Question of the Day: Why NOT Own a Fully-Automatic Rifle?

Imagine you could buy a modern fully-automatic rifle as easily as buying a semi-automatic rifle. No NFA. No ATF (if only). Just stroll into your local gun store, do the business and walk out, full-auto M16 in hand. Good idea? Bad idea? If you could, would you? Why? If not, why not?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

125 Responses to Question of the Day: Why NOT Own a Fully-Automatic Rifle?

  1. avatarDerek says:

    I certainly wouldn’t object to it. I just don’t have a use for a full auto rifle because, mainly, I don’t need to lay covering fire for anyone. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pick up a SAW or some such support weapon and destroy the crap out of some targets, I just don’t think it would be the most practical gun for someone in my situation. Now, I would most definitely pick up a full auto UMP45. I personally believe that a full auto, pistol caliber, short barreled rifle is THE end all be all, bar none, best home/personal defense weapon. That’s my two cents anyway.

    • avatarRetiredE9 says:

      I lugged an MP-5(A3, I think, it had an retractable stock) around when I was in Mogadishu, Somalia during operation Restore Hope. I carried it while on counterintelligence collection trips throughout the neighborhoods near the airport.

      I loved the versatility and lightweight. It was easier than a M-16 to maneuver inside a HUMVEE and It shot the same ammo as my M-9 pistol and, unlike M-16 A1 rounds at the time, would ricochet nicely down a dark ally meaning you didn’t have to expose yourself if you needed to return fire.

      It had a three round burst selector, which is really all you need. Firing fully automatic used up ammo fast and should only be used if you are within 10 yds of whoever is shooting at you. That is WAAY closer than I ever wanted to be!!

      I carried three spare magazines including one magazine connected to the magazine currently loaded. The ammo was much heavier than M-16 ammo and that restricted how much we could carry (more was always better!) plus most of the 9MM ammo was meant for pistols and therefore we didn’t take as much of the 9MM as the M-16 ammo in our deployment kits.

      The MP-5 was easy to clean and the corrosive salt-water environment coupled with high humidity in Mogadishu meant cleaning was required almost every day.

      It was not meant for long firefights, it mainly provided significant short-range firepower to permit you to withdraw from whatever mess you had stumbled into.

  2. avatarKevin says:

    Sure. Why not?

    I can handle the 90 day NFA delay, but not $20,000 prices.

    • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

      My guess is that if we were allowed to own full-auto’s that the NFA rules wouldn’t apply and would allow companies to sell modern (post-ban) weapons to civilians, thus lowering prices to slightly above semi-auto levels (eventually at least).

      • avatarKevin says:

        The price is pretty much completely caused by scarcity. A select fire AR and a semi AR are not significantly different in production cost. It’s 3 swapped parts, a pin and a hole drilled in the receiver IIRC.

        But I could still deal with the NFA process if they didn’t have the 1986 idiocy.

  3. avatarMR.B says:

    It strikes me as comparable to owning a private plane – jets are fast, but once you have to pay for the gas out of your own pocket, most people end up in prop planes… How many people can afford to shoot full-auto on a regular basis?

    • avatarboomenshutzen says:

      +1

    • avatarRightYouAreKen says:

      +2

      Ammo costs would mean shooting it on semi-auto 90% of the time for me. Still, I’d do it if they were available for reasonable prices.

    • +3

      Robb Allen once said that if you wanted to get the experience of shooting full-auto, shoot 3 rounds downrange, take a pencil and poke 27 holes in the ceiling and then burn a 20 dollar bill.

      That’s his impression of what full-auto is like, and he’s pretty much correct…

      • avatarSid says:

        Not even close. Full auto in any caliber can be controlled by the right design.

        The M14 and the FN FAL did not work in full auto because the caliber of the round overpowered the design. The M16 on full auto can be controlled. But hell, 3 round burst can be controlled much easier and it is not allowed.

        The right weapon on full auto would be fun. Mostly, I am thinking of pistol calibers and .22LR.

        • avatarHSR47 says:

          I’ve shot a few machineguns, and the easiest of them to control was by far the M16 that I shot Monday. It was certainly more controllable than either UMP I’ve shot (both 9mm and .45)…

      • avatarRich says:

        Try that analogy with sex, it’s smiilar BUT it aint the same.

    • avatarJeff says:

      FA 22LR = tons of fun without the costs. An M&P 22 or Sig 522 in full auto would be a blast.

      • avatarNukemJim says:

        “FA 22LR = tons of fun without the costs. An M&P 22 or Sig 522 in full auto would be a blast.”

        How about an updated American 180 .22 with small LASER sights and/or an Aimpoint. Up to 176 rounds of ammo, and I could afford to shoot more than a magazine.

        Full auto is fun but affordable full auto say a 10-22 with a full auto option would be fantastic.

        NukemJim

        • avatarI_Like_Pie says:

          There are actually quite a few selector switch 10/22s around. A company made fully auto trigger groups for 10 or so years before the NFA slammed the doors.

          Of course they are about $7000, but I remember in 80/81 they were $150.

