“This is the story no one wanted to write nor does anyone want to read. But it had to be told.”
After the terrible massacre and tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting of Newtown, Fairfield County, Connecticut and comparisons to the Massacre at Columbine High School, Jefferson County, Colorado a gross misunderstanding of the types of weapons which were used in both mass killings seems to have pervaded the press by journalists and political pundits, as well as, politicians all of whom have not proven that they have any expertise or knowledge to be commenting on.
We need to thoroughly understand the types of firearms which were used in each tragedy and the characteristics, in each case, to properly categorize the weapons which were used in both shooting incidents.
First of all, the shape of the firearms used do not delineate the category of weapons which were used in both incidents. It is the ballistics of the ammunition or caliber and actions or firing mechanism characteristics which determine the type of weapon category each firearm would fall under.
The Columbine shootings did not include the AR-15 semi-automatic sporting rifle category of firearm. Instead the perpetrators of the massacre at Columbine used mostly 12-gauge shot-guns, one semi-automatic 9mm parabellum caliber machine pistol, and 9mm side-arms or pistols.
This fact is important in that no ‘Assault Weapon‘ category firearms were used at Columbine.
What makes a rifle or carbine an ‘Assault Weapon’ is the caliber of ammunition used by the weapon in relation to the firing mechanism of the weapon. An ‘Assault Weapon’ is defined as a weapon which uses a particular family of calibers of ammunition in relation to the firing mechanism which may be fully automatic, partially automatic, or semi-automatic.
The ‘Assault Weapon’ may belong to one of several categories of weapons using a variety of ammunition and firing mechanisms. Typically an ‘Assault Weapon’ has one of these several combinations of characteristics:
- A full, partial, or semi-automatic firearm which uses what is classified as an ‘Assault Rifle‘ or ‘Rifle’ round of ammunition. This would include both short rifle rounds and long rifle rounds including, but not limited to, the caliber .22LR, .223 Remington cartridge also known to the military as the 5.56x45mm NATO round, and .308 Winchester caliber, also known to the military as the 7.62x51mm NATO full rifle round. Included would be the Russian AK47 Kalashnikov ‘Assault Rifle’ firing the 7.62x39mm cartridge, or AR configurations firing 6.5x38mm Grendel or 6.8x43mm SPC Remington ammunition.
- Fully automatic sub-machine guns and fully automatic machine-pistol firearms which fire the shorter pistol caliber ammunition typically, but not limited to, 9mm parabellum or caliber .45 ACP. These weapons may be adapted to fire smaller caliber ammunition including a wide variety of .22 caliber ammunition or the mid-sized .40 S&W caliber ammunition.
- A fully automatic or semi-automatic M14, M1A Springfield, or FN FAL battle rifle or carbine firing a .308 Winchester or military 7.62x51mm NATO round of ammunition.
- The new selective fire Bull-Pup designed ‘Assault Rifles‘ firearms produced for a few of calibers but primarily the .223 Remington/5.56x45mm NATO calibers.
- And CQB and PDW weapons in most cases using pistol cartridge in 9mm parabellum or a newer small 4.6×30 mm cartridge. Primary examples of CQB and PDW firearms are the H&K’s MP5 or MP7, or the popular Israeli Uzi.
- Almost all non-revolver pistols are semi-automatic. The most popular caliber is the 9mm parabellum, followed by the American .40 S&W and .45 ACP calibers.
- The first fully automatic heavy machine gun was the Maxim Machine Gun invented by Hiram Maxim prior to WW I. The ammunition was belt fed and the gun and tripod it rested on were so heavy it took three men to man it. John Moses Browning invented a clip fed light machine gun prior to the end of WW I, called the Browning Automatic Rifle or BAR. Many heavy and light machine guns were invented after WW I, WW II, and the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, including belt fed and clip fed models in many different calibers of ammunition.
