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View Diary: The picture posted on FB by an NRA friend that set me off (316 comments)

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  •  Ignorance of guns (0+ / 0-)

    I've seen a lot of this. "Semi-automatic" sounds really scary, especially when people drop the "semi-" part as they often do. But it's not a practical difference like the difference between fully automatic and not.

    A semi-automatic weapon is one that is fed from a magazine and self-cocks, in other words it chambers the next round at the end of the firing cycle. That means it fires once per trigger pull without any other action in between. This type of action is found in handguns and long guns of varying styles and calibers.

    The primary alternative in handguns is the double-action revolver, which holds ammunition in a cylindrical holder that rotates each successive round into the chamber mechanically. A pull of the trigger pulls back and drops the hammer, thus it fires the round in the chamber and then rotates the cylinder to bring the next round into position. It is only marginally slower than a semi-automatic pistol though it's total round capacity is lower.

    Almost all police departments and military are issued semi-automatic handguns in 9mm ammo size as the standard sidearm. Revolvers are mostly relegated now to small holdout pistols, target pistols, and large, high powered calibers like the famous .44 magnum.

    In rifles, many if not most modern hunting rifles are semi-automatic, though pump action and bolt action still exist. Most shotguns are pump-action, though some high end specialty models are semi-automatic.

    The Sandy Hook shooter used two 9mm semi-automatic handguns, which are a relatively light caliber but have a typically high magazine capacity. Reloading any clip-fed weapon is pretty damned quick, but "speedloaders" for revolvers exist that make it almost as fast.

    As to the rifle, it was a .223 semi-automatic in the AR-15 style, which is designed to look similar to the military M16 series. This resemblance is what makes them popular, for the most part.

    The .223, also known as 5.56mm, is a pretty light cartridge as rifles go. The most common smaller cartridge I can think of is the .22LR, which is pretty damned tiny and is mostly a small game and varmint shooting round, as well as a target shooting round. Most hunting rifles used for large game like deer and such are the .30-06 which is vastly more powerful with incredible range and power. It blows the meager .223 out of the water, like comparing a .44 magnum to the old style police .38 caliber. No comparison in raw power.

    The AR-15 style rifle LOOKS badass though, styled as it is after the standard US military assault rifle. In function, it's no faster than a comparable deer rifle and way less powerful.

    That's why "assault weapons" bans are nonsense proposed as feelgood legislation by people who know nothing about firearms. "Assault weapons" is a scary sounding name for scary looking weapons that are no functionally different or more dangerous than the hunting rifles the same people say are A-OK.

    If I had to, I'd rather be shot with a .223 than a .30-06 or 12ga shotgun. That's because I understand the actual capabilities of the various weapons rather than being influenced by scary names and styling. The styling of the weapon doesn't affect how it hurts me, the size and type of ammunition it fires does.

    TL:DR? Deer rifle or pump action shotgun is WAY worse to be shot by than an "assault rifle" like was used by the Sandy Hook shooter. And that's the unbiased fact.

    "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

    by DarthMeow504 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:51:41 PM PST

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    •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

      I slightly misdescribed the function of the double-action revolver. During the trigger pull, the hammer is pulled back and the cylinder rotated one position to the right, and at the end of the pull the hammer falls on the chamber firing the round in it (if any, a chamber can be empty). Pull the trigger again, the same thing will happen again. Hammer comes back, cylinder advances, hammer falls.

      It's still only marginally slower than a semi-automatic pistol, with the main difference being in ammo capacity, as I said.

      "Is there anybody listening? Is there anyone who sees what's going on? Read between the lines, criticize the words they're selling. Think for yourself, and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet." --Geoff Tate, Queensryche

      by DarthMeow504 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:57:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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