    • avatarstyrgwillidar says:

      +++++++++++ Full auto just is’nt affordable, and once you’ve blasted away it’s…meh…

      I would buy one just to have in case they were banned again. I would probably fire it full-auto once, or occasionally let someone else. Other than that it would pretty much become a safe queen.

  4. avatarboomenshutzen says:

    Meh. I couldn’t afford enough ammo to make it fun anyway. I might rent one on my birthday or some other special occasion, but otherwise no. I would no more use a full auto weapon for home defense than I would a grenade launcher. Too much work to redo all the drywall.

  5. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    I’ve rented/donated at charity events various types of full-auto’s… they were all fun, but I don’t see them being practical. However, if NFA was eliminated, I would certainly own more SBR’s, suppressors, etc.

    • avatarTomy Ironmane says:

      While they eat ammo like a fat kid with cake, they burn barrels like they’re going out of style, and half of the designs you find are almost uncontrollable and can cause safety hazards on ranges that are not arranged to handle stray rounds (M14 on semiauto: great! M14 on rock and roll: wasting ammo!), I can still potentially think of a situation where I might actually NEED full auto capability. Haven’t thought of one yet, but I know such things CAN happen, and having a Kalashnikov or an AR platform with rock and roll might make my odds of survival increase.

      Other than that, I think being able to get a short barreled shotgun/rifle without asking “mommy may I?” of some fed puke, or being able to find a suppressor for my rifle that doesn’t cost more than the original rifle might be the shining silver lining of a major NFA overhaul/repeal.

  6. avatarAaron says:

    In principle I’d like to have the right to own one restored, as well as suppressors, SBRs, etc.
    However as someone else (Tom Gresham?) pithily put it,
    “Full Auto is great for turning money into noise.”

    I’ve had a literal blast “renting” full autos at gun places in Vegas and Orlando and of course, at Knob Creek where I kept the rental dudes busy handing me gun after gun for about 30 mins. Left their lower range with a smile on my face and a much lighter wallet…

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      The thing is that, if it were as easy to manufacture a machinegun legally as it now is to manufacture an SBR, then only an idiot would apply to build an SBR.

      Whether or not it is actually configured as a machinegun, if it is REGISTERED as such, it may legally have any length barrel on it by virtue of that classification. Thus, a machinegun can also be an SBR without any additional stamp.

      Were it not unconstitutionally prohibited, I doubt I would ever purchase self-cycling long-arm that was not capable of fully automatic fire. Whether or not I chose to always use it in such a manner, there’s no reason *not* to be able to.

  7. avatarGossven says:

    Would it be cool to own something full auto? Hells yeah, but how quickly would the novelty wear off?

    I’m with Patrick I would probably take advantage of NFA going away with the purchase of an SBR or a suppressor. Or an SBR AND a suppressor :D

  8. avatarBob H says:

    I wouldn’t. I don’t have a problem with people who can pass the NICS check owning one, but I don’t have a use for one.
    My reasons break down as follows:
    While it is a blast to shoot full auto occasionally, the ammunition cost would be prohibitive for practice. When you can dump 30 rounds downrange in seconds an hour’s at the range could easily run $300-$400.
    I use my guns for self defense and soon for USPSA/IDPA competition. In neither case would full auto be useful. 3 round burst MIGHT be useful (if allowed) in 3-gun, but that isn’t on my schedule as yet.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      As far as I’m concerned, the NICS check is only to check for “prohibited offenses” which was only added to U.S. law in 1968 with the GCA, and is an idea copied DIRECTLY from the NAZI weapon control laws of the 1930′s.

      Quite honestly, the idea of prohibiting any free person from possessing arms is foreign to this country.

      Do I have a problem with ex-cons owning and using arms? In principal no, in practice maybe.

      By all means have laws against the use of arms in the commission of a crime, but don’t criminalize the ownership of arms due to past offenses. As far as I’m concerned, arms are as essential to life as is food and air; Without them there is no freedom, only slavery.

  9. From what I’ve seen of how things in the various infantries of the world works, full auto is used for suppression, to keep the target’s head down and under cover until other members of the fire team/squad/section/platoon/company/whatever can close and engage with the the enemy, or else it as used as the weapon to neutralize the enemy after others have engaged and fixed them in place.
    (Disclaimer: I am not a veteran, nor a Tier 1 anything. I could be wrong on this, and probably am.)

    I don’t need a rifle/SMG for those purposes. Nor do I need a full auto for competition or self-protection. I don’t need one, and can’t afford to shoot one if I had it.

    Given all of that, do I think they should be legal to build and own automatic weapons without all the folderol we have go through now?

    OH HECK YES.

    “Need” or “want” has nothing to do with natural rights. Just because I don’t see a use for it doesn’t mean it should be illegal. I don’t see a use for bad tasting beer, astroturf and the DH, but I’d advocate for the banning of two of the three.

  10. avatarJoel says:

    I would only buy one that I could select semi of full as I would only use full on a RARE occasion to have fun. The fun for me with firearms is seeing how good of a shot I am not in how much damage I can inflict. With that said if there was no NFA I would instantly buy a suppressor as I would love to protect my hearing more as well as the hearing of those around me.

