|Posted on December 22, 2014 at 1:30 PM||comments (21)|
December 22, 2014 at 1:31pm
If you’ve spent any amount of time on gun forums or on YouTube looking at shooting videos, you will inevitably run into discussions on how much gun is sufficient for defensive use. This is one of what I call the Never Ending Arguments that always occur among gun owners and end up going nowhere. Other versions of this are the classic 9mm vs. .45ACP argument and the dreaded “Stopping Power”discussion.
In order to find the answer to the question, we first have to define the word “need”.For the purpose of this essay, I’m going to define “need” as that which would be reasonably sufficient for use in situations consistent with the average defensive encounter in which a firearm is involved. We have to rule out what is extreme, because self-defense situations have a lot more to do with where you’re going and what you’re doing there than what kind of weapons are available or needed. I’ve been in more defensive encounters with weapons than most civilians(meaning someone whose job is NOT to run at the source of incoming bullets). I’m not some kind of street warrior. The truth is that growing up I had a tendency to go into places I had no business going in order to have fun. Usually survival just meant obeying the rules of whatever environment I was in.Occasionally, it meant I had to be a bit of a bastard.
To avoid the gun forum “what if” bullshit, complete with mall ninja stories and the fictitious exploits of people like Gecko45, I’ll stick to what available data I can find on defensive encounters and dispense with feelings, paranoia and tactical monkey nonsense. The problem I face with that is that the “data”about these things is usually collected and reported by barking moonbats. Simply put, the data is gathered by people who are only gathering data to support a pre-conceived conclusion. The National Crime Victimization Surveys only considered a short amount of time, six months as the focus for their surveys.This leaves no room for fluctuations in crime over several years or the fact that 20-40% of people who use a firearm in self-defense don’t report it. It also only counted as self-defense incidents,where the criminal also had a gun. This leaves out an untold number of incidents where a home invader was repelled or the criminal had some other weapon. The 2.5 million statistic most gun owners are familiar with , as reported by Kleck and Gertz, have the problem that a slight classification error, even one as small as 1% can cause the mistake in the statistic to be larger than acceptable margins. Then you have the problem that the sources for all of this data was from surveys taken in the 1990s.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to go with the 2.5 million statistics.Not because it’s gospel truth, but because this is the one recognized by the majority of gun owners; those for whom this article is written. It being the more generous statistic, it will help me to better make my point. Also, since there has yet to be any actual proof of bias errors in the surveys as alleged by its critics, it’s good enough for now.
The adult population of the United States is approximately 200,000,000. This means that self-defense incidents, in which a firearm is, used account for about 1.25% of the adult population. This means that out of every 100 people you know, you would have to roll d100 (in nerd speak) and hit a natural 1 in order to find yourself at the end of this problem. This is assuming you are not going somewhere stupid and being an idiot. Anyone who has played Dungeons and Dragons and hit a natural 1 against a really badass enemy knows that critical 1s do happen and they suck, so there is a good enough reason to possess a means to defend yourself.
But as the title of this essay asks, how much gun do you need? John Lott, famous pro-gun guy and author of More Guns-Less Crime conducted a survey in 2002 which estimated that 95% of the time, simply brandishing a weapon was sufficient to stop the crime. This means that 95% of the time you need 0 rounds of ammunition if a defensive firearm incident occurs. The chance of you having a defensive firearm incident at all is a whopping 0.0625%. But since carrying an unloaded gun is dumb, we’re going to decide to put bullets in it anyway. If they call your bluff, an unloaded gun is nothing but a very expensive club. There are still about 125,000 of you that will need to fire your weapon and that’s a lottery you don’t want to win.
OK,you say, but when those 125,000 guys have to shoot, how many rounds do they need? According to a 2007 report, 62% of the time six or fewer shots were fired, with the 1/2 of those shots being two of fewer. This means that .002375%of you need a weapon that fires more than six shots. This is the lottery that 47,500 out of 200,000,000 are going to win this year. This is not a significant number of people, statistically speaking and does give pause to the thought that a more intimidating gun may actually be better for you than ones that hold more rounds. If you are willing to gamble that you are one of the “lucky” ones, more power to you, but you can probably stave your chances by just not doing stupid things and going places where you don’t belong.
