprecise. It’s inaccurate also, I’ve never assaulted anyone with a rifle. I don’t look at them that way just because police and soldiers assault people. Assaulting is in the nature of police and soldiers, not the gun.

          I see you’re pointing out a definition of “assault rifle”. I’m not surprised you’re able to do that because there are lots of them, none widely agreed upon. Like I keep saying, that’s half the problem.

  • Budogunner

    The bottom line is our definitions don’t matter. If State or Federal gun law defines “Assault Rifle” then those are the only definitions that matter.

    Invariably, government definitions make no sense but they are the ones that we are held accountable for in court.

  • daniel

    What you said about firing ammunition at different velocities at a high rate of fire gave me a question for the reigning ‘Emperor of Needless Quibbling’. What if you fired two bullets of extremely different velocities, say one being 1000 fps faster than the other, with the slower bullet fired first?
    If you fired them at an extremely high rate of fire, and either the trajectory was similar (because of different bullet weights) or the fast one caught the slow one before the trajectory changed, would the faster one hit the slower one?
    I think that if you were able to find them afterward, one would look really cool.
    Just a thought for those of us with access to fully automatic weapons! (Hint Hint, TFB TV,this would make a good video)

    • Sir TuberKopf

      Ghost Busters warns against crossing the streams. It could destroy the universe!

    • The answer is “it would be very difficult” for two reasons I am going to ignore: That the first, slower round would probably not cycle an action designed for ammunition 1,000 ft/s faster than it, and because trajectory could make a big enough difference to cause the bullets to miss.

      Aside from that, the math is actually really easy to do, if we assume a frictionless vacuum with no gravity. First, let’s assume a certain rate of fire for the fully automatic weapon: Say, 600 rounds/min, or 10 rounds/sec for the rifle, just to make the math easier. This would be what a CETME or G3 is likely to give you, anyway. This translates to one cycle of the rifle taking a tenth of a second to complete. So we have the first, slower bullet flying out of the muzzle at a rate of, say, 2,000 ft/s. By the time the second bullet has fired, the first bullet is 200 feet downrange. The second bullet has a muzzle velocity of 3,000 ft/s, we’ll assume. Now we have a bullet traveling at a relative velocity of 1,000 ft/s, and it’s 200 feet behind the first bullet. It should take 0.2 seconds to reach the first bullet, therefore.

      So I did this in a frictionless vacuum, sans the effect of gravity. Fortunately for you, a quick look at the ballistics of a projectile like the first one in the example shows that at 200 feet (about 60 meters) such a round will have experienced almost no drop, and 0.2 seconds later at about 165 meters (~540 feet) it still hasn’t begun dropping appreciably. That means that the two rounds won’t be at significantly different elevations when they do rendezvous. However, it’s still very unlikely that they would hit each other because even minor differences in elevation matter.

      I didn’t compensate for one factor in this, because it virtually doesn’t matter, and that is velocity loss due to drag. Using the same bullet, velocity loss for the two rounds should be very similar (slightly different, because the bullet going faster is experiencing more drag). This means that even though by the time they reach ~165 meters they aren’t going 2,000 and 3,000 ft/s, respectively, anymore, their relative speed will still be very close to +/- 1,000 ft/s. You can verify this by plugging some likely figures into JBM’s ballistic calculator. I used a 123gr .308 cal bullet of G7 BC .15 with muzzle velocities of 2,000 and 3,000 ft/s, respectively. Then I set my maximum range to 1200 meters, my zero distance to 25 meters, and my range increment to 10 meters (just standard settings I use when evaluating ballistics). Then, I needed to find the distance the two bullets would reach at the same time; that means a single distance at a time for the 2,000 ft/s load and time + .1 second for the 3,000 ft/s load. Doing this math, I found that range was between 150 and 160 meters.

      Now, good news is, for a practical experiment you might be able to calculate that range, or empirically determine it, then finagle the zero distance on the rifle such that both rounds had the same exact elevation at the distance when they rendezvous, giving you the highest possible chance of having both bullets hit each other.

      But it’s at least hypothetically possible!

