MrsDarwin and I didn't get around to watching the latest episode of LOST till last night, so of course we missed out on the usual discussion thread over on JulieD's blog.
Now, here's what struck me as someone who spends a little too much time reading about military rifles -- and maybe it's just a question of the props deparment not knowing what they're doing or maybe it means something.
The cache of rifles the castaways found in their hatch has in the past appeared to be a mix of AK-47s and bolt action hunting rifles. Michael ran off with a bolt action when he went to chase down the Others. Jack had an AK when he, Sawyer and Locke were surrounded by Zeke and Co. and force to turn in their guns. Now, the AK-47 has been floating around the international arms market on the cheep since the '60s. The Soviety Union and Eastern Bloc countries made literally millions of them, and shipped them off to revolutionary movements around the world. To this day, you can pick one up for 300-400 dollars. They may not be the most accurate things in the world, but they're cheep, rugged, and spray bullets around.
However, when we saw the Others guarding their hatch in Michael's flashbacks, they were carrying what looked like M-14 style rifles. The M-14 was the primary US battle rifle from the late fifties to the late sixties, and they're actually pretty hard to get hold of. The US make a bit over a million of them, but never released them to the civilian market. Some were sold to allies, many were destroyed. There are some civilian models available, but they start at about $1000 used and go up rapidly from there. It's a very high quality, hard hitting, accurate rifle, but getting hold of them takes some work.
However, the Darma initiative was apparently started back in the early '80s. That was before the US gave away and destroyed most of its M-14s. So if the Others have M-14s floating around, that brings up the question of whether perhaps Darma was government connected -- or there is or was some other kind of government initiative going on on the island. If that were the case the M-14 would be an obvious sort of thing for the government to have issued them.
Of course, it could also just be the props people being sloppy...