Introductory note: I wanted to touch upon this subject for a long, long while, because it is one I care about a lot. However, it is also totally off-topic for this blog. However, since in Russia there is a lull (that is putting it mildly) between New Year and the Orthodox Nativity, I decided to “squeeze” it here in between those dates and while our usual topics are a little less pressing. Also, I friend of mine was recently thinking about getting a firearm for self-defense and a pseudo-expert wrote a lot of nonsense to her about semi-autos and revolvers. I wrote her an email to debunk some of that crap, then another even longer one, and then I felt “okay, let’s tackle this topic once and for all”. The result is the following article. My motivation here is not to engage in a sterile ideological debate about gun rights – there is enough of that 100% ideological and 100% detached from reality pseudo “debates” out there and they bore me to tears (guns are, along with abortion and drugs, a topic which tends to generate the worst, highly emotional and, mostly, a very uninformed debates, not only in the USA, but worldwide). First and foremost, what I wrote below is address to those in our community who are at risk because they are not wealthy, because they live in not too pretty neighborhoods, those who are sick and weak, the elderly, the lonely women and all those who typical are chosen by criminal thugs for abuse and assault (the rich and privileged rarely need guns because they can pay for their security in many different ways; those who most need guns are the weak, poor and otherwise defenseless). I was raised by a single mother, I have seen first hand how hard it is for a single women to survive in our putatively “civilized” society. So while this blog is definitely not a 2nd Amendment advocacy blog, but I cannot remain indifferent to the fact that we do live in a very dangerous world and that the upcoming year carries truly major risks for our planet. Put bluntly, there is a fair chance that the international economic system will collapse as a result of a US attack on North Korea or Iran. Should that happen, there is a fair chance that many western countries, including the USA, will enter one of the 5 stages of collapse defined by my friend Dmitri Orlov. If that happens, law and order could break down very fast and, frankly, in many parts of the word they already have. These are the latest stats this year for Chicago: Shot & Killed: 619 Shot & Wounded: 2911 Total Shot: 3530 Total Homicides: 670 [Typically, that is a city which has a most restrictive policy firearms thus only criminals are armed!]. Here is my bottom line: being able to use a firearm for self-defense already is a crucial skill needed for survival in many parts of the world and in the near future those parts will only increase in size and number. You are, of course, more than welcome to defend yourself with only words, but please understand that others might feel differently. It just so happens that, over the years, I learned a little something about firearms and that I have spent a lot of time researching this topic. I have decided to post this somewhat off-topic article in the hope that at least some of the readers will benefit from it. I would be grateful if we could keep the comments section focused on the issue discussed here and not the usual hatefest against an inanimate object (firearms) or those us of who believe in personal self-defense, including yours truly. Thank you.
We live in a world of quasi-universal deceit. We also live in a world which proactively fosters a gullible, uncritical acceptance of mainstream myths and lies, especially those promoted by the corporate world. This reality permeates our lives everywhere, from what we listen to, to whom we marry, to how we raise our children, to what we eat, whom we trust with our health, whom we trust our children’s education and many, many other realms. Today I want to address a very narrow issue which is only relevant to those who are willing and able to defend themselves until the cops show up. To be clear, I am not addressing the following discussion to those who believe that firearms are the cause of violence, nor am I writing for those who believe that if attacked by criminals they will call the cops and that the cops will show up fast enough to stop the attackers. And I most definitely am not addressing the following discussion to those who live in safe areas (or think that they are). Finally, I am also not writing for law enforcement officers (this is crucial, see below!). My target audience today is a very narrow one. Those who fulfill these conditions:
1) Those who are willing to defend themselves or others until the law enforcement officers show up.
2) Those willing to use a firearm to protect themselves or their loved ones.
3) “Normal” civilians, i.e. *not* people with advanced training in the use of firearms.
4) Those who lived in jurisdictions which allow a person to use a weapon or self-defense.
What I want to do today is to debunk a very dangerous myth which is almost universally accepted and which is repeated with an almost religious fervor day after day and by almost everybody: that semi-automatic pistols are better for the self-defense needs of civilians than revolvers.
First, let’s cover the basics: semi-auto (aka “autoloader”) vs revolvers (aka “wheelguns”).
I think that we can immediately agree that the revolver looks much more antiquated while the semi-auto has a decidedly modern look. Though relatively modern, the revolver elicits images of cowboys at OK Corral while the semi-auto looks like the kind of firearm modern police and military forces would carry. And that it true, cowboys did carry revolvers (though their main weapon was aways rifle) and modern police and military forces almost exclusively carry semi-autos. Why is that?
Semi-autos come with a long list of advantages. Here are the main ones
1) semi-autos have a higher capacity (have more rounds inside)
2) semi-autos are faster and easier to reload
3) semi-autos are much cheaper (at least in most cases)
4) modern 9mm is an ideal caliber for shoot a person
5) semi-autos can easily accommodate accessories such as a flashlight or a laser pointer
6) semi-autos feel more “modern” and less “cowboy and shootout at OK Corral”
7) semi-autos are generally easier to shoot
It’s all true. But that is not the problem. The problem are the assumptions implicitly made when presenting these facts as arguments for the superiority of the semi-auto. In reality, these assumptions fail when applied to civilians. Let me explain.
What is the main difference between a civilian and a law enforcement officer?
It’s not the gun they carry, nor is it the quality of their training (cops are typically pretty bad shots). It is not the legal right to use deadly force, in self-defense civilians can do that (at least in those jurisdictions which allow civilians to carry a firearm to defend themselves). So what is it? It is the following crucial differences:
When cops hear gunshots they have to go and investigate/intervene whereas when civilians hear gunshots they have to take cover or run.
This is absolutely crucial: law enforcement officers have to enforce the law and protect everybody. Civilians only are allowed to protect themselves (or somebody under their protection) and only until the law enforcement forces show up. This is so important that I want to stress this again: civilians do not have the duty to arrest anybody (even in jurisdictions where so-called “citizens arrests” are legal). Civilians have no business chasing and arresting criminals, they don’t have to initiate a confrontation with gangs, thugs, hooligans, or petty criminals. Civilians do not enforce drug laws (neither should the cops, in my opinion, but that is another topic) and civilians do not make traffic stops. If you are a civilian and you see three thugs going down a one-way street while snorting cocaine and brandishing their guns, you should seek cover and get the hell out of there. Cops are duty bound to immediately intervene. That is a *HUGE* difference.
For civilians firearms are a stop-gap personal protection tool of last resort. It is only when everything else fails that you can produce your weapon and, if that also fails, use it.
Law enforcement officers and civilians live in totally different realities. The reality for civilians looks like this:
- The vast majority of cases (about 90%) when civilians need to protect themselves happen during home invasions.
- In the vast majority of cases (about 90%) just showing the firearm (without shooting it!) is enough to stop the attack
- In the vast majority of cases (about 90%) when civilians do have to fire their firearm they shoot 1 to 3 rounds only.
- In the majority of cases such armed confrontations happen at a distance of about 3 yards.
- In the majority of cases, the entire events lasts just a few seconds, then it’s all over
Let me add one more thing: in most jurisdictions as soon as you have stopped a crime by showing your weapon or by using it, you are not allowed to continue firing it. Remember, civilians do not have the right to use deadly force to apprehend a criminal. Which means that as soon as the attack is stopped (whether because the criminal(s) ran in fear or got shot) you have to stop firing. You cannot empty your firearm into the back of a feeling criminal, no matter how egregious his attempted or committed crime was. So even if you catch some pervert trying to rape your 5 year old child, as soon as this crime is stopped, you cannot just shoot the SOB even if he richly deserves it. Let’s repeat that again, firing just ONE SINGLE ROUND more than the strict minimum you needed to stop the crime in progress would expose you to prosecution for any of the following: assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, homicide or even 2nd degree murder.
There is another truth which most people who live in crime infested areas and cops know: the vast majority of criminals out there are petty, dumb and cowardly criminals. It is estimated that anywhere between 20-30 percent of them carry weapons that don’t even work (they are too poor or too cheap to buy a good firearm, and too stupid to maintain it properly). Criminals pry on the weak and defenseless. They are not in the business of wining gunfights. I have never had to use a firearm to protect myself (thank God for that), but I know a lot of people who have and they are unanimous: as soon as the petty thugs see your gun, they run, especially if you fire it once or, even more so, hit one of them.
Yes, I know, mobsters and drug-dealers can use very experienced “soldiers” and there have been famous cases when cops, or FBI agents, have been out-gunned in protracted gun battles. But the chances of that ever happening to you are as close to zero as it gets. The most likely threat to you is a home invasion by two or three semi-literate imbeciles who failed to notice all the signs indicating that the house is occupied and who want to steal your TV to get drugs. Just yelling “get out or I will shoot you” will make them run like crazy. Besides, if you are really on the hit list of the Sinaloa Cartel no firearm will save you anyway, not even the biggest and meanest semi-auto.
What if you are in a convenience store and suddenly three armed thugs come in and try to rob the store (and the clients)? How many shots would you need? The correct reply is “none”. This is NOT your business and you are NOT to open fire unless you have reason to suspect that you or others are about to get murdered. And if that happens, your main problem will not be capacity but the fact that, unless they run, three different opponents will open fire on you from different directions. Remember, winning a gunfight is not about shooting the other guy, it’s about not getting hit in the first place. So whether you open up with your 5 shot revolver or 18 shot semi-auto, it will all happen so fast that your capacity will be the least of your worry. But the smart thing to do is to put your hands up, shut up, given them your wallet and wait for the bad guys to leave, not to have a firefight with FOUR (you + the three bad guys) people with innocent civilians standing everywhere.
Okay, all of the above is to make this point: capacity matters a lot for law enforcement officers, hardly at all for civilians. Sure, it is better to have more rounds than less, as the expression goes “I rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it”, but cute as this expression is, in the real world capacity is simply not relevant for civilians.
So what is?
Well, first and foremost reliability.
Here I will debunk another myth: that revolvers are more reliable than semi-autos. Okay, they are. But by such a tiny margin that it makes no significant difference. Modern semi-automatics produced by quality manufacturers are about as reliable as revolvers (which also sometimes fail!). But that is very bad comparison. What we have to compare is not revolvers and semi-autos but revolvers and semi-autos when used by civilians!
There are malfunctions and what is called “shooter caused malfunctions”. The latter depend mostly on the complexity of correctly using the firearm, especially under stress. And while the difference in reliability between modern revolvers and modern semi-autos is tiny, the difference between them becomes huge when shooter caused malfunctions are included. Stuff like not taking off a safety or forgetting to put a round in the chamber. There is also another type of shooter caused malfunction which is failure to properly care for the firearm. Magazines are, for example, a prime cause in failures to feed (they also tend to drop out when the gun is manipulated which, in some models, prevents the semi-auto from firing at all).
One notorious shooter caused malfunction of sorts is when somebody grabs a fully loaded (but not de-cocked) semi-auto and touches the typically light trigger and inadvertently fires. Most (but not all) revolvers have the advantage over most (but not all) semi-automatics in the fact that in double-action their triggers are much heavier (perfect for a self-defense situation) but can be made extremely light in single-action (perfect for target practice). What this means in plain English is that you are far more likely to inadvertently shoot yourself, or somebody else, when holding a semi-auto than a revolver, especially under stress. This is why semi-autos come with safeties (another terrible idea, in my opinion) which do indeed make the gun safer to manipulate, but come at the cost of adding one more critical step to execute and potentially fail when having to defend yourself.
To fire a semi-auto you need to fully engage a magazine, put a round in the chamber, disengage the safety (if you used one in the first place) and hold the gun firmly enough to allow it to fully cycle. If you hold it too lightly, that is called a “limp wrist”, then the semi-auto will fail to cycle and, basically, jam (this most often happens to women, especially those with a lighter/thinner body). If that happens you need to do what is called a “tap rack bang” procedure (see here for a video explaining it).
The “manual of arms” of a revolver is as follows: pull the trigger; if the revolver fails to fire, pull again. That’s it.
Unless you cock the hammer, the trigger will be heavy enough to be safe without the use of an additional “safety” (cocking the hammer is something you would never do in a self-defense situation – only on movies – and this is why a pure self-defense revolver will often have a “shrouded” (hidden) hammer (see photo of Ruger LCR below).
The answer of the propagandists for the semi-auto is “training, training and more training”. I will address this argument further below, but for the time being just ask yourself which you would prefer doing if confronted by a criminal thug: pull the trigger again or try a “tap rack bang” procedure. Please remember that in most cases when civilians need to use a firearm to defend themselves their opponent is 3 yards away or less? So the bad guy is standing within spitting distance, he might be already shooting at you or, a least closing the distance (a fraction of a second at that distance!) and you are going to try a “tap rack bang”? Really? I very very much doubt it, regardless of how much you spent on “tactical training” (more about that below).
Next, we need to step away from the technical firearms issues and look at the bigger picture of weapons procurement.
Here is the official version: all law enforcement and military forces have moved to the semi-auto because semi-autos are better. Really?
How many people would you think are involved in the decision of procuring a firearm for, say, a major police department? Let me tell you about three types which are overlooked: accountants, lawyers and politicians: none of them care very much about the quality of weapons the cops will be carrying. Accountants want to go for the cheap deal. Lawyers will want to avoid a lawsuit. As for politicians, they want to look good. Which would all not be so bad if not for the corporate world.
First, a simple fact: semi-autos are, as a rule, much cheaper than revolvers. Second fact, for law enforcement semi-autos are objectively better. Third fact: what major police departments decide becomes almost accepted dogma. So if, say, the LAPD and NYPD both switch their entire force to semi-autos then it must be that we, civilians, would want to heed their wisdom and to likewise. Except for, as I explained above, we are not cops.
So let me ask you this: in theory, would you agree to pay, say, twice the price for a weapon much better suited to your needs? I think that most of us would say yes. We are not accountants in a major police department, this is about our lives and the lives of our loved ones. You are going to tell me that 300 dollars vs 700 dollars makes such a big difference to you to protect yourself and your family? How much does your TV cost you yearly? How about your hobbies or pastimes?
Next, lawyers and politicians: lawyers and politicians (same thing, really) will want to say that they got the cops the most firepower possible to avoid cases such as the famous 1986 Miami shootout. So not only will the want semi-autos, but also shotguns, body armor, helmets, AR-15s, armored vehicles and, if given the chance, tanks and heavy machine guns. We all know about the ridiculous over-militarization of US police forces which now treat those which they were supposed to “serve and protect” as dangerous terrorists or insurgents. And it’s their choices which you want to emulate?!
Again, I really do think that semi-autos are better for cops (for the military they are mostly useless except to enforce discipline). All I am saying is that the people involved in the decision about what weapons to get for the police (or the military) have very different criteria that a civilian would. We, civilians, should use our heads and not blindly follow what they say or do.
Now let’s look at corporations. All they want is to make as much money as possible. So, if you were the head of a corporation which manufacturers handguns and if you knew with total certitude that all the police departments and the armed forces of your country are all going to order large numbers of semi-autos for you, how interested would be in keeping a production line and inventory for revolvers which people might still want to buy, but in much smaller quantities? The truth is that the entire weapons industry has a huge interest in “pushing” semi-autos and the only reason why revolvers are still built is that people are willing to pay more for them, because some people use them for hunting and because some civilians are smart enough to see the through the corporate propaganda.
Now let’s look at the “experts community”. What do you think they prefer? I can tell you, about 95% of them will dismiss the “six-shooter” as “totally antiquated” and will swear by semi-autos. Now you remember the argument made about the “tap rack bang” procedure: that if you train well, you can learn how to do that in a fraction of second while under huge stress?
Well, think for a second, and keep in mind the manual of arms I mentioned above, if you were a firearms instructor, would you make more money teaching basic, intermediate and advanced “tactical” firearms training or simple “pull the trigger, pull again”?
This entire “tactical training” nonsense really aggravates me. As if we, civilians, all needed to spend all our free time training (not to mention hundreds and thousands of dollars to pay for it all) and try to became a pretend SWAT team civilian?! This is utterly ludicrous, but since ALL “experts” insist on regular training (and making a ton of money by selling these types of courses!) everybody out there parrots the “train, train, train” nonsense. Take a look at this video showing an ‘”expert” demonstrating how to execute a one handed “tactical” reload while in a firefight against two armed robbers. Yes, that’s right, a one handed magazine reload! That is how totally ridiculous all this tacticool nonsense has become. But there are *a lot* of “experts” making a living from it! And all of them will tell you that revolvers are bad. Indeed, they are, for them and their business model!
So do you need training and how much?
Yes, you do. You need be familiar and comfortable manipulating, maintaining and firing your weapon. I would recommend going shooting at least 4-5 times a year. You need to get used to the loud blast and the recoil. For beginners, and I am not jocking here at all, you need to convince yourself that your firearm will not shoot by itself, that unless you pull the trigger it is totally safe. This can take a while for many people (you can spot them easily: they will be afraid to even touch a loaded gun as if the latter could magically bite off a finger or two). Lastly, you need to familiarize yourself with the possible malfunctions of your firearm and what do to if they happen which, in the case of a revolver, is really simple (pull the trigger again). What you do not need is learn how to do a “tactical” reload while doing a “tactical run” while finding in a “tactical” firefight against several armed opponents. Okay, if you are rich and like to play, then by all means, do it. But for those of us who have a hard time paying bills and who have precious little time off, there are better things to do.
Please remember the figures above: in 90% of the cases you won’t shoot at all, and when you do, in about 90% of the cases you will shoot 1-3 rounds, probably missing a lot. That will take care of 99% of the situations you are likely to ever face in your life (unless you are a cop or a drug dealer, of course).
So what *do* you want our gun to do besides going “bang!”?
You do not care about accuracy. First, because your gun is much more accurate than you and, second, because your accuracy will have a negligible impact upon the outcome of your firefight. All that talk of “placement over caliber” is true, but it is also entirely theoretical. In the real world even FBI agents have an about 80% miss rate in real firefights. As long as your gun goes “bang” and you do not get shot yourself, you are doing really well.
However, IF you do hit your opponent, you want your bullet to have a maximal impact. Remember, in the real world you will shoot only 1-3 times before it’s all over: you will be either shot yourself or you will have stopped your attacker.
I am not going to go into a lengthy discussion about calibers here, but I do have two key facts to present:
First, as you all know, a revolver keeps the rounds in its cylinder. A semi-auto keeps its rounds in a magazine inserted into the grip. Now let me ask you this: why can revolvers shoot huge hunting rounds like the S&W500 and not semi-autos? The reason is simple: revolvers were designed around a specific caliber whereas semi-auto calibers were designed to be small enough to fit into a gun’s grip. What that means is that when revolver caliber were designed they were designed to be the best possible for the job, whereas the semi-auto calibers had to make a compromise on amount vs capability to fit into the semi-auto. Now do you start getting a sense why capacity is crucial for semi-autos?
Next, I want to mention a concept which I heard from hunters: the incapacitation curve. That is the time taken by a shot animal to drop. Human are much, much more fragile than animals, but the concept is one which is totally pertinent to self-defense: if you fire, say 3 rounds, and only one hits, how much time will it take to incapacitate the attacker? Let me stress here that the purpose of armed defense is not to kill, but to stop the attack. A small .22LR round can kill you, no problem, but it will kill you slowly and it has very little stopping power (if your attacker(s) dies/die 10 min after you shot them, this does you no good if they have had the time to kill you first).
Now let’s look at the same issue from a legal point of view. We all know about the numerous instances when policemen shoot somebody 5, 10 or 15 times. How do you think you will look in court if the prosecutor asks you why you fired 15 rounds at your attacker? The truth is that what is called “spray and pray” is something which courts only allow cops to do, civilians go to jail for that! So let me ask you this: would you rather explain in court why you shoot somebody in self-defense 1-2 times or 10-15 times (nevermind the reloading nonsense!)?
Again, we, civilians are not law enforcement officers and the courts to not give us the same rights as they do with cops. Unfair, maybe, but true. What this means for your is simple: you want every round to count, really really count.
I did promise not to go into the caliber issues and I won’t. You can get semi-autos which shoot calibers very similar in capability to what revolver shoot: the 10mm is an excellent round (even if too powerful for many (but not all) semi-auto originally designed for 9mm). But the truth is that in the vast majority of cases what most people use, for a variety or reasons, are 9mm, and that is a very good caliber, but most definitely not the best. It is also very ineffective against attacking wild animals which, depending on where you live, is another issue to consider (I will just say here that my personal defense caliber of choice is the .357 magnum which I believe is the best handgun caliber ever designed).
Next, I want to look at a specific subset of civilians: those of us who do not only have a firearm in their house or car, but who actually carry one on their body every day. This is a small subset of those who own firearms, but their numbers are growing very fast.
To them I will say that the size of your firearm is less important as their weight. There are many ways to carry a concealed firearm on you, some are better than other, but there is no way to lighten the weight of your firearm. So lightweight firearms are definitely the way to go for civilians carrying every day.
There are a lot of decent small firearms out there, but the two best ones are, in my opinion, the S&W M&P Bodyguard in .380 and the Ruger LCR in .357 magnum. The Bodyguard, especially if loaded with Lehigh Extreme Penetrator rounds is, a very decent self-defense weapon, and weighs only 408 grams or 14.4 ounces (fully loaded). It will give you 7 shots. But compare that to the Ruger LCR in 357 magnum at a weight of 555 grams or 19.6 ounces (fully loaded) which will give you 5 shots. Now ask yourself this question: in your typical self-defense situation would you rather fire 3 .380 rounds and have 4 extra left or 3 .357 magnum and have 2 extra shots left? Not sure? Then look at this photo comparing the rounds:
Let me also say this: a .357 round can handle any animal on the continental United States with the exception of the Grizzly bear. The .380 can handle most humans. Please don’t get me wrong: the S&W Bodyguard M&P is a very good carry weapon: ultra-light with 7 decent rounds. But the Ruger LCR, while a little heavier, packs a much bigger “punch” with 5 rounds which can handle anything short of a Grizzly bear. Which one makes most sense to you? What if you need to shoot through a door say a car door during a carjacking? Would you rather trust the tiny .380 or the powerful .357 magnum which was specifically designed to overcome the limitation of the .38 special rounds which cops could not shoot at criminal fleeing in their cars?
Not convinced? Did you notice that you cannot see the hammer on the Ruger LCR? It is hidden inside the frame so you could not only retrieve it without the hammer snagging on something, but also so you could fire the weapon from inside a pocket or a purse. Try that with a semi-automatic whose slide must fully cycle each time you fire!
[Sidebar: one way to compare the power of calibers/cartriges is to use the Taylor Knock Out Factor or “TKO”. The formula to measure this goes as follows: (weight of the bullet X velocity X bullet diameter) / 7000. Here is what we would see in our comparison:
Ammo: Lehigh XTP .380: (approximate figures)
90gr * 850fps * .380in
=======> Tayor Knock Out Factor (TKO): 4.15 per round
Number of shots 7 therefore total TKO: 4.15*7 = 29.05
Ammo: Lehigh XTP .357: (approximate figures)
140gr * 1100fps * .357in
=======> Tayor Knock Out Factor (TKO): 7.85 per round
Number of shots 5 therefore total TKO: 7.85*5 = 39.25
What this very roughly shows is that you have about 25% more firepower with the Ruger LCR in .357 magnum than you would get with the S&W M&P Bodyguard in .380. That difference becomes even bigger (almost 50%) if we compare the typical amount of bullet shot in a self-defense situation (1-3). Again this is by no means a scientific proof of anything, but still yet another criteria for comparison, especially if you want to make darn sure each fired bullet really counts.]
One fair objection to the Ruger LCR in .357 magnum is that the recoil from such a powerful round in such a light gun is brutal. It is true – it is. And for those who are recoil sensitive, Ruger also makes the LCR in a variety of calibers including 9mm and even 22LR. But I think that if you are recoil sensitive no light gun will be pleasant to shoot unless you are willing to go down to calibers which, while quite capable of killing, are known for not stopping an attacker fast enough. Recoil sensitive people have to accept that the laws of physics apply to guns too and if stopping power is mass times velocity, then recoil will be proportional to the energy needed to propel a decent sized bullet at decent enough speeds.
Still, if you really want the best of all options, there is an option, albeit not a cheap one:
The Chiappa Rhino 200DS in .357 Magnum.
This guns weighs only 795 grams 28.1 ounces (fully loaded). But if offers you 6 rounds in .357 magnum. But its most amazing characteristics is its revolutionary design: This gun fires from the bottom of the cylinder rather than the top. This dramatically reduces muzzle rise and recoil felt by lowering the axis of the bore almost to the palm of the shooters hand. In practical terms, this means that when you are shooting .357 magnum it feels like a .38. The blast, however, remains deafening, which is good outdoors (it scares the attacker(s)), but not so good indoors (it could rupture your eardrum). It is *amazingly* easy to shoot and very accurate (much more so than, say, the Ruger LCR or the Bodyguard even though all have short barrels). The most amazing thing is how easy it is to correctly place follow-up shots on the same target. The recoil is still there, but it is horizontal, not vertical. Simply put – the ergonomics of this gun are superior to any revolver or semi-auto out there. It is hard to convey it in words, one has to try it to really believe it. I personally seen twice somebody who had no intention of buying a new firearm firing the Chiappa Rhino only two or three times and immediately deciding to purchase one.
Bottom line, with the Chiappa Rhino you get a small gun, not too heavy, very easy to shoot and with unparalleled firepower for a such a small weapon.
It’s main drawback? The price, about 800 dollars. But considering that it is machined from a solid block of high tensile aluminum (all internal parts are machined from steel), that it comes with a fiber-optic sight and moonclips, you definitely get your money’s worth. However, if you do not feel the need to carry a firearm on you all day, then you can find much cheaper, albeit heavier, options which are great (including the excellent S&W 686P shown in the first photo).
I don’t want to go into recommending specific models. In fact, I don’t even want to convince you that revolvers are a better choice for civilians. I will even readily admit that some semi-autos, such as the new, ported, S&W M&P Shield, can be very good everyday carry weapons. My sole purpose is to debunk the nonsense spewed by corporations and “tactical experts” about revolvers being outdated or semi-autos being superior. There are even situations when elite police forces prefer a revolver: a good example of that is the Smith & Wesson R8 (see bottom below) which was designed following the request from a US SWAT team which wanted to equip the leader of a SWAT team entering a building with a powerful handgun which would not jam or malfunction and which, when fired, would not hit the shield the carried by the “lead penetrator” during an assault (like the cycling slide of a semi-auto would do). Smith and Wesson responded by creating an 8 shot (!) yet very light revolver (1150 grams or 40.6 ounces fully loaded) with a frame built from a scandium alloy. This is arguably the most advanced revolver every built. I think of it as a “space-age 686”.
My personal conclusion is that revolvers remain ideally suited for civilian self-defense needs, be it in a home, car or even for everyday carry. None of the reasons why semi-automatic guns are, indeed, better for law enforcement or military forces apply to civilians. The real reason for the current almost total focus on semi-automatic guns for civilians is corporate interests, the self-serving lies of the many “tactical shooting” “experts” out there and the herd mentality of most people. I encourage everybody to think for themselves and in their own interest. I hope that the above will contribute to this reflexion.
As the owner of a Browning BPS, I’d like to debunk the notion that any gun is superior to a 12 guage pump (or Molot Vepr 12) for self defense.
I have always been an ignoramus about rifles. I could shoot them, but just well enough to pass the minimal norms of bootcamp. Rifles, including shotguns, might be way better. I am simply not competent to express an opinion about them. With handguns I am a “natural”. With rifles I am a moron.
As far as I know, and I know very little, the Molot Vepr 12 is one of the very best ones out there.
My article is only about semi-auto vs revolvers.
But I will readily admit that rifles, including shot guns, are much superior to any handgungs.
Problem (or not): they are way bigger.