  • kyphe

    Assault rifle is designed to do the job of main infantry rifle and sub machine gun, the term then can be used to describe any any light and portable rifle that can fire any cartridge to a minimum effective range of say 300m and also fire controllably on select fire with a high capacity quick change mag.

    The defining traits of assault rifle are
    Portability, (16lb BAR is too heavy to be defined as an assault rifle for example.)
    minimum effective range
    effective when on select fire
    minimum size of magazine

    The intermediate cartridge is a not a defining descriptive trait of an assault rifle, but simply a common solution to the problem of excessive recoil on full power rifle rounds when fired from a light platform on fully automatic.

    The term GPAR is more accurate, general purpose automatic rifle which fits with GPMG

  • TDog

    An intermediate cartridge is a lot like a dragon – we all know one when we see one despite the fact that they come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Trying to confuse the issue takes more effort than just accepting them for what they are.

  • Lance

    hate to say now days under Obama Assault Rifle means just Gun I want to ban.

    • RickH

      Is this a sentence?

      • iksnilol

        Lemme try:

        “Hate to say it: But nowadays under Obama assault rifle means “gun I want to ban”.”

        • ostiariusalpha

          Very nice. I can hardly wait for that Google update to the Translate function, “Corrected English.”

  • Darren Hruska

    The terms “automatic rifle” and “semi-automatic rifle” (or “self-loading rifle” for both categories together) aren’t as specific, but at least can’t be argued since that’s part of their functions. Well, unless somebody takes “self-loading rifle” a bit out of context, as in the rifle inserting a full magazine by itself and then chambering the first round by itself also (which is how hoplophobes probably think it works in the first place)…

  • John

    If you think about it logically, an “assault rifle” should be a rifle capable of performing an “assault” in the sense of a battle. A weapon that is capable of a high rate of fire, quick reloading, and carrying a powerful cartridge (higher than a normal handgun cartridge) would be able to perform and “assault” against a larger group of people, or somewhat fortified location. With that said, “a well regulated militia” definitely has the need for such a weapon so that it is capable of defense against an enemy likely to possess them as well. JMHO

  • Sledgecrowbar

    I thought the assault rifle concept started with the Stg44 and then the FAL, AK, and AR, became the modern military infantry arm. It’s not a “battle rifle” like the G3 or AR-10, which are considered too heavy to be as good for assault, but larger and more powerful than an SMG or PDW. One thing is for certain, it is select-fire. So, at the risk of brushing close to politics, civilian AR’s don’t count, and now they even have their own term of modern sporting rifle. And then there’s “assault weapon”, not to be confused with this, as it’s just a legal term.

  • Evan

    I’ve been using “select fire carbine” as opposed to “assault rifle” for years now. And I don’y have a definition of an intermediate cartridge per se, but we all know what is meant by the term. It gets a little confusing when we’re discussing rounds like 6.8 SPC and such, but a good place to start is that 5.56NATO and 7.62X39 are intermediate cartridges.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    “Assault rifle” – a firearm, usually ment to be shouldered when firing, that inflicts great terror in the mind of a whole segment of politicians, and in parts of the public. These people often try to ban these kind of weapons, and that desire is the only common ground there is in between the different types of “assault rifles”. Encyclopedia Grønsdallica

  • Tassiebush

    Great unwinnable topic to argue over. I think it’s a convergence of manageable weight, controllability, capacity and range. I don’t think the cartridge needs to be classified intermediate but it must be controllable in full auto in that platform.

    • Here I am controlling a Sudanese AR-10 (weight: less than 7lb w/o mag) in 7.62x51mm, rate of fire about 850 rounds/min, towards the end of a full 20 round mag dump:

      So… Assault rifle? I doubt most people would say so.

