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Oooo…you guys’re making maniac outta me…!

No, not YOU guys. I mean, the guys weighing in on the gun control who speak in hushed tones of semi-automatics. People who ought to know better. Even people who claim to be pro-gun.

It’s such a simple, easy-to-grasp point that, I submit to you, anyone talking about the issue of gun control without demonstrating that they know what a semi-automatic is should be automatically disqualified. You’re either trying to put one over on people, or you’re too ignorant to count.

Go. Sit in the corner.

In the world of handguns, there are some strange, one-of-a-kind beasties primarily used for target shooting, but those specialist dealies aside, the following is true:

A semi-automatic handgun is most of them.

The other word for semi-automatic handgun is pistol.

A semi-automatic handgun is every handgun that is not a revolver. You know, not a wheelgun. Not a cowboy gun. If it would look stupid in a cowboy movie (but not a spy movie), it’s a semi-automatic.

smallest semi-auto every commercially manufactured

In fact, technically, a double-action revolver is a semi-automatic. Because after you pull the trigger, it gets the next round ready to go. Which is all that semi-automatic means: it gets the next round ready to go. You still have to pull the trigger again. You pull the trigger once for every round fired, m’kay? You just don’t have to cock it every time.

That’s what semi-automatic means: you don’t have to cock it again by hand after you fire the first shot.

A semi-automatic is not an automatic. It is not a machine gun. You don’t mash the trigger and a bunch of bullets fly out. It doesn’t fire bigger bullets. It doesn’t fire more powerful bullets. It doesn’t hold more bullets.

A semi-auto is dangerous. That’s its job. But if you’re talking about banning them, you’re talking about a nation-wide gun confiscation.



Comment from Gromulin
Time: January 16, 2013, 12:39 am

Well, I 90% agree. It’s the automatic part that needs to be dropped to avoid confusing the weak minded amongst us. They are self-loading guns. To say “you don’t need to cock it again” is mostly true, but some self-loading pistols are double action only, so you are cocking the hammer with every shot, just through the trigger. But one trigger pull = one shot is the bigger point.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 16, 2013, 12:43 am

Heh. And here I agonized over using the word “bullet” because I was sure someone would pull me up on that.

(“bullet” is the hard thing at the end of the cartridge).

Comment from jwpaine
Time: January 16, 2013, 12:43 am

Semi! Automatic!

Case Closed!!!11!

Oh, and Snoopy’s name was Peanuts except for when he was fighting the Red Baron.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 16, 2013, 12:49 am

I want my ….
I want my…..
I want my….
…..M fourteen!

1966 (ish) a stern and forceful Army NCO handed me my first one (semi auto, no select fire switch) and during the initial lecture to a platoon of young men described it as an assault rifle. We then went onto practice ‘assaulting the objective’, a basic military formation unchanged since the day humanity started marking passage of time.

I want my M14, ‘cuz I’m thinkin’, I’m gonna need one again.

Ok, so it was 1966, the years run together.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: January 16, 2013, 12:55 am

If I, had thousands of dollars to spend, I would get a Webley-Fosbery, the only semi automatic revolver ever made!

The Webley-Fosbery is mentioned in James Thurber’s Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

My duty weapon is a Heckler & Koch USP45F. USP stands for Universal Self-loading Pistol, which HK likes better than the term “automatic”. You can’t do much better than an HK, they are so much nicer than GLOCKs, which have appalling grip angles. I can’t hit the broadside of a barn with a GLOCK, I would be better off throwing it.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: January 16, 2013, 1:00 am

If you want to wallow knee deep in people arguing about the slightest misuse of gun terminology, or the get the latest updates on the Black Helicopters, go hang out at some of the gun forums like AR15.com for a while. I tell you, sometimes gun owners can be their own worst enemies. And yes, it’s a cartridge . Heh.

Comment from DJMoore
Time: January 16, 2013, 1:29 am

They know.

They do not care, and they love it when waste our breath trying to correct them.

They absolutely love it when we fall for their pleas to have rational, open discussions.

Not even gonna try anymore, me.

“Why do you need high magazine assault weapons of mass murder with automatic clips?”

“So I can blow yer fool head off when you try to take them from me, you filthy liberal fascist thug.”

Comment from Spad13
Time: January 16, 2013, 2:09 am

Skandia, I was introduced to mine in 1985. The Army and Marines had long ago done away with them but left a few around for the occasional swab jockey who needed a long gun.

