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Who Needs an AR-15? (Here's Who)
National Review ^ | 01/18/2013 | Daniel Foster

Posted on 01/18/2013 7:41:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Late fatherhood and quintuple-bypass surgery have in recent years conspired to awaken a long-dormant political bug in David Letterman, and so he’s increasingly trying to do a sort of triangulation between Dick Cavett and Charlie Rose, having Serious Conversations with Important People.

Take an interview with NBC newsman Brian Williams early this month, in which the pair spent a good deal of the segment talking gun control. The chitchat ranged from the surprisingly even-handed (Letterman speaks of the gun culture of the West as both “thriving” and “legitimate”) to the head-scratching (Williams casually compares the right to bear arms spelled out explicitly in the Second Amendment to the right to an abortion decocted from the 14th). But the most instructive bit was the pair’s consideration of an advertisement in Farm & Ranch magazine for the LaRue Tactical OBR 7.62, a thoroughly souped-up semiautomatic adapted from the platform of the now-infamous AR-15, with collapsible stock, pistol grip, tactical rail, and just about every source of target illumination possible. In other words, the kind of rifle the median voter would find very, very assaulty.

Williams plausibly points out that the ad, taglined “Peace of Mind Out to 1200 Yards” is simply the way they advertise a firearm in most of the country, even if “people in the urban east” think it a “striking image.” Letterman, after conceding that hunting rifles and sidearms for personal protection (or “shootin’ gophers”) are fine, wonders why anybody would need to own a weapon like the OBR 7.62 unless he were hunting “Martians.”

So in the interests of Red-Blue American harmony, I figured I’d see if I could figure out why rifles modeled on the AR-15 are the most popular in America.

SWEET SPOT: LOW RECOIL, HIGH ACCURACY The AR-15 and its countless cousins and variants are the civilian knockoff of the M-16/M-4 platforms, which most of our soldiers and Marines carry into battle. The base round for those platforms is the 5.56 × 45 mm cartridge, which has been the standard NATO caliber for decades. Using a military-grade cartridge has its advantages. The 5.56 is the product of development and testing in a number of countries across many years. In the U.S. the 5.56-barreled M-16 replaced the heavier M-14 with its 7.62 mm round, on the evidence that it was wieldier and, despite its smaller size, could be more effectively brought to bear on the enemy by the average infantryman. The 5.56 round — known for its somewhat unstable aerodynamics and thus its ability to inflict carnage on impact — was modified again by our gentler European allies when NATO began widespread adoption. They replaced the American projectile with a slower, more stable version that was considered both more accurate at long range and more humane. Most civilian AR-15 variants use the .223 cartridge, externally nearly identical to the 5.56, but even slower still.

The round is widely considered to be a jack-of-all-trades, not perfect along any one dimension, but better than average along many. According to a civilian who works in munitions for the U.S. Army, whom we’ll call Ringo, this helps explain its popularity among ordinary gun owners. “You can shoot 5.56 mm all day long,” Ringo tells me. “The recoil is slight. I’d shoot 500 rounds in a session at the range if I could afford to, and my shoulder would be none the worse for wear. At the same time, you can shoot it accurately out to 300 yards pretty easily. That’s not something you’re going to do with a .22LR.”

The .22LR, by the way, is a hugely popular round used to hunt small game like rabbits, and by casual target shooters. The cartridges are small and blunt and old-timey looking, very unlikely to scare anyone in the “urban east” or make it into the proscriptions of an “executive action.” It was .22LR rounds that killed a score of kids in a pair of Finnish school shootings. They also killed Robert F. Kennedy and gravely wounded Ronald Reagan.

THEY’RE CUSTOMIZABLE Another advantage of the AR-15 is that it is less a rifle than a rifle platform. Variants are produced by more than 60 armorers, and most are themselves highly customizable. Says Ringo, “You can personalize them in a myriad of ways: sights, stocks, triggers, flashlights, fore grips. You name it.”

You can also swap calibers. The lower receiver — including the grip, the trigger, and the magazine housing — is universal, and its sale across state lines is heavily regulated, requiring federal firearms licenses. But the upper receivers, which include barrels, are swappable, and are available in a variety of calibers for a variety of purposes, including larger calibers for bigger game (Ringo tells me 5.56 is good for “varmints” but recommended the .50 Beowulf round for “hogs”), and you can have them shipped right to your front door in most states.

