I Don’t Need an AR or a Corvette

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms

Guts, Harleys, initiative, fast cars, the CycoCycle, fireworks and possibly the Les Paul guitar are on a short list of the things many in our government and certain bluebloods do not wish us to have. It is a wonder we are able to produce fighter pilots, military intelligence officers and skyscrapers!

Rifles with a military look are among the things they do not want us to have. The anti-gunners have been trying to cultivate a bad impression of the gun owner since at least 1930, and that is the same mentality in a different dress that we fought against during the American Revolution and other wars.

Some wish we had not won those wars, I am afraid. Evidently, not all the Tories escaped to the Bahamas. In our own country, freedom reigns so, conversely, we tolerate elements within it who do not want to allow us our freedom as we now enjoy it. Those elements are sometimes called socialists, although that is possibly too mild a tag.

To avoid the horrible situations that have occurred—such as British rule in Ireland—and still occur worldwide, we need to be aware and awake and always vote and promote our beliefs.

That brings me to the AR-15 rifle, and gun owners who sometimes shoot themselves in the feet, figuratively speaking, of course.

Picture shows a man holding an AR-15 rifle, leaning against a Corvette.

The authors shows some of the stuff they do not want him to have.

A generation ago, more than a few gun writers took the old line that the AR-15 was flimsy and unreliable. A certain group within the Army had almost managed to ruin the AR-15, despite the protests of the brilliant Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay, a gun person and man of vision.

Not many men flew over and bombed both Berlin and Tokyo. The wrong gunpowder and wrong rifling twist did not make the AR a target gun; it made it a maintenance nightmare.

Back to the gun writers—they told us to get shotguns. They also said a good bolt-action rifle is superior to the AR-15 in a survival situation.

Well, shame on them.

A few have been retired because of those comments. The finest tradition in America is for those not in uniform to own and use military rifles for hunting. Sure, General Custer preferred sporting rifles to the Springfield Trapdoor—who could argue?

Once we had the Krag, then the Springfield; the military gave us the greatest hunting and all-round shooting rifles in the world. However, there was a distinction at the time. Citizens sometimes preferred the lever-action rifle. The Arizona Rangers liked the hard-hitting .30-40, then adopted the lever-action rifle out of familiarity.

If you were in an infantry squad back in the day, what was important was that massed fire could drop an Indian war pony at 200 yards. Your buddy had your back. A scout traveling alone, attacked by superior numbers of aboriginals or bandits at close range, preferred the fast-handling Winchester rifle.

Picture shows two AR-15 rifles leaning barrel up against a white Corvette.

You cannot own a single AR-15 once you get the bug.

The civilian needed more firepower than the Army did, not less. Civil disturbance and the lone man led to such choices.

You cannot own a single AR-15 once you get the bug.

Soldiers have backup. You and I are on our own. Later, as self-loaders became popular, plenty of cops and civilians adopted the Remington Model 8 and Winchester .351 SLR. Those were not powerhouses and not particularly accurate, but they were reliable rifles that saved a lot of skins.

And while Hollywood loved the Thompson submachine gun, there were probably a hundred Winchester .351s in cop hands compared to the Thompson. The .351 hit harder, too, but that is another story. A new Ford was about $600, a Winchester .351 perhaps $30 and the Thompson about $300. You and I may not have owned a Thompson. The Winchester gave the owner plenty of pride of ownership. So do the AR-15 and PTR 91, if you know how to look at them with an appreciation of design principles.

There are those who prefer blue steel and walnut and will have nothing else. That is fine; my Colt Series 70 has that appeal, and so does the AR. Sometimes folks groan and say, “There are millions of AR-15s.” Sure there are—because you cannot own just one.

We absorbed millions of M1 Garand rifles and even more M1 carbines. We have room for the AR-15, and the fact is it outshoots many traditional choices. I once compared the AR-15 to a pair of .223 bolt guns. A heavy barrel .223 would place three Winchester 69-grain JSP bullets into a 0.5 inch at 100 yards. The shorter bolt gun would do 2.0 MOA on a good day, although  it was a youth model. The Daniel Defense rifle will put the same load into 1 inch on demand.

I did not need that heavy-barrel bolt gun, although it was twice as accurate by some measures. It was a process of elimination, a walk up the logic ladder. The AR performs more chores, including personal defense, which is pretty important to me. The AR-15 solves problems with a minimum of shots, and nothing handles like it. The shotgun is a great weapon as far as it goes, but it kicks a lot. It is not as versatile as the rifle and puts a lot of buckshot out in a crowded house. The AR-15, for the sake of argument, is a better choice for public safety than a shotgun.

