Let’s Talk About Terminology – “Modern Sporting Rifle”

    TFB writers typically receive a lot of e-mails. Often, readers are asking us opinions on various weapons, set-ups, or engaging in lively debate on a myriad of topics. Personally, I love it and just wish I could spend more time getting back to those who take their valuable time to seek our input.

    And then, there are times we truly get “hate” mail. An obvious misspelling is worth censure, but the level of passion surrounding the term “Modern Sporting Rifle” is palpable. I’ve personally gotten multiple messages to my usage of the term, some of which have been quite vociferous and truly hateful.

    I choose to use the term myriad of reasons:

    Breadth & Better Descriptor: Weapons design has expanded continuously from their intermediate cartridge progenitors of the AR-15 and AK-47. Firearms designs have proliferated across calibers, action types, and layout. The term “Modern Sporting Rifle” applies to a whole breadth of product that “AR” or “AK” cannot possibly encompass. Modern Sport Rifles applies to Tavor’s, FN2000, MPAR, ACR, SCAR, and numerous other designs.

    Positive Labeling: The term has significant benefits in showing a positive connotation to firearms. I use the weapons for sport (3-gun and hunting) and those are positive uses of weapons. Further “AR”, for better or worse, often has a connotation of “Assault Rifle.” While yes that is technically incorrect for “Armalite Rifle” (and most of our readers understand the difference) there are many who read TFB who are new to firearms and MSR is better descriptor until they have come to understand technical terminology.

    Freshens Up Writing: Constantly using the term “AR” or “AR-style” gets boring and repetitive. Its nice to thrown in some synonyms to keep the language interesting to our readers.

    Short: We could say “AR-type, AK-Type, and similar weapons” to describe the breadth of weapons, but that’s an unnecessarily long set of syllables and typing for what “MSR” or “Modern Sporting Rifle” works just as well.

    Don’t like it? tough cookies.

    I am sure that this will generate its own “hate” mail, but I will warn you, it will be a waste of time. I’m armed with a delete button and know how to use it.

    *The title photo was borrowed from Gun World magazine. 

    Nathan S

    One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

    The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.