      • Tassiebush

        Good curly one. I think it still is albeit an overpowered one. Imo it’s hard to say it’s not one too. Hmm but then you could pull out a select fire fal or m14 and I’d feel less confident asserting that. I think length is part of the equation but then again I would still struggle to call short versions of those assault rifles. I think the power level of the round as you mentioned with the G3 example does matter.
        If I can use a peculiar argument I think it is somehow an issue of how controllable it is for the user. If a race of giants were to exist say 9ft tall solid folk and they produced a variant of the AR15 scaled to match themselves we’d still call it an assault rifle even if it was more like a select fire anti material rifle to us. It’s definitely an imperfect term which on the one hand is hard to define and on the other is hard to discard.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha ha! If a race of 9 foot tall super warriors had a select fire weapon, I’d let them decide what to call it. Also, Stoner always just called the AR-10 an automatic rifle, so Nate has some historical support in that regard.

          As a digression, I was perusing Stoner’s patent on the internal piston (US2951424) and was a bit surprised that the gun in the illustration wasn’t an M8 or AR-10, but was instead my elusive quarry the AR-11.

          • I am not entirely confident it’s an AR-11. It looks a little stylized to me, which suggests it may just be a patent image, not based on anything specific.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Dang it, I meant the AR-14! I didn’t check what I wrote before posting. Anyway, it’s the tilted buffer housing that gives it away, you can even see the articulating arm (rat tail) that attaches to the bolt carrier. Only the AR-14 and it’s sister shotgun the AR-17 have this feature. There shouldn’t be any wonder that a patent drawing is a little more abstract than a production blueprint. Even so, the pictures pretty much exactly match the illustration of the AR-14 in the development plan that ArmaLite had for their sequential AR line, and it just looks like an AR-17 (which had the same basic action layout as the AR-14).

          • Tassiebush

            Automatic rifle is definitely the safest name.

      • Don Ward

        I would label that an “assault rifle”.

      • gunsandrockets

        Less than 7 pounds?

        Question: how do you know it weighs that much? Did you actually measure it?

        I’ve been having some fun lately using a simple digital kitchen scale to measure the weights of various non-kitchen things like swords, pistols and rifles. It’s very interesting to see how much things really weigh as opposed to the claims made by various writers or companies.

        For example, my AR-15 frankengun, with Colt Sporter upper (no forward assist), with an A1 butt, A2 buttplate, pencil barrel and early-type prong flash-suppressor weighs exactly 7 pounds without magazine. My Ruger stainless steel 196 series Mini-14 with factory synthetic stock weighs 6.5 pounds without magazine.

        • Yeah, we weighed it, now to see if I can dig up a photo of it on the scale.

      • n0truscotsman

        That thing is beautiful.

  • Damien Morton

    It’s better to use the Ww1 German term “assault weapon”, which meant any light weight weapon capable of delivering rapid fire – this included pistols with extended magazines, submachine guns, and full auto rifles. Basically anything useful in an assault, with capabilities of primarily rate of fire and magazine capacity.

    A way of testing if a weapon is an assault weapon is to measure how many bullets it can put on man sized targets in a fixed amount of time, say 1 minute – a time that will require several reloads.

  • Able_Dart

    Gotta say i agree. When armies transitioned from breecloaders to repeating rifles, they still called them infantry rifles. When they transitioned to self-loading rifles, they still called them infantry rifles. Despite the change in design and ammunition technology, and despite changes in tactics. If a rifle is issued to an infantry soldier, it is an infantry rifle.

  • Don Ward


    Using the term “Assault Rifle” is perfectly fine as a generic term to roughly incorporate and describe a certain category of rifle. In car guy parlance, it would be like getting rid of the term “muscle car” or “pony car” because of differences of what exactly constituted a “big block” engine or how affordable a compact car with high performance is.

    Instead, I just say get rid of the pedants who insist on arbitrary definitions being used in a didactic manner. Given the season, might a suggest a Crowdsourced Sarlacc Pit.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      With you 100% on this one. The way all this tactical gear is marketed is not doing gun owners any favours in the long run. Gun owners are their own worst enemy.

      The solution is information campaigns to educate people on how rifles work, not how they look.

  • USMC03Vet

    The left is real good at redefining the definition of words to suit their agenda. This is a great example of that and their unwillingness to even acknowledge any technical information results in easily showcasing their poor attempts at lying to achieve their goals of a firearm ban and/or banning firearms based solely upon appearance.

