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Eric over Gunmart Blog caused quite a kerfuffle when he called time on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) campaign to remove the term “assault rifle” from the firearms fraternity’s lexicon. Eric mocked (ever-so-politely) the NSSF’s desire to replace “assault rifle” with “modern sporting rifle” (MSM). (TTAG has been promoting “modern black home defense sporting rifle with the thingie that goes up” to no avail.) For some reason, the NSSF fired back. Oh look! Here comes Guns & Ammo claiming that SIG’s new 551A1 marks the return of the “classic assault rifle.” While G&A has a 43-month lead time, I think we can safely conclude that the NSSF’s anti-assault rifle rhetorical campaign remains DOA. Maybe they should spend some time renaming themselves. Just saying . . .

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  1. I subscribe to G&A (G&A reader for 25 years), I chuckled a bit and wondered if someone would notice. What I find even more hilarious in on page 14 of that same issue they mention TTAG and the large number of page hits.

  2. “Just saying…”

    Can someone please enlighten me as to what adding “just saying” to the end of a post contributes to the overall meaning of the post?

  3. I think many people get confused between the annoying but innocuous term “Assault Rifle”, compared to the mostly negative connotation of “Assault Weapon”.

    I may be wrong on this point, but doesn’t the US military issue the M16 as a light infantry rifle, rather than an “assault rifle”? I was under the impression that the media mostly invented the term “Assault weapon/rifle” as a form of media obfuscation.

    A bit of anecdotal evidence, as per this still relevant chart they use:

  4. Well, I guess you could just call that SIG the “modern sporting longer bullet McShooty with the folding shoulder thingy” or something…

    NSSF is not gonna care about this for two simple reasons. First, they only care about ARs… which is why you only heard crickets from them about the point I made about how the MSR term falls completely flat when its applied to a very large number of other guns which just happen to look like assault rifles. In fact, they never even mentioned anything but the AR in that refutation they wrote about my article.

    Second, they are never going to publicly chastise a legacy publication like Guns & Ammo. They may get on the horn with the editor and point out they would like to not see that happen again, but to see them publicly say that G&A is “assisting anti-gun organizations” or that they are an “accessory” to gun banners and that they are “damaging the entire industry” aint gonna happen. I am sure they had a nice little chuckle about doing that to a blogger, but they know G&A wont stand for that.

    This is a very interesting development, however, and it will be interesting to see if they are willing to treat the legacy print media the same way as the online media… but I think all you are gonna see is hypocritical silence.I might be wrong, but we will see.

  5. I prefer the term Defense Rifle to Assault rifle. Assault rifle implies starting trouble. AR is supposed to stand for Automatic Rifle, which can be taken two ways, full or semi.

  6. Everyone has an opinion and something else as I recall so I will give mine. I never really liked the term “assault” to describe a rifle/carbine and thought that using “modern sporting rifle” to describe a 50+/- year old firearm was even less logical. “Tactical Carbine/Rifle” would have been my pick, but then again no one asked.

  7. I don’t own a black rifle although I’m doing research towards that end. However, I have several friends who own several AR variants (some own more than one). Not once have I ever heard any of them refer to their firearms, in any company, as “assault rifles.”

    The most frequently used term is simply “AR” followed by “black rifle.”

    It seems almost like the term “assault rifle” is used primarily by people actively involved in the gun debate, and not so much by people who interact with and talk about firearms on a daily basis. Those people tend to be much more specific in their terms: if it’s an AR variant, it’s an AR; if it’s an M-14 with a bunch of tacticool stuff stuck to it, then it’s an M-14.

  8. I always thought the term assault rifle referred to a select fire weapon in a medium rifle caliber, existing between battle rifles and sub machine guns.

    If this SIG rifle isn’t select fire then I would say its not an assault rifle.

  9. I wonder if that Sig is any good. Their quality has seemingly gone down hill recently, but I’ve always wanted a 550-series.

  10. I suppose we could call it a Sturmgewehr or Machine Pistol, but that would imply selective fire. If the AR and AK semi-autos are assault rifles, then what is a Ruger Mini 14 or M1 Carbine? What is an M1 Garrand? SKS? I really always thought the AR-15 was a follow up to the M1 Carbine in many ways. Should we just call the thing a rifle? A carbine?

  11. All,s found silly that term assault rifle was used describe any civilian semi auto version military rifle . Why do find silly becuase if look up word assault rifle describe military type rifle that has semi auto full auto capability . Which mean if semi auto rifles does not have full auto capability not assualt rifle. Term assult rifle came from Adolf Hitler coined that name. Ever ant gun control person out there us term assualt rifle on any semi auto rilfe out there with out clue what term means. I be more happy if term assualt rifle went way from semi auto rifles . So next time there debate about assualt rifles watch main stream media explain how evil there are may be some one can remind them semi auto rifles are not assualt rifles push them one issue define what true assualt rifle is.

  12. I prefer “baby-killing black death weapon from hell,” but nobody listens to me. I also coined the phrases “assault scope” for anything over 3x, “cop-killer assault bullets that will claw your guts out” for hollowpoints, and “Nazi death machine” for Mercedes-Benz autos. The last one is actually getting some traction (get it?) in Detroit.

      • As a matter of fact the concept of an assault rifle was not hitlers. When he was presented with the idea for the mp44 (the first assault rifle) he was opposed to it , it was only after it was successful did he take credit and coin the term assault rifle. And yes he did have some good ideas, nazi germany was the first government to have a anti smoking campaign. Also it was hitlers idea to have an automobile that anyone could afford, he gave the task of designing the car to some guy named ferdinand porsche. The result was the volkswagen beetle. And through a savings scheme it only cost 990 reichtmarks. Kind of like the cash for clunkers program, maybe that wasnt a good idea.

  13. I was thinking, why is it that everyone is so worked up about the assault rifle? Whats so scary about something in between a battle rifle and a submachine gun? and besides if the brady campaign is really targeting guns used in crime it seems like assault rifles should be last on there list behind snub nose revolvers and shotguns


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