Charlie, you're absolutely right, the .223 cartridge (5.56 x 45 for the military) is roughly 3x faster than a typical 9 mm. But that doesn't mean the velocity is achieved because it's shot from an AR-type rifle. It's because it's from a rifle, with a longer barrel, period. The muzzle velocity of a 30-06 ranges from 2400 feet per second to 3400 fps (dependent upon load and bullet weight). A .308 (7.62 x 51 for the military) also ranges from 2600 to 3100 fps. A .357 magnum gets 1240 fps from a handgun, but can get to 2200 fps from a rifle.

My point? Almost all rifles fire bullets that go much faster than handguns. Cavitation is not unique to AR guns.

The AR is popular because the .223/5.56 round is relatively light-recoiling, so it's easy to shoot many rounds quickly. Although semi-automatics are also made in .308 and 30-06 calibers (for example), those rounds are not as fun (or as controllable) to shoot fast.

The .223/5.56 round is also comparatively light and cheap. A 30 round, fully-loaded magazine only weighs a pound. You can buy 1000 rounds of 5.56 ammo for $500. Comparing to a .308, a one-pound magazine carries 20 rounds, and 200 rounds cost about $350.

Nobody hunts deer with a 30 round magazine. In Florida, the maximum magazine capacity while deer hunting is 5 rounds. In Ohio, 3. In Colorado, 6. (Though to be fair, some states -- Texas and Montana, for example -- have no such restriction.)

IMHO, the real human slaughter problem stems from the semi-automatic firing action plus large capacity magazines, neither of which is useful for hunters. Large capacity, lightweight while fully-loaded magazines, coupled with semi-automatic actions, are the common denominator in most mass-shootings.

Brian Stayton

(All statistics from Professor Google.)

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What I will never understand is why the 2A militia movement thinks they need these weapons to oppose a domestic government that has gone full tyranny:

I was part of an occupying force across three deployments during the years when we lost the most Soldiers/Marines in combat ('04-'08), and I can tell you first hand that AK-47s were *not* the thing that killed the majority of us. The things that killed the majority of us were well-placed roadside bombs that bypassed our armor. The next worst thing were snipers who could place well-aimed shots on our chest/head where the body armor didn't cover. The standard US infantryman carries four plates of ceramic armor around his torso, and these plates can stop about x3 7.62x39mm AK-47 bullets before they break and let bullets into the torso. If you go after an American infantryman (and about 24+ of his buddies) using a small group of guys using AR-15s, that small group of guys is going to get destroyed by overwhelming return fire. We ran this experiment so many times in Iraq. Every time guys came at us with AK-47s they died. It was the kind of thing we wanted them to do. Instead, they got wise and started burying bombs in the ground so that they could kill us even with all of our armor without having to expose themselves to the return fire. THAT is how they started killing us in significant numbers, not with small groups of guys running around with assault rifles. This notion that the domestic 2A group uses to justify owning an assault rifle (that they need it to oppose domestic government) is ridiculous on its face because we know after 20 years of fighting an insurgency where the bad guys were trying to kill those same US government troops with bombs and sniper rifles that those weapons are immensely more effective against US troops than an AR-15 or AK-47 were. Like, we knooowwwww this.

The only thing assault rifles do for this country is make it easier for crazy people to kill a whole lot of unarmed innocents in less than the time it takes for the police to get there. THAT is what they do on the civilian market. You can shoot competitions without needing a 30-round magazine. Just change the course of fire for the competition and your need for more bullets per magazine goes away if you're really that into firearms competitions.

