A recent article on Huffpost, by alleged hunters, is repeating the old narrative that the only guns which merit any protection are those which are deemed necessary for hunting. After all, they say, you just don’t need an AR-15 to hunt. Big mistake, Elmer.
Never mind that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, and never mind the obvious arguments against living in a society where you are only allowed to possess the things which you need (as decided by someone else). Let’s stick to the idea that you only need guns which are suitable for hunting, because there is a very specific problem with that position.
The problem is that once need becomes the linchpin of your position, you now open up the debate as to whether or not you really need to hunt at all. And you know what? You don’t.
There are very few people left in this country who require hunted game meat to feed themselves, if any. We hunt because we enjoy the activity, and because we like game meat, but we don’t need it any more than we need a new Xbox. And if you really want to argue the case that you and your family need hunted game meat in order to survive, I’ve got a solution for you…and you aren’t going to like it.
It involves means testing before being allowed to hunt for subsistence. If your income as reported to the IRS does not fall below the poverty line, then you do not qualify as a subsistence hunter. Remember, the only allowable guns are those suitable for hunting, and since your income level means you do not need to hunt, you may possess no firearms at all.
The next phase of the solution comes once all the non-subsistence hunters and their nasty old non-hunting guns are weeded out. Now we have a relatively small subset of impoverished gun owners who simply cannot afford to buy meat at the grocery to feed their families. It then becomes a simple matter to put them on government assistance (if they aren’t already) and bump their allowance enough to enable them to buy their meat at the supermarket like everybody else.
The supposed need to hunt has now been removed once and for all. Now, not only have the awful guns no one needed to hunt been eliminated, the so-called “good guns” are unnecessary as well. Once you put need into the equation, you are one government-issued EBT card away from no longer needing to hunt. There’ll be no tasty venison for you, but you won’t starve. And once you no longer need to hunt, you won’t need any of those guns at all, Elmer.
For the record, I’ve been African American, Black not Hispanic most of my life. Before that I was Colored, Negro, and Afro- American. I’m over 50 so I have weathered the social and cultural storm. I am not confused.
I’ve been there done that, and got the scars to prove it.
Also, the title of this post and podcast is to bring attention to the foolishness which has become our normal. Some of you will get that later.
If you are still reading, let me share some stuff with you that is true and factual. Some information about gun control, deliberate misinformation, and fear based hypocrisy regarding a mechanical device called the AR-15. I have one and want to share why I “aint scared.”
The Armalite Rifle (AR-15) is the subject of debate, hysteria and fearmongering since a murderer used one in Parkland, Florida. Over the past twenty-five years of my tenure in the gun community I have seen and heard this argument over and over again. The laws that are proposed only affect the innocent, and the law abiding gun owner. The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act (the Federal Assault Weapons Ban) was enacted as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to 2004 it did not work. The AWB did not prevent the 1999 Columbine massacre either. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people at a high school in Colorado, carrying two illegal sawed-off shotguns as well as a Hi-Point 995 carbine and Tec-DC9 pistol.
The bill was originally written by Vice President Joe Biden—then a Senator—no crime bill before or after was bigger. Inside the 356-page bill is the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), which banned any new manufacture of semiautomatic rifles that accept a detachable magazine and had two additional cosmetic features from this list:
· Folding or collapsible stock
· Pistol grip
· Bayonet mount
· Flash suppressor or threaded barrel
· Grenade launcher mount
Along with the firearms ban was the stop to any new manufacture of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The AWB’s intention was to stop mass shootings and lower homicide rates of law enforcement officers.
Remember Sandy Hook? Some anti rights folks, claim the assault weapons ban would have prevented Adam Lanza from obtaining the firearm he used. However, during the time of the shooting, Connecticut had its own assault weapons ban in effect. The alleged Bushmaster Lanza stole from his mother was legally purchased and owned in Connecticut.
The AR-15 was developed in the late 1950s as a civilian weapon by Eugene Stoner, a former Marine working for small California startup called ArmaLite (which is where the AR comes from). The gun, revolutionary for its light weight, easy care and adaptability with additional components, entered the mainstream in the mid-1960s, after Colt bought the patent and developed an automatic-fire version for troops in Vietnam, called the M16. I had a M16A1 in 1980 in MCRD Parris Island.
Why is it good?
The AR is a lightweight, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle. It was designed to be manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials. They can be chambered in .22, .223 (5.56 x 45mm), 6.8 SPC, .308, .450 Bushmaster and about a dozen others. Upper receivers for pistol calibers such as 9 mm, .40, and .45 are available. There are even .410 shotgun versions.
These rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. And they’re used for target shooting in the national matches. AR-15-style rifles are no more powerful than other hunting rifles of the same caliber and in most cases are chambered in calibers less powerful than common big-game hunting cartridges like the 30-06 Springfield and .300 Win. Mag. The AR-15 platform is modular. Owners like being able to affix different “uppers” (the barrel and chamber) to the “lower” (the grip, stock).
This is why some people compare the AR-15 to a car chassis, others to Legos or Mr. Potato Head. It is relatively easy to take it apart, reassemble it and modify it ─ including changes to the caliber of ammunition it fires. Pushing the gun’s “takedown pins” with his fingers, he broke his gun down into its basic components, and within several seconds snapped it back together.
Building an AR-15 at home often begins with buying a “lower receiver,” the only part with a serial number and that requires a federal background check. The rest of the core parts are available online. Then there is a seemingly endless array of accessories: barrels, grips, stocks, rails, magazines and scopes.
Everything about the AR-15 platform can be changed to fit the specific end user and their intended use. Long range shooters might add a longer barrel and big scope to the gun for increased accuracy. Those interested in home defense might choose a shorter barrel and add a flashlight to the gun. You can even change the grip to fit your hand exactly and make shooting more comfortable.
Hundreds of thousands of new hunters use the AR-15 platform (which is often sold in complete configurations specifically designed for hunting). The gun is rugged, reliable, portable and accurate. What’s more, the ability to quickly and easily change the rifle’s caliber offers American hunters a huge advantage.
Before the AR-15 rifle made its way onto the market gun owners needed to buy a different gun for each caliber and application.
Shooters were also stuck with their rifle’s ergonomics. If the stock was too long or too short there wasn’t much they could do—except pay a gunsmith to modify the gun. The same was true if you didn’t like the rifle’s trigger or the sights. Changing anything was a major pain in the butt.
For self-defense the AR-15 is an easy-to-use and effective rifle for self-defense, both at close and distant ranges. It’s also the reason the police rely on AR-15s to counter active shooters.
Since the 19th century, civilian sporting rifles have evolved from their military predecessors. The modern sporting rifle simply follows that tradition.
Misconceptions from the ‘hood.
AR-15-style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is fully automatic — a machine gun. Automatic firearms have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.
FYI: The M16 was not the original so called assault rifle, the German created at in WWII with a rifle called the Sturmgewehr 44 or STG 44.
Re-naming AR-15’s “assault rifles” is comparable to how folks named health care legislation (Obama Care) the “Affordable Care Act”.
Versions of modern sporting rifles are legal to own in all 50 states, provided the purchaser passes the mandatory FBI background check required for all retail firearm purchasers.
1. Owning a rifle does not equal murder.
2. Owning a rifle does not mean I am evil.
3. Owning a rifle does not mean I don’t have faith in God.
I am a steward of everything God has given me. He has given me the ability to get training, knowledge, and learn how to be safe, accurate and secure as a person. With this I can protect others and have fun with this device.
Shooting these rifles is fun.
The skill required to shoot accurately past one hundred yards is no joke.
Being in the gun community, being an advocate for 20 plus years is starting to really pay off for me. I got a chance to visit the LWRCI shop in Cambridge, Maryland last summer. I had a ball. What made it for me was that it was in the town on Harriet Tubman. It was in a formerly poor part of the Eastern Shore. The folks there have a choice of either farming, working for Frank Purdue in the chicken realm, or become skilled craftspersons at a machine shop that makes high performance rifles. I saw old ladies, old dudes, young people cranking out, finishing, polishing, engraving, cutting, sanding, and building beautiful works of art that you can shoot.
Some people collect rifles for nostalgia. It reminds them of a movie, a war, a time period. For me it is to support my state, one of the most un gun friendly states in the union and the people that work for LWRCI.
Can I tell you about this rifle? (seen in the picture)
The LWRCI™ Di is made with the same craftsmanship and design excellence that comes with every LWRCI™ firearm. I have seen the African American hands that put these together. It’s built from the ground up to be more than just another direct impingement rifle, the LWRCI™ Di delivers the quality every rifle enthusiast demands with innovation that’s expected from LWRCI™. It has a “keyless” bolt carried design, combined with an operating system . It has an ambidextrous lower receiver is compatible with the rest of our IC family, you can upgrade your Di to our flagship, piston-driven IC just by switching out the upper.