Sticking to the article, I have exactly the same conclusions about handguns- .357, the Rhino, 686 maybe. Though my birthday is only 11 months away if anyone wants to give me a Manurhin MR 73
The Manuhrin is an absolutely superb gun! I wish I had one, I really do. In .357 it might be as good as a 686, which is very high praise indeed!
Maybe the only issue with revolvers for noobs is that if you don’t put your fingers in the right place they’ll get blown off by the lateral blast between the drum & forcing cone. But you don’t hear about such accidents so I guess it’s not really much of an issue. I have a scar on my face from getting ‘scoped’ trying to shoot a coyote with an overpowered rifle in prone. A much more common mistake.
The Chiappa firing from the bottom has that ability to cause damage from a lateral blast, at least in theory. But I have never hear of somebody getting really hurt this way. I would say that if your revolver grip is correct, you should be very safe
A Mossberg 590 Shockwave, Kel-tec KSG or simple sawed off double barrel can be pretty small & handy. With those extreme penetrator bullets over-penetration could be a problem. The 12 guage gives amazing flexibility, with something like #1 or #4 buckshot, you can put an ounce or so of lead into a fool with relatively little hazard to anyone behind the next wall. Rifles, with a range up to say, 2km, are generally poor for self defence- “There’s a lawyer attached to every bullet.” Shotguns max out around 100m. Sure, even the shotguns listed above probably won’t be as convenient as a revolver for EDC, but for home/vehicle protection, hard to beat, i’d argue.
“There’s a lawyer attached to every bullet.”
Correct! This is why anybody with a firearm should sign up to either:
https://www.uslawshield.com/ (this is the one I recommend for people living in the USA)
I have range tested a 3″ slug on a tree and a result has always been devastating at 75m-100m range. Truth be said sawed of shotguns are illegal anywhere. So, one using it would have to make sure to stay clear of any cops.
Also, many many years ago I was discussing the subject of self protection with a cop, and the guy said:keep simple and avoid using a gun. Using gun is a legally an very iffy proposition, because it suggests that you are actually prepared to fight the intruder and difficult to prove self defense. A pot with hot water, if there is one handy, would be a better way to go.
Also, I have never been to keen on semi-autos, simply because I do not find them safe. Bolt actions or double barrel with two triggers are easier to inspect, just like the ‘six gun”. They can’t fire when not cocked. Also, double trigger shotgun can be fired from both barrels ans is much faster then any semi auto.
Without any argument the .357″ is a much more effective weapon, than .380″, but it requires practice in order to be able to get used to the recoil of a magnum.
I’ve seen photos of a guy who made that mistake, it almost took his index finger off.
Well for home invasion in most cases Shotguns are more reliable deterrence however riffles sports a better hunting capacity in cases one not only use them to guard the home. It is not really recommended to use riffles indoors due to it’s better penetrating capability than scatter shots of shotgun or regular 9mm ball round.
I’ve not seen it discussed: shotgun pellets in a pistol. Works no prob in a wheel gun, semi’s can be problematic. There may be a cartridge designed to provide the required for cycling back presusre for shotgun pellets. Otherwise one has to cycle the round using the slide manually.
This address the issue of over-penetration.
But aren’t pump shotguns prone to the “train train train” issue? Pump shotguns require a lot of physical movement and coordination. In the panic of an attack, body reactions such as increased blood pressure basically shuts down alot of coordination unless one has trained, trained, trained.
There’s nothing like the sound of a shotgun being pumped.
Come and get it.
Or maybe the chambering of a shotgun lets the bad guy know your location within the house totally losing the element of surprise.
Then why not have it chambered already? In such a case a semi-auto will be a better BIG surprise option. One of the least expensive and quite probably most rugged and fail-proof semi-auto 12 gauges are the Russian made Baikal MP 155 (improved and lighter version of the MP-153) and its truly ‘bulletproof’ MP 153 predecessor.
Getting back to topic, in certain cases a .22lr hand gun could be a good and certainly affordable option. Ammo being dirt cheap and thus decent training would become financially possible to almost anyone. Stopping power of one single round would not be enough but would definitely suffice in the case of the, according to Saker, quite high percentage of attackers that runs upon encountering a (firing) gun.
Risk of deadly wounding and property damage will be lesser, which may be desirable for certain among us. Then if lethality is required, taking a second shot is fast and easy as there’s practically no recoil and thus the weapon remains aimed.
Mossad assasins were (are?) known to use silenced .22lr semi-auto pistols for their dirty work.
Australia and Brazil have signed contracts with USA to take millions of American refugees if Yellowstone blows or other disaster befalls the US between now and 2027. Deliberate activation of such events is not ruled out.
WOW! I’ve managed to find some uncorroborated articles on that. Do you have a link to a definitive source? Thanks!
Brazil, Australia and Argentina signed that. South Africa rejected it.
So how is the US going to pay for it? More debt? Gold? The reality of trying to house millions of extra people is frightening. Melbourne and Sydney are slowly collapsing under a wave of uncontrolled migration.
If true no one asked the people in those countries if it would be acceptable to sign such contracts.
Shoot to kill or not?
Shoot to stop the attack
This is over-thinking the problem. If 80% of cops can’t keep their bullets on the target in a real fight, then how is a civilian going to choose between a lethal and not-lethal shot ? It can’t be done in the real world so the question is pure Hollywood and the question itself gives the wrong idea.
Is there any state or nation where an intentionally non-lethal shooting is legal ? Basically, shooting someone is either protected as self-defense or else it’s a felony called “assault with a deadly weapon.” Laws and morality converge on this issue.
There are only two places to shoot that maximizes the chance of stopping the attack: the head and the heart. Anything else is extremely iffy. People have been shot literally dozens of times and still were able to fight or run.
So the issue is non-existent. You shoot center of mass and then if it’s not effective you shoot the head. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a handgun, a shotgun or a rifle.
Well for civilian usage against other civilian it’s not over thinking. The matter of carrying a gun around is of
‘i regret bringing this since it’s of no use’
‘I regret didn’t bring one maybe for the last time I’m alive’
‘I regret bringing them because it complicated the situation’
Any one of the situation is possible.
My instructor told me that in gun violence encounter don’t do any of this
– contest the shootout
– being too brave
– indicate you have a gun by behavior
And instead getting into shootout you should look for a path of retreat/escape that can be covered by your line of fire Or similarly a good defensible cover. Also the reason he advised that people should get some rudimentary bulletproof vest.
Note that in gun violence there’s two instance which is
-memorable one where the victims survived against petty criminals that have little determination to begin with.
-homicide where the victims died and robbed.
Keep attitudes in check when carrying one around.
In most cases civil defense it’s hard to utilize the firearms to defend oneself both by most encounter that would need it’s usage as well as their legality.
Here’s some of it’s impracticality in real situation.
1) gun violence happened very fast in most cases that the you’re not able to use them to defend or being put into situation that using them is serious risk.
2) carrying one would attract equally violent response in which you may put another gun owner to use theirs or for the police to escalates their response.
While the above is true there’s also a situation where having them is better than not which is
1) where there’s little public order or at the absence of public security service in example a riots.
2) home invasion.
3) in which the owner know certainly that there’s a clear danger or threat that would warrant it’s usage.
In any cases the gun owner need not only to be absolutely responsible for keeping one with them they would also need to know where their usage conform the law as well as relevant capacity to perceive where and how will a situation unfolding to make them have to use it.
I was a witness in a murder trail in the USA, just a rebuttal one. The DA told me always defend your home with your hunting shotgun, with duck shot. Much easier to convince a judge, vs an ar15 or other massive overkill rifle/pistol, making you look like a wannabe Rambo type.
Personally the .22 WMR has always impressed me in a rifle, never tried one in a pistol but would hate to get hit by one, penetration is impressive on animals, and the .17 WSM is amazing at killing things.
I love the .22LR which I shoot from a true dream gun, the S&W 617. But .22LR is just not suited for self-defense: it can kill as well as any other cartridge, but not soon enough to stop the attack (also rimfire ammo tends to be unreliable, except possible CCI). I would not recommend ever going lower that .380. My 2cts.
Andrew’s 2nd sentence reenforced at 11:10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4FESGjiH3s
good channel for this topic. Also supports many of the Saker’s points
I hadn’t thought about the feeding issues of a rimfire, my rifle gets used a lot and never had an issue. Had a CZ 9mm and it gave me a few issues, so I’d go revolver, but in reality a shotgun is best when in flight response mode. Careful with buck shot I’ve seen it ricochet all over the place. I was thinking of how easy a .22 is to handle.
We all have a fight or flight reaction, communication works best, then flight if possible, fight if cornered.
It’s no fun in front of a judge, where anything can happen and does.
.22″ being a low velocity round is also prone to ricochet. They do bounce off the twigs easy.
I am sure the DA’s advice was sound. But at least when I have read of shootings of home invaders, nobody has even been indicted. I personally can’t see any jury convicting a homeowner in an a home invasion situation. Now I do remember a Russian immigrant charged for assault after he took away a gun from a would be carjacker. The carjacker started to run away, and the Russian shot the fleeing carjacker in the ass.
I think if you are going to defend your home against invaders with a gun, you would be better off loading it with blanks. There is no need to kill anyone if they can be scared off, and it is too easy to kill someone with a gun. I know of one sad case where a 125 pound East Indian kid in his 20s was facing two 350 pound men in his garage who were trying to beat him up and rob him. The kid fired three shots from a .25 caliber handgun. The two 350 pound guys immediately started running the minute shots were fired. Unfortunately, one of the .25 caliber bullets hit one of the robbers and killed him. The kid ended up with an incompetent lawyer and a second degree murder conviction. I think it’s only because of the puny caliber of the gun and the size of the attackers that the kid even got away with second degree murder.
God, no… Never use blanks in a weapon intended for self-defense. There are many criminals who will not be intimidated by the sound of a shot and who will shoot back.
The notion that criminals always run if presented with a firearm is a myth, however frequently it may occur.
My primary home defense gun varies by my location. If in my living room while watching TV, my primary protection is a Ruger Blackhawk six shot revolver in .44 mag., which remains besides my recliner. Most home invasions tend to breach the main entrance door, which my recliner faces.
If I am in my study, my gun of defense is a Smith & Wesson S&K in .40 cal. It resides on my right side on a side board.
If I am in my bedroom, I keep my Vietnam service 1911 in .45 cal. locked and loaded, beside my bed within easy reach. I also have a Remington 870 pump shotgun loaded and chambered with .00 buckshot standing in the corner by my bed.
When I am out in public, I carry a very small American Arms 5 shot revolver in .22 WMR. I carry this in my right pocket, and it is virtually invisible to anyone surveying me. I have carried this little revolver daily for 25 years even going to work, and I was a high school teacher before I retired 8 years ago.
I have a CZ 52 in 7.26×25 in my car behind the passenger seat within easy reach of my right hand.
Some reading this might think, “That old man is paranoid”, well to some I might be. I spent 23 years of my life in the US Army, and I served two years in the Vietnam war. Wars bring out the reality of how dangerous and unpredictable this world really is.
I have shot thousands of rounds in my life, but have never shot a human being. But, I am fully prepared to if needed.
It is reasonable to be prepared for any catastrophic future.
Pretty much agree much with everything. I have taken many shooting courses and read what many “experts” have written from weapons to tactics. One day I asked my instructor for a series of classes on using the Glock for self defense what he carried. He said SW snub nose (forgot what model) with an attached clip. This guy was an instructor in the Army and seemed to be working full time doing training for civilians, police, and “academies”. He said the gun is just a tool and self defense is about basically being aware and smart (like not getting into shoot-out in a store, bank, etc). This really goes toward civilians adopting the lead and mindset of cops/corporations/etc.
The one point I would add for people looking to get a handgun for self defense is to ignore the notion that seems to have traction in the popular culture that one is essentially powerless even with a gun in the face of criminals. I have read/heard way too many comments of the type: “it is not good to have a gun in your house, criminals will simply take it away from you.” It is as if the guy breaking into your modest place to steal your smartphone is an ex-Navy Seal who just served 5 tours in Afghanistan and is a total bad-ass. Yes, you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Yes, you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
YES! Absolutely! The overwhelming evidence is that petty criminals run as soon as they meet *any* kind of resistance. A recent statistic I have seen is that women who display *any* kind of weapon succeed in avoiding rape in 98% of the cases. Even determined unarmed resistance works. A friend of mine had a knife put to her throat and she immediately fought with all her might: the guy ran at full speed.
Compliance and surrender is what gets you killed or raped. Not determined resistance.
Now, of course, the key wisdom is “don’t go to stupid place, with stupid people doing stupid things”. I agree with that. But sometimes criminal thugs come and try to get you when you truly have done nothing stupid. This is when a determined and strong resistance is the key.
“Compliance and surrender is what gets you killed or raped. Not determined resistance. Now, of course, the key wisdom is ‘don’t go to stupid place, with stupid people doing stupid things’. I agree with that. But sometimes criminal thugs come and try to get you when you truly have done nothing stupid. This is when a determined and strong resistance is the key.”
This dictum also applies to the laws of war, particularly when you are threatened by the United States and its Coalition of the Killing partners. ;-)
Iraq under Saddam Hussein disarmed and gave up its WMDs. It was subsequently invaded by the USA.
Libya too gave up its WMD program in order to curry favor with the West after 9-11. It was subsequently attacked by the USA.
Syria gave up its chemical weapons program, but it was protected against the Anglo-American terror war by the determined and strong resistance of its military, as well as the support of Russia, Iran, and others.
The lesson for all those nations on the American Empire’s hit list: never give up your weapons, especially WMDs, as doing so will only embolden American aggression.
What’s that the NRA says about the necessity of guns as a protection against tyranny?
This assertion especially applies at a global geopolitical level when confronted by the tyranny of the American Axis and its full spectrum dominion over the planet.
What’s that the NRA says about the necessity of guns as a protection against tyranny?
Yeah, but the problem with that notion is that civilians with firearms could never prevent a tyranny. A platoon of well-trained soldiers will make minced meet of an entire battalion of armed civilians. I know that argument, I often hear it, but I absolutely don’t buy it.
Firearms cannot protect you from the tyranny of governments.
But they CAN protect you from the tyranny of petty criminals :-)
That’s already a lot!
Many US civilians have served in the armed forces. My guess is that there are more retired than active soldiers in the USA. You sure they couldn’t succesfully fight tyranny of the govt?
A platoon of soldiers vs. a battalion of civilians ???
The outcome is only highly determined If both sides are equally motivated. When there is tyranny, then the soldiers are less motivated than the civilians, almost always.
I categorically disagree. Soldiers are trained to fight, civilians are not. If they were, they would be soldiers.
Even when the situation is not as bad as basic tyranny, it sometimes happens that soldiers are only motivated to stay alive and don’t really want to put their own lives on the line to save a regime they don’t fully support. Here is the important point: If soldiers thought the other side had any hope of success, the soldiers might switch sides. More often, soldiers don’t switch sides, but they can get demoralized by a motivated and armed opposition. This is one form of “the propaganda of the deed.” Demoralization buys time for the civilians to build a protracted struggle, buys time they use to find techniques which may lead to a victory.
The presence of an armed opposition offers that hope, so in fact the “civilian” side can win. Since 1959, professional soldiers lost to lightly-armed but highly motivated civilians in Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia (unfortunately), Guatemala, Nicaragua, Lebanon (2000-2006), etc.
But we are getting away from the original topic of civilian defense against criminals.
Every insurgency starts with someone using whatever weapons they can get to obtain better quality weapons from the enemy. I believe in Cyprus an insurgency was started using a half dozen bird hunting shotguns.
No one expects a group of armed civilians to engage in pitched, conventional battles against trained military.
What would be done is guerrilla war. And in such a war tactics, familiarity with the ground, ability to blend in with the indigenous population are all more important.
US Army tanks don’t run so well with clogged oil lines or tracks blown off by IEDs, US Air Force jets can be blown up on the airfield, their tank farms blown up, or their pilots assassinated.
There are a number of people in the US running schools to teach small unit infantry tactics. And a lot of potential insurgents would be people who have been in the military previously.
Also, it has been estimated that the number of firearms in private hands exceeds those in the police and military by *seventy times.* (80 million owners owning 400 million firearms.)
The main problem with an uprising in the US is that probably way less people are either interested or capable than would be required. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if, given some motivation, several hundred thousand people at least could be recruited for an insurgency. It’s not clear how organized it could be, however, or for that matter, how organized it would need to be.
There are an estimated 300,000 gang members in Los Angeles alone. Wouldn’t be surprised if they took part just for the hell of it.
I accept the main point of your argument here. But I think you exaggerated while making your point.
If a civilian uprising could get organized to the point where a few hundred of them can come together, armed and ready to fight, no infantry commander in his right mind would send 30-40 of his soldiers to take on such a large number. (Just recall the fate of the platoon of Marines which split into isolated squads as it entered Fallujah.)
Much more likely, a company of police/FBI/ATF/national guardsmen/infantry/etc. would encircle one handful of rebels at a time, giving them the choice of immediate surrender or immediate death. It would take just one foolhardy act of defiance to trigger a massacre.
The police state, regardless of the country one might have in mind, would discover any attempt to organize and train for a rebellion well before such a large group could get organized.
Please refer to The Battle of Athens, the Armed Deacons of Mississippi, or the Black Panthers when Bobby Seale was with them for examples of civilians with firearms prevent legal tyranny.
I agree with you on your choice of handgun calibers. .357 has plenty of stopping power.
For home defense I keep a short 12g pump with 00 buck, giving me 9-12 30caliber missiles travelling relatively slowly. I do believe that the sound of racking will deter most thieves, and that the load will handle deranged ones, but you set that outside the scope of argument.
I used to think that but a couple things:
1) Most U.S. military personnel would not attack U.S. civilians.
2) Military might does not ensure victory, or even the ability to fight better. The N. Vietnamese defeated a first rate army, the USA, using mostly small arms. They won because they were more willing to die; they wore down the USA’s morale which lead to the USA giving upReturn
The US lost in Vietnam because of China and the USSR backed the North Vietnamese, we didn’t want to bring them into the fight. Because of that, the ground forces stopped at the DMZ. Had the ground pounders been allowed to advance to Hanoi, the war would have been over before Tet was even an idea. Yes, the determination of the citizens was also a factor, but had they not had the Soviets and Chinese standing behind them like a big brother, as well as supplying them, especially the heavy arms and the 47s, they would have gotten waxed in no time flat.
Resistance does help. This isn’t about guns, but attempted pickpockets. I Live in Istanbul and walk to work through a less appealing section of town. On two occasions, I’ve been “assaulted” by pick pockets.
On the first occasion, a few years back, I was walking uphill with my wallet in my front left pocket and the pickpocket coming from behind. I felt his hand attempting to grab my wallet and slammed my left hand on his while turning to face him and swearing. He was younger and taller than I was, but on the hill, I was able to look him straight in the eye. He turn and ran down the hill.
The second time, a couple weeks ago, I was walking downhill, again with the wallet in my left front pocket, and a pickpocket came from behind. He succeeded in reaching my wallet, but my hand reached it almost simultaneously, and I had the better grip on it. Going downhill, we fell to the ground. I yelled “hey” as we went down, and a green grocer heard me across the street and came out also yelling “hey”. The pickpocket, without the wallet, gave up and escaped down a nearby stairway.
In neither case did I pursue the would be thief. Perhaps, I would have if one of them had succeeded in getting my wallet. But the gist is that resistance and a bit of noise can scare of an attacker or bring assistance.
Of course, if a weapon were involved, things might have been different.
With some military training, I remember what the trainer Said:
1 – The best self-defense means, avoid the conflict with any cost.
2 – Don’t try to be a Hero, there are many in the Graveyard.
3 – If the aggressor is armed then you are as vulnerable as climbing a rock without rope. Do one mistake and you die.
4 – In street fight, or quarter combat, only one survives. The other die. Survives the one whom makes fewer mistakes.
5 – Shoot to kill, not to scare. The fastest is the winner. Start shooting without aiming from the waist, and aim when reach the head. As soon as the fire line is in the body mass start shooting 2 in the chest and one in the head, in less then a second.
Perhaps, in another article, you can address Russian gun laws.
As I understand Russians are able to obtain traumatic pistols.
If and when you get a chance.
Thanks for all that you do.
Well done Saker, good advice for the novice.
A friend of mine just decided to purchase a handgun for recreational target shooting and asked me what I would recommend so I took her out to the range and let her try a variety of weapons. She was adamant she wanted to buy a 9mm but after firing a couple of .22’s, a 9 mm, a .455 Webley and TT-33, she actually settled on the .22 because the 9mm was too much recoil (a very heavy competition 9mm I might add). When she asked me what was better, a revolver or a semi-auto, I suggested that the revolver would be easier for her to maintain and operate. She hasn’t made her purchase yet, but I also suggested that before she does she get the staff of the store to actually demonstrate how to field strip, and maintain the pistol. It has to be comfortable to grip and easy to keep clean.
For whatever it’s worth, I find the .22LR caliber ideal for target shooting and amongst all .22LR my favorite one is the S&W 617 with a full 6 inch barrel, but that is me, others might feel otherwise. In semi-auto I hear a lot of very good things about the S&W Victory (https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/sw22-victory). I held one in my hands but never fired one. It looked extremely nice to me. My 2cts and no more :-) The Saker
I’ll close off with a quote from a gunslinger from the 1880’s, “Well boys, I’ve been shot by Colonel Colt’s revolver, and I’ve felt Jim Bowie’s knife slide along my ribs – but I’ve never known fear until I looked into the twin pits of hell of a cocked 12 gauge double”. Probably the best self-defense weapon for the home is a 20 or 12 gauge double barrel shotgun firing #6 to #4 shot, very fast double tap, tremendous up close stopping power, and the pellets have limited ability to penetrate walls but are absolutely devastating on human skin. Even better – it doesn’t look ‘tacti-cool’ as it’s rather a ‘grandpa’s gun’ and the odds of being sued by a surviving criminal is rather slim. I kept such an item ready to go for a few years due to a divorce situation my lady at the time was in, and as a cop told me “fire a warning shot, we can’t tell the order in which you fire it, and keep telling us how you feared for your life”.
I have 2 .22 pistols, a Buckmark UFX Camper, http://www.browning.com/products/firearms/pistols/buck-mark-pistols/current-production/buck-mark-camper-ufx.html
which is OK, accurate but cleaning is a bit of a bugger, ergonomics are decent. My favourite is a … wait for it … Vostok/Margolin.
Extremely accurate, so simple to disassemble and clean, and very ergonomic (to me). Magazines are a difficult to find, as are other spare parts . This type of pistol formed the basis for Princess Leia’s blaster in the original Star Wars.
Many shooters having used the CZ 75 and CZ 85 series with the Kadet-2 .22LR adapter speak very high of it. Both the original caliber (9mm) and with the adapter they shoot precise and smoothly. Great for cheap target practice and effective self-defence.
Holy cr*p is that expensive! It’s more than I paid for either .22 pistol! In fact it’s almost as much as both of them put together.
I can see the value as a training aid to promote familiarity with the CZ operation, but I can buy a lot of 9mm ammo in my country for the difference between that and the .22’s I did buy.
Thanks for the link.
One way to keep the cost down, is to do reloads. Unfortunately you can’t reload .22’s. You can buy the components including some spent military brass (of course this is not for all calibers). But buy few boxes of rounds and do not throw the brass away, 9mm, .380, .375. If you are careful and do not overload them then they will last you a long time (I am talking about brass). Also make sure you always keep the brass grease free in order not to have any nasty chamber-overpressures, which could result in you loosing your eyesight or worse.
Of course picking a box from the store is normally worry free method, although it’s not always guaranteed not to misfire.
I do reload for rifle and have pistol dies. Standard grade rifle bullets cost about $2.00 each where I live. Primers are $.07 per primer, bullets are between $.44 and $1.10 each and powder runs about $.30 per shot. Throwing in the tumbler media, cleaner, lubricant, wear and tear on equipment like case trimmers etc probably adds another $.05 per round. So reloading actually costs between $.86 and $1.53 per round for rifle.
Pistol is a bit more nebulous. I can purchase cheap 9 mm ammunition for almost the same price as I can reload it for. In my locale inexpensive bullets are difficult to find unless I cast – which I am now looking into primarily for my Webley. With inexpensive target bullets difficult to find there is almost no advantage to my reloading for pistol.
Many bullet styles have been banned here, so we can’t get frangible bullets that might actually be useful for self defense.
Ever consider putting a primer in to the nose of a bullet?
Supposedly it was a 22 lr with exploding head thar Hinkley used against Reagan with great effect.
Just be careful not to have the primer sit proud of the bullet in case of a semi auto. Bad thingscanhappen.
Winchester 98 with tube magazine had big probs if the rifle was dropped, required bullet re-design.
Problematic upon autopsy in my area but if you want a cheap frangible bullet simply cut a cross in the tip of a copper round nose using a file or use a box cutter if it’s a lead round nose.
There is a major aspect of reloading and it is accuracy. I started reloading in 70’s after I discovered that my brand new .308″ BLR with 18.5″ barrel had pathetic performance. I won’t even mention the group size, I was able to tighten up the groups so the rifle would be acceptable for hunting deer. I used to buy my supplies from a guy long retired now, who had some exotic powders like if I am not mistaken #44. The guy had loading tables for it. The powder actually proved to be good enough for .308 and .65x55mm and marginally good for .338″Win and it was cheap. I am pretty sure that you can find some people like that at your local “Gun Shows”.
“She was adamant she wanted to buy a 9mm but after firing a couple of .22’s, a 9 mm, a .455 Webley and TT-33, she actually settled on the .22 because the 9mm was too much recoil (a very heavy competition 9mm I might add).”
And that was her mistake – and possibly the mistake of the gun store to try to sell her a full-size 9mm instead of a compact or sub-compact. There are plenty of 9mms suitable for women, even elderly women.
Gun stores aren’t very good at recommending firearms to women. That’s been commented on by a lot of people.
A Webley? Seriously? That’s insane. I can only shake my head if someone recommended that.
Oh dear – reading comprehension. I let her fire my handguns trying to get a range of recoil and velocity she would be comfortable with. She wanted to buy a 9mm, but after she fired my Browning .22, a CZ 75 SP01 in 9mm, a .455 Webley, and a Tokarev TT33 in 7.62×25 she decided that even the 9mm was too much. The CZ75 is a heavy pistol and has less recoil than the Webley and Tokarev – rather like firing a light .22 magnum.
What I determined from this, and recommended to her, was that she buy a .22 and get used to handling and firing it. After she had practice with light recoil and firearm maintenance she could then gravitate to a heavier caliber – be it a .38 special, .380 or 9 mm. I actually recommended a .22 revolver for her first handgun.
A .455 Webley, by the way, is not a bad pistol if they were well maintained and kept clean. Mine is showroom condition with only a light cosmetic marring on the right side frame. They were Commonwealth issue from 1891 till the end of WWII, and still saw use in Police service till the 1960’s or so.
My understanding is a Webley is a big, heavy revolver. Never handled one myself, however. If she can’t handle a full-size 9mm, I doubt she’d have any chance with that. The CZ weighs a few ounces more (40), but the Webley is around 2.2 lbs or 35 ounces. So both would be excessive almost equally.
Take her to a gun store or gun show and have her try stuff like these:
Kahr CM9, 14 Ounces, 9mm, 6 Rounds
Beretta Nano, 20 Ounces, 9mm, 6 Rounds
SCCY CPX-1, 15 Ounces, 9mm, 10 Rounds
Kel-Tec PF9, 13 Ounces, 9mm, 7 Rounds
Taurus 709 Slim, 19 Ounces, 9mm, 7 Rounds
Smith & Wesson Shield, 19 Ounces, .9mm, Eight Rounds
There are tons more. Granted, small 9mm semi-autos tend to recoil more, but that is mostly controllable if your hand grip and posture are correct.
Starting her off with a .22 isn’t bad advice. She can learn proper marksmanship principles and graduate to something heavier for actual concealed carry later.
