Tag Archives: firearms

reloading recipe

150 gr tsx

For the reloaders out there.

I had some good results today with some handloads for my 30-30 levergun. But for my trigger control from supported prone I almost achieved a one-hole at 100 yds.

The recipe here is:

Barnes TSX 150gr
Win 748 33.5 gr (I don’t have a chronograph but Barnes manuals put it around 2100 fps)
Federal once fired brass
Winchester Large Rifle primers

I’m no benchrest guru and I’m sure others can do better, but out of a levergun at 100 I can’t complain. I have some high hopes for this load this season.

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Occam’s Razor for shooters….

The Ockraz Logo
The Ockraz Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William of Ockham was an influential medieval philosopher who is recalled chiefly for the maxim attributed to him known as Ockham’s razor. Also spelled “Occam’s Razor”. The words attributed to him are, entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem…or “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity”.

I bring this up because I have just read a quote from the Dokkodo, the “The Solitary Path”, which is a short piece written by Miyamoto Musashi shortly before his death:

Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what can be of use to you.

I see a link between the philosophies of these two men and an application to weapon training. I will attempt to explain.

These philosophical issues come to mind because I was recently involved in a friendly conversation debating that “Less Filling. Tastes Great” topic of using the slide release vs “power stroking” the slide on a handgun during an emergency reload.

I have a post here regarding this very issue BTW.

Debate points that always seem to come up when discussing emergency reloads are:

“I use the power stroke because I may be using a weapon I am unfamiliar with and running the slide is fairly universal for all pistols while slide releases may vary.”

and

“I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.”

Being a fairly recent convert to the slide release method, Occam’s and Musashi’s quotes kind of cut me both ways.

I argue that the “It’s universal for all pistols” point either means you own too many pistols or you are saying you are going to be doing a combat pick up of a pistol…or a disarm.

Per Occam/Musashi…if you have so many different pistols that you may/may not be carrying at any one time, you are violating their precepts. I’m not against collecting guns, I’m not against having different pistols/rifles for different applications, but if you worry that you may not be able to “auto pilot” your weapon because you may be carrying something different on any given day, that’s a problem IMO. Pick one and make it a part of your hand.

The combat pick-up/disarm argument doesn’t hold much water for me either. I’m probably not going to disarm an attacker of his weapon and magazines and have to do an emergency reload with them. And the combat pick-up is such a statistically rare issue that I don’t see it as a valid point. Either way, if they worry you then do the power stroke method if that ever happens.

The second point…”I use the power stroke because the actions are similar to the manual of arms for clearing malfunctions.” Is a more valid argument when applying Occam (Musashi doesn’t really apply here). Having one way of operating the pistol regardless of reason (malfunction or running dry) is a stronger point IMO and I have much to agree with.

However I would counter that Occam said “…must not be multiplied beyond necessity” he didn’t say “never multiply”. The slide stop method has some things going for it; speed, efficiency, the weapon/hands stay more oriented to the threat, etc. The necessity of multiplying your manual of arms to gain those advantages may be debatable, but I would debate it.

Either way you choose I find Occam and Musashi’s points as interesting ways to analyze our choices when it comes to weaponcraft. What do you think?

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the M4 unreliable….here we go again.

Carbine M4 1
Carbine M4 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article from the Washington Times has been making the rounds:

Troops left to fend for themselves after Army was warned of flaws in rifle

I won’t rehash the article and I won’t even type my response to it because THIS GUY has already said everything I would have to say.

The Flaws of the M4 Carbine

Three days ago an article was dropped onto the internets by the Washington Times that rippled through the time space continuum of internet commandos and pajama ninjas. The article was a series of interviews with former and active high ranking officials, as well as former service members regarding the reliability and efficacy of the longest serving weapon system (rifle or carbine) in US Military history. We do not need to address that storied history here, however we do need to address the concerns raised in the article and the already common ways they have been addressed and remedied.