LWRCI™ A2 BIRDCAGE FLASH HIDER
LWRCI™ AMBIDEXTROUS SLING MOUNT
LWRCI™ AMBIDEXTROUS CHARGING HANDLE
LWRCI™ ADJUSTABLE COMPACT STOCK
CALIBER 5.56 NATO
BARREL 16.1” [40.9cm]
WEIGHT 6.6lbs [2.9kg]
O/A LENGTH 32″-35.25″ [81.3-89.5cm]
MUZZLE THREADS 1/2 x 28 TPI
RIFLING 1:7″ RH
How these guns work.
The bolt carrier acts as a movable cylinder and the bolt itself acts as a stationary piston. This mechanism is often called “direct gas impingement” (DGI), although it differs from prior gas systems. Designer Eugene Stoner did not consider the AR-15 to be a conventional direct impingement mechanism, but that is how it came to be characterized.
Gas is tapped from the barrel as the bullet moves past a gas port located above the rifle’s front sight base. The gas expands into the port and down a gas tube, located above the barrel that runs from the front sight base into the AR-15’s upper receiver. Here, the gas tube protrudes into a “gas key” (bolt carrier key), which accepts the gas and funnels it into the bolt carrier.
At this point, the bolt is locked into the barrel extension by locking lugs, so the expanding gas forces the bolt carrier backward a short distance. As the bolt carrier moves toward the butt of the gun, the bolt cam pin, riding in a slot on the bolt carrier, forces the bolt to rotate and thus unlocks it from the barrel extension. Once the bolt is fully unlocked it begins its rearward movement along with the bolt carrier. The bolt’s rearward motion extracts the empty cartridge case from the chamber. As soon as the neck of the case clears the barrel extension, the bolt’s spring-loaded ejector forces it out the ejection port in the side of the upper receiver.
Behind the bolt carrier is a plastic or metal buffer, which rests in line with a return spring. The buffer spring begins to push the bolt carrier and bolt back toward the chamber once it is
Being into guns is not a strange weird thing people have been hunting with long guns for centuries, collecting, passing them on as heirlooms, investing in them.
Shooting is an internationally recognized Olympic sport.
Having a gun makes you better able to defend your family.
If gun ownership one day is made illegal, criminals won’t turn in their guns. Gun control makes easy prey out of law-abiding citizens. The police can’t come to help you until AFTER a crime has been committed. Having a gun may enable you to stay alive long enough to call for help from the police. Our courts regularly return violent criminals to the streets to do their crimes again.
Guns in the home are safe, when gun owners keep guns responsibly. More children die every year in swimming pool accidents than in gun accidents.
It is a fact that armed American men and women prevent two million crimes every year with their guns.
Self-defense is more honorable and better for society than being a victim. It is up to YOU to act responsibly for your own safety, and the safety of your family.
It is true that cities which impose strict gun control create the highest assault and murder rates in America.
The most violent cities involve gang members that shoot other gang members. The average gun owner never uses his or her gun to commit a crime.
Most states issue permits to carry concealed handguns. Men and women who get permits take gun safety classes, and have extensive criminal background checks.
These people make everyone a little safer, wherever they may be.
Imagine walking out to a outdoor range where the sky is blue and the grass is green like a golf course. You can’t even see the target without binoculars or the scope on your rifle. But if you are old school like me, you are using iron sights. The Zen of shooting is the ability to decompress, block out the troubles of the day, concentrate on your breathing, marksmanship skills and the abilities of the rifle you probably put together. Your goal is to hit a target accurately and continuously a foot ball field away.
The Japanese had bows or swords, we now have the AR15. It is the same art really, just a different choice of weapon but the mind game is the same – getting rid of “mind” so that one can just hit the target naturally. It’s a Zen thing.
If you still don’t get it after everything I said, then maybe you are not someone I would want around me or my family. Just saying…
I am not a murderer, rapist, thief, or drug dealer.
I am a military veteran, a former police officer, and a former SWAT officer.
I have been through several professional firearms training classes, and am a certified firearms instructor myself.
I have passed multiple background checks for firearms purchases and for concealed carry permitting. My state even automatically runs me through a NICS background check every 28 days, simply because I have a concealed carry permit. As such, I am background checked a minimum of 12 times per year.
In the 15 years I have had one, I have never had my concealed carry license suspended or revoked.
