Massachusetts Cops on Why You Should Own an AR-15

 

By Ben in MA

I’m not a gun guru or even a gun owner. I’m just a libertarian who believes in personal freedom for everyone, including gun owners. As such, I’ve been trying to learn “the truth about guns” and specifically the truth about so-called “assault rifles” like the AR-15. For what’s supposed to be the most popular rifle in the country, I’ve found surprisingly little about its inherent advantages. I’ll often find explanations of how easy the rifle is to customize or descriptions of its hunting and sporting uses. While this is all-important, it’s not always compelling to the non-gun owning public, who will always see a high capacity rifle as a weapon first and foremost. Fortunately, the use of the semi-automatic rifle as a defensive firearm has been closely studied by an organization that most people trust . . .

Their local police. The Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee’s Basic Firearms Instructor Course includes a manual which, in just the first few pages, summarizes many of the inherent benefits of the semi-automatic rifle.

The document explains why the “patrol rifle” (refers to semi-automatic rifles, more on that later) is in many ways the “superior tool” for law enforcement and why it’s increasingly carried in the back of police cruisers. And most of these reasons apply to a law-abiding citizen who choose a rifle for personal defense for the home.

1) Accuracy — The patrol rifle is better for “stand off and containment … due to the increased accuracy that the rifle afforded over the pistol and the shotgun.”

It’s noted that “most officers” have difficulty even hitting a target past ten yards with their service pistol. Also noted is the typical cop’s ability to hit a target decreases even further in the stress of a life-or-death encounter. If this is a big issue for highly-trained police officers, wouldn’t the same concern apply to average folks as well?

2) Ease of Use — While it’s probably assumed that a police officer has sufficient training to use his or her service pistol competently, for the average person the time and expense required to obtain equal skill with a handgun can be prohibitive. The self-defense alternative is usually a shotgun, but using scatterguns can present problems: “[T]he recoil and manual operation of the shotgun has historically proved to be an issue with some Officers.”

So police officers also have difficulty using shotguns. And if the recoil is too much for even someone who meets the physical requirements of being a police officer, can’t we assume the same would be true of many of the people they serve and protect?

3) Safety — Another concern for the police is the potential for bullets to penetrate through walls and hit a target that wasn’t intended. According to the manual, this is another area where the patrol rifle shines: “[T]he most popular patrol rifle round, the 5.56mm NATO (.223 Remington) will penetrate fewer walls than service pistol rounds or 12 gauge slugs.”

And the patrol rifle is also safer because having “potentially a more accurate weapon … lowers the liability to the department.”

4) Firepower – Combined with the above advantages, the increase in firepower is a huge benefit to the individual officer: “The Patrol Rifle is a force multiplier. The advantages of the rifle permit a single officer to effectively deal with multiple adversaries without the disadvantages of being only armed with a handgun.”

If it’s important for a single officer, with radio backup, to have a “force multiplier” at his disposal, then why wouldn’t someone want a similar advantage when defending his or her home and family from “multiple adversaries”?

5) The AR is King. — The report looks at a variety of rifles with different chamberings, including the AK-47 and traditional .30-.30 lever action rifles. First problem: “Both tend to over penetrate interior walls.” Also, “the lever action rifle is not our best choice since it is difficult to reload quickly and clear if a malfunction occurs.” As for the AK-47: “While extremely reliable, it is not desirable as a patrol rifle due to the limited amount of support accessories such as vehicle mounts and because of the perceived association with terrorist groups.”

Here’s the manual’s conclusion: “The ideal choice for the patrol rifle is a semi automatic rifle chambered in 5.56mm or .223 Remington.” It continues, “The two most popular (police service) rifles chambered for this round are the Mini-14 and the many variants of the AR-15. Both rifles have an extensive line of after market accessories and have a proven track record. The Mini-14 may be attractive to those departments that find the AR-15 to (sic) ‘military’ looking.”

Given its many advantages, it should come as no surprise that the AR-15 is so popular with law enforcement and gun owners alike. The fact that it appears ”military looking” to non-shooters isn’t a reason to ban it, but a reason to educate the public about the many practical reasons for its popularity.

107 Responses to Massachusetts Cops on Why You Should Own an AR-15

  1. avatarKY1911 says:

    I really like the “patrol rifle” phrasing better than “modern sporting rifle.”

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      Me too. Hugely prefer.

      • avatarBLAMMO says:

        It depends on how you’re using the rifle. How about just plain “rifle”? That’s what it is and that’s all it is. A rifle. It just happens to have modern materials, ergonomic, design, usability, and safety features that have become common over the past half century. Just like virtually every other product over the past 50 years.

        Is there any other industry that is being forced to revert the designs of their products back to the 19th century?

        • avatarJLR says:

          Exactly. My AR-15 is my rifle. Period. No qualifications necessary.

          We don’t feel the need to add special qualifiers like “semi-automatic” and “magazine-fed” to pistols, because everyone just understands that’s what a pistol is.

          All of the qualifiers just make people think it’s something somehow different or outside of the norm.

        • avatarSpeleoFool says:

          Agree–it depends on the use. I never “patrol” anywhere, so “patrol rifle” would be a misnomer for me. Since the most common use for my AR is target practice at the range I think I’ll start referring to it as my “long distance hole punch.” :)

        • avatarpat says:

          Reminds me of the mini 14 its ability to do basically the same thing (not exactly) as AR-15. Remember the hit show A-TEAM, they always used mini 14 with folding stock and 30rd mags, heat shields, etc. The only big difference was the lack of the handrails for other attachments, but they are

    • avatarHowdy says:

      Personal Defense Weapon.

