I Dont like the Term “Modern Sporting Rifle”

I Dont like the Term “Modern Sporting Rifle”
By: Eric at the Gunmart Blog

Modern Sporting Rifle
Modern Sporting Rifle
Eric at the Gunmart Blog
Eric at the Gunmart Blog

United States –-(Ammoland.com)- There, I said it… I know that I’m going to catch heck for this, but somebody needs to say this.

I love the idea behind it all. I love the effort to change the dialogue and to control the debate. Words are powerful, and choosing to use certain words instead of others (i.e assault rifle) can have a powerful influence on public opinion. But come on… lets be real… “Modern Sporting Rifle” has not been an effective choice of words.

We threw it up against the wall, but it just didn’t stick.

The biggest problem is that it has just not caught on. I have never, ever heard anyone outside of the firearms industry use this phrase. Yes, Mossberg has chosen to use it as the designation for their newest firearm introduction and that will bring it more to the forefront, but really its gotten to the point where its simply a non-starter. Say it to anyone who is not a gunnie and they look at you like you just spoke to them in Latin. No one outside of our circle knows what it is unless you explain it to them, and once you do they get a look on their face like you told them you just bought a timeshare in Cuba.

Modern Capacity Magazines
I think a big problem with the ineffectiveness of the phrase is that it just sounds like we are trying too hard when we use it. Its like we are almost acknowledging the fact that we are trying to game the debate and I believe it comes across as an obvious ploy. Its kinda like if Volkswagen all of a sudden tried distancing themselves from their Nazi roots by using the term “Modern People Movers“. Or what if we all started running around saying “Modern Capacity Magazines“? It just sounds silly. Its also difficult to realistically attach the phrase to a very large number of guns which just happen to look like assault rifles. Firearms like AKs, bull-pups, pistol variants, SBRs, and countless other semi-automatic forms of firearms whose legality shouldn’t even be in question.

So, I think we should drop the term “Modern Sporting Rifle“. Please, don’t misconstrue what I am saying here. I don’t think that we should give up the effort to change the dialogue, but I think we need to find a better term to use.

I honestly don’t know what we should choose, but I think the time has come to move on to something different. Heck, perhaps we should just embrace the term “assault rifle” and normalize its usage so that there is not a stigma attached to it anymore. Or perhaps we should move in the direction of limiting the terms to just “rifles” or “handguns” or “firearms“.

Then we can easily call out the radical left out for what they really want to do, and show the entire country who the gun grabbers really are… people who want to ban guns.

Eric at the Gunmart Blog – Eric is a gun blogger, firearms enthusiast, and sorry excuse for a hunter. He is also an AmmoLand Shoting Sports News Columnist. Leave him some comments on this article before you go. You can also follow Eric on Facebook, Twitter and at his blog, Gunmart. Visit: GunmartBlog.com

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My favorite term is “sport-utility rifle”. It seems like a more accurate term than MSR. First, it links to the concept of an SUV – big & scary at first glance, but generally used for mundane purposes. It is an easy concept for non-gun people to grasp. Second, it portrays the rifle as versatile, capable of both light duty (target), off-road (hunting), and serious heavy-duty use (defense). Just as the average SUVs never leaves the pavement, most SURs are never used for violence. Also, just like the SUV which is equally at home on the pavement or the trail, the… Read more »

Thaddeus Carpenter

You can, not like the term all you want but a clear cut definition needs to be made. Assault rifles were designed for enemy suppression through full auto firepower… That does not represent many of the rifles sold in the USA in this day and age. Look at it like this. If we use your idea of assault rifle which is happens be two different rifles under the same definition… That makes no sense. That would be like calling all Vehicle brands Fords instead of using a real name. By the way.. Which weapon would prefer to take into combat?… Read more »


I agree that "modern sporting rifle" is too PC for it's own good. Yet over twenty years of experience has shown that the news media will not learn, will not change and will continue to confuse the public by using the term semi-automatic interchangeably with machine-gun. If we are going to win the battle for public opinion we should refrain from using any form of the word "automatic" since that word is what the enemies of gun-rights are exploiting. I suggest reverting to an old established term, "self-loading". That term is accurate, self-explanatory, and virtually immune from the kinds of… Read more »


Gee Eric, those left-wingers over at the Brady Center sure liked your article on MSR's. Hey, it sounds as if you're accepting two pay checks, one for each of your faces!

Do yourself a favor and don't attend Januarys SHOT SHOW. You will probably be treated impolitely.

Love and kisses, JIMMYJET

Tenring Rob

Its a semi-auto rifle, PERIOD. Like any other semi-auto, it fires exactly the same way, one bullet every time the trigger is pulled. While it's a different color and shape, why demonize the rifle with another name? The people who own one, know what it is. As long as the bullet comes out the front, its as effective as the M-1,Remington 7600 or any other semi- auto. The rifle is no more deadly because its black, has an odd looking stock, or has a carrying handle. Lets concentrate on ridding ourselves of the politicians who make the name or looks… Read more »


United as gun owners, divided we are falling…….

The term "Assault Rifle" should be considerd the same as using an ignorant racial slur. The anti-gun bigots own this terrm, please stop using this word. It has no place in our modern sporting atmosphere, to which we are trying to promote.

Stop using the term and help all gun owners.

Scott B

Good on ya. Here's what I posted as a comment on the "rebuttal" on Bill Brassard's blog on NSSF's website: "Sorry, Bill, but not all gun owners wish to go along with your lead. By coming up with an easily palatable name for "Ar platform" rifles, you are marginalizing the owners of other "semi-automatic versions of military battle rifles" (this is exactly what they are, and fits in well with the true meaning and purpose of the 2nd Amendment) What will you call the HK-91, semi-auto FN-Fal, M1A, and semi-auto Ak-47 and AK-74 rifles that many US citizens proudly and… Read more »

Tom Kampert

I've seen the term "Utility Rifle" used from time to time and kinda like it. As for embracing the term "assault rifle"…never! As the former Shooting Editor for Arizona Outdoorsman Magazine, I used to constantly tell shooters and gun owners to never accept that term. It is part of the Big Lie that Sarah Brady and her kind came up with to demonize any rifle that was cosmetically similar to Military ARs. As for the term "Modern sporting rifle"..I find no fault with that. As far as I'm concerned, they are so common any more that I don't see why… Read more »

Brian Davis

If it isn't fully automatic, it ISN'T an assault anything and your suggestion that pro gun folks adopt that term is ludicrous. Why don't you go hang out with Zumbo, you two should get along famously.


Sign me up to write for you!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll give you compelling ideas and thoughts on everything from Gun Control to Modern guns, firearms and weapons.

Not that I know much…. I was just the Senior Editor at Petersen's Hunting Magazine, and Editor…. then Editorial Director for all of Petersen's Guns & Ammo, Book Division.

Give it some thought



They are like virtually all guns… Military in origin, and then civilianized for modern use. They are Modern Military………….. Period. If the gun industry would start making them …. and for REAL…. in HUNTING CALIBERS… suitable for more than varmints/.223; and a low caliber cartridge for elk/.308………………….. we'd have everyone jumping on the bad wagon that these guns are NOTHING MORE THAN AN EVOLUTION… from single shot, to bolt action, to semi auto loaders with a wood stock… and now… the AR- Platforms. If the gun/ammo makers do not get together and make this kind of PUSH… mark my words,… Read more »

Gary Marbut

Homeland Defense Rifle.