    Once they’ve effectively taken control of a defined word the best thing you can do is not even acknowledged it in order to keep control of the premise and hold control of facts rather than ever changing meaning of words that are supposed to be technical in nature. Or you could just call them out on the spot revealing how utterly clueless they are about the subject matter and they’ll eventually show their true colors after being publicly humiliated. That is where they are moving too with proclamations that all firearms should be banned now.

    We are winning the “discussion” and they are becoming more unhinged by the day. Whether or not public sentiment results in government/courts representing that public however is another story altogether.

    • TDog

      Hey, man, let’s not claim that as a monopoly of the left. The right plays its little word games all the time, too.

      • RickH

        Thank you.

      • mosinman

        this is true, but in the context of firearms the Left has a monopoly on word games

        • TDog

          In that respect you are correct.

    • TechnoTriticale

      Generic fools no longer use the code phrase “Saturday Night Special”, which was trendy some decades ago, so it is possible to get them to adjust their babble.

      Personally, I never use the phrase “assault rifle”, because I can never be sure that the listener and I would have the same definition for it.

      If someone else uses it, I merely ask them what they mean by it, so that we can have meaningful communication (assuming that’s possible, with some people).

  • mwnciboo

    Things evolve, look at terms like “Sub-Machine Gun”, “Battle Rifle”, “Light Support Weapon”, “Squad Automatic Rifleman” or “Personal Defence Weapon” PDW. Can be one and the same, can be different, could be an AR15 with a micro barrel and suddenly it’s a PDW, 9mm conversion and it’s a Sub Machine gun. It’s just terms, that people use correctly or incorrectly, and there is a point at which a Colloquialism becomes the norm regardless of the original language or intent, companies, governments, the military and marketing departments change terms all the time, to make things sexy or muddy the waters….Look at “CLOUD COMPUTING” that had a specific meaning, now it’s come to mean “REMOTE DATA CENTRE”, or keeping things backed up online…Originally it was scalable computing power to very intensive operations, like say Rendering PIXAR’s latest offering, saving thousands of hours, and you would pay for 60 machines for 1 hour, rather than 1 machine doing 60hrs works.

  • I see that my sense of humor needs some adjustment.

    • Don Ward

      Honestly, no one reads those. Although I suppose I’ll have to start watching them in your pieces. You needed something in the text to tip your hand. I suppose I’ll have to watch for the sequel with the “Rise of the Patriot Rifle”.

      • Tassiebush

        I thought the last paragraph about Hitler was pretty humorous

      • Don Ward

        Yeah. The problem is that the main page doesn’t have all of the keywords. And when I click “read more” I jump down to the second paragraph skipping them.

        • It’s also worth noting that the tags don’t show up at all on mobile.

          I admit I did expect the bit about Hitler to be a tip-off to folks.

          • Don Ward

            When using Hitler in comedy, it is best to go full Mel Brooks.

          • Edeco

            Erm, I didn’t read that far before I felt I should start commenting. You rascal.

        • Tassiebush

          I didn’t see them until I rotated my phone.

    • Tassiebush

      It’s a great topic though. I’m sure in the past they argued for long hours over when something became a sword or a knife.

      • Don Ward

        You mean Short Sword or Fighting Knife?

        • Beju

          Then there’s the long sword and great sword divide.

          • Don Ward

            Indeed. Although when arguing about the differences, you don’t want to act like a b astard…

          • Tassiebush

            Haha I got that!

        • Tassiebush

          Long before Freud some were arguing that a short sword was really a dirk.

  • Simcha M.

    All of you are wrong.

    An “Assault Weapon”, et al is any gun that the Left doesn’t like. Period. End of sentence.

  • Kivaari

    I like rifle. Or a short rifle as a carbine. I used to laugh at the silliness when I called a rifle, in this case an M16A1, a gun. The typical sergeant/petty officer response is, IT’S A “RIFLE”.
    I then reminded them we were sitting in a pile of GUNS. HandGUNS, shotGUNS, machineGUNS, heavy machineGUNS, long GUNS, field GUNS, line throwing GUNS, deckGUNS (Naval rifles to confuse even chiefs). Having a preference would keep me calling them rifles or carbines. I can’t stand that “assault rifle” terminology.