THEY’RE JUST COOL It can’t be denied that the cool factor is part of the popularity of the AR-15. “Tactical” is close to an erotic adjective in certain circles, and where aghast liberals see a certain brutalism in the military lines of the AR-15, others see clean lines, utility, and tactical badassery. Some folks like Ferraris, others prefer Volkswagens. To what extent the aesthetic is integral to the rifle’s popularity is unclear, and whether that aesthetic appeals to psychopaths more than to law-abiding citizens is unclearer by orders of magnitude. Some on the left have made a to-do over the fact that the Aurora, Newtown, and Portland shooters used AR-15 variants. But the rifle’s very popularity renders this coincidence statistically unsurprising — and inert. If the last three mass shooters used the same obscure receiver chambered for the same obscure round, it might be interesting. That they used a platform coveted by half of the gun-owning country tells you little. Besides, if the gun used in Newtown was indeed legal under Connecticut’s “assault weapons” restrictions — which mirror the expired federal ban — it would have lacked, at least, the muzzle device and collapsible stock of models like the OBA 7.62. These bells and whistles may add to the sexiness of the AR-15 family, but they also convince the Williamses and Lettermans of the urban east that they’re fit only for hunting Martians, rather than varmints.

— Daniel Foster is news editor of National Review Online.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: ar15; assaultweapons; banglist; guncontrol; guns; secondamendment

1 posted on 01/18/2013 7:41:23 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

clean lines, utility, and tactical badassery

Perfect!!


2 posted on 01/18/2013 7:43:31 AM PST by barmag25
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To: SeekAndFind

The mere fact that the government wants to take away and restrict gun ownership is in of itself the best reason to own guns.

People need guns to have the potential to resist the tyranny of the government!


3 posted on 01/18/2013 7:45:18 AM PST by tired&retired
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To: SeekAndFind

IMHO, 7.62x51 is about the bare minimum for Martians.


4 posted on 01/18/2013 7:47:41 AM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: SeekAndFind

LaRue Tactical OBR 7.62

5 posted on 01/18/2013 7:49:33 AM PST by Disambiguator (Gun ownership is pro-life.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I carried an M-16 for 3 years, and in my later military career worked with the M4. Why anyone would want to use that POS rifle is beyond me.

However, if you want one, go for it, more power to you.

Personally if given the choice I would either take the M-14 or .45 Cal pistol.


6 posted on 01/18/2013 7:50:40 AM PST by where's_the_Outrage? (Held my nose to vote.)
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To: where's_the_Outrage?

Pulled basic in the 60’s with the M-14 and loved the rifle. Very durable, easy to clean, and packed a whallop. Tried to pick up one in later life but found them too expensive, especially after US outlawed Chinese made copies selling at a fraction of the Springfield price but (in some magazines) with a very comparable rating. M-16 felt like a toy after shooting the M-14. Note that some M-14’s were retained for service well into Vietnam and beyond. A very good weapon but heavier ammo did have its’ limitations.

More politicians should have military service. They’d realize all that training creates a lifelong love of shooting sports. Rifles like the M-16 are popular in part because they are accurate out to a longer range than the standard .22 long rifle and fire a bullet that is not prohibitively expensive. Politicians continue to villify the gun for capacity yet the common shotgun can do far more damage with fewer shells and is easily and quickly reloaded.


7 posted on 01/18/2013 8:06:24 AM PST by Boomer One
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To: SeekAndFind
Military style arms are the leaders in target shooting. It is hard to beat a match M1A. Some match AR15s can make a 1/4” group at 100 yards. A full auto will not do this. Our politicians are more more interested in “lets make a deal” than standing for peoples rights. They rush to sell out the ones that elected them.
8 posted on 01/18/2013 8:07:07 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Who needs a [....] questions from liberal morons are stupid and tired.

Who needs an environmentalist group when the Government already has the EPA to protect us? I say we ban them.

Who needs a guitar larger than a ukelele?
Who needs a hybrid when golf carts are already available?

Regressivist bigots and hate-mongers.


9 posted on 01/18/2013 8:13:33 AM PST by Noamie
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To: barmag25
Know what I want? I want a walnut stock that'll wrap around an AR receiver and make the whole thing look like Grandpa's Garand.

Well, and I also want Grandpa's Garand, but that's beside the point...

10 posted on 01/18/2013 8:14:12 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: barmag25
Know what I want? I want a walnut stock that'll wrap around an AR receiver and make the whole thing look like Grandpa's Garand.

Well, and I also want Grandpa's Garand, but that's beside the point...

11 posted on 01/18/2013 8:14:16 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: SeekAndFind

THIS story is the one belonging under this headline!!!

Who Needs an AR-15? (Here’s Who)

>http://www.teapartytribune.com/2013/01/17/fighting-the-political-machine-with-guns/<


12 posted on 01/18/2013 8:15:58 AM PST by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: where's_the_Outrage?

My SOCOM-16 is all that I need for now.

I really like AR-15’s because they are like adult erector sets, but I don’t plan on buying one.... though that D.D. MK18 is pretty sweet...