  11. avatarBrad Kozak says:

    I think we should have the right to own full-auto weapons without onerous restrictions and taxes that can only be described as confiscatory. However, my only interest personally in a full-auto weapon would be to leave it in three-round burst mode.

    However, I’d LOVE to own suppressors for every gun I own.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      In general, mechanical means of attaining bursts of fire that are above and beyond the user’s own control of the trigger are, by and large, a hardware solution to a software problem.

      With proper training and/or practice, anyone can achieve good trigger control, and not need additional complexity in the trigger mechanism to allow them to consistently fire in short controlled bursts.

  12. avatarHunter S. says:

    I would love one…. it’s select fire anyway! +1 to the pistol cartridge subs… Uzi’s & UMP’s…what a blast that would be.
    Plus if they weren’t a restricted or black market item the free market would bring the prices down immensely.
    Not to mention suppressors and short barreled guns… could you imagine sawing off your own shotgun without asking your national oppressors and it being legal??
    Restore property rights!! Down with the NFA!!

  13. avatarluagha says:

    Good idea.
    I would like to train with exactly the same weapon the US Military uses.
    I would like young people growing up to be able to train with exactly the same weapons the US Military uses.

    Without pointless laws restricting and forbidding them (save a standard ‘instant check’ for felonies and the like) they would be perfectly reasonable to own and occasionally shoot; for pleasure, discipline, breadth of skill, and readiness.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      Those “instant checks for felonies” are no more American than the rest of the NFA nonsense. In fact, they were only introduced to America by the 1968 GCA, and originated in the 1930′s era NAZI weapons law(s).

  14. avatarSean says:

    I couldn’t afford to feed any full auto gun.

    • avatarHunter S. says:

      But with an actual market for full-auto guns don’t you think there would be a .22LR conversion kit for some guns?? Or just full auto .22LR that were stand alones… What a blast! There wouldn’t be enough empty coke cans in the world…

      I’ll say it again… if the government would quit restricting and regulating America’s market for firearms we would see innovations like we have never seen. And wouldn’t it be great if we as Americans had access to the great firearms being produced outside of the country? Some gun manufacturers have the money and lawyers to navigate the bureaucratic nightmare of that process but most do not.

      If you want to look at a industry where there is relatively low regulation and high rates of advance and innovation then look at television and home entertainment. New products enter the market almost every day at luxury prices and then a year (or two) later the middle class Joe can buy it. Who do you know who doesn’t have an LCD or plasma?? They are cheap because of the free market and because the feds have for the most part stayed out of it. Contrast that with the medical industry (or automobiles, telecom, agriculture etc.) where prices only go up.

      • I shot a suppressed, full-auto .22 AR a few years ago.

        Holee-crap, was that a fun gun to shoot. Best time behind a trigger in my life. If the NFA rules were relaxed to allow such things to be easily purchased by mere mortals like myself, they’d be flying off the shelves.

  15. avatartodd says:

    anything belt feed…….

  16. avatarChaz says:

    The Russian AN-94 “Abakan” (5.45 x 39 mm) could be interesting albeit not particularly practical. It’s claim to fame is the ability to fire a two round burst so quickly that the second shot essentially follows the first shot into the same hole.

    During this 2 shot burst at 1800 rpm, shooter feels only a single recoil from the 2 shots combined only afterwards both bullets leave barrel. Furthermore these 2 shots sound like one. This feature is called asymmetric recoil.

    Might be useful for defending against dangerous game.

  17. avatarcrosswiredmind says:

    I wouldn’t own a full-auto. I prefer precision shooting. On those occasions where I did shoot a full-auto, I still tried to use controlled bursts and shot for accuracy. It was fun, but not everyday.

  18. avatarG.R. Mead says:

    I will say this. There should be no restrictions. BUT …

    The fully automatic weapon invites and supplies indiscriminate fire.
    That invitation and capability alters the mind of the person using a weapon.
    I will note four other things.

    1) World War I was a disaster — precisely because indiscriminate weapons (machine guns, gas etc.) changed the mindset of the combatants to maximize mass destruction rather than seek and achieve limited but durable tactical and strategic objectives.

    2) We won World War II with semi-automatic battle rifles, and autos were for very special needs — trench clearing, covering fire, etc.– but the semi-auto rifles did the heavy work — because they were disriminate, precise, team-deployed, and conservative of logistically precious ammunition.

    3) We have fought two major wars now with routinely fully automatic weapons available to the infantry: Vietnam and Afghanistan. The results are not encouraging, and most reports say full auto is relatively little used in Afghanistan.

    4) Case in point — the Argentines battled the Brtis in the Falklands — the Argentines had the full auto metric FAL, the Brits had the semi-auto inch-pattern L1A1 version. ‘Nuff said.

    • avatarSid says:

      You are not a very good student of history. You assertions are wholly without merit.

      • avatarHSR47 says:

        This.

        WWI was the bloodbath it was mostly due to bad tactics and/or training (learning to fight the last war just in time for the next), new tactics (trench warfare), and improper heavy hardware and tactics to defeat entrenched static emplacements.

        WWII avoided outcome of WWI for the most part, due to the proper tools to defeat static emplacements, as well as the tools to move manpower and material significantly past the prepared axis of defense of your opponent(s) in a relatively short period of time.

