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I have a disdain for the terms “assault weapon” and “high-capacity magazine” as there are no such terminology in the firearms vernacular.  These terms were invented by the gun grabbers to demonize our culture. Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center went so far as to put his devious intent into writing: “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” – Josh Sugarmann, 1988 Assault Weapons and Accessories in America. In other words . . .

Sugarmann stated that since the public doesn’t understand these firearms and is scared by their looks, it will be easy to fool them into supporting a ban against them.  He was correct. They are and it did. Helped, in no small part by renaming them “assault weapons” which on its own easily scare the sheepdom.

Unfortunately, these terms have now become standard fare within conversations of gun owners. It can only hurt our cause to continue to accept and use these terms. Much better would be the use of sporting rifle, personal defense rifle or homeland defense rifle. When discussing the ban I most often refer to them as “so-called assault weapons.”

Our magazines should be called what they are; magazines. More descriptive would be standard magazine, full-capacity magazines or standard capacity magazines. Restricted-capacity magazines can be also be called neutered magazines or reduced-capacity magazines. The term high-capacity should be left to magazines that are higher capacity than what the firearm was designed for such as 30-round pistol magazines or 100-round magazines/drums for rifles.


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  1. Rabbi, a long time ago we let the enemy’s marketing experts establish a prejudicial lexicon and sell it to those who don’t know any better. We need to redefine everything, starting with the basics. Why do we call our guns “weapons”? If we shoot targets, are our guns weapons? Hunters shoot game with sporting arms, not weapons. Since the word “weapon” is a bete noir, we should stop using it. Soldiers carry weapons. Cops carry weapons. We carry sporting or self defense arms. Period.

  2. Points taken Ralph, but it depends on the user’s needs. I have many weapons and a few sporting arms. In this case the term weapon is probably the correct term as that’s why I own them an carry them. I never would shoot to kill, I would only shoot to live.

    I can deal with personal defense weapon or defensive weapon, but self-defense arm is, for me, a little PC overkill and I hate being PC. PC will be the death of this county.

    Kids who fail school should get an F, not some PC grade to make them feel good about themselves.

    • Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. PC will be the death of us only if we let the libertards own it, because then they contrl the dialog by controlling the lexicon. If we have to create a new 2A PC, then that’s what we should do. We need to make self defense and the right to carry politically correct. As Shakespeare said, “for ’tis the sport to have the enginer hoist with his own petar.”

  3. I like the words “standard-capacity magazines” for such things.

    A 30-rounder is standard for an AR or an AK.

    17 is standard for a Glock, etc. etc.

  4. I’ve always just called them mags(5rnd or 30rnd) and rifles(AR’s or bolt action). But then, I don’t believe in any PC bullsh!t.

  5. I think Ralph has it right. If anyone can stop the use of these made up terms, it has to be us. I make it a point to never use the word “assault” or “weapon”. I use the model name (AR, or AK). When I here the term “high capacity magazine”, I ask the person to explain what it is and where does the term come from. I will pounce on anyone who uses any media buzzword like “cop killer bullets” in my presence.

    Its really strange that over time, made up words can become real. I watched an interview with Will Smith. The interviewer asked how he felt that a word he created (jiggy) was now in the dictionary. I like Will smiths movies, but I dont remember anyone giving him permission to modify the English language. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I do not intend to learn all these new words that people make up. Another of my favorites is diva. A diva is a female opera singer. It has no other meaning. How about the word dissing? What language is that?

    When it comes to made up gun terminology, we may not be able to make people stop using the terms, but we can control our own mouths. Let people here the correct terms. Maybe they will see that the made up words are just as phoney as some of the stories they are used in.

    • RB, not to nitpick, but that’s the nature of the english language. It’s a bastardized language that has evolved over time.

      I think as a culture we have been to permissive as to what’s truely in our “official” lexicon, but that’s a byproduct of trying to record and define every single word that crosses our lips. Slang is a natural part of the english language, and is the reason that it’s such a diverse and picturesque language.

      However, when it comes to technical terms in different fields, there are absolutes. We’ve let others redefine our technical terms. Think of Carolyn McCarthy and the “shoulder thing that goes up”.

      I agree that there are high capacity magazines, however, I would define those as being of an unusual capacity for the original design.

      I’m also a fan of “modern sporting rifles” or “modern rifles”. That’s all they are: Modern Rifles. Modern operation, Modern ergonomics, improved accuracy, modern materials.

  6. We need to start with the manufacturers. Their sites & literature need to be purged of the offensive terms and they need to be rebranded.

    A/W should be renamed to HSR; Homeland Security Rifle.
    high capacity replaced with “standard”.

