Flintlock rifles were more than twice as deadly per capita than AR-15s!

Battle of Trenton by R'lyeh Imaging | Flintlock Riffle more deadly per capita than AR-15

Photo by R’lyeh Imaging

In order to fulfill their agenda of societal change, liberals, statists and Marxists resort to logic that escapes those of us with lesser minds. They lock onto odd, carefully selected statistics that distort the truth and seek to make their obviously false purposes seem reasonable.  Note that the information included herein is indeed accurate, as per leading firearms experts and general firearms knowledge.

One of the pro-gun control arguments put forth is that the Framers of the US Constitution could not conceive of weapons as deadly as the modern AR-15 semi-automatic civilian rifle, mistakenly referred to as an “assault rifle”. They assure us that, had our primitive Founding Fathers had any idea that weapons technology would advance, they would not have left the 2nd Amendment so openly worded.

Therefore these liberal geniuses state that the 2nd Amendment should be limited to only weapons similar to what was available at the time of the ratification of the 2nd Amendment in 1791.

With that rhetoric in mind, I offer the following completely factual information:

Is the Flintlock deadlier than AR-15?

Fact! The flintlock rifle in common usage when the Framers ratified the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution is twice as deadly per capita as the modern AR-15 “assault rifle”. The official population of the United States in 2016 is 324,118,787 persons. Assuming the rifleman could arrange the population of the US to stand in a convenient arrangement so that he could continuously shoot 80 persons per minute it would take 67,524.75 hours of continuous shooting to eliminate the entire population of his contemporary community. This gives a per capita death rate for the AR-15 of .00148% in 2016.

The official population of the United States in 1790 was 3,929,214 persons. Assuming our flintlock armed rifleman arranges his countrymen to stand patiently in a similar arrangement while he murders them, it would take a mere 32,743.45 hours to kill them all. This gives a per capita death rate for the Flintlock Rifle of .00305%, more than double that of the AR-15!

As is common in today’s mass shootings, the shooters’ lack of knowledge or experience with their weapons has resulted in fairly low effective deaths, such as when the Colorado theatre shooter’s complicated AR drum magazine jammed after a few shots and he reverted to his backup pistol.

In contrast, an 18th century rifleman was anticipated to be an expert with his weapon, using it daily for hunting food as well as being prepared for defense. The Framers therefore ratified the 2nd Amendment expecting these deadly weapons to be in the hands of well trained, highly experienced marksmen, not casual once-a-year hunters.

The inescapable conclusion is that, contrary to what liberals claim, our Founders were comfortable with enshrining weapons in our Second Amendment that were more than twice as deadly as our modern civilian weapons.


  1. The rifles considered will be the standard AR-15 design by Colt Firearms, though manufactured to the same design by multiple companies today, and the flintlock rifle will be represented by an amalgam of the Revolutionary war Brown Bess Musket, the Kentucky Rifle of the Revolutionary period, and the 1792 US Army Contract rifles which were the first rifles ordered by the new US Army.
  2. The AR-15 will have a defined rate of fire of 80 rounds per minute. The higher rate often quoted is the theoretical cyclical rate, which ignores need for reloading, overheating, stoppages, etc. The average rate of 80 rounds per minute assumes the use of standard NATO STANAG magazines of thirty rounds each, requiring two reloads per minute. The three Revolutionary Period weapons had a rate of sustained fire of 3-4 rounds per minute, 2 per minute and 2-3 per minute respectively. We will use the lowest: the 2 shots per minute of the Kentucky rifle.
  3. Stoppages or failures will not be considered.
  4. Each potential shot will be defined as a kill, i.e. one person dying for each bullet fired. This is not representative of the AR-15, as 80 rounds per minute does not allow time to aim, fire and change magazines, instead using a “spraying of bullets” effect. This results in a much lower rate as many bullets strike the same target, strike a non-fatal area, or miss entirely. In contrast, the Kentucky rifle rate of fire (2 per minute) allows time to aim – the shooter is selecting his target while loading the weapon – aim properly for a fatal hit and fire the weapon.

Clearly the assumptions are biased in favor of the AR-15, which makes it more embarrassing that the Flintlock proves the far more deadly killer per capita. Note also that the AR-15 fires a .22 inch bullet, compared to the .45 of the Kentucky Rifle, or the .50 of the Brown Bess Musket! Far from being a “high – powered” rifle, the AR-15 is by design a low power, small caliber, low recoil weapon to support rapid shots against medium targets. In some States, the AR-15 is considered to low powered to hunt deer.

The real lesson

The actual conclusion here is that the 2nd Amendment debate is not about weapons, statistics or political bon mots. The 2nd Amendment is about the Constitution recognizing, not defining, the eternal right of the people of the United States to defend themselves against any threat against their persons, property or liberty, be it by criminals, invaders or a United States government-turned-tyrant. In opposition to this is a corruption of the United States government run by an elite group that seeks to reshape the structure to the United States to assure their personal power.

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