After the jump.

One thing that frustrates me about the gun control debate. Is people’s obsession with assault rifles, or as people like to call them “weapons of war” and other (IMO) melodramatic nonsense.

I think this obsession with ARs, and seemingly ARs exclusively is bad. Because it seems to me handguns are often left out of the discussion. I sincerely believe that anything done to make ARs illegal, will ultimately have little to no affect on gun violence, even mass shootings.

The reason why the military uses ARs as opposed to pistols, is because of range, not damage. The military needs people to be able to shoot accurately out to 300 meters and somewhat accurate to 500+. Rifles are excellent for this because the longer barrel and higher velocity stabilizes rounds better and makes them more accurate at these long ranges.

The thing is that in recent history, practically all mass shooting have happened in close range, at schools, churches, and clubs. Where it’s highly unlikely the shooter would ever be making shots over 100 yards.

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Pistols were designed from the ground up to be good in close ranges. They’re small and easy to conceal, they shoot larger calibers than rifles to do more damage, and they can still hold almost 20 rounds of ammo in a mag, which isn’t as much as typical AR mags, but it’s really not much less.

Just look at the deadliest shootings that’ve happened in the US and how many didn’t use semi-automatic rifles at all.

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And apart from the Las Vegas shootings, it’s highly unlikely that in most mass shootings there would have been significantly less loss of life if pistols were used instead of ARs. Because the extra energy from a rifle round typically doesn’t “deposit” as much as people think.

This is from an article written by a doctor. Link

Those with higher velocity may be expected, on this basis, to dissipate more energy into surrounding tissue as they slow and cause more tissue damage but this is only a very approximate guide. This ‘kinetic energy dump’ theory is controversial, since high-velocity injuries are frequently less extensive than would be predicted and fragmentation appears to be the most effective mechanism for wounding rather than yawing or other mechanisms for slowing high-velocity rounds quickly.

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How this pertains to handguns, is that it’s very easy to get hollow point ammo for handguns. I’m not sure about now, but you used to be able to buy hollow point pistol ammo at Wal-Mart. Now while it’s not impossible to get hollow points for rifle rounds, it’s much harder. I don’t think I’ve ever seen hollow point rifle ammo at any sporting good stores, gun shops, or shows. However a quick google, does show that it’s a thing, at least for .223.

link

Something else I think is worth mentioning. Prior to the North Hollywood shoot out. The only weapons most police departments had were pistols and shotguns. If ARs were the ludicrous killing machines, compared to pistols, that people think they are. Why wouldn’t they have at least had some in car or in the station for when they really needed to merc someone? Again, the only reason police departments started carrying ARs was because of the North Hollywood shootout, where pistols couldn’t penetrate the robbers body armor.

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article about it and the part about the advantage rifles gave them.

the AR-15 enables a patrol officer to engage targets at a longer distance and its rounds penetrate most body armor. With the right ammunition, the 5.56mm projectile doesn’t over-penetrate as much as certain pistol rounds. And lastly, a semi-auto patrol rifle is much easier to operate than a 12-gauge police shotgun for most personnel.

Again, it was about body armor penetration and distance, not out right damage. Granted it does say with the right ammo it doesn’t over penetrate like certain pistol rounds. But a guarantee you hollow points were not those certain pistol rounds.

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TL;DR- For things like mass shootings and murder. Pistols aren’t actually that less capable than ARs. I’m certain that we could confiscate all the ARs in the US, and if we did nothing about handguns, the overall effect on gun violence would be a drop in the bucket. Considering handguns are still very deadly in close range and very few mass shooting have been at a range to “properly” utilize a rifle. Mass shooters and other murders would just use pistols instead of ARs and would be able to cause the same or near loss of life with them.

Not to mention pistols are easier to conceal, and thus easier to sneak into a public places like a school, sporting events, etc. Plus smaller ammo and magazines mean that an individual can carry more pistol rounds on them, than they could rifle rounds.