    • To me, there’s no such thing as a “high-capacity” magazine. That terminology is made-up gun-grabber bullshit. A magazine is a “factory magazine” whether it’s a ten round stick or a fifty round drum. We need to desensitize the public, who by and large remain ignorant of the truth about guns. Whoa. Unintentional double entendre.

  7. Semantical arguments don’t do much for me. No matter what the mfg’er chooses to call it, 30+ rounds is a magazine of notably high capacity, both in historical terms and in any practical sense. There is no civilian purpose for that much capacity. If you need 30 rounds to drop a varmint, punch a paper target, or defend your home or business, you are doing it wrong.

  8. I cannot afford a trio of revolvers. I have an AK47 and will soon add a 1911A1 to my home defense plans

    High capacity magazines give poor people the ability to defend themselves , as well as their families. A Ruger 10-22 with the new 25 round magazine is about $250.00 A politically correct revolver of quality runs at least $400.00. Simple economics will tell you which one Bob Disability Check can afford.

    High capacity magazine-fed firearms save lives by deterring would-be thugs. FACT: The Tommy Gun has deterred more violence than it has ever accomplished. Likewise, the M-1 carbine, AR15, AK, and Mini14 in civilian hands have also done the same, too. Ditto for Kel-tec, Beretta, Taurus, and Glock handguns that use at a twenty round magazine, too.

    Criminal(s) want easy targets, and why get your home invasion crew shot up when you can roll drunks on check day? Then they are the issues of terrorists, major gangs, and rampaging rural outlaw families. Not all of the aforementioned are fanatics willing to die for their cause, whether that cause be Allah, Zoe Pound, or Jesse James.

    The same are most often looking looking for an easy score. It doesn’t matter if it is a bombing, a rape spree, stolen jet skis, or dog thefts; the easier a score is perceived, the more liable it is to be attempted. And that is why weapons like the Ruger Mini14 are good things, too.

    But when facing fanatics, high capacity magazine-fed firearms are the best choice. It matters not where the fanaticism originates. The same M-1 carbines that smashed Japanese bayonet charges in 1943 also dissuaded KKK-terrorism in 1963. Fanatics must be stopped as quickly as possible, else you are risking the lives of both yourself and your family.

    Urban and rural chaos are also reasons for weapons like the Ruger Mini14. Hugo, the Rodney King riots, Andrew, Katrina… Those whom were the most heavily armed tended not to be bothered by criminals. Again, looters want an easy score.

    Then there’s the ‘Godzilla’-related scenarios in which a wild animal goes totally berserk and is only stopped by multiple hits. While rare, it does happen and most recently an Alaskan used an AR15 to kill a hybrid grizzly bear. Said bear had been raiding their settlement and a hunting party was sent to out to hunt him. The bear surprised the same, most of whom were armed with slow-firing lever/bolt-action rifle(s). Mr. AR15 got off eight rapid shots, killing the animal before it harm the rest of he hunting party.

    Packs of wild dogs and coyotes are often so numerous that it is ill-advised to face them with low capacity firearms. Why limit yourself to Jesse James technology when you can have an AK47?

    Another issue is what I term the ‘Shoot-ability’ of a gun. ‘Shoot-ability’ means does certain kind of gun fit a certain kind of shooter? Example, me. I’m a juvenile arthritis patient. I can shoot a .45, 9mm, .223, or 7.62×39 mm without either pain or loss of function. .12 gauge and heavier recoiling(kicking) firearms cause me to flinch with pain, even with a recoil pad. The same applies to the young, aged, underweight, cardiac, respiratory, wheelchair-bound, and assisted walking patients.

    The usage of soft nose and like expanding ammunition eliminates the possibility of over penetration from ammunition., too.

    For the record, high capacity magazine fed firearms have been sold from the 1904 Mauser pistol. Mass murders were almost unheard of in 1904. Why? Hanging, the firing squad, and electrocution were the murder penalties in most states. And in states without any death penalty, life imprisonment for murder meant imprisonment until the murderer died. too.

    Had somebody tried to shoot up a school in 1904, they would have probably been shot by the cop assigned to that school. Else, the whole community would have gotten Winchesters, Lee-Enfields, revolvers, shotguns, and Lugers and they would have shot the perp dead.

    The perp’s family would have not been allowed to sue said community, nor would the same be criminally charged. Our society lost much when the aforementioned ways were reversed.