      That’s what the gubment calls them when they have them.

      • avatarChrisF says:

        Actually weapons classified as Personal Defense Weapons (PDW) meet a more specific criteria. Some are just submachine guns (MP5K), while some are just short assault rifles (FN SCAR PDW). The PDW designation is fairly new, however, many firearms that have existed for decades are now being classified as PDWs (AKS-74U, Mk. 18). A PDW is basically meant to be issued to non-combat troops or vehicle crews, for whom the compact quarters they operate within necessitate a compact weapons, but require a weapon with more firepower than a pistol. In this sense it is meant to be used just as its name implies. For example, a tank crew whose M1A1 Abrams has been been disabled would use their PDWs as a means of personal defense until they have been extracted from combat. The PDW is not intended to allow the tank crew to continue combat operations in this scenario. Then you have the PDWs such as the MP7 and P90, which are basically submachine gun sized weapons that use proprietary scaled down rifle rounds, which gives them excellent penetration. These PDWs seem to be more geared towards Spec Ops and SWAT for close quarters operations.

    • avatarBob in Boston says:

      What I *don’t* like about “Patrol Rifle” versus “MSR” is that uneducated people could be convinced by anti-gunner propaganda that “Patrol Rifles” should only be used by people who need to “Patrol”, ie Police and Military, and they could then position them as not being good for close-quarters engagements like home defense.

      I personally think we need to try and change the rhetoric by calling it a “home defense rifle.” Because if you have a 16″ barrel, a tac-light, and either an aiming laser or a holo sight like an EOTech or red dot like an AimPoint, with a 30 round magazine that is the ultimate home defense weapon, which is exactly why police and military use them for CQB and house clearing.

  2. avatarKelly in GA says:

    Awesome.

  3. avatarBruce says:

    Excellent, should be required reading for every law maker.

  4. avatarMatt in SD says:

    We need 100 of these guys…make that 100,000.

    • avatarWilliam says:

      So when will you be getting yours?

      • avatarMatt in SD says:

        Do you mean AR? I’ve got mine…I was talking about the cop but that is just because I can’t read since the post was referring to a document not something a cop said…my bad for being illiterate. haha.

        • avatarLarryR says:

          What do you mean you can’t read? You wrote that didn’t you? You have to be able to read to be able to write.

  5. avatarNate says:

    I like this report

  6. avataraircooledTOM says:

    I am an army guy, been shooting AR pattern rifles for over a decade. I’m having trouble with part of the Safety argument…..

    Could somebody please help me with the whole “interior walls penetration” thing? This sounds like BS. I am not a ballistics expert but I am an internet nerd who’s read the website “Box’o'truth”…. On this website the fella goes through a bunch of myths regarding pentration issues. His conclusion is usually some variation of “rifles are rifles, shotguns are shotguns, and pistols are pistols”.

    While I agree that the AR is a superior weapon for all types of SHTF situations including around the house, or yard, I just am not buying this argument about interior wall penetration.

    Maybe I’m placing too much faith in the old fella shooting at multiple layers of drywall and someone can explain what really happens.

    PS for Ben…. I grew up in MA. Good luck up there. You and my dad against the gun grabbers….

    • avatarWilliam says:

      I think you’re correct to have such reservations. I personally thinka .45 ACP is a better choice in such situations.

      But if the situation involves multiple intruders, your first concern is the safety of your family and yourself. Try to aim good and shoot true, and be willing to accept the consequences, if there be any.

    • This is how I understand it from some of the research I’ve done in the past. The 5.56/.223 round by design of its bullet shape tumbles after entering soft tissue or walls. This effectively reduces it’s penetration capability. The 5.56/.223′s tumbling action will make it so the bullet is no longer traveling on its axis and drastically slows it down. Standard 9/38/40/45 ammo does not do this. So in practical application it kind of acts like a hollowpoint round, but does it in a different way. Hollow point rounds expand, or mushroom, creating more area at the front of the round and thus slowing it down.

      I believe that this tumbling action was not originally an intentional characteristic when designing the round, but when the military tested it they decided that they actually found it advantagous. There’s less liability to a round with less penetration. If they want more penetration they will use a different round. Ultimately weight advantages to carry more ammo was the biggest consideration when the military switched to the 5.56 for standard infantry weaponry. Because it tumbles two things happens. First, it’s penetrating capability is decreased. Second, it creates a larger wound cavity once it begins the tumbling action. I believe the 5.56/.223 will still make for higher initial penetration (police typically wear body armor that is only approved for handgun rounds), but I think this is because of the increased velocity of the round.

      • Also the 5.56.223 actually fires a smaller bullet than a 9mm. It makes a smaller hole. It has a larger casing and thus more propellant behind it however, thus higher velocity.

        • avatarJoseph says:

          The concept of “tumble” in ballistics is one that applies to any high velocity low mass projectile with a more “rigid (harder)” body like M855 Ball ammunition used by most of us in the military.

          The idea is that the course (trajectory) of the lighter projectile will be altered not only more easily but more drastically by collision with any surface. The rigidity of the projectile’s body prevents it from breaking apart or deforming easily, basically the exact opposite of a heavier hollow point round.

          If you want a visceral demonstration of this concept try playing tennis with a billiard ball instead of a tennis ball. Or ping pong with a golf ball instead of a ping pong ball.

