Saturday, December 18, 2004

Egregious Firearms Terminology Mistake!

A note from my friend Walt Rauch — an honest-to-goodness firearms expert! — pointed out that calling the Swiss Arms 552 a "submachinegun" was incorrect. A submachinegun, Walt notes, is a fully automatic weapon utilizing a pistol caliber cartridge. An Uzi or MP-5 in 9mm, for instance, is a submachinegun. The 552 is, instead, that most elusive of beastie, the creature that haunts Sarah Brady's dark and steamy nightmares — an assault rifle! That is, a military weapon in a rifle caliber (in this case, 5.56mm) built for fully automatic or burst fire.

I stand corrected!

I still want one. A couple of points I didn't mention yesterday. I really like the gun's magazine design — semi-transparent plastic (or some sort of polymer) magazines that can be locked together, so the shooter can tell how many rounds are left in the mags, and they don't require a secondary device (straps, clips, duct tape, etc.) to hold mags together for rapid reloads. SOP at the SIGARMS Academy is three 30-rounders clipped together, which is, to me, less unwieldy than one of the 100-round drums for ARs. Of course, if I was being shot at, the 100-round drums wouldn't seem nearly as awkward!

The AK-derived design is exactly like all the AK-derived designed, as reliable as dirt and butt-ugly. I'm always surprised at how effective military muzzle brakes are at keeping the gun from riding up in full auto fire. I think that's because during the 10 years of Bubba's Ban, we saw all sorts of imitation muzzle brakes/flash hiders that were effectively just cosmetic doo-dads, sort of like having a Holley 4-barrel carburetor simulated n unbreakable plastic.

Given my druthers, I think I'd take a Czech SA Vz.58 assault rifle over the full-sized Swiss Arms rifle. The little Czech, which looks like an AK but isn't, has a certain graceful aspect to it, and the ones that I've shot were uniformily excellent in both semi and full auto modes.