    God bless y’all, Marky


  9. This thread is a great example of how rebutting a lie with another (opposite) lie does Not work. Pro-Gun people like Rabbi sounded really really (extremely) pathetic by crying out that the evil Pro-Ban people invent “bad” name and phrases to demonize guns and rifle and whateverz. I Do agree Pro-Ban people create negative term to serve their specific political purpose and agenda. Just as Pro-Gun people create stupidly naive term to counteract. Both sides are shameless liars who are willing to bend and twist words to serve their own agenda and brand of cool-aid.

    I am a New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn. Thus I grew up in the Pro-Ban world and never even “saw” a real firearm, devil’s-gun, assault-slaughter-innocent-people-black-Rifle. Born and raised in a Pro-Ban state/city does NOT make me stupid, does not make me “easily fooled” by the pro-ban propaganda. I have a brain and I am capable to think for myself. Yeah I am afraid of guns and what PEOPLE can do with it. I am more afraid of Stupid gun-owner than I do bad guys. Just check your own irresponsible-gun-owners posts…

    My point (1): every time I read a pro-gunner raising issue with terms like “Assault Rifle”, and demonizing Pro-Ban side (yeah you do it to them as much as the other side does to you). You make me want to puck when you want to call it “Home Defense, Save my innocent virgin daughter” equipment. The worst part is you treat people like me, who are neither pro-gun nor pro-ban like fools. You want my respect? you want my vote? then spend your time and effort on making “Sensible and reasonable” gun laws in the states y’all control. Fix your own problems then you get my respect. Fling dung to the other side or cry evil/unfair… make you a pathetic hypocrite.

    By now you are sure I’m a evil Pro-Ban New Yorker, you probably even sure of my political allegiance. Well, I left NYC a few months after 9/11. On that date I was working in my office on 100 Liberty Street (about 100 yds from WTC), preparing for my lunch meeting at WTC#1. I moved to California and bought my first ugly black evil killing pistol — G19, with three 10 rds mags. I did Not turn into a killer simply because now i got a “Assault Evil Killer Weapon” <– see how I just called my beloved G19? I did Not feel castrated because i got 10 rd mags. I did Not feel more macho or better prepared or stronger simply because i got a gun. I loved shooting paper with this G19. I like precision mechanical things and this G19 was great. Five years later I moved to Texas and started my family here. Oh yeah! Land of Pro-Gun. Since moving to Texas I bought a Ruger .22LR evil killing weapon, follow by a Ruger 10/22 Man-Killing-Semi-Auto-Assult-Long-gun-weapon. Last month i bought a S&W MP9 Shield (awesome little gun), signed on to annual membership at my local gun club/range. And I just ordered my very first Devil's-Penis Black AR15: S&W M&P 15 Sport w/o dust-cover and forward-assist. This be my first Devil's Assault Weapon. I'm so very excited (hence why I'm on TTAG looking for info/review on scope, triggers, do/don't, Magpul this and that, etc) haha, so am I still a Pro-Pan arsehole if I own and love my 3 guns, and 1 Assault weapon on order?

    Oh, I got married and have 2 daughters now. So yes, i DO have innocent virgin daughters to protect. You can bet if you intrude into my home i will kill you. with my "Assault weapon", "Sporting Equipment", kitchen Knife, bad breathe, bare knuckles, or even my girls pencil through your eyeballs… anything, no matter how you want to call it, it does not change a simple fact that weapons are just a part of home defense no matter how you or the other side want to call it.

    Also, stupid and irresponsible gun owners are your (Pro-Gun) enemy, not the pro-ban people. if you pick your fights foolishly on nitpicking names for "weapons", if you pick your fights foolishly with the Pro-Ban people, then you are NOT true supporters of 2nd admen.

    I love my guns, I love holding them, cleaning them, marvel at their precision working, the explosive power of communication. I love all that. But I DO support more strict control on guns and weapons and sporing equipments. however you want to call it, if it can be used to hurt or kill, it can be fairly called a weapon. Just like the kitchen knife is indeed a weapon. My ballpoint pen is also a weapon.

    There are good, respectable gun owners who use their weapon for self-defense, home protection, sports, hunting, and collectible enjoyment. There's also bad gun owners and criminals who has at least the same level access to the same weapons. That is where your issues and problems lies.

    I am happy with my castrated mag, I am also happy with my high-capacity mag, your attempt of trying to change their name/label tells me you are a political wordsmith, and Not to be trusted. Your calling the vast majority of non-pro and non-ban people like me… help cement my believe more restrict gun control, and banning high capacity magazines are a GOOD IDEA. I will be voting Pro-Ban after reading this article with it's many agreeing reader replies.

    Gosh, hard to believe I just spend an hour typing and ranting away, on a post from 1.5 years ago…



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