My recommendations for self defense are as follows. For home defense, I recommend a .12 gauge,pump-action shotgun. There are even pump shotguns that hold more than six rounds if you are worried about that. For carry, I recommend either a large caliber revolver (.44 S&W and on up) or a .45 caliber semi-auto. I carry a 1911. I choose these not because of any magic caliber or stopping power bullshit. Using quality, modern self-defense ammunition will make more difference now than bullet diameter. I chose these because a bigger barrel means better intimidation factor and failing that, what’s behind it will be just fine for defense. Learn safety and marksmanship and never fire warning shots. If your life is in danger, you shoot. If not, you have no business firing a weapon.
Naturally,you should assess your own individual risk as well. If you have a dangerous job, a stalker or live/work in a bad neighborhood these risk factors mean more than any statistics ever will.
As always, these are my OPINIONS and not gospel truth. Just remind yourself of these figures the next time some guy says you need to take some tactical ninja class or wants to sell you some foo foo to put on your weapon or some bozo on an internet forum tells you that you are vastly under-powered and can’t survive a “real” gunfight without a bayonet and 200 rounds of ammunition
|Posted on September 22, 2014 at 1:55 AM||comments (27)|
September 21, 2014 at 12:53pm
As a gun owner, there are things that are said about various firearms in the media that just burn my ass. Mainly because, either out of ignorance or willful fear-mongering, they are spreading garbage information that makes it impossible to have intelligent discussions with people about guns. In some cases, I am positive that this is intentional, but I'd say 90% of it is just ignorant people being ignorant. Here are some examples.
Making a big deal out of a rifle being "semi-automatic":
This is often accompanied by a completely unrelated video of someone firing a machine gun full-auto. Why this burns my ass is that being "semi-automatic" doesn't make a firearm more powerful or deadly. In fact, if you go to any given gun store, the vast majority of all the weapons minus the shotguns in there are semi-automatic. All it means is one trigger squeeze=one bang without having to manually cock the hammer in between shots. That's it.
All black guns are "Assault Rifles/Assault Weapons":
No. No. No. There is one distinction between "Assault Rifle" and "Just another rifle". This is a selector switch that allows the operator to fire either in full-auto or burst mode, in addition to semi-auto. If you go to your local gun store, you will likely find very few to no Assault Rifles. The only way a civilian can own one is buy paying a huge ass tax and subjecting his or herself to law enforcement scrutiny and red tape. It is cost prohibitive for most people and honestly, most gun owners don't care to own one because they are relatively useless for anything other than a range toy.
Calling an SKS an "Assault Rifle": Despite a superficial resemblance to the AK-47, the SKS rifle was NEVER issued with the capability to fire in full auto. In fact, it is a semi-auto only weapon with a 10-Round magazine! You can't even call it "High Capacity" unless you modify it by removing the spring-loaded/clip fed box and buy special detachable magazines designed to fit in the goofy magazine well. Even then you only have 2 of the necessary 3 requirements of an assault rifle.
Calling a rifle or pistol a "military weapon" or "military-grade": You may find this hard to believe but virtually EVERY pistol or rifle you can buy, including semi-autos, single/double action revolvers, all shotguns and even flint-lock muzzle loading rifles either were themselves used or employ a design used by the military at some point. EVERY WEAPON either is or was formerly "military grade". This extends to calling 9mm or .45ACP "Military Ammunition". Rounds as similar to and small as the .22 Short were used by the military. The BIG cartridge at one time was the .38 Special!
"Clip" vs. "Magazine": GRRRRRR! Don't even get me started.
Calling an AK-47 or AR-15 a "High Powered Rifle": Nope. Despite the scary image, these are not high-powered rifles. The AK and AR both use an INTERMEDIATE cartridge (Ones adapted to shoot .300 Win MAg or .50 Beowulf may be an exception). The whole reason they were adapted by the military to use intermediate cartridges was because High-Powered cartridges like the 7.62x54 Russian and the .30-06 were not very useful in close-range fighting. Try firing a Mosin-Nagant inside a building at a target 25 feet away and you'll see why. Wear hearing protection. Lots of it!
Referencing "Armor Piercing Capability": Sometimes also phrased as "Cop Killer" Ammunition, MSM sources often refer to various rounds, usually rifle rounds, as Armor Piercing. This is a huge misnomer. In military terms, "Armor Piercing" usually refers to Tungsten or Depleted Uranium cored rounds designed to pierce the armor on TANKS and ARMORED VEHICLES. There is no ammo you can purchase easily or inexpensively that can do this in the civilian world. "Armor Piercing" is occasionally used in reference to rifle rounds, but these are also usually tungsten cored rounds used to pierce light armor, including plate-enforced body armor. It is fairly uncommon. When the MEDIA uses the term, they usually reference the ability to pierce Police body armor. EVERY RIFLE ROUND BIGGER THAN A .22 LR ALREADY HAS THIS ABILITY. Police body armor is designed to stop handgun and shotgun rounds. Even grandpappy's deer rifle is "armor piercing" by this definition.