I have never intentionally harmed another peaceable human being, nor will I.
Despite all of this, there are those who would have me turn in my AR-15. They would do this because another, with a heart full of hate, used a similar rifle to murder. I have harmed no one, and my rifle has never drawn blood. But they would strip me of my liberty to own that rifle.
To deny me the exercise of a civil right for the crimes of another is unjust. The thought of it should be as repulsive as suggesting that we incarcerate all members of a group, simply because some in that group commit violent crime. It would certainly reduce violent crime, but at the cost of the liberty of the innocent.
I am one of about ten million AR-15 owners in this country, and I am innocent.
The AR-15 was originally designed by a company called Armalite in the 1950s. It eventually became type classified the M16 by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Now, the name AR-15 refers to civilian legal semi-auto variants of the military M16 and M4 rifles. The AR-15 system is the longest serving service rifle in U.S. military history. It has served in one form or another for the last 49 years at the time of this writing.
The standard chambering for the AR is 5.56x45mm NATO. The commercial equivalent is .223 Remington although there are subtle differences between the two that shooters should be aware of (see further reading section below).
The AR-15 utilizes lightweight alloys and polymers in its construction to reduce weight and cost of manufacture. The receiver is aluminum while the grips and stocks are polymers. The barrel, bolt carrier group, and fire control group are all steel. A basic AR-15 weighs between seven and eight pounds unloaded.
Barrels range from 10″ to 24″ in length. On civilian legal fighting rifles, we are looking at barrels between 16″ and 20″. Rifles with barrels shorter than 16″ must be registered as Short Barreled Rifles (SBR) with the BATF.
The AR operates on a principal commonly called direct gas impingement although that term implies that gas is simply blown onto the bolt to cycle the action which isn’t quite true. What is true is that the AR-15 does not use a piston system like its predecessor the M-14 or most of its competitors around the world. Instead, high-pressure gas is directed out a port in the barrel, down a gas tube, into the bolt carrier. Inside the bolt carrier, the gas expands pushing the bolt carrier rearward. As the bolt carrier moves it rotates the bolt, unlocking it from the chamber. The bolt carrier continues to move rearward taking the bolt and spent case with it. The spent case extracts out the ejection port. A spring in the receiver extension (inside the stock) forces the bolt carrier group forward again, displacing a new round from the magazine and feeding it into the chamber.
The stock sights on the AR are quite good. They employ a post front sight and an aperture rear sight. A2 style sights are adjustable for elevation to adjust for ranges out to 600-800 meters depending on your particular rifle.
The controls on the AR are quasi-ambidextrous by default. While designed for a right handed shooter in mind they can be used by lefties with a slightly different manual of arms. On A2 and later rifles, there is a brass deflector behind the ejection port that deflects the brass forward and away from the shooter’s face while firing left handed.
The stock USGI magazines for the AR-15 are aluminum and come in 20 and 30 round capacities.
The AR Advantage
In the beginning, the principal benefit of the AR-15 over its predecessors was its light weight and ease of handling. In the Jungles of Vietnam, ranges were short, and fire superiority was favored over long range terminal performance. Its range is certainly sufficient, however, for most encounters either by soldiers or civilians. Marines have been training to hit man sized targets with this rifle at 500 and have done so for decades.
Since the AR has recoil, it is easy to learn to shoot well. Because the ammunition is less expensive than most other centerfire cartridges, you’ll be able to practice more. That also means you’ll be able to stock up affordably for that rainy day.
In the last ten years, the AR platform has truly evolved into a 21st-century weapon system. Accessories are now available to allow you mount lights, lasers, and night vision optics to your rifle. Collapsible stocks are now common which allow you to easily fit the rifle to you. Polymer magazines are now being built that can survive being run over by a truck. There have never been more options for the civilian shooter looking for a military pattern rifle than there is now with the AR-15.
Optics are also easier to mount on the AR-15 than some other platforms provided you start with a “flat top” model. Some people are opposed to optical sights, either red dot scope or telescopic, but I feel that anything that improves hit probability is a good thing.
The ergonomics on the AR are second-to-none. The controls are all easy to reach right from the firing position. Because it can be so compact the AR can be good for both indoors and out.
Given that the design is now almost 50 years old, the patents have expired. Dozens of companies are now building them. Parts and complete rifles can be found anywhere. Even Wal-Mart is selling ARs in certain parts of the country. This is a great thing if you are a high volume shooter or planning for hard times. I am convinced the AR-15 is easier to keep running for the average citizen than any other rifle available on the U.S. market.
