What’s the Difference? Machine Gun vs. Submachine Gun

What's the difference between a submachine gun and a machine gun?

The iconic Tommy gun fires .45 caliber handgun ammunition. That makes it a submachine gun. (Shutterstock photo)

TLDR: Submachine guns use handgun ammunition. Machine guns use rifle ammunition.

If a gun-toting character pulls the trigger and holds it there while the business end goes bang-bang-bang, then there’s an excellent chance that firearm is a submachine gun or a machine gun (warning: does not apply to characters requesting someone pull their fingers). But what’s the difference between those two terms? Or is there one?

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Assault Weapons vs. Assault Rifles vs. What You’ve Heard

m16 vs ar15

When it comes to researching firearms for a story, don’t go by looks. One of these is a genuine assault rifle, and it’s limited to military use. The other is a model any U.S. civilian with a clean record could own, and is not an assault rifle. Can you tell the difference? Leave a comment with your guesses. (Photos via Colt and Gun Digest)

One of my favorite crime writers, Benjamin Whitmer, author of my pick for the best crime novel of 2014, Cry Father, made a post on his website today that caught my eye. It mentions a bit about politics and the president, two subjects I try to avoid on this blog, but I couldn’t ignore his excellent point about the terms “assault weapons” and “assault rifles.”

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How to Load Submachine and Machine Guns

Dear Ben,

As an Australian writer working on his first novel, I need information from time to time on the step-by-step procedures involved in loading, cocking, aiming and shooting certain firearms, such as when to flick off the safety lever, and so on.

Is there a writer’s guide available in hard copy that will tell me, step by step, how to prepare to shoot most rifles, shotguns, sub-machine guns and handguns – including notable exceptions to the rule so I don’t make a mistake in my book? This would be very handy in my line of work.

In the meantime, can you tell me, please, how to prepare an L1A1 self-loading rifle (SLR) and an Uzi sub-machine gun for firing? Continue reading