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I just saw the title of this article and I can't even read the whole thing. Having to read about children being blown apart by human slaughter machines on a weekly basis for decades now has traumatized me as parent of small children. Sandy Hook happened 10 years ago when our oldest daughter was just 2 weeks old. I couldn't listen or read the news for months after that, I was so traumatized by the horror that happened to those kids and those families. I became a Moms Demand Action member a few years ago, and I pray everyday that we can force lawmakers to take this terrorism seriously. The proliferation of these weapons into the hands of any rando in America is a serious threat to public safety. Another reason I will likely never vote for Republicans. They have NRA blood money all over their hands. Human slaughter machine money. Democrats at least care about public safety. Isn't the most basic job of public officials public safety? I thought even libertarians held that view. If government does nothing else, it should at least have public safety as its main responsibility. Every time another school or mass shooting at a public place happens I beg my husband to work with me to move back to Australia where I lived as child. I'm a duel citizen there and we could go. I'm not sure at what point his brain and heart will be as broken as mine about this threat. This country is in a crisis situation with mass murder being a common occurrence and I have very little hope that it will ever get better. It will only get worse.

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The photos aren't influencing MTG. The hope is in replacing the MTGs of the world with someone who will care. You do that by influencing the public that elects them. And that's where the pictures come in.

It's hard to believe now, but a very short time ago, smoking was very commonplace. Same with drinking and driving. The gun control crowd could learn a lesson from MADD and the anti-smoking people. They did many things, but one of them was to make smoking gross, to make drinking and driving scary. They did this with photographs of auto wrecks, pictures of smoker's lungs. Think of the commercial of that Terri woman who was a lifelong smoker, who has a hole in her throat that she uses to speak, along with the wig she wears, and the false teeth that she had to use. Photos of people's teeth, after years of smoking, the mouths of tobacco users after they had parts of their cheeks and tongues removed. It worked!!

You didn't need laws preventing people from smoking in public (though they did ultimately get implemented). Smoking became something that people didn't want to do. With guns, a similar strategy can be employed. The upshot will be people removing guns from their day to day lives– out of sight, out of mind.

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I do believe that actually publishing the pictures of this horrendous and violent method of murder will produce the desired results of reducing gun violence. In fact, it may not need be shown but a few times to get the point across. Reading the statistics and watching news coverage is not sufficient. If our society is serious about this issue then let’s try something different. After all, nothing else has worked.

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Sad State of the Union. Enjoy your vacation and holidays in France and your grandchildren, who are much safer going to school in a much more civilized and caring country.

Bonnes fêtes et Bonne Année!

Claudine Born in Blaye France/Lives in PA USA

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Interesting timing on the article as in today's NYT there is a great opinion piece about how the needle is being moved.

Disclosure: I am from Newtown, class of '92 out of the high school and the same gifted program the shooter came out of. Family left Newtown before the shooting. I was very involved in gun control advocacy post Sandy Hook.

I am also ex Army and a veterinarian. I design slaughterhouses for a living.

I say these things because I want you to know...I know what these rounds do. I know how they tear thru flesh.

The 2A fetishists know as well.

We live in a different world than Emmit Till. The images of massacres have been used to torment victims' families. And billion dollar lawsuits notwithstanding...zero people are held to account for that. Alex Jones walks free. His followers who harassed my hometown and people walk free.

If people are not held accountable by their communities and families...no amount of pictures will change that.

What does? Making 2A fetishism socially unacceptable. Making it a path ostricism not glory. Holding gun and ammo manufacturers to account.

Our children lay gunned down at our feet. The long game of changing that is with us still.

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When I was growing up in PA in the 70s, it was illegal to use a self-loading weapon to hunt game. It was not considered sporting and if you wanted to use one, you would be denigrated by other hunters for being a no-skill loser.

REAL hunters only needed one shot... and most of the flexing was done by people who bow hunted or used black powder weapons.

Shotguns were an exception. You could use a self-loading shotgun but it could only hold three rounds. Most people stuck with pumps (also limited to three rounds) or double barrels (my preference).

Physics is a thing. ANY full power rifle round is going to be more destructive than a handgun round. A 5.56 has an average energy around 2100 joules. A 308 is around 3900 joules. The new 6.8 round runs around 2400 joules. 9 mm averages around 6-700 joules (1/3rd the energy of a 5.56).