Picture shows four firearms next to each other.

Folks like shooting military-grade hardware. That should never change.

Yes, I like the AR-15, whether I need it or not. In my climate, I really do not need my 4×4 truck for snow travel, and I like to get muddy sometimes. I really do not need the Corvette, but the technology is fascinating. Going up the Saluda grade in fifth gear at 63 mph with the tachometer reading 1,200 RPM and the digital readout indicating we are getting 23.9 MPG is exciting.

By the same token, getting three .223 bullets into a 0.5 inch circle is exciting. Those things add to my life, although none of it is cheap. The Corvette demands Mobil 1 oil and the highest-octane gasoline. With almost 200,000 miles on the odometer, that treatment has paid off for longevity.

By the same token, the Daniel Defense rifle has perhaps 10,000 rounds on it with no sign of slowing down and no degradation in accuracy or function. It is a handy rifle, a lot of fun at the range, and I am never far from the pretty girl.

I used to gauge expenses or investments by an ounce of gold. Now, it is a tank of gas. Do not laugh. A trip to the beach or a day at the range may cost about as much as the other. There are a dozen feature articles about how to survive and find ammunition during times of shortage. Others are about how to use the box method and avoid expending ammunition when properly sighting in a rifle. It works, and you save ammunition.

How far would I get asking you to slow down on firing the AR-15? Not far!

Picture shows a man riding a yellow CycoCyle—it is like an adult tricycle.

The CycoCycle may not be allowed on the playground. I like them.

When you buy an AR-15 rifle, it is good for many parts of the industry. You need more than one magazine (10 is a realistic minimum). I have quite a few for the AR and PTR 91.

When it comes to the self-loading rifle, I like the convenience, although pride of ownership is another factor. In addition, it is not just the AR they do not want us to have, so the Governor and I have the same rifle.

With all due respect to Winchester, there is nothing better made than the PTR 91 in the sporting line. In some areas, the technology is amazing. There is a roller cam set up in the rifle. Another reason they are popular is that Americans are good riflemen. We pay attention to precision rifles. We like to help interested youngsters. A significant number of the kids at church have had their first experience with one of my AR-15 rifles.

Now the AR does not do everything, and the Corvette does not push a snowplow. But the AR-15 does many things, and introducing youngsters to centerfire shooting is one thing it does like no other rifle.

Firing at targets of different sizes at unknown and known distances is the true test of a rifle and, as a marksman, I have taught them. Many of those youngsters, later in life, traveled to some exciting places with names such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Korea—another good reason for owning the AR-15.

They respected—not feared—the rifle when they first went to the training range and progressed quickly. One was the best shot in his class at Paris Island. That was worth the expense of the rifle and a few rounds of Winchester USA ball ammo.

Never underestimate the AR-15. Those rifles will outshoot many of the best bolt-action rifles. In a world filled with expensive cars, trucks, games and other gear that depreciates quickly, the AR-15 will not become worthless overnight. I think a $1,000 rifle and an Army locker filled with magazines and ammunition is an excellent investment in the economy, maybe more than the Corvette or that reel-to-reel sound system; you get the point.

Having had the privilege to train quite a few riflemen, my goals are self-discipline and mastering the rifle. That is a good reason for owning something I do not need.

Before you cave to the anti-gunners, remember, every loss diminishes us. If they outlaw the AR-15, then the gun and ammunition industry, and many good makers of fun accessories, will take a very hard hit. What guns do you own that you do not need? Tell us in the comment section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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Comments (8)

  • cd

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    Love the AR and like you said you can’t own just one. I have one set up as a sniper rifle with nice bi-pod and scope and stainless barrel. My other one is set up for close quarter combat or defensive situations.
    Also I need and love all my guns, 3 shotguns, 5 rifles and 9 handguns various calibers for different uses. You can’t do the job correctly without good tools.

    Reply

  • Navair

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    I own an AR and AKs, as well as wwii military guns; m1 carbine, 98k, enfield, mosin, etc. started buying modern bolt actions a few years ago. I Love them all, I need them all because I love them all. I need what I love. Period.

    I’m soon to sell my Ruger GSR scout in .308. Baby needs new shoes. Breaks my heart to sell it, but, it’s going to a friend who’s new to shooting. I taught him everything about rifles & shooting.

    I’ll lose a rifle, but America gains a rifleman. I’m spreading the love.

    Reply

  • Martin Pierce

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    Whatever gets your blood moving faster is ok with me. I don.t have Corvettes anymore, But, I do have guns.

