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Thread: Non-partisan PSA: machine guns, full-auto, semi-auto, assault weapons...

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    Non-partisan PSA: machine guns, full-auto, semi-auto, assault weapons...

    This is for informational purposes only, to educate and inform.

    Many people are not fully informed on what, exactly, is a machine-gun, an assault weapon, or the difference between full-auto and semi-auto, and how it applies to modern society and existing gun control laws. If you'd like to be better informed, read on.


    The term Machine-gun is often misused to mean any weapon capable of full-auto fire, or even any weapon that LOOKS like a military rifle. In point of fact the term machine-gun refers to fully automatic weapons that are typically fired from a mount of some kind: a bipod, tripod or vehicle mount. Machine-guns are used for "suppression fire", that is spraying down an area with bullets, not so much to kill the enemy as to force the enemy to take cover and interfere with the enemy's ability to fire effectively.


    This is a machine-gun:




    Full-auto: Full auto (or fully automatic) means the weapon fires repeatedly as long as the trigger is held down, until it runs out of ammo or overheats or jams. This is a characteristic of all machine-guns, and some but not all "assault rifles".

    Selective fire: Typically a feature of actual military assault rifles, this is a selector switch which allows the user to choose single-shot, burst, or full-auto fire. Some military rifles have only single-shot and burst and lack a full-auto setting.

    Burst: a mode of fire related to full-auto in which one trigger pull typically fires 3-5 rounds sequentially. Bursts can also be performed with full-auto weapons by squeezing and releasing the trigger. Burst fire is generally preferred to full-auto for aimed fire because recoil ("kick") impairs accuracy greatly. Bursts are more controllable than full auto fire.

    Semi-auto: This mode of fire is one trigger pull = one shot fired. Semi-auto is often preferred for aimed fire due to its per-shot accuracy. While a semi-auto weapon can be used to fire rapidly, it will not fire as rapidly as full auto or burst fire, and the faster one fires the worse one's accuracy due to recoil issues.

    Assault Rifle: This is a military rifle capable of selective fire. Weapons not capable of selective fire (no burst, no full auto, just semi-auto only) are not considered Assault Rifles by the military, and are typically not used by the military.

    This is a military assault rifle:



    Full-auto weapons, selective-fire weapons, and military assault rifles are all restricted in the USA and available only under Class III licenses, which are typically difficult and expensive to obtain.

    For the most part, American civilians are limited to semi-auto-only rifles, which may (such as with the AR-15 and AK-47) LOOK almost exactly like the military assault rifles, but which differ because they are single-shot per trigger pull only.


    This is a civilian model AR-15:





    You will notice it is almost identical to the military assault rifle pictured above, aside from some accessories. The most critical difference is that the civilian rifle is only capable of semi-auto fire, and does not have burst or full-auto capability.


    This is another common semi-auto rifle:




    While it differs greatly in appearance, it is functionally much the same as the AR-15 above, being a semi-auto magazine-fed .223 rifle.


    "Assault Weapon" is a term whose origin is primarily political rather than military or technical. Its meaning can vary greatly depending on the source. It is typically used to refer to any class, type or brand of firearm that the source wishes to label as being too dangerous for public ownership. While semi-auto AR's and AK's are almost always included, some bills have labeled many semi-auto (single shot per trigger pull) firearms as "assault weapons", including this popular .22 rifle used for small game and target sports:





    There you have it: be informed and know what you're talking about, it will help you express yourself clearly.
    Last edited by Goshin; 10-05-17 at 01:42 PM.

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    "I used to roll the dice; see the fear in my enemies' eyes... listen as the crowd would sing, 'now the old king is dead, Long Live the King.'.."

  2. #2
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    Re: Non-partisan PSA: machine guns, full-auto, semi-auto, assault weapons...

    Addendum: the ATF does refer to any weapon capable of autofire, that is multiple shots per trigger pull, as a "machine gun", including full auto rifles. This differs from military terminology and is used for legal purposes. All "machine guns" are either banned or restricted under Class III licenses with background checks, storage requirements, and the possibility of random spot-checks by authorities. In many cases a local law enforcement authority must sign off on or be informed of a person's Class III purchases.

    Fiddling While Rome Burns
    ISIS: Carthago Delenda Est
    "I used to roll the dice; see the fear in my enemies' eyes... listen as the crowd would sing, 'now the old king is dead, Long Live the King.'.."

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