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CrazedJava 03-06-2013 05:53 PM

What is a Military Sporting Rifle?
In the ongoing battle for gun rights, I know we are fighting a battle of language. As such it is not surprising to see gun rights advocates trying to rebrand. Unfortunately, like so many hobbyists, they tend to use language that sounds differently to their ears than to the layman. This is something I am all too familiar with. I work in a field where I routinely deal with people who are so engrossed in their jargon that they forget what an ordinary person might hear versus what they might hear. I see it going on right now with the battle for gun rights.

Let's call a spade-a-spade. An AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle. In some cases, or maybe in many common configurations, I'd be willing to refer to it as a semi-automatic carbine. The AR-15 does have military roots as do other so-called "Military Sporting Rifles", but there is nothing special or distinctive about an AR-15 that deserves this title.

Also, to a non-gun person, "Military Sporting Rifle" does not sound that much safer than "Assault Weapon". When politicians talk about "Weapons of War", the word military has a close association. "Sporting" is also vague and makes it seem like ownership of such an item is superfluous. As someone who believes a person should have what they need to adequately defend themselves, I do not like to make any firearm sound like it is superfluous, trivial, unnecessary, or pointless.

I think part of this attempt to rebrand is to make sure AR-15's still sound cool. Calling it an semi-automatic rifle puts it in the same category as a whole bunch of boring hunting rifles. Might as well be a Fudd if I have to call my AR-15 a "semi-auto". Is that it? Somehow gun owners want their cake and eat it to. They want to preserve the tacticool image while also maintaining these are not "weapons of war".

Pick one.

In the public eye we are losing the battle over the language. We have been for a long time. We do ourselves no favors by getting into semantic arguments over magazines vs. clips, like the language matters. Will you be happier if you're limited to a 10 round magazine instead of a 10 round clip? Does it matter what we call it after our rights are infringed?

Likewise, I think the term "Assault Weapon" is probably here to stay, or at least we have a long uphill battle since it has been applied to military-style weapons for a long time now.

If we're going to make an argument that AR-15's or civilian versions of popular military rifles are not actual military weapons, we're going to have to demystify them. I'm not going to deny that an Arsenal AK is built on a military platform, but I would be quick to point out that what I can legally purchase in regards to one is not an actual military weapon. I'm also happy to point out how many weapons we use today have military roots, or that other weapons not being considered for banning were once in common use by the military. We have benefited from military technology, not just in terms from firearms, for a very long time now.

The thing is, I get that because a rifle may have descended from a military design and is primarily used for sporting purposes it is tempting to give it a special distinction. Ask your low information American the difference between an "Assault Weapon" and a "Military Sporting Rifle" and I doubt they'll be able to tell you one. In fact, I think we're in danger of making those terms synonymous.

I know it pains you to call your Daniel's Defense Carbine or Bushmaster that you paid big bucks to mount a military grade optic on and hung a whole bunch of other gizmos and doo-dads off of like Christmas Tree ornaments a "semi-automatic rifle". At the same time, we are being tried in the court of public opinion and perception is reality.

I know I may as well be pissing into the wind here, I just think this tactic is not only ineffective, but potentially harmful. I'm all for changing the language and fighting the image battle. I'd prefer to do it in a way that paints gun owners in a positive light.

locutus 03-06-2013 06:13 PM

I like para-military weapon. It's a fairly concise term.

wechols 03-07-2013 01:11 PM

After the Big One, as my dad called WWII, a lot of M1 Garands became very effective hunting weapons for the men who used them in battle. I suppose the lack of pistol grip, collapsible stock and magazine made them SAFE for these "commoners" who had just rescued the world.

CrazedJava 03-07-2013 01:54 PM


Originally Posted by wechols (Post 1167148)
After the Big One, as my dad called WWII, a lot of M1 Garands became very effective hunting weapons for the men who used them in battle. I suppose the lack of pistol grip, collapsible stock and magazine made them SAFE for these "commoners" who had just rescued the world.

Funny, I was thinking of Garands and Springfields as I wrote the above. In a sense, wouldn't these also be "Military Sporting Rifles"?

Granted, the anti-gunners would love to get rid of Garands to, but they are not scary looking enough to be tried in the court of public opinion so they get a pass...for now.

NY has made it clear that they will not be satisfied with 10 round limits or only banning just the scary looking rifles. We facilitate those efforts by helping them make these distinctions.

Come to think of it, the Garand can't be loaded with a full 8 rounds now in NY. Fun times.

danf_fl 03-07-2013 04:47 PM

Remember that DHS has "Personal Defense Weapons" that look and function like the military "Assault Rifle", but the normal citizen who owns the same platform rifle (in semi-auto only) has an "Assault Rifle" that has been rarely used in an assault situation.

c3shooter 03-07-2013 07:53 PM

Actually, the term MSR means MODERN Sporting Rifle, not Military......

WebleyFosbery38 03-08-2013 01:07 AM

"This is my weapon, this is my gun, one is for killing, the other for fun"! I dont remember any other terms being necessary to describe the difference between stiff tools that shoot! Nearly all the other terms Ive heard used are less than useful. We get so wrapped up in the semantics they are twisting around our necks that we lose every time.

When it boils down to it, even a MG is likely a Semi, which can also fire a single round if you dont pull the trigger twice! WTF does any of this matter? Weve been led down this road of defending our guns and now they are even challenging our rights to defend ourselves! After all, crooks dont come in pairs or more with more than one gun, and we can just have our wives fire the DB shotgun out the back door.

JTJ 03-08-2013 01:01 PM

There is no such thing as a military sporting rifle and it is not a good idea to coin that phrase. It is a modern sporting rifle and I suggest you look at the thread called The Difference. Calling it anything else will play into the hands of the banners.

GeneralPatton 03-08-2013 01:27 PM

^^^^ X 2 Well said

Overkill0084 03-08-2013 01:37 PM

I submit that we henceforth refer to our ARs as "My little friend."
We could all call them our soft fuzzy kitty rifles, it doesn't really matter. Getting into a urination competition over terminology is a losing battle. It's not about having the warmest message, it's about having the largest megaphone. Frankly it'll probably come down to who scares the politicians the most: The left and their rogues gallery of useful idiots or the millions of gun owners saying "enough!"

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