anonymous asked:

Assault rifles are not a thing, assault weapons are (no, seriously, assault rifles look scary but are mechanically not always different than any semi-auto rifle.). Assault weapons are much more dangerous and usually are fully automatic weapons. An assault rifle is a false classification based upon how a rifle looks. Also some professionals use laser sights, they assist in accuracy in dark situations as well as longer range accuracy.

Well, there is almost nothing correct in this response whatsoever.

The repudiation of assault rifle as a term has been coming from the anti-gun control crowd for awhile, and while I’m sure the NRA would like to memory hole the term, the argument that it’s not a real term is completely unsupportable. The general complaint is that “assault rifle” is a scary term, and that because they don’t plan to assault anyone with theirs, clearly the term doesn’t apply, so they want to remove it from the lexicon. Which isn’t how language works; nor weapon classification, for that matter.

An assault rifle is a select fire automatic rifle that uses intermediate rifle rounds. What it looks like is completely irrelevant (as are it’s internal mechanics, for the most part). One of the only things the anon said that’s marginally accurate is that a civilian variant assault rifle, without a full auto or burst fire setting should be considered something else. Of course, at that point, they’re almost never willing to identify the weapon as it’s next closest relative, the varmint rifle.

Since you won’t see people jumping up and down saying, “no, you don’t understand, this semi-auto-only SIG550 I have is actually just a high-capacity varmint rifle. See, it fires .223 and everything!” So we’re left with the civilian variant of an assault rifle, which may be a mouthful, but is technically accurate.

Incidentally, if you take the exact same external frame for a rifle and rechamber it in a high power round, you get a battle rifle. Which is the current situation with the FN SCAR, which is available for sale in both varieties. When chambered for 5.56x45mm, it’s an assault rifle. Chambered for 7.62x51mm, it’s a battle rifle.

The term assault rifle originates with the German StG 44. StG being short for ”Sturmgewehr.” This was a select fire automatic rifle, chambered in 8mm Kurz fielded by the Wermacht in the final years of World War II. Supposedly, the name Sturmgewehr was selected by Hitler personally for it’s propaganda value.

For those of you who don’t speak German, the language is rather enamored with creating compound words on the fly. Sturm is a cognate for storm, with the same secondary meanings, so depending on context, this can refer either to the weather phenomena or to attack or assault. Gewehr literally translates to gun or rifle (both are completely valid choices, depending on context). So the direct translation of Sturmgewehr as Assault Rifle is accurate, and not a product of someone coming up with a term, and then kludging the translation backwards. If it was 1945, and you wanted to say the translation was Storm Gun, you probably could have gotten away that, and you’d be seeing people complaining about how their firearm isn’t a storm gun, because they never hunt when it’s rainy.

If you’re curious, the term battle rifle originated to differentiate automatic rifles chambered in heavier cartridges from assault rifles. Specifically the M14, FN FAL, H&K G3, and the BAR. (Arguably, you can exclude the BAR from this this list because it predates the StG44, and some people do.)

Also, worth remembering it’s the Sturmgewehr, not the Angriffwaffen.

Assault weapon is (or was) a real US Military term as well, but it’s not what you’re thinking of. Assault weapons are an obscure class of close support explosive launchers designed for neutralizing light armor vehicles and emplacements, at medium range. There’s a handful of these, they fall somewhere between a grenade launcher and RPGs. Some were rifle grenades, while others had dedicated launchers. If I’m bluntly honest, I don’t know much on the subject, because they’re a fairly obscure bit of military weapon technology from the late 70s and early 80s.

Now, I do have to give you partial credit, the laser sight is one way to improve visibility in low light conditions. They’re also one of the worst possible solutions to that problem, because you’re announcing to your victim that, “hey, I’m pointing a gun at you.

Night sights/glow sights, and reflex sights all accomplish the same end result without literally sticking a dot on your opponent.

Lasers can be quite useful in close quarters, when the person wielding the gun is inexperienced. It helps them to judge exactly where their pistol is pointed in a clear, and difficult to screw up, way. For someone who carries a gun for self defense, but hasn’t spent enough time on the range to really be comfortable with it, they work. You can think of laser sights as “training wheels for guns,” if you want.

Night sights replace the normal targeting beads on a pistol with ones that will be more visible in low light situations. These may be transparent plastic and designed to catch and redirect available light, or they may simply be colors designed to be more visible in low light conditions. Also the exact steps necessary to install them will vary wildly depending on the pistol in question.

As with assault rifles, reflex sights are nothing new, but they have become far more prevalent in recent years. The basic idea is that you have a scrim mirror setup, and you project a point of light onto that (usually a green or red LED with modern sights). When viewing through the sight, you’ll see a dot approximating where the weapon will fire, similar to a laser, but without actually painting the target. These can be useful at close and medium ranges to put a round where you want, quickly.

Unfortunately, you can’t use lasers for long range targeting with a bullet. As it turns out, bullets are physical objects, and they are affected by things like gravity. At short range this isn’t particularly noticeable, but if you’re trying to draw a bead on something at long range, then you need to adjust for bullet drop, and other factors that will affect a physical object, but not a focused beam of light.


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