Go Read It.

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twist and shoot

Deutsch: Züge einer 9mm Pistole (selbst aufgen...
Deutsch: Züge einer 9mm Pistole (selbst aufgenommen, FDL) (Original text : Züge eine 9 mm Pistole vom Patronenlager aus gesehen) Weitere Nutzung: WaffenWiki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rifling twist rates can be another head scratcher for the new AR owner. The internet is full of different opinions of what is “best”…often times based on what the writer has purchased and is now trying to justify. :)

Like any topic of a technical nature, “best” is a relative term. For the beginner, what you need to learn are some simple rules of thumb to help you base a decision on.

Gun makers realized rather quickly that the accuracy of a firearm improved when the projectile had a “pointy end” and was spun. The “point” gives the projectile a streamlined shape that slices through the atmosphere more efficiently and groves machined into the gun barrel impart spin. The spin keeps the bullet stable along its path of flight and prevents it from wobbling or tumbling end over end, both of which would be bad for accuracy. Anyone who has used a gyroscope in HS science class recalls that a spinning object likes to stay in one place and resists change. That’s what you want in a bullet.

The groves in the barrel, as we all know, are called “rifling”.

A rifle barrels rate of spin is expressed as 1:(X) with 1= “One full 360 degree rotation of the bullet” and X= Inches of barrel length.

The most common “Combat AR” twist rates you will find “off the shelf” these days are 1:7, 1:8, and 1:9. Some AR owners like 1:10 and 1:12 barrels and other variants, but in my experience you will find most guys who “run and gun” using one of these three.

AR15Barrelstwist

If you do the math of dividing barrel length by twist you see that in the common 16″ barrel length a 1:7 twist will spin a bullet twice with 2 inches of the barrel still to go. A 1:8 about twice even, and a 1:9 will spin it once with 7 inches of barrel to go…so “almost twice”. Based on manufacturing variations that’s all approximate but there you go.

AR15Barrelstwist

So “whats the point?” you are asking?

Well… bullets of any given caliber (AKA: diameter) come in various sizes. Differentiated by weight (measured in “grains”), there is an entire rainbow of  .223 caliber bullets ranging from tiny 40 grain bullets up to 80 grain whoppers. Because the diameter of the bullet is fixed, what you get are longer projectiles as the weight increases.

Rules of thumb regarding bullet weight:

  • Lighter bullets can achieve faster velocities and shoot with a flatter trajectory. Their lack of mass means they wont stay stable at longer ranges and wind has more effect on them at long range.
  • Heavier bullets will stay stable over longer distances but have a more “arched” trajectory. Wind has less effect on them at long range.
  • The terminal effect of a bullet, or its “striking” power, is due to a combination  of it’s mass and velocity.
  • Heavier bullets cost more.

Like barrels, for the purposes of discussion I will use the three most common (as I see it) bullet sizes; the highly common 55 gr, the “medium” 69 gr and the “large” 75 gr.

bullilus

Due to a lot of math/physics and stuff I can’t explain, it’s really the length of the projectile and it’s velocity that determine how much spin it will need to fly straight and stable, not the weight. However, we talk about bullets in “grains” so when pairing bullets to rifling twist you just have to consider two facts.

  • Lighter bullets need less spin to get them into a stable flight.
  • Heavier bullets need more spin to get them stable in flight.

So..1:7 is 2 full twists plus a little more out of a 16″ barrel which means MORE TWIST and a 1:9 is 1 full twist which means LESS TWIST. The 1:8 splits the difference.

You would think that “more is better” when it comes to twist, but what happens when small/light bullets are overspun is that they fly to pieces once they exit the barrel. Heavier bullets will “overstabilize” if spun too much. That means the point of the bullet wont come down on the decent end of it’s trajectory.

So which should you get? Well what do you want to do and what size bullet do you want to do it with?

