AR-15 Misconceptions: What Does Semi-Automatic Mean?

In basic terms, semi-automatic means a firearm is operated partly automatically and partly by hand. It also refers to the process of firing repeatedly through an automatic reloading process, while also requiring release or trigger pressure for each additional shot.

According to federal statute, semi-automatic rifles refer to “any repeating rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”

These days, most of the talk about semi-automatic weapons involves the legality of the weapon, particularly in the hands of a civilian. Since many people consider the AR-15 to be the “civilian” version of the military’s M16, the headlines associate the gun with being too evil for society.

For example, In the Time magazine article “What Does Semi-Automatic Mean,” the writers tell readers that AR-15s are easier to buy than handguns and that they are only associated with mass shootings. Articles like this one have led to a number of misconceptions about semi-automatic weapons, and there are various groups that hope these misconceptions will lead to a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

Misconceptions and Misunderstanding of Semi-Automatic

Cosmetically, the AR-15 looks like a military rifle, but that doesn’t mean it functions the same way. If the AR-15-style sporting rifle is banned, it’s possible that various other hunting and sporting rifles could also be banned.

Here are a few misconceptions about the AR-15:

  • AR means “assault rifle.” It actually stands for ArmaLite Rifle
  • It’s not legal in some areas. In truth, sporting versions are currently legal in all 50 states
  • The AR-15 is extremely powerful and causes much more damage than other types of firearms. In fact, it is no more powerful than any other hunting rifle of the same caliber, and there are easily attainable weapons that can inflict much more damage.

The accuracy and reliability of this rifle serves target shooters and hunters well.

Defense of Semi-Automatic Civilian Weapons

Veterans and gun experts defend the use and availability of the AR-15. Two of their arguments are:

  • The AR-15 is no more lethal than any other rifle. An AR round of 5.56 or .223 does not have the same stopping power as many other regular hunting rifles.
  • The AR-15 has never been, and never will be, a military-grade weapon. Many handgun rounds are actually larger and more deadly.

The reality is that while people focus on the AR-15 and various other semi-automatic weapons, they ignore the reality of common big-game hunting ammunition and its devastating terminal ballistics. Many people don’t realize that this type of ammunition could wreak much greater havoc than a semi-automatic weapon like the AR-15.

In the end, the AR-15 and various other semi-automatic weapons are subject to ongoing, opinionated conversation. It is unlikely that either side will change its opinion, considering the circumstances in which this conversation takes place.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Brock Swinson

Brock Swinson is a writer living in North Carolina with his wife, Jess. As a writer for Creative Screenwriting and the host of the Creative Principles Podcast, Swinson frequently interviews creators such as Mel Brooks, Aaron Sorkin, Taylor Sheridan, and William Monahan, on storytelling. Outside of work, Brock is currently training for an Iron Man, practicing jujitsu, and looking for new trails to run with his husky mix, Tessa.
Brock Swinson

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