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Full-Auto vs. Semi-Auto Firearms: What’s the Difference?

by Guns & Ammo TV   |  February 21st, 2012 12

Lots of folks get the difference between full-auto and semi-auto confused. Here’s a little something using machine guns and semi-autos that might help clear things up for folks.


  • http://www.facebook.com/orion1957 Thomas Acton

    LOL.. let's hope members of our gun hating elite media see this.

  • Greg Gneiser

    full auto fires untill empty. the trigger must be held back though. you need a class 3 license. semi auto you get 1 shot for each trigger pull.

    • Heath

      Automatic fire lasts until the trigger is released, the mag is empty or the burst is complete (2 or 3 shot). You need a Class 3 license to sell them, not to own them. Ownership requires a $200 tax stamp. The same applies to suppressors.

  • JC

    First off there is no such term as Full-Auto or Fully Automatic. The only methods of fire I am aware of are Semiautomatic/Semi-Auto/Semi, Burst and Automatic/Auto. So with this being stated the question should be “What is the difference Between Auto and Semi-Auto fire”? People that use the term Fully-Auto picked up their gun terminology from the Media, Wikipedia or another incorrect source.

    • raymond clifford

      This is the nomenclature applied to modern firearms! Our M-16s back in 1975 had 3 settings Safety,Semi and Full Auto! They have changed since my time! Thank you

  • Gardenfiber287

    Ummm, correct me if I am wrong but the first machine gun is an M-60, not a German MP-40. Also, really? The fact that this article was deemed neseccary scares me.

  • raymond clifford

    Memories? Back in Basic training at DIX in1975,Jan-Feb-We had the M-16s that allowed you to put her on spray and you had to learn to trigger off a 1 2 and 3 round burst which took some control and time to learn! The rate of fire was so great that a normal trigger squeeze would send 5 or 6 bullets flying downrange before you could react! You had to master the 1 2 and 3 round burst sequence before you got your badge! Those M-16s were a joy to tote around for the brief amount of time we had them and access to wooden boxes filled to the rim with shiny skinny looking cartridges! 20 round magazines were what we trained with! Night fire was a gas. Thank you.

  • John

    Well who would of thought.

  • justin

    well duh tell us something we dont know

  • ALAN ROHNER

    THAT'S WHY I AM HERE…I DID NOT KNOW THAT.

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