Also, check this out:
The Top 10 Guns Women Buy
Might want to refer her to Web sites devoted to women and concealed carry. There are plenty of articles available on firearms for women – many written by women.
These are all prohibited in my country and any kind of pistol carry is ‘streng verboten’, outside of very specific destinations. Not everybody on this site is ‘murrican, hell ya’.
I like 9 mm but 380 is good compromise, not much more recoil than 22 lr.
It is,of course, the cartage of the renowned Walther PPK (think Bond and MI6).
I am told by friends in LE to SSS in a self defense scenario, if possible.
I would suggest a different sequence;
As far as the tool to spead the lead, I will say that much: anything, that you have some practice with and maintain is better than nothing, but please, go and practice some at least like twice a year, practice safety, and maintain the weapon(+ammo)…
Do not store the mags for long time fully loaded. I rotate the fully loaded mag weekly, if I do not shoot.
Watch out for humidity.
Much luck, stay out of trouble.
Happy new year!
It is all very nice, if you live in a country, where yo have the right to be armed & the right to defend your home ??
Unfortunately, I live in Aus, where you are NOT ALLOWED to defend yourself against criminal scums & you have NO RIGHT to be armed ??
e.g. A scum has assaulted a policeman, penalty 200Hrs community service ?? LOL !
This is Australia today !
Yes, I know and I am outraged and disgusted by that. Same deal, by the way, for modern Russian (thanks Communist legacy, before 1917 Russians were the most armed civilians in Europe!). I was lucky, born in Switzerland before all sorts of crazy “Euro compatible” laws were passed, I got get my first firearm (a S&W 686) at the age of 18. Got my first semi-auto (Sig P220) in the military. It was part of the Swiss culture. Here in the USA, these rights are under HUGE attack by the so-called “liberals” (who are not liberal at all, but nevermind that), but since it is hard to completely repeal the 2nd Amendment, so far the situation here is I would say 50/50. But yes, of course, in most countries today only criminals have guns and all their victims are left totally defenseless. This is a crying shame and completely opposed to any real liberal ideas of citizenship or freedom. Even before firearms became widespread, the right to carry a sword, or any weapon, was what differentiated the slave from the free man.
Still, no matter how crazy laws are in Australia, I would strongly recommend you strictly abide by them. After firearms, high quality pepper sprays (like this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AT3RHJO/) are the 2nd best option, as far as I know. Either that or an “improvised” (but on reality carefully prepared) self-defense object such as this “gardening shovel” (https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-Special-Forces-Hardwood/dp/B00169V99K) which you can keep in our car “in case you get stuck in the mud or snow”. But if they are banned, I recommend you stay away from any firearms, sorry!
Liberal has two very different meanings.
Americans are shocked and disbelieving to hear that from at least 1789 until 1930, “liberal” had a very different meaning. It was a package of pro-capitalism (which now ends up meaning pro-Bank and nothing else), anti-religion, favoring individual “rights” at the expense of the “rights” of the wider social collective (state, family, etc.), suppressing equality while pushing the fraud of “equity”, and the practical capstone of “democracies” which are for rent to the highest bidder. This is the traditional meaning of Liberal, and it was the only definition. European political parties named themselves Liberals because they identified with this full package. By the 1890’s with economic crises in the US and the demolition of religious schools in France, it had become clear that Liberalism favored capital over and against everything else. In principle, Liberalism is against humanity because human solidarity and even human survival is anti-liberal, meaning they are distractions from the further accumulation of capital.
Around 1930, in the U.S., the Democrat Party re-purposed the word liberal” to the phony liberal vs. conservative polarity that is commonly bandied about today.
I believe the Democrat Party seized this important word with the intent to deceive the public. To the wealthy rulers of America, this was a wink-wink nudge-nudge to signal that the Democrat Party represented no threat to the rich, even in the face of a raging economic depression and major unemployment. It also had the effect of making honest and useful discussions impossible.
Classical Chinese literature has a famous dialogue between a sage and a ruler, which gives the principle that the very first step towards ending corruption is to clean up the language, so words have clear meaning. Conversely, the first step towards corruption is to throw away commonly-held definitions.
The Empire is Liberal because it favors capital at the expense of humanity. Trans-humans? Well, that will be profitable, good for Liberalism, even if it could lead to the end of humanity. Although this threat is well-known, covered in books and movies, so far humanity’s defenses are non-existent.
Zionism is anti-Liberal because it favors one tribe, but the world-wide banking system is controlled by Zionists, so their dual loyalty suppresses the contradiction. This difference is mainly felt by poor working Jews in Israel, while the contradiction looks monolithic to everyone else.
Nationalism, religion (all types), socialism, fascism, monarchism, and a zillion other -ism’s are anti-Liberal so the word only means the universe of all other possibilities. Liberalism dominates not just because of its accumulated, concentrated wealth and power, but also because there are so many alternatives to Liberalism that few of these alternatives have gained traction. However, nationalism and religion, long-standing and absolutely anti-Liberal, have real power and are fighting back.
Sorry this is off-topic, but it needs to be said.
The Australian gun law was passed because of the Port Arthur Massacre – 35 killed, 22 wounded. Do an open minded research of the official gunman – Martin Bryant – 29 – with the mental capacity of an 11year old who had never having shown any tendencies for violence. Wonder why a 22 person mortuary vehicle was bought shortly before the incident and then put up for sale after the incident. One wounded witness who had seen Martin before did not identify him as the attacker. 2 others described the attacker differently than Martin. Martin was kept in isolation for 6 months professing innocence.
the only reason i would say, revolver are better for self defence giving the legal restrictions; if you use the revolver it would be highly unlikely to impact what is behind (around) the target ( one shot at a time); whereas, when you fire automatic; you will be spraying and you better be praying because you might kill the innocent child close by.
I think that you are confusing automatic and semi-automatic here: automatic means series fire, like an assault rife or a machine gun. A semi-automatic just cycles (reloads) using the energy of the shot. Contrary to the Hollywood myth, “full auto” has NO use other then what is called “suppressive fire” i.e. forcing the enemy to hunker down. For real self defense situation full auto is not only useless but totally unjustifiable. You always ALWAYS want to shoot ONLY the EXTREME MINIMUM of rounds needed to stop the IMMEDIATE attack. Not one more. Or you go to jail. Also, trust me here, unlike what you see in the movies, you will completely empty your mag in full auto in just a few seconds. It goes really, really fast. This is why even at war experienced soldiers always use *short* bursts, never long series (ammo is heavy to carry, so you cannot afford wasting it).
Bottom line: full auto works only in movies or with a real machine gun. You sure will never need it (and it is illegal in most jurisdictions anyway).
Actually semi automatic are more user friendly than revolver when it come to it’s uses since it used magazines and hold more rounds than revolver (in cases of reloading you won’t find yourself fumble around a cylinders). Only when it come to it’s relevant maintenance and durability it’s less desirable than revolver. If someone can learn the basic knowledge of maintaining one and disciplined to do the minimal maintenance by recommended interval it’s really better to have semi automatic than revolver.
Good article. I open and conceal carry both revolvers and semi-autos. Depends on the function I’m participating in and weather. And my mood. When I’m home, my go to arm is either a black battle rifle or my .357 Rossi lever-action. An arm of one sort or another is never not with me. But then, my back ground as a security specialist in USAF sorta ruined me. My wife, who is from Canada, never had experience with arms. When she came down to OKC the first thing I did the following day was take her shopping for an arm of her own. She chose a “pink” .38 Spl snubbie which she learned to shoot and is her defensive arm (of course she has access to my gun safe and has been instructed on how to use the other arms in my collection if necessary).
In an ideal world I wouldn’t need to spend money on quality arms for self preservation. I’d rather spend that money on my motorcycles or garden railroad. Alas… the world isn’t ideal.
As a sidenote… I never refer to arms as “guns, firearms, weapons, etc”. Those terms are not found in the 2nd Amendment. I’ve attempted to show folk that in their quest to retain the right to keep and bear arms for self preservation, it would behoove them to refer to these tools as arms. Arms covers the entire scope of self defense tools that have been or may be invented in the future and can not be infringed upon. Having read many “bills” (legislation that comes with a monetary debt that tax payers is saddled with), I’ve yet to see an anti-2A bill that used the term “arms”. Strange how that works (my wife works for an attorney). Making distinctions apart from arms is akin to making distinctions in speech (“hate speech” as an example being turned against those who want to silence all speech). Owning a “shotgun” with a barrel less than 18″ is regulated (not to be confused with the Constitutional term of regulated — to make uniform and regular… (i.e. – Congress being tasked in Article 1, Section 8 with setting up uniform and regular weights and measures, etc.) as a result of not using the term “arms”. I digress…
Some excellent legal advice, as well as tech.
Something that could be expanded upon:
“until the law enforcement officers show up.”
What to do then? I’m serious, in pindoland, for some people, cops can be as deadly as your everyday criminal. Very, very important that one does not have any weapon in sight when the cops arrive, and have open empty hands. This increases the odds of survival for the majority, but individuals of targeted groups remain at substantial, documented risk. Members of the later, and they through experience know who they are should weigh carefully before calling the cops in the usa. For those unfamiliar, it really is a very serious risk to get american cops involved, which those of targeted groups with experience know very well.
I’m serious, in pindoland, for some people, cops can be as deadly as your everyday criminal.
Depends were you live. I would say that, on average, US cops are better than in most countries. I have lived in the USA for a total of 20 years now and I never had any personal interaction with local cops which I could complain about. But then, I am White. Also, I don’t drunk drive or do drugs. I also am friendly and polite when interacting with folks carrying guns, especially dumb ones (which can happen anywhere). I can tell you this:
I once had to deal with a rude condescending and hostile asshole of a cop. I did not bother lecturing him. But the same evening a wrote a letter to his Chief of Police. I got a polite but noncommittal reply saying “I got your complaint, let me review the bodycam”. About 3-4 days letter I go an official letter of apology from the Chief of Police AND of the cop himself!!! The video had totally supported my complaint :-)
How many countries do you know of where a simple civilian can get that? I don’t know very many.
Also, US cops are fearful for their lives and, in truth, I cannot blame them – they do get killed on a regular basis.
Lastly, we can complain about the cops as much as we want, but the truth is that if we call them to our home to report a home invasion they will have to risk their lives to stop it.
Okay, I am sure that now I will be called a “cop lover” for saying all the above. I just report it as I saw it living here. All in all, I find US cops very decent. Sure, there are some who are idiots on a power trip, but there are cops like that everywhere, at least everywhere I have ever lived.
True, Swiss cops are better. For one thing, they are MUCH better educated (A Swiss “maturite” is considered a high school degree but, in reality, it is like a 2 year college degree in the US). In many US states cops have a minimal amount of education, and that can be a problem, I agree.
And yes, US cops are now not taught how to de-escalate a situation but how to get immediate and total compliance. That is stupid, totally, but that is a system’s failure, not a personal fault of a cop.
Anyway, just my 2cts on that topic. YMMV
A cop dealing with a drunk in the US. The cop has a military grade long barrel weapon, following the militarization of the US (and western) police by the Zionist entity. Good luck dealing with those guys.
No sane person would call the cops unless the situation is extremely desperate.
I’m white, I always treats the police as professionals and I see how police see the situation. Personally, I’ve had never been treated unfairly and I have “skated” in more than my fair share of encounters with police. However, I have friends and acquaintances with very different stories – some brown, some white, so it’s not about race.
Two stories from America: 1. A small woman got into a raging verbal dispute with her large husband. She called the cops. First thing these suburban cops did, was to arrest both her and her husband, seat them in the back of two cop cars, and only then did the cops begin to interrogate them, before letting them both go. It had only been a loud argument, after all. Fast-forward 20 years, and this woman was offered a very good and desperately-needed job in South Korea. But when her recruiter stumbled onto this old police record, any hope of any job in South Korea vanished instantly and permanently because now the Korean government has the arrest record. She might not even qualify for a tourist visa, let alone a work visa. In South Korea, as in Japan and elsewhere, the assumption is that cops only arrest people who are guilty. 2. A young woman is thoroughly drunk but is trying to get into a car so she can drive away. Her boyfriend restrains her from driving off. She calls the cops. The police report said she was too drunk to drive. But the District Attorney (not the cops) filed a felony charge of kidnapping. The court found the young man guilty so now his employment prospects are dismal. He is on years-long probation and, employed or not, he has to pay for the probation system out of his own pocket. The young man should have smashed his girlfriend’s cell phone before she called 911, and disabled her car because neither property destruction would amount to felonies. But who would think this through beforehand?
Unlike judges, District Attorneys have no oversight, and enjoy complete 360 degree impunity, which is what attracts high-functioning psychopaths to become DA’s. It’s called the criminal justice system for good reasons. You don’t want anything to do with it if you can avoid it.
All these years, I’d thought Australia was pretty much like Texas, except that they talk real funny in Australia. This stuff about their gun control and gun use laws really set me aback. So, even if the USA collapses, the Land Down Under is no longer on my list of potential sanctuaries.
There are a lot of things about Texas that drive me crazy (in a bad way). But, you know, some of the myth of the Old West is still alive here, and a healthy acceptance of guns is part of it. (I have to shake my head, though, at the macho fools who engage in open carry.)
Thanks for the article, Saker. And thanks to those who commented. It was a good, fast education of an introductory nature. Happy New Year, y’all.
macho fools who engage in open carry
You know the real problem with open carry?
It freaks out idiots.
If people treated open carry today like they used to treat the open carry of swords in the past there would be no problem.
and, by the way
I personally believe that open carry is a bad tactical choice, so I am not preaching for my own choir here, just stating the facts as seen logically.
Think of it this way: why would folks freak out when an civilian open carries but not when a cop does?
The open carry law passed in Texas for a specific reason. Back during concealed carry days if we “printed”, outline of pistol seen through clothing or you shirt/jacket pulled up and exposed pistol even breifly you could lose your license. Vast majority still conceal carry and thankfully don’t have to fear prosecution/loss of license if someone catches a glimpse of the pistol and reports you.
I’ve seen a few open carry but most have the common sense not to. As you say, it makes a person a target.
I am for open carry just because I think that every person ought to be free to decide for himself/herself how to carry. But I would never open carry myself, unless I am in the wilderness away from city folks.
“Open carry” is like wearing a “Shoot Me First” sign. Doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with cops or terrorists, either.
There is considerably debate on how to safely handle the situation where you’re subjected to a police stop while carrying concealed. Some people say not to declare, others say to declare in a specific manner. State laws also vary on whether declaration is required.
I’d like society to be like that Robert Heinlein story where everyone carries concealed or open and duels were legal, but never gonna happen.
I don’t have any guns but I live in Texas, and lately I’ve seen a few people wearing openly carried guns: the guy who did my annual automobile emissions check, someone standing in front of me at a store. Here and there.
I have to say I feel safer with such people around. People wearing guns openly have passed licensing requirements. They obviously have thought about what they’re doing, and what they’re prepared to do. I find this reassuring.
Guns make the atmosphere more sober and deliberate. For me, my natural impulse to crack a joke goes away, and I consider my words carefully.
It was always said that an armed society is a polite society. And I have always understood the 2nd Amendment existing as a last resort against tyranny, starting with personal protection.
I’m okay with open carry. I prefer it to concealed carry, actually. It reminds me that half the people I encounter may be armed anyway, with a concealed weapon. It’s good for everyone to be polite – that way no one makes a mistake.
Your experience and feelings exactly match mine.
“You can get more with a kind word and a Smith&Wesson than just a kind word”.
I live in Australia, and the gun laws here are such that if you have to shoot in self defense, then your life will be made most miserable by the police and courts of law, even if you are eventually exonerated. You will be treated far worse that the crook.
But as the saying goes. “I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6”.
I enjoy paper target shooting my 357M at the pistol club, of which I am a member. You have to be squeaky clean to get a pistol permit. It must kept locked in a safe at all times, and the ammo has to be separate, in a locked box. That makes it almost impossible to access when your door is kicked in by home invaders bent on rape and pillage.
But in the grand scheme of things, I am glad I live in a country where I don’t feel like I have to carry a gun, or have one under the pillow. And I know that virtually no one else is carrying a gun. Knives are a problem. I rely on the Lord to advise and protect me, but if worst comes then at least I have some back-up (perhaps). Most shootings are drug related in one way or another, and the actors are usually known to each other. There is a current serious problem with Sudanese gangs (refugees?) that commit car jackings, robberies, home invasions, in most violent ways, clubs and machetes, terrifying whole communities. And we are not allowed to have a gun for self defense. Fortunately I don’t live where that is happening. The police seem powerless to stop them due to the lenient court system and the refugee do-gooder activists. Our society is breaking down gradually, already. I sense that 2018 will be a year of terrible things. Yep, I am a revolver man, Smith and Wesson of course.
Most shootings are drug related in one way or another, and the actors are usually known to each other.
This is the same in the USA.
I once asked a detective in Daytona Beach “how much violence would there be left if you removed drugs from the equation?”. He thought about it and replied “none”.
But drugs are not the problem either. It is the PROHIBITION of drugs which causes violence, mostly in the from of gang-related violence.
So, really, neither guns nor drugs are a problem – but STUPID LAWS.
That is what really causes violence.
Yes, Prohibition of drugs is a major cause of gun violence, but it is also caused by a glamorized supposed “gangsta culture” which is promoted by the music industry and which appeals to stupid young people.
Except the “gangsta culture” wouldn’t exist without drug laws, because without drugs to sell “gangstas” would just be poor people boosting cars and hubcaps…
Might still be some gang violence, but it would be like the early years of the 20th Century when New York gangs fought with pipes and knives. When they wanted a gun, they just jumped a rookie cop in an alley and took his. Without drugs, most gang members couldn’t afford to buy a gun, even on the black market.
Smith and Wesson of course.
Oh without any doubt, of course!
Though some Ruger revolvers are also excellent (the LCR has an amazing trigger for example)
I hate guns. I have seen them go off accidentally twice and the first time I was hit. I was 14 years old and visited a foreign country where I could not communicate at the hospital. The second time was when a policeman made a dangerous mistake at home.
You can do what you want, but please, please, be careful.
have seen them go off accidentally twice
A gun is as unlikely go off accidentally as a car is likely to drive itself into a ditch.
I hate guns
why don’t you hate the idiot who pulled the trigger instead?
Maybe it is unlikely, but I saw it happen twice. The policeman and the other guy did wrong, but without guns nobody would have been hurt. Be careful. My son is a hunter and hunters are needed, but I worry about him because of my experiences.
I was raised in another age, the Cold War, and a German Mauser was placed in my hands in school before I was a grownup. I also later handled one as a member of civil defense. I had no choice, but now I have. In this country far from the USA where almost only hunters have guns at home. And some criminals, of course, but if I shoot to defend myself I will likely be brought to court. It is easy to kill accidentally, but it is difficult to live with it, prison or no prison. Be careful and also at home.
The policeman and the other guy did wrong, but without guns nobody would have been hurt.
That is as logical as saying that cars are dangerous because bad drivers regularly crash them.
Besides, and more on topic, let me ask you this:
Have you ever seen a revolver discharged by mistake?
In the two cases you saw, what firearms EXACTLY were involved?
Both were rifles of different kinds. I was shot in the face and the policeman shot at the ceiling. He laughed afterwards when we were scared. All I am saying is guns are dangerous things and I am a witness to that. Be careful everybody whatever weapon you have. Especially at home where I saw them misused.
rifles are a completely separate category and you cannot simply transfer what you observed with rifles to handguns, especially not revolvers.
there are two issues here:
1) a gross violation of basic safety procedures
2) the weight of a trigger.
The basic rules of firearms safety are:
1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
In your case rule #3 was clearly broken. Don’t blame the gun!!
A light trigger would make rule #3 even more critical, which was apparently what happened in your case.
But the firearms itself is no more dangerous than, say, scissors which, as we all know, you are not supposed to run with.
Just follow basic simple rules and firearms are as safe as it gets (at least the modern ones)
I don’t know whether I should say this, for fear of infuriating people but there is actually a rule #5, which is: Never, ever forget the first 4 rules.
I am sure people will bitterly disagree with this, but I personally think that the risk of accidents or someone in the family going nutzo can reasonably be said to be a constant, but where you choose to live, how you live your life, where you go is a variable. The choice you make, to be armed or not, depends where you assess that the variable risk line crosses the constant one. If you are fortunate enough to live in a very safe neighborhood, sure I know, something bad can happen. But if your personal assessment is that you are now on the other side of the constant line, it might be better to eschew firearms.
I know, I just touched the third rail … (Puts fingers in ears..)
I am just saying that everybody’s circumstance is different, and I don’t write the above out of disrespect for anybody else’s circumstance. Its a personal choice.
a us marine buddy had a semi go off while he was on a tranport flight.
My father who fought Germans in WWII for more than 2 years hated Sten, which he claimed was the worst machine gun they ever used, as many of his buddies shot themselves or their buddies while jumping or walking in the forest.
This brings us to the key subject: gun safety. People should never forget the number one rule is: always keep the chamber empty. I remember an old guy, we met while moose hunting, putting the butt of his rifle on his boot and the elbow on the muzzle when he stopped to chat with us. His rifle was fully loaded with safety off, as we found out after my buddy asked him if he could see it, and immediately unloaded it before handing it back to the guy.
Note to the commenter above: it’s not the gun’s fault for shooting you, the fault lies with the person who use it and his/her’s thoughtlessness.
What people fail to realize is that it takes hardly any to load the cartridge in to the chamber and remove the safety. All one need is to practice.
I remember one video from DPR from 2014/15 where soldier’s AK47 went off, and the officer immediately smacked him across the head, as he totally deserved the smack for stupidity.
There have two recent exceptions.
Two firearms have been reported to be “unsafe when dropped”:
The civilian version of the SIG Sauer P320 was reported to have discharged in dropped in a specific way. SIG eventually issued a fix. This despite the fact that SIG and most quality manufacturers *do* test their firearms by dropping them in various configurations.
The more recent case is the Honor Defense Honor Guard 9mm. Honor Defense apparently doesn’t believe a fix is necessary, so far.
All that said, guns don’t discharge when dropped unless there is seriously faulty internal mechanics.
Which is why it is recommended never to try to catch a gun you’ve dropped, as you’re more likely to accidentally discharge it than the likelihood that it will discharge on impact.
Which is why it is recommended never to try to catch a gun you’ve dropped, as you’re more likely to accidentally discharge it than the likelihood that it will discharge on impact.
Very very good point!
Thank you Saker! A lot of good information was provided in your article. As with anything important in this life, there is no solution that is correct in all situations. Your comments about revolvers are spot on. They are as “worm proof” as a firearm can be. Yes, you still need to shoot your weapon enough to be comfortable and competent with it, but there is nothing for you to remember to do in the heat of the moment except pull the trigger…and if that doesn’t work, keep pulling the trigger.
I live on a rural property where any police response is going to be at least 10-12 minutes away and probably more like 20 minutes typically. Out here you call the police to fill out the appropriate paper work, not to defend you or your family. In fact, it is NOT the job of police to defend you from attacks on your person. Not because they don’t want to do that, but because it is simply not possible for them to do so by anything more than sheer luck (ie. they happen to be in the right place at the right time). I also live in a place where one can legally and openly carry a pistol/revolver for self defense. I also live in a place where the “castle doctrine” is the law of the land (ie. you have no duty to retreat from an intruder inside your home . So my advice may not be appropriate for everyone, depending upon their particular circumstances.
I carry a semi-auto every day. I carry a Ruger SR9C (9mm, 17 rounds capacity). I own several handguns, but this is the gun I shoot the most, am the most proficient with and if it ever comes down to it, the one I would prefer to bet my life on. It is a very accurate weapon and extremely fast (and accurate while shooting fast…). One of the main reasons I choose to carry a weapon with a high capacity magazine is because, as you stated, my greatest risk is that of a home invasion, which are almost always carried out by multiple armed attackers (stupid as they may be).
My wife on the other hand, has two handguns. A very light SW revolver in .38 caliber that she carries either in her purse or in her car. At home, she has a .357 revolver with a 4″ barrel in the night stand next to her side of the bed.. She is a petite woman and we found that the .357 rounds were a little too hot for her, so we keep it loaded with .38+P ammo. We also keep a loaded 12 gauge pump action shotgun.
I would take issue with two things that you said in your article. First is this notion that you are going to “scare away” an attacker by merely showing them your firearm. This is not only a dangerous notion, it also opens you up to serious legal consequences as this is highly illegal where I live (it is called brandishing and is a felony).
I teach my wife and daughters the same thing my father told me…Guns are for killing, not for bluffing. Never ever attempt to bluff someone with a firearm. Do not point a weapon at someone unless you intend to shoot…and once you have pointed your weapon at someone, do not hesitate, SHOOT NOW. That being said, if they run when they see you drawing down on them and escape, then that is a good ending, but not one you should be looking for in that moment.
Second is something that may only be my misunderstanding of what you stated, but it seemed like you were suggesting that people in a self-defense situation should seek to limit the number of rounds they fire to what is “necessary”. If that was your intent, I could not disagree more strongly. There is no time to determine with any accuracy how many rounds are necessary until after the fact. Once you have made the decision to use lethal force, pointed your weapon at someone, and squeezed the trigger, KEEP ON SQUEEZING THE TRIGGER until one of three things happens, either your assailant(s) are down and no longer moving, your assailants have escaped and are no longer there, or your magazine is empty. Under no circumstances should you cease fire until at least one of these conditions have been met!
One other thing, which you did not mention, but I believe is worth mentioning, and that is giving warning to your assailant. Where I live this is not only not required, but could be considered as evidence against you in any legal action afterward. The only legal defense for a civilian shooting another person is that you were in fear of imminent death or bodily harm from the attacker and that immediate action on your part was necessary. If you give someone a warning, it implies that you felt that the threat was not imminent, which undermines your self-defense argument. Also, warning shots are never ever legally permissible under any circumstances…so if you are so foolish as to attempt a warning shot (and you survived the encounter) you had better say that you “missed”, not that you fired a warning shot.
A shout out to the poster that recommended the shotgun. If you have a shotgun handy, it is the much preferred weapon, but a shotgun is rarely going to be handy unless you happen to be sitting/standing/laying next to it. Unlike the shotgun, a handgun can be carried on your person without seriously affecting your ability to go about your normal business. Than you again Saker.
Thanks for your comment. Here are the points which caught my attention most:
this notion that you are going to “scare away” an attacker by merely showing them your firearm. This is not only a dangerous notion, it also opens you up to serious legal consequences as this is highly illegal where I live (it is called brandishing and is a felony).
At least here, in FL, this is also illegal UNLESS you are doing so to stop the commitment of a “forcible felony”. In other words, what I am saying is that IF you are already in a situation where the use of deadly force would be legal, then just “brandishing” is legal and, in fact, advisable as it allows you to stop the crime without going through the legal nightmare following any shooting. I did not suggest “brandishing” to, say, stop a misdemeanor, but only when you would be already legally justified in committing a justifiable homicide.
giving warning to your assailant. Where I live this is not only not required, but could be considered as evidence against you in any legal action afterward
Precisely. Giving a warning, like saying “I am in fear for my life” is only legal when a jury would agree that knowing what you knew at a the time it was reasonable for you to fear for your life. “Brandishing” is a form of warning, but one which 1) shows that you have the means to protect yourself and 2) which is legal when a jury would conclude that your actions were “reasonable”.
warning shots are never ever legally permissible under any circumstances…so if you are so foolish as to attempt a warning shot (and you survived the encounter) you had better say that you “missed”, not that you fired a warning shot.
Agreed, and I never suggested that.
I just know, personally, of several cases were just the “brandishing” of a firearm stopped the attack. Statistics show that in 90% of the cases “brandishing” is sufficient. However, in order to be legal you have to be able to make the case that at the time of your “brandishing” you were ALREADY entitled to use deadly force. This is why any display or use of your firearm ought to be as an absolute and unequivocal case of last resort.
I understand what Saker is meaning but tend to lean on Bob’s side.
