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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The Day a Crime Writer Met the Inventor of the AK-47


Yes, THAT Kalashnikov, aka the AK-47. (Shutterstock photo)

Today I’m honored to host journalist and crime writer BJ Wolf, author of the forthcoming Karen Yellowtail books (don’t miss it). Wolf had the good fortune to meet with Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, before he died in 2013. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to invite Wolf here to share the experience. 

Despite creating what’s arguably the most iconic firearm in history, many don’t know that Kalashnikov never made a dime from the gun. Patents in the Soviet Union were property of the state, meaning Kalashnikov had to resort to other means to make ends meet. As you’ll read below, this meant licensing his name to some unusual endeavors.



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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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