          I can give you a real world example of this item by describing two gunshot wounds that I’ve personally treated, one 5.56mm and one .45ACP.

          In the first case, the .45ACP wound my patient had a negligent discharge while driving his truck. The .45ACP round, a 185 gr JHP round entered the lateral portion of his left thigh and passed straight through his entire thigh exiting into the seat of his truck. The round left a wound channel about the diameter of a dime and as I said, passed straight through, because of the placement it didn’t do a whole lot of damage, the patient was able to not only drive himself to the ER but walk in the front door for treatment.

          In the second case, a 5.56mm round, M855 ball in fact wounded a soldier during a negligent discharge on the range.
          The round entered the patient’s left upper arm roughly horizontally, passed through until contacting the patient’s humerus at which point it was deflected and entered his left chest wall laterally at a downward angle of about 5 degrees or so. After contacting the rib cage on this trajectory the bullet was deflected about 150 degrees or so and exited the rib cage and chest wall around 2 inches below where it had entered. When it passed through the ribcage for the second time it fragmented into three pieces, two of those pieces exited and entered the patient’s left forearm, one of them became lodged in the soft tissue medially, the second fragment continued on until it made contact with the radius, which it fractured and became lodged there.
          The summary of all this of course is that the path of this high velocity round, formed a rough V shape, eventually exiting in the opposite direction that it had entered.
          Both wounds were easily survivable but arguably because of the greater and more varied number of organs etc. exposed to trauma by the 5.56 wound it was much more serious, because the round acted like a pinball inside the body rather than passing straight through.

        • avatarpat says:

          I think one has a choice of varying levels of penetration with the 5.56/223 by selection of the right bullet weight, type, velocity. You can choose to penetrate police body armor or dump all the energy (that of a 44 magnum) in a human chest. People who say the cartridge is only fit for varmints like coyote (poodle shooter) are ignorant to its abilities.
          If I were a worker in an isolated area with large spaces like Alaska or a highway patrolman, a good ol’ M1A would be pretty good (turns cover into concealment).

        • avatarBob in Boston says:

          Hey Joseph – you seem to have a really strong grasp of ballistics and wound trauma. You wouldn’t happen to have a link to a citable source talking about how the .223/5.56mm round was made specifically to wound rather than kill, would you? I’ve heard alot of mention of the old adage “If you kill a soldier you take one man off the battlefield, but if you wound him, you take at least 2 people off the battlefield”, but I’ve never been able to find a credible source of that quote. It would be great if some government agency was responsible for that quote, kinda the way the FBI had quite a few good findings when developing the 10mm round a couple decades ago.

      • avatarSGC says:

        On most handgun caliber rounds (9, 38, 45, 40, et al), if you’re using hollow points, those are designed to mushroom and expand in soft tissue or ballistics gel…in real life when those rounds hit hard objects like walls, bones, etc they have a tendency to collapse inward creating a FMJ type projectile, or I’ve seen them fragment depending on the hard object fired into and if the bullets were bonded core or not. Just my two cents worth…

      • avatarDJ says:

        Just to clarify – not start a war: The primary wounding mechanism is fragmentation.

        When the bullet has turned enough (usually 90 degrees) it will break up. When the bullet breaks up it causes some pretty spectacular trauma. The faster the bullet is moving when it strikes, the greater the likelihood of fragmentation.

        Bullets that remain intact often fail to do enough damage to stop an attacker.

        5.56mm hollowpoints don’t function like pistol hollowpoints. They are used for match shooting because the hollow point of the bullet moves the center of mass further rearward.

    • avatarMoose says:

      http://www.olyarms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=26
      Found this, it appears to show .223 is less likely to over-penetrate

      “Summary
      The 55 grain HP .223 has less penetration than any of the other ammunition tested. Based on the results of this testing, there appears to be no basis for concern regarding the over penetration of the .223 [HP] round. In fact, it seems even safer in this regard than .40 S&W handgun ammunition.

    • avatarCasey T says:

      Momentum = Mass x Velocity. I don’t know weights of a lot of bullets but an AR uses 55 grain bullets while a 40 cal pistol most often uses an 180 grain bullet. That would explain it as the handgun bullet has more momentum to penetrate the medium such as drywall.

      • I use 155 gr jacket hollow points in my Glock .40 S&W. they’re a bit faster and a bi less kick than the 180s.

        • avatarpat says:

          Alot of people are like you and choose ‘middleweights’ for the .40. Some can be pretty hot, though, but you can choose reduced power if desired.

      • avatarBob in Boston says:

        I think penetration is based on a bunch of factors, not just momentum. Plus the increased velocity of the .223 round (especially when you’re talking M193 through a 20″ barrel) makes up alot for the lower weight, so the terminal energy isn’t that far off between slow pistol bullets and fast rifle bullets.
        I think “retained weight” is probably more important when talking about penetration, because tumbling rounds like .223 tend to disintegrate pretty quickly once they lose rotational stability, but most FMJ and even hollow points retain alot more weight after impact. AR15.com has a whole ton of ballistics gel tests on the site and it’s absolutely fascinating reading.

    • avatarMatt in SD says:

      http://230grain.com/showthread.php?65428-Ammunition-Drywall-Penetration-Analysis-Test-(Adpat)

      Not extremely scientific but it lays a basis for the claim at the very least.

