AR-15s and AK-47s


Here’s a phrase I’m hearing a lot of lately: “AR-15s and AK-47s.” As in “We’re going to take away your AR-15s and AK-47s.”

It really doesn’t make sense to talk about those two weapons together. I’m not a gun expert but among media people reporting on gun issues and especially among politicians presuming to legislate gun issues, the level of ignorance is really appalling.

The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. It’s a semi-automatic rifle, meaning the action will automatically cycle a new round after each shot, but the shooter must release the trigger and pull it again to fire another shot


Granted, the AR-15 looks a lot scarier than older rifles favored by Buffalo Bill and George Armstrong Custer, but the principle is the same: only one round is discharged with each pull of the trigger.

In fact, the AR-15 looks like an M16, the military version of the AR-15 that is capable of fully automatic operation. This leads to AR-15s being called “military style” weapons. But a “military style” weapon is not a military weapon. It’s a deceptive term meant to suggest that an AR-15 is a battlefield weapon capable of fully automatic operation, which it isn’t.

The AK-47 is a fully automatic assault rifle capable of firing up to 600 rounds per minute. You can’t in the US own a fully automatic weapon manufactured after 1986, so supply is low and prices are prohibitively expensive.

The mention of AK-47s together with AR-15s is again intended to suggest that the AR-15 is some kind of fully automatic machine gun.

Anyone using the phrase “AR-15s and AK-47s” is either incredibly ignorant about guns, or presumes that you are incredibly ignorant about guns, or both.

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