    • Jim_Macklin

      This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun. Ask a Marine to explain the poetry.

      • Kivaari

        We all get it. I always thought the Marine DIs were silly.

        • Jim_Macklin

          Don’t say that to their face ;-[

  • Jim_Macklin

    It is racism, pure and simple; Black rifles are evil, even when pink, brown or green. Trying to justify a rifle as a “Modern Sporting Rifle” is falling into the trap of the Communists: Only firearms suitable for sport [as defined by a government bureaucrat], just means they can define sport as an organized activity approved by the IOC or PETA.
    Bolt action centerfire rifles such as the Winchester M70 or Remington 700/40X are military sniper rifles.
    Even the Ruger MK I .22 LR pistol was military designed and intended to kill sentries [CIA and SEALS].
    California/SFO wants to register ammo as though ammo isn’t protected by the Second Amendment.
    Let the words keep their meaning. The Supreme Court recognized in 1939 that the Second Amendment requires citizens to appear bearing their own private arms [with ammunition] of the type and kind then in contemporary use. At a minimum that means, M1 Garand, M1A [M14] and M16/M4 or AR15 and clones. Even the AK47/SKS are protected because they are military and serve a militia purpose.

    • Kivaari

      Agreed. I hate that MSR designator. We have rifles and short rifles, called carbines.

  • jam

    I agree the term is subjective. Taking directly from the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad”Locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and to repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.” you could make the argument that any rifle in its period in history used to fire and maneuver on an enemy could be considered an assault rifle.

  • aka_mythos

    I don’t think you can look at “assault rifle” in a vacuum; it is contextually tied to a “combat rifle.” Combat rifles being a weapon with a full power cartridge intended for standoff ranges; assault weapons are thusly lower powered rifles intended for closing engagement ranges. The power of the cartridge is simply a relativistic consideration.

  • Bob

    Enough of this, let’s argue 9mm vs .45.

    • MrApple

      Let’s not.

      • iksnilol

        According to that poster 9mm is superior since you can practice with it more.


        • MrApple

          Being that shot placement is all that matters it would seem that practice is a good thing. 😉

  • Joe

    I prefer to use the Marine Corps terms for rifles.
    Service Rifle = M16A4
    Service Carbine = M4 /M4A1
    Designated Marksman Rifle = MK 12
    CQBR = MK18
    Sniper Rifle = M40A7
    Semi Auto Sniper Rifle = M110
    Infantry Automatic Rifle = M27
    Special Application Sniper Rifle = M107

  • jeffrey melton

    I read somewhere I don’t remember where, that the term assault rifle came from the Nazis and was used to describe a shoulder fired machine gun. It was a weapon of war that is fully automatic or select fire 1 to 3 rounds per trigger pull. My AR is not an assault weapon because it is only semi-automatic and therefore would never be used by the military in times of war.

  • gunsandrockets

    If for no other reason than to deflate the term “assault weapon”, I would love to retire the term ‘assault rifle’!

  • gunsandrockets

    Let’s also remember the Japanese Type 64 automatic rifle, designed to fire a reduced recoil 7.62mm NATO cartridge issued by the JSDF, but with an adjustable gas system so the Type 64 could also function safely if loaded with full power 7.62mm NATO.

  • Taofledermaus

    I heard some demo Governor calling AR’s “combat assault rifles” tonight on the news. As if it wasn’t bad enough all ready.

    • Jeremie Edwards

      was that the same guy talking about “30 caliber magazine clips” (whatever the hell those are, lol)?

  • gunsandrockets

    What? I thought the preferred euphemism was “patrol rifle”?

