In the movies we see our hero’s blasting away at full auto. In downtown North Hollywood in February 1997 two perpetrators used automatic fire to suppress the police response, instigating the arming of police in many jurisdictions with AR-15 type rifles. Heavy armored and armed it is one of the few instances that full or continued semi-auto fire was encountered in the commission of a crime.
Do Soldiers Use Full Auto?
Full auto is fun to shoot but is it that practical? In the middle east our troops usually can fire about 7 30-shot magazines for about 210 rounds (most experienced users only loaded 28 rounds to prevent the spring from binding). Seven magazines weigh about 7 ½ pounds. Six magazines in carriers and one in the weapon. The US military has one of the most sophisticated logistics operations in the world. But they cannot re-supply troops during battle. You got what you got, that is it. In talking with returning troops it is found the US troop engage the enemy on semi-auto about 97% of the time, full auto goes through a lot of ammo real, real fast. The last thing you want to consider is running out of ammo in the middle of a fire fight. The only weapon engaging at full auto is the squad automatic weapon, for that is SAW, M-249 belt-fed machinegun. Another aspect of full auto fire is accuracy. Accurate fire is nearly impossible, even with the 3-round burst limiter you only get 10 trigger pulls and your out. It is therefore a fact that the military uses semi-auto fire in most engagements. Ammo is heavy 9mm with 124 grain bullet goes about 12.62 ounces for 30 rounds, not including the magazine. One of the reasons the US went to the 5.56 NATO is weight, a GI could carry twice the ammo for the same weight. A 20 rounds of 7.62 will weigh about 17 ounces plus the weight of the magazine.
Semi Automatic Rifles
For survival and civilian use, we should be happy with a semi-auto rifle. You will have a finite amount of ammo, and perhaps the conditions will dictate no resupply. In the prepper situation where civilization disintegrates, we will have what we have then throw rocks. With some ingenuity a flint-lock would suffice. You can find lead, and mix your own black powder, the only real item you need to find is a supply of sulfur. For most it will be the bow and arrow.
Bolt or Lever Action Rifle, Handgun & More
Guns are hi-tech compared to alternatives and will plow through ammo at prodigious rate. A hundred rounds for a small skirmish would not be unreasonable. We can only carry or store a finite amount of ammo. Full-auto weapons give us a poor return, high number or rounds digested with little accuracy and chance of a hit. Most will want a survival weapon capable of taking game. A good bolt action or lever action gun coupled with a shotgun and buckshot for those up close and personal engagements. So, for personal carry we will go for a good handgun, for home defense a shotgun in about #6 or #4 shot, deadly in close but will not likely penetrate walls for the length of the house.
How Effective is Full Auto?
It takes some thought and study, but except for the pure exhilaration and fun a full auto should not be considered viable. Tricky stuff like bump stocks suffer dramatically in accuracy. The Las Vegas shootings were into a relatively dense crowd, so pray and spray was effective. But if you are a law-abiding citizen you would have not have a real use for a full auto weapon or gimmicks that provide a full auto experience without the accuracy.