    • avatarJay Allen says:

      Check out this video. It shos that smaller sized rounds tend to penetrate better than larger rounds. The energy of the larger rounds is quickly absorbed by the tree where ass the smaller sized rounds were ablt to squeeze through the grains of the wood and make full penetration. It’s not scientific and I would like to see this done in the summer with different shot placement on the trees, but still…….pretty interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=547BKysByqM

    • I’ve put 5.56 rifle bullets through brick walls.
      Never got a standard handgun round to do that yet, or anything from a shotgun.
      The way 99% of residences are built these days, pretty much anything 9×19 & above will penetrate multiple walls, especially internal.

    • avatarBob in Boston says:

      The answer is to have a mag of Frangible or ZombieMax handy wherever you keep your home defense weapon – both of those are made specifically to fragment even more than standard M193 on impact.

      Really it’s even MORE important to use frangible or specific home-defense ammo in pistols, since just about every pistol round out there is heavier then a .223 (M193/.223 rem or M855). M193 at 55 grains and M855 at 62 grains is alot lighter than most pistol rounds, most of which are heavier than 100 grains and some even heavier then 200 grains! That heavy weight is what makes the pistol bullets over-penetrate and maintain enough weight to still be dangerous. M193 at least is designed to tumble as soon as it loses rotational stability, so it’s far less likely to over penetrate then pistol rounds.

  7. avatarg says:

    Good article… but…

    [AK-47: “While extremely reliable, it is not desirable as a patrol rifle due to the limited amount of support accessories such as vehicle mounts and because of the perceived association with terrorist groups.”]

    AK accessory market has grown, and many accessories that were once exclusive to ARs – rails, custom pistol grips, telescoping stocks – are now available for a reasonable cost for an AK. Not to mention a FOLDING STOCK is a lot easier to come by for an AK than an AR. I do admit that co-witness optics can be a pain, but hey… there’s Ultimak or Midwest Industries.

    And over-penetration of an AK’s 7.62 is easily solved by using HP or SP rounds…

    As for perceived association with terrorist groups… I bet the number of American AK owners is pretty large. Maybe not as large as AR or Ruger 10/22, but pretty big.

    Begin AK vs AR flame-war!
    (*runs and hides*)

    • avatarmountocean says:

      If our commander in chief thinks AK-47s belong be in the hands of our soldiers, there’s no reason our police forces shouldn’t fall in line.

    • avatarSGC says:

      The AR is percieved as the “good guys” gun, becuase we (America) uses it. The AK is percieved as the “bad guys” gun because our former cold war adversaries used it.

      The reverse opinion could be had if you were on the other side of the iron curtain: the AK is a symbol of freedom from oppression etc and the AR is just a plastic toy…lol.

      Now, in todays world…they are all evil black rifles…I’d feel equally protected carrying either one…:)

    • avatarHanover Fiste says:

      Accuracy is very important in a patrol rifle. An AR is capable of quite high inherent accuracy. The AK not so much. The AK is the consummate assault rifle. It is excellent at sending lots of lead down range and is unlikely to malf in the hands of minimally trained soldiers. It is also best used en masse.

      However if it is just one man against ? then I think the AR is the superior platform on account of its potential for greater accuracy.

      Anyhow those are my thoughts and they are probably worth exactly how much you paid for them ;)

      • avatarpat says:

        AR is even better choice than AK when you consider the civilian application of semiauto only.
        AK is one hell of a gun when you factor in certain price points (or use SKS, though not as good).

    • avatarrybred says:

      what about ak-74!
      5.45×39 53gr rounds that behave much like 5.56
      also folding stocks are a plus…

      • avatarLance says:

        AKs lack accuracy and modularity a AR platform has. Dogma of the bad guy gun would kill it for any US use in military LE and Security. AR is far better than the AK series anyway.

      • avatarWLCE says:

        The AK74s are awesome!

        cheap, highly effective and accurate ammo, light recoil, comparable accuracy to ARs, and did i say cheap?

        Something about a “FMJ” bullet with a integrated air pocket inside really does something to trip my fancy.

    • avatarDJ says:

      I knew some “door kickers” overseas who carried AK’s because they believed the AK performed better at the ranges they were engaging than their M4s.

    • avatarJay Dunn says:

      Regarding “over-penetration”, I keep a magazine of Tula 7.62 jacketed hollow points in my AK. I’m pretty sure Tula didn’t make them to improve accuracy.

    • avatarpat says:

      Many choose the AR because of its accuracy advantage over the AK.
      In fact, even the soviets went with the 74 and its smaller round over the 47, though their was more to consider than accuracy in the selection (otherwise we would just ask ourselves, what about an AK74 or piston AR).

    • avatarWLCE says:

      LOL I wish we could get back to your 9mm vs 40 vs 45 vs AR vs AK47 flame wars because we dont have to worry about politicians infringing upon our rights to own them…how those days were nice! im getting emotionally nostalgic :D

      • avatarpat says:

        Innocence lost. A time when young (middle aged) firearm enthusiasts could inform, entertain, and persuade (waste time, bragg, and show off expensive toys) their fellow brothers in matters of comparable irrelevance. Foot pounds, momentum, sectional density, reliability, recoil, durability, masculinity, price point, pissing contest, stretch/crush cavities…..AND…..man stoppers….always good topics. I would like to retire the ol’ pelvic ashtray to target duty. Say, I wonder what popular handgun caliber would be most effective to shatter the bone? Maybe you could use the +p for the 9mm, unless you were allowed a number of shots in a given timeframe, remember that you did say to watch the recoil.
        Obummers 2nd term and a kindergarten slaughter sure will do a number on the topics of discussion, and the focusing of what is important.

