If you got your firearms education from op-ed columnists, network anchors, or cable television talking heads, then all I can say is, “bless your heart.”
The simple fact of the matter is that most journalists are generalists, which is to say that they have no training or education beyond how to talk a certain way (if they are on television or radio) or how to write within Associated Press style guidelines (if in print or pixels). Their knowledge is generally limited to a bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism, which lends them roughly the same real-world, technical expertise of a theater arts degree.
Combine their ignorance with a prevailing bias that leads them to take their cues from anti-gun groups, propaganda outlets and slow-witted politicians that share their political views, and you will be fed a festering stew of stupidity that constantly regurgitates false talking points like these.
NewsChannel5.com is just the most recent purveyor of this stupidity claiming that a M4 carbine lost or stolen from a Teneessee National Guard armory is “high-powered” because of the ammunition it shoots.
It is a claim repeated often by the media, leading to this sort of “understanding” from a dumbed-down public.
@bob_owens Had to explain to someone recently that pretty 300 Win Mag was more deadly than an AR. Constant eye roll.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) December 5, 2013
The M4 shoots a 5.56mmx45mm cartridge, roughly analogous to the .223 Remington. The 5.56/.223 family is on the lower end of the centerfire rifle power scale, and are classified as intermediate-power cartridges. Your average 62-grain 5.56/.233 bullet generates roughly 1,300 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. This is more powerful than most common handguns, but is still weak enough that many state fish and game departments restrict its use for hunting deer-sized and larger game because it is too weak to ensure a clean kill in anything much larger than a groundhog or coyote. It has roughly half the power of the most common deer-hunting cartridges such as the .30-06 and the .270 Winchester.
By way of comparison, the .300 Winchester Magnum that got the “eyeroll” from Mr. Wilson’s media-educated friend in the tweet above fires a 180-grain bullet (that’s 3 times the weight) which has about 4,000 ft/lbs of muzzle energy ( more than 3 times the energy), and is commonly used in big game hunting and long distance precision shooting.
Does putting an actor in a military uniform make then a Green Beret or a Navy SEAL? Of course it doesn’t. It’s merely a cosmetic enhancement.
The exact same facts are true in regards to a number of firearms that have cosmetic enhancements that make them “cool” to look at, but which doesn’t in any way affect their rate of fire (how fast they can be shot), their accuracy, or their power. This is the case with almost all firearms currently covered in various state “assault weapons” bans. They are not military-issue firearms, but become “assault weapons” because they are either specifically and arbitrarily named as such by politicians. They have a number of cosmetic features that make them look scary to the ignorant and uninformed.
Barrel shrouds, pistol grips, flash hiders and synthetic stocks do no make a firearm more dangerous, give it more range or power, or make it faster to shoot or reload.