The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

"High power", "Assault rifle" and "weapons of war" are all misnomers applied to the AR15

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,909 times Debate No: 33975
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Misnomer- noun
a wrong or inaccurate name or designation: "king crab" is a misnomer"these creatures are not crustaceans at all.
" a wrong or inaccurate use of a name or term: to call this "neighborhood policing" would be a misnomer.
Taken from the New Oxford American Dictionary.
First round is acceptance(no opening statements) . Each subsequent round is for one of the above labels


Thanks pro for making this debate.

I accept this debate and the definition of a misnomer.

However, pro hasn't defined the terms high power, assault rifle, or weapon of war, and so I assume we will be arguing about their corresponding semantics.
Debate Round No. 1


Sorry, I just posted them in the comments. First off, the AR15 is chambered in the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge. The average bullet weight of this cartridge is between 55 and 62 grains.Since the dimensions of the cartridge are so close that the difference is negligible, I will simply refer to both as the .223. The .223 is an intermediate cartridge, which means that it is not as powerful as a true rifle cartridge, but not as weak as a handgun cartridge (1). The .223 is a common round among hunters because it is cheap and a good round for varmint. When compared side by side to a true rifle cartridge like a .30-06(which has an average weight of 150 grains) for example, the difference is force is apparent (2)

At 100yards the .223 has 0.0017 of drop, with a speed of 2759 feet per second and 929 foot pounds of energy.

At 100 yards the 30-06 has 0.0014 of drop, with a speed of 2597 feet per seconds and 2471 foot pounds of energy.



Thanks pro for starting off this discussion.

According to wikipedia the AR-15 is defined as
"The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as an assault rifle for the United States armed forces. [8] Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt. The select-fire version of the AR-15 entered the U.S. military system as the M16 rifle."

By my definition of AR-15, the AR-15 is indeed an assault riffle similar to the m16. In addition, "The rifle was adapted for semi-automatic, three-round burst, and full-automatic fire"
This fits my opponents definition of ""Military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire."

Therefore, the AR-15 is indeed an assault rifle according to my opponents definitions as well as the ones I have provided.

Next, I will prove that the AR-15 is high powered. Relative to a bow and arrow, the AR-15 has substantially higher kinetic energy in each bullet than an arrow from a bow would have.

Thus, the AR-15 can be considered high powered in various situations. Compared to a nuclear weapon, no assault rifle would be considered "high powered." My point is that high powered depends on the relative context it is being compared to.

From merriam webster a war can be defined as-
a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) :
A weapon can be defined as any object which can cause harm, including a club, a rock, or a bow and arrow.
Therefore, since the AR15 was used by the US military, and is also an object that can cause harm, which can be used in a hostile armed conflict between nations, the AR-15 is definitely a weapon of war by definition.

Pro has cited various facts about the AR15, but hasn't proved how the various terms in the debate proposition are in fact misnomers. My definitions show that neither of the terms used above are misnomers.
Debate Round No. 2


First off, I specifically stated that I only wanted to go over 1 term per round, but that's ok. Also, interesting that you would compare the AR15 to a bow and arrow. Because if you compared every firearm in existence, they would all outperform a bow and arrow, but still being weaker than a nuke, thereby fitting the category of high-powered as explained by con. So in order for it to be considered high-powered, it would have to be compared to another firearm. I would also like to state that the M4/M16 and the AR15 are not the same thing. The M4/M16 have different internal mechanics that allow it to go full auto, whereas the AR15 is only semi-automatic. Thereby it fails the definition of assault rifle. Also, the AR15 we have today, which is practically the same AR15 that's been around for the past 50 years, is not used by any military in the world. Why? Because it is semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles are not the preferred choice of soldiers going into combat. Yes I suppose you could go to war with it, but no one has. The real AR15 has never set foot on the battlefield, therefore, it is not a "weapon of war"


"First off, I specifically stated that I only wanted to go over 1 term per round, but that's ok. "

Sorry, I missed that part, but at least this way we can debate topics more thoroughly

"Because if you compared every firearm in existence, they would all outperform a bow and arrow"
False, a composite bow or long bow does outperform entry level muskets in terms of reload speed as well as range and accuracy. That's besides the point though--the AR15 can be considered high powered compared to many weapons including assault rifles. Some assault rifles make the AR15 look low powered. Anyways, pro still hasn't shown how high power is in fact a misnomer. The AR15 is high powered enough to do hunting as well kill; thus the AR15 is high powered in some situations.

"The real AR15 has never set foot on the battlefield, therefore, it is not a "weapon of war"."

I highly doubt that pro can prove that an AR15 was never seen on a battlefield since its creation in 1959. For the millions of units sold of AR15s, it is highly likely that at least one AR15 was used in some battle between nations; perhaps in third world countries that aren't documented well. Pro makes the assertion that the AR15 has never set food in the battlefield without providing proof that this has always been the case.

"Also, the AR15 we have today, which is practically the same AR15 that's been around for the past 50 years, is not used by any military in the world. Why? Because it is semi-automatic. Semi-automatic rifles are not the preferred choice of soldiers going into combat."