The 1:9 is a common twist rate “off the shelf” when you buy an AR. It will work fine with the commonly found 55 grain bullet up to “medium” sized projectiles like 69 grain. Depending on your particular barrel it MAY even stabilize “heavy” bullets…or it may not. Even if it does, variations like temperature and air pressure MAY make it inconsistent with heavy rounds. So out to 300 yards or so 1:9 should be fine. 400-500 yd shots? Probably not so much.

The 1:7 is the current military standard on the M4/M16 and as such is also a commonly found option. It will throw the medium to heavy rounds out past 300 yards. It can also “sufficiently” stabilize 55 grain rounds. You wont get exceedingly small groups with 55gr, and while it MAY stabilize a lighter round for farther shots, you are also at the mercy of your individual barrel and environmental factors.

The 1:8 slides the options to the center. Some praise it as the best of both worlds while others deride it as the “Jack of all trades, master of none” option.

As you can see, in the end all of them can work fine as a general use option. It’s when you want to specialize in a specific range or hunting environment that a specific combination of bullet/twist becomes the optimum choice.

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a guide to muzzle devices: guest post by John Lee

It used to be aftermarket stocks, angled foregrips, oversized selector switches, and pistol grips.  Now muzzle devices are the craze.  As with most things gun related, the sheer number of products on the market and all the marketing chatter makes it difficult for a consumer to make a proper, informed decision.  There are hundreds of muzzle devices on the market, so it can be a confusing world out there.  This is an informative post to help people understand what these devices do, and how to choose a good muzzle device.

Muzzle devices can be categorized into the following:

1. Flash-Suppressors (Flashhiders, will be referred to as FH)
2. Compensators (Comps)
3. Muzzle Brakes (MBs)
4. Suppressors (Silencers) I will not be covering suppressors because I do not have much knowledge on suppressors.

Products categorized within 1, 2 and 3, often share each other’s elements, but are usually dominantly one or the other.  Often times they are misnamed, or called by the wrong name, further adding to the confusion.


1. Flash Suppressors

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Flash suppressors are the most common muzzle devices. A FH is what typically comes standard on your AR-15… it’s known as the A2 “Birdcage” Flash Suppressor.

Despite what you may have read, a good FH really does suppress muzzle flash.  Their main function is to redirect, accelerate, or decelerate the exhaust gasses to reduce flash, or to redirect the amount of hot gasses that are visible.  I won’t go too much into the mechanics of it.

You are not going to completely eliminate flash at night, but you can certainly reduce it to a point where it is hardly visible.  The A2 ‘birdcage’ FH does work pretty well.  If you take it off and fire your rifle, you will know what I mean.  A lot of flashhiders have some compensating features built into them as well.  The A2 FH works well, and does provide a bit of compensation.

Some flash hiders work better than others. Its worth paying more for the good ones.  Some of my favorite aftermarket FH include the Vortex FH and our new VG6 Zeta flashhider that is still under development.  The Vortex is a bit of an industry standard right now, especially if you don’t mind the ringing noise it produces.  (I don’t mind it).  Another good option is the Phantom flashhider, which provides a little bit of improvement over the A2 FH.

2. Compensators

comp

Compensators redirect exhaust gasses to control muzzle movements that happen at the moment of firing. Primarily, they are tuned to a specific caliber, and sometimes for barrel length.

With a Compensator, concussion and noise levels are increased, sometimes to muzzle brake levels.  Although you’re still going to feel most of the recoil with a good comp, you’re gonna keep the muzzle right on target.  They help speed up your follow-up shots.

Compensators are popular with the tactical rifle crowd. The Battlecomp being extremely hot right now. Prices can range from 100-150 dollars.  I personally love muzzle brakes because a pure compensator will not produce the ‘wow’ factor of recoil reduction.