13 posted on 01/18/2013 8:16:31 AM PST by Noamie
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To: SeekAndFind

The real question is ... anybody know who has them in stock? Preferably near Houston, TX.

SnakeDoc


14 posted on 01/18/2013 8:17:18 AM PST by SnakeDoctor ("I've shot people I like more for less." -- Raylan Givens)
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To: Joe 6-pack

And some Slim Whitman!


15 posted on 01/18/2013 8:24:33 AM PST by Biff55 (If you run too far from the Alliance you end up in Reaver territory.)
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To: SeekAndFind

The Remngton 223 is not the same as the SS109. The M855 is designed for a tighter spin barrel 1:9 rather than a 1:12;spin.


16 posted on 01/18/2013 8:29:40 AM PST by Perdogg (Mark Levin - It's called the Bill of Rights not Bill of Needs)
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To: SeekAndFind

If you’re offering...I could use one!


17 posted on 01/18/2013 8:29:51 AM PST by Corwin of Amber (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice no virtue.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Concur.


18 posted on 01/18/2013 8:40:34 AM PST by Obadiah (Of course Obama wants to protect our children. After all, who else is going to pay off his debt?)
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To: Disambiguator

That scope looks to be mounted to far aft.


19 posted on 01/18/2013 8:44:36 AM PST by Obadiah (Of course Obama wants to protect our children. After all, who else is going to pay off his debt?)
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To: tired&retired
The mere fact that the government wants to take away and restrict gun ownership is in of itself the best reason to own guns.

BTTT!

That pretty much sums up the entire argument, right there!

The Dems "gun violence" solutions are like a doctor recommending that we cut our hands off, just because they are the leading cause of the spreading and sharing of diseases and colds! Lets just ignore the fact that viruses and bacteria actually CAUSE the diseases and colds!
20 posted on 01/18/2013 9:20:56 AM PST by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
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To: Oberon
FRiend, you need an M14 or M1A. Best of both worlds (actually rather better than the AR world).

Good luck getting anything, though. Fulton Armory can't even be contacted anymore...massive traffic knocked out both their server AND their phones.

21 posted on 01/18/2013 9:34:27 AM PST by jboot (This isn't your father's America. Stay safe and keep your powder dry.)
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To: Boomer One; where's_the_Outrage?
One "problem" with the M14 was the requirement for it to serve as a squad automatic weapon. It was too difficult to control in sustained auto fire even after being upgraded with a special heavy stock. Other than that it was a superb battle rifle.

The other "problem" was the agenda of SecDef MacNamara and AF Gen LeMay who worked to force the M16 on a largely unwilling military. The M16 eventually evolved into a useful but underpowered weapon. Emphasis on "Eventually". Tellingly, the M16 was NOT held to the squad automatic weapon requirement. I wonder how many soldiers got whacked by the VC while the M16 was teething?

The "heavy ammo" canard is, well, a canard. GIs in Korea routinely carried 120-160 rounds of .30-06. It was not a problem.

22 posted on 01/18/2013 9:48:13 AM PST by jboot (This isn't your father's America. Stay safe and keep your powder dry.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Who Needs an AR-15? (Here's Who)

I'll add in here. I'm sure the 30 or so people killed in Algeria at that gas plant would have liked to have had at least one apiece when they got hit.

23 posted on 01/18/2013 9:54:44 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The Liberal ruling class hates me. The feeling is mutual.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Self-defense and/or defense of family could possibly be against a long range attacker (sniper). We can see why many suburban folks don’t see the possibility, but many in rural areas—especially those without much concealment or cover—do.


24 posted on 01/18/2013 10:02:26 AM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: Boomer One
Note that some M-14’s were retained for service well into Vietnam and beyond

They're currently being used in Afghanistan & Iraq too.

Mark

25 posted on 01/18/2013 10:18:55 AM PST by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: MarkL

I shot Expert with one in Officers’ basic in 1968, finally bought an M1A in 1986, and have moved it ever since. Now it’s happy to have a little brother from the othe side, a VEPR II in cal. 7.62x39. Having plenty of mags and ammo for both, I haven’t had to participate in the current run.


26 posted on 01/18/2013 10:42:24 AM PST by libstripper
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To: ExTxMarine
The Dems "gun violence" solutions are like a doctor recommending that we cut our hands off, just because they are the leading cause of the spreading and sharing of diseases and colds! Lets just ignore the fact that viruses and bacteria actually CAUSE the diseases and colds!

I was thinking something similar... That if there's a flu epidemic, using Obama's & Biden's "solution" would be to put all the people NOT infected with the flu into isolation, while doing nothing to help or treat the sick, just allowing them to go about their business

Mark

27 posted on 01/18/2013 11:33:00 AM PST by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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