David Hogg Just Got Fact-Checked by a Gun Expert


Gun control advocate and March For Our Lives co-founder David Hogg claimed on MSNBC Feb. 12 that AR-15s “have an effective range of over 1,500 meters.”

Verdict: False

The effective range of an AR-15 is between 400 and 600 meters, according to firearms experts. AR-15s can be modified to chamber and fire larger bullets that do have an effective range of over 1,500 meters, but this is not commonly done.

Fact Check:

Hogg made the claim while being interviewed by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

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“If you’re using a weapon with an effective range of over 1,500 meters, you are not defending yourself. You are hunting a human being,” Hogg said.

However, the maximum effective range of an AR-15 is between 400 and 600 meters, according to firearms experts.

The Department of Defense defines maximum effective range as “the maximum distance at which a weapon may be expected to be accurate and achieve the desired effect.”

“An AR-15 has a maximum effective range of 400 to 600 meters, about 1/3 of the 1,500 meters that Hogg claims. There are no adjustments or modifications that can be made to extend this range because the range is determined by the bullet,” John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

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William Vizzard, a professor of criminal justice at California State University Sacramento and a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, agreed.

“The vast majority of AR 15s are 223s, with a max range of about 600 meters, though under real world conditions more like 350. Even at that range a lot of skill is required for good accuracy,” he told TheDCNF in an email.

The .223 referenced by Vizzard is the caliber of round most commonly used in the AR-15.

It’s unclear where Hogg got the 1,500-meter figure. He did not respond to a request for comment.

One Twitter user, Jon Stokes, suggested that Hogg’s claim may have come from a simple Google search.

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“This 1500 meter effective range claim is absurd. Sadly, it’s quite clear where he got this bogus info,” Stokes tweeted.

Google prominently displays “about 1,500 meters” when a user types “effective range of AR-15” into the search engine.

The search result links to an article from Mic that explains how the AR-15 is a versatile rifle that can be fitted to chamber and fire different types of bullets. This includes larger caliber bullets, such as the .338 Lapua, which the article says has an effective range of about 1,500 meters.

However, firearm experts explained that the use of .338 rounds in an AR-15 is rare.

“Rifles using the .338 Lupua cartridge are relatively rare. They can have the profile of an AR-15, but in the media, litigation, and general public discourse the AR-15 rifle uses the 5.56/.223,” Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer who has litigated multiple firearms cases before the Supreme Court, told TheDCNF in an email.

AR-15s have been used in a number of mass shootings, including the one in Parkland, Florida, but they are not used in most mass shootings, school shootings or general gun crimes.

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