Hollowpoints "Explode" on Impact?: I've actually had someone ask me this. No. A Hollowpoint is designed to EXPAND quickly upon impact, causing the round to dump the majority of its energy in a shorter, but wider wound cavity. The purpose for this kind of ballistic performance is to cause incapacitation (note: I said incapacitiation, not death. Civilians and Police do not "Shoot to Kill". They shoot to STOP THE THREAT) using fewer rounds. This is to REDUCE the threat to bystanders by preventing over-penetration and too many rounds flying through the air.
I'm sure I will edit and add to this note as time goes on. Let me know what aggravates you about firearms in the media!
|Posted on June 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM||comments (22)|
June 22, 2014 at 6:24pm
It's no secret that I lawfully carry a handgun. I've been around guns my whole life. I first shot a rifle when I was about 11 or 12. I first fired a fully automatic rifle at 14 and by the time I was actually old enough to buy a handgun I'd fired everything from black powder to antitank rockets and heavy machine guns, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
As a guy who holds a license to carry, I have to obey the rules. The criminal doesn't give a shit if there is a little round sign with a crossed out gun on the door that says "No Guns Allowed". I have to give a shit because a law-abiding citizen has to play with both hands on the table.
This burns the asses of some gun owners. Aren't we supposed to be the ones with the rights? The law-abiding? Why are we being penalized leaving the criminals to run around willy-nilly doing whatever the hell they want?
I was going to write my opinion on this, but then I ran into a random post by one Marc MacYoung. For those unfamiliar, Marc is something of an expert on all things violent and messy and has lived it, on both sides of the law. He's probably one of the most dangerous people I know. Not just because he's seen almost as much of people's insides as I have, but because he's intelligent to the point of being diabolical. For my fellow geeks, imagine if you put Hannibal Lecter in Wolverine's body and gave him ADHD. I'm just glad he works for the good guys.
Below is his post about businesses that have the no-guns allowed signs and whether we as gun owners should either ignore the sign, take off our weapons or just avoid the business entirely. He says what I was feeling much better than I could have said it. And yes. I asked his permission to use this. DO you think I'm crazy?
Usually I don't carry a distance weapon these days. If I do carry, I avoid places where they are disallowed. Mostly it's a courtesy and out of respect for the property owner's rights. Fortunately I live in a state where if the government says 'gun free' they must provide protection. (In short, my safety is on their dime -- which normally limits their willingness to try to disarm people.)
Fact of the matter is up close I can kill a man faster with my bare hands than I can with a gun. I carry a knife because up close, I can incapacitate more people faster. What's more important though however is I have other levels of force options than just lethal. Which coming from a place were lethal force was not uncommon, I assure you that many more levels of force are needed. It's not just nada or lethal.
Simple statement is you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you make choices there are going to be consequences and limitations. If I choose to carry, I can't go into Starbucks (no great loss because I don't like burnt coffee). If I decide it's my right and do so anyway, the only thing I'm doing is showing what a self-centered prick I am. Because, I'm demanding my rights and ignoring the rights of others. Specifically the property rights of the owner -- which I got news for you people is a bigger issue than you think. Like the basis of our way of life bigger.
A point that I have is that there is a strong contingent in the anti-gun camp that wants to take away people's rights because of their feelings.
#1) Don't become like them
Don't piss on their rights because you feel it is your right to carry anywhere and with anything. Worse, you're doing the same thing. If you insist that nobody can tell you what to do, your feeling of fear (and why you need to carry every where) is just as much a trampling of other people's rights as you claim is being done to you.
#2) We do need to take other people's feelings into consideration.
I'm not a fan of open carry for a lot of reasons. Do you have the right? Yes. Do I think it's a good idea? No. Mostly because it makes other people uncomfortable -- and realistically it intimidates a lot of people in this modern world. As such people who insist on it being their right to do it outside socially acceptable boundaries are mostly saying, "Fuck you I don't care about your feelings. The only ones I care about are mine. And I'll hide this by calling it my right." Again, how is this significantly different from what many in the anti-gun movement are doing?
