I got a presser yesterday, from a PR group I've dealt with in the past. They're great folks, and I think the presser itself comes from the company they're representing. But this just about made blood shoot out of my ears:
MasterPiece Arms, manufacturers of the MPA MAC Line of semi-auto submachine pistols and carbines, is pleased to announce the new MPAR 556 Rifle, which will be unveiled at the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada and made available for purchase in the first quarter of 2013.Emphasis mine so you can see it easily.
See, words mean things, and in this case it's hard to tell what they're trying to get at. They make semi-automatic versions of fully automatic firearms; I don't understand why they feel the need to twist the wording so that it is unclear. They have handguns and rifles, none of which are fully automatic. Some of them are based on the old Cobray M-11 platform, which did include full-auto machine pistols and submachine guns, but nothing made by MPA is fully anything.
A "machine pistol" is a fully automatic handgun - the micro-Uzi, Glock 18, or the Beretta 93. They are extremely rare, very hard to control, and - thanks to our laws on full auto - very overpriced. They are not favored by law enforcement or the military, seeing only limited use by agencies like the Secret Service, with short barreled carbines finding greater favor. While Hollywood makes us think that a fully automatic handgun is a great crowd-pleaser, real life is nowhere as kind.
A "submachine gun" is a pistol-caliber, fully-automatic rifle. The Thompson, HK MP5 and UMP, Suomi, PPSH, most Uzis, the Sten, MP40, etc. High rate of fire, short range. There's no such creature as a semi-auto subgun - the "submachine" refers to the caliber of the automatic weapon. A Colt 635 (9mm) is a subgun; the M16 is not. Not even with a short barrel.
It's a lot like, as Wally suggested, hearing "hey, you need another clip for your Glock?" A clip refers to a very specific tool used as part of a firearm's feeding mechanism - they can be used to charge a magazine (I have both .223/M-16 chargers and 30 Carbine chargers), but most often are fed directly into the rifle themselves (a la M1 Garand). The words "clip" and "magazine" are not interchangeable, no matter how many times Hollywood and/or popular culture insist...
So, no offense meant to MPA, but please endeavor to be precise in your pressers - the OCD of the gun world will thank you!
That is all.