Friday, May 06, 2016

That Does Not Meme What You Thought

You've probably already heard about the school district in Colorado that bought some AR's for its security personnel. I was scanning through AM radio some weeks back and stumbled on the Joe Pags show, where they were discussing this event. A caller was hitting some familiar talking points, but I hadn't heard them in this context before.

The caller questioned buying AR's for the security staff, saying that it seemed the money could be better spent on training with the handguns they already had than buying rifles. When it was brought up that rifles were generally more effective and accurate than handguns, the caller retorted that a modern 9mm would be just as effective as an AR's projectile and claimed he was an avid handgun shooter.

This takes two trendy meme's and applies them to their logical and ridiculous ends.

The Firearms Blog has this post which does a decent job of explaining the thinking behind the "9mm is better" argument in relation to other handgun cartridges. Here and here are articles emphasizing the importance of training over cartridge selection for handguns. (Here is a more lengthy discussion of terminal ballistics, and Wikipedia has pages on both terminal ballistics and stopping power respectively. No discussion of this would be complete with The Anarchangel's Lies, Damn Lies and Ballistics post.)

Now I'm not in 100% agreement with those two points (a 9mm is just as good as any other, and training makes cartridge selection irrelevant) but I can understand their appeal when applied to handguns (though I still believe in 10mm magic). Rifle cartridges, even relatively weak rifle cartridges are another ball of wax entirely.

I'm not a fan of the .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm NATO. But I'd take either of those over any 5" barreled handgun in any chambering any day of the week*. If I had a set budget, and could train twice as much with a 9mm handgun or half as much with a .223 rifle (and let us pray to a deity of choice it never comes to that) I'd pick the rifle (or carbine**) every time. It's harder to tuck a long gun under your photographers vest, sure, but for around the house or serious social interactions a rifle (or carbine) is simply more advantageous, in terms of ease of use, effectiveness and range.

I'll grant it was just one caller on an AM radio talk show, but I'd be concerned that he's not the only one that takes an arguable idea or two and applies it all wrong.

Personally I'd have preferred that the school district had purchased AK-47's (simply because it's too much to hope for that they'd plunk down the cash for Garands or M1A's). But damn near any long gun will be an improvement over damn near any handgun for stopping humans with evil intent.

Perhaps meme's should come with warning labels - or at least disclaimers...



* When dealing with humans. Colorado has bears though, and I'd have more faith in a hot loaded, nigh nuclear 10mm to reach a bruin's vitals than a .223. Ditto for .41 or .44 magnums or the hotter .45 offerings.

** I simply can't bring myself to consider anything with less than a 20" barrel a rifle. To my thinking they're more properly carbines. So most AR's and most AK's, for example, are carbines, not rifles.

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