There's a fallacy amongst hoplophobes (gun phobics) that limiting magazines to 10 rounds will help against mass shooters, or that assault rifles are somehow unique. However:
- The time it takes to reload is less than the reaction time to know that a shooter is reloading.
- We fought all wars prior to the Korean war without removable magazines, and all wars prior to Vietnam with 10 round magazines (or less).
- The FBI studied mass shootings and found that the average mass shooting is 10 rounds over 5 minutes, most never even need to reload.
- In all the mass shootings in the U.S. there has never been a case where a shooter was charged and disarmed during a reload, even with revolvers.
- Shooting sprees end by them leaving, surrender, suicide or getting shot: virtually never by takedowns during reloads.
Magazine limits, assault rifle bans, outlawing removable magazines, and so on, sound great to those who don't know any better, but is just an infuriating ineffective annoyance to gun owners. Each bad law like this, makes it harder to pass "good" laws, as the tolerance for any more legislation was been wasted dividing us, instead of making a real difference.
00 - The Basics - The rate and effectiveness of fire (including reload times) is less about the gun or magazine than the training of the shooter.
- If you give a good shooter a bolt action rifle with a fixed magazine, he can kill more people than a neophyte with a fully automatic machine gun.
- With an experienced shooter the death rate will be more dependent on response times, and crowd reaction than gun type.
- You can't charge and disarm someone during reload is moronic, it virtually never happens.
- The premise is that a mass shooter won't break the law by buying/making an illegal high capacity magazine, use a backup gun (so they don't need to reload), and that while killing the first 11 people (10+1) is OK, that on the 12th round someone can cover a 20-30' gap and subdue the shooter in the <1 second it takes to reload is absurd, it takes more than that to figure out the shooter is reloading and react -- assuming they don't step behind cover to reload (like most do).
- The most popular weapon is pistols, but mass murderers have used lever action, pump shotguns, fixed magazines, 23 used revolvers and one of the worst used a bolt action rifle.
- If you could successfully take away their guns (impractical), all you would do is move them to more effective weapons that have killed more: Trucks, Bombs (Oklahoma City), fire , or box cutters (9/11). Even shotguns or lever action guns where you can add rounds while you're moving/firing.
01 - Removable Magazines -
And while he is very fast, and professional, this is a skill that many people practice, and can do well.
- Travis Tomasie is the World's fastest : video
- Nick Saiti taking .51 seconds per reload: video
- Polenar Tactical video
- Madleaf (Russian, I think): video
These guys are using pistols, but rifles are kind of easier. Also remember that most shooters have a backup gun. If someone charges, they drop the primary, pull the secondary, and ventilate them. Those that think magazine limits can help are ignorant or liars.
02 - Fixed Magazines -
Here's the 1930's era M1 Garand that was standard issue in WWII, or Soviet SKS from the same era. Both these guns are Curio's & Relics, meaning they're antiques (more than 50 years old), or historical guns to collectors -- which means they often have different / easier rules to buy/sell/gift. Even some M16 are about to go into that category.
When NY or California outlaws removable magazines people can do one of 3 things:
- Go to fixed magazines, and use clips or speed loaders which doesn't change the rate of fire or reload times at all. Here's some of those in action:
- Go to defeat mechanisms (magazine locks). The law is written to say that you have to disassemble the gun to remove the magazine (that qualifies as a non-removable magazine). What the gun-illiterates don't realize is that is pushing a button on an AR-15, and the gun opens up, the magazine drops, and you close the gun, and put the magazine back in. It's so fast and easy, that some guns (especially belt and drum fed ones) used to work like this by default. It doesn't change the rate of fire or reload times in any significant way. Here's some of those in action:
- Break the law. You have to remember the parts you have to put on the AR-15 (or other gun) to make them California/NY legal are extras. You can break them off, or replace them with standard part, for like $10 and 5 minutes (max). The idea that a mass shooter is willing to commit multiple felonies and train sometimes for months, but won't order a $10 part and put it on is silly.
