Standard Capacity vs. High Capacity

Lately some people have been making a point of calling what have been called “high capacity magazines” “Standard capacity magazines,” in an attempt to control the language of the debate, and diffuse the the stigma of things like a 30 round magazine, which is the standard capacity for AR-15 magazines.

While I like the idea in principle, there is a problem, in that the media largely controls the language, and we are not going to easily change it. The problem with applying our own language to things like “high capacity magazines” and “assault weapons” is that people not familiar with the issue, but wanting to educate themselves are not going to search for “standard capacity magazine,” they are going to use the buzz word “high capacity magazine.” Google is going to find the hysteria about “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines” served up by the media and liberal politicians, and not the common sense hidden under the title of “standard capacity magazines.”

We should not completely surrender the terms of debate to the opposition, but we need to be mindful of the realities search engines. That is why I often use “assault weapons” in quotes, it indicates that I don’t think the term is correct, but uses a term that people recognize, and would be searching for.


Standard Capacity vs. High Capacity — 2 Comments

  1. Rather than “Standard Capacity”, wouldn’t a “Design Capacity” be more descriptive? A single-stack magazine (6 to 8 rounds in most calibers) would be the “Design Capacity” for particular pistol A, while a double-stack magazine (12 to 19 rounds, again depending on caliber) for pistol B.

    A “Legislated Capacity” of ten rounds is what we had under the previous AWB, and now those 10-round magazines make excellent feeding for practice at the local range.

    • First, I should clarify that I am talking specifically about online usage. I like “design capacity,” but online you still have the search problem. Gun blogs and other websites have 2 major sources of traffic, people who like guns, and search engines. Your average non-gunnie person isn’t going to be reading most gun blogs unless they reach them via a search engine, and they are most likely to be searching for the media buzz word of the day.

      In private conversation, a press conference, or the like, I have no problem with the “standard capacity” or “design capacity” terms.

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