December 9, 2016

The Council Has Spoken! Our Watcher’s Council Results

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The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

“Americans have the right to choose to be unarmed and helpless. Be my guest.” – Ted Nugent

“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” – Jeff Cooper, Art of The Rifle

“There are no dangerous weapons. There are only dangerous men.”– Robert A. Heinlein

Stately McDaniel Manor

This week’s winning essay,Stately McDaniel Manor’s A Post-Orlando AR-15 Primer is one of those rare gems of the blogosphere – a very well written, compact, information packed source of practical knowledge by someone who knows what he’s talking about. Here’s a slice:

The recent Jihadist slaughter of Americans in Orlando is a crisis Mr. Obama and his sycophantic minions are determined not to allow to go to waste. Accordingly, he has come up with a typically Obamite plan to deal with Islamist terror: disarm law-abiding Americans who pose no threat to anyone. Fox News reports: 

Obama-Pledge-salute

Being tough on terrorism — particularly the sorts of homegrown terrorism that we’ve seen now in Orlando and San Bernardino — means making it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on assault weapons that are capable of killing dozens of innocents as quickly as possible,’ Obama said in his weekly radio address. ‘That’s something I’ll continue to talk about in the weeks ahead.

Hillary Clinton, who has never seen an anti-liberty, gun control idea she did not embrace, was true to form:
Hillary

Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also joined the fight to ban semi-automatic weapons, saying last week: ‘Weapons of war have no place on our streets.

Some Democrats, Liberal Republicans, and some in the media are calling for compromise, but compromise requires that each side surrender something. Such compromise is commonly presented as integral to “common sense gun safety” proposals, but what will anti-liberty forces surrender? They have nothing to offer, but they demand total surrender. How may fundamental, unalienable rights be compromised? How does one compromise on due process? How does one compromise on the right to keep and bear arms? Allow the abridgement of rights every other week only?

Professional anti-gun shock troops in the media and Congress have implied that the AR-15 and all of its variants are uniquely dangerous and commonly used in mass shootings and crime.  This is abject nonsense.  Rifles of all types are used in less than 3% of all shootings, and AR-15s in only a tiny portion of that already tiny portion of the firearm universe.

The AR-15 has been demonized, and will continue to be disparaged because the anti-gun movement has, for decades, worked to convince the public that any gun that looks like a machine gun must be a fully automatic weapon.  One of the oldest tactics of these anti-freedom forces is to ban any gun, type of gun or accessory possible in the hope that such bans will be a foot in the door to eventual total bans of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

M-16

Early M-16

With this in mind, I present a basic AR-15 primer in the hope that facts are the best antidote to lies.  Anti-gunners often call the AR-15 a “high-powered” rifle, or an “assault weapon.”  Both are entirely false.  The AR-15 fires a rifle cartridge of intermediate power at best, and there is no such thing as an “assault weapon,” which is entirely an invention of anti-gun organizations and the media, though some states have used that language in gun banning legislation.

L to R: .22LR, 9mm, .223, .308

L to R: .22LR, 9mm, .223, .308

For an understanding of the relative size of the cartridges mentioned herein, here is a photo of four of the most common contemporary cartridges.  From left to right, the .22 Long Rifle, the 9mm, the .223, and the .308. True high-powered rifle cartridges are on the order of the .308 and larger.

M1 Garand Battle Rifle

M1 Garand Battle Rifle

Battle Rifles:  After WWII, the Army sought a replacement for the M1 Garand, a large and heavy rifle, firing an unquestionably high-powered cartridge, the .30 caliber 30.06.  This–a high-powered, full-sized cartridge–is the defining characteristic of the battle rifle.  Because of the power of these long-range cartridges, battle rifles tend to be heavy, weighing in the ten-pound range, and have been historically made of steel and wood, which has been replaced with plastics in the modern era.  The M1 was the first generally issued semiautomatic battle rifle.

General George Patton called the Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised,” but it did have drawbacks.  Loaded, the weapon commonly weighed more than 11 pounds, and it did not use magazines, but metal clips holding only 8 rounds.  The 30.06 is also a physically large and heavy cartridge, limiting the number of rounds a soldier can carry.  The Garand remains the only widely available firearm that is actually fed via a clip, which term is commonly misused when one actually means “magazine.”