You are more likely to see a 5.56 used because of the popularity of the AR platform and how (relatively) cheap the ammo is. Most wannabes opt for the AR-15 because it looks like what the US military uses and it is relatively simple to find and to get upgrades and equipment for.

Have never owned one myself as they are actually (IMO) fairly useless for most things beyond shooting people. Only ever used one back when I was in the military and that was only for basic familiarity (since I was Navy and we primarily used (at the time) the 1911a1 or pump shotgun for security duties.

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i don’t think pictures of dead children will influence republican lawmakers. i’m sure they all experience extreme anguish from viewing a picture of an aborted fetus. the difference: unborn “victims” are key to their political success. live victims are just the price we pay for living in a “free” country.

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Charlie- Thank you for reminding us about the lethality of these weapons.

AR-15’s and similar guns are military grade weapons meant to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. These weapons were built for wars. They have no place in a civil society.

The U.S. stopped being a fully civil society when the use of military grade weapons against civilians became normalized. Today, the availability and use of these weapons of war are being heralded and defended and promoted by businesses, citizens, politicians and the courts.

The U.S. is a world wide outlier in its acceptance of mass destruction through the use of these weapons of war. The U.S. is a failed society.

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Thank you for the repost. I wasn't a subscriber in June, but this is such an important read.

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Dec 13, 2022·edited Dec 13, 2022

Thanks for sharing your "Greatest Hits" collection with us. Though this one was hard to go through again.

It is great to reread these excellent items.

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Everyone needs to read this. Legislators need the photos. Too bad they can’t be put in the operating rooms to see the tragedy of a child destroyed by such weapons.

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The 5.56mm/.223 caliber bullets are lightweight but travel at high velocity, which translates into high energy but low momentum. Low momentum means the bullet will be slowed by an obstacle more quickly, thereby shedding more of its high energy within the victim's body. This causes the wave effect in soft tissue described above (called Hydrostatic Shock) at impact velocities over about 2600 fps. AR-15 bullets are generally traveling at around 3000 fps when they impact someone shot at close range. Expanding bullets, typically loaded in civilian ammunition for hunting, enhance the effect - which is why expanding bullets are forbidden for military use by international law.

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yer right. it’s worth a try. if there’s a way to “flood the zone” with these hideous images and avoid suits for privacy invasion, i say spend a few billion on it. maybe it won’t affect the gun nuts (my mom smoked while dying of cancer), but maybe we can create a social movement with sufficient power to make Rambo a pariah. yer also right about the “liberal” gun nuts getting their nuts off “talking shop” right here at the bulwark.

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Historically, the big money in the firearms business was in government contracts. large volume sales. VERY large volume.

The advent of the all-volunteer military significantly reduced the number of weapons required, while increasing complexity (and cost) of manufacture. Throw in the fact that the US military has been using variations of the same infantry weapon since the 60s... and essentially the same weapon with few modifications for the last decade or so.

The military would throw manufacturers a bone now and then with trials for a new weapon (which, until the last cycle, never materialized). Phase in of the new weapon (civilian version is the SiG MCX IIRC) is slated to take place over a prolonged period due to cost and logistics and testing issues (it uses a different caliber of ammunition than the M4).

So... you have all of this expensive tooling and R&D sitting around and not generating revenue. The solution was to create "civilianized" versions to make that profitable and develop new markets. Toss in a lot of propaganda and BS (courtesy of the re-tooled NRA) to generate demand and voila! Sure, it is a shitty hunting and general use weapon, but it is (supposedly) great for securing yourself against those "Other People."

If you want a home defense weapon, buy a shotgun. Easy to use, easy to aim, less likely to kill or wound a neighbor. If you want a personal defense weapon buy a 9 mm pistol or a 357 revolver. easier to carry and cheaper and effective.

Chances are you will never ever need to actually use any of them, so enjoy burning up a few hundred dollars (plus the cost of ammo and practice, because you need to practice otherwise why bother) for "peace of mind" from the BS threats created by the arms industry and NRA to sell weapons.

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