  • Jas

    What’s the discussion? An assault rifle is a rifle, intended to be used as a personal weapon, that can fire either fullauto or semiauto. Period. Drop the intermediate cartridge, drop the detachable magazine.
    it is a shoulder fired weapon
    it is intended to be used as a personal weapon, not a squad weapon
    it fires a rifle cartridge (and that includes .30M1 carb)
    it can fire either full- or semiauto

    it is an assault rifle

    The essence is in the capability to fire either semi or full

    In other words: Everything from M2 to BAR

    • Don

      It doesn’t necessarily have to be fired from the shoulder… What about the pistol versions? That is where I think the detachable magazine part comes in. I think whomever coined the term “assault rifle” used that aspect of the definition to cover Uzi’s, Mac10’s, MP5’s and such… The general public, the media and all the anti’s out there have skewed the definition to mean anything that they think looks menacing and has a detachable magazine.

  • Joel. k

    Just call them automatic carbines? Or automatic rifles if they have a 20inch+ barrel? Thats how we define them in sweden, doesn’t matter if they are semi or select, just automatic and carbine or rifle depending on barrel length. Makes more sense to me

  • lbeacham

    Mine is a “personal protection rifle” since I don’t assault.

  • HenryV

    Let me get this clear then, the question is what shall we call the long arm in modern musketry? 🙂

  • MPWS

    Everything is potentially fuzzy term. Look at the word “gun” itself.
    What is it?
    Water-gun, air-gun, laser-gun, welding-gun, in-your-crotch-gun…. or what else?? Extremely fuzzy, just like the mentioned “offence-rifle”.

  • Guest

    If the govt. could find a way to outlaw semi auto rifles,shotguns,and pistols,they would start calling bolt action,lever action,and pump action weapons,bolt action,lever action,and pump action assault weapons,as in “I have a bolt action assault rifle. They still can’t get past calling a magazine a “clip”,they get all their info from hollywood.

    • Kivaari

      Like those very ugly Mossberg lever action .30-30s, having plastic stock furniture and M1913 rail sections. One even has a telescoping stock ala M4. They assault the senses.

  • Guest

    Hitler named the stg 44 which translated into English is storm rifle 44.Stermgewehr means storm rifle not assault rifle.

    • Kivaari

      But Germans use the “sterm” terminology as we use assault. Assault troops or storm troopers. Finland uses RK as assault-storm kivaari (rifle).

  • The rest of the state wishes they could get rid of Chicago and Cook county.


      No, they don’t.

      Because the gun-haters in Chicago and Cook County are paying the taxes that pay for the rest of the state to collect farm subsidies, welfare, and medicaid. You know, being that’s where the jobs are.

      • Yes – we do. I can assure you that we would trade Chicago to Wisconsin in a heartbeat.

  • manBear

    Just google it – make sure you’re not at work when you do though



    This entire post crosses over your laudable self-declared line about firearms, not politics. Perhaps this one would have been better posted on Nathaniel’s blog not here.

    It’s impossible to get into labels and descriptions of what is/isn’t, should/shouldn’t be referred to (by whom? in what context?) as an assault rifle, without getting into politics.

    Now, if we wanted to have an interesting debate in the article or in the comments about how the military has changed its definition of what the phrase means, that might be interesting if academic. But if you post something like this on a site like this, that covers current events in the industry and around the world, it’s a slippery slope to the obvious problem that we’re a long way from the tractor shed in Stalingrad when Ivan and Jerry were actually duking it out with assault rifles (some, anyway) and the sad reality is most Americans associate the phrase with active shooters here at home these days. And that is a topic you have correctly chosen to avoid covering here on TFB.

    It’s not my job as a reader to tell you guys how to do your jobs as editors, but I think this post crosses some line that if you stand back and think about it for a minute, you’ll probably agree you don’t want to cross. The whole point of the post (from the headline, to the graphics, to the cheezy self-congratulatory tone) is off base.

    We’re not retiring any vocab. If you want to do that, go get a job in government and waste the rest of your life trying to ban words. The world doesn’t work like that. Neither does the internet. If what you are suggesting is self-censorship by enthusiasts and gun owners, you ought to know better. Where’s that stop? Burkhas? Burning books? Live and let live and back off with telling other people how they ought to. It’s a free country. You’d think the 2nd Ammendmentists of all constituencies would understand the pointlessness — the wrongness — of telling other Americans what they ought to think, and say, and do, and write. Let alone, each other.

    Aim higher.