- Use something else as or more effective. Features that make a gun an "assault weapon" are things like a pistol grip or collapsable stock -- so you take them off, or by a gun with the same rate of fire and same or bigger caliber (firepower), and you're fine.
These laws don't change firepower, so they do nothing against criminals, but annoy the hell out of other collectors or sport shooters. It's as dumb as outlawing red Porsche's to help with speeding, but not white ones, or other cars that go as fast.
03 - Revolvers -
The idea of "clips" goes back to the 1800's and something called moon clips: that holds a bunch of bullets together, so you can drop them into a revolver at once. It is not much more complex to flip open the cylinder, eject, and drop in a new set of bullets, then it is to drop a magazine and drop in a new magazine. And again, mass shooters usually have more than one gun, so if someone tries to charge them, they just pull and use the other gun.
A thug with a revolver is as dangerous as one with a semi-auto. Most mass shooters don’t even need to reload w/10 rounds (which some revolvers hold). And a mass shooter with 4 revolvers can still kill 47 people and save the last bullet for himself. Which is a higher kill rate than all but one of our top mass shootings have managed (and those shootings lasted over an hour). The higher reliability of revolvers can actually increase gun fatalities. Revolvers are cheaper than semi-autos (due to their simplicity), so at least you lowered the price for the bad guys.
04 - Pump Action - There are "pump action" rifles, but they're most popular in shotguns.
How fast can you shoot, is basically as fast as a semi-automatic, there's virtually no difference in rate of fire. Here's Patrick Flanigan throwing 6 clay pigeons in the air, and hitting them before they hit the ground. That's better than anyone can do with an assault rifle because of the many bullets in each shot of a shotgun.
05 - Lever Action -
The same rules as apply to other guns: you can carry more than one. While rifles (and lever actions) are rarely used by mass shooters, that's just because they don't need the size/range advantages that a longer barrel has. The point is if you took away other kinds of weapons, you could still mow down dozens of people with one of these, no problem. Add in a couple more, or other guns as backup -- and they can do horrendous amounts of damage. Which is why many massacres happened with these kind of weapons in the past. Though, most of those were done by government using them against Native Americans.
06 - Bolt Action -
Pre-WWI the British and the Americans had training with their bolt action rifles, that included a mad minute: seeing how many holes you could put in a target at 300 yards using their bolt action rifles -- you had to do 15 to qualify, but the peak was about 38 shots per 1 minute. But that's 300 yards with a really powerful round (30-06), if you reduced the range and size of round to something about 1/3rd the size (a .223) and you could easily up the rate of fire. The average mass shooting is like 15 minutes, do the math on that. Throw in that someone could have a backup gun (or two), and that you can speed-load these with clips/etc. The average death rate is one person every 3 minutes in a mass shooting event: people don't charge the shooter, they wait. A bolt action can kill as many as an assault rifle with those realities. Again, the problem is the guns action, it's the response times that matter.
07 - Break Action -
08 - Air Rifle -
Mitigation factors like magazine limits, "assault weapons", or even barring all semi-automatics does NOTHING to stop or slow mass shooters. All these guns have easily exchangeable parts, and the parts aren't illegal to buy or own, installing them is. So it takes 5 minutes (and $10 in parts) to convert a legal gun into an illegal one. More than that, if you know what you're talking about, the firepower of a bolt action rifle exceeds that necessary to kill dozens if not hundreds of people: the limiting factor is the shooters ability, random chance, and police response times.
So laws that try to stop this stuff can ONLY harass those that obey the law, and mass shooters have a tendency to break laws. And even if you complied with the law, it does virtually nothing to change the effective rate of fire or lethality for the weapon, it only changes the cosmetics.
Reload Times: The Basics • Removable Magazines • Fixed Magazines • Revolvers • Pump Action • Lever Action • Bolt Action • Break Action • Air Rifle •