AR-15 Inventor Says HBO Grossly Distorted His Views On Guns

AR-15 Inventor Says HBO Grossly Distorted His Views On Guns

A recent anti-gun segment on ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’ didn’t lie about what I said, it just omitted key parts, which changed the meaning.

The anti-gun HBO sports interview misrepresented much of what I had said. They were apparently trying to make the AR-15 civilian model seem too dangerous for civilian sales. They didn’t lie about what I said, they just omitted key parts, which changed the meaning.

The examples I most object to are: 1) When I appear to say that the civilian-model AR-15 is just as effective or deadly as the military M16, they omitted that I had said “When firing semi-auto only” and that “the select fire M16 on full auto is of course more effective”; and 2) the interviewer pretended not to understand the relevance that, due to the Hague Convention, military bullets cannot be expanding hollow points like hunting bullets that give up all of their energy in the target body instead of passing through with minimum wound effect, with most of the energy still in the bullet and wasted.

Instead we (Armalite) went the small-caliber, high-velocity route and gave the bullet the right twist of 1:14 to be stable in air but unstable in tissue, where it tumbled and gave up all of its energy in a few inches and complied with Hague. This gave us a small cartridge that was half the size, weight, and recoil of a 7.62 NATO so the soldier could carry twice the ammo, fire controllable full auto, and be far more deadly out to 300 yards, the three characteristics that determine military rifle cartridge effect.

But 5.56 can’t complete with hunting cartridge bullets, which can legally be expanding hollow point that are more lethal than tumbling. Their lethality is based entirely on how powerful they are. 5.56 is only half as powerful as the 7.62 NATO (.308) hunting bullet. That doesn’t mean I’m not pleased to see AR-15s sell on the civilian market. It just means I didn’t realize they would 57 years ago. And I’m not on the wrong side of any gun issue unless someone wants to argue that an infantry rifle cartridge should kill a cavalry horse at 1,000 yards (30-06 criteria).

Jim Sullivan is an American firearms inventor who helped design the AR-15. He also contributed to the Ruger M77 rifle, and the M16, Stoner 63, and Ruger Mini-14 rifles, and is largely responsible for the Ultimax 100 light machine gun.
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