  • LiberalsH8Me

    As much as it would be great to see that term go away, it won’t. The lib media and democrats will never allow it to. I’ve had to explain this to many of my friends who thought AR=Assault Rifle. The best thing to do is educate your friends and family whenever possible, and never use the term yourself pretty much ever.

  • ozzallos .

    I’m just going to come right out and say this– It’s time to stop caring about the term “assault rifle”. The media and AGs obviously don’t care what the proper definition is and will keep using it if only because they know it bugs you. They don’t know what the defining traits of an assault rifle so long as it fits their narrative of being a weapon of mass destruction. It’s like that kid in grade school mispronouncing your name for no other reason than the fact it annoys you.

    Debating semantics with people who don’t care and purposely warp the definition of words is the wrong way to go about this. You can “retire” assault rifle until you’re blue in the face and it will still be the description of choice for the illiterate anti-gun crowd. It gained you nothing when you should have stood your ground and said, “Yeah, I have one. So what?”
    Being an “assault rifle” is simply a term of convenience for these people, a moniker for describing what appears to be a sentient killing machine in their world view. You know it. They know it. And frankly, it’s time to stop playing word games.

    If they want to attack and ban “assault rifles”, the correct answer is “no”, not play word games.

  • Kevin

    I’ve come around to the way of thinking that classing something like the FAL, G3 or the M14 (or even the SVT40) in the same category as the SMLE, the M1904 etc. etc. as battle rifles is not actually helping anyone. If anything, it just confuses the matter.
    The G3 has more in common with the typical definition of “assault rifle” than it does with the bolt-action “battle rifles” it’s normally lumped in with. The only single difference is the cartridge fired but otherwise a G3 pretty much shares the same overall features as the M16. Similar action, ammo feed device, general range requirement, typical usage and so on – the only real difference is the ammunition.
    I’ve started to call anything like the G3, HK33, M16, FAL etc. etc. as combat rifles in preference to breaking them down into assault or battle.

  • Anthony “stalker6recon”

    The difference between military and civilian rifles, that don’t require an FFL to purchase, is the ability to run them with burst, or full auto. It is a slight difference to be certain, and anyone in the military knows that selecting either of these modes, will result in the most dreaded condition a soldier will ever face, fix bayonet, I am out of ammo. The only weapons we use on full auto, are squad level light machine guns, like the SAW or the not so light M240bravo. Even then, controlled 3-5 round bursts, are the proper way to fire these suppressor weapons. Then you have the larger weapon systems, like the ma’duece and Mk19, also fired in full auto for short bursts.

    So in reality, the civilian version of the M4, has only one difference of consequence, a shorter 14.5 inch barrel as opposed to the 16inch required for non-FFL holders to own. This actually makes the civilian version, more deadly than its military counterpart.

    Gun hating liberals like calling anything they see as “scary”, and assault rifle. Since they are scared of everything, the list is long. They missed out on the fact that during the “clip restrictions” of the 90’s, there wasn’t a single incident where criminals obeyed this restriction, while committing their crimes. Only an idiot would think this restriction actually protected anyone.

    When hi-cap magazines returned to the shelves, crime did not increase and murder rates did not climb, in opposition to everything they believe. In their infinite wisdom, they are “feeling” this ban again.

    How shocking that they, once again, rush to idiotic ideas that don’t work. As the threat grows in this era, they want to further limit our ability to defend ourselves. They can’t grasp the fact that each day, more than a hundred million law abiding gun owners, don’t kill anyone. It is the same as yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow.

    I have a new method to combat this infantile fear of guns. I ask 3 simple questions. First, if they were at one of the mass shootings, and they had a gun, do they think they would save lives, or join in to the indiscriminate killing of innocent people? Then I ask, if your family or friends had a gun, would you feel safe, or worry they would spontaneously murder them? If they answered in fear of their friends and family, then I would question their taste in friends. Lastly, if they do believe they would actually help, and that their friends/family would also help, why are they so adverse to civilians being armed? Everyone in the country would ask this, and the spiderweb of overlapping people would make the entire country safer.