    • avatarbillmelater says:

      There are AK clones chambered in the smaller .223. I have a Century WASR-3, with canted sights, scratched barrel, and gouged up wood stock. She’s beautiful.

  8. Wow. Way to go Mass! I’m pleasantly surprised.

    • avatarBob in Boston says:

      Don’t get excited – that’s one small article that I’ve never even seen before (and I’m a huge gun-rights supporter in Mass, reading at least a dozen gun-rights-related articles per day) versus the whole liberal propaganda machine here in Taxachusetts. We *did* have a big victory last week though – the Westford (I think) town council was trying to enact a municipal assault weapons ban and it got withdrawn due to the huge amount of public push back!

  9. avatarBiofire says:

    I like what he said, but it would also be easy to read this and come away thinking that he made a good argument for why civilians should not be allowed to own this “force multiplier” (i.e., its so effective for cops, that it would be too dangerous for civilians). Calling it a patrol rifle just supports this interpretation.

    • Any anti will read it that way and discount the conclusions made by the post contributer for sure.

      I look at it as the characteristics that are described as to why the AR-15 is advantagous to the police officer, these are the same characteristics that are advantagious and desirable to a civilian that is under attack and in need of a firearm to respond in defense.

      • avatarBiofire says:

        I agree. I’m just not sure that the average person would buy that. I am certain that most people are just unwilling to imagine what it would be like to be a victim of a really violent crime and so, just don’t believe that a civilian needs an AR-15. I believe that they are in denial about the nature of crime. By contrast, the rest of us have thought about it, and armed ourselves appropriately. Too many people think that if the police have some weapon it must be sacred and terrifying and too dangerous for a civilian.

        Many good ideas have been posted here at TTAG to win the hearts and minds of the great undecided in the gun debate. It would be good to know empirically which methods work so that we could all use them.

      • avatarLarryR says:

        Look out! Spelling police alert! Advantagous does not have an “i” in it. Hee hee hee.

    • avatarBeninMA says:

      Biofire, that’s a fair point. I was mainly trying to provide people with information that they may not have had already, from a source that they’re more likely to trust than just “some gun guy” on the internet. For people who are inclined to think for themselves, and to rethink old assumptions when presented with new information, this may be more persuasive than anything else. Judging by the NRA’s ads, emotional appeals probably work better with the average voter. But we need all kinds of outreach to be successful.

    • We need to get people out of the mindset that the police are “special” and “civilians” aren’t.
      As a former LEO, I can state that many LEOs are not very good shots. Qualification is spotty and rather a joke.
      Many departments don’t have budget for sufficient training ammo and time, and many LEOs aren’t willing to spend thei own money on ammo and their own time on training.
      Witness the incident in NYC recently where the NYPD shot 9 innocent bystanders in trying to stop a bad guy.
      Federal data show that people are about 6.5 times MORE likely to be accidentally or mistakenly shot by a LEO than by a private citizen using his legally carried pistol to stop a crime, despite the fact the private citizens justifiably shoot many more criminals each year then the police shoot.
      More actual crimes are committed by LEOs than concealed carry permit holders.
      All in all, the idea that “the police are the experts (on firearms use) and citizens who carry are dangerous is wrong-headd and just plain false. It’s actually the other way around, with the citizens providing much better stats on outcomes.
      In mass shootings, when the shooter is stopped by a police response, the average number co casualties is 14. When a citizen is on site and engages the shooter, the average nip umber of casualties drops to 2.5.
      John Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” also shows how exceptionally responsible citizens are with their guns.
      The police, not always so, witness the vehicles shot up and people shot in their zeal to gun down Mr. Dormer in CA last week.
      So, the general population needs to be educated to the facts and turned around opinion and perception wise that legally carrying citizens are at least as safe, effective, and responsible as the police, and often more so.

      • avatarHowdy says:

        I agree.

        Police are civilians. They are no more special than any other employee who chose to work in government, aka civil service, in terms of their civilian-hood. There are many people who are great at whatever their job. Thank you everyone who does their job well, government or otherwise. FOAD to you miserable bastards who don’t do their jobs well and make others suffer.

        If some police feel they are part of a pseudo military organization and that somehow gives them “special-ness”, they are wrong.

        People who join the military voluntarily give up certain rights that every other citizen enjoys. Foremost and the only one I will mention is those in the military cannot quit their jobs.

        Every other citizen in every other occupation can quit at any time. Whether they work in a small business of one, a corporation or in the government in a non-military role.

        Once again, thanks to each of you in every occupation who excel in doing your chosen profession well. THANK YOU.

        Once again, FOAD you dirty miserable bastards that make everyone else’s lives hell by doing your jobs wrong, poorly and maliciously.

      • avatarBob in Boston says:

        Hey Carl – I have *heard* about everything you said above, but after spending alot of time searching for it, I have been unable to find a reputable first-person source for some of the information you quoted. The percentage of people shot in mass shootings by police versus CCLs I like this analysis:
        http://dailyanarchist.com/2012/07/31/auditing-shooting-rampage-statistics/

        And it’s easy to find news articles about the NYPD slinging lead around and hitting people (I think it was 8 innocent bystanders though – the 9th death was the perpetrator I think).

        But what I can’t find is any citation for Police committing more crimes then regular people, OR that regular people accidentally shoot fewer innocent bystanders. If you can find where you got those figures from it would really help me round out my list of gun-rights links & data and I’d really appreciate it!