For your weapon to come out it must be in immediate fear for your life or others. To imply otherwise (which I don’t think was Saker’s intent but it can be interpeted that way easily) lowers the bar on when people think they could use their weapon.
Bob gives three conditions to be met to stop firing. There are 3 to start also. Immediate fear for life, clear/recognizable target and innocent bystanders will not get hit by your fire. May god have mercy on a person who accidentally shoots and innocent person while shooting at the bad guy because the legal system sure won’t.
Weapon stays out as little time as possible considering just how dangerous and armed confrontation is for everyone. Police coming on scene don’t know which people are good or bad and will treat anyone with a firearm as an immediate threat to be neutralized. But yeah, to Bob’s point, you keep putting rounds into the bad guy until he drops and is no longer a threat.
I think we might be saying the same thing regarding brandishing. The only difference is that I would never brandish intentionally, but the act of drawing your weapon will often have the effect you describe before you can actually discharge the weapon. In that case the encounter is essentially over and no shots are fired. If however your sights cross their center of mass and they are not clearly disengaging you should fire without hesitation. Your decision to use deadly force having been made when you decided to draw your weapon… At least this is how I was taught.
To some this will sound like splitting hairs, but it is a critical difference.
On a related note, one should bear in mind that it is rarely good for you to be the guy with a gun in his hand when the cops arrive. These days American police tend to shoot anyone with a gun in their hand first and then determine what is going on afterwards. I wouldn’t be counting on any warnings from the police before they shoot you either.
” If however your sights cross their center of mass and they are not clearly disengaging you should fire without hesitation. Your decision to use deadly force having been made when you decided to draw your weapon…”
Agreed. If the assailant is not armed with a firearm and is not already too close, then a moment to give him time to reconsider his intent might be advisable, but if he has a firearm (or a knife) it’s already a “deadly” encounter and firing instantly on draw is the only rational response.
There could be a circumstance where one is intervening in an assault on a third party and brandishing in that situation where the assailant is not armed with a firearm or knife might be feasible to encourage the assailant to back off. Then one can hold him at gunpoint while police are called.
In other words, drawing a weapon to prevent what is clearly a “deadly assault” is reasonable, but in most cases that draw probably should result in a discharge if it really is a deadly assault.
Of course, the exception would be if one has entered accidentally into a dangerous confrontation where having your gun out first is the key to preventing escalation and ensuring survival. This is why cops invariably draw first. The guy with his gun out first has the advantage. Cops can get away with that, but civilians are at risk if they do. So this requires a careful judgment call. Fortunately such situations are likely rare.
Many moons ago I was an Air Force aircrew member and was trained in using a handgun, which we sometimes carried. The crusty old NCO who ran the training had some good advice. I remember it word for word. He prefaced it with a disclaimer that it was not “official” Air Force policy. Then he said, “This is a deadly weapon, let it alone unless you intend to kill somebody, AND THEN DO IT.”
Ponder this for a while, as it is not as simple as it might seem.
I agree and disagree about revolvers at the same time. It all comes down to the person.
For a female which does not shoot often and does not have high familiarity with their weapon a revolver is a good choice. Women often have problems cycling semiauto pistols over .380. And failing to remember to take the safety off could be a fatal mistake. This applies to guys as well. 4-5 times a year is probably about average for people going to range and that is nowhere near enough time to develop the automatic responses needed in heat and stress of combat.
Where I disagree
A 40 sw glock is vastly superior,
“vastly superior” to what exactly and how exactly?
ultra reliable choice for people with decent familiarity with pistols. Safety built into a trigger so no fumbling for that. You keep it loaded, round in chamber all the time. Same mentality as all 6 rounds in a revolver. The trigger pull on a glock is shorter and lighter than that of a revolver which means higher percentage of hits. Loaded with 14rds a glock still weighs less than a S&W 357.
Also when it comes to training, don’t load you magazines to the max. Put 6 rounds in them. Practice double taps, 2 rounds in rapid succession, 3 double taps per magazine and learn to change magazines without taking eyes off target. Use a target the size of a paperplate starting at a distance you get 100% hits. Move back farther and practice at that distance until you get 100% hits. When you get to 25ft like that, you could outshoot most anyone out there. Practice at a place that doesn’t give you grief about double taps. Doing only slow target shooting will not serve you well in a hostile encounter.
My 2 cents, if someone is going to own 1 firearm – make it a pistol (revolver or auto) You may intend only for home defense but social catastrophe or something may one day make it prudent to carry outside your home. Carrying a rifle of shotgun openly makes you more of a target. Also, bs on shotguns being great home defense. Military and police use them to breach doors and against certain threats. A pistol is far easier to maneuver in close quarters and does not always require both of your hands to operate. Shotgun with birdshot, heck no! You may want to shoot the guy through the dresser or leather sofa he is hiding behind. Don’t confine yourself to ammo that can’t penetrate even modest cover because everyone in the room is going to be ducking for cover once the shooting starts. Another reason i like 40s&w round. Penetrates but not over penetrates as some 9mm ammo does.
Shotguns environment is breaching, taking legs of someone in body armour and firefight outside at night if you dont have night vision. Again, my 2 cents.
To clarify, I think a Glock 40s&w is a suprior defense pistol compared to most 357 revolvers. And this is coming from someone who owns both the Glock and a S&W 686. I really do like 357’s but I wouldn’t carry one over the Glock.
Where they are basically equal:
Size, weight, reliability, stopping power, ease/speed of deployment.
Pro to revolver:
In a situation if high accuracy is needed single action (hammer cocked back) trigger pull is clean and crisp.
Con to revolver:
If you do have to reload, which would be more likely for the revolver, it takes longer and requires finer motor skills which degrade under stress.
Pros to Glock:
Same drills i can put 3 double taps on target quicker with my Glock than the 686. When it comes to fast shooting the Glock quicker.
14 rounds – home defense or multiple assailants you can easily run into a situation where you need those extra 8 rounds. So why buy a gun that limits you to less when it is likely your attacker has a semi auto and 10 plus rounds?
Misc: Glocks you can get a 22lr conversion kit for so you can shoot thousands of rounds through cheaply which makes you more proficient. You can suppress it and get 22 or 31 round mags for it also.
Con to the Glocks:
They aren’t Colt 1911’s
Capacity again, that is not, imho, an argument (see article)
Light trigger: that, imho, is actually a *minus* and not a plus (see article)
There’s “light” and there’s “crisp” – not the same thing.
You don’t want a very light trigger if you’re not sure about your trigger control, especially under stress. But you don’t want a heavy trigger pull either.
In other words, trigger control should be based on finger *not* in the trigger until the decision to fire is made in any case, not on the trigger as it comes from the factory. It’s an easy modification for a gunsmith in any case.
Sorry, but to stubbornly defend capacity as not being a factor does not show an appreciation for the stakes involved in armed combat. This is life and death and you limit yourself to 6 rounds because of statistical data. What if your encounter does not fit within the statistical norm??
If my life depends on it, I’ll stick to something with a higher capacity whenever possible. Think it is outrageous to limit yourself to 6 shots in a platform that has the same size and weight of something that can have double that.
You are clearly misunderstanding my point which is that the probability that a civilian would need a capacity over 5 is infinitesimal and even 3 is on the top end. Might there be an exception case? Of course, that is self evident. In theory, you might even get attacked by an armed mob of 100 people, so what? Look up the concept of “diminishing marginal returns”. When you write “outrageous” you are just adding emphasis for a lack of solid argument. That is, sadly, typical.
You are welcome to carry 15, 18, 20, 40, 100 rounds. And several guns while you are at it (the famous NY reload). That just makes you look paranoid, not competent.
The “famous NY reload” was because officers carried revolvers at the time and it was quicker to draw a second pistol than to reload their service revolver. So, in a way, you proved my point.
Second, the law of diminishing returns does not apply here since a Glock is the same size and weight of a 357
Check out 2014 Chicago stats at this link:
You say I have no solid argument but you suggest to readers that carrying a pistol that carries less rounds than your armed attacker likely has is ideal. Based on statistics, that might be survivable but is it really ideal? Because of statistics you will willfully go into a gunfight outgunned because you have faith that you should only need 1-3 shots? Who is being unreasonable here?
Sadly typical of me? The fact is, I’m quite competent. I spent a year and a half being the “bad guy” in MOUT training against force recon and infantry Marines. Paranoid? So are you trying to discredit or gaslight me by implying I’m some Rambo type who wants to carry bandoleers of ammo on me everywhere I go?
I respect your site and your opinions but on this subject you are obviously no expert.
You say manufacturers and experts just push corporate interests but turn around and suggest an $800 gimmick revolver instead of weapon systems which have proven themselves from civilian use all the way up to military/SOF levels. There is a reason why particular weapons are so popular, they’ve earned their spot there.
the law of diminishing returns does not apply here since a Glock is the same size and weight of a 357
My reference to the law of marginal returns was about capacity, not gun size. You either don’t read what I write or don’t understand it.
that might be survivable but is it really ideal
Diminishing marginal returns, look it up.
The fact is, I’m quite competent.
Not at reading English or building a logical argument.
weapon systems which have proven themselves from civilian use all the way up to military/SOF levels
Read the article.
There is a reason why particular weapons are so popular, they’ve earned their spot there.
Read the article
a Glock is the same size and weight of a 357
What Glock? what 357 frame? Total nonsense. You are mixing apples and oranges, not getting even the basics of a logical argument down and then you claim competence. I am tempted to say that I would expect no less from a Glock user (the ultimate overhyped gun out there…).
I am done here.
PS: https://youtu.be/6zfGgLhrH5Q :-)
Well, your blog and your article so I guess you can take jabs at me instead of any reasonable rebuttal.
Glock 22 & S&W 686. I have them both and like them both, each with their own role. 686 is 42 ounces loaded. Glock fully loaded is actually less than that.
There is no dimishing return because I have given nothing up for those additional rounds. Not size, weight, reliability, functionality, nothing. So don’t hide behind academic terms to cloud the fact that you have no rebuttal to that.
Tell me flat out that you would rather face someone who has 10-15 rounds with your 6 shot revolver. If you do, you are too smart for your own good.
Felt recoil on 357 revolver is heavier than that of semi-auto 9mm or 40sw. Making it an absolute fact that rapid follow up shots are more difficult with the revolver. Even most 1911 frame 45’s are superior to a 357 revolver in accurate rapid fire.
You strike me as an academic who has a personal prefernce to revolvers and searched for statistics to support a pre-determined position.
Seriously, have you ever fired your revolver fast?
Tell you what, go to a paintball range with a friend. Put 6 paintballs in yours and 15 in your friend’s and run a few scenarios and see how that works out for you statistically. Get away from office a few days and get some real world experience for yourself, I think you would be better for it.
What does paintball have to do with home invasion.
Apples and oranges
You are parroting Apples and oranges comment above.
What does it have to do with home invasion? Showing that you have no common sense if you’d rather have a six round pistol in your hand than one with 15.
Go practice that at a paintball range and let me know how that works out for you. Run home invasion scenario 10 times in a 3 room building and tell me you prefer having 6 rounds over 15. Otherwise you are just arguing for arguments sake with no regard for how it translates to real life and real consequences for that mistake.
Shotguns are the most versatile firearm, with many different use cases. Germany tried to get them banned in warefare because they were so effective in clearing WW1 trenches. Short shucking a pump is a problem, but so is retaining point of aim on a long double-action trigger pull. Both require a modicum of training. I wouldn’t argue for birdshot or storing without a round in the chamber, but the defensive shotgun is very well proven in the real world.
I don’t live in the USA, in my country to use a pistol in self defense would involve immediate charges laid. With a long gun it’s more nebulous and will involve an investigation, maybe with charges being laid or maybe not.
As far as the birdshot goes, I actually had to face the situation where I had kids in the house, and the ladies ex had the highest level of restraining order. The police confiscated his guns and then gave them back after he broke the restraining order several times. I slept with a double 12 under my bed – breaking local laws – because this twit did actually fire on the house and was never caught doing it. Duck loads are remarkably effective at close ranges and have less risk of penetration into sleeping areas where the kids are. Try it on a sapling and you’ll see what I mean. As most doubles are mod/full or full/full choke there is a lot of energy spread over a fairly narrow range at close quarters. It’s not as precise a weapon as a pistol which can be useful when you have adrenalin rush. They also make a wonderful club up close.
It’s no fun being in a gunfight, I’ve been there, and I have no interest in ever doing that again if I can avoid it.
We did have a recent shooting on a farm near me where some people allegedly went onto the property and assaulted the farmer, the wife came out with a shotgun and blasted the group, killing one. The investigation has been ongoing for over a year with no charges laid yet.
and for the visual learners.
Bird Shot in your Home Defense Shotgun.
Shotguns don’t suck for Home Defense!!
Great links. Thanks!
Now that everybody in the world knows that you are a revolver guy, I think you should go semi-auto :-)
– All the best, Shyaku.
LOL, no way. I spent *a lot* of time thinking about and practicing with both. For me the choice is obvious. But I do keep a few semi-autos around and I don’t dislike them, they have their role in the proper situation. But the comparison I always make is knives vs boxcutters. Boxcutters can be very useful, but they will never be knives :-)
Knifes, a wonderful subject. I totally agree with your statement. Ma….ny years ago I bought Finish knife (it was a classic Finnish knife and it was made in Finland) made out of Molybdenum steel. I always kept it razor sharp, no kidding I can still shave myself with it. I was always very careful when I used it, never used it for cutting twigs or other like object. I had another knife for those things. It was not very expensive either. I bought other hunting knifes since then and paid dear money for them, but none is as good as that knife.
Someone said, in one of the hunting magazines, that good knife is just as important as a rifle/handgun in survival situation.
My favorite, for the outdoors, is a Fallkniven A1Pro.
But a Malay parang is also a great outdoor blade.
For home and city I still prefer my Swiss Army knife :-)
Weapons for personal defense are always a polarizing topic. Although it not an absolute, in general the arguments for and against weapons owned personally is divided between upper middle class/upper class and the OWP, Ordinary Workers and Peasants. In other words, the more wealth you have, either real or a facade, the less likely you are to live in an area that has violent crime problems, ergo you tend to be against personal ownership of active protective devices. The less wealth you have, the more likely it is that you will live in areas that tend to have more violent, and ‘non violent’, crime. Neither supposition is an absolute by any stretch of the imagination.
That great debate is not something I’m going to get involved in beyond stating clearly that I am roughly 1000% in favor of private ownership of firearms. We can debate endlessly which particular device is better for personal use but I will state that I prefer a semiautomatic pistol as opposed to a revolver. This preference is probably due to my training and the philosophy that I would be involved in situations wherein the fast and easy reload of ammo was as paramount as having extremely reliable weapons to reload. Of them all, Sam Colt’s ode to world peace from 1911 is in my opinion one of the best. Secondary home security system is the good old pump 12 gauge loaded with bird shot. As a poster said, nothing instills fear in someone trying to access your home more than the sound of a 12 gauge being racked.
However, no matter which weapon you prefer, get to know that weapon very well. Practice with it every couple months or so and keep it spotlessly clean and ready to go, taking in to account the ‘ready to go’ is qualified as to whether or not you have young children in or around your domicile in which case the weapon should be secured from curious eyes and hands. How this is done is a judgement call from a simple lock box that is readily accessible if the need arises to a full blow weapon safe.
As for non shooting range practice, inert ammunition is available for both 12 gauge and whatever caliber of pistol you may prefer. Practice with these inert rounds often for the loading sequence and unloading sequence. Do this not only in light but in the dark. Sound silly? If the need to load comes up in darkness you better darned sight know how to do it by feel. We practice this drill and every other imaginable movement and process endlessly, just as we practice every possible movement and process with our issue, and non issue, weapons and equipment.
While the issue of legal defense is different in just about all the states in US and in general ‘The World’, do keep informed about your local regs and rules. If the situation arises in which you feel you are justified in doing extreme violence to an intruder, don’t play games. Shoot first and go for central mass. This is where your range practice comes in. Most intruder events will occur at ranges of less than 10 meters and generally less than 5 meters. Going to the range and trying to master targets at 50 meters is a waste of time until and if you decide to learn such things after you master the basics. Look at your own domicile. How many of you have a room that is more than ten meters wide or deep?
Also, get to know your domicile like the back of your hand. Know and understand what room and what resident is where if a violent situation is thrust upon you. Think as you do dry practice runs of where the round will go in the event you either miss your target or the round happens to pass through the intended target. In the event of a violent situation and you have put your target on the ground, with any luck the local constabulary will be a call away. As far as speaking to them after the AO is secured by them, and I agree with Saker, the moment of arrival of the constabulary is in all probability the most dangerous for you.
Once that event is over, you will be questioned extensively. My story in such an event, which I never had, would be I don’t remember a thing after seeing the intruder, I was so frightened for my life and my family’s lives I just don’t remember what I thought or did. Stick to that story no matter how friendly and sweet the police are as they question you and this advice is for every country in the world, not only US. Reality is that story is probably true in 99.9% of violent confrontations.
As an aside, it is also a good idea to make sure your house is squeaky clean because the crushers are going to search it top to bottom, ‘clean’ meaning don’t have anything there that the constabulary would determine is not within the law.
After all is said, done and written, I can only say I hope sincerely that none of you are ever in a situation where you have to use violence but if you do, shoot straight and as Saker advised, stop shooting the moment your assailant is down, and I’ll qualify that with ‘if you can’. With adrenalin pumping roughly 50 liters a second, your thought processes might not be too clear.
Never The Last One http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZGCY8KK A Deep Look In To Russia, Her Culture And Her Armed Forces
An Incident On Simonka https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ERKH3IU NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.
The medium to perversely rich & paranoid ones, that feed from societies that allows them to accumulate such wealth on the expense of the poor, need (in addition to Police and militias) guns to protect their ill-gotten gains, i get that, especially in societies were the polarization between the have and the have-nots is painstakingly apparent. (such as in the US).
As a Scandinavian, hearing you guys salivating over guns is strange, to say the least.
An ignorant Scandinavian, I would say – and almost certainly, one who does not live in Malmo, Rinkeby, Karlstad … the list of cities where there has been a very marked increase in robbery, rape and murder is a long one, with my ex’s 16-year old daughter being one of the rape statistics.
Ignorant also in apparently knowing so little of the true extent of gun ownership outside the cities. There are many hunters, members of gun clubs, and a host of ex-military I know personally who are well armed, and very aware of the salafist / para-salafist problems that Sweden, and to a lesser extent Norway has so uncritically welcomed.
Your use of the word ‘salivating’ exposes your cultural bias.
Never watched a biathalon? Go to Finland where some of the best guns and ammo in the world are from. Sako/Tikka, Lapua. In about 18 months Malmo will resemble inner Detroit and you may reconsider.
Not every person of means is evil nor is every person of moderate or no means fluffy and innocent. I know many people of quite a bit of wealth who earned it with their brains and hard work, the work often physical and exhausting. I also know some who inherited their wealth and are quite good people. I also know those who have virtually nothing and are saints, just as I know some of expansive means and some with no means who are not quite salt of the earth. To make a generality about a country or various classes in same shows a lack of knowledge about the subject concerning that particular country or area.
I don’t remember anyone here salivating over weapons. I take it you never served?
Thanks Mikhas for bringing some sanity to the discussion but Americans wouldn’t (obviously) understand you. I’m from Denmark and i share your views, the only people you’ll find around here, or in many other parts of Europe in genera for that matter, talking like this about firearms, are mostly low-life criminals.
It’s like two different planets.
Thank you for your erudite and informative contribution to this thread, you actually made my day. I’ve been called a low-life and I’ve been called a criminal but never a low-life criminal. I also have the honor or being told by border control in US in late ’15 that I was separatist and terrorist, so now on one of the military forums I visit I’ll add to my avatar your description of me and most of us here: Low-life criminal and separatist-terrorist.
God bless and have a wonderful day in your little piece of heaven called Danmark.
“I’ve been called a low-life and I’ve been called a criminal but never a low-life criminal.”
Obviously there is some misunderstanding here. She didn’t call YOU that.
She merely referred to people in Denmark/Scandinavia, and some other parts of Western Europe that if they “discussed” guns in the same way as Americans, or as in this thread would be considered by most people in these countries as. “low-life criminals” or similar. (and they would be).
For the record. I’m Danish, live in Norway, own guns and know very well how to use them.
Some interesting statistics here. The Nordic and European countries don’t do nearly as well in firearm related crimes as you think, and the USA is not quite as bad as commonly believed.
Now, full disclosure, I am not an American so I have no axe to grind either way, other than having actually used a firearm to defend self (not in the USA to make that clear). If being a low life criminal means me surviving to type this then I’ll wear the badge proudly.
I might even change my blog name to that. ;-)
You should be more specific about your definition of “Scandinavian”. Perhaps Finn? Well, anyway I had a friend, who recently passed away. He was Norwegian, his father was a fisherman, he himself worked on a whaling ship in his youth. He brought over his father’s shotgun and 8mm mouser. Sweden is famous for moose (Elk) hunting do you think they use sticks for that? Karelia in Russia/Finland is famous for it’s Moose as well. Just my 2cents.
I second your statement.
Greetings from some southern part of Europe.
Thank you Auslander, good advice. Here some great tips from an expert on how to (or not) :-P talk to the police:
Auslander, if #4 buck or equivalent is available in your neighborhood, use it. If a person is wearing anything heavier than a shirt birdshot tends to fail to reliably penetrate deep enough to hit anything critical. #4 buck has no problems with even very heavy winter clothing and leather, but will still fail to pass through most interior walls. Highly recommended. But please stop loading birdshot. It’s for birds. V/r,
Everything is available here but I have nothing, I have dogs. Big dogs. Well over 2 m. nose to tail. Pity I can’t post a photo of our two oldest boys, both passed on now but the son of the black demon in the photo, Aleksandr, has taken over the security detail. He’s bigger than his father Melik and his sister Eloise is bigger than any boy collie we’ve ever seen. She’s trained, too, for security.
House and flat construction is different here. Almost all flats are constructed of concrete slabs and this includes room walls, ergo not much will go through them except for the doors and most of them will stop anything but 00 shot. Most houses are the same although some of the newest do have the paper interior walls so popular in US and EU.
Our house is of logs 20 cm in diameter. Standard Military Ball will not go through the walls, exterior or interior. On the other hand if one has to clear a room or two in this AO, in general tossing a grenade or three in the enclosure will usually end whatever disagreement is extant.
“I have dogs. Big dogs. Well over 2 m. nose to tail.”
Now I’m getting a little confused here. Is this a special breed of collies?, or do they have very long tails? (assuming that the measurement is from nose to the tip of the tail).
None of our Rhodesian Ridgebacks, including our last one Carl Michael Bellmann could match that (60 kg,s, all muscles and brains)
Allways thought that Collies was a medium sized dog (international standard).
I’ve met a few, and have found them to be very pleasant dogs, highly intelligent and easy to communicate with.
My expertise is in Australia. From 1968 when I did my training until 1985 when I retired ‘ill-health’ after hitting a brick wall called ‘Police Corruption’ the law was always the same. However I am not aware of any changes, but since our politicians are dickheads and are totally ignorant, the legislation may have changed.
The ‘Summary Offences Act’ 7405 had it’s main arrest in section 52; Any person. The exempt section was section 12 which dealt with simple drunkenness. The Crimes Act had several powers of arrest, again each beginning with: Any person.
The Motor Cat Act, the Road Traffic Act and the Road Traffic Regulations .had as their ‘arrest powers’ Any policeman’ when the suspect would refuse to state their name and address.
And then to explain all of this was ‘The Police Regulations’ which stated that every policeman was simply a member of the community who was paid to enforce the duties placed on every member of the community.
In 1968 when I joined the Victoria Police Farce, it was not a requirement that the police were armed. I was frequently unarmed, and in 17 years I never encountered a situation where a firearm was required. Even in Delbridge Street North Fitzroy in 1972 when confronted with a drunk carrying a shotgun. That was a funny story!
The one thing I did notice was the amount of police that watched the Hollywood cop shows and simply loved the equipment they had.
Again, in Australia which started off as a penal colony and the bureaucracy never changed, we were never permitted to carry ‘any’ instrument that could be considered as a means of ‘self-protection’. No firearms, no knives, no razor blades or baseball bats or pick handles. And again we were only permitted to use such for as necessary to protect, yourself but no more.
Where Mr Reynard makes the statement; ‘A scum has assaulted a policeman.” I should remind Mr Reynard that policemen have always been assaulted, and sometimes they have been known to be on the other end. However in the modern era of Political Correctness such abilities such as being capable of protecting oneself are not considered necessary.
And then you look at the film industry glamourizing the petty little criminals like ‘Squizzy Taylor’ of Collingwood fame.
My favourite weapon for self defence is the only weapon I was good at, a 3″ mortar, either that or my mouth!
My father who was a barber, had among his clients one of the originial 21 men of the texas rangers.
When he was asked if there was any of the famous “showdowns” in the western streets, he told,
if there was a situation when confrontation was imminent we would take them with a rifle from across the street and be done with it.When it comes down to a gun battle with a pistol it is in essence hand to hand.
I was told that the famous Wyatt Earp used his ‘peacemaker’ most frequently against drunken or rowdy cowboys by creeping up behind them and whacking their head with the barrel of his peacemaker.
The aim of ‘peacekeeping is to survive, not to be a shooting target.
I fully agree with the Sakers conclusions. For home self defense, a revolver is the best. It has no safety, and its reliable. I have a Ruger revolver, which I bought years ago. Its tough, excellent quality, and feels well in your hand. Semi-automatics are for the military, who really do need a 17 or 18 round magazine.
Sorry, slightly off-topic.
The legendary gunfight at OK Corral that Saker name checks twice in the first paragraphs of this article never happened. It was just another hoax by the Jewish Mafia.
Nice article Saker, Im also interested in revolver as our licence instructor always said: semi-automatic will not work well in Nature – winter time, rain…etc
He also said to us..gun is a tool, when you need to defend yourself or wife, children..shot first and ask later!!
He was first commander of our special police forces, so he could be right on that.
What about some Russian guns and revolvers, I would prefer to buy decent Russian revolver, cuz Im a bit proRussian and I allready possess semi-auto CZ 75 stainless.
Have anybody tested MP412 Rex, or Stechkin revolver?
Regards from Ljubljana!
Crowbar as a tool is pricless behind the door imo and far more acceptable infront of judge when shit hits the…
Keep in mind that a crowbar is still considered a “deadly weapon” when used as a weapon. Just like a basball bat or a golf club. Please mistakenly assume that such an item is considered somehow immune from being treated as a deadly weapon and then they go to jail when the courts say otherwise.
The key thing here is deadly force: unless you are 100% justified in using it, then don’t. But if you do, I think that a crowbar or a gun will be considered very similarly. The difference being only that a firearm is a deadly weapon always and by definition, whereas a crowbar is not.
As for Russian and Eastern semi-autos: I have always like the CZs a lot, and I have always disliked the Makarov.
I have a shiny, thick blackthorn stick behind my door, with long pointed spikes still attached. It looks scary.
Blackthorn is wonderful, you can make gin from the sloes, and also elixir , and massage oil from its white blossoms.
If Russians produce something that works, it is usually super expensive.
Very well said, Mr Saker.
I like to recall William Burroughs’ dictum “Gimme a .38 anytime.”
It may also be a good idea to maintain operational security… Be careful what you say about your gun.
Have a lawyer’s telephone number close at hand. Your silence can be golden in many ways. If you get sucked into the system shut up. The lawyer does the explaining. Speak to the lawyer.
My country does not allow civilians to use weapons (in most cases). I live in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro where violence is growing. I really do not know what could happen in Brazil if we had a similar American law. I really do not see it well, we live in a very different reality from the north.
