“Bullet Hoses”? Really?

Recycling is good for you; however, when you recycle a “study” that is four years old and full of errors, that’s a bad thing.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the VPC has done by putting their “Bullet Hoses” press release on the front page of their website.  Now, I missed the bus on this one four years ago, because I was still in college and not blogging.  While I’m 100% sure that this thing has been fisked almost to death elsewhere, I really do want to take a crack at it – because as long as they keep repeating their lies, we have to keep repeating the truth.

From their “10 Key Talking Points about Assault Weapons”, we have the following gems:

1. Semiautomatic assault weapons (like AK and AR-15 assault rifles and UZI and MAC assault pistols) are civilian versions of military assault weapons. There are virtually no significant differences between them.

Unless you count the fact that real military assault rifles can fire on fully automatic, or burst settings, and semi-automatic weapons must have the trigger pulled for each individual shot.  You know, just like a hunting shotgun.

3. Civilian assault weapons are not machine guns. They are semiautomatic weapons. (Since 1986 federal law has banned the sale to civilians of new machine guns.) The trigger of a semiautomatic weapon must be pulled separately for each round fired. It is a mistake to call civilian assault weapons “automatic weapons” or “machine guns.”

4. However, this is a distinction without a difference in terms of killing power. Civilian semiautomatic assault weapons incorporate all of the functional design features that make assault weapons so deadly. They are arguably more deadly than military versions, because most experts agree that semiautomatic fire is more accurate—and thus more lethal—than automatic fire.

My favorite part of this is the last sentence, where they establish that semi-automatic fire is “more deadly” than automatic fire.  What they don’t tell you is that the only reasons experts say it’s “more deadly” is because semi-automatic fire is usually “aimed fire”, where the operator has to actually use the sights to aim his weapon.  Of course, if they told you that, it would contradict the whole “bullet hose theory” right there.

The “Bullet Hose Theory” is predicated on the belief that semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15 can be fired rapidly, and thus put out  a lot of bullets, making the rifle “more dangerous” than a bolt action rifle, for instance. Of course, if you believe that a semi-auto is more dangerous than an automatic weapon because of it’s ability to utilize aimed fire, then your bullet hose theory is DRT.

5. The distinctive “look” of assault weapons is not cosmetic. It is the visual result of specific functional design decisions. Military assault weapons were designed and developed for a specific military purpose—laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone, also known as “hosing down” an area.

Seriously, make up your mind.  It’s either a bullet hose or it’s an accurate semi-auto rifle.  You can’t have it both ways.

8. “Spray-firing” from the hip, a widely recognized technique for the use of assault weapons in certain combat situations, has no place in civil society. Although assault weapon advocates claim that “spray-firing” and shooting from the hip with such weapons is never done, numerous sources (including photographs and diagrams) show how the functional design features of assault weapons are used specifically for this purpose.

Those pictures are almost invariably of people with actual automatic weapons, not “semi-automatic assault rifles”.

One of the key principles behind the push for “banning assault weapons” is misdirection.  This is why you’ll see pictures and videos of people firing automatic weapons, and then someone will talk about semi-auto rifles.  They want you to confuse the two.

I’m going to skip the sections in the middle, where the VPC talks about the technological history of assault weapons, although they do incorrectly reference the AK as being a technological descendant of the StG-44.  The other silly error is when the call semi-auto Uzis, Tech-9, and MAC pistols “assault pistols”.  Again, it’s about misdirection.  A semi-auto MAC-10 is no more or less dangerous than any other .45 ACP handgun, it just looks scary.

I want to look at the section called “The Gun Industry’s Lies“, because it sheds a telling light on the entire piece.

The first they do is go back to their “semi-auto fire is more deadly than automatic fire”, but once again they don’t tell you why.

because, in fact, military and civilian experts agree that semiautomatic fire is actually more—not less—likely to hit the target than is automatic fire, and is thus more deadly.

Like I said above, this is because it’s aimed fire.  If you’re “Spraying your bullet hose from the hip” as they imply everyone does with these rifles, then semi-auto fire is no more likely to hit the target than if you were firing an automatic rifle from the hip.  Again, it’s all about misdirection.

Do assault weapons really encourage “spray firing”? Gun industry apologists also disparage the use of such terms as “spray firing” and “shooting from the hip” to describe the deadly capabilities of assault weapons. But, as was explained earlier, “spray and pray” was exactly the point of developing assault weapons. And the following illustrations show graphically how specific assault weapons features allow a “point-and-shoot” grip and help control recoil so the shooter can “hose down” a wide area with a lethal “spray” of bullets.

They have some pictures after that, and what’s funny is that all the pictures are of people using automatic weapons.

To close out, let me summarize their logic: Semi-auto rifles are more deadly than automatic rifles, because you’re more likely to hit your target; but semi-auto rifles are designed to be “spray fired from the hip”.  They actually want you to believe that “shooting from the hip” is somehow more dangerous and accurate with a semi-auto than with an automatic weapon.  I probably don’t need to tell you how unbelievably stupid that really is.


  1. They seem to refuse to acknowledge that shooting techniques could change within 50 years. Plus, people who write manuals sometimes don’t always factor in reality.

    Their view of “sniper rifles” is even more hilarious. They seem to suggest banning .243 Winchester and anything above (.30-06, .308 Winchester, etc.) because they aren’t “deer rifles” like the .30-30.

  2. Some states ban the use of .30-30’s for deer hunting because the are underpowered and wound deer who then escape to die later.

    Despite the fact that the .30-30 has probably taken more deer than any other caliber in the country.

  3. If you’re “Spraying your bullet hose from the hip” as they imply everyone does with these rifles, then semi-auto fire is no more likely to hit the target than if you were firing an automatic rifle from the hip.

    Case in point: Patrick Purdy,the guy who shot up that schoolyard in Stockton, CA, using (depending on whom you talk to) either a semi-auto AK variant or a Type 56 SKS clone with an aftermarket magazine. He expended 106 rounds, which seems a frightening volume of fire, until you find out the casualty toll was 5 dead, 30 wounded. It’s been observed that he probably would have inflicted a higher ratio of casualties to rounds fired if he’d been using a pump-action shotgun. (Predicted VPC response: “That’s why we have to ban shotguns as well.”)

  4. There you guys go again muddying the water with those pesky facts again. . . . Cut it out will ya? You all know they don’t care about facts.

    = )

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