        BTW – I was looking at the FBI data for 2011, and at least what i could find showed that civilians only shot 201 criminals in 2011 versus 390 for cops. If there’s another citation you have showing CCLs or civilians in general shooting more criminals, that would really help too. Here are the links I used to get those numbers and I was using these links as a part of an exercise to determine how many “unjustified” gun homicides there were in 2011 (which is the most recent year with full data). My calculations came out to 7,992 “unjustified homicides”, and that was based on:

        Overall gun-related homicide data for 2011= 8,583 (1)
        Justified law enforcement homicides: 390 (2)
        Justified citizen homicides: 201 (3)
        Un-justified gun-related homicides: 7992 (1) – (2) – (3)

        (1)http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8
        (2)http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-14
        (3)http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-15

  10. avatarMichael B. says:

    Dishonest title is dishonest.

    “Massachusetts Cops on Why They Should Own AR-15s”

    Fixed it for you.

    • avatarBeninMA says:

      Michael, I didn’t pick the title, but I think it’s perfect. It’s a simple statement of the thesis that I’m trying to prove in the essay. As I tried to make clear, the training document talks about the value of the AR-15 for police work. But the same arguments work equally well for non-officers. As the title says, the police are making our arguments for us.

  11. avataraircooledTOM says:

    this…. ^^ Good rifle for me but not for thee…. MA has some horribly restrictive “assault weapons” laws.

    • avatarRalph says:

      The MA AWB is not “horribly restrictive.” Except for the mag limitation, it’s mostly cosmetic, but it is a pain in the @ss. No flash hiders, but compensators and muzzle brakes are okay. No forward grip, but the rear pistol grip is fine. Ten round mags only, except if they were made before the AWB and then they’re okay. Preban 30-round mags are available, if not plentiful. No folding stocks. Tactical forearms and handguards are fine. There are a lot of ARs and AKs in the state simply because the law is not wildly restrictive. You can buy as many as your credit card will allow, and they’re freely transferable.

      • avatarBob in Boston says:

        Took my boy shooting this weekend and was absolutely CURSING the stupid “no adjustable stock” laws in Mass. Did some mentally challenged legislator believe we were going to tuck AR15s in our sweatpants if the stocks adjusted 3″ in either direction or something? I can’t find a single justification for why an adjustable stock should be banned, but I know it made my son’s form horrible because his arms had to be out straight in order to put the rifle against his shoulder.
        Mass rules ARE stupid – hard to say they aren’t when the majority of the rest of the country doesn’t have a state AWB and they have the same crime rates or LOWER than Mass.

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      Really, this **** is bordering on disinformation. Already we have a bunch of people who apparently think some cop trying to sell the idea of purchasing AR-15s to his department and other LE departments is an endorsement of civilians owning the same hardware.

      IT’S NOT.

      • avatarNick says:

        Because the Antis would NEVER distort the truth…

      • avatarLiberty2Alpha says:

        That’s interesting…

        Aren’t cops Civilians as well?

        Can’t argue with the facts as presented, so you have to whine about “disinformation.” How pathetic.

      • avatarpeter says:

        Yeah, but the rest of us are subject to the same threats as the police officers. We live in the same world. They don’t have to endorse civillian ownership to demonstrate how it would be a good thing.

        Their jobs make those threats more common, and the antis think that the police are therefore the only ones entitled to protection, since it is their job to protect us (except it isn’t).

        They are already more entitled. Besides being government-funded, they can have all the ATF weapons they want. My local PD has H&K MP5 SMGs (Fully-Automatic) for every police officer. My understanding is that it is usually in the trunk of their cruiser when they’re on duty.

  12. avatarLance says:

    Finally a MA cop with some smarts.

  13. avatarHazzard Bagg says:

    In MA your gun rights all depend on who your local police chief is.

    • avatarRalph says:

      For unrestricted carry, that’s all too true. Some towns are de facto “shall issue.” Others are “no f^cking way.” But FOID for traditional long arms is “shall issue” statewide, and I’m not aware of any town that won’t issue a restricted permit for home protection, target, sporting and hunting.

      • avatarHazzard Bagg says:

        I know a fellow in MA who has always been good with guns, but who had never really considered owning a real gun. He moved to the country out in Western MA, and the local PC urged him to get a Class A. The Chief knows all too well how long it will take anyone to get to his place in a real emergency.

        The 10-rnd mag thing stinks, but I’m willing to bet that The Commonwealth has its full measure of 30-rounders gently set aside for another day.

        • avatarBeninMA says:

          Pre-ban magazines >10 rounds are perfectly legal, for now.

        • avatarSixpack70 says:

          I easily got my LTC A in the hill towns. Of course I was in uniform when I went in there so that might help. It was actually fast and the local officer delivered my permit to my house. Some parts of the AWB law are silly, but I seem to find pre ban mags fairly easy. If it’s safe enough to have old 30 round mags, why can’t we be trusted with brand new mags? I am trying to buy two more mags this week.

        • avatarBob in Boston says:

          Sixpack70 – not only does it stink that we have to use really old pre-ban 30 round mags, (no P-mags for us!) but the fact that we are stuck with 2nd generation glocks (pre 1994) and can’t buy any of the new (safer) 4th generation guns borders on government negligence.