“In the vast majority of cases (about 90%) just showing the firearm (without shooting it!) is enough to stop the attack”
Well, here I realize how our realities are different, when I read this I had to laugh, sorry saker for that (it was not personal), show a gun in Rio is an invitation to a firefighting, it is so insane that there is a twitter / facebook account just for mapping the shootings, is called “Onde Tem Tiroteio.” A significant figure: in 2017, 134 police officers were killed, of whom only 28 were working, the others were on day off or retired, most reacted to the robbery.
NOTE: On home attack, it is difficult to comment, there are few cases reported in the Brazilian media, but the few usually deal with well-armed bands specialized in middle-class and even luxury condominiums, most of them in São Paulo. What is most common to happen to people of lower classes is when you get home by car and be surprised by bandits who were waiting, they usually take the car but do not enter the house.
NOTE2: I think, and its just my personal opinion, that Mexico goes the same.
I have been to Brazil, mostly to Rio, at a time when there was about 5-10 shootings every night. Now I hear that this is even worse. For a case like that, none of the assumptions I made above work, I agree. Frankly, in Brazil I would keep several dogs in my house and, if possible, an assault rifle like a AKSU-74 and/or a shotgun.
l’articolo di Saker sui revolver e le semiauto è molto bello ma, a mio avviso, incompleto perchè si limita a guardie e ladri. Sarebbe stato interessante se avesse trattato anche la situazione (molto probabile) di disordini e/o guerra civile, naturalmente restando nel campo stringente delle pistole.
Mod. Translation: Saker’s article on revolvers and semiauto is very nice but, in my opinion, incomplete because it is limited to guards and thieves. It would have been interesting if he had also dealt with the (very likely) situation of unrest and / or civil war, naturally remaining in the stringent field of guns.
war, civil or international, is totally different. For one thing, you don’t use handguns in real wars. It’s all assault rifles. Most combatants get killed by artillery by the way. A lot of “suppressive fire” is used. combatants work in teams. logistics provide a lot of ammunition. combatants are trained in specific tactics. etc. etc. etc. I could multiply the examples.
so, really, there are four levels of violence
1) individual and criminals
2) law enforcement and criminals
3) riots and civil unrest
My article was only about #1
I live in Europe so the above doesn’t apply to me.
I have been practising krav maga for many years now and we’re taught that most people freeze up in unexpected violent confrontations, the more flowery advanced self defence techniques usually fail under stress.
Unless you deal with these kind of situations for a living i.e a cop, soldier in war zones etc
The best and closest you’ll get to a high stress situation is through sport and this includes firearms as well probably.
Muscle memory under stress is the best way to learn.
Take up unarmed self defence as well for self protection and fitness. You dont know how health care will last in a collapse situation so give up them smokes and look after yourself.
In the Handguns for Women course that I took several years ago, many of the issues discussed here were covered. One that was not and it caused some concern was the issue of children in the house and keeping the pistols and ammunition separate and, thus, how fast you could load the gun in an emergency was important for the women. Also one can transport a hand gun in California openly and legally if the ammunition is carried separately.
So the impression I got from the course was that it was a lot faster to pick up a clip and load it into an automatic than to laboriously and perhaps with shaking hands load individual bullets into a revolver. The teachers did say that a shotgun was a better deterrent especially in a mobile home park where you do not want stray bullet (s) careening through the walls of the unit next door. They also advised calling out “I have a gun” first before the “cha-chung” loading of the shotgun just in case of the ne’er-do-well nephew who needed a place to stay at 3 AM. and had an extra ( forgotten about ) key.
And the advice about the pistol being able to be carried and shot through a purse–yes, a person I know third hand got all the restraining orders possible but it was the pistol in the purse which saved her life when the abusive ex husband jumped in the car and ordered her to drive. “Let me get my keys…just a minute” . Her kids still have a mother.
I’m one of the majority who’ve never been put in the position of having to defend against a home invasion or street crime, but I do have one friend (just one) who had to defend his house against a break-in while he and his wife were in the house.
I thought Saker readers might appreciate hearing the story (and the background) of what went down during one real-life home defense encounter, that the guy got through with flying colors. What follows below is a summary of his account.
Firstly, the background: He’s thought about home defense, and here’s his situation: He’s an older fellow, who’s kids are grown and out of the home, so usually it’s just him and the wife at home. They live in a small town in upstate New York.
While gun carry permits exist in New York state, carrying a gun outside for defense would not be a good thing to do in his community (besides, apart from a few teenagers getting out of hand after parties or on Haloween, he’s not aware of any street violence ever having happened in his town.) I guess you could say living in a community where people know each other, and look out for each other is one of the most important things you can do for security?
Property crime does happen, though, and he decided for two reasons that a shotgun was the best weapon to have at home: 1) he regards hitting the intruder at all as being more important than a well-placed “stopping shot” and all this theoretical stuff, and he’s trained to the point where he can hit a human-size target shooting his shotgun at waist level, without even sighting. And with serious aiming he can shoot birds at range.
2) He regards penetration of walls as the biggest danger of shooting a gun indoors, especially since his house has flimsy drywall walls inside. none of that old wooden lathe with real plaster applied. He’d read an article about a guy who fired a hunting rifle at an intruder, and the bullet went through a wall, through a window and through a neighbor’s window into their house. An invitation to legal problems galore. And you’d never forgive yourself if you hit an innocent person through a wall. Shotguns with the right type of load provide both higher probability of a hit and less penetrating power to go through walls,
Note also that he keeps his shotgun and all the paraphernalia in a gun safe installed in a closet in his bedroom. The last thing he wants would be for one of his grandchildren to get their hands on a gun or ammo without supervision, and it also improves one’s legal situation. He’s Red PIlled, and more than a little bit Libertarian, and he actually regards prosecutors and lawyers as the biggest threat to one’s well-being in the case of a home defense situation.
So he’s registered the shotgun as a hunting weapon, complies with all the storage and safety rules, and he even goes to the extent of getting a hunting permit some years during the wildfowl season, and goes out and even bags a bird or two (much to the disgust of the wifey when he brings said dead birds into the kitchen, LOL.)
All this means that if a home defense shooting happens, a prosecutor or tort lawyer can’t claim that he had stocked the house with a “self defense weapon” and was “spoiling for a fight.” It’s just his birding gun.
So, it was summertime a few years back, their bedroom window was open, and he was awoken by what he thought was the sound of someone on the deck outside below the bedroom. Then he heard the sliding patio door being pried or something to defeat the latch, so he got up, got the shotgun out of the safe and put a few shells into it. When he opened the bedroom door he could hear the intruder in the house, so he started down the stairs, and pumped to shotgun to chamber the first shell.
He said the minute his gun made that recognizable “pump sound” the noise from the guy downstairs stopped, then he heard him running for the patio door. He continued downstairs and by the time he got to the living room, the guy apparently had fled out though the back yard, and there was his damaged sliding door left open.
He didn’t go out into the back yard, and called the cops next. He said the officer, who he happened to know, was there in 10-15 minutes, and took a report. His wife, meanwhile had slept through all of this, and the officer took him at his word that he had a permit for the shotgun and rather than disturb his wife, took him at his word that he had been storing the gun legally. He in fact congratulated him on handling the situation so well.
Of course, if this had happened in New York City or Buffalo, the cop would have behaved differently. Another advantage of living in a community like his, I guess. In fact, in NYC or some other big place, one would have to ask whether it would be a good idea to call the cops at all, if there was no need to make police report for an insurance claim.
FWIW, he never did hear if the cops ever caught a suspect. He also just paid a tradesman cash to fix the sliding door (and install a better locking system) rather than make an insurance claim, since a crime report was going to result in a higher premium on his home policy. He and his wife also decided together that they didn’t think it was worth getting an alarm system installed. Each to his own, I guess.
So there it is. One everyman’s experience with home defense.
I went and bought 2 revolvers years ago. When I was in the gun shop I was wondering why everyone else except me were buying revolvers for self defense. Later did I realize that revolvers are the way to go after I started reading online gun magazines.
careful with gun magazines, they mostly also feed the fad of the day.
My advice, yes, sure, read mags, go to a few good websites, talk to a few experts but the set all the assumptions asides and use your own common sense. that, and talk to a lawyer *specialized* in firearm related issues.
Sorry, have to disagree, well, not entirely, you are correct about most of your points.
But don’t agree your conclusions.
Revolvers are completely wrong for self-defense. They are suited for sport shooting and hunting solely.
1) Capacity *does* matter. In a personal defense situation, you don’t calculate your odds based on the “average”. You try to account for the outliers.
For example, you mention “home invasion.” In *many* cases reported in the firearms media, a home invasion is conducted by two, three or even more assailants, one or more of whom are frequently armed. In this context, a revolver is just ridiculous. What you want is a shotgun, a 9mm or .45 caliber carbine or an AR-15 semi-auto rifle. (Over-penetration of any of these is a controversial topic, but generally speakin
g they can all over-penetrate – or not, depending on your home construction and the specific circumstances.)
Now a lot of people say that worrying about capacity is “paranoid” because of the statistics you cite. I can only point out that probably 98-99% of people doing concealed carry will never, ever, even have to produce their gun in a conflict situation. So by definition, if you conceal carry, you are *already* “paranoid.”
“Lifetime Victimization Rates” notwithstanding – they show 3 out of 4 people being robbed during their lifetime, for example, and 3 out of 10 being assaulted physically – the probability of using a gun in defense depends more on how many people actually carry than the probability of using that gun. In the US, 16 million people carry – and almost daily someone does use their weapon in self-defense. Estimates of 200,000 times or more a year of firearm defensive use are reported.
If you want to speak about “concealed carry’ – which is very different from “home defense”, then read on.
2) Capacity matters. Even if you are dealing with only one assailant, a revolver fires either five or six shots (there are a couple that hold 10 – that should be the minimum considered for a self-defense handgun.). Statistics show that even trained police officers miss more than they hit – and they’re shooting 15, 17, or even 21 round semi-autos.
You are going to miss. That’s almost a certainly unless you have your firearm pressed up against the body of your assailant. At least thirty percent of your shots will miss completely. The remaining shots may not incapacitate. With five rounds to work with, that doesn’t leave you much room for error.
And that’s the point: You have to account for the outlying circumstances that may occur: multiple assailants, misses, malfunctions, and much more. The standard advice to just buy a revolver, shoot it a couple times a year, and hope for the best is bad advice.
The entire discussion of “safety handling” is completely unnecessary. This is why cops carry Glocks – trigger safeties. You are not flicking a safety before you can fire. And even if the firearm is equipped with an external safety, many of them are relatively safe even with the safety off.
As for training, the fact remains that unless you train you can not expect to deploy your firearm at a reasonable speed, attain a proper grip, aim it properly, or deal with recoil or malfunctions, without repeated practice. Shooting 50 rounds at the range 4-5 times a year is *not* going to cut it. That is the sort of “training” a lot of police officers get and it shows in their performance as reports indicate. This is why they miss a lot.
Declaring that firearms experts are pushing training solely for the profit to themselves is misleading. Certainly there are a lot of BS artists in the training field. But keep in mind that we’re talking about defense of life here. There are certain basics you need to know and it involves more than just how to hold a gun and aim it.
In my view, the optimum firearm for concealed carry is a 9mm or .45 caliber semi-auto with a minimum capacity of ten rounds, carried in a holster designed for that firearm, and with at least one additional magazine carried externally in an appropriate carrier.
If you seriously suspect you may have an encounter because of where you live or the business you engage in, then a *second* firearm of the same make and model should be carried. This is to handle unexpected events like malfunctions, dropping the firearm or having it taken away from you (this occurs in a surprisingly high number of cases – the first thing a person is likely to do upon having a firearm pointed at them is to try and take it away.) An additional magazine should be carried for this firearm.
The so-called “New York Reload” – drawing a second firearm upon emptying the first – was in fact created by the New York Police Department in one of their manuals precisely because the officers at the time were carrying five-shot revolvers and frequently ran out in circumstances where taking the time to do a revolver reload would have been fatal.
The alleged differences between police officer carry and civilian carry are mostly irrelevant. Again, if you carry at all, you’re already “paranoid” and intent on defending yourself and others, which means you already expect a conflict which has to be resolved by a firearm. It makes no sense to then try to minimize your capability to do so.
Everyone would like to be War Machine and carry twin 7.62mm miniguns on our shoulders, not to mention full armor. We can’t do that so we make do with what are ultimately completely inadequate firearms – handguns. As if often said, a handgun is only useful to allow you to fight your way to your rifle. Handgun “stopping power” is mostly a myth – shot placement is far more important, as trauma surgeons will tell you.
But if you’re going to be limited to a handgun, you need to carry one that is at least mostly adequate – meaning calibers that start with a “4” or higher – .22, .25, .32 and .380 need not apply (although the latter is not *entirely* incapable) – with the exception of the .357 Magnum and .38 Special – and you need to prepare for the situations where one gun is not enough, one magazine is not enough, malfunctions, and the like which means more than going to a range and shooting fifty rounds 4-5 times a year (much of the required additional training can actually be done at home with an unloaded firearm.).
It makes no sense to start by minimizing your requirements to five or six shots and minimal training.
My credentials for commenting thus are: my father was an NRA Lifetime Member and we had a fifty-foot, four-point firing range on our property while I was growing up, and I’ve done as much or more research on combat handgunning as the Saker has, if not more. I’ve been following firearms magazines for forty years and firearms Web sites for the last fifteen.
and I’ve done as much or more research on combat handgunning as the Saker has, if not more. I’ve been following firearms magazines for forty years and firearms Web sites for the last fifteen.
Yes, indeed, that that shows :-)
A seven shot .357 magnum would be my gun if I was limited to only one. Below are the reasons:
-.357 Magnum – a venerable, and dependable self defense load. The 4″ barreled magnum can be carried under a jacket or coat. Or it can be carried in a vehicle or used as a home defense gun.
-Multiple caliber capability – .357 magnum, 38 special, 38 special +p.
-Stainless steel for durability
-The seven shot revolver gives a little more firepower
-It’s fun to shoot
-In a pinch it can be a close range hunting firearm.
-This type revolver in name brands is generally very reliable, and will take a large number of full magnum loads without damage.
-No concerns for jamming or feeding.
-It’s a cool looking gun.
So, if you’re looking at buying your first revolver or semi-auto pistol, and it’s not likely you’re going to be able to buy more than one to start, a .357 magnum with 4″ barrel will make a fine gun to build your collection around.
And no matter how many you get in the future, your revolver will always be ready to perform in multiple situations.
that is, indeed, my favorite firearm too (even if too heavy to carry)
I dont often comment, normally everyone has already said want i wanted to already but this article probably creates more diverse opinions than most and I see a lot of holes in it (sorry for the pun :-)
In writing this I assume that the article is aimed at those among us less enlightened to the interesting and exciting world of firearms.
First I should state that i am British, actually English but I dont live in London thank you very much. During my adult life I have lived and worked in the USA and traveled there often both on business and pleasure for more than 30 years, I also have extended family there.
My first point is one of avoidance, it is often more profitable to avoid a problem than to have to resolve it. To expand on this there were some 13000 people killed by firearms in the USA in 2015 alone. I have read (and do not have links or documents for evidence, so please satisfy yourself with your own research) that 50% of these killings occur in just 2% of counties. If we were to double the 2% to include 4% of the (worst) counties we would see that 50% increases to 75%. That’s just under 10,000 people of the 13,000 killed by firearms in these 4% of counties, staggering isnt it? (I wonder if it is true) More so, if you were to come away from those areas by just a few tens of miles the rate of death from firearms (and other weapons) rapidly reduces to those seen in other relatively peaceful countries with a low murder rate such as Canada. It seems to me that if you live in one of those (most dangerous) counties or close by then the best course of action to preserve your well being would be to move to a less violent area as soon as you can. Not always possible though is it? but still this article is aimed at law abiding citizens with some if limited financial means and not at the drug dealing criminal crazy psychos and the like who’s home is the swamp.
From personal experience of living in the States and in different States I would start by saying that whilst living in Washington State (Seattle) some 20 years ago the best advice I was given was by sane respectful gun toting Americans of much experience (including an ex military sniper with more kill rates than Rambo) this advice was to never pull a weapon without first having the clear intention of using it (just like the Gurka’s with their knives, once out of the sheath they must be used). That is pull the weapon, aim and fire in the shortest time possible to disable/kill the opponent, for god sake dont stand there waving it about your head. Cant do that? good then never pull a weapon and probably best to never carry one, this after all isn’t the movies, that’s for the folks in La La Land.
For all the time I lived in Seattle and all the places I went unrestricted and without fear I never once met a problem, never carried a weapon either (apparently I do listen to good advice). On returning home to England one Christmas vacation I found myself in the middle of a very unwanted violent physical attack, was I pissed, it ruined my holiday and on returning back to Seattle bitterly complained to my gun toting friends what had happened. I lamented that I had never once had a problem in Seattle, at which point they were on the floor laughing their heads off. I asked them what they thought was so funny and they told me that one look at me and everyone knew I was packing and that was why I never had a problem. Never really understood why they thought that but they did, so it seems that where lots of people have and can carry weapons you can be safe not carrying one. Just as in nature the hoverfly imitates the wasp and gets away with it.
My next point refers to ballistics, energy and the use of AMJ and FMJ projectiles. I read the article as being aimed at providing sensible advice to those law abiding citizens wishing to protect themselves from gun toting unlawful types without ending up in the same institutions (that is prisons, and my god you would not want to end up there) that the unlawful’s are destined to inhabit at some point in their miserable lives.
The article states that a couple of shots are better than multiple shots, I get that who wants to be sent down for slaying dozens of innocent people when there was only one bad guy. So the revolver idea works to my mind, one or two shots, a couple of very loud scary bangs and everyone runs away (including myself) apart from the guy who’s taken one in the belly and is now busy painting the road red with his blood and guts. Multiple rapid fire risks spraying bullets far and wide taking out little kiddies eating ice creams and old people who didn’t deserve to die that day. I get that, I totally get that. But then the article expands on what type of bullet to use arguing that a larger caliber AMJ/FMJ projectile with a magnum casing is better that an old ordinary 38 slug that would not penetrate through the car door of escaping criminals. Hold on, why would I want to fire at criminals escaping in cars when ive been advised that i could go to prison for doing so? What would life be like for me, Mr Law abiding citizen behind bars in prison which is predominately occupied by crazy criminal types when these crazy criminal types know what im for? Above all I aim to preserve my virginity if you get my meaning.
What kills a person from a bullet wound is the energy present in that projectile at impact and how it is dissipated/absorbed by the surrounding tissue and bone and proximity of vital organs/blood vessels. Excluding gun shot wounds to the head (as these are very unlikely given the precondition set of circumstances of the article) most wounds would be placed in the central trunk. But did you know that shooting someone in the leg with a 44 magnum from a revolver can kill them from the energy impact alone, that is kill them instantly before they bleed out?
Kinetic Energy (Joules) is Mass x (Velocity squared) divided by 2. Mass represents the projectile ‘weight’ almost always quoted in grams and Velocity is the speed the projectile is travelling at. Muzzle velocity is the speed of the projectile when it exits the barrel (often quoted in Feet per second so you need to convert it to meters if you measure the projectile weight in Grams). At long range the velocity of the projectile drops but for close range shooting take the Muzzle Velocity. Its not difficult maths and you can play around with your choice of weapon and ammunition. It doesn’t stop there though, by changing the shape of the projectile all sorts of outcomes can occur, further the use of lead projectiles that are jacketed in a harder metal so that they can penetrate ‘harder’ surfaces add complex dimensions to what happens when ‘you just point and shoot’ someone in the belly a few feet in front of you. Generally softer (lead hollow points etc) are designed to deform quickly on impact with tissue. The energy present in the projectile is rapidly dissipated into the tissue in the path of the projectile causing damage that radiates out into the surrounding area.The slug is designed to stop within the body and hence the total amount of its energy is absorbed by the body. These slugs tend to be the higher calibers with lower muzzle velocities. Higher projectile mass makes up for the lower velocity but remember that in the equation of Kinetic energy the velocity is squared so a small increase in muzzle velocity can make for a greater increase in total energy than an increase in caliber alone. So yes a large caliber magnum round should put a stop to almost anything a few feet in front of me. In fact a projectile like this would probably pass straight through an assailant at this close range and head off into the wild unknown beyond him and that’s even before you put an armored jacket around it. But if you use a jacketed AMJ/FMJ at close range it is likely to pass straight through human tissue and exit the other side with very little deformation of the projectile and little loss in velocity (they are after all designed to pass through the steel car door in one piece and into the baddies that are trying to hide). In doing so how much energy of the projectile is transferred to the surrounding tissue? if the projectile passes through without slowing and without hitting major organs/ blood vessels or bones then it is possible that the assailant wont be stopped (ok im not thinking about the big bang that scares everyone).
So no, im not convinced, I think shooting someone at close range using a high caliber FMJ/AMJ type projectile is:
1) Not an efficient way of transferring energy.
2) A good way to go to jail after hitting the cop who’s coming up from behind the assailant.
3) Likely to annoy the assailant more.
You need the right tool for the work, but first you have to define what the work is and it is very difficult to get a one size fits all solution.
Enter then the smaller caliber firearm, the .22 with the right projectile and high enough but not too high muzzle velocity this weapon is enough to:
1) Cause serious pain and injury at close quarters.
2) Make a loud (enough) noise.
3) Stop within the body and hence reduce unintended injury to nice people on the other side of the body.
4) Wont necessarily fatally wound the assailant (though this could be bad as well as good depending on the lawyer and if the assailant recognizes you later on).
So my thoughts on carry protection if you absolutely have to have one and think you might have to shoot someone at close quarters is a revolver with a lower caliber, non jacketed and shaped for shortish range with a muzzle velocity that matches.
My last point is one of relative risks.
Part of my extended family lives in the mid west, the fly over states if you must. They live a couple of hours away from Chicago in the middle of cornfields that seem to go on forever, they are not farmers though but the community is largely formed from those people. I had reason to go to them before Christmas and during my short stay was interested to observe what was now happening in the State of Cornfields, the politics and how life has changed if at all in the last 10 years since I saw them last. I would say that my relatives are far more interested in guns and politics now, they haven’t stockpiled guns by any means but they have a better range of equipment and also they have carry permits but do not have the intention of carrying unless they travel to the city but avoid the city like the plague. Whether it is exaggerated fear or reality the violence in Chicago and other cities certainly seems frightening. But around local town with my cousin we went shopping and she left her car doors unlocked with valuables (phone keys etc) on display for all to see. Now in England this is a red flag to a bull so i was keen to remind her to lock her door, to which her reply was ‘what for? no one steals around here, everyone has guns for god sake!’ I had to laugh as she has never owned or carried a firearm ever.
To explain the point of relative risks my visit to see my family was to attend the funeral of family members who had perished in a house fire. Mother, Father and four wonderful children. Every day in America 7 people lives are lost to house fires, that’s over 2500 a year. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with the use of smoke alarms and making sure the batteries are changed each year and the smoke detectors changed at least every 10 years.
To put this into perspective more than 13000 lives were lost to gunshot wounds in America in 2015 alone. Some of these were accidents caused by people not knowing how to handle a gun and some by those that did know how to handle a gun. But if 75% of these deaths were caused deliberately by people living in less than 4% of counties then some 3250 people died as a result of gunshot wounds in the rest of the country. Put another way every day in 96% of American counties 9 people die from gunshot wounds, some deliberate, some accidental. That’s two more a day than those that perish in house fires.
My advice to all before you spend money you havn’t got on a firearm that you may not need and may cause more trouble than what it would resolve is to look first at the home you live in and make sure you have smoke detectors and that they work, that your appliances are safe and you have the means to escape in the event of a fire. At the same time you may want to look closer at your security, door locks alarms lights etc.
Owning a gun is cool, holding and firing it at the range is fun. Standing over a man bleeding to death in agony knowing that you are the cause is neither. There are many things we can regret in life, try not to make this one of your regrets.
Happy new year
the article expands on what type of bullet to use arguing that a larger caliber AMJ/FMJ projectile with a magnum casing is better that an old ordinary 38 slug that would not penetrate through the car door of escaping criminals. Hold on, why would I want to fire at criminals escaping in cars when ive been advised that i could go to prison for doing so?
To put this into perspective more than 13000 lives were lost to gunshot wounds in America in 2015 alone. Some of these were accidents caused by people not knowing how to handle a gun and some by those that did know how to handle a gun. But if 75% of these deaths were caused deliberately by people living in less than 4% of counties then some 3250 people died as a result of gunshot wounds in the rest of the country. Put another way every day in 96% of American counties 9 people die from gunshot wounds, some deliberate, some accidental. That’s two more a day than those that perish in house fires.
Drugs, gangs and Black communities.
Oh, and US gundeaths stats typically include suicides.
From the beginning of my comment:
In writing this I assume that the article is aimed at those among us less enlightened to the interesting and exciting world of firearms.
In other words I am assuming you are addressing those among us who are both novices and new to the subject and are offering advice on choice of firearm and ammunition for personnel protection in case we find ourselves threatened by nasty types who may be intent on causing us harm.
Your comment: Carjacking;
Who is jacking who? am i being jacked or am I jacking? either way do you really believe that an ordinary .38 slug will not penetrate the skin of a car door at close range? A .22 would do so at a range that is almost point blank. Other than that cars do have windows, cant I just shoot through the window? This is getting very complicated and sounds very dangerous to me, I may be a novice but im not convinced that discharging a weapon in my own car is a good strategy to help keep me safe.
Your comment: Drugs, gangs and Black communities.
Oh, and US gundeaths stats typically include suicides:
Yes, of course its sad but true, without berating those communities here on your website and especially the innocents that are trapped within them, the fact remains that the best course of action in self defense is to avoid those areas where most of these crimes take place. Pity those that are trapped. As for suicide by firearm, dependent upon your viewpoint they can be and are considered as (self) murder in many countries. I regard them as a deliberate accident. However the figure of 13000 I quoted does not include those unhappy soles.
Regarding death by gun accidents I believe 800 people a year across America is an average, that’s just over two people a day. Subtract those lives lost to firearm accidents from the number I quoted of 9 people a day killed by firearms (in the 96% of Counties) gives 7 people a day who are deliberately killed by firearms.
The same number of people that are killed in house fires every day.
Put another way; for everyone in the USA that does not live in an area polluted by abject poverty, crime, drugs and dangerous mad people the chances of being deliberately shot dead in any one day is the same as perishing in your own home from a house fire. Does that not stop you and make you think? Yes of course there are many other ways to die, but did you really ever think that you have the same odds of dying in a house fire as being shot dead by some punk? its not what were given to believe is it?
And my point is; There are many risks in life, we know this but our perception of risk can often be warped and our better judgement over ridden by irrational fear. People have been consumed by this fear and make terrible mistakes in moments of panic, fear and anger. The cost to both parties is terribly high, no one wins and that includes the State.
You can reduce risk by improving the safety and security of your home for a relatively small amount of money, think in terms of $20 spent on a smoke detector saving you and your family from a fire. You can join a local self defense class (and you absolutely should if you are considering owning and carrying a gun for the first time). You can learn which areas to avoid and strategies to help to avoid conflict. None of these activities incur additional risk in your life and could one day save you.
Or you could dismiss all that and go buy yourself the biggest bad ass gun and full metal jacket ammo going to take along to the party and in my opinion you have substantially increased your odds of dying by firearm. Some people or maybe even most people are simply not safe enough around guns and that includes myself.
Risk is not necessarily what you think it is, nor is safety.
Lastly: Thou shalt not kill.
‘Thou shalt not kill’ – really? Seriously? So I am supposed to allow somebody to kill me – leave my wife a widow and children orphans to grow up without a father because “thou shall not kill’? And the perpetrator who walks off laughing is supposed to find justice in the afterlife and this somehow comforts my family?
My decision, when faced by an individual shooting at me was to return fire – and I would make that same decision again in a heartbeat.
Despite living in a relatively safe country (not the USA) I have found myself once exchanging gunfire with an armed perpetrator, once loading up a rifle in the face of a riot and hoping that the rioters wouldn’t start looting, and finally sleeping with a shotgun under the bed after the police gave my girlfriends ex his weapons back – despite him breaking the highest level of restraining order on multiple occasions and firing at the house a couple of times. Three occasions I did not ask for – in a relatively safe country.