She was the original bad date, a little too heavy, a little too oily, bad personality but man could she shoot. It was the E2 version, full auto capable with a folding bipod. You could kill single commies at 1K+ yards or whole flocks at close range, if you could keep the muzzle from climbing.

I wish we both had our M-14’s back because sadly we are going to need them sooner rather than later and at home rather than over seas.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: January 16, 2013, 2:38 am

A semi-automatic handgun is every handgun that is not a revolver.

Well, aside from derringers and muzzle-loaders…

BTW, have you seen Frank J. Fleming’s call for pretend gun control? Since the liberals don’t even know what the terms mean, pass a law that bans a whole bunch of scary sounding things that don’t exist. It will make them happy and do no harm.

Heck, there’s precedent: Dennis Kucinich once submitted a bill that would ban “psychotronic weapons” (107th Congress, HR 2977). Then again, it was Dennis Kucinich, the Clown from Cleveland.

Comment from mojo
Time: January 16, 2013, 2:46 am

Skandia: the M-14 was a hell of a weapon. A 30 cal, select fire humdinger to shoot, except on full auto. Sure, the thing was heavy, but that just meant it was also a practicable club, at need.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: January 16, 2013, 3:08 am

The Zombie apocalypse is here.
They’re called Democrats.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 16, 2013, 3:11 am

What DJ said. They DON’T CARE. they just want to take them all away from US.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 16, 2013, 3:11 am

I have to thank you for linking to JPFO yesterday, Ms. Weasel. (May I call you Ms. Weasel? “Stoatie” feels presumptuous for someone who’s so new to your site.) Anyway, not only does JPFO accept non-Jews as members, but they in turn link to one of the best articles on anti-gun psychology I’ve ever seen, by psychiatrist Sarah Thompson. It was gratifying to join JPFO and to see a couple of my own theories validated by Dr. Thompson. I love getting validated. It’s almost as good as–well, it’s just good.

Thinking about it, though…did I like the article just because she said what I already thought? Yeah. Yeah, I did.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: January 16, 2013, 3:36 am

We’ve always known that obumbles was never satisfied with merely being president. He wants REAL power and the only way he can get it is by forcing a crisis and seizing it. Millions of rounds of ammunition was distributed to DHS agents last year. He means for them to use it.

Comment from p2
Time: January 16, 2013, 5:18 am

That handy dandy little mouse gun in the photo is about to be illegal in NYS. Or at least I think it is…looks like it’ll hold 8 in the magazine. (Clips are what the cartridges come in to be loaded into the magazines….) It’s about as effective as a pointy stick, but illegal, none the less. My S&W Model 52 .38, oddly enough, isn’t. Bigger, more effective, even scarier looking than the Kolibri, even semi-automatic, but still legal…only a 5-shot magazine. With whacked laws like those it’s no wonder I live in Alaska.

Comment from McThag
Time: January 16, 2013, 5:36 am

Pedantic Mode Activated.

A revolver and a semi-auto are both REPEATERS but a revolver is not semi-automatic.

Semi-automatic was coined to describe how they worked and why it was distinct from both a double action revolver and true automatic arms.

Without some form of disconnector, a semi-automatic gun is an automatic gun. You can’t say that about a revolver and the distinction was being made by coining the new term.

A revolver and a double action only semi-auto have a lot in common from the user’s perspective, but again, it’s a disconnector difference.

I completely agree with Gromulin, self-loading is a far better term.

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 16, 2013, 7:07 am

Number I MkIV Parker Hale 303.

Chambered with full 303 British, boat tails #8 or ball, or explosive tip.

Fast action, accurate, deadly.
M14? Nyet.

Comment from MIke C.
Time: January 16, 2013, 9:06 am

Ooh! A gun thread!

McThag has the right of it, IMHO. But there’s always one more nit to pick… Let us remember that a “revolver” is not necessarily a handgun, in that there are revolver rifles. I know at least one manufacturer still makes them (can’t remember who), because I’ve seen them new in gun stores. And I mean modern ones, not replicas of old ones.

