Rate of fire–another red herring offered by the anti’s

I’m going to do something I generally loathe to do – I’m going to use a video of me shooting USPSA to illustrate some fallacies in the gun-control arguments, but it means having to pretend for a moment that this is real life and not a bunch of cardboard.

First, let me preface the video. This is stage three of December’s match which was my first stage to shoot. The first shot you see is literally the first live round I’ve fired in over 6 months due to injury. So, I’ve not shot in half a year, I took my time (21.23 seconds. Fastest time was 12.08), and generally went a lot slower than I am capable of. I also was playing around with Photoshop CS6’s video editing capabilities, so that’s why there’s a counter and score. Feel free to comment on that as well, but that’s not the thrust of this post.

Talking to many people who aren’t anti gun but not knowledgeable about firearms in general, there’s a lot of “Why would you need a semi-automatic capable of that rate of fire?” Generally, this stems from a confusion over automatic and semi-automatic firearms, but unfortunately even after explaining the difference, some people get scared about how fast someone can shoot with a semi. This is also a big talking point amongst those who want to ban guns, mostly because they understand there is no true issue, but instead use people’s confusion to their advantage - their greatest weapon being ignorance.

One of the things the anti’s intentionally conflate is rate of fire with rate of fatality. Why would you want something that can hose down a room with bullets??? is the gist of their plea, but what they fail to mention is that each shot doesn’t equate to a death. Now, this is where I dislike to move to conversation, but I have to for the purposes of the argument. To kill someone with a single shot, you have to hit a fairly small zone – basically the spine and a notecard sized area right between the eyes. This shuts down the CNS pretty quickly. Other shots are not instantly fatal, but hitting organs can cause enough blood loss to be fairly quick. Since we’re talking handguns here, we’re not going to have massive wound channels like a rifle would.

Watching my video, notice I primarily score A hits. The one C I had literally was just beyond the A zone, almost touching the dotted line. I’m only a C class shooter, but I’d posit that I’m better than at least 85% of the population when it comes to handguns. I pull off 20 shots in under 30 seconds, the vast majority of them would be practically fatal. Watch when the counter turns red – that’s a magazine change. The first one I bobbled a bit since I was running, the second was as fast as it could be. Even though I had 15 rounds per mag, 10 would have not mattered as I could have just swapped out when empty.

The main point of this exercise is to show that it doesn’t matter how fast the gun can fire – to make anything of it, you have to aim.  Sure, I could have emptied the magazine as fast as I could have pulled the trigger, but I would have done nothing more than add a few extra holes in a target while the rest of the bullets would have whizzed by harmlessly. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to be able to accurately place a bunch of rounds into a small area while pulling the trigger as fast as the gun will cycle, and even then that’s a single target.

Target acquisition is the driving factor here. It doesn’t matter how fast the firearm will chamber another round, what slowed me down is moving the sight between targets and putting the dot where it’s supposed to go. A less skilled shooter (and I’m not claiming great ability here either) isn’t going to be able to get on target faster thus pulling the trigger isn’t going to matter. A fast miss is still a miss and the faster you pull the trigger, the more likely you are to not be able to control where that front post is pointing.

The argument on rate of fire is a red herring. Even someone with my skill level which competitively is not that great, but is well above the general populace’s ability (and hence, probably above any psycho going on a shooting rampage) would not benefit from a gun firing any “faster”. In fact, firing faster is a detriment if you cannot aim.

Another major point I want to highlight is this – notice how I’m taking my time, landing a pretty good score in the process. Being under a buzzer is stressful, but I’m still able to calmly hit my targets.


Because those targets aren’t shooting back, nor are the moving. There is no threat from that cardboard. If they could rig up simunitions to fire back at me, I guarantee you my time would be in the half-hours rather than half-minutes. If I had to fear the target hitting me with a bat, or a chair, or stabbing me with scissors, my aim wouldn’t be as steady.

posted by by Robb Allen @
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