          Our biggest problem in Massachusetts is that the corrupt Attorney General’s Office figured out that they could legislate by phrasing what they want as “It shall be an unfair and deceptive act or practice to”, followed by something they don’t like. So for example, in the case of Glock, they would say “It shall be an unfair and deceptive act or practice to sell a gun in the state of Massachusetts that does not have a loaded chamber indicator that is colored red”, or some other stupid requirement. Of course Glock isn’t going to change their guns for one mentally challenged state (nor should they have to) so Massachusetts citizens are prevented from being able to buy one of the most reliable, safest guns in the country. What really burns me is that the original intent of the Attorney General’s power is to punish companies who actually *do* try to mislead citizens, but instead they pervert the intention of that power to allow them to make what is effectively law (because they will sue anyone who doesn’t comply) even though the citizens in question know *exactly* what they are getting (so they are not ‘mislead’) and the liberals in government would never get laws like that to pass if people actually had a say in it. It’s a total mis-use of government authority.

          The Attorney General’s office isn’t all bad – they actually got me some money back from my insurance company for overcharging me for my sport bike – and that’s the kind of thing I would *expect* them to do. But for them to effectively legislate things by abusing their power – someone at the Attorney General’s Office should go to jail for using that dishonest tactic based on their OWN RULES! :-)

  14. avatarensitu says:

    The AR above is waaay overbuilt, it’s got mo gadgets than Mr Gadget.
    Any time an AR approaches the weight and bulk of a 762×51 it has completely defeated it’s POU

  15. avatarAccur81 says:

    ARs are awesome. Modular, lightweight, accurate, and reliable. Arguably the most versatile platform ever made. Good for 5-0, good for law abiding citizen.

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      The first time I shot a 3/4 man sized target with an M-16A2 at 300 meters with open sights made me a believer in the platform. Of course for some reason I own an AK instead.

  16. avatarsindaan68 says:

    I dont know. Those cops in NYC hit a shit ton of targets beyond 10 yards. The fact that they were not the intended target shouldnt matter :P

    • avatarDJ says:

      Thanks for reminding everyone there is no such thing as a “miss”, there is only a “hit on an unintended target”. :)

  17. avatarBHirsh says:

    Whatever you call them, the SCOTUS protected them in 1939. That is what should be drummed into every “assault weapons” (sic) debate.

  18. avatarRopingdown says:

    Having read the manual a few months ago, I had a similar impression. What a good write-up. When an LEO wants to justify carrying one in River City, it’s a patrol rifle safer than a pistol. When the mayor calls for anti-gun PR backup, suddenly it’s an assault weapon of supernatural power. No surprises there. The same Mayor will describe means-tested benefits as debilitating, or alternatively giving hope to, the poor, depending on his rhetorical goal that day.

  19. great article. more people need to understand exactly where law enforcement stand on this issue as well. ‘Sheriffs saying NO’ is up to 10 states and 300 counties…loving it. http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights/ that should tell folks something…

  20. avatarInigo Montoya says:

    Media and lawmakers will always twist what anything really IS to support their latest agenda. What is called an “assault rifle” in the hands of civilians or criminals is a “high powered defense weapon” when the police or 3 letter agencies carry them. I don’t own assault weapons. All my personal weapons are defense weapons. Ask my gun if it has assaulted anyone since it was made…

  21. avatarrightontheleftcoast says:

    i read a lot before settling on glock in .40 on advice by ayoob to follow lead of most police for stopping power vs over-penetration and how you would explain to a jury if asked why.

    not going to debate details here but the point is the same for ar15 type weapon for home defense. if it works for cops it works for citizen self defense.

  22. avatarJoseph says:

    Ben in MA,

    If your question truly is asked without concern to ballistic concerns and other “gun guru” stuff then I believe that there is a very simple answer to your question:

    Availability. The AR-15 is widely available due to it’s massive popularity. Because the weapon itself is widely available ammunition and accessories for the weapon are not only widely available but are available at a lower cost on average.

    If your primary concern is, as you say, the liberty and associated equality of your fellow citizens than this is the single greatest argument in favor of the AR-15. That is the wide availability and low cost of the weapon and the ammo to feed it in a training or defense scenario allows the widest possible group of Americans regardless of economic situation to access it for their own defense.

    • avatarBeninMA says:

      Joseph,

      I was trying to bust the stereotype that AR-15′s are only for playing soldier and to explain that someone might purchase one because it’s safer, more accurate, easier-to-use, etc. The ability to easily accessorize the rifle adds to those benefits, so perhaps I should have mentioned that.

      I agree that freedom of choice is the essential issue here, but I think it’s sometimes worth showing that your opponents are wrong even on their own terms.

  23. avatarGS650G says:

    It’s strange that cops are moving to AR-15 platforms from shotguns while we are told there is no good reason for us to own one. That logic doesn’t apply to police. How may perps does a single cop need to engage or eliminate with so many bullets in his sidearm and AR anyway?

  24. avatargermany says:

    Police officers are NOT highly trained in firearms. Some of them are, most are not. In Kalifornia, CHP officers are only required to fire 50 rounds every three months during qualifications. That’s 200 rounds per year. That barely constitutes training for someone who is required to carry a firearm on their hip, a shotgun in the cruiser, and an AR in the trunk.

  25. avatarJD says:

    I ‘knew’ a local security firm in the early 90s, long before all of this hullaballoo: the manager always took a wood stocked ruger mini 14 with a 20 rd. mag (a black rifle would be too intimidating apparently), whereas all of his employees were given pump 12 ga. shotguns in addition to their duty pistol of choice.

  26. avatarJohn says:

    Damn fine article. Especially the part about educating the public about scary looking rifles.

  27. avatarSteve says:

    I like the term “Force Multiplier.”