        In effect, WWI was a bloodbath because the technology and tactics caused the participants to spend most of their time defending or attacking prepared fighting positions without the proper tools to move through the enemy’s defensive line faster than he could build up defenses to fall back to. WWII avoided this for the most part due to the ability to push through an enemy’s prepared position(s) and advance faster than they could erect wholly effective defenses.

        Vietnam and Afghanistan are both examples of improper tools, training, and/or tactics, and to a greater degree they are both examples of military successes labeled as political defeats — the whole “the military won the war, and congress lost it” thing which is 100% true for Vietnam, and is seemingly going to become true of Afghanistan as well if the current establishment has it’s way.

        As for the Falklands, seriously, come on. You have trained Brits on one side, and the private army of a third world despot on the other; Who do you honestly expect to come out the victor?

    • avatarDevsAdvocate says:

      Err, wrong on pt. 4

      The second the Brits could get their hands on full-auto FALs, they ditched their L1A1s.

      • avatarForce Majeure says:

        Really, now? You sound pretty sure of yourself, but I’ve never read a reliable citation, even an anecdote, of that factoid. It’s an urban myth.

        No disciplined soldier “ditches” government equipment in favor of a rifle picked up off a battlefield. That’s a court martial offense.

        The Brits were trained in semi-automatic fire. As soldiers, it is doubtful that they would abandon their own firing discipline in favor of spray-and-pray. Or that their leaders would allow them to.

        Spare parts don’t interchange, either. The only compatibility between the Argentine metric FAL and the UK inch FAL is ammunition. And the Brits needed it: They were issued 160 rounds at a time, and they *did* run dry — shooting on semiautomatic. Imagine how quickly they’d go empty if they were permitted to spray and pray?

        In addition, the Brits *did* have full-auto FAL rifles, they were called L2A1s, and they used in the same role as the BAR. But, they didn’t work so well. None of these 7.62 selective-fire rifles work so great in rock-and-roll mode; they jam (sometimes on the second round), they overheat rapidly, and the only way you can keep shots on target is by using a bipod.

        There’s a reason, many reasons actually, why full-auto 7.62s weigh 23 pounds, as does the M60.

        • avatarHSM says:

          Full auto doesn’t force one to fire the whole mag in one go but it gives the user choices.

          Choices are good.

  19. avatarAndy Freeman says:

    > Case in point — the Argentines battled the Brtis in the Falklands — the Argentines had the full auto metric FAL, the Brits had the semi-auto inch-pattern L1A1 version.

    Are you seriously suggesting that the only difference was the guns?

    • avatarG.R. Mead says:

      No. Only that the difference in the rifles made no difference. And suggesting that over-relying on the effects of the machine, leads to problems in training the soldiers to use any weapon to best effect. Training matters more.

      @Sid: Show beats tell.

  20. avatarstateisevil says:

    The only reason that full-auto’s are restricted is that they are not that missed (ammo considerations). In a world where no one bought pink guns, the state would ban them………… OMG, I just remembered that NY state did try to do this. Anyway, something that people don’t KNOW they miss is foreign competition in semi-autos. We can thank Bush I for the “import ban” executive order in 1991. Which Bush II could have rescinded and didn’t. Which Rick Perry could rescind but won’t etc, etc.

  21. avatarChris Dumm says:

    If the NFA were repealed, would I buy a full-auto? Probably, but it would probably be a .22 rimfire. I’ve shot a .22 pseudo-Gatling gun. It was a scream for an afternoon, but the novelty would wear off *very* quickly if each burst cost $5.

    Ammo doesn’t grow on trees, and I don’t even want to think about how expensive 3-gun competitions would be if everyone was shooting full-auto or 3-round bursts.

    Even in an ideally logical legal/political environment, I believe that *some* additional regulation of full-autos (compared to non-NFA guns) is probably warranted, because unlike SBRs or suppressors or AOWs, full-autos require much more training and brains to operate safely.

  22. avatarJeff O. says:

    Heck yes!

    I’d love to own a real Tommy gun.

    And one of those full-auto, scale replica .50 cals that shoot belts of .22lr.

    And a silencer for every gun I own.

  23. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I love machine guns but we can’t own them in Lil Rhody. I’ve shot a few different models and they sure are fun, but most people suck when it actually comes to hitting the target. I took a friend who owns a machine gun but rarely shoots it to the range, and his first and only try took out a few lights and lit up the ceiling. My first thought was that I’d be banned for life, but since I didn’t even get a chance to touch the gun the range officer just made him put it away.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      That’s why you never start out on full-auto; You ALWAYS shoot at least a few rounds on semi-auto to get used to the way it recoils.

      I’ve shot full auto a few times, and I’ve never had much difficulty keeping the firearm on target.

  24. avatarLeo says:

    Well most here are failing to see that most modern full auto rifles/sub-rifles come with a semi setting as well. Having the availability to go full auto will definitely make things more fun and in the event you need to suppress multiple enemies an AK 74 with a whole crate of surplus ammo wouldn’t really cost that much.