3. Brakes

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Muzzle brakes are probably one of the oldest muzzle devices around.  You see them on weapons from anti-material sniper rifle platforms to artillery pieces. On small arms, they help the shooter manage recoil better, or make it possible for a shooter to fire a firearm that would otherwise be impossible to shoot.  With a muzzle brake, the exhaust gasses hit a wall and push the barrel assembly forward, reducing actual recoil.  Although muzzle brakes have been around forever, it was not until recent years that they gained more mainstream popularity.

What does a muzzle brake do on our rifles?  It is all about recoil.  Most consumers who have not fired a rifle with a good brake do not realize how well good muzzle devices work.  Most muzzle devices on the market right now are competition oriented.

Competition brakes are popular (read necessary, if you want to compete with the best) with 3 gun and other competition shooters.  Look into likes of Mikulek Brakes, JP Brakes and such. These hard-core competition brakes virtually eliminate recoil to the point where muzzle climb is nil.  The downside is, you also get a lot of gas blow-back, i.e. gasses coming right back at you, increasing noise, increasing discomfort, and annoying the crap out of your friends around you. Muzzle flash is also a problem.

Other brakes are marketed more to general shooters.  However, there aren’t that many brakes out there that allow for practical use of your rifle.

One thing of note: competition brakes do not necessarily outperform brakes that are marketed as general use.


Note applicable to all muzzle devices: No muzzle device, especially compensators and brakes, are perfect.  This is because barrel length, ammo, fitment of the reciprocating elements of the rifle and other factors make differences in how the muzzle device is tuned.  Furthermore, stance, size and ability of the shooter makes a difference in subjective felt recoil and muzzle rise.  There is no way around it; lots and lots of R&D time should go in to best fit the targeted consumers.  Your brake might be one customer’s favorite accessory on his rifle.  Others may be unimpressed.  There is definitely a subjective element to it.  My recommendation is to read many reviews and decide for yourself before dropping 150 dollars on a muzzle device.

How to pick a muzzle device: Not all muzzle devices are created the same.  A 30 dollar muzzle device will not get you the results that say, a 100 dollar muzzle device would.  Here are some guidelines on how to pick a well performing muzzle device.  Specifically, the following guidelines are for those of you looking for a muzzle brake and comps for a general, practical rifle, or something that will go on your duty patrol rifle.  For non-tactical, competition specific applications, these guidelines are not as important.

  1. High quality materials: With all the high pressure and temperatures, you need good materials for longevity and sustained performance. Look for stainless steel or better.  Don’t fall for things like ‘mil-spec high strength steel’ or other ‘buzz’ words.  Lesser materials will wear out faster, unless it is a really big muzzle device. Related to this is surface finishing/hardness, as heat treatment or finishes that involve heat treatment will increase longevity in your muzzle device.
  2. Quality/Fit/Finish: Tolerances and precision matter when it comes to performance.  Long story short: get one that has been CNC’d.  Believe it or not, a lot of engineering goes into designing a good muzzle device.  Typical of a top-tier brake, the VG6 products use advanced computational methods and analysis, high speed cameras, and many many rounds of field testing.  To bring R&D results to a product a good device will have to have been CNC machined.
  3. Size and weight: Some customers care a lot about how big the muzzle device is.  For aesthetics, or to maintain a short barrel, or sometimes to pin/weld on 14.5-14.7″ builds.
  4. Looks: Don’t get a product that you aren’t going to love!
  5. Compatibility: Your job may require you to run a muzzle device that is compatible with suppressors and such.  Do the research to find out that your clamp-on suppressor will work with your muzzle device.

Factors 1 and 2 are probably most important indicators of a good, high performance muzzle brake.  I really recommend that you purchase a top-shelf muzzle device, even if it costs more (Except for a few underpriced, high value ones like ours).  It will be worth it.  A good muzzle brake will make a ‘night-and-day’ difference in your follow up shots.  A cheaper one can range from hardly noticeable to marginally noticeable.  Good luck shopping!