    Reply

  • tank

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    When I went into the army, back in 1976 I didn’t like the M-16 very much. I shoot well with then, rated expert, but just didn’t like the feel. So my sgt. issued me an M-60. I was a big guy, and though it was a bit heavy I did enjoy it. In the field I carried both from time to time. When in the bush, I carried either an M-16 or an AK-47, yes an AK. Both did well and I never had any probs. with either. Today I have a couple of SKS. just can’t afford the bucks for an AR or AK. If that changes I will likely add one to the safe. My biggest reason for for the AK, SKS, is that I like the 7.62×39 round better than the.223. That’s it.

    Reply

  • EdH

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    When it comes down to it, it isn’t about need with me. I can defend myself with a stick if need be. I can defend with a shotgun, a pistol, a crossbow or a knife. For me it is about capacity and efficiency. It is about something I’m comfortable with. I haven’t hunted since I was in my 20s. I’m 48 now. Fudd guns are nice but not for what I use guns for.
    I picked up my first M-16 at Ft Benning. I’ve been shooting and building them ever since. I carry my own builds on my full time job as an LEO and have built rifles for others on my job. The AR is the reason I’ve got an FFL and sell firearms on the side.
    We as a subculture don’t need them but we have made the choice that the AR will be OUR rifle. Isn’t being a citizen of this nation about having choices, about freedom?
    It isn’t about need. It is about being prepared. It is about not being out-gunned. It is about having and not needing. It’s about freedom. Many people in this nation are willing to give up their freedom for the illusion of safety. Gun free zones are illusions. A piece of paper doesn’t stop a criminal. Protection orders are an illusion. Nothing but a piece of compressed pulp to make a victim feel safe. Another illusion.
    I’m not advocating everyone run out and buy an AR. I’ve actually talked people out of doing just that until they can get some training. I do advocate people protecting themselves within their comfort zone. The AR platform (and then some) is in my comfort zone.

    Reply

  • Hank Alvarez

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    Every firearm in my safe has a purpose. The Steven’s short barrel 12 ga pump is loaded with 00 buck and it’s strictly for house protection. That’s what I reach for. The stainless Taurus 357 magnum revolver with the six inch barrel is my wife’s favorite. It’s her go to gun in an emergency. Neither one is what I would call fun to shoot but they do give you a sense of social security in these unsettling times.

    The twenty ga semi-autos are our trap guns. I think it’s healthier past time and costs a lot less than spending an equal amount of time at a local bar.

    My scoped 30-06 bolt action Ruger American Rifle is especially dear to my heart, or should I say, ‘deer to my heart.’ It was my Christmas present from my wife of 30 years and it cost her a lot less than the jewelry I buy her. It’s lot more fun. I’d sooner part with my right arm.

    The 22’s, in rifles and pistols, are just plain fun. They’re easy to shoot and they were very economical until the ammo dried up with this BS shortage. Now we’re being scalped.

    The 45’s are a different matter altogether. I hated the damn things when I was a young Marine but our local NRA instructor, Bill Pagette, taught us how to love it. In the military you adapt to the weapon you’re issued and now thanks to our gunsmith, Jeff, at the Norco Armory, with a buffer in the slide of my Rock Island 1911 and the Hogue wrap around rubber grips I can shoot that monster all day long and really enjoy it. So much to the point that I got into reloading. The wife’s stainless steel long slide and got the same treatment and now she’s lethal with it. She removes the centers of the bull’s eyes then holds the target over my chest and smiles.

    We both enjoy shooting and who the hell says we can’t? They’ve made it difficult enough here in California that we’re seriously planning to relocate to a gun friendlier state, one that recognizes the constitution as it was written, not like some of these SOB’s would like it to be. Unless we want them to take our firearms out of our cold dead hands we’d better wake up and clean house in Washington and numerous state capitals before it’s too late. That’s my two cents.

    Reply

  • Brian Martin

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    I need every gun I have . The only time I feel absolute anger is when I am short for cash and I have to let one go . It actually kills me inside . Thank god I have only ever had to part with just two .

    Reply

    • RPK

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      The difference between us and the rat faced Commies is personal choice. The CHOICE to own a handgun. The CHOICE to own a semi-automatic rifle. The CHOICE to own a shotgun. And, the FREEDOM to own as many of each as we desire. We need oxygen. We need water. We need sunlight. We do not NEED a firearm, BUT if we want one, we should have that CHOICE and the FREEDOM to do so or we are no better than those Commies we spent 50+ years to defeat during The Cold War.

      Reply

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