American Culture

The WASR-10 rifle is a military weapon

Century Arms GP WASR-10 rifle (Image Credit: Century Arms)

The GP WASR-10 and AK-47 are essentially the same with respect to lethality.

This post will be re-posted every time I hear about a mass shooting using an SKS, WASR-10, AK-47, or similar rifle.

Originally posted after the murders at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, 2019, and the El Paso murders on August 3, 2019

A while back I did some research on the M4 carbine, the M16 rifle, and the AR15-style rifles and concluded that the AR15 is a military weapon. After the attack on the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the attack on the El Paso Walmart one week later, I figured it was worth researching the SKS carbine and related firearms. Here’s what I found:

AK-47 rifle: 7.62x39mm Soviet caliber, ~380 yd effective range, ~2300 ft/sec muzzle velocity, semi-auto/burst/full-auto. It’s one of the most versatile, cheapest, and widely manufactured firearms and is easily modified and repaired. Nearly every member of the former Soviet bloc manufactured it under different names.

GP WASR-10 rifle: 7.62x39mm Soviet caliber, ~400 yd effective range, ~2300 ft/sec muzzle velocity, semi-auto. This is a cheap Romanian version of the AK-47 made semi-automatic only.

[As I write this on August 3, hours after the El Paso mass murder, the the exact model of murderer’s weapon has not been publicized, but we do know from security cams that it’s an AK-47 style weapon. I’ll update this post once the exact weapon has been publicized.]

The AK-47 (and variants) is military only. The WASR-10 may be owned by civilians.

From what I can tell, the three weapons are essentially the same with respect to lethality. The semi-auto only for the WASR-10 rifle is a distinction without a difference.

We regulate military weapons in the US, legally, under the Second Amendment (which does have the words “well-regulated militia” right there in it). The WASR-10 is, for all intents and purposes, a military weapon.

So why do we allow civilians to own a military weapon again?

8 replies »

    • They meant “in proper working order.” What I find interesting is that you seem to think that regulations and a militia being in proper working order are somehow in opposition. I’d say that regulations are required for a properly functioning militia, personally. After all, the military has all sorts of rules and regulations to ensure that it’s actions are legal, that lethal force isn’t used incorrectly, accidents don’t happen, and so on.

      And is any “militia” composed of the mentally ill or violently racist “in proper working order?” I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want a violent white supremacist who wants to murder large numbers of non-whites to be armed with military hardware. Would you?

  1. In addition, the full auto setting on the M16 is one that soldiers are trained NOT to use, because it burns through ammunition too quickly, and with a significant loss of accuracy. Some variants of the M16 and M4 don’t even have a full auto mode (though these changes came long after my time in uniform.)

    • Maybe things changed since the late 80’s, but we learned in Ft. Benning and in Ft. Ord to use three round bursts as tactics called for it. I leave it to someone who is serving or has served recently to clarify whether “trained NOT to use” is even remotely accurate. The absence of selective fire and the use by an individual outside the context of squad combat tactics is what makes the AR not a military weapon. Were the absence of selective fire suitable for squad combat tactics, militaries would issue rifles lacking the feature. If anyone has an example of modern military-issued combat rifles that a) are intended for squad combat tactics and b) lack selective fire, please share.

      • My guess is that the military wouldn’t go this far. The flexibility of selective fire for those (hopefully) rare conditions where a soldier needs it would be too important to actually remove. It would be a training thing – don’t do this unless you really, really, REALLY have to.

        Besides, you don’t mess with a weapon that has worked well for a very long time without a damn good reason. I’m an engineer and just as subject to “not invented here” and “it can always be made better” as any other engineer, but even I know this one.

      • The problem is that in a combat situation, that level of control goes out the window. You will burn through a 40 round magazine in about 4 seconds, and not hit a damned thing in the process. This is why (I suspect) the M249 SAW was introduced (1984, after your time.) As for examples, a simple web search will be sufficient to satisfy your curiosity.

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