-John Lee

Jerry works for Precision Delivery Systems, an AR-15 accessories retail and wholesaler who is partnered up with VG6 Precision, a manufacturer of muzzle devices, mounts, other accessories.  Their most popular product has been the new VG6 Gamma 556 tactical brake.

Check it out: www.pdsrifles.com www.youtube.com/PDSrifles.


The Things Worth Believing In Addendum:

I previously did an evaluation on the VG6. You can read it HERE.

AND a little rule of thumb I always use to tell if a device is a Flash Hider, Comp or Brake is the following.

Flash Hiders typically are cone shaped on the interior with a large exit opening which allows the gasses to escape rapidly forward.

You will also note that the vent slots on this A2 are all on the top side of the device which vent some gasses upward, providing a bit of compensation.

2013-10-25 20.31.56ARR

Comps and Brakes usually have a small exit opening. This forces the escaping gasses to strike the “Wall” at the end of the device and get funneled out of slots and ports along the sides. This is what lets then do what they do.

2013-10-25 20.31.42ARR

For Brakes look for large ports…typically on the sides of the device. For Compensators look for slots/holes that would direct gasses is particular directions…often times UP in order to “compensate” for the tendency of a barrel to rise/jump under recoil by pushing gas upwards. Some devices on the market today are composites that provide the recoil reduction of a Brake and the muzzle control of a Compensator.

2013-06-17 17.07ARR

Note that these are just “rules of thumb” and not hard and fast rules. Read any and all instructions and descriptions before purchasing your muzzle device.

-Tgace

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lean into it

I know, I know, the “C-Clamp” hold isn’t anything new and everyone seems to be doing it these days, but I’m going to talk about it anyway.

One of the most common rifle stances in circulation is the classic “shoulder pocket…upright…side onto target” rifleman’s stance. For long distance standing shots it actually has a lot going for it in terms of ability to hold steady on a distant target. The Marines routinely hit targets out to 500 yds using it…no badmouting here.

Puuloa Range Training Facility hosts Pacific D...

I hesitate to say “the problem with this stance is” because there isn’t really a problem with it as much as it can be the wrong tool for some applications. The fact of the matter is that the “rifleman’s stance” is not the ideal way to control a weapon in close quarters, rapid fire situations. Single, accurate, long range shots? Absolutely. Rapid shooting at multiple targets? IMO, not really.

The issue with rapid fire from the shoulder pocket/side on stance is that the mass of the body isn’t effectively behind the weapon to absorb the recoil; and yes…a long enough string of even .223 can push you far enough of target to make delivering shots on one spot difficult.

The “side on” stance also means that the recoil will be applying a “torque-like” force to the upper body, pushing the shoulder back and making recoil control difficult.

Many people have been adopting the “C-Clamp” hold these days, however (while I do use it) the way the support hand grasps the fore-end is really a side issue. To deal with rapid fire whats important is getting more body mass directly behind the gun.
stvsad2

The way I have been taught is to square up a little more to the target, place the buttstock closer to the sternum than to the shoulder pocket, lean forward at the waist and roll the shoulders forward.stvsad1

From there, if you use the “C-Clamp” hold, grasp the vertical foregrip or use some other sort of hold is your business IMO. I like the “C-Clamp”.

stvsad4

Critics talk about the armpit exposure, lack of muscle support etc.

In terms of muscle/bone support, this stance (IMO..YMMV) is about rapid firing at multiple targets at close to mid range while moving or in the open. This isn’t so much for single aimed shots at distant targets. Although I routinely ring steel at 100+ yds with it, I’d take up a supported position if one was available.

stvsad3

A little video to illustrate the differences. Take a look at the start of this video and see how  even a large man firing from the shoulder pocket can get moved around a bit.

And here’s a couple of 10 round strings fired from the other stance. Granted .223 is different from 7.62X39 in terms of recoil but…

In the end…as I see things…a “stance” is not a hard and fast rule as much as it should be a position best adapted to the situation. “C-Clamping” while in a kneeling position ignores the advantage of stability by placing the elbow on the knee. Firing from behind cover or using a support for stability can all require a different method.

