What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is why everyone in the media, who will often have to write about guns, ought to go to the range every once in a while:

One was a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and the other was a .22-caliber tactical rifle, capable of holding 28 rounds of ammunition.

Lesson one, for journalists: there is no such thing as a  “.22-caliber tactical rifle.” There is such a thing as a .22 caliber rifle that looks wicked tactical, for folks who enjoy that kind of thing. You will find no police force, SWAT team or military force armed with what is essentially a toy that fires rimfire rounds. Is it dangerous? Sure, it’s a gun that fires real bullets. But it’s still a .22-cliber rifle, just like the kind 13 year old boys used to shoot cans with.

17 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

  1. For what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s the journalist coming up with these descriptions; I think they’re taking the descriptions from police reports/interviews.

    1. Of course. They need some way to differentiate the guns used by “legitimate” state actors vs. the citizens. If we have it, it’s and assault rifle. If they have it, it’s a tactical rifle.

  2. Someone had one of these out on the line at the last Appleseed I worked. Another student looked over and said “What’s that?” The first student explained and the second said “It looks very patriotic.”

    I like that. Let’s start calling them patriotic rifles rather than tactical!

  3. From what I saw on TV yesterday, this rifle that the cops recovered from that student dorm down there in Florida was one of those H&K MP5 clones chambered in .22LR – which makes it a “tacticool” rifle, not a tactical rifle.


  4. I’ve read that swat teams will sometimes use a suppressed .22 for shooting dogs (imagine that) and lights before a raid.

  5. And the highlighted the very scary fact that when a cartridge is very tiny, you can hold more of them in a given volume of space.

  6. As far as I know, .22 is the only round that can actually be made completely silent with a suppressor. With a subsonic load, the only thing you should be able to hear is the action cycling. I’ve never seen anybody using one in a tactical setting, but I wouldn’t be even a little surprised if someone manufactured them for that purpose.

    1. I’ve used the subsonic ammo, pretty much sounds like a pump up air rifle even without a suppressor. Shoots about like an air rifle too. Hardly able to kill a squirrel with one at more than 20 yds. Can’t see them being useful to a SWAT team for more than knocking out lightbulbs.
      If they use 22LR at all for shooting dogs they had better use standard velocity or better. All the subsonic would do to a dog would be to really piss it off…

      1. I’ve used BB caps with no can, and it sounds like “pop … thwack”, much quieter than an air rifle.

        Also useless for “tactical” uses, though – I’m not sure it would do more than maybe break a little skin, or “put your eye out”.

    2. There are other subsonic rounds out there. The .45ACP is generally subsonic in standard loads. The speed of sound is generally about 1100 feet per second. Most .45ACP loads, and even standard velocity .22LR loads are below that.

  7. This didn’t deserve to be brought up.By far not the most egregiously incorrect use of firearms terminology. “Lesson one for journalists” is STILL magazine vs. clip.

  8. It’s downright irritating that these people can’t even count right, (whether it was the police or the journalists), yet people still take them seriously as “professionals.” The largest magazine that H&K makes for the clones hold 25 rounds. The M&P 15-22 holds the same number.

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