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z2209_600I was in my LGS the other day when I happened to see Gun Digest’s Buyers Guide to Assault Weapons on the shelf.  That got my ire up pretty quickly, mainly because the term, “assault weapon” is meaningless. It’s like referring to my glass as a “drinking glass,” or my plate as an “eating plate.” The simple fact is that whatever you are using to attack another person with is an “assault weapon” of one sort or another. The term, “assault weapon” has been adopted and used by the anti-gun crowd to demonize a specific sub-set of semi-automatic firearms that are arguably less dangerous than many other rifles . . .

So, I was pretty annoyed when I saw a book published under the auspices of of a company that gets most of its revenue from 2A supporters use this inflammatory and inaccurate term. After all, we should be working to eliminate, not perpetuate this sort of thing.

Then I realized that this book was, in fact, not new. It had been published back in 2008 – long before the latest batch of anti-gun rhetoric hit the political world. It was just another case of a company trying to cash in. That said, The People of the Gun need to be more careful. If we use the language of the anti-gunners that’s been forced on us, it becomes part of the lexicon and only makes our jobs tougher. Thanks for nothing, Gun Digest. 

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  1. At the end of the day, they’re a publisher trying to make a profit.As such the title choice is engineered to get attention, not to reflect absolute truth of a topic.Plainly ,the gamble worked .Even if an anti buys the book to write an academic essay against firearms ownership,the company makes money.

  2. I don’t know who buys these things anymore anyway. They’re invariably two years out of date and so superficial as to be useless.

  3. I think they only have so long to continue exploiting that loaded term. More and more people are starting to see all guns as assult weapons, but at the same time the term then loses its meaning. Ironically (according to this theory of mine) it may be our own indignation at the use of this term that prevents this natural transition (think n word)
    Therefore, I propose we embrace the term “assault rifle” to the point of using it as a term of endearment for each other.

    • Unfortunately, as with the “N” word, it only loses meaning when the right people use it. I defy any non-black person to wade into a group of black people and start throwing that particular slur around. You’ll find it does have a meaning, very quickly.

      • “The right people using it”

        Right, it should have all the attendant prerequisites; only POTG can call other POTG “assault rifle.”
        Gun grabbers use it, and we fly off the handle like they just called us the n word.
        Spread the word!

  4. I don’t know, I’m starting to think we should embrace it. The use of the term doesn’t make there case any more correct or factual – and it might just infuriate them! Assault Weapon, like the term gay, can be owned, used, and subsequently rendered meaningless once again. To some degree resisting it make it more threatening. JMHO

  5. What happened to the TTAG post of some months back that said: “Yes, they ARE military-type/like weapons. SO WHAT?”

  6. So called ‘assault weapons’ have a full auto selector switch,other wise they are a semi auto rifle or carbine.The term ‘ASSAULT WEAPON’ was coined by our old buddy of war Adolf Hitler and was his naming of the first ww2 select fire,hand held semi/full auto gun called the’STERMGAVEHR [soory for the spelling]

  7. I butter toast with a tactical survival knife. Eating bread & butter is a tactic that helps me survive.

    Sometimes I open letters with a combat paper cutter dagger. Battling paper cuts is serious business.

    When I go to the shooting range, I often take lead & gunpowder, and a lead-projecting machine.

  8. Damn them for using libtard terminology. “Assault Weapons” are full auto. Everything else is a semi rifle.

  9. I have always felt the term “assault rifle” (or assault anything) is a false term that is used by to anti-gun people to scare the general populace. Likewise for the more recent phrase “military grade.” Reality is our civilian population does not and cannot own a true assault rifle unless they have a class III license. Yes, you can buy a semi-automatic that looks like a true assault weapon, but no soldier (or terrorist) goes into a fight without full auto capability. We, the people, do not have full auto capability, but the anti-gunners use “assault rifle” to scare the general populace into thinking anyone with a gun is a one-person SWAT team. Unfortunately, “assault rifle” and “military grade” are both a big part of the left’s PR campaign to sway the public that any and all guns should be banned.

  10. the anti second amendment crowd has moved onto using the terms “military weapon”, “military grade weapon”

    It isn’t just the term “military” that is useful to them, it is also the term weapon

  11. You stated, “…the term, “assault weapon” is meaningless.”

    Not true. It has a very specific meaning as a legal term in various jurisdictions ( although I agree, it is meaningless as a technical term). Any discussion with anti-gun folks should emphasize that point. An assault weapon is whatever the law says it is and has nothing to do with actual capabilities of a weapon.