#3) By carrying concealed you don't scare or intimidate others who choose not to be armed -- and your decisions don't need to be public.
This is a big one. There is no sturm und drang about anything you do as an armed citizen. My decision to respect the rights of others is no more spectacular than me walking up to a door, turning and walking away when I see the sign. In places were I am allowed to carry, nobody in the room needs to know I'm armed. Do I personally have to hold myself to a higher set of standards about my behavior? Yes I do. The legal consequences of using my weapon will be great. To say nothing of the fact that I might not survive being involved in a situation where I was legally justified to use said weapon (Quit your whining. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it) At the same time, me being armed is not a power trip. I am not a superman because I alone am -- most likely -- the only armed person in the room.
This brings us back to my ability to cause mayhem and death at any range. I've found the best way not to have to use those skills is by being polite, considerate and willing to work with others. Insisting on my rights above everything else -- especially other people's rights, feelings and needs -- is a fast way to find yourself in conflict. And simply stated, no matter how much you tell yourself you are, you ain't the good guy.
|Posted on June 19, 2014 at 9:10 PM||comments (22)|
June 19, 2014 at 8:08pm
I recently helped a female friend make a decision on whattype of a handgun to buy for self-defense. She was a victim of domesticviolence and she feared that the other party may have plans of revenge aftershe embarrassed him and got him arrested by the police.
Since she would need it both for home and to carry around,and was comfortable carrying a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, I recommended theRuger LC-9. I own one and I think it’s great. It has a smooth, easy to workslide, a long, but easy double action trigger and can handle +p loads (for theuninitiated, +p means cartridges that are loaded at slightly higher thanstandard pressure). The LC-9 also can be bought equipped with a laser sight,which is something that she wanted, in case she needed to use it at night.
When we got on the subject of ammunition, I mentioned that Ifavor the SPEER Gold Dot Hollowpoints. I like the 124 grain +p, specifically.They show a pretty good energy dump in ballistic gel even from a shorterbarrel. I use the Gold Dot brand in everything because I saw some that werepulled out of a dead body and they performed impressively (There’s anendorsement for you), meaning of course,that they expanded properly, didn’t fall to pieces and didn’t over-penetratethe target. That’s when the lady said something that raised my eyebrows a bit.
“Oh! Those are the ones that explode inside of people!” Shesaid with her eyeballs bugging out.
Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, I thought. Do people still reallybelieve that shit? Apparently they do.
Of course, she is from California, so she probably believesin Ghost Guns and God knows what else, so I decided it’s time for a littleballistics education. The following is basically what I explained to her.
Essentially, the way bullets work hasn’t changed since the1700s. A trigger gets pulled; a hammer falls on some type of striker, whichignites a primer, which in turn ignites a gun powder charge, which creates asmall but powerful explosion that sends a tiny ball of lead screaming down ametal tube and through the air.
The difference now is that the whole explosion part occursinside a ready-made metallic cartridge with the bullet crimped into the tip andthe lead bullet is usually coated to some degree in copper for greater velocitythrough the barrel of the weapon and they are more torpedo shaped to make themmore aerodynamic.
The bullet most of us recognize is the Full Metal Jacket round,or FMJ, otherwise known as “ball” ammunition or “hardballs”. This is just aplain, round nosed bullet, cased entirely in a copper jacket. It is used by themilitary, primarily due to the Geneva Convention banning ammunition that wouldcause “undue suffering”. Ballistically speaking it normally will punch a clean,straight cavity through whatever medium you choose to shoot it. It is normallynot preferred as defense ammunition, oddly enough, as its design is lesseffective, both in terms of bullet design and in ballistic performance asmodern defensive rounds.
Here is a link to avideo of a .45ACP FMJ passing cleanly through a block of clear ballistic gel inslow motion. Brass Fetcher has lots of videos like this. He gets all sciencyabout it too.
The bullet that had the concern of my lady friend is thedreaded Hollowpoint, usually abbreviated HP when using gun lingo. A hollowpointbullet is simply this, a FMJ with a hole in it. Specifically, it is a conicalhole that makes a wide volcano-like shape at the nose of the bullet and tapersdown toward the center of the bullet. You can get hollowpoints in virtually anycaliber of bullet, from the tiny .22 all the way up to .50AE if you want.