Rob Tackett wrote a good post over at his blog on this issue that’s worth a read.

Select the best “stance” for your situation.

product evaluation: VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake

An “internet friend of mine” who works for Precision Delivery Systems (Firearms parts and accessories) sent me the VG6 Gamma 556 Tactical Muzzle Brake for little “sneak preview” evaluation.

2013-06-17 17.04.25

The Brake came professionally packaged and included a crush washer. The machining and finish were all  top notch. Taking my first look at the device I identified it as a hybrid Brake/Comp affair with some fairly standard brake vents on the sides and compensator slots at 12 o’clock.

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Although the instructions suggest a gunsmith install, installation was fairly easy. I only had one snag and that was with the timing of the device with the crush washer supplied. After hand tightening to the washer I put 360 degrees of turn on it and the washer still wasn’t crushed entirely. Rather than pushing my luck (or eating time sanding down the washer), I backed off and tried a different crush washer I had laying about. With that washer a 360 degree turn resulted in full crush and 12 o’clock timing of the comp slots.

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I’ve had my rifle out with it a few times since I installed it, but it took me till today to finally got around to getting some film.

Don’t let my shooting ability be your gauge for this brakes effectiveness ;). I’m happy with my results at 10 yds on a 2″ target (those would all be head shots on a standard silhouette) but I’m wagering that a better shooter than me could really show some impressive results. The recoil and rise with this thing on are almost nill. While the angle isn’t the greatest for comparison, the following video was shot with a standard A2 birdcage. You can see a bit of difference in how the rifle handled between the two.

I know that the standard line regarding brakes is that the noise/blast to the sides can make you a bad neighbor on the firing line, and there is some additional blast compared to the A2. But from behind the gun I feel almost no difference at all.

If you are in the market for a brake/comp the VG6 is definitely worth your while taking a look at.

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variations on a theme:emergency reloads

Theres the basics, then theres the basics of the basics and then there are the different variations on how you do the basics. I just got out of my garage after filming a few variations of the emergency reload. One would think, “how many ways are there to do a friggin emergency reload?” Well let me tell you.

This is how I was taught how to do it by my department back when I was a rookie. Physically strip the empty. Reload, then overhand sling-shot the slide. The reason for the selection of this technique was based on a known issue with Glock magazines.  Some versions of the magazine were known to not drop free consistently. Rather than juggle a mag in the off-hand and then try to strip the hung-up magazine it was decided to strip the empty out before grabbing a fresh magazine. The slingshot technique was chosen because it is a gross motor movement, which was argued to be a better choice for a positive release under stress and possibly sweaty or blood soaked hands vs. trying to hit the small slide release.

With the advent of the newer Glock magazine…the ones with the metal tabs that contact the magazine release…

The drop-free issue is no longer much of a problem. So if you remove the “strip the old magazine” step you get this…

On the slide release issue; I decided to try a “strip..reload…slide release” and a “drop free..reload…slide release” to compare for speed:

AND

Undoubtedly there is a speed advantage to the “drop free” and “slide release” technique, but I suppose that for the training of the average cop they are more skilled techniques with the potential for bobbling, dropping mags or missing slide levers. The question I am asking myself is what technique would be best for me to practice in general? I am still thinking about it.

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change less…train more

The good folks over at ITS Tactical posted up the following:

ITS Tactical iPad Lock Screen Wallpaper
ITS Tactical iPad Lock Screen Wallpaper (Photo credit: mikepetrucci)

Gun Fighting is a Skill That Requires More Training, Not More Information

Whenever people ask me how they can shoot like a Navy SEAL, I always say the same thing: dry fire, lots and LOTS of dry fire. I never mention any particular technique or any of the well known fundamentals of marksmanship. Nope, what you need to do is train. Sure there are plenty of great little tricks out there and I’m always trying to acquire new tools for my toolbox (actually, not to brag but I’ve got more of a tool shed than a box), but no matter what skill or technique I’m working on, I’m working.