Now why in hell anybody would want one is beyond me, but different strokes and all that. I occasionally get strange looks RE the lever-action rifles.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: January 16, 2013, 5:05 pm

As ever, unable to resist impluse, this sprung into my head so I post it here:

This is my semi-automatic clip-loaded assault rife;
This is my self-reloading repeat-fire hunting gun.
The first is for fightin’;
The second for fun

I always find the Liberal concern over long guns fascinating. I haven’t done the research, but I would be willing to bet a bottle of very good Scotch that something less than 5% of murders are committed using rifles or shotguns, regardless of how they are reloaded.

The statistics ARE widely available about who commits murders and who they murder. Even here I won’t name the group but I will say that I read an article yesterday (I’ll post the link later as my Nook makes that process too clumsy) which says that the overall murder rate in the US is about 4.7 per 100K. However, if that statistic is broken down by, ahem, subgroups, the major subgroup has a murder rate of 2.9 per 100K, while a subgroup comprising 13% of the total has a rate of 17.1 per 100K and are responsible of 47% of all murders despite being only 13% of the whole group. FWIW I’d bet that bottle of good Scotch that among this subgroup less than 3% of the murders committed involved long guns. Beating an old cliche to death, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. In my business experience, we would generally focus on fixing a problem by focusing the the element which most contributed to the problem.Reducing the overall murder rate should focus on keeping the guns most used to kill people from the people most found to use them to kill people.

I’m sure that this will enrage people here and elsewhere but I suggest that limiting sales of handguns costing less than $500 to one per month to individuals, and zoning all gun sales well out of cities would be a good place to start. I also believe that background check requirements and delayed delivery for “gunshows” et al would be useful. Remember that any pile of pistols on a card table is a “gunshow” whether it’s at the local VFW or in a parking garage in a downtown slum…


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 16, 2013, 5:17 pm

Heh. No flak, but I’m’onna disagree. I think any solution that tries to pinch off the supply of guns is doomed. There are just too many in circulation.

Personally, I’m in favor of arming and training the old ladies of that cohort. All the discipline seems to come from Grandma anyway.

Am I serious? Hm. I might be.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: January 16, 2013, 6:00 pm

Well yeah that’s the point. Guns are dangerous, that’s why they were made: to be dangerous. But Sweeze you moved to the wrong place if you like your guns!

Comment from Redd
Time: January 16, 2013, 6:20 pm

So, does the NHS grill you on whether you have knives in your kitchen drawers?

Comment from surly
Time: January 16, 2013, 6:49 pm

A .22 semi-auto rifle was my first gun. I knew what a semi-auto was and I was twelve. Some folks just hear “automatic”. I don’t even wanna talk about the “assault” word.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: January 16, 2013, 7:08 pm

Strictly speaking, an M 14 is a battle rifle, not an assault rifle, as it uses a full power cartridge (7.62x51mm, which is near as dammit Win .308, abstruse headspace rules notwithstanding.) Assault rifles use intermediate power cartridges like 5.56x45mm AKA Rem .223.

It is absolutely impossible to have the rational discussion with gun controllers that they all say they want. Just try it. You can lay all the rational, fact-supported arguments on the table that you want, and they will accuse you of revelling in the death of babies. If your interlocutor refuses to believe you are arguing in good faith he is free to ignore you. It’s the usual Leftist mode of argument: since no-one could possibly spout conservative/libertarian tropes unless they were mad/evil/lying, no heed need be paid them.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: January 16, 2013, 7:35 pm

A couple of points that I think are pertinent to current events and this thread.

1) 3-D computer printing of working firearms and “high capacity” magazines. Forbes article linking to the company that does it and who have put the computer programs online. Strikes me that for historical interest that it might be worthwhile downloading the files off of a public WiFi to a disposable computer, saving them to thumb drive, and archiving. The technology is getting more widespread and cheaper.

2. Comment from Redd
Time: January 16, 2013, 6:20 pm

So, does the NHS grill you on whether you have knives in your kitchen drawers?

Pedantic Chinese history, or at least legend. The Chin dynasty that unified the country [why we are called Chinese] was a totalitarian police state that Obama would pleasure himself to. It was so strictly controlled that they only allowed one knife for cooking to be shared by 5 families, and no private weapons ownership. It made rebellions less likely.