You can argue that I put myself in those situations and I will state right now that the riot was spontaneous in an otherwise quiet town, that I did not choose to start firing first at the perpetrator, and that the police had every duty to arrest the girlfriends ex. Quite frankly, I find your moralizing despite having never faced these situations to be highly offensive.
Firstly this comment was addressed to the Saker in response to his comment to mine. That the Saker decided to publish it on his website was his choice alone but it does not mean that I was addressing anyone else other than the Saker. Which is why I headed it Dear Saker.
As for your assumptions about me, they are both unfounded and incorrect sir.
Well – this is a public forum that is provided by the good graces of the Saker and his support staff. Regardless of how your post is addressed, my response did not violate the posting rules or the moderators – who do an excellent job I might add – would not have posted it.
You decided to post on a public forum your thoughts and feelings in the hope that other people would read, understand, commiserate and perhaps change their point of view. If you did not wish that to happen you would have used the Sakers e-mail (see bottom of this page) and kept your thoughts private. Ergo – it was your decision to post publicly, not the Sakers to publish your thoughts. I believe it is important for one to take responsibility for ones actions regardless of whether the results are good or bad.
You had another choice as well, you could have chosen to ignore my post, or rebut my points but instead chose to respond by using a deflection tactic. I will leave you to work out the ramifications of that.
Lastly, my points made no assumptions about you, my statements are pretty clear. Your assertion – yours – was ‘Thou shalt not kill’, my point remains, ‘Should I leave my wife a widow and children as orphans in pursuit of that goal?’ Answer the question if you can – or ignore it if you cannot. This is not an easy question.
, without berating those communities here on your website and especially the innocents that are trapped within them,
The point is not berating. The point is to at least be aware that this:
http://www.unz.com/runz/race-and-crime-in-america/ (READ IT, seriously, please do!!)
has a HUGE impact on stats about violent crime.
as do drugs
as do gangs
Lastly: Thou shalt not kill.
Nobody, not the original Jews, nor the Church Fathers, nor even modern Judaics, did EVER interpret that as a ban on lethal force in case of self defense. Even the original language suggest no “kill” but “murder”. That is such a bad argument that I am baffled that anybody would misuse the Scripture for self-serving ideological misrepresentations.
Mind you, I have to utmost respect for truly non-violent people, but unless you really and totally renounce any violence, not only in self-defense, but also in the defense of others, including your family (murdered wife, raped daughter, kidnapped sons, etc.) you are being a hypocrite.
With respect I can assure you I am very aware of these issues. I refrained and do so now from directly commenting on which communities are largely responsible in respect for those innocents who are trapped within these communities (and I believe those are whom you are principally addressing) and in respect for your website and moderation policies. I do not care for those who commit violent crimes.
In my comment I stated that in 2015 alone more than 13,000 people were killed by firearms in the USA. Of this number almost 10,000 people were killed in Counties that represent just 4% of the total Counties of the USA. We can all see where the problem lies. Outside and away from these communities the number of deaths, deliberate and accidental by firearms substantially drops. The object is to understand the risks and decide whether you need protection or not. Owning a gun and carrying a gun always incurs the additional risk of accidental injury,
I quoted from the commandments as a reminder and not to misuse for self-serving ideological reasons. To give example; some years ago a woman was convinced to carry a firearm for means of protection. In an action of road rage she killed another woman. She was not defending herself; there was no threat other than the one she had created in her own mind. The aftermath and ruin you can guess for yourself, just one example in many.
Some people are not fit to drive cars let alone own and carry a firearm. A car unlike a firearm is designed for transport though of course it can kill. Few of us get into our vehicles and deliberately consider using it as a lethal weapon. Firearms on the other hand are designed to kill and each and every time we choose to use them against another person for whatever reason, we are by design fulfilling that purpose. Which is why so many people go to jail for using a firearm even in self-defense.
Nowhere in my comments have I argued against owning firearms for protection. I have reasoned that it is not always necessary, sometimes ill advised but mostly to remind the novice interested in pursuing this option that there is large responsibility and work to do to understand how to be safe and reduce your risk and those around you. It is not a simple task and should not be taken lightly.
In 2015 more than 13000 people were killed but twice that number were injured, many of those were life-changing injuries. Few talk of those that are left alive with serious life changing injures as a result of criminal behavior. It is not an easy path; I know I am one of them. Do you really think with that experience that I would misuse the 6th commandment?
in 2015 alone more than 13,000 people were killed by firearms in the USA. Of this number almost 10,000 people were killed in Counties that represent just 4% of the total Counties of the USA
Do you have a source for that figure?
Why not simply putting even more people into jails? Simply incarcerate the bad guys and only the good ones will be left on the outside. Problem solved.
The preliminaries, taught to me by my father when I was 12 or so.
1) Always assume the firearm is loaded. If it is your self-defense weapon,. keep it loaded.
2) Never point a firearm at something of somebody you do not intend to shoot.
3) If you shoot, shoot to kill.
4) The only justification for using a firearm is that you are in fear for your life.
From a compilation of sources, including a couple who have been in gun battles.
1) The person who wins a gun battle is the person who first scores a hit.
2) Gun control means hitting your target first time.
3) There is no time to think about how to shoot correctly. You must practice enough for muscle memory to take over.
4) You never need to display your weapon. If you practice enough, you can draw, fire, and score a hit before the other person has time to react. (This explains, incidentally, why cops in the US and elsewhere will fire and kill you if you reach for your waste band to pull up your pants. If there is a handgun there, a practiced individual could draw, fire, and kill the officer.)
5) The right firearm for you is the one you are comfortable with.
The right firearm.
I agree with Saker that the .357 revolver is best all around. With the variety of loads, it can be managed by anyone. When I practice with mine, I wear hearing protection. This reduces the flinch factor if ever I had to use it for real.
If I have to carry outside, I prefer the .380. Being an ACP round, it will not penetrate a policeman’s bullet proof vest. Plus, the one I have is a joy to shoot, I am comfortable with it and it is SA and DA, it has a round-chambered indicator, and I am a very good marksman. Like I said, draw, fire and score ….
A very sensible, strictly “limited to context” article. But what the heck does “and which, when fired, would not hit the shield the carried by the “lead penetrator” during an assault” mean?
When a SWAT team enters a room the person at the front carries an anti-bullet shield.
All Russian pressure points are to be stimulated. Support guano.? Nah. Preposition landing party. Cuba will fall. Actually it will be folded. It is a south china sea island for the US. Like China the US is simply into land reclamation. On Cuba will be stationed US missile defence umbrella. US invasion of Cuba will proceed i think to show world Russia can’t look after allies in south America. They have a beach head. Thaad for Cuba, sad for world. :) Its on.
As a person who grew up in the US as a child and then moved to Europe with his parents for political, cultural, ethical and geographic reasons, I would like to ask you why you as a Swiss-Russian national moved to the US ?
Or what you call in your own words: “a ‘legal alien’ currently living in the Imperial Homeland”
When did you realize you were living in the “Imperial Homeland” or did you know already know you were moving to the “Imperial Homeland” prior to leaving Europe?
As someone who has left the US I am asking these questions in this particular topic, because I believe the US gun culture is not only related the will for freedom but also related to the violent and genocidal history of the US history and culture.
I mean the reason for the violence in the US is not the availability of weapons, but it is the culture and history of an arrogant, ignorant, isolated people who massacred an entire continent and who continue to send their armies to massacre other nations without any historic consequences or retribution for the crimes they have committed.
My other question is, do you plan to stay in the “Imperial Homeland” :-) ?
all of your questions are completely off-topic and, besides, they are already answered here:
PS: I don’t find US Americans any different from Europeans, by the way. Is the political system here rotten, evil to the core, imperialistic, violent, arrogant and ignorant? Yes, of course, but no worse than anywhere in Europe.
Just look at what the French did to Libya or how all of Europe stood by in total silence when the Serbian people were attacked and demonized.
Or, for that matter, how all of the EU supports a Nazi regime in Kiev.
Where were all the humble, educated and cosmopolitan European people when that happened?
Saker, thanks for the link !
To be honest with you, I do not think you should always take it as some kind of personal attack if people are curious about your personal history and your location vs your views/thoughts. But obviously their motives can often be pretty clear by the way they address an issue.
As for the similarities between US and European policies, on this point I agree with you.
Wish you and your family a happy nativity celebration.
I don’t always see that as a personal attack, those mostly it is used as exactly that, an ad hominem to discredit me instead of dealing with my arguments. I am NOT saying that this was your intention and if the title of the page lead you to believe that, then I apologize. Mostly, it is really about idiots. But in your case, the question is also simply off topic, I think, because it focuses on me as an individual, not on the issue at hand. So, to use Latin, the spectrum goes from ad hominem to non sequitur :-)
Happy Nativity to you too!
Is this a warning about the anglo/zionists dropping the headchoppers across North America and the west?…Certainly it happened in Syria – a civil society attacked by psychopaths and drug addicts from across the global – gently herded and heavily armed by the cia and deep state death merchants.
But what of North America – when the zionists start going down they will pull out the most desperate of measures to impose a police state on the west. Well we already have a police state – a state of corporate seduction…but what happens when the real hammer drops?
Where are the patriots – where is the national army and citizen brigades to defend?…Unfortunately that national soul does not exist – since the security forces are directly interweaved with occultist globalists.
Will guns really help?…By then it will be too late unless the Russians come to save us?
I personally think that hammer will drop when Hezbollah, SAA, Iran and Russia cut straight to Jerusalem and the neocons and the casino rabbi’s go into overdrive panic.
Agree with everything stated. I know the focus of the article was not on everyday concealed carry so I’ll add this.
You mentioned an indoor blast well that’s where the 38 snub comes in. A small barrel means it is more likely to be carried, light weight as well.
You can load a heavier bullet like 120gr and not lose too much power over a 357 while still being able to fire from inside a car without going deaf.
There’s a site called snubnose. Info you should check out.
357 is also my favorite handgun caliber.
For rifles I like 308 m14 what about you?
2nd would be Sks in 762×39
Good article. I’m a resident of Florida myself and a concealed carry holder. Practice is very important. My greatest fear is finding myself in a situation where I must use my gun and I miss and kill or injure an innocent bystander. No matter how justified I am shooting at the bad guy I know there can be no justification for harming the innocent. The judge will agree with me I’m sure.
Also, don’t load ball ammo in defense weapons. That stuff will go through walls and kill the kid next door. Heck, it can go through the bad guy and kill someone standing behind him too.
I am a firearms instructor, and budding manufacturer, and I agree with most of the author’s points made in the referenced article.
The one point I patently disagree with relates to “missing a lot.” Tactical reloads, even one handed can be important, even life saving, but, the purpose of training is to not miss.
The main difference between the police and civilian gun wielder isn’t that police are duty bound to engage; the main difference between the police and civilian gun wielder is that the police can miss and not get in trouble. The police can, and have, shot and killed innocent bystanders and escaped prosecution. The police have inadvertently shot into houses, cars, crowds, and escaped prosecution (so long as they were justified in shooting in the first place), but a civilian would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law were he/she to do so.
No government believes in an armed citizenry. When societies collapse, they collapse due to the incompetence, and corruption, of the ruling elite, and they want the screaming mimis storming the gates armed with nothing more than pillows, and feathers. To this end, every innocuous firearms transgression will result in the disarming of the transgressor (inalienable rights be damned.)
Arm yourself with what you can shoot well. Load it with ammo that shoots everytime you pull the trigger. And train enough so that you don’t miss when shooting 0-25 yards.
The main difference between the police and civilian gun wielder isn’t that police are duty bound to engage; the main difference between the police and civilian gun wielder is that the police can miss and not get in trouble. The police can, and have, shot and killed innocent bystanders and escaped prosecution.
Depends on the jurisdiction. Here, in Florida, is a criminal attacks me, and I use lethal force to protect myself and while doing so I hit an innocent bystander then the criminal will be charged for this, not me, because the law considers the criminal guilty for creating the circumstances which forced me to use deadly force to defend myself.
This, of course, might be different elsewhere.
Thanks for an important comment.
Respectfully, where does it say in the Florida law that you are immune from prosecution if you use deadly force on someone who is not threatening you? I checked the Florida laws (they are online) and can’t find it. Maybe it is somewhere else?
That said, do you really think you can shot some kid in the head accidentally and not suffer some really, really bad legal nightmares both criminal and civil? No matter what the outcome your life will never be the same.
I can’t find it in the book “Florida Firearms — Law, Use & Ownership” by Jon Gutmacher either.
It does not say so in the laws about firearms, the FL Statutes, but I was told by a local lawyer that the courts have held the criminal who initiated the crime as responsible for the consequences of that crime. I suppose that this would end being a jury question, but I have that interpretation from a FL lawyer specializing in firearms litigation.
Now anybody can sue you for anything, but at least recent FL laws have provided immunity for those who use deadly force to stop a “forcible felony”. This immunity is now both civil and criminal. But you really might want to check that with a lawyer yourself, maybe I misunderstood what I thought I heard. I ain’t never been perfect :-(
Well, “Carbine” Williams, the inventor who developed the gas system used in the M-1 Carbine of WW2 fame, did his inventing in a prison workshop while serving a sentence for murder of a revenue agent in a raid against Mr. William’s illegal moonshine operation during prohibition. The agent who died was actually killed by “friendly fire”, but since it was Williams who was “outside the law”, he was the one prosecuted and convicted for the agent’s death.
Isn’t Florida the state in which you can charged for murder, even if you haven’t done anything criminal yourself? So, assumed your neighbor asks you to drive him to a gas station and commits a robbery (and murdering the cashier), whilst you’re unsuspectingly waiting in your car, you can be convicted of the crime committed by your neighbor. The whole concept is called Felony murder rule.
If you’re actively involved in killing someone innocent, because you’re claiming self-defense nothing happens to you. But if you unknowingly assist a criminal you can be charged with the crime committed?!? Well, at least this concept causes for some balance (injustice in one situation compensates for injustice in another situation).
Let’s hope nobody crosses the line of fire of someone acting in “self-defense”.
Well – I would never want to be a firearms instructor. I had to serve as one recently on a trip to Denver. My friend from grade school onward lives in a gentry mansion in the foothills near Castle Rock, Co. Having suffered a stroke he could not oversee things and his wife wanted to learn to shoot. I tramped down the hill with his wife, my wife, his 15 yr old granddaughter, his grandson and girlfriend. Too many. Lot of females don’t have enough mass in hands and forearms to shoot 9mm and have it cycle reliably. I stepped up twice to clear empty case jams. They had a 380 in the house in a safe but no one could remember the combination at the house. I told his wife to definitely go with the 380 – forget about the 9mm. I told my wife to “Get your finger off that trigger!” With the 15yr old granddaughter I went through the loading of a clip, racking the slide, aiming of the pistol etc. She fired a couple of shots at the target then began to turn toward the group behind her without lowering the muzzle and her finger lingering in the trigger guard. I was immediately behind her and reached out sayin no, no, no to stop her. She immediately quit and never fired another round. His grandson and girl friend shot up all their 40 ammo in a pistol they brought down with them. I had box of 9mm laying on the ground and told him he could use it – not knowing he was using a 40. Being a little edgy I went over to see how it was going as he was filling the magazine and that’s when I noticed he was putting 9mms in a 40 clip. Once again – no, no, can’t do that. Grandson then reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of 380s and said how about these. We had two 9mms and one 40. No,no (again). Someone asked ‘what would have happened with the wrong ammo”. “Nothing good” I replied. About this time I decided to return the party to the house. Troubling to me was to learn that grandson was an army sniper based in Ft whatever in Washington. There’s a helluva lot of guns out there and not much training..
Something similar, but the ending was very bad. Again, we, many years ago me and my father, went to the shooting club. Sat down at the benches. To the right of me was a fellow with five rifles, I remember only one the 7mmMag Remington. He fired few shots from one rifle grabbed the 7mil and suddenly I saw the flash his rifle’s forearm flew off, he grabbed his eyes blood running down his face. I grabbed and we run to the club house, where the owner called for ambulance.
Later on I found out from the owner that fellow lost both of his eyes. Mind you I was picking slivers from my forearm for a while. This was in the days when shooting glasses were not very common, and none of us had them. I have to admit that for a long time after every time I squeezed my trigger I was closing my eyes, some shooting.
Bottom line is:
He mixed his cartridges, I am thinking first he used 30-06, then he switched to 7mil, which he loaded with 30-06 cartridges, which fit into the magazine, but jammed his barrel when fired and the back-pressure pushed the bolt back and the gas came down the magazine ripping everything into pieces. The crap bounced off the bench and hit him in the face and me in my right arm. So, the morale of this awfully sad story is: keep it simple take your time and keep the cartridges with the rifle wear safety glasses.
The best article on this subject I have ever read. Congratulations. I especially like the specific comments on individual calibers and handguns.
I would like to offer another caliber for everyones consideration that is not very well known, but deserves to be. That is the 5.7 X 28.
A picture of the round is here 57_223.jpg with the 5.7 on the left and a standard 223 on the right.
Disadvantages: It is expensive, around $1300. It is only made by one manufacturer, FN, and only in a semi-auto.
Advantages. It will penetrate heavy leather much better than any other pistol round. It will be lethal anywhere in the center of mass, as it behaves like a 223 in that when it enters a body it starts to ricochet all around, not make a straight hole like an ordinary round that has to hit a vital organ to make a quick kill. This leads to another advantage in that when it hits any resistance like drywall in a house, it does not overpenetrate and endanger people in adjacent rooms or buildings. Perhaps this is why it is a standard issue for the secret police I have been told.
My favorite weapon in this caliber does not yet exist. It would be a very high quality revolver with enclosed hammer and minimal protuberances. Anyone who could make that happen, please do.
The picture is here.
I’m curious about your statement regarding semi-autos for military forces. I know that you must have reasons for the conclusion, but I’m trying to guess what they are. Will you illuminate? I did 4 in the infantry and single shot semi works just fine to my experience. Revolvers would be as absurd as the idea of everyone lugging a SAW about.
Not that I wouldn’t have preferred an AK47 over the M16A2 which we used at the time.
Oh, well maintained modern semi-autos will definitely work in a military setting.
They are not very useful in a fight against the enemy.
Mostly, they are here to
1) enforce discipline (there is a reason why in many militaries this is a officer/MP only weapon)
2) provide a sense of “last ditch defense”
and, no revolvers would make no sense either, I agree and I clearly said that.
To me this is obvious: when the military speaks of “small arms fire” the smallest ones are assault rifles, not handguns. Even if the latter CAN be carried and DO work.
Right on. Thanks much and have a great year (I know I know, knock on wood)
Of course, an interpretation of the second amendment which suggests that the citizens should be ready at the drop of the hat to defeat the military in pitched battle is just nonsense, a straw man argument. The point of the second amendment is that the government should have a relative, not an absolute, monopoly on the use of force. The Bill of Rights generally asserts that the citizenry must retain power in multiple forms, from free speech and the right to congregate, to the right to privacy, to the right to use force, for there to be any hope for society to be governed legitimately, fairly and righteously. No one power of the citizenry is an absolute veto over state power. Taken together, however, the powers of the citizenry can at least potentially counterbalance state power. In our world today, the powers of the citizenry seem to be so completely overwhelmed by state power, though, that we seem to be on the verge of a global Orwellian state. So perhaps the second amendment is attenuated to the point of irrelevance. If so the same holds for free speech, or will soon enough. The Bill of Rights needs to be added to at this point to make it strong enough to be meaningful in today’s world. The one thing we should NOT do is weaken it.
If I may add one point: a citizenry which is told that it cannot be trusted with weapons (or drugs for that matter) is a citizenry which becomes subservient and obedient. Indirectly that kind of paternalistic interference in what ought to be a private matter fosters a slave mentality. To the contrary, when citizens are trusted with weapons (or left alone to decide what chemicals they want to use and why) this fosters a libertarian attitude strongly suggesting that the state has limited power and that citizens are free to act as they see fit as long as they don’t harm others. I really believe, from the bottom of my heart, that the anti-gun movement and the war on drugs are nothing more than an indirect matter to make the citizen obedient, subservient and passive.
Having been a competition shooter (rifle and pistol) and reloader for more decades than most persons have been alive, I can agree with just about everything you have said here, with one or two minor quibbles that wouldn’t be all that important – except for one.
When choosing a revolver, and a revolver caliber, and with respect ONLY to a choice between a .38 revolver or a .357 revolver, it makes no sense at all to stick a .357 round behind a 2” (or shorter) barrel. You would gain nothing. Should you doubt this, take a .357 with the short barrel, and another one with a 6” or longer barrel to the range, and have someone else fire them while you stand a bit to the side and watch the muzzles. When the short-barrel version is fired, you’ll see a large eruption of flame from the muzzle, which you will not see when the same kind of round is fired from the longer barrel.
That’s because the difference between the .38 round and the .357 round is the length of the case; longer in the .357, the purpose of which is to allow for the stuffing of more powder under the bullet than will fit in the shorter .38 case. Most .38 caliber loads – even in a snub-nose revolver – will burn all or most of the powder in the case before the bullet clears the muzzle, thus the bullet gains all the energy that was contained in that load of powder. The impressive blast of flame that you see when you shoot a .357 round from a snubby is the as-yet-unburned powder finally burning up in the empty air, after the bullet leaves the muzzle. All the powder that burns outside the barrel after the exit of the bullet lends no energy at all to the velocity (and thus the kinetic energy) of the bullet – it’s wasted.
When you fire an identical cartridge from the six-inch or longer barrel, you won’t see that fireball; the powder did – as it was designed to do – continue to burn, and continue to produce enormous amounts of rapidly-expanding gasses — inside the barrel — for the entire time that the bullet was in the barrel, thus speeding it up considerably more than the one that was fired from the snubby, and endowing the moving bullet with considerably more kinetic energy.
It is for that very reason that many reloading manuals specify the length of barrel that was used for determining the load listings for each and every different cartridge. I’m looking at one right now, for example, that states that for the .38 caliber loads listed, a 4” barrel with a 1 in 18 3/4” twist was used, while for the .357 caliber loads, an 8 3/8” barrel with the same 1 in 18 3/4” twist was used. Put the same .357 cartridge in a 2” or 4” barrel, however, and you will experience a huge drop in muzzle velocity (energy).
I have carried and shot a 2” .357 for a considerable time. I stopped feeding it .357 loads, as a waste of powder and money. I would not recommend a .357 cartridge in any revolver with a barrel shorter than six inches, and longer is better – which pretty much disqualifies the .357 cartridge for concealed carry, although any revolver designated for the .357 will also chamber and fire the .38 round with no trouble, until the band of baked-on carbon at the front end of the chambers starts interfering with chambering.
If someone wants to carry the .357, and experiences no difficulty holstering, concealing, carrying and drawing a six-inch or longer barrel, then by all means do so, and gain the added energy boost of the 357’s powder load. But if concealment is an issue, then a shorter barrel and a .38 cartridge would be the choice.
Just my opinion, of course.
p.s. My carry pistol of choice is still the .45 caliber Government Model of 1911 semi-auto, because I’m comfortable with it and shoot it well. I carry in Condition One (round in chamber, magazine filled, hammer back, safety on) as recommended by Col Cooper, and feel perfectly safe and comfortable doing so.
okay, on the topic of .357 or .38 in a snubbie:
unless you make your own ammo, BOTH the .38 and the .357 will burn part of their power outside the barrel. True, the .357 will burn more of it outside the barrel, but a simple measure of bullet velocities will tell you that a .357 is faster than a .38 when shot from the same snubbie. So I would argue that a .357 suffers less from the loss of speed resulting from a shorter barrel than the .38 because it has more speed to begin with. Furthermore, there is the flash and bang which, as I mentioned, would be bad indoors (for indoors I would recommend .38 or 9mm) but outdoors I think that they add a most useful starting effect.
This being said, I think that a .38 special is plenty and for an urban setting probably enough unless you want to retain the capability to shoot through something (a personal judgment call and preference).
Living in FL and spending a lot of time in the outdoors I prefer to have a .357 as I believe that the extra speed over the .38 is a plus. But that is definitely also a personal preference. In urban settings I often carry 38s in my LCR.
Last thing: the Chiappa is SO easy to shoot that I don’t even see a reason to have .38s in it, except for the indoors argument, of course.
So in conclusion: for indoors I would recommend a 686P with .38sp loads. For outdoors I will always prefer a .357 since I am not recoil sensitive anyway and since I actually think that the flash and bang actually a a very useful effect.
YYMV of course and these are my 2cts :-)
“Kinetic Energy (Joules) is Mass x (Velocity squared) divided by 2”
Not quite right: it’s one-half the mass times the square of the velocity. This would seem to mean that in the choice of handgun and caliber for defense-of-life circumstances, that the fastest bullets would be by far the most effective. Unfortunately for that idea, the truth is that handgun loads never reach the velocities needed for the “cavitation” effect that causes the much, much faster rifle bullets to create such massive damage. A lengthy study conducted by an autopsy room technician turned up this observation: bodies that arrived at the coroner’s with sub-.45 caliber bullets in them invariably contained multiple bullets. Those killed by a single shot usually turned out to have been shot with a .45 caliber bullet, a fact which he attributed to the larger diameter of the .45 bullet which, he said, had a greater possibility of cutting something vital along its pathway through the victim.
Velocity for the standard .45 ACP 230-gn ball load is about 810 fps. For the 115 gn 9mm, it’s around 1300 fps, but that’s nowhere fast enough, as mentioned above, to create the “cavitation” effect, so the roughly 60 percent increase in velocity for the 9mm over the .45 ACP doesn’t get you anywhere near the massive increase in tissue damage that common sense would seem to indicate.
From my (first) comment:
You need the right tool for the work, but first you have to define what the work is.
The object of the article is to provide protection to people as Saker describes at the header of his article:
First and foremost, what I wrote below is address to those in our community who are at risk because they are not wealthy, because they live in not too pretty neighborhoods, those who are sick and weak, the elderly, the lonely women and all those who typical are chosen by criminal thugs for abuse and assault
The ‘work’ then is to protect against assault from a violent assailant by putting him or her down without becoming a victim and without necessarily killing the assailant. Surely the work must also be to avoid injury to bystanders (who may or may not be armed). Novices do overlook the choice of ammunition over the choice of firearm. The two apart amount to little but together they form a weapon system capable of killing. Ballistics is complicated and by this I mean it is by definition beyond the reach and knowledge of the novice, if you understand it then you are not a novice. There is a bewildering array of ammunition out there for all types of work you could imagine, but here we are looking at close quarter protection. That is my point, and as you should choose your firearm for personnel protection very carefully so you must choose and match your ammunition carefully.
Which is why I said:
So my thoughts on carry protection, if you absolutely have to have one and think you might have to shoot someone at close quarters is a revolver with a lower caliber, non jacketed and shaped for short range with a muzzle velocity that matches.
I also said:
Shooting someone in the leg with a larger calibre can kill instantly.
(It is thought that the combination of calibre and high-energy shock wave is enough to shut the ‘central nervous system’ down and then its lights off for good).
Assuming the novice has chosen wisely and in discharging the weapon into the hapless assailant has succeeded in ending the attack and incapacitated the scumbag, who is now in police custody and on their merry way to hospital for remedial surgery and guaranteed to recover in prison. Then all is well, the novice saved his/her life and made at least one other think twice about committing such an act again. Good choice I would say.
But what if the novice chose unwisely? What if the novice went packing a large calibre magnum and blew the assailant away and killed a child walking behind?
Good luck defending that one.
All firearms can kill but lets say that some give a better guarantee of killing and if you don’t understand this then you have no business owning or carrying a firearm, so don’t do it.
Don’t know what you were trying to say in the opening of your latest post, but the site that you linked to shows that my version of the equation for kinetic energy is the correct one.
