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NY Times Leaves Out Vital Context on Gun Expert's Disputed AR-15 Claim — and He Says Pro-Gun Critics Have It All Wrong
In this Dec. 19, 2012, photo, Kevin Roth, owner of Arms To Bear, a gun dealer and an active shooter, shows the 6.8 special purpose cartridges he is using as he prepares to shoot his AR-15 during target practice in Sparks, Nev. Long accustomed to some of the nation's most lenient gun laws, Nevada gun owners worry that the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school might be the knot used to tighten the state's regulations once and for all, and ultimately threaten their way of life. Credit: AP

NY Times Leaves Out Vital Context on Gun Expert's Disputed AR-15 Claim — and He Says Pro-Gun Critics Have It All Wrong

"So anyone who says I am anti-Second Amendment is completely insane..."

The New York Times came under fire this week for reporting that the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was capable of firing eight rounds per second. The gun expert behind the claim, who told TheBlaze he has received some “nasty calls” since the publication of the article, said the Times left out vital context behind the figure he provided.

Credit: AFP/Getty Images Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Sam Andrews, owner of Tier One Weapons Systems, said New York Times reporter Alan Feuer asked him specifically for the highest “rate of fire” capability of an AR-15.

The Times summed up Andrews’ response like this:

Because of its gas-operated system, Mr. Andrews said, the AR-15 has a fairly gentle recoil. The weapon is also fast and accurate, he added, able to fire, under capable hands, eight rounds in a second.

There was no additional explanation.

Andrews said the Times article failed to mention that his claim centered around the technical definition of rate of fire by skilled shooters and also the common technique of “bump fire.”

He said all it takes is a quick YouTube search to find videos demonstrating how to “bump fire” an AR-15, essentially turning a semi-automatic rifle into almost fully automatic. Here’s an example:

He said even a novice shooter can be taught how to bump fire fairly quickly.

Due to the phrasing in the Times article, many readers assumed he was claiming 8 rounds per second is an average rate of fire. But without bump fire, Andrews said such a skill requires training and practice -- but it is possible. For example, he claimed to know “special operators” who can fire 10 rounds per second with a “good trigger” and muzzle break on an AR-15.


Citing the video of competitive shooter Jerry Miculek used in TheBlaze’s initial report, Andrews said true definition of “rate of fire” doesn’t include reaction time. If you do the math, he claimed, Miculek is capable of firing at a rate of roughly 10 rounds per second.

In the video, Miculek fired five rounds in 1.08 seconds. His reaction time was .55 seconds. If you remove the reaction time, he was able to fire five rounds in just over half a second.

Any shooter who can fire an AR-15 with a split time, or the time between shots, of .12 seconds or less can achieve a rate of fire of eight rounds per second, according to Andrews. There are many shooters with that capability, he said. There is, of course, a question of accuracy with such a high rate of fire.

“When asked the question, 'What is the potential rate of fire' of a particular weapon, as an engineer, I must tell the truth,” Andrews told TheBlaze, adding that he wasn’t pleased that the piece was lacking important context. “What people do with that truth, it's up to them; it's not about me.”

Andrews told TheBlaze he has learned by now that 99 out of 100 reporters will report his comments out of context in some way.

“You have to make a decision to either stop talking to the press or accept that,” he added.

Andrews also addressed his critics who have insinuated that he is somehow anti-Second Amendment and helping anti-gun advocates push gun control amid calls to ban so-called "assault rifles."

"The federal government has zero authorization under the Constitution to infringe on anyone's right to own a gun," he said. "So anyone who says I am anti-Second Amendment is completely insane, and that has nothing to do with the potential rate of fire of a given weapons system."


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