Libertarian Party

My Experience Firing An AR-15: Excitement And Awe


“I was just terrified.” – Gersh Kuntzman, NY Daily News

I wanted to have an open mind when I read, “Firing an AR-15 is horrifying, menacing and very very loud” written by Gersh Kuntzman for NY Daily News. Yet, this sentence in the first few lines really made that difficult.

I realize that Kuntzman was only trying to portray his own feelings during his first experience firing an AR-15. My hunch is that this was his first experience with a high-powered rifle ever.

I say this because I recall my first experience firing an AR-15. Prior to that experience I had fired a hunting rifle and a shotgun as well as a few handguns.

My memory: the recoil with the AR-15 was far less-powerful than when firing my bolt-action, hunting rifle as I bagged my first buck a couple of years ago.

Kuntzman recalled a different experience, “The recoil bruised my shoulder, which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

His statement is further evidence that my hunch is correct. In essence, we have a piece on the AR-15 written by someone with very little actual experience with rifles.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid a lot of this debate is being driven by people who have little experience with guns of any sort.

Kuntzman goes on to say that an AR-15 “can empty a 40-round clip in less than five seconds” and that the recoil “bruised” his shoulder “which can happen if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

He had problems with the smells and sounds associated with firing the AR-15 as well, stating the smell made him “sick” and the sound left him with “a temporary form of PTSD”.

So since it had been a few years since I fired a semi-automatic AR-15, the libertarian rebel in me just couldn’t resist. So I convinced my dad to allow me to fire his AR-15.

So after setting up and taking aim, I squeezed the trigger. BOOM! Yep, Kuntzman is right, the gun is “ very very loud”. However, the smell was no different than any other high-powered rifle I had fired before and instead of temporary PTSD I was filled with a sense of excitement and awe.

I checked the next morning for any bruising on my shoulder, since I hadn’t noticed the recoil hardly at all, and I’m pleased to report that no bruising has occurred.

By the way, I also encouraged my wife and 15-year-old son to each fire the weapon and can also report that their experiences were similar to my own.

Also, I noticed something else. It was unexpected since this gun had the look of a military-style weapon and has been demonized as a kill-machine by the media.

When I pulled the trigger and held it down, only one round fired. Not three, not five, not ten…just one!

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon that fires one round per trigger pull.

Now, maybe some more accustomed marksmen are able to get eight shots out in five seconds, but I doubt there would be any accuracy at all in my shots if I attempted a similar feat. I could manage approximately five semi-accurate shots per five seconds of firing, at a stationary target.

I’m certain that Kuntzman’s accuracy and ability would be sorely lacking if he attempted it as well considering that he practically alluded to a lack of shooting experience in his article as he said, “I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15.”

The only possibility of someone getting 40 shots out in five seconds would require the use of an illegal fully automatic AR-15 or a legal semi-automatic AR-15 illegally modified into a fully automatic version. Either way, one would have to break existing gun law to pull it off.

When the American people need facts, perspective and reality in this debate over gun ownership, they shouldn’t get a propaganda piece with language intended to incite fear of a gun that is no more dangerous than the average hunting rifle.

The gun would be dangerous if it was illegally altered so that it can fire as a fully automatic weapon. But as I said, that is already illegal, as are all fully automatic weapons.

My bottom line: one trigger pull, one round fired.

We shouldn’t make our decisions about the rights of individuals to bear arms based on our own prejudices, insecurities and fears.

If you would like to read Gersh Kuntzman’s story, you can do so below:

What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, menacing and very very loud

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