Secondly, the myth about shooting someone in the leg and killing them through some sort of nervous reaction has been debunked time and time again by people far more expert than either you or me. People have been killed by shots to the leg, but it was because the large femoral artery was severed by the bullet, causing them quickly to bleed to death.
Its the same thing, plug in some numbers and work it both ways, multiply Mass by a half or divide Mass X (Velocity squared) by two. Whats important is the understanding that in the equation the function of Velocity is squared, as such a smaller lighter round with higher velocity can have the same energy as that of a much larger heavier round of slower velocity. It doesnt necessarily translate into greater penetration or more damage. That depends on the shape of the round and its jacket (if it has one). That’s why it gets complicated.
For myself I have worked on ballistic protection systems against small arms, I do acknowledge that i have never witnessed anyone at first hand killed by a firearm, though I have seen the outcome. The statement i gave came straight from the ballistic experts and test houses. Either way I dont suggest you try to prove it by shooting some one in the leg.
Years ago two boys I knew were exploring a river, and found a .22 rifle. In time it happened that one shot the other. This changed their lives terribly, one, at 11, went into jail for 8 years, the other, the boy who got the bullet, lived to die years years later in an unrelated accident.
The interesting aspect about that is also what it felt like. His story matched this one from Owell:
“Roughly speaking it was the sensation of being at the center of an explosion. There seemed to be a loud bang and a blinding flash of light all around me, and I felt a tremendous shock—no pain, only a violent shock, such as you get from an electric terminal; with it a sense of utter weakness, a feeling of being stricken and shriveled up to nothing. The sandbags in front of me receded into immense distance. I fancy you would feel much the same if you were struck by lightning. I knew immediately that I was hit, but because of the seeming bang and flash I thought it was a rifle nearby that had gone off accidentally and shot me. All this happened in a space of time much less than a second.”
Just something to keep in mind if you shoot…
If you keep guns (and I do not) you have to keep it. If it is lost you have made a terrible thing. You must always know where the thing is, and it must always be under your sole control. Big responsibility…and terrible consequences if you lose control.
The story of the 2 boys? My sons…though I was away when they got into mischief. And that’s why, now as old man, I do not keep guns. I am too old to shoulder the responsibility. I’d rather take my chances, as my own death is close enough already.
You, though, must do as you will. No criticism from me. I am happy that many have guns, and do not want to live in a place where only cops have guns – that would be, of course, a police state, eh?
I was aware of it, the realization was there,the abject fear and panic. I was stationary in my car and I knew I was in mortal danger, there was but less than a couple of seconds to react, I was taken by complete surprise, totally and completely overwhelmed by panic, there was no escape. I remember the car in front blocking my way, the Armco to the side, trying to escape, the massive shock, the void inbetween and then the confusion. I remember thinking I was burning to death, the pain was incredible I was paralyzed and having a heart attack. i could not escape. there were people with empty faces surrounding me waiting to take me away, then the policeman kneeling against me speaking smoothly, the paramedic working on me, floating away up into the clouds and then the inside of the ambulance and being strapped in and my clothes being cut away, wrenched onto a table with a cradle unable to escape and still trying to. The dirty ceilings in the hospital, the voices and machines I went through. There was utter panic and confusion around me. Hours turned into minutes and yet seemed like days.
Nothing of this compared to the nightmares and abject pain I experienced for the next two to three years, eaten alive by wild animals, falling from buildings to spill onto the pavement and feel every ounce of pain, always being shot or crushed to death in excruciating pain. Forever being chased in a war zone I have never experienced, unable to protect or defend myself, the places I hid in the dark, the squalor, the cold the loneliness. The desperate fight to survive and all of this in my damaged brain alone and every single night for more than two years. I have little or no memory of the waking day other than desperation and confusion and pain of my head being trapped in a vice whilst someone pushed a quarter inch blade behind my eye.
PTSD, Catastrophic brain injury, spinal injury and more, I can tell you that I am an expert in this subject, I as too many before and still today live with these scars.
Sometimes we fall victim to crime and become a statistic for no fault of our own, sometimes we can do something about it. I personally believe i did nothing wrong that i am aware of to invite this terror into my life other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. owning and carrying a gun would not have prevented it happening. It just seems so damned wrong, so unfair, so unjust.such a complete waste of a life, my life! and where dear people do you think people like I go to from here? into obscurity? five years now and nothing much more to show than the knowledge that my injuries are permanent and the life I loved is gone.
The sixth commandment states thou shalt not kill; I can tell you from experience that there are a lot worse things that can happen to you than dying.
But every day in America 7 people die from house fires,almost the same as those that die from firearms in 96% of America, please good people check your smoke alarms. This is something you can do that will cost you a few bucks only, Take good care on those step ladders please.
If you decide to own and carry a gun make sure you understand the responsibilities and risks. Make sure you ask the questions you need to and if you are in doubt trust your inner self and leave it at home in a safe place until a point in time when you are confident you know what you are getting into and you actually know you can handle it.
Above all please don’t add to the statistics they are bad enough as it is.
FWIW. it’s ‘Thou shall not commit murder’ , there’s a huge difference.
Sorry for your pain.
tl;dr – for self defence on the move use DAO revolver – it is simpler and more reliable. As a good side effect, you do not need to worry about picking up your brass. If you believe the bad gies are going to attack you in in you house/boat, have a bulpup converted Saiga 12 tucked in somewhere – it is the most effective defence there is…
If I may, i would add a few general observations.
Semi-autos have 3 risks for inexperienced / untrained shooters.
First, they are slightly more difficult and non intuitive than revolvers. (again for the inexperienced or untrained). They may or may not have de-cocking devices, depending on the model. The de cocking device, the slide hold open, and the magazine ejection and any safeties vary considerably from model to model. These can prove daunting or confusing under stress for the inexperienced. They do, of course, tend to point more intuitively than revolvers. Generally, the high bore axis of revolvers require one to “drop” the point by bending the wrist down, particularly with short barreled revolvers or “snubbies” There are 2 particular “dangers” with semi-autos; first leaving a round chambered even after removing a magazine. A semi auto will fire a chambered round without a magazine loaded. I seen experienced shooters almost make that mistake. Also, when rattled, I’ve seen people eject the chambered round, THEN remove the magazine, not being aware (quickly) that while removing the chambered round, they chambered another.
The other danger with a semi auto is: improper holding can cause a VERY serious injury if one wraps the thumb of the “weak” hand around behind the bottom joint of the thumb of the “trigger hand” or strong hand. The slide in recoil will rip the flesh off that thumb to the the bone. I know, dumb, dumb, dumb; but I’ve seen a number of inexperienced shooters almost make that mistake. Indeed, I personally have prevented a few from doing it. Yes, I have also seen one person holding a revolver by the cylinder with the non trigger hand, but that’s kind of a a really non-intuitive mistake to make.
For those advocates of shotguns in close quarter situations, I say, good luck. They are very unwieldy in tight quarters, usually have a helluva recoil, and can be grappled away. As you observe, most gun confrontations happen just a few feet apart. They’d be fine for standing on the front porch, holding off a lynch party; but I wouldn’t want to be swinging it around in an apartment bedroom.
And finally, in regard to guns preventing tyranny: of course a hand full of citizens with bolt action hunting rifles is hardly going to be in a toe to toe stand-off with a military unit with fully automatic weapons, Apache Attack helicopters and Hellfire missiles. But an armed population, scattered over an entire country is quite another matter. As, I believe it was Admiral Yamamoto said, in regard to the prospect of invading the US, “There will be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Simply: an armed population is free. A population prevented from owning firearms is a population of slaves. At best, that population’s freedom exists at the pleasure of the rulers. Any tyrannical force must act quite differently against a nation in which rifle fire could come from anywhere.
And, of course, one hardly needs to point out the US 16 years and counting in Afghanistan against AK-47s, RPGs and IEDs. Vietnam, anyone? Forgive my preaching to the choir…
With respects to all.
There are malfunctions and what is called “shooter caused malfunctions”.
-No offense, but I have much more often encountered the phrase ‘shooter induced malfunction’ (in US gun magazines, that is)
But that is very bad comparison. What we have to compare is not revolvers and semi-autos but revolvers and semi-autos when used by civilians!
-I concur and I’d also add ‘questionably trained civilians’. In my opinion (and I am an experienced target pistol marksman) revolvers require less time for self defense training than a semi-automatic pistol and handling a revolver is easier to comprehend for those who want to learn the basic elements of self defense with a handgun (the emphasis here is on ‘basic elements’). In a semi-automatic pistol, although you may have 15 or more bullets in a magazine, you’re actually betting your life on just one, that being the first bullet on top while in a revolver you stake your life on 5 or 6 or even more. If one fails, in a revolver you just keep pressing the trigger again, while in a pistol you have to undertake a procedure for clearing a malfunction (tap-rack-bang) which many civilians are not able to perform even on a target range, let alone in a stress of a firefight. From reading, say, Massad Ayoob’s (excellent) articles, one comes to realize that even trained personnel (police) occasionally may not be able to properly execute a malfunction clearing drill in a firefight or err by keeping a trigger finger on the trigger of a cocked pistol, causing an inadvertent and potentially fatal discharge. Therefore, from a simplicity of handling viewpoint, I vote for a revolver.
No swinging around of the shotgun necessary. With the 12 gauge you can stay in bed and wait for the sucker(s) to enter your bedroom. Boom! ;-) Even birdshot will do after slightly modifying the cartridge, which the French call a ‘balle Basque’ and Americans a ‘cut shell’.
Guns come in different sizes because people do.
now that is *truly* a profound thought!!
Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Thanks, a man that can hold a .357 magnum steady on the 2nd shot doesn’t need a gun for self defense
I was most pleasantly surprised by this article also thrown into the mix on this blog!
Here where I live (rural South Africa, in a border district with Lesotho), the type of serious crime a person will most likely be involved in is very much different from those of the intended target audience of this article.
Typical ‘drug crime’ here is all but non-existent; marijuana is freely grown and as available as cigarettes, (just cheaper), although it still is supposedly illegal.
The most common lethal crime around here, for the community I am part of, is attacks on rural homesteads (no neighbors within shouting distance) and farmers.
Cash, firearms and vehicles are usually what is taken by the robbers.
Attacks typically involve four to six attackers, at least two of whom will have firearms and the others all armed with knives, spears and/or blunt force weapons.
Prior to these attacks the homestead would have been thoroughly scouted for days on end.
The attacks are many times planned by older experienced criminals (not taking part in the physical attack), and carried out by teenagers and men in their 20’s, eager to earn ‘promotion’ in their criminal ranks, which are led by hardened criminals in their 30’s.
This is one cause of the brutality of these attacks (there are other causes too). Once they gain the upper hand, they torture, rape and kill with impunity.
And then; law enforcement.. in (what has turned into) a third world country..
There are still remarkable exceptions, but from personal experience; you call the police when everything is over, just to stay on the right side of the law.
Criminals operate with impunity; the police are the least of their worries..
(About three percent of murders here end in a conviction of any type)
To survive this circumstances, people organize and equip themselves for volunteer quick response and follow-up whenever an attack occur in their area. (And follow-ups are thorough and rather ruthless, as gangs that get away with an attack will strike again.)
This volunteer units is a centuries old system here that is accepted as part of rural culture.
It was depended on/ squashed/ semi supported and encouraged again by successive governments, and survived with government support into the early 2000’s, when it was again formally disbanded by the new government, and all support withdrawn, with the promise that the police will take over the tasks of these volunteer units. This of course did not happen, and a huge void was left, with disastrous results.
These volunteer ‘units’ are now completely informal, and what little infrastructure they have (radio networks etc.) are privately funded.
But we still have a few good points in our favor;
Roman Dutch Common Law is still the basis of all law applied by the courts, and there is no questioning the right to self defense, by what-ever means, under this law.
Citizens may make arrests, and citizens and the police alike may use lethal force to stop a fleeing attacker if he has been part of a lethal or potentially lethal attack. (This has been explicitly confirmed by the Constitutional Court, the highest court of the country under the new government)
We are allowed to own firearms (although the licensing process is made more and more restrictive under pressure and ‘guidance’ from Soros backed NGO’s) and carry and use firearms for self defense.
But to get back to firearms;
Even here, under these circumstances where civilians in effect have to perform functions usually done by professional law enforcement, I still sometimes recommend a snub-nose revolver to first-time gun owners, especially those that are not likely to do a lot of training with their firearms.
In the attacks that I mentioned above, the initial confrontation is almost always at point blank range.
It means you have to draw and fire one handed (while fending off knives etc. with the other hand), circumstances where a revolver have an edge.
And if you can manage to neutralize at least two of the attackers, you have already made your chances of survival much better. Although the attackers usually don’t flee at the first sign of resistance, they do when their numbers start to dwindle.
Just one more piece of equipment I recommend to everybody, whatever you carry; carry a knife also. (Even a 3″ blade is more than enough)
Either a concealed fixed blade (ideally) carried centrally on your belt line, where you can get hold of it with either hand, or a lock blade folder that can be opened one-handed, and with a pocket clip, so it always stay on the same place in your pocket, and you don’t have to dig for it.
A knife is a deadly weapon at close quarters, and it does not jam, it does not ran out of ammunition, and an attacker that have received a long slash, especially to the face, are quite likely out of the fight.
Many thanks for this blog.
@ Willem Daniel Venter
And then; law enforcement.. in (what has turned into) a third world country..
There are still remarkable exceptions, but from personal experience; you call the police when everything is over, just to stay on the right side of the law.
Criminals operate with impunity; the police are the least of their worries..
(About three percent of murders here end in a conviction of any type)
I live in a third world country (Serbia), and I would kindly ask you to explain what you meant by ‘law enforcement.. in a third world country’?
I do not know and therefore can not speak on behalf of other ‘third world country’ citizens, but Serbian police is very efficient, and most of the crimes, especially the savage ones, are solved within 48 hours.
The problem here (in Serbia) is not the police, but the legal system and jurisprudence. The criminals, especially those with background protection by political parties and/or interested politicians, are set free or let go with minimal legal sanctions or their appearance at court is postponed…and postponed…and postponed, until the whole case becomes ‘overdue’ (for want of accurate legal expression) and it is annulled. The attorneys are, at best, of questionable value ( this is not my opinion, but rather of lawyers I associate with) while the judges are of very questionable integrity and independence in decision making, especially if the indicted person is a tycoon, politician or prominent ‘football fans group leader’, football meaning soccer.
From your remark (About three percent of murders here end in a conviction of any type), it is my belief that the problem in your country is similar, i.e. legal system, and not ‘police-induced’? I do not regard judges, attorneys and lawyers as ‘law enforcement’.
On the other hand, there is no killing of civilians by the police (other than armed criminals) , as has become rather often ‘in a first world country’, the USA (632 in 2014, 845 in 2015, 185 in 2016 and 76 in 2017, as quoted in Wikipedia, while Washington Post claims the total in 2015 was 995). I’d take the last number, 76 in 2017, with more than a grain of salt, as evidenced by huge street protests of civilians in US the previous year.
I appreciate your comprehensive description of state of affairs regarding firearms politics in your country. We are here allowed to possess firearms at home, but not to carry them for self-defence. Precisely speaking, while communists and camouflaged socialists were in power, we were allowed to possess AND carry them; when democrats replaced Milosevic, the ‘carry’ part was banned. As for the criminals, well, they have carried, do so and will illegally carry firearms as in every other country the world over.
I live in a third world country (Serbia), and I would kindly ask you to explain what you meant by ‘law enforcement.. in a third world country’?
I do not know and therefore can not speak on behalf of other ‘third world country’ citizens, but Serbian police is very efficient, and most of the crimes, especially the savage ones, are solved within 48 hours.
Think South Kosovo, Šar Mountain, close to Albanian border.
Albanian gangs harassing, robbing and looting Serb farms or small villages.
Think South Kosovo, Šar Mountain, close to Albanian border.
Albanian gangs harassing, robbing and looting Serb farms or small villages.
Actually, Albanian gangs have been attacking, harassing, robbing and looting Serbian farms/hamlets/villages not just in South Kosovo (presumably you mean Kosmet, that is Kosovo AND Metohija) and close to Albanian border, but all over the southern Serbian region ever since the end of WW I. For those unacquainted with the problem, Albanians insist on calling the region ‘Kosova’ and avoid the determination ‘Metohija’, that represents the full name of the region, because it is derived from the noun ‘metoh’, meaning ‘land owned by the church’. The only church that has been present for 10 centuries in Kosmet was Serbian Orthodox church, hence Albanian insisting on ‘Kosova’ only.
That having been said, I honestly do not understand what you meant
with Albanian gangs and efficiency of Serbian police ‘in a third world country’ ?
The situation in South Africa seems to be the exact opposite of what you describe in Serbia regarding the efficiency of law enforcement and the courts.
The courts here are still functioning rather well most of the time (but also not totally immune to political meddling..) but the police are generally unprofessional, poorly led and rife with corruption.
Blatant corruption is unfortunately endemic to all spheres of the new government that took over in 1994, and it permeates down even to the lowest level of civil services.
Much can be said about the ‘old’ South Africa (before 1994).
It is a complex and controversial subject, but I think it is fair to say that the country had strong ‘first world’ elements, like well developed infrastructure, a functioning education system, good healthcare, a vibrant economy and efficient law enforcement.
But since the ‘advent of democracy’ in 1994, we have just become another typical African country.
Journalist Dr. Ramzy Baroud recently published an article on ICH dealing with the colonial aspirations of several global players and their different approaches. Especially the assistance of AFRICOM seems to worsen the overall situation.
Very thorough article, and I believe precisely correct. Don’t get me wrong, I love automatics and own more than one, and for me (because of my extensive familiarity with them, and being a big guy) I think an automatic can be as good (though not better than) a revolver. But there are several reasons, many of which you touched on, which make a revolver an all-around better choice of pistol for most people.
It is true that high capacity is generally a benefit for the military (and, sadly, militarized police) where suppressive fire and the ability to shoot till you hit ‘im is most important. But as you say, capacity is a red herring for civilians, where between zero and 3 shots are indeed the rule. Sustained gunfights do not happen at extremely close range, and if you’re at longer range with enough cover that it would support sustained firing, and all you have is a pistol, you need to be getting the hell out of there! And if you’re talking concealable pistols, the difference is much less pronounced, as most concealable automatics are going to carry less than 10 rounds anyway.
For me, the big thing is that a real encounter is most likely to happen much closer and faster than you expect. That means odds are high you’re going to have to fire very quickly, from your pocket/purse, and/or while trying to hold someone off with your other hand, and maybe at an odd angle resulting in a weaker than normal grip. Automatics don’t like any of those, and the odds of having a malfunction go way up while your odds of having time and/or a free hand to do anything about it go down. And of course as you alluded, when you’re being sued by the suddenly loving family of the deadbeat who tried to kill you, would you rather his attorney show the jury your non-threatening little revolver, hard to argue as best for pre-meditated offensive action; or some evil, black Call of Duty cyborg looking killing machine?
Lastly, revolvers are actually superior as a “tool” as well. You can easily practice or otherwise jump between light loads and heavy loads without having to worry about changing springs or malfunctions. There is no misfeed, no matter how strange the rounds you put in it–if you’re on the farm or hiking trail you can even easily load rat shot in a couple cylinders, with a couple of hot rounds follow-up in case you see that damn coyote! Extremely versatile. I guess the ultimate test is what will I give my daughter? It’ll be a revolver.
At one time the small novel “The Moon is Down” (Steinbeck/OSS) was well known… Here’s a gun related quote from that astonishing novel…and good propaganda (ccheck out the stories about it – intersting, very subversive against nazis…) Here’s a quote
:”We should be going,” Tom said uneasily. “Do you want guns, sir? Shall we ask for guns?”
“No, tell them how it is. We are watched. Any move we make calls for reprisal. If we could have simple, secret weapons, weapons of stealth, explosives, dynamite to blow up rails, grenades, if possible even poison.” He spoke angrily. “This is no honorable war. This is a war of treachery and murder. Let us use the methods that have been used on us! Let the British bombers drop their big bombs on the works, but let them also drop us little bombs to use, to hide, to slip under the rails, under tanks. Then we will be armed, secretly armed. Let the bombers bring us simple weapons. We will know how to use them!”
it’s still good propaganda… and True (which is what makes it good, he said.)
Winter broke in. “They’ll never know where it will strike. The soldiers, the patrol, will never know which of us is armed.”
Tom wiped his forehead. “If we get through, we’ll tell them, sir, but – well, I’ve heard it said that in England there are still men in power who do not dare to put weapons in the hands of common people.”
Orden stared at him. “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. Well, we can only see. If such people still govern England and America, the world is lost, anyway. Tell them what we say, if they will listen. We must have help, but if we get it” – his face grew very hard – “if we get it, we will help ourselves.”
Right..”If such people still govern…” Get it?
Anyway, they oughta thought of this when they grasped the nettle of empire…
A great article and accompanied by well-considered comments, both contributed by people who obviously have considerable. Ready through the comments, there were several points where I thought, Hey, this is a good point to jump in, but then the discussion went on and deeper. So I’ll write this up, some considerations gained from experience, in Germany of all places, although I do not wantto suggest that German formalities can simply be copied.
But first, I suppose it is not all that controversial to say that, whatever is written, or whatever I write about self-defense with a fire-arm, is akin to the “theory” part of the process of getting a driver’s license: there are many things to consider, many “choices,” many technical functions to master, and when the “teacher” gets to a theoretical aspect of something that resembles self-defense with a motor vehicle, the “student” will hear the message and even understand it, but when the situation crops up for applying the message, everything goes wrong. E.g. (in the days before ABS, and even with ABS, the vehicle will careen into something unless the driver has “nerves of steel“ and selects a path to steer away from the obstacle), if you apply the brakes to avoid hitting an obstacle, be aware that the vehicle cannot be steered if the brakes are locked, so brake sharply and then release the brake to steer around the obstacle.
The “student” says, Yeah, got it, and the physics even makes sense. And then one fine day that obstacle shoots into the path of the car at high speed and the student panics, hits the brake and proceeds to skid into the obstacle, possibly, even quite often under circumstances where the obstacle is a human being, even a child. And what the “student” never heard from the driving “teacher,” because this “teacher” just doesn’t know it, but a trained security-driver does know it, in a panic situation, the driver will fixate on the object of panic (the obstacle, the person or child) and, even if the driver does release the brake, the car will steer in the direction the driver looks, in the direction the driver is fixated. That, as I will show, is an experience which is transferable to civilian self-defense shooting. The “rules” one can impart to a gun-wonder are mostly CYA: the “instructor” tells the student the rules, maybe the student even signs a piece of paper afforming that he was so instructed, so the instructor is not at fault or legally responsible if the student does not do what he is told. But is the instructor so oblivious to human reality that he does not know that under stress and in an emergency the student simply cannot apply the rules? Is the instructor really not at fault?
So there is the obvious difference between theory and praxis. Some commenters have made very apt remarks about muscle-memory, and some have alluded to the effects of adrenaline on the body. These are two very different things, but consider for a moment combining them: safe handling of a gun at a range, proficiency in using it, proficiency in remedying a jam (for pistols), reloading proficiency (hardly an issue for our “civilian” self-defense shooter) can be trained, but it all takes time a “civilian” self-defense person ought to consider.
For sure, no one decides to acquire or use a fire-arm for self-defense purposes casually, but the person who does make that decision is not therefore immediately qualified to know what a non-casual preparation for using the weapon entails. And even after safe handling has become instinctive — the example mentioned late in the comments about the novice at the range who turns toward the bystanders with the gun loaded and safety off is a good example of “Yeah, I got the message about releasing the brake” and then not doing it, i.e., not because the message was forgotten, but because the person could not transfer the message into action — and even after 30-50 hours practicing proficiency at the range, there is no guarantee, and therefore no surety for the self-defense person, that the muscle-memory will function under the surge of adrenaline. In fact, it will not, or at least it cannot be taken for granted that it will. That depends on the mindset of each individual, and that mindset depends on how the individual responds to the adrenaline surge: there are two extremes — immensely enhanced strength and concentration or incapacitation.
The purpose of acquiring a weapon for self-defense is, after all, to survive, not to endanger oneself, nor to land in prison. Yes, the rule and message is: never draw the weapon unless you intend to use it (immediately), which means, yes, you have to be willing to kill, but not because you want to kill, but because you want to survive. So, yes, there are the differences The Saker has addressed, and many commenters have addressed, between the civilian and the soldier, but the civilian’s decision to acquire a weapon for self-defense entails the decision to acquire the skills and the psychological determination of a combatant. That is a psychological, or a psycho-cultural issue. Not everyone who believes they want a revolver or a pistol (or a shotgun) for self-defense has faced up to that issue, so they need help dealing with it, or counseling, even if that means not carrying through on the decision, or even being advised not to do so. Fresh recruits are the first causalities, and that goes for civilians as well.
I am not arguing against acquiring a gun for self-defense. I am saying that advising someone who believes they have made a decision to do so by, for example, accompanying them to a gun-shop and trying out various models in various calibers, falls far short of what this person needs, although they may not recognize what they need. Something a person may lack psychologically or culturally is not necessarily for that reason a K.O. reason not to acquire or use a gun for self-defense, but for the sake of their own safety and ultimate survival, the person needs to become aware of what is lacking and seek and commit themselves to addressing that lack.
Being committed to self-defense is not exhausted by owning a gun, it is a life-changing and life-determining decision. The decision itself is a step over a line, and once the line is crossed, experience can begin. But it only begins then, the experience is not a one-off affair and it should not wait for a fatal shoot-out.
It might seem unfortunate, but it is actually a powerful human fact that this thing, “experience,” cannot be handed down to one’s prosperity like a house in a last will and testament. And even what we in “the West” call and think of as “training” is not necessarily the way to gaining experience. In the West, the driving-school teacher teaches, and he gets paid for that, and the “tests” certify that he has taught what the student should ostensibly learn, regardless of the students’ real capabilities under stress, under an adrenaline surge, in an emergency. In the West, the emergency is the outlier situation, and no one and nothing prepares the student for that.
The Chinese, or a Chinese martial-arts “master”, understands this: “do it a thousand times, and it is yours” is the adage, but that only applies to basic proficiency in moves and techniques. And, as the owner of a gun for self-defense, what should you do a thousand times? Answer: Everything! And what does “everything” mean to the person with a gun for self-defense? Nothing, and it would be a fool’s errand to attempt to enumerate even 50% of what belongs to “everything.” It would be like a cooking-teacher telling a candidate big-kitchen cook to just read the recipe, knowing that the master cook never works from a cook-book. But people earn money in the West doing just that. (Cook-book or computer CD “training”, cheaper and supposedly quicker than real training, nearly sank ships of the US fleet in the Pacific.)
”Experience” begins only after something has become yours. And that is why in China, or even in Asia more generally, many, even most Westerners are astounded – if they look and if they can see – to find such “masters” lurking in what appear at first sight to be the least impressive people. This is a “self-defense culture.” The more polite the person you encounter, especially the looser and weaker his handshake feels (the “master’s” hand feels like putty, as if there we no bones in it), the more you better be on your guard and do nothing offensive because this gentle person may well be the deadliest you will ever meet.
In the West, people say it is “inscrutable,” which means some sort of trickery, but it has nothing to do with trickery, it is Ying/Yang. In terms of the self-defense candidate with a gun, ask them if they are willing to live with their weapon, think about it all the time, consider how to get at it under any and all circumstances, and to operate it no matter what. The self-defense candidate will perhaps say, “Hey! I don’t want to drive myself crazy, get headaches from the tension of thinking about it all the time, I just want a gun for self-defense.” And, actually, the reply is appropriate and true: even the thought of living with the weapon induces a surge of “Ying,” energy (basically), and too much Ying will drive the person nuts. In the West, we attribute this Ying to “adrenaline,” as if the flow of the hormone-substance were triggered (cute PC term nowadays) by some external circumstance, which has a physical-mechanistic effect, and is therefore physically and mentally uncontrollable by the person affected. The Chinese or Asian, to the contrary, practices (Tai Chi means “practice energy flow”) controlling the energy of Ying with the relaxation of Yang daily, and even saying that is not adequate: this practice is permanent, it is life itself. Whether a person in a self-defense culture is a civilian or a soldier is a mere formality. Learning to know oneself is learning to focus one’s energy, with or without a weapon.