Read the rest.

I agree with the authors premise. At some point in a persons technical/tactical development they should start to be less concerned with searching for the latest techniques/gear/etc and focus on practicing what they have already been taught.

Todays information age almost makes it too easy to find books, videos, youtube, websites and blogs offering all sorts of ideas, techniques and products for you to pick up. The problem is many people spend more time LOOKING for the latest trend than they do actually DOING something.

The person shooting at paper on a static range is better off than the “internet SEAL” who likes to discuss force on force training but hardly ever pulls a trigger IMO. The person in the gym doing “ineffective” training is at least getting some training. The person debating the benefits of Crossfit over P90X who never gets off the couch would be better off just knocking out some push-ups and going out for a walk.

What have you actually DONE today?

read this article about gun control

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun

 

And advocates of stricter gun laws who claim to respect the rights of “sportsmen” or “hunters,” and to recognize a legitimate need for “home defense,” simply give the game away at the outset. The very guns that law-abiding citizens use for recreation or home defense are, in fact, the problem.

In the vast majority of murders committed with firearms—even most mass killings—the weapon used is a handgun. Unless we outlaw and begin confiscating handguns, the weapons best suited for being carried undetected into a classroom, movie theater, restaurant, or shopping mall for the purpose of committing mass murder will remain readily available in the United States. But no one is seriously proposing that we address the problem on this level. In fact, the Supreme Court has recently ruled, twice (in 2008 and 2010), that banning handguns would be unconstitutional.

Nor is anyone advocating that we deprive hunters of their rifles. And yet any rifle suitable for killing deer is just the sort of gun that will allow even an unskilled shooter to wreak absolute havoc upon innocent men, women, and children at a range of several hundred yards. There is, in fact, no marksman on earth who can shoot a handgun as accurately at distance as you would be able to shoot a rifle fitted with a scope after a few hours of practice. This difference in accuracy between short and long guns must be experienced to be understood. Having understood it, you will in no way be consoled to learn that a madman ensconced on the rooftop of a nearby building is armed merely with a “hunting rifle” that is legal in all 50 states.

The problem, therefore, is that with respect to either factor that makes a gun suitable for mass murder—ease of concealment (a handgun) or range (a rifle)—the most common and least stigmatized weapons are among the most dangerous. Gun-control advocates seem perversely unaware of this. As a consequence, we routinely hear the terms “semi-automatic” and “assault weapon” intoned with misplaced outrage and awe. It is true that a semi-automatic pistol allows a person to shoot and reload slightly more efficiently than a revolver does. But a revolver can be reloaded surprisingly quickly with a device known as a speed loader. (These have been in use since the 1970s.)[4] It is no exaggeration to say that if we merely had 300 million vintage revolvers in this country, we would still have a terrible problem with gun violence, with no solution in sight. And any person entering a school with a revolver for the purpose of killing kids would most likely be able to keep killing them until he ran out of ammunition, or until good people arrived with guns of their own to stop him.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 47 percent of all murders in the U.S. are committed with handguns. Again, only 3 percent are committed with rifles (of any type). Twice as many murderers (6 percent) use nothing but their bare hands. Thirteen percent use knives. Although a semi-automatic rifle like the one Adam Lanza carried in Newtown offers a terrifying advantage over a handgun at distances beyond 20 yards or so, I see no reason to think that the children he murdered would be alive today had he been armed with only a pistol (he is reported to have shot them repeatedly and at close range). The worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007. Thirty-two people were killed and seventeen injured. The shooter carried two handguns (a Glock 9 mm and a Walther .22) of a make and caliber that will remain legal and ubiquitous unless all handguns are banned. (Again, this is not going to happen.)

This is just one pertinent section from this excellent article. Go read the whole thing.