HOLLOWPOINTS DO NOT EXPLODE
That would be incendiary rounds and that is somethingcompletely different. Incendiaries are used for destroying equipment andpenetrating armor. It is NOT the same thing.
What hollowpoints do is expand. When they hit somebody, theybasically turn into a mushroom- The bullet, not the person. If you shoot aperson and the PERSON turns into a mushroom, you have found some type of alienweapon I cannot describe. Either that or you are on some serious drugs andshould not be handling any weapons at all.
The whole idea behind a hollowpoint is to create a short butdevastating wound channel(limiting over-penetration and possible danger tonon-combatants) , cause a massive temporary expansion cavity (the disruption inthe tissue caused by the shock of the impact), and cause sufficient centralnervous system shock to result in a one-shot stop (incapacitate the bad guy).
The idea is to hit him hard enough one time so that he can’tfight and you can end the conflict as quickly as possible. It’s not a magic explodingbullet of mass destruction.
Here is a link to Brass Fetcher’s Channel where you can seea 200gr +p Gold Dot HP bullet in .45ACP hit a ballistic gel block. Notice thedifference in energy and the shorter penetration than the FMJ.
The FMJ goes peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew
The HP goes PEW!
At the end he shows you the mushroom shape too!
|Posted on May 5, 2014 at 9:40 PM||comments (25)|
May 5, 2014 at 8:37pm
Originally titled, "That's Not a Machine Gun, Dumbass" In this note I explain some basic stuff about different types of firearms so you can discuss them and not sound like an idiot (like Piers Morgan and 99% of the talking heads on the news).
Since I'm running into more and more people lately who know less than dick about firearms yet somehow think they are qualified to tell me what is wrong with mine, I decided to clear up a few misconceptions about firearms that I frequently encounter. If you read this and understand it you will already be 100x more informed than your average media drone. Gun guys will accuse me of oversimplification here, but in light of recent conversations I've seen, I'm doing well not to resort to crayons and a puppet show.
I'll start with the basics.
Bullet- Originally just a round lead ball, the bullet is the actual projectile that goes flying down-range when a weapon is fired.
Cartridge- This is the entire unit of the bullet, the gunpowder and the cartridge case (the brass thingy that holds the bullet), along with a primer that is used to ignite the powder when the weapon is fired. Sometimes cartridges are referred to as "rounds". After the round is discharged, the leftover spent cartridge case is not dangerous and is not a weapon. You'd be amazed at how many people are freaked out by an empty cartridge case.
Calibre- In firearns, calibre refers either to the Internal Diameter of the weapon's barrel or to the approximate external diameter of a bullet in inches. A .22 calibre bullet has an external diameter of .223 inches. Notice the decimal. A .45 caliber bullet is a much fatter bullet. The relationship of calibre to the amount of pressure generated by the gunpowder in a cartridge help determine the round's capabilities in terms of muzzle velocity and transfer of energy.
Stopping Power- If you want to watch a bunch of gun guys get in a tizzy, start a stopping power discussion. It's a bit of an erroneous term and it refers to the ability of a particular type of round to incapacitate (stop) a particular living target.
Muzzle Velocity- Essentially how fast the bullet can fly. Rifle bullets are typically much faster than pistol bullets.
Clip- a metal strip with cartridges attached, designed to assist in loading them into a Magazine. A clip is not a magazine and the terms are not interchangable. If you call a detachable magazine a "clip" you are wrong.
Magazine- The weapon's magazine is the place inside the weapon where rounds are stored in preparation for firing. A magazine can be attached, as is in the case with many rifles or detachable, in the case of semi-auto pistols and carbine type rifles. Detachable magazines do not make a weapon more dangerous. It is just easier to drop an empty magazine and insert a full one than to have to load each individual round one at a time into the weapon.
Gun- A large piece of artillery, such as a cannon or the main guns on a battleship. It is improper to refer to small arms, such as pistols and rifles as a gun. In the military, calling your rifle a "gun" can get you in trouble and hilarity often ensues.
Rifle-A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls. Also called "long guns", a rifle fires a single bullet over a longer distance with accuracy than a pistol. Rifles can be semiautomatic, automatic or manually cocked using a lever or bolt action.