  25. avatarJay W. says:

    Well then, why don’t we just let people age 16 and on up to 80, 90 or more years of age, with just some basic training and testing, have control over a 2,000 pound plus machine that is capable speeds exceeding 100 mph? A machine that is involved in (notice I didn’t say causes), approximately 50,000 deaths per year in the United States of America!

    Oh – that’s right. We already do that!

    • avatarumbrelladoc says:

      Interesting analogy
      Are you suggesting that:
      1) every gun owner be licensed by the state, after passing a written and practical test?
      2) every firearm be registered with the state?
      3) different licenses and proficiency tests for larger or powerful guns?
      4) that owning a gun, like driving is not a right but a privilege?

      The thing is – I would be in favor of these things, and with registration and licensing allow for gun owners to have some of the things that are currently banned – full auto, suppressors, etc.

      So if we say that the right to bear arms includes handguns for personal defense, but larger weapons, full auto, suppressors, etc. require licensing, registration, training, proof of competency, like car ownership, will you all support that?

  26. avatarWill Litten says:

    Already been said by every one else. It would be fun to have a real M14 or 1919 but I have no use for it. I don’t find myself in need of laying suppressing fire against advancing hordes of wild boar or crack addicts. I imagine cost would be less of a factor than most people think if full auto weapons were as easy to aquire as semi auto weapons. People would be burning through a lot more ammo, hopefully bringing the cost down.

    • avatarHSR47 says:

      The fact that the government has decided that you can’t/shouldn’t have them is exactly why you need them….

  27. avatarRalph says:

    Please pass me a select-fire AK, and thank you very much.

  28. avatarAlexander says:

    Surely. Why not?
    The only problem – is ammunition price. This thing consumes tons of it!
    But for SHTF Day, it’s better to have one. No one is force you to own only one rifle, isn’t it?

  29. avatarDevsAdvocate says:

    Select-fire AKs wouldn’t be too expensive to shoot. Dirty and corrosive, yes. But expensive, no.

  30. avatarDick says:

    I dearly miss my M60.

  31. avatarKim du Toit says:

    Would.

    A full-auto AK-47 would be grand. And that “selector switch” would be set more on “semi-” than “full”, just to save the wallet — but full auto is a good thing to have, for the same reason that it’s good to have a car which can drive at 100mph, even though the speed limit is only 70.

    It’s just in case…

  32. avatarchris says:

    Because ammo is expensive and some of us aren’t on welfare and work for a living!

    (of course, I’d still like one)

  33. avatarAD says:

    Oh to have a Thompson 1928!
    Heaven.

  34. avatarern says:

    Honestly, I can go over to the Targetmaster near Philly and shoot full auto on a rented gun, and that’s good enough for me. Ammo is too expensive. I wouldn’t bother with a full auto weapon. But I wouldn’t begrudge anyone the opportunity of buying one if that’s what they wanted. Firing full auto is a fun experience, but 98% of the time, I’d be firing semi anyway.

  35. avatarAndyJ says:

    If I can’t afford the ammo to practice and stay proficient with a weapon, I should have a chocolate one. Cause it will be taken away and I’ll have to eat it. -My Grandfather’s advice. Single shot or ful auto…Know how to use it. Handle it safely. Always remember that there is no such thing as an unloaded gun… Practical aside against owning a full auto-ATF warrentless entry at any time… I try to live my life so that I raise no dust for anyone. Make the govt unnecessary. Maybe they’ll go away

  36. avatarwannabe says:

    Simply can’t afford it and don’t need it. No problem with those that can and do.

    I’m mainly concerned with speed combined with accuracy and FA doesn’t lend itself to that. As far as my homeland defense weapon… my semi-auto AR15 is a devastating weapon already, FA would be only marginally more so.

  37. avatarNeo says:

    If a poor dumb farmer from a 3rd world country can own a fully automatic AK-47 with a grenade launcher, why can’t somebody educated in the US public school system.

  38. avatarwalt says:

    The question isn’t about what an automatic weapon is good for. The question isn’t about how much fun you could have, or whether you know how to use one, or whether you want one or don’t want one. The question isn’t about how expensive the ammunition or hardware is. The question is about whether the government has a good and/or legal reason to forbid ownership. The answer, I suspect, lies in the quite proper fear that our ruling class has, that they could be out-gunned in the revolution their decisions could righteously cause.

  39. avatarSigivald says:

    I’d get one more or less as a plinking toy (like an American 180 rather than an AR, probably).

    No real utility base, but it’d be fun.

    I’d prefer a SMG to a rifle

    (PS. Some script here on this site really sucks whenever I type in the text entry box and is killing my browser performance.

    So, uh, stop that? Thanks?)

  40. Yes I would favor that if for the only reason we could STOP cutting up receivers coming from overseas that the US made for past conflicts. Seeing a tri-cut Thompson SMG is heartbreaking… to think it went overseas to the USSR that couldn’t use it because they didn’t do 45ACP, then they got stored in cosmoline in caves, and are now pulled out and then cut up for collectors in the US.

    Would I own one? Yes.

    Why? Just to blow off steam at the range… nothing more nor less. And if it had some real history attached to it, the answer is HELL YES.