Again, how can you make the claim that AR15 has not been used by any military in the world, even one unit? Provide some proof that AR15s have not been used by any military; millions of units have been sold and pro doesn't think that at least one was used in a military conflict. I see no issues with semi automatic rifles, since they help to conserve ammunition, which can be helpful in certain circumstances. Provide proof that all militaries think that semi automatic weapons are inferior to automatic weapons.

I'd also like to mention that con's definition of assault rifle is from a concise encyclopedia, which he choose because it fits his argument well; however, according to the first definition that is actually from Merriam Webster, it can be defined as
"Definition of ASSAULT RIFLE
: any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use "

They keyword here is "or", which means that assault rifles don't have to be fully automatic to be considered assault rifles. This is the first definition given by merriam webster, which contradicts the concise encyclopedia definition provided by pro in the comments.
Debate Round No. 3


Assault rifle: I actually chose to use that definition because it's more accurate to the assault rifles we have now, and it's a little more definitive. Because according to your definition, a Ruger Mini-14 is an assault weapon. It has high-capacity magazines and is based off the M14, which is a military rifle, now the military has never touched the Mini-14, but by your definition, it's an assault rifle, which simply isn't true. My definition is more definitive in the matter that it matches the modern assault rifles we have today. The very first assault rifle ever, the StG 44, was capable of semi-auto or full-auto fire, effective up to 600meters and utilised an intermediate cartridge(1). And wiki just so happens to share the thought on my previous definition . "An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle or carbine typically firing ammunition with muzzle energies and sizes intermediate between those of handgun and more traditional high-powered rifle ammunition. Assault rifles are categorized between light machine guns, intended more for sustained automatic fire in a support role, and submachine guns, which fire a handgun cartridge rather than a rifle cartridge. Assault rifles are the standard small arms in most modern armed forces, having largely replaced or supplemented larger, more powerful rifles, such as the World War II-era M1 Garand and Tokarev SVT. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with very limited capacity fixed magazines are generally not considered assault rifles.
Semi-automatic rifles are not always classified as assault rifles as they are not fully automatic and some are not designed for military use. However, in media firearms reporting the term "assault rifle" usually refers to visual appearance rather than internal functionality. Similar full sized weapons, with full-auto capabilities chambered in full-sized rifle rounds, are known as Battle rifles. Examples of Battle Rifles are the FN FAL, H&K G3 and M14 rifle. "(2) So, in other words, there's no way a stricly semi-automatic firearms can be considered an assault rifle. I could list the next 50 assault rifles created after the StG 44, and they would all be capable of selective fire. The definition you stated for assault rifle simply doesn't match with what history has forged.

High-powered: Your previous comparison of the bow and arrow was with kinetic energy, not accuracy and reload speed, in which case, muskets still prevail. The ability to kill cannot be grounds for the definition of high-power, because all bullets fired from all types of firearms can kill you. You have yet to show how the AR15 is high-powered relative to another rifle of it's category (semi-automatics, but you can compare it to an assault rifle I guess.). It isn't high-powered because it doesn't fire a full powered rifle cartridge.

Weapon of war: First off, I highly doubt they have been used in third world conflicts for 2 reasons. 1, they're not sought out as the primary, go-to, overthrow the government rifle. That would be the AK-47, because they're cheaper and there are plenty available on the black market.(3) If a government were going to arm it's troops, it would buy they M16, because it can. And semi-auto saving ammo sounds like a good theory until people start shooting you wiht a fully automatic. Then it makes you reconsider.



serp888 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Juris_Naturalis 5 years ago
with* a fully automatic
Posted by Juris_Naturalis 5 years ago
All from Merriam-Webster.
high power: having great drive, energy, or capacity : dynamic
: having or conferring great influence

Assault rifle.
Military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire. Light and portable, yet able to deliver a high volume of fire with reasonable accuracy at modern combat ranges of 1,000"1,600 ft (300"500 m), assault rifles have become the standard infantry weapon of modern armies. Their ease of handling makes them ideal for mobile assault troops crowded into personnel carriers or helicopters, as well as for guerrilla fighters engaged in jungle or urban warfare. Widely used assault rifles are the U.S. M16, the Soviet Kalashnikov (the AK-47 and modernized versions), the Belgian FAL and FNC, and the German G3.

Weapons of war- I can't find a definition for this so we'll just use it literally, a weapon used in war.
Posted by Juris_Naturalis 5 years ago
I only posted the definition in the dictionary. So it was the dictionaries fault not mine.
Posted by DoubtingDave 5 years ago
@Roy, what does that have to do with the debate?
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Wikipedia says, "King crabs, also called stone crabs, are a superfamily of crab-like decapod crustaceans chiefly found in cold seas." Horseshoe crabs are not crabs, and I gather that horseshoe crabs are sometimes called king crabs.
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Vote Placed by xXCryptoXx 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter Vote Bomb on gt4o2007
Vote Placed by gt4o2007 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a better argument.