Shotgun- A shotgun (also known as a scattergun and peppergun, or historically as a fowling piece) is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug. It is generally, used for high power and wide coverage at short range, such as hunting for birds, where the scattering of the shot gives the shooter a better chance at hitting a small, flying bird. Shotguns are also popular for home defense because a short-barreled shotgun can be quickly pointed at an intruder, rather than aimed like a rifle(which takes time) and the shot will cover a greater area (such as a hall or doorway). They are also preferred because smaller shot will be less likely to penetrate a wall than a bullet, thereby reducing the risk of harming an innocent person in an adjacent room or building.
Pistol- A handgun. Usually this is a short firearm that is designed to be fired with one hand. Usually refers to semiautomatics, but can be used for revolvers, too.
Revolver- a repeating firearm that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. Sometimes called a "wheel gun" or "six shooter". In modern revolvers, the rotating cylinder that holds the cartridges is hinged to the frame and can be manipulated to extract spent cases and reload with new cartridges after they have all been expended. Typically, the two types are Single Action, which require the shooter to pull the hammer back into a locked position (cocked), and rotating the cylinder before the trigger can be pulled, expending ONE round. This must be repeated each time the shooter wants to fire. Think Clint Eastwood's revolver in the Spaghetti westerns. There are also double actionrevolvers in which pulling the trigger also draws the hammer and simultaneously cycles the cylinder, placing a new round into firinf position. Think dirty Harry for this one. Most Double Action revolvers can be fired in single action mode, though, if desired.
Semi-Automatic- This is where people get all fucked up. A semi-automatic, or self-loading (autoloader), firearm is a weapon that performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine. Typically, this includes extracting and ejecting the spent cartridge case from the weapon's firing chamber, re-cocking the firing mechanism, and loading a new cartridge into the firing chamber. Although automatic weapons and selective fire firearms do the same tasks, semi-automatic firearms do not automatically fire an additional round until the trigger is released and re-pressed by the person firing the weapon. This is true in terms of both pistols and rifles.
A fully automatic firearm is a firearm that will continue to fire so long as the trigger is pressed and there is ammunition in the magazine. Both "semi automatic" and "fully automatic" weapons are "automatic" in that the firearm automatically cycles between rounds with each trigger pull. the difference there is with a true automatic, rounds continue to fire at a rapid rate until either the trigger is released or the weapon's ammunition supply is exhausted. NOTE: iT IS ALREADY ILLEGAL TO PURCHASE OR OWN A FULLY AUTOMATIC FIREARM IN THE UNITED STATES. tHE ONLY EXCEPTIONS ARE PERSONS WITH A FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSE AND THE PROCESS IS EXPENSIVE AND RIDDLED WITH RED TAPE.
Automatic Pistol- When a shooter refers to his pistol as an "auto" or "automatic", it typically is a Semi-Automatic, not full auto. Confused yet? The media are because they fuck this up constantly. The Colt 1911 and Glock handguns are popular semiautomatic pistols. Not to be confused with a machinepistol or sub-machinegun which is a short carbine-type rifle or pistol designed to fire in fully automatic mode.
Assault Rifle- An assault rifle is a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard service rifles in most modern armies. Assault rifles are categorized in between light machine guns, which are intended more for sustained automatic fire in a light support role, and submachine guns, which fire a pistol cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. THESE CAN NOT BE PURCHASED BY CIVILIANS IN GUN STORES! IT IS AND HAS BEEN ILLEGAL FOR A LONG LONG TIME! The AK-47 and American M-4 are Assault Rifles. Although you can buy and AR-15 or an AK-47 in a gun store, they are civilian models that are only capable of semiautomatic fire. Those weapons are not assault rifles, because they are not capable of automatic or burst firing.
Assault Weapon- There is no such animal as an assault weapon. This is a term dreamed up by the media to describe ordinary civilian firearms that are cosmetically similar to actual assault rifles. Other than looks, the two have nothing in common.
Machinegun- A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire bullets in quick succession from an ammunition belt or magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute. Machine guns are generally categorized as submachine guns, machine guns, or autocannons. Submachine guns are hand-held small portable automatic weapons for personal defense or short-range combat firing pistol-caliber rounds. A machine gun is often portable to a certain degree, but is generally used when attached to a mount or fired from the ground on a bipod, and generally fires a rifle cartridge. Light machine guns are small enough to be fired and are hand-held like a rifle, but are more effective when fired from a prone position. The difference between machine guns and autocannons is based on caliber, with autocannons using calibers larger than 16 mm. The Browning M-2 and the M-60 Light Machinegun (think Rambo) are examples of machineguns.