In a moment I’d like to say more about that, but, first, something which will undoubtedly be controversial: For all of the guns circulating in the US, America is not a self-defense culture in the way the Chinese culture is. Instead, America is a culture in which in an increasing number of people have real reasons to believe and fear that they will become victims of violence, and they seek to equalize their impotence with a firearm. The culture is sick and it creates victims, many victims, and not only victims of physical violence or victims of firearm violence. Drugs and/or propaganda mentacide would belong to the list of ways of victimization. Prospective victims seek first of all a deterrent, as several commenters have indicated. To me, the messages or lessons an instructor or teacher gives to the self-defense candidate – as here attested many times – in the US is sure evidence that America is not a self-defense culture: do not draw the weapon unless you intend to use it, pull the trigger and fire a bullet, the consequence of which may be that you kill someone. So why not instruct the self-defense candidate, “Do not even acquire the weapon unless you intend to use it”? If the self-defense candidate is indeed committed to self-defense, they will have no problem examining themselves, learning about themselves and what they can indeed learn about controlling energy / adrenaline and many other questions one might ask a Chinese martial-arts master. The fact – to me at least – that American culture is not a self-defense culture is no reason to brush aside the potential for a person to commit themselves to becoming capable of self-defense.
Some reflections on this from experience.
While I still had a US passport (no longer, now German), I worked for a security company as a driver and body-guard (they had a US mother company). Why would I do such crazy stuff? –I was bored being a translator and journalist. Plus I had some electronics experience which came in handy for security systems. And martial arts was my hobby since the age of 14. I had a German concealed carry permit for 7 years. The permit was mine, but it was not for me personally. It was only valid when working on a company job. The personal security check was long and excruciating, and the company had to provide QA-style documentation of its training programs and schedules, performance evaluation and so forth.
The precondition for the carry permit was a completely normal “WBK” — Waffenbesitzkarte — or weapons possession permit. This involved 6 months of intensive theoretical and practical training (2-3 times / week), capped off by a final exam. The final exam dealt with self-defense legal issues, all legal issues relating to handling, storage and transport of sport weapons in Germany, but also a part based on a box of parts of various weapons. Candidates had to identify the parts and what weapon they came from, and identify safety issues with the parts. E.g. the candidate was presented with three different pistol barrels, told to examine them, and then to say which of the barrels the candidate would or would not mount in a pistol and why. Knowing your weapon is a crucial part of personal safety.
I did all of this at a “Large Caliber Shooting Club,” so everything was above the small-bore family, and an earned WBK meant one was entitled to order (upon previous approval of the relevant sport-shooting government authority) and buy 2 guns of whatever brand and caliber. I wanted a 9mm para “Brunner”(CZ 75), but the head of the club told me I didn’t want it: he showed me a Brunner with a cracked frame and a split barrel. Brunner improved the quality later, but I ordered a Tangfolio (just an Italian “Brunner”), better quality, tighter tolerances, which functioned quite successfully in IPSC matches.
(A colleague at the security company once wanted to try it out on the range, IPSC-style. The trigger weight was fully IPSC-compliant even with the special silicone lubricant I applied to the release plate because it was a bit scratchy. I didn’t modify anything. My colleague set up to run the exercise, began to draw the pistol from his holster and… Bang!! – the shot landed about 2 cm from the heel of his right boot. He screamed: What the Hell did you do to this thing?! I screamed back: What in Hell is your finger doing in the trigger guard before the muzzle is on target?! – And this guy was a “pro” who, unfortunately was used to the Glock 17 where the trigger weight is between single and double action, so it was rather tolerant of his sloppy safety procedures. His ”muscle-memory” was wrong for my pistol. Cookbook lessons learned: don’t loan a weapon to anyone, and keep your finger out of the finger guard until the pistol is aimed at the target. – All fine and good, but Murphy’s Law always applies – if something can go wrong, it will. In other words: expect the unexpected, and get used to it, live with it, literally. People do not do what you tell them and “I got the message” will not translate into appropriate action. That is human reality.)
My second gun, or at least what I wanted to order, but I was highly skeptical about whether the authorities would approve it, was a Benelli 12 gauge pump/switch/semi-auto shotgun: a beautiful black beast and deliciously accurate. Two of the club supervisors signed off on the application and provided documentation that the club did indeed run shotgun competitions with slugs at 25 meters. It was approved. – Just some anecdotal stuff for people who might think Germany is highly restrictive. The Benelli is a pure police weapon. There is absolutely no reason at all for a semi-auto shotgun in accuracy competition.
Even then, I didn’t get my carry permit. Not because of the authorities but because of the company: they had a “character and adrenaline control” routine which had to be absolved by anyone they deemed a potential candidate for a carry license. (At home, or on your own property, you do not need a carry license, but in praxis you will have to come to know your own character and develop adrenaline control.) At that time they didn’t know anything about Asian martial arts or self-defense culture, but once I did get my license, I also had the job to refine and fine-tune their “control” procedure.
The routine consisted of three days of high-speed, precision security driving, solo and in convoys, at the famous (notorious) Nuerburg Ring Nordschleife, an 18 km long complex track with ups and down, places where vehicles still (the track has been smoothed out several times over the years) lift off, and where curve sequences are often blind or hidden, i.e., if the driver does not enter the first of four curves in succession at precisely the right spot and at the right angle, the driver cannot see the following curve and will try to correct the path once he gets into it, which inevitably starts the car’s mass oscillating, which will throw the vehicle off the track at the latest by the fourth curve. Obviously, if you want to simulate adrenaline surges, this is the place to do it. Or it is one of many ways to do it.
The driver has to learn the track, in its entirety, by heart. The ideal entry-point for each curve is conveniently marked for the novice by white lines at the curb, so the novice will initially reduce speed at these markers, enter the curve and, as if by magic, end up on a trajectory that lands the vehicle at the next white line. But that is the “cook-book” method. At higher speeds, the eye must learn to hit the marker with 5-10 cm accuracy while looking ahead into the apex of the coming curve, right or left, at the same time. So the track itself has to be learned, but the real learning is for the eye (which is not the physical organ, it is rather the psychological power of mentally focusing the entire body-vehicle unit on the task at hand) , focus, re-focus, refocus again, correct trajectory, refocus. Continuously, and at a decent average speed to complete each round in about 11 minutes (the track record is under 8 minutes), again and again, at least 3 rounds per session, so highest concentration and agility and muscle-power for at least 30 minutes at a stretch, 20 minutes rest, and off again for more rounds… a day long, for three days. The speed, the shifting mass of the vehicle, the centrifugal force on the bodies of driver and passengers, will often induce an adrenaline shock in those who decided to play the role of passengers, unless they completely trust the driver, and no one will trust anyone that much if they do not themselves know what the driver is doing because they can either do it themselves or they are on the way to mastering it themselves.
I have had trainee-candidates who, after 3 rounds at a very moderate 13 minute clip, tumble out of the vehicle because their legs wobble too much to walk, and they puke on the pavement, swearing they need a physician and want to go home. It is not a matter of shame or blame, but you do not want such a person next to you with a holstered, loaded gun. And I would advise such a person not to buy or use a gun for self-defense.
Three things come together here. First, adrenaline control. By gradually increasing the speed, in line with the familiarity of trainee-candidates with the track, which is always a highly individual issue, there is a gradual but constant build-up of adrenaline. (From the second day onward, the candidates drive alone in 2-car convoys, and they determine their own speed. The target speed is to cross the finish line at 11 minutes, but no one says when that 11 minutes target has to be achieved.) The body and the mind become accustomed or acclimated to it, it does not lead to panic, shivering, etc. But how does this acclimation itself function? That is the second thing, the gradually increasing skill or ability to focus on and orient to the curve-entry markings, then to focus with wide split-vision on the markings and the trajectory of the vehicle to reach the apex of the next curve, focusing and thinking ahead to the curves that are coming up fast but are still out of sight. In fact, the mind-body unity discovers that it needs a certain adrenaline saturation to sustain the highly dynamic concentration and focus needed for the stretch of time needed. The once feared energy shock becomes the needed friend. (On real long-distance deployments, I, in the armored car, often requested that the 3-car convoy increase speed from 160 kmh – 100 mph – “I’m falling asleep, let’s go to 180” just to get enough adrenaline pumping to maintain my attention-span. – I am not talking about what (some) “professionals” do, but about the adrenaline / energy response characteristics which are true for anyone.)
Three days is grueling even for the “pros”.
(This, by the way, is in line with the German military command principle of Auftragstaktik: Never expect or demand that someone else do something you are not willing and able to do yourself. We never had “driver-trainers” who did the work while the “management” sat at home. The management were themselves the top drivers, and also top of the line with their weapons. This is nevertheless the crucial element of Auftragstaktik. Typically, the “American” (generic term, regardless of geography) ignores this element and calls it “Mission Orders” or “Mission Command”, and, as I have been told, American officers have major problems with this: it means to assign a mission, i.e., to set a goal, and to “trust” subordinates, to at least permit if not insist on the authority of subordinates to employ their skills, their equipment and their own experience to achieve the mission goal. After all, if the Mission goes wrong, the commanding officer will be made responsible, so fearing that it will go wrong, he disastrously attempts to give detailed orders about each piece of equipment, each tactical move etc. )
The third thing is, of course, trust. In part, trust is consolidated in the evening when the trainee-candidates talk about their discoveries about themselves, without being fed the words by a “teacher“ in a classroom, therefore without giving answers on an exam, multiple-choice or any other. Or, inversely, the old adage: if you want to learn something, try to teach it. Or: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. But trust is also the recognition that the exercise as a whole was set up by a person or by people who know what they are doing, who are not Hell bent on breaking people psychologically or on finding their weak points. If this recognition does not occur, the person does not trust himself and is not capable of trusting himself.
Yes, the situation I am talking about now is a teamwork situation, which is ostensibly not what a self-defense person is concerned with. But even the self-defense civilian has to be able to trust themselves. So if that trust is not a delusion, how can it be built and verified for the self-defense civilian themselves? In fact –and this is likely to be controversial – it can only be built in a team in which the self-defense civilian discovers why they invest a certain person or persons with their trust, because they will only know what it is they trust in themselves if they can recognize, actively and dynamically, what they trust in another. A solo self-defense civilian is a disaster waiting to happen.
And a team always has a “captain” or a master. Or as my Tai Chi master always said: Very good, you (pl.) are at a level where you can imitate what I do, but I do not want you to imitate me. I want you to ask yourselves whether you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. If and when you do, I will see it, but I do not see it yet. You still have a long way to go. That is self-defense culture. In principle. You can order someone to imitate you, to do what you say, but you cannot order a person to himself know what you do or why you do it.
I would like to derive some “cookbook” points from such adrenaline-control routines before making a broader point about transferable experience.
First, for the purpose of civilian self-defense shooting, target practice is not only not what is needed, it will most likely be counterproductive, for the following reasons. As precision target shooters know, when shooting at a target (let’s say at 25 yards/meters) the sights are sharply focused when aiming, whereas the target is slightly blurred: it is not possible to have rear and front sights in sharp focus and have the target in sharp focus at the same time. The self-defense shooter does not need the sights in focus at all and, under stress, will not take the time to get that focus. The self-defense shooter will be shooting instinctively at the target-point the shooter identifies on the body of the opponent and has in sharp focus. That point is in focus, the sights are not. Every self-defense situation is an instinctive shooting situation. There is no time for the self-defense shooter to seek and focus on the sights, so if they transfer the muscle or procedure memory from target shooting to self-defense shooting, they will miss the target.
(The 80% miss-rate for the FBI was news to me. But I believe it. While the FBI undoubtedly believes it does advanced weapons training, this miss-rate tells me, for sure, that they do too much target practice. They probably even certify and re-certify agents for weapons competence on the basis of target-shooting scores. Although, or even since the results are deadly, the FBI likewise undoubtedly sells the 80% miss-rate as “normal.” That certifies that the FBI does not have, and therefore does not cultivate a self-defense culture. The question to pose is, Why does the shooter miss? A missed shot is a waste, a danger to others as well as to oneself.)
This poses two issues, which are separate, but they combine in the result. The first issue concerns handling: is the grip properly seated in the hand when the weapon is grabbed (from a holster, from a night table, and countless other options, from a lady’s purse, a very complicated maneuver)? The target shooter can adjust their grip, the instinctive shooter cannot. Once grabbed, the weapon has to sit. No time. Can the shooter properly operate the trigger when shooting instinctively (not jerking, not pulling the muzzle off target, etc.)? The target shooter can afford a moment to think about the triggering action, the instinctive shooter cannot and, in praxis, will not. The second issue is the nature of the target itself: the target is marked for the target shooter (the rings are distinguishable but, as indicated, slightly blurred). The instinctive shooter’s target is not marked. So the two issues are apparently (1) the weapon and then (2) the target. That is cookbook analysis. The instinctive shooter has to put the two issues together. How is that done?
More importantly, again the issue of focusing. In a self-defense situation, the point of focus cannot be arbitrarily decided by the shooter. The opponent may or may not offer the preferred point of focus for attacking him. – Yes, one can say, Aim for the body mass, because it is the largest area, or, as I would prefer, Aim for the pelvic area, if possible: there is a lot of bone there, best for a knock-down shot, incapacitating, even if not fatal. If the projectile does not exit the body, it deposits its energy in the body. In fact, for knock-down, nothing beats the 45 ACP round. It is relatively slow, but quite massive. Still, in less than a split second the self-defense shooter has to “acquire” the precise target-spot to hit.
But none of that really identifies the issue of focus. – Perhaps many have heard the famous story of the Zen bow master? To make a long story short, the Zen master ties a chicken at the roof-overhang of a building. He asks one student, set up with bow drawn, “What do you see?” The student says: “I see a chicken.” The Zen masters says, “Ok, then shoot the chicken.” Twang, woosh… and the arrow flies off into the surrounding trees. Then the second student sets up, strings an arrow, draws the bow. The Zen master asks him, “What do you see?” The student says, “the left eye of the chicken.” The Zen master says, “Ok, shoot.” Twang, woosh… and the arrow hits the let eye of the chicken.
What do I – or you –, the self-defense civilian, think this story is really about? Is it about what you look at, what you see, what you focus on? According to the text of the story, yes. But notice that there is nothing in the story that talks about mastering the weapon, the bow. What does mastering the weapon mean if I cannot hit the chicken? What does mastering my pistol mean if I, an FBI agent, miss in a shoot-out? In truth, and in reality, practical reality, I master my weapon by being spiritually (in the West we would say “mentally”) determined to identify and strike at the exact point I have selected as my focus point. In practical reality, there is no such thing as (1) the weapon and then (2) the target (the point I am determined to attack).
What is this “determined focusing”? – Yes, we would say it is a psychological thing, and, yes, someone might tell me they are *really determined to hit what they focus on*, so I am to assume, on the basis of this testimony (and it would be taken as an insult if I challenge it), that this person, who testifies to this determination, knows themselves well enough to know what they are talking about. What am I to do?
I have two options. First, I may just say “fine” and walk away. I make no judgement, I will not at all conclude that this person is foolish. Or I may ask the person to stand in front of me, to imagine that they are holding a weapon and are about to take aim. I want to know whether this person is capable of taking a “rooted stance.” If I gently nudge the person at the chest from the front or back, and they wobble, or I gently push from the left or right side and they let themselves be pushed off center, their stance is not “rooted”. In fact, I can see when a stance is not rooted before I apply any pressure, but applying pressure is the demonstration for the “student” that what I see is true. So far that is an unfair test. If they wobble or are pushed off center, I will ask them to notice that fact and to re-concentrate on the task at hand, and then push again. In praxis, I do not need to test the stance by applying some pressure because I can see whether the person has locked onto the selected focus point by looking at their feet. The focus point aligns the entire body and the result will be a rooted stance, but If the self-defense shooter looked at the chicken, the stance will not be rooted.
It may sound fanciful, but if you are not self-defense “encultured,” you will not be able to take a “rooted stance.” You simply do not know what it is. Saying so is not polemical or insulting, it is fact. And if someone tells me they do not want to submit to a second “test,” then I walk away. If they want to learn, I stay. In the second round, the non-self-defense encultured person will stiffen up like a bull snorting before charging the red flag, but stiffening up will not help the stability of the stance. To the contrary. It is easier to push over a stiffened up bull, merely with gentle pressure, nothing punchy. And once a person has *begun* to know when their stance is “rooted”, how to align and arrange their entire skeletal structure to be able to focus body-energy, they will be able to learn to move from one rooted stance to another…, which may indeed be necessary in a self-defense situation, and then, again, instinctively.
But if such body-awareness is not there, then the person may *say* they do not like the recoil of a weapon, or it will *seem* they have problems gripping the pistol such that it can recycle. Yes, “say” and
“seem”, because I don’t believe what people say and I look for the reasons for problems that may only appear to be problems.
I propose an experiment. Invite a prospective self-defense civilian to stand in front of a silhouette target at 7 meters / yards, pistol or revolver in hand (not drawing from a holster, that only complicates the experiment). Five minutes running in place to get a bit of adrenaline flowing. Draw an “X” at chest-level on the target. Tell the prospective self-defense civilian to focus on that “X”: this “X” is a danger to your life, you are going to hit it. You are not going to hit the paper target (“the chicken”), you are going to hit this “X”. Get a good grip on your weapon, with both hands, hold the weapon in front of you, not yet on target (inspect, is the muzzle really aligned center-body, do the two hands support each other or get in the way, etc.?, and, of course, are they dangerously close to the slide-action?). (At first the prospective self-defense civilian will have to fight the adrenaline, or they will think that is what they are doing, but the adrenaline forces them to control their body-reactions, and that will transfer to effect the focus and concentration needed.)
Get the prospective self-defense civilian to focus not only the eye on this “X”, but the whole of their being, stare at it, fixate on it (watch how the head and torso bends forward, the rump juts slightly backward, the semi-crouch stabilizes the stance, as if automatically: that is still not the “ideal“ rooted stance, but “the body knows” what the shooter does not yet know), don’t let the attention wander, let them grit their teeth, growl at that “X”,… whatever, sustain the surge of adrenaline. At the signal of a whistle, let the prospective self-defense civilian raise the weapon quickly, “acquire” the X-target (the left eye of the chicken), and fire, one shot.
I don’t gamble, but I am willing to bet that the prospective self-defense civilian will testify, Hey, the recoil is not that bad… but I wouldn’t want to shoot with this thing on a target range for half an hour (I still do not believe what people say, but let them say it). And I am willing to bet that the pistol, whatever brand, whatever caliber, will cycle. And the target will be hit. Maybe not perfectly, at the center of the “X” cross, but it will not be a miss. If the shooter does miss the target, that has nothing to do with the weapon. The shooter might say he was focused on the left eye of the chicken, but in reality he was focused on the chicken.
The prospective self-defense civilian should leave the experiment with a success under their belt, but also knowing there is still a long way to go. After the experiment, let the prospective self-defense civilian talk about the experience, verbalize it: this is “bio-feedback”, in reverse, so to say. The body under some stress still does not know everything it needs to know, but it knows more than the detached mechanistic-thinking “western mind” knows, so the verbalization helps this “western mind” come to grips with the experience of what the body knows. If the experienced “escort” in this experiment contributes anything at all, it can be the hint that the prospective self-defense civilian has “put it all together”, many, many separable, analytically identifiable things, without even “intellectually” knowing what these things are, because the *person* was concentrated, focusing energy, under stress. That is the experience the prospective self-defense civilian did not know previously, and that is the experience they will seek to replicate and cultivate. The experiment merely gives the first “feel” of what happens when they “put it all together”. Once having had that “feel,” they will know when they do not have it. But then they also know that having it means a hit, and not having it means a miss. That points to the long way ahead.
How long does it take for the person to develop the capability to generate that “feel” themselves and yet go through their daily routine relaxed? – That is an individual issue, certainly not answered in one or two or three expensive “defensive-shooting courses.” Local self-defense clubs would be a better approach. They could include practical unarmed self-defense practice. A person who can defend themselves without a weapon is far more likely to judge a situation correctly, whether it is really life-threatening or not. A person who starts to grab a pistol in the face of a bully slapping a baseball bat into the palm of his hand, is not in control of themselves or the situation. And a person with martial arts experience is less likely to think a collapsed umbrella is actually a knife. And not everything which might merely hurt, is life-threatening.
Thanks for you lengthy article, worth a few re-reads. Reminds me of younger days.
Good advice I had was: if there’s going to be a bad situation – don’t be there.
Thank you as well. A long read but well worth it.
To your point on muscle memory
I’ve read that it takes roughly 1000 repeated movements for an action to become instinctive. I can’t speak to the exact accuracy of that but can say it is AT LEAST that from my boxing days and trying to transition into MMA. I had probably thousands of hours in boxing between training and sparring. Combinations were instinctive, zero conscious thought required on technique or form. When in the ring it was just adjusting timing, power of punches and decisions as to effectiveness of particular combinations against that opponent. A Lot of conscious decisions had to be made as the fight progressed, adjusting instinctive distance based on your reach to account for size/reach and speed of opponent, judging your opponents punching power and stamina, etc…
What was interesting was how much I misjudged translating all of this to MMA was. AN opponent would come in for a takedown and I constantly/instinctively would throw an upper cut and be left trying to catch him in a head & arm hold as he took me down by my exposed legs. Also, I had a tendency to duck straight rights a bit too far which never presented issues for me in boxing but exposed he hugely to a knee or kick to face in MMA. I could go through a laundry list of instinctual moves which served me well in boxing but made MMA lengthy to even begin to hold my own.
Point is, you are exactly right on muscle memory (including shooting a firearm one is not familiar with) and someone who has not put in the time is most assured not to get the results.
Because of my boxing background I use a Weaver stance (slighty modified) which matches my boxing stance. So I have same stance for boxing/streetfight/knifefight, pistol and rifle. Again, makes things simple – 1 muscle memory stance for all combat. My opinion is Isosceles stance is good for competition shooters or if you are wearing body armor with plate in front. My weaver stance modified (turned more and pulled in a little) to allow my front arm/elbow to cover my heart. Basically using my arm as expendable poor man’s body armor to block a fatal shot to the heart from attacker.
Another thing I highly agree on:
Practice shooting after exercise to get the heart rate up. Mountain climbers, pushups, run in place. Most regular ranges won’t let you do that. Tactical classes may and should. This will get someone maybe a half prepared for a life threatening encounter. I would really suggest to anyone to get in a boxing/mma gym and spar with a trainer where they are afraid of getting hit or hurt to give them at least an idea of what it will feel like under extreme threat.
I survived 2 knife fights where I was unarmed. The first I got stabbed and ran until I thought I was going to bleed out and got lucky to be running by a picket fence which had a loose picket which I ripped off and turned to face the attacker giving chase who then backed off than god. Wound missed artery by 1/2″ Second one I survived without any serious injury but that one I met the death experience. I had already been hit in the back of the head with a brick and I couldn’t move right, my body would not respond right when my instincts put together the responses. I was “trained” in the Marines in knife fighting but I was a boxer when you strip down to basic instincts which was all I had functioning. I boxed an attacker with a knife but was 1/2 second behind on my timing always because of the brick to the head. Instead of focusing on the attacker’s chest I became mesmerized by the knife flashing in front of me be the shine of the streetlight on the bridge. Yes, I was on a bridge with no place to run. We were attacked by a gang and outnumbered, my friends in their own fights for their lives. I had run up to defend a friend who had been knocked out by a brick and the attacker was running up to kill him as he lay unconscious. Anyway, I was trying to land a punch to the guy’s throat or gouge his eye or something, whatever my foggy brain could come up with. I could feel the knife impacts on my arms and body. I was sure I was going to die. I was not giving up but I knew I was losing and it was only a matter of time before I fell and died on that bridge because of that POS. It wasn’t until I faced that my death was now inevitable that I was able to let go of the fear of taking that fatal blow. When that happened, my mind was set free and for the first time I was able to let my focus go from just the attacker in front of me to my surroundings. We were on a bridge and I was a strong guy and so were my friends. I howled at the top of my lungs “throw these M***F*** off the bridge!” and I charged forward with all of my strength, picked the guy up and proceeded to throw him off. His friends tried to block me, he was halfway over his friends hanging onto his legs trying to punch or hit me with bricks at the same time. It was a blur there, All I know was I was howling at them at the top of my lungs, not caring if I went over the bridge too, biting, pulling, kicking – literally an insane animal at that point. I just remember at one point it just opened up behind me and I stepped back and the gang that attacked us just melted/ran away. I felt like the only person on earth. I was shaking uncontrollably and the shock of going from a battle to the death to just standing there on an empty bridge was something I have a hard time describing. At that moment I felt I didn’t get closure I guess, my whole being was prepared to fight, die and take as many people with me as I could and in the next few seconds there was – nothing even though I was still there. Before and after I have had experiences but nothing like that. I see why people can get addicted to that feeling.
Since I already wrote it I won’t delete, I forget the point I was going to make. Joe Gretch, saved me that night like I helped save someone else. Lost track of him and never got to thank him.
Guess you shared a lot of experience so I thought I’d share too.
Great article and while I may choose differently based on MY life experiences, I support the Saker’s rational.
Now for the tricky part:
Noise, Loud Noise, really effing LOUD NOISE. Nothing you do at the range will prepare you for the sound blast of a .38 snub nose indoors..without hearing protection. It’s really loud…and it will stun you…even if you’ve done it several times. The human ear is just not designed to handle that much noise, at least mine aren’t. And I served and never had a problem with anything the US Army required of me. The noise blast of a short barrel pistol .38 or better, [without ear protection], in a confined space is breathtaking. While a rifle blast may be louder, the shooter escapes much of the blast due to it’s directionality, but with short barrels the blast is far more circumferential.
Like the Saker, I too think the .357 is the best pistol round, but the noise, the effing noise…inside a confined space it requires willpower to fire twice…and I don’t think that’s a good thing Now maybe I’m a delicate flower, but unless you’ve done it, you have no idea about what I am talking about.
I think the laws regarding noise suppressors are stupid. A suppressor on an AR-15 will reduce the noise to the level of a .22 LR…hardly a 007 “silencer”. You can hear a “suppressed” AR-15 for miles, there is nothing “sneaky” about it.
Making a quieter pistol for home defense should be something manufacturers are attempting to accomplish, but gun control nuts, safely ensconced in their urban cocoons, have blocked this safety feature from being explored with the current laws all-encompassing language.
I took a course with a 1st class dude weapons expert whose career was in an intelligence agency (Not usa). You and him are in the same page in everything, but he would point out that a revolver is more dangerous should the weapon fall in hands of children. Children are always an issue when having firearm at home. He would also point out that the best defense weapon is a semiauto shotgun.
On other topics, in some countries killing a trespasser with only one shot will get you in more troble than spraying him. It gets you labeled “precise shooter” and gets you fucked. Spraying and claiming you were under huge emonal distress works better with this fucked up law
The obvious point I would make for home defence is that a shotgun will get something on the target more reliably in the dark and be far less likely to go through the side of your house, the neighbors house, and your neighbors wife’s head when you are accidentally shooting at your child getting milk from the fridge at night.
That said the general and misconceived notion that having more pistols on people’s hips makes a society safer flies in the face of the statistics available. but if you have to live in a shit hole, yeah you best be armed.
If you’re blindly shooting at anything that moves, your child going to the kitchen, you don’t have the sensibilities to own a firearm in the first place.
It’s still a way to play peoples against each other, they want to make the immigrants escape goats to hide or run to stolen Palestine while everybody is watching the immigrants escaping wars that they created…