During any school or campus shootings no heavy, light, or sub-machine gun was used during the course of the murderous crimes. Only a full, partial or burst (burst of three rounds automatically fired), or semi-automatic ‘Assault Weapon’ may have been used in some of the crimes.
The mass murderer of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Jefferson County, Connecticut used a model AR-15 Bushmaster in .223 Remington caliber. The reason for the 30 round clips of ammunition is because the .223 cartridge has a reputation for not having any knock down power.
This has been the primary complaint of the M16 by U.S. Troops since the Viet Nam War and was illustrated during the incident in Mogadishu, Somalia known as ‘Black Hawk Down’, when U.S. Rangers complained their M16 rifles and M4 carbines using 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition repeatedly failed to drop combatants after the combatants had been hit several times.
The murderer’s lack of ballistic knowledge caused horrific carnage and suffering of the defenseless children and school personnel as he fired repeatedly at many of his victims hitting them more than once, and as many as five times, before they were killed.
One can only imagine what kind of carnage the murders at Columbine perpetrated on their victims with 12-gauge shot guns. Blasts from 12-gauge shot guns are horrific and physically and mentally shattering. Those that live through such an ordeal suffer untold pain from their wounds.
The 12-gauge shot-gun is not considered by law as an ‘Assault Weapon’. Yet if I had to defend myself in Close Quarters Combat (CQB) I would want such a weapon to quickly repel my assailants. Law enforcement and our military use shot guns for CQB operations due to their effectiveness to knock down and out any assailant.
Since the Los Angeles, Hollywood bank robbery shootout where the LAPD armed with only 9mm pistols and 12-gauge shot guns were severely out gunned by the two bank robbers armed with Chinese Type 56 designed AK47 fully automatic ‘Assault Rifles’ while wearing body armor. the LAPD has since armed their officers with M16 or AR-15 weapons using ammunition to penetrate body armor.
For all intents and purposes the effectiveness of the .223 Remington/5.56x45mm NATO round is completely dependent on the shooter. Because the round is in effect a .22 caliber round the placement of the shots are of extreme importance. The caliber is most effective when spotted at soft tissue covering vital organs and of little effect when striking ‘flesh covered bone’ protecting vital organs. For all intents and purposes the round is most effective when taking head and neck shots which requires a high degree of proficiency on the part of the shooter.
Vastly superior calibers of ammunition for effect are the .308 Winchester/7.62X51mm NATO; .240 APEX or Mag, .257 Roberts, .300 Savage, 45-70 Gov., .30-06, and various .300 magnum full rifle calibers which are most effective when used in bolt-action and lever-action rifles with longer barrels (rifled barrels of 20″ – 28″ or more) or rifled carbines (lighter rifles with barrels of 18″ – 24″ and commonly referred to as scout rifles). Even at close range, say 100 yards or less the .30-.30 cartridge may be more effective than the .223 Remington/5.56×45 NATO.
The most effective ‘Assault Rifle’ caliber rounds out to 300 yards/meters are the 6.5x38mm Grendel or 6.8x43mm SPC Remington, the Russian AK47 Kalashnikov 7.62x39mm cartridge, and the .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO full rifle round.
For semi-automatic pistol calibers the .40 S&W, .45 ACP; and hollow tipped 9mm parabellum semi-automatic rounds are the most popular for anti-personnel rounds. There may be a bitter debate about the merits of the .380 ACP developed by John Moses Browning in 1908. However, with the development of the mini-9mm semi-auto pistols the 9mm parabellum seems it will remain the smallest, most effective, anti-personnel semi-automatic cartridge.
For revolvers the hollow tip .38 Special cartridge and .44 Special, .45 Colt and .357 magnum calibers are the most common anti-personnel rounds. Many contend that the .44 magnum, and calibers larger than the .45 Colt are the most effective revolver calibers, yet they again require a great deal of proficiency to master.