We have a harvest festival, Moon Festival, where families exchange a rich pastry called Moon Cakes. Legend has it that the organizers of the rebellion baked hidden messages into the Moon Cakes to coordinate the holders of the knives so that one night they gathered to ambush individual soldiers of the Emperor, take them out and take their weapons. The weapons were used to take out other soldiers, and so on. There is more to the legend, but it ended with Chin Er Huang-di [son of the First Emperor] hanging himself in his burning palace, and the installation of the Han Dynasty, China’s golden age.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from mojo
Time: January 16, 2013, 7:47 pm

“Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
— The Third Man

Comment from bjm2009
Time: January 16, 2013, 8:03 pm

The newest gun grabbing outrage is involving doctors. What the hell happens if I decline to discuss “gun safety” with my doctors? Is he/she required to report that i declined his “advice”?

Obamacare, IMO, was designed to enforce proscribed behaviors and terminate undesirable citizens, the unborn, disabled, mentally ill and of course the big govt money suck:seniors.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 16, 2013, 8:25 pm

I don’t know why the filter snagged that, David G. Sorry.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: January 16, 2013, 8:43 pm

Comment from bjm2009
Time: January 16, 2013, 8:03 pm

Agreed as to the intent. I note that with the exception of strictly healthcare related issues, it is not self-harming behavior to not be perfectly candid with a doctor/physician extender/nurse who is acting on behalf of the security organs of the state [voluntarily or otherwise]. Your statements are not under oath, nor subject to legal sanction. If asked, ‘I have seen too much violence, don’t believe in guns.’

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Mike James
Time: January 16, 2013, 9:05 pm

Here you go, Sweasel:

Magnum Research, Inc. BFR 45-70 Revolver, 10 inch barrel

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects every American’s right to keep and bear any firearm small enough to be towed behind a pickup truck.

Makes my hand hurt just looking at it.

Comment from Sigivald
Time: January 16, 2013, 9:38 pm

A semi-automatic handgun is every handgun that is not a revolver.

Practically speaking, true.

Pedantically and at the margin, there are a tiny number of fully-automatic machine-pistols, a few of them even legally owned by private parties.

(Also, there are a fair number of single-shot pistols with a break action or a rotary breech – this means you, Magnum Research Lone Eagle, T/C Contender – for hunting or Olympic target use.)

Comment from drew458
Time: January 16, 2013, 9:42 pm

Hey Mike – the BFR is now an assault weapon under new NY law. Not because of it’s power, but because of it’s weight. Yeah, that’s right. A pistol that weighs as much as a light rifle is extra assaulty.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: January 17, 2013, 4:26 am

Terminology, shmerminology. My message to anybody who disapproves of any firearm I own is simple: This is my property and I intend to keep it, just the same as any other property I own. I have no desire to fight about this matter, but if you try to take my property away from me, I will resist your efforts. If you use force to try to take it from me, I will use force to resist you. If you use deadly force, I will – deeply wishing that you had not put me in such a position – kill you.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 17, 2013, 4:56 am

Moon cakes are good. Jes’ sayin. 🙂

Uncle Al? Preach it, brother.

Comment from Oceania
Time: January 17, 2013, 5:20 am

Just remember – I was pushing Obamas forged birth certificate and social security number here before it was fashionable.
This is what happens when you don’t live up to any moral standings.

Something wicked this way comes.

PS: When I’m in the USA – I use three social security numbers I obtained from dead people. I even voted in your election.

Comment from MIke C.
Time: January 17, 2013, 7:02 am


They may have just made the Ruger LCR in .22 LR illegal in NY (along with a number of other revolvers, including some SA ones.) That.22 LR LCR holds 8 rounds, and it’s about as light as a revolver can be.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: January 17, 2013, 6:46 pm

It strikes me – once again – that it’s really, truly a shame that Ms. Weasel does not have at least two (or three, or more…) blog-sites with open comments available – if for no other reason than that, it would afford all legitimate commentors twice (or three times, or more…) the number of opportunities to totally ignore the nearly-always-utterly-irrelevant, reliably-semi-incoherent and moronically-and-obviously-untruthful maunderings of His/Her/Its Oceanic Twitterpatedness…


Comment from mojo
Time: January 17, 2013, 7:15 pm

Vincent Hanna: You know, we are sitting here, you and I, like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do, and I do what I gotta do. And now that we’ve been face to face, if I’m there and I gotta put you away, I won’t like it. But I tell you, if it’s between you and some poor bastard whose wife you’re gonna turn into a widow, brother, you are going down.
— Heat
Neil McCauley: There is a flip side to that coin. What if you do got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. We’ve been face to face, yeah. But I will not hesitate. Not for a second.

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