The Rifles Of The Next Civil War

Two days ago I wrote a post gaming out the gun control fantasies being called for by the left-leaning mainstream media.

I basically allowed for a scenario where President Obama made executive orders based upon two recent calls by New York-based media outlets, one following through on the Daily News desire to brand all National Rifle Association members as terrorists, and the other on the Times call to make common firearms illegal.


In my scenario, I imagined a very brief, lenient, and indeed hopeful turn of events where Congress, most state governors, law enforcement officers, the military, and even Vice President Biden all honored their oaths to defend the Constitution, not any particular government or President. A rogue President was taken into custody and impeached without a single life lost on either side.

I’ve since been criticized for creating a too-happy and too peaceful scenario that is simply not realistic.

Sadly, I know the critics are very likely right.

Most people tend to do what is easiest, not what is right. Many politicians, law enforcement officers, members of the military and civilians would do precisely as they were ordered there was an attempt to ban entire classes of firearms and order them confiscated, leading to either a revolutionary or (more than likely) a civil war.

As Kevin Williamson notes at National Review, we’re presently practicing “Irish democracy” in many states with strict gun control. Citizens simply ignore absurd laws. Things would change if government actually attempted to enforce those laws, and it would not be pretty.

The prospect of the local-yokel police in Sunnyvale, Calif., going door to door, Fallujah-style, trying to collect nonconforming firearms is humorous to contemplate; contemplating the same sort of development in Texas or Wyoming is rather less amusing, because at that point the model of resistance would stop being Irish democracy and almost certainly would mutate into something a lot more like Lexington and Concord. No decent, patriotic person wants to see that.


If that nightmare comes to pass, we’re going to see a lot of the following guns in the news, if the news isn’t censored into meaninglessness.

The M4 is a selective-fire military carbine chambered in 5.56 NATO, used by the United States military and some local and federal law enforcement officers.
The M4 is a selective-fire military carbine chambered in 5.56 NATO, used by the United States military and some local and federal law enforcement officers.

In the event of a significant failure of civility, we’re assured of seeing Colt and FN M4 carbines, along with aging M16 rifles, being used by “loyalist” forces in the military and police. There are something less than three million of these that can be pressed into service by government forces, enough to ensure that it would be the primary issue rifle of the loyalists. It has the advantage of being selective-fire, and it can be used as a machine gun. Many others will be stolen from armories by soldiers and law enforcement officers defecting to the Constitutionalist rebels.

AR-15s are the most common centerfire rifles sold in the United States year in and year out. They are the “modern musket,” for a modern militia.

The most common rifle among “rebel” forces—which would also include many law enforcement officers and soldiers who took their oaths to defend the constitution seriously—would be the ubiquitous semi-automatic AR-15. There are at least 8 million AR-15s in the hands of Americans right now, and that number increases by several thousand rifles nationwide every single day. While the military M4s are often heavily worn and built to a bare standard by the lowest bidder, many civilian AR-15s are much more accurate and robust rifles, and can be had in a vast array of calibers, some of which double the effective range of the military 5.56 round.

People tend to forget that bolt-action rifles have a military pedigree. Common “deer rifles” pack for more punch and have longer range the rifles commonly issued in modern militaries, and and are typically equipped with telescopic sights.

AR-15s and M4s would likely be the primary weapons used in such a regrettable civil war, but they would not likely have as much of a political impact as the bolt-action rifles pressed into duty as long-range assassination weapons. Rifles in common deer hunting calibers have effective an effective range of 1,000+ yards, and would assuredly be used by guerrilla forces to terminate political leaders and loyalist forces from considerable distances.

The semi-automatic AKM is very popular among Americans as an alternative to the AR-15, and while quality on some imported rifles can be spotty, well-made AKMs can be accurate to 700+ meters in the right hands.

The AKM is the next-most-common single style of centerfire semi-automatic rifle in the United States behind the AR-15, with millions in circulation. Very common variants can be found with folding stocks and as pistols, and would almost certainly be exploited for hit and run guerrilla attacks.



I’m probably going to end up back on the terror watch list for pointing this out again, but incredibly common .22LR rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 (top) and the Marlin Model 60 (bottom) are incredibly useful in all sorts of guerrilla operations from close-range assassination to damaging vehicles and critical civilian infrastructure.


Leftists love to talk about how a totalitarian President would have tanks and jets and drones at their disposal against the militia, but they simply betray the fact that they know next to nothing about modern warfare. You can’t use such weapons when the enemy is hidden among civilians, which would certainly and intentionally be the case.

Modern insurgencies fought by reasonably intelligent people won’t see large groups of rebels forming up to be easily exploited targets for heavy weapon systems. You’ll see small cells appear out of the crowd, hit a specific target with overwhelming ferocity, and then disband and melt away before an effective counterattack is possible.

Such a conflict will be ugly, costly and brutal, which is why any sane person would want to avoid pitting the government against a citizenry that both greatly outnumbers and outarms them in terms of usable weapons.

War is incredibly ugly, civil wars even more so. Let’s avoid infringing upon the rights of American citizens, so we don’t have to expose our children to that firsthand.

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