  28. avatarSteve says:

    Look at the middle east to see what’s next. When guns aren’t available the nuts and criminals will resort to bombs. Better be careful what you wish for.

  29. avatarBravoAlpha says:

    I like my SIG550- so easy to handle and accurate as hell over 100m without a scope

  30. avatarSteve says:

    If only there were more people like you that actually look into things before making any assumptions about it. Most people say oh because the media said ar 15′s are bad and people only use them to kill other people. Then that’s what they should believe. People need to make there own decisions about guns and not let media influence there opinion.

  31. avatarWally1 says:

    I have never heard so much stupid BS in my life, I live in the real world. AR15 for home protection in a urban enviroment with neighbors is stupid. Wake up! A short barrel lever rifle chambered in 357 which you can should .38 cal or a lever rifle chambered in .45 long colt are extremely fast, reliable and safe! Really lightweight and like anything else, practice makes perfect. .45 long colt is a very effective defensive round, because of the larger diameter, has no feed problems and is a ultimate safe rifle for a residence. Quicker to chamber a round than any AR. Most of these posters have never been shot at or in a critical incident. Quit playing video games and welcome to reality, a AR15 is a fine weapon but it takes practice. how many really are proficent? Not many living in an city urban enviroment have time or resources to practice. Lever guns are simple reliable and safe. And here is the kicker, much cheaper. And if you end up shooting someone, in court it doesnt look like a “Assault rifle” to the moron jurors who are too stupid to get out of jury duty.

    • avatarBobo says:

      1)Why would your home defense weapon not already have a round chambered?

      2)So you’re insinuating that a lever action doesn’t take practice?

      3)If someone breaks into my home at 0′dark 30, they’re a threat and I’m not thinking about, nor do I care what a jury may think. MY lawyers job is to convince them that the shooting was justified and it won’t make a difference what firearm was used.

  32. avatarDonnybrook says:

    I have heard the civilian ar 15 called an assault rifle, but when police have them, they are personal defense rifle, sporting rifle or tactical carbine/rifle. It seems there are those who wish to demonize our weapons, but sensationalize their’s.

  33. avatarBobo says:

    “1) Accuracy — The patrol rifle is better for “stand off and containment
    ability to hit a target decreases even further in the stress of a life-or-death encounter. If this is a big issue for highly-trained police officers, wouldn’t the same concern apply to average folks as well?”

    1) The general public don’t have to deal with stand off and containment, Yes accuracy is a factor for the average person as well, but they to will suffer from degradation of accuracy during life/death encounters (as do many military folks)
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    “2) Ease of Use — While it’s probably assumed that a police officer has sufficient training to use his or her service pistol competently, for the average person the time and expense required to obtain equal skill with a handgun can be prohibitive. The self-defense alternative is usually a shotgun, but using scatterguns can present problems: “[T]he recoil and manual operation of the shotgun has historically proved to be an issue with some Officers.”

    2)Yep and that’s all it is, An Assumption…not every officer is a “gun guy/gal”, a large number simply qualify with their firearm(s) once a year (or as required by their dept) and never shoot otherwise.
    I know a number of “average joes” who regularly train with their firearm(s), and do so more often then the “typical” officer. The officers that aren’t “gun guy’s/gals” are the same one’s that can’t figure out the simple manual of arms that a shotgun uses.
    —————————————————————————————————————————–

    “3) Safety — Another concern for the police is the potential for bullets to penetrate through walls and hit a target that wasn’t intended. According to the manual, this is another area where the patrol rifle shines: “[T]he most popular patrol rifle round, the 5.56mm NATO (.223 Remington) will penetrate fewer walls than service pistol rounds or 12 gauge slugs, and the patrol rifle is also safer because having “potentially a more accurate weapon … lowers the liability to the department.”

    3)The same penetration concerns apply to the “average joe” as well (and even more so as they aren’t typically exempt from prosecution and “own” every bullet that leaves their firearm). I notice also that this study only mentions 12gauge slugs and not various “shot” and having a “potentially” more accurate weapon doesn’t mean a thing with an inaccurate shooter.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    4) Firepower – The increase in firepower is a huge benefit to the individual: “The Rifle is a force multiplier. The advantages of the rifle permit a single person to effectively deal with multiple adversaries without the disadvantages of being only armed with a handgun. If it’s important for a single officer, with radio backup, to have a “force multiplier” at his disposal, then why wouldn’t someone want a similar advantage when defending his or her home and family from “multiple adversaries”?

    4)The force multiplier would probably be even more important to an individual who is defending his home/family as they don’t have the advantage of a radio backup (which in the case of law enfocement is likely already on the way)
    ————————————————————————————————————
    5) The AR is King. — The report looks at a variety of rifles with different chamberings, including the AK-47 and traditional .30-.30 lever action rifles”

    5)While I like the AR platform just fine, as it does have lot’s of options for customization, it isn’t alone on that fact and while I’d also agree that if it’s good enough for a role in law enfocement I’d disagree it’s “King”, after all, depending on the make-up of your interior walls, over penetration can occur with Any caliber.

    Shot Placement is “King”, anything else is subjective.

  34. avatarscott says:

    concerning the AK — because of the perceived association with terrorist groups.” I don’t care what any one thinks about my firearm. If we let them all glocks will soon be perceived as bad. ARs look mean too.please

  35. avatarscott says:

    my old neighbor is a ww2 and Korean war vet and decorated soldier. he has a ruger 10/22 and 10/45 handgun.

  36. avatarMichal says:

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