To The Herald-Whig:
This is not about the Second Amendment or gun ownership. This opinion is about the AR-15.
I was assigned to the rifle range at Camp Lejeune, N.C., back in 1962 or 1963 when the inventor of the AR-15 came to the Marine Corps to try to sell his invention to replace the M-14.
Gen. Walt was assigned the task of assessing the AR-15 versus the M-14. Along with other Marines, I was detailed as a rifle coach to aid in assessment of the AR-15 versus the M-14.
One technical difference between the AR-15 and other military and civilian rifles is the lands and grooves in the barrel that impart a spiral on the round as it leaves the barrel, much like the spiral on a football as it leaves the quarterback's hand when he passes. The lands and grooves in the barrel of the AR-15 impart a much slower spiral on the round. This allows the round to fly straight and true to the target. As soon as it strikes the target, it begins to tumble, causing maximum damage.
I was assigned six Marines as my team. Every day they shot the standard course of 200, 300 and 500 yards. Three men shooting the AR-15 and men shooting the M-14, they rotated weapons every day. Every week the teams were replaced with new shooters. We did this for several weeks. The results were assessed, and it was determined that the AR-15 was equal to the M-14 up to 300 yards. Beyond that, the M-14 was superior.
The only reason to my knowledge that the Marine Corps replaced the M-14 with the AR-15 was the "maximum damage effect" and the weight -- about 4 pounds lighter than the M-14 and the .223-caliber round was much smaller than the large 7.62-mm round that was used in the M-14. Thus, a Marine could carry much more ammo. Firepower is the name of the game in a firefight, and the maximum damage effect of the tumbling round of the AR-15 was effective in taking more enemy troops out of combat.
The AR-15 is designed as a military assault weapon and has no use in civilian life. It is totally inadequate as a target rifle and is underpowered as a hunting rifle.
It should be banned from sale to civilians as it is dangerous in the wrong hands, and it can only serve to make the weak feel masculine.