About AR Reliability
Due to a less-than-graceful entry into service during Vietnam, the AR has poor reputation with some folks that continue to this day. Much of the issues with those early rifles were due to bureaucratic incompetence. Once the Army issued cleaning kits and resumed chrome lining the chamber and bore of their rifles the problems went away.
One of the things you need to do to keep your rifle running strong is lube it properly. Some folks think that running the rifle dry helps keep dust and powder residue out of the weapon. This is wrong. The weapon will accumulate filth from firing and being carried regardless of how it is lubed. Dirt that is lubed, however, is a lot slicker than dirt that is dry. Keep the rifle wet, and it will keep running for a long time without fuss.
Part of the problem with military rifles is that they shoot them until they break. Generally the military does no preventive maintenance on their weapons so troops carrying older weapons often experience problems. If your life depends on a weapon won’t you replace the springs and wear parts at regular intervals to ensure reliability? This is common practice with handguns used for duty by law enforcement and it needs to be standard practice for duty rifles as well. I may cover part life and replacement intervals in a future article. In the meantime a simple Google search should find you the information you need.
Lastly, make sure you get good magazines. I recommend USGI or Magpul mags. There may be some others that work but I have no experience with them. There are a lot of poor quality mags out there made by third rate companies. Do a little research before making a purchase and you’ll be able to avoid any heartache. Number your magazines so that if one starts to cause malfunctions you can isolate it. Mags are consumable items so keep a fresh supply handy.
What to Buy?
Choosing a rifle is a highly personnel thing. I will provide some general recommendations that apply to those looking for a hard use gun. If you are looking for a plinker then what you buy doesn’t matter much.
First choose a rifle from a reputable manufacturer. Dozens of companies are building ARs but only a few really build hard use weapons. Companies you should look into are Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM), Colt, Daniel Defense, Knights Armament, Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT), and Noveske Rifleworks. These companies build their rifles to a standard so that you know what you are getting. They also use the quality control measures necessary to ensure a quality product leaves their doors. Many other companies don’t.
I would choose either a 16″ or 20″ chrome lined barrel. I have come to prefer 16″ as it is a handier length and doesn’t give up too much velocity. The chrome lining is much harder than plain steel which improves barrel life. It is much easier to clean also than plain steel. There is a lot of consternation on the internet about the accuracy of chrome lined barrels but most of this is nonsense. If you and your rifle can consistently shoot 4″ groups at 100 meters (4 MOA) than you can probably hit a man sized target at 500 meters. Most chrome lined barrels will shoot 2 MOA with decent ammo. How much more accuracy do you need?
Your bolt should be high pressure (HP) tested and magnetic particle inspected (MPI). This is a requirement on military rifles and it ensures that there are no defects in your bolt. You want a defect free bolt since it has to hold back up to 62,000 PSI of pressure with each shot.
Fixed stocks work but I much prefer a collapsible stock. Being able to adjust the stock on the fly helps with getting into different positions and allows you to adjust for the clothing you are wearing. The A2 stock is too long for many, if not most, shooters.
Get a flat top rifle so that you have the greatest flexibility in mounting sights and optics. While it is true that optics can be mounted on top of carry handle sights that arrangement prevents you from getting a proper cheek weld. Your accuracy will suffer accordingly. If you want to start with standard sights then buy a detachable carry handle that way you have options later.
Many rifles today come with free floating rail systems. Floating the barrel can improve accuracy. More importantly, these rail systems allow you to mount accessories such as sights, lights, and sling mounts. They are highly customizable. Non floating rail systems are also available and are easier to install and remove. If you opt for a free float rail make sure you understand how to disassemble it for maintenance.
Buy good magazines. USGI aluminum is OK but they do not take the punishment that the newer polymer mags can take. Since magazines are a weak point in any weapon system it pays to buy the best up front. Magpul P-Mags are both affordable and highly reliable.
The AR-15 isn’t perfect but nothing ever is. Every choice involves compromises. After a half century of use the faults of the AR system are well known and industry has solved most of them with product improvements. The others can generally be mitigated with training and knowledge of how the system works. There are a lot of alternatives to the AR but none of them are truly revolutionary systems. Dollar for dollar the AR performs as well as anything out there.
This guest article was written by Douglas Brooks. He is the founder of ProReviewly.com. He was enthusiastic about hunting from the first shot. He is also Rifle optic guru.