  41. avatarHarold says:

    I might buy a full auto .45 Thompson just for fun but for everyday shooting I don’t need, or want full auto AND I can’t afford the ammo. HOWEVER; I think we should be allowed the choice.

  42. avatargb_in_tx says:

    The only possible reason why I would balk at it is that I know I’d be tempted to burn up a few mags per range session on full auto just because, and I’m not so sure I’d want to put up that kind of money on ammo.

  43. avatarSal G. says:

    When I grew up in Switzerland, I had a fully automatic assault rifle rifle, with ammunition, in my house. So did everybody else who served in the military (at that time, you stayed in the reserves until age 50), and that was every able-bodied male citizen. No purchase price either, courtesy of the government. These days, service ends at age 32. And when you leave the service, you keep the weapon … but they “fix” it to semi-auto only. But the price is right … and burglary rates in Switzerland are really LOW.

    • avatarSome Sock puppet says:

      I can’t understand, when we have real world examples like Switzerland and Israel, why our government, supposedly one of the “more free” ones has tighter regulations and trusts it citizens less.

      Or maybe I do understand it perfectly well.

  44. avatarSome Sock Puppet says:

    I’d rather have the ability to obtain and not need it then be prevented from it.

    That being said I’d prefer a 3 round burst over full auto.

    It’s never a practicality argument for me. I always want the option. Isn’t that what freedom is? The ability to choose?

    Although, that full auto thompson sounds so much fun. “Deadliest Warrior” had an episode on the Italian mob vs. some other organization and they fired a full auto Thompson.

    Broke my heart when I read the rules on purchasing one.

  45. avatarWayne says:

    “Harry, I’d like you to sell me a fully automatic rifle!”

  46. avatarpyotr says:

    In this day and age, sure I’d have one. But it isn’t the initial expense, it is the upkeep.

    As was once expressed “Full Auto if Mother Nature’s way of saying ‘You have way too much money to squander with cocaine!’”

  47. avatarRS says:

    Certainly the ammunition manufacturers would support this.

    Keeping a machine gun fed is an expensive proposition.

  48. avatarGaston says:

    I do not believe that there should be ANY restrictions on citizens owning any firearms and explosives (note the word citizens as in The Bill of Rights and The Constitution). I could be pursued to accept licensing standards for crew served weapons. If I went to the range and needed a third to help run my anti-tank gun then I would want to know that my pickup operator had basic competency. I am not sure about restricting private use of weapons banned by International treaty. On one hand our military is handicapped with FMJ while citizens can use JHP, but on the other hand I cannot think of a compelling argument for WMD like nerve agent.

  49. avatarwerbaz neutron says:

    Cost aside, lack of realistic need for such aside, I would buy a full auto just to celebrate the Second Amendment. I once had a legal sub but moved it on legally. For defense of home and family against social breakdown, I would much prefer an effective laser technology. I will wait for the technology. In the meantime, all my family members have high-cap automatic 12 gauges with #1 buckshot, Glock 40s with plenty of spare mags, and extensive training including psychological in how to apply such effectively to conserve those supplies of food, water, generator fuel, Rx and etc., etc., in the event of need. Govt. will not ensure safety of my loved ones. It is not interested.

  50. avatarPhineas Whipsnade says:

    There’s an item called “Slidefire.” Fits most AR’s. It is ATF approved and gets you as close as possible to full auto — fires each time you slide the stock forward a bit. Not sure whether it fits AR-22′s though. I’ve seen videos and it looks like fun to shoot! (I have no connection with the company.)

  51. avataravidus says:

    When I served as an NCO in her Majesty’s Canadian Forces I used the C7, our automatic variant of the M16A2. I will admit that firing full auto is fun. It is however difficult to control, with a rifle, once you’re past the first 8-10 rounds. That’s not to say you can’t control it, such just takes training and effort. All soldiers were taught primarily to use the feature for short (3-5) and long (8-10) round bursts.

    Use of full automatic was restricted to very few situations. The predominant use of the rifle was in repetition, or semi-automatic. The only situations full auto was used were the following: fighting through an ambush, breaking contact (through an Aussie Peal-back most often), room clearing (after the two frag grenades had already been pitched in), trench clearing (only individual trenches not a trench network) and defending against air attack (primarily going for FOD damage to the engines not actual hits).

    Contrary to others, if allowed I would own a select fire weapon. Given the increased use of body armour by criminals I believe select fire in tight spaces such as my home would be invaluable.

    Until then I rely on my Saiga-12 and the very nasty Winchester PDX rounds.

    • avatarUSMC2841 says:

      I am not trying to contradict your statement but I remember the M16A2 as being either semi-auto or three round burst. I think this was implemented after Vietnam. Was the C7 capable of full auto?

      • avatarJ.M. Heinrichs says:

        The Canadian Forces believe in proper fire discipline. Thus the C7, C7A1 and C7A2 are select fire, with Repetition and Automatic fire under the soldier’s control. The standard for Auto Fire is the three-round burst, which is easy to learn.

        Cheers

      • avatarKount von Numbacrunch says:

        The M16A1 had full auto capability. The M16A2 which came out maybe 20 years ago had semi-auto and 3 round burst. As a US Army infantryman in the ’80′s I was taught as avidus describes.