I’ve given you a brief overview of what weapons are available to anarchists, terrorists, drug cartels, robbers, thieves, bandits, pirates and murderers. Please get to know them and recognize them and what they are capable of doing in order to protect yourselves.
Please take heed from this posting. The next occurrence of terrorism in our schools and campuses is most likely to be a ‘Czechia Hostage Incident’ where gun wielding terrorists with para-military training will take hostage a whole school or campus with booby traps and human bombs. Our schools and college campuses are prime targets for terrorists seeking martyrdom. The Department of Homeland Defense has no plans or contingencies in place to defend our education system from such a threat. The DHS has contingency plans only for dealing for this type of terrorism after the threat has been realized. Such plans would include using Delta Force and other U.S. military Special Operation Tactical Forces to augment the FBI’s and ATF’s Special Task Forces to contain the incident. ‘Contain‘ is defined as taking back the school or campus with the minimum loss of civilian/hostage casualties.
My only recommendation is to arm yourself. Learn firearm safety and practice it as a religion. Master your weapon(s) and take a course in tactical defensive shooting and hand to hand combat. Do it and do it now! The next school could be your child’s. Be armed, be aware, and be prepared to ‘take action with deadly force’ to protect those you love.
The easiest and most practical and pragmatic lethal self-defense Martial Art to learn is Krav Maga. If you cannot find a Krav Maga instructor near you then I suggest finding a good jiu-jitsu (Jujutsu) school to join as it is the foundation of Krav Maga. Stay away from stylistic and competition styles of the Martial Arts like Tai Kwon Do (Taekwondo). And do not join an esoteric Martial Arts school like Kung Fu or Okinawa-te. The only other Martial Art worth pursuing is Aikido, which is great form of Martial Art to pursue if you already practice Qi Qong and/or T’ai chi ch’uan (Tai Chi). The only problem is finding a real Aikido Sen-Sei (Teacher/Instructor).
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America places the burden of safety on yourself and for those you love, as well as, your neighbors and community. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees you those rights.
No Law Enforcement or Government Agencies can protect you from these threats. You have to take responsibility for yourself. Do so now, or you and those you love will become victims. If you think the Government cares … ask them “How many armed sentinels they have on any given school campus in this country?”. You already know the answer. You have seen the results. The next incident will only be worse unless you take decisive action to defend you, yours, and those you love and respect.
We are at war with Terrorism. The enemy could be the neighbor next door or half a world away. Either way, he can be on your door step tomorrow.
To answer the question posed by the title of this posting … “What is an ‘Assault Weapon’? I can only hope it is ‘you’. You had better be an ‘assault weapon’ when you and those you love are threatened. Train to be so.
The only way to defeat an extremist is to prepare yourself to make the same sacrifices.
I will give you some advice and the analogy is to an old saying:
“Never bring a knife to a gun fight!”
When confronted with a situation which is untenable but gives you time to make a quick assessment of the situation to determine you are unreasonably risking the lives of those you are trying to protect … call for help immediately. Call 911 or scream for someone to call 911 to get the right resources on scene.
If you have a choice of fight or flight then the better part of valor is the discretion of flight.
If you are trapped and have no means to regress then fight like hell! Remember your tactical training and breath. Use your muscle memory you have gained from practice to react to each situation as it presents itself.
If you focus on what will happen to yourself then you will surely lose!
But if you focus on your training and take out the most dangerous combatants first you will quickly gain the advantage and may even cause your combatants to lose morale and start to regress themselves.
Control your shot selection and double tap each combatant with confidence before moving to the next greatest threat. This will conserve ammunition and reduce the number of reloads you will require.
When trapped, fight like a Tiger with total viciousness and deadliness!
Always remember your training and always know when you are out gunned!
I leave you with this quote from Sun Tzu …
“Know your enemy as you know yourself and you will fight a hundred battles without suffering a single defeat!”
For those of you interested in martial arts and the use of edged weapons please refer to my blog “The Knife, Sword, Blades, & Axes @