FN FAL Battle Rifle

FN FAL Battle Rifle

After WWII, modernization efforts among western militaries nearly led to the American adoption of the excellent FN-FAL semiautomatic rifle in .308 caliber.  Unfortunately, the “not invented here” syndrome prevailed and the US adopted the M-14, which was essentially an M1-Garand in the somewhat smaller .308 cartridge, with a flash hider and a removable 20-round box magazine.  This more or less forced NATO to adopt the .308. At around the same time, the British were experimenting, to good effect, with sub-.30 caliber cartridges.

M-14 Battle Rifle

M-14 Battle Rifle

The M-14 was the rifle that initially accompanied our troops in Vietnam.  Its unsuitability as a general issue rifle for counter insurgency warfare, particularly fought in a jungle environment, quickly became obvious.  The need for a lighter weapon capable of fully automatic fire–battle rifles are too light to be controllable in full-auto mode–and firing a smaller cartridge became obvious. One can carry far more .223 cartridges for the same weight and space than .308 cartridges.

StG44, the first assault rifle credit:www.geocities.ws

StG44, the first assault rifle
credit:www.geocities.ws

Assault Rifles:  The first true assault rifle was the German StG-44, first used in combat near the end of WWII.  It was this rifle that was part of the inspiration for the ubiquitous AK-47, the most widely produced assault rifle in history.  True assault rifles have these characteristics:
(1) Shoulder fired
(2) Gas operated (with a few well-known exceptions)
(3) Single-operator fired
(4) Removable magazine fed
(5) Firing an intermediate-sized cartridge
(6) Semiautomatic and full automatic (and/or burst) capability

Eugene Stoner, working for the ArmaLite Company (hence “AR”), developed the forerunner of the AR-15, the AR-10, in the mid 1950s.  Like the AR-15 that followed it, it was made with aircraft grade aluminum and plastics, and had a very futuristic appearance.  Unlike the AR-15 it was chambered for the .308 (finalized as the 7.62 NATO) cartridge.  It competed against the M-14 and the FN-FAL in Army trials, but the Army adopted the M-14, and the AR-10 was scaled down to become the AR-15, which would ironically require the kind of intermediate cartridge the British wanted.  A more detailed history of the development of the AR-15 can be found here.  

It was the Air Force, not the Army, that initially adopted the AR-15, designated the M-16, for base security, in the iconic triangular hand guard configuration.  The initial flash hider had a multi-pronged, open end, which was quickly found to catch on foliage, and was replaced with a closed end design as depicted here.  Eventual redesigns of the rifle resulted in the round hand guard and the heavier barrel now standard on the military family of weapons.  The .223 civilian cartridge was standardized as the 5.56mm NATO cartridge.  While the cartridges have very similar dimensions, there are some caveats regarding their use. It is entirely safe to fire .223 cartridges in weapons chambered for 5.56mm, but the opposite may be unsafe in some circumstances. Those interested can find more detailed information here.  

The Civilian AR-15:  The AR-15 is the best-selling rifle family in America.  However, it is not an assault rifle, and certainly not a non-existent “assault weapon,” which is best defined as any firearm anti-gun forces want to ban on any given day, particularly if it is black, or scary-looking to the uninformed.  The standard military rifle has a barrel of approximately 20”, but the most popular civilian configuration resembles the military M-4, which is a short-barreled, fully automatic carbine with a collapsing stock.  Civilian equivalents are not fully automatic firearms, and have barrels of no less than 16” to conform to federal law.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Scott Adams@Dilbert.com with How to Un-Hypnotize a Rabid Anti-Trumper submitted by The Glittering Eye.

Let’s just say that if you are an anti-Trumper or know someone who is, you owe it to yourself to read this one, redolent with the creator of Dilbert’s cynical wit and knack for getting to the truth of the matter.

It might be noted that Scott Adams has endorsed Hillary Clinton, because ‘I live in California and I fear for my physical safety.’

Here are this week’s full results. Only Fausta was unable to vote but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting :

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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