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Dowwie · 2019-02-06 · Original thread
"The Gun" by C.J. Chivers (

I read it not so much as a historical text but as a story about dramatic shifts in power attributed to technological advancement and strategy.

giardini · 2016-06-16 · Original thread
I would never have an AR-15; an AK-47 would be a far better choice of semi-automatic rifle. However the AR-15 has become the best-selling rifle in the USA and there are so many AR-15 fanboys that they will almost certainly flood this forum with posts objecting to what I am about to say.

- The original cartridge (.223 caliber) that the AR-15 was based on was designed for shooting "varmints" (small- to medium-sized furry mammals): In Vietnam it was found that the M-16 tended to wound rather than kill the enemy, and a new doctrine was adopted to suit this fact. In contrast the AK-47 cartridge (7.62x39) was designed to _kill_ large hairless mammals (men) and does so with dispatch.

- In Vietnam the M-16s (AR-15) jammed all the time. To unjam one you had to put a stick down the barrel and dislodge the jammed round, not an easy task when you're lying on your back and VC are shooting at you with ultra-reliable AK-47s. The M-16 is one of the reasons we lost that war. C. J. Chivers writes about the sordid history of the M-16's development and deployment in his book "The Gun" (link below)

I have often joked that the US government _wants_ their citizens to buy AR-15s because an AR-15-equipped citizenry is effectively disarmed.

I was astonished to hear that the Orlando shooter had an "AR-15" since those are usually "Jam-O-Matics". My astonishment vanished when it was revealed that the shooter used a Sig Sauer MCX, which has a better design and does not jam.

You can read an excerpt from "The Gun" at Esquire's site:

And here's Mikhail Kalashnikov's 2006 take on the M-16 vs AK in Vietnam and other wars:

rdl · 2013-02-25 · Original thread
This is a great book about the AK-47, the big "alternative" to the M16:

The Author, C.J. Chivers, writes an interesting blog for the NY Times where they attempt to ID munitions from the battlefield in Africa, Syria, etc.

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