    For example, in CA the law defines the term ‘assault weapon’

    30510. As used in this chapter and in Sections 16780, 17000, and 27555, “assault weapon” means the following designated semiautomatic firearms:
    (a) All of the following specified rifles:
    (1) All AK series including, but not limited to, the models identified as follows:
    (A) Made in China AK, AKM, AKS, AK47, AK47S, 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
    (B) Norinco 56, 56S, 84S, and 86S.
    (C) Poly Technologies AKS and AK47.
    (D) MAADI AK47 and ARM.
    (2) UZI and Galil.
    (3) Beretta AR-70.
    (4) CETME Sporter.
    (5) Colt AR-15 series.
    (6) Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100, and AR 110C.
    (7) Fabrique Nationale FAL, LAR, FNC, 308 Match, and Sporter.
    (8) MAS 223.
    (9) HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, and HK-PSG-1.
    (10) The following MAC types:
    (A) RPB Industries Inc. sM10 and sM11.
    (B) SWD Incorporated M11.
    (11) SKS with detachable magazine.
    (12) SIG AMT, PE-57, SG 550, and SG 551.
    (13) Springfield Armory BM59 and SAR-48.
    (14) Sterling MK-6.
    (15) Steyer AUG.
    (16) Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78S.
    (17) Armalite AR-180.
    (18) Bushmaster Assault Rifle.
    (19) Calico M-900.
    (20) J&R ENG M-68.
    (21) Weaver Arms Nighthawk.
    (b) All of the following specified pistols:
    (1) UZI.
    (2) Encom MP-9 and MP-45.
    (3) The following MAC types:
    (A) RPB Industries Inc. sM10 and sM11.
    (B) SWD Incorporated M-11.
    (C) Advance Armament Inc. M-11.
    (D) Military Armament Corp. Ingram M-11.
    (4) Intratec TEC-9.
    (5) Sites Spectre.
    (6) Sterling MK-7.
    (7) Calico M-950.
    (8) Bushmaster Pistol.
    (c) All of the following specified shotguns:
    (1) Franchi SPAS 12 and LAW 12.
    (2) Striker 12.
    (3) The Streetsweeper type S/S Inc. SS/12.
    (d) Any firearm declared to be an assault weapon by the court pursuant to former Section 12276.5, as it read in Section 3 of Chapter 19 of the Statutes of 1989, Section 1 of Chapter 874 of the Statutes of 1990, or Section 3 of Chapter 954 of the Statutes of 1991, which is specified as an assault weapon in a list promulgated pursuant to former Section 12276.5, as it read in Section 3 of Chapter 954 of the Statutes of 1991.
    (e) This section is declaratory of existing law and a clarification of the law and the Legislature’s intent which bans the weapons enumerated in this section, the weapons included in the list promulgated by the Attorney General pursuant to former Section 12276.5, as it read in Section 3 of Chapter 954 of the Statutes of 1991, and any other models that are only variations of those weapons with minor differences, regardless of the manufacturer. The Legislature has defined assault weapons as the types, series, and models listed in this section because it was the most effective way to identify and restrict a specific class of semiautomatic weapons.
    (f) As used in this section, “series” includes all other models that are only variations, with minor differences, of those models listed in subdivision (a), regardless of the manufacturer.

    30515. (a) Notwithstanding Section 30510, “assault weapon” also means any of the following:
    (1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    (A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
    (B) A thumbhole stock.
    (C) A folding or telescoping stock.
    (D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
    (E) A flash suppressor.
    (F) A forward pistol grip.
    (2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
    (3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
    (4) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    (A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
    (B) A second handgrip.
    (C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer’s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
    (D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
    (5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
    (6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
    (A) A folding or telescoping stock.
    (B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
    (7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
    (8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
    (b) The Legislature finds a significant public purpose in exempting from the definition of “assault weapon” pistols that are designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events. Therefore, those pistols that are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and by USA Shooting, the national governing body for international shooting competition in the United States, and that were used for Olympic target shooting purposes as of January 1, 2001, and that would otherwise fall within the definition of “assault
    weapon” pursuant to this section are exempt, as provided in subdivision (c).
    (c) “Assault weapon” does not include either of the following:
    (1) Any antique firearm.
    (2) Any of the following pistols, because they are consistent with the significant public purpose expressed in subdivision (b):

    BENELLI MP90 .22LR
    BENELLI MP95 .22LR
    HAMMERLI 280 .22LR
    HAMMERLI 280 .32 S&W LONG
    WALTHER OSP-2000 .22 SHORT legal term in various locations.


  12. Gun Digest has been publishing those for at least 25 years, far longer than Sarah Brady has been aware of that particular term.

    One edition from many years back has some entertaining stories about the life of Colonel George Chinn, who (among many other things) helped design the Mk. 19 automatic grenade launcher. I would not condemn them out of hand for the title.

    Then again, I am reminded of a story, perhaps apocryphal, of one of Adolf Hitler’s distant relatives, sharing his surname, who was a US Army combat engineer in France in 1944. A reporter asked him why he didn’t change his name. His response: “Let that other guy change HIS.”

  13. The term “Assault weapon” has been with us since the second world war , it was used by the military first and is as meaningless as any other term: like battle rifle (does this sound less scary?), or hunting rifle, or sports car, or sports utility vehicle, or beer glass, or martini glass if you want to take the analogy that far. Rifles are rifles and cars are cars however specific types of cars-glasses-rifles have their own name.
    The difference between an ar-15 and a current issue military m-16 is pretty much limited to not having a burst setting in the fire selector. A big part of these rifles (ar-15, ak lookalikes) allure is that they look “dangerous” like their military counterparts. Deal with the fact that the ar-15 is an assault weapon look alike and will probably be called just that and stop trying to force this Orwellian newspeak on everyone! You should be able to own one, however just like buying an SUV you can’t complain that people aren’t calling it an elevated off road station wagon …

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