    Or, they could move to shitcago, where everyone is much safer, right?

  • Zobeid

    This is a fabricated problem. The definition of “assault rifle” has always been pretty clear, and Wikipedia is (as usual) pretty close to the mark. Nathanial F is the Emperor of Needless Quibbling, and clearly we do NOT have a problem outside of his fevered imagination.

    An assault rifle is, simply, a firearm designed to fill the functions of both a battle rifle and submachinegun. It’s a compromise between the two, and the exact nature of that compromise will vary.

    But, but. . . What about the ammo? I have no idea how anyone could mistake 6.5x55mm for an assault rifle cartridge. It’s about the design purpose as well as the power level. There are a few true edge cases if you look really hard. . . Is 6.5 Grendel a battle rifle cartridge or an assault rifle cartridge? Hmm. . . Is 30 Carbine a pistol cartridge or an assault rifle cartridge? However, these odd examples don’t invalidate the concept. If the existence of an edge case invalidated the concept, we’d have to throw out half of the dictionary. We can live with a wee bit of ambiguity.

    • Well, actually, it’s a humor article based on the silly semantic arguing I see all the time about whether this or that weapon is an “assault rifle” or not (as if something being an assault rifle materially changes what it can do). I didn’t think the topic was important enough to warrant a serious treatment, but it looks like most people didn’t pick up from the tags and language that the article was supposed to be funny, or at least cute. I’ll have to work on my stand-up routine some more, I guess.

  • Doom

    Assault rifle/ Battle rifle makes sense to me. 3006, .303, .308, 7.92, etc are all battle rifle/ full sized rounds. 5.45, 5.56, 7.62x 39 etc are intermediate, .45, 9mm, .38 special, etc are all pistol rounds.

  • Dave

    The Lewis assault machinegun must drive you guys nuts.

  • Rick Esler

    Actully SG44 or Sturmgewehr would traslate to Storm Rifle.

  • Ken

    The only people that use the term “assault rifle” are people who know nothing about guns. So anti-gunners and the media, basically. And they’re evil death machines according to them. You know, because a firearm is going to go around shooting people all by itself. My firearms are incredibly lazy, because they have not shot anyone.

  • Jeremie Edwards

    There seems to be some confusion on “assault rifles” and “assault weapons” as well as “machine-guns”. I cannot claim to be an expert but let me take a stab at this;

    Assault Rifles: a long rifle that has a select fire mechanism that will allow more than one shot to be fired, in selected mode, with a single pull of the trigger.

    Assault Weapon: Any weapon that the media believes resembles a military weapon in its appearance.

    Machine Gun: A weapon that is not select fire but will continuously fire ballistics once the trigger has been pulled and held. this can range in caliber but they all have one thing in common, they are fully automatic all the time.

    I have fired all of these types of weapons quite a few times, everything from the MK19 to the AR15-22 so I have a bit of experience, but like I said, I am still not an expert.

    If you think I am off on these please let me know.

  • Kivaari

    Remember marine use powdered soap in the shower, it takes longer to pick up.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    ive defined intermediate cartridge as anything shorter than 50 mm legth case……

  • billybob

    Assault rifle denotes intent. Anything you commit an assault with, is an assault weapon!

  • Anon. E Maus

    This is silly. Assault rifle is fine.

  • Elijah Decker

    Agreed, but we’ll need a new term. I propose that we just classify rifles that were at one point or another standard issue for some military’s riflemen as “service rifles.”

  • Brian M

    Oi, Nat, I got a good idea for a name. War carbine!

  • Ilai

    Mmm…no it’s not! Many painkillers, anti-inflammatory and other medications were invented and ultimately tested in the concentration camps…so, according to this logic we should all give those up…right? A lot of great inventions had to do with violence, suffering and many other words that may not satisfy today’s ethical standards, but yet it doesn’t mean we should use them! And a larger or smaller caliber guns can kill just as well…I think screening people’s mental health history, sensibly minimizing the allowable magazine capacity and banning all automatic rifles would be more than enough to make sure that good guys can shoot their “cool” “black” rifles and the bad buys know that yeah, we still have ’em!