  52. avatarPettifogger says:

    As avidus notes, the applications of full-automatic fire may be limited. But that’s not a reason not to have it for those occasions when it may prove useful.

  53. avatarSwamp Thing says:

    If you take lessons ahead of time and know what you are getting into, I see no reason at all not to be able to own one if you want. Only real reasons is that it scares the excrement out of politicians and storm troopers, er, SWAT teams in the Dept. of Education and certain corrupt police forces.

    But for me, something that fired 3 round bursts would be as much as I’d ever need. Unless I wanted to stroke my ego on some remote salt flat.

  54. avatardavid says:

    I don’t think I would. I burn through enough ammo with my Glock and 1911. If I got a full auto I’d have to tap my IRA to finance my ammo habit.

    But I would have NO problem with somebody else owning one.

  55. avatarBob says:

    I can’t see it, personally. Ammunition costs too much, and automatic fire is uncontrollable. Fine for the battlefield, but not for urban environments. My state does allow automatic weapons, so buying one here would just be a matter of money. What I *would* like is a silencer- but my state bans them. In Europe, hunting with a silencer is considered being neighborly ;-)

  56. avatarPatrick Carroll says:

    Why stop there? I’ve always thought it’d be fun to own an M2A1.

    To quote that source of all wisdom, “The Simpsons”:

    Herb: Now Bart, I know you’re too young for that machine gun you wanted but I’m gonna give you something that’ll make sure when you’re old enough you can still buy one – A Membership in the National rifle Association.
    Bart: Wow, the NRA… Can I get armour-piercing cyanide-tipped bullets too?
    Herb: It’s in the constitution, son.

  57. avatarRon says:

    I qualified expert on both the M14 semi-auto and the M16 full auto in 1968. I was unable to control myself full auto so my full auto qualification was shot in semi-auto mode. It’s really difficult to have a fire hose and not spray.

  58. avatarTyrone Slothrop says:

    The Second Amendment is primarily about military arms, and only incidentally about sporting arms. I should be required to own a full-auto rifle.

  59. avatarRobert Langham says:

    I’d love to have a little Sten, just for the heck of it. I’m not going to shoot anyone and yes, ammo costs money, but I’d like to be able to go and by a WWII Sten for what they ought to cost if the 1986 law hadn’t been passed. They ought to be about 400.00. I’d just shoot it now and then at private ranges.

  60. avatarPete says:

    Talk to anyone with a class 3 automatic weapon and almost all of them will tell you that the several thousand dollar tab for the weapon soon pales in comparison to the constant burning through hundreds of rounds of ammo every time you go to the range. You soon will be looking into high volume reloaders.

  61. avatarRobinGoodfellow says:

    Yes, I think I should be able to buy one without all the current hurdles, as should any other American citizen who is not prevented by law from owning a firearm. Don’t know if I *would* buy one though.

  62. avatargroupw says:

    Bob said “Fine for the battlefield, but not for urban environments.”
    …… i’m thinkin’ ahead to when the urban environment becomes a battlefield.
    ….. when the tyranical come to ‘re-educate’ us, i want all the stopping power i can get my hands on.

  63. avatarwGraves says:

    For normal applications, I think full auto is counterproductive. Unless you’ve been trained by armed forces, you should probably consider it a waste. You’ll probably, get scared, then burn through all of your ammo in about two seconds, thereby becoming a sitting duck.

    But a conversation with a guy in my basic training unit reminds me why you might want full auto. He was an Eskimo from a small island in the Aleutian Archipelago. I asked him why he signed up for reserve duty. He told me that, during WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army had over-run his village. It seems that his father had had to fight them in the village street with a harpoon. So he said he preferred an automatic rifle in case it ever happened again. He had a wife and two kids, after all.

  64. avatarCrazyGaloot says:

    I used to own a select fire Thompson, and it sure was fun, but expensive. I’d like to get an M16A2, but they’re ridiculously expensive anymore, and the ATF are a bunch of asshat bureaucrats. I do know that if I was a thug confronting armed citizens during some sort of civil unrest, it would scare the beejus out of me if somebody gave a few short burps of auto fire in my general direction. I think I’d seek a softer target.

  65. avatarDaedalus Mugged says:

    I would definitely like to own automatic weapons. I probably wouldn’t use (but others should have the right to buy) a full auto assault rifle. I would like the three round burst capbility that latest M16 uses. It has the bonus of the ‘assault rifles’ actually being assault rifles as opposed to scary black rifles.

    What I would like is an updated version of some of the military sub machine guns, like to full auto tommy gun, sten, PPSh 41 or 43, M3 etc.

    What I would like even more is to see what the commercial market would come up with. For example, I would LOVE a Calico M100 in 22lr (ammo price matters) that had full auto capability. 100 rounds, compact light package, affordable to shoot…all around a whole lot of fun. I would also like that full auto glock pistol to play with.

  66. avatarSChaser says:

    I would love to own a sub-gun – say, an Uzi or MP-5 or something more modern in that category. A full auto assault rifle uses more expensive ammo and is, as many have said, hard to control.

  67. avatarChaz says:

    My preference would be a good full auto smg… preferably the old fashioned MP5 or one of those new fangled TDI Vector SMG’s in .45.

    A burst fire M16 would be nice too.

    I support it… for this reason: when the second amendment was written there was no distinction between ‘civilian’ and ‘military’ firearms.

  68. avatarwillem says:

    Good comments. Love this blog.

    My choice of auto would be the M2 Carbine. I really enjoyed my M1 Carbines.

    I have always been amazed by the mechanical tempo of an automatic weapon. The logistics required to feed the beast is down right intimidating. The output is spectacular; the bullets fly out faster than the mind can think.

    And everyone I know who’s been schooled is their use has said the same thing; ammo burns fast and targeting is hard to control. And once you’re out of ammo in a bad situation, your adversaries tended to know it — and the one’s you didn’t hit typically know about where you are. Full automatic tends to be more trouble than its worth.

  69. avatarPersonFromPorlock says:

    I tend to look at a 12ga loaded with buck as being a parallel – as opposed to serial – submachine gun, without the ‘climb’ problem. But anyone who wants the real thing, feel free!

  70. avatarHoldfast says:

    Honestly, in this economy who can afford the rounds to go full auto?

  71. avatarhutch1200 says:

    I want another one. Legal this time. Burst fire seems to make the most sense. I want my Gov’t to know I can have one. While I cannot say w/certainty, I’m sure my neighbors appreciate my suppresed .22

  72. avatarRightWingNutter says:

    For other than situations like adivus described I prefer semi-auto with reasonably sized magazines. I appreciate PersonFromPorlock’s view of buckshot being a parallel submachine gun, but prefer slugs. They’ll take down big game, and knock down thugs who have body armor.

    The best reason would be that the robbers and thugs would all know that any of their potential victims could blow them away.

  73. I believe that the militia clause of the second amendment sets the scope of the KBA clause, essentially defining the arms to which we had a right as those arms borne by an infantryman appropriate to the times. Today, that can only include fully automatic small arms.

    Most people that freak out over machine guns don’t realize that although they are restricted, they are perfectly legal to own and are owned legally by thousands and thousands of people. Yet they are almost never used in real world crime.

  74. avatarTeeJaw says:

    Besides the fun and challenge of learning to shoot the thing, if we are citizens and not subjects we should not allow our civilian police forces to own anything we law-abiding citizens cannot own.

    Sorry to repeat if someone has already said as much.

    Mr. lawyer in the video must not be familiar with McClure-Volkner. Full Autos not already registered before 1986 are not “quite legal to own, possess and use.” They are strictly illegal to own by citizens. It is the terrible price that was paid for the gunowners right to travel law and it wasn’t worth it.

    Already registered full autos are legal but way out of the price range for most of us.

  75. avatarTexas Jack 1940 says:

    M2 Carbine was my issue weapon for 3 years. On semi-auto, it was accurate out to about 100 yards; on full auto you MIGHT get the first two rounds on target, but anything after was going high. Full auto is for untrained “spray and pray” shooters. The more rounds you shoot, the quicker you have to stop and reload. Other than for fun or from a weapon heavy enough to control (think mounted .30 or .50), full auto is for people rich enough to buy ammo $500 at a time.

  76. avatarJB says:

    Two words:

    Flash Mobs

  77. avatarPatrick from Texas says:

    I’m slightly conflicted about this.

    Pros:
    1–Once again, you wouldn’t have to be “as wealthy” to own full auto. As late as 1990, you could still pick up a select-fire AR or AK for under a couple grand. The further we get from 1986 (thanks Reagan!), the crazier prices get. They don’t call the firing line at Knob Creek “Millionaire’s Row” for nothing.

    2–Normal people could take advantages of technological advances in full-auto. Ever shoot a Kriss Vector, maybe as a range rental? Cool gun. Can you buy one? Nope.

    3–Wouldn’t have to deal with the jack-booted thugs, ahem, BATFE. Also, no tax stamp and paperwork. While $200 isn’t the deal-breaker that it was in 1934, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Waiting six months for approval is a PITA as well.

    4–Good way to disperse flash mobs.

    Cons:
    1–Finding a place to shoot would be an adventure. It is getting tougher and tougher just to find a normal range to shoot at. Ranges that can allow full auto tend to be waayyy out in the boonies.

    2–Ammo cost. No way around it, even if you reload. That Vector I mentioned earlier? 1100 rounds/minute. Multiply that times $25 per box of 50.

    3–Controllability is a problem without proper training and discipline. Not good for zombies. Head shots only.

    4–Guns will break more often and require more maintenance. To use a car analogy, your Honda Civic won’t be nearly as reliable and cheap if you take it club racing.

  78. avataromri duran says:

    i have a rifle and i use it to hunt fish. its my pastime. add me on facebook lol

  79. avatarCharles S. says:

    I personally don’t think the full auto restrictions do anything other than keep firearms out of us non-criminal citizens in which case makes us not completely vunerable but it does make us less leathal twards the government. Because lets not kid ourselfs